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Ponniyan Selvam-The First Floods

I am a avid read of book and it has almost become part of me and my world. I can’t live without them and they are the best companion of my life and have been with me irrespective of people moving in and out of my life. To contribute back to the bookish work, this is a small effort from my side as a avid reader

first flood

 

Ramaswamy Aiyer Krishnamurthy  better known by his pen name Kalki, was a Tamil writer, journalist, poet, critic and Indian independence activist.His writings include over 120 short stories, 10 novels, 3 historical romances, editorial and political writings and hundreds of film and music reviews. Parthiban Kanavu and Sivagamiyin Sapathamgive a picture of the great Pallava  Age of the seventh century A.D., whereas Ponniyin Selvan paints the age of the glorious Chozhas. Both periods are a mixture of many aspects of the history of Tamil Nadu such as that of religions, literature, art and architecture and also of administration.His other social novels include Thyaga Bhoomi (The land of sacrifice) and Kalvanin Kadali (Bandit’s sweetheart), both of which have been filmed. Thyaga Bhoomi, which has the Salt Satyagraha as its backdrop, dealt with women’s rights and untouchability.

I was encouraged to read Ponniyin selvam book by my father and so I read it in the English version,but actually it is written in Tamil. But once I started reading the book never felt to keep it back until I finished and the book was amazing .I learnt a fair deal about the Chozhas dynasty and the rich culture that flourished in vast state of Tamil Nadu.I am also amazed by the research and literature work done by the author

