Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
I have taken some of the instances said by MGR in "Yaruku Vetri" way back in 1958, most of writing in video format. MGR's education level is so poor but his writing skills is awesome when I read the Special edition by MGR Pictures. How well he knew and how clear his ideas are for instances the technical side, story side, dialogue side, music side, cinematography side, costume side, editing side and how he knew which actors to