The story begins with beautiful scene of festivity by the river.It is  Aadi perukku thirunal,18th day of tamil Aadi. It during this day people from village gather and  go to the bank of river and to thank Cauvery .Also they carry food and eat after offering prayer to their benevolent mother Cauvery. Enjoying this scene of festivity the protagonist Vallarayan Vandiyathevan was riding through Veeranarayanapuram river(Now known as Veeranam).He was a Vana Warrior  which had carved a niche itself in the history of Tamil Nadu.He was captivated by the beauty of the not only lake,but the also amazed by the foresight the chozha dynasty had and how they had constructed the lake,efficient irrigation system they had set in place and water storage system. Vandiyathevan was entrusted with a confidential task on behalf of Aditha Karikalar the Crown Prince of  the Chozha Dynasty and commander of the northern army.As the scene shifts to a He was named after “Kalki avatar”, the tenth and last avatar of the Hindu God Vishnu.Vishnu temple near Veeranarayanpuram where our dear Vandiyathevan had halted before he restarted his journey intending to reach  Kadambur. It is here the next main character of the story is introduced Azhwarkadiyan. There is huge  argument between him and a Saivite about  whether  Shiva greater than Vishnu or vice versa.And it is here he meets Periya Pazhuvettarayar,a warrior among warrior,a man who bears 64 battle scars after having fought 24 battles and also the Dhanadhikari and Dhayapandaram of Chozha Dynasty who was on his way to palace. Vandiyathevan horse regained its vigor after having rested and reached Kadambur Palace. It is here he met best friend Kadan Maran.  There was festivity at the gates of the palace and our main protagonist was taken by his best friend to attends the traditional folks performances like Kuravai Koothu. For the information Koothu or Therukoothu,is an ancient art, where artists play songs with dance and music in storytelling the epics, performed in Tamil;it is a folk art originated from the early Tamil Country. But more precisely Koothu refers to either Terukuttu or Kattaikkuttu. It here the main plot of story of the entire ponniyin selvam starts. At midnight,a secret meeting was held in presence of the major dignitaries who held various positions and play a pivotal role in the Chozha Dynasty.They were plotting against the Chozha dynasty and about succession to the throne.The whole essence of the meeting is overheard by vandiyathevan ,but also by  Azhwarkadiyan. The story next moves to talk about the renowned princess who belong to the Chozha Dynasty.Our dear protagonist meets them in the astrologer house in Kundhandhai. The amazing description of the river ponni takes to whole another world stretching out to join her Samudrarajan. She stretches out further into 2 arm givers rise and one of the golden arm being the river Arisilar(It is near to Kaveri).It is here he meets the two princess,one of them being Illaya Pirati the daughter of Sundara Chozhar(King of the Chozha Dynasty) and other princess from the state of Kodumbalur. Lets leave this chaos,lets move on ahead and introduce a very important and vital character of this breathtaking novel is Nandini. She is the wife of none other than Periya Puzhavettarayar who had the capacity to influence anybody and bring everybody under her control.She is the mastermind behind the plot set against to ruin the Chozha Dynasty and had great power in implementing efficiently.There has been great power and equal importance were given to the women counterparts which I feel missing these days in the society.They had equal role in the decision making process. When there was commotion happening in the astrologer’s house,on the other side of  a secret meeting was held amongst a group of Pandya supporter and  who were also helping aides of Nandini,one of them being Idumbankari, Soman Sabhavan, Ravidasan and there were few others who  were also plotting ruin the chozha dynasty and making plans to visit Sri Lanka.There is war going on in Ezham(Sri Lanka) and commander there is the younger prince Arulmozhivarmar. Lets get back to vandiyathevan,who now reached Thiruvaiyaru and from there when ahead to Thanjavur and followed the palaquin until he reached the entrance the fort.It was here he met Nandini and he falls for her and gets the palmyra ring which gives him the access to enter the fort and help him complete the task at hand.Before he goes ahead with the task in hand he stays at sendham amudhan house for the night.Later next day he begins his journey and with the help of palmyra ring enters the fort  and he meets younger brother of Periya Puzhavettaryar who takes  efficient care of the security of the fort. Vandiyathevan finally get through him and meets the Sundara Chozhar,the king of the Chozha Dynasty and give him the scroll given by Aditha Karikalar(Elder Son and crown prince of the king).Aditha karikala is a warrior among warrior and had entered in to war at a early of 16.He is famously known for beheading the king of Pandya’s Veerapandya and thereby winning the war at a young age.He was the heading the war in the north and headquartered at Kanchi. He had also built a golden palace for his father and emperor of the Chozha and invited him to visit the palace. Now lets move ahead with the story. Vandiyathevan stays for the night at the fort and he enters the dungeon where the all the gold and other monetary wealth are kept and he encounters his friend Kandan Maran again who is stabbed by the security there on command of the enchantress Nandini. This,thereby creating  an enmity between both the men.He also encounters with Nandini in her palace before this whole incident and leaves the fort to start his journey to Pazhayarai. It in Pazhayarai,the daughter of the king,Illaya Pirati and the women who he fell in love and gave his heart( though it is admitted by him at part 5 of the book)  to give the second scroll and complete the task given to him.Here he embarks into his next task which is given to him by none other than the princess herself and he leaves to Eazham (Now widely Known as Sri Lanka) to meet the prince Arulmozhivarman. He is the commander in chief of the army and is leading the war in Eazham and is king in hearts of the people of both Eazham as well in his own Kingdom Chozha Dynasty.he is the prodigy kid who was saved by the river ponni itself when he fell of the boat as baby.But actually saved by a deaf and dumb lady who happened to be love of the Sundara Chozhar before his marriage to his current marriage and this is secret not to known to many people except a few confidant of the king. Now getting back to Vandiyathevan, he is been searched by the whole kingdom as he was falsely accused of trying to kill his dear childhood friend Kandan Maran.The continuation of the rest of the story continues in review of the next part of the book.

For person like me who have visited the present Tanjore ,Kumbakonam it was hard to believe that there was a time these places flourished in terms of the rich culture,infrastructure like irrigation,agriculture,lands were very fertile,no scarcity of water.Foresight of the Chozha dynasty to built efficient irrigation system,constructed lake to store water from the river Kollidam. There 72 sluices on the embankment of the lakes.The rivers and lakes were flooded,rather sometimes overflowed with water.The banks of Cauvery where strengthened,Aditya Chozha due to his sincere devotion to lord shiva, built 64 Shiva temples along the banks.This book is contribution to the Chozha Dynasty itself by the author Kalki Krishnamurthy. As a reader ,the narration takes us to the world of the Chozhas and exciting that we would keep the book down without finishing all the parts of the book.

 

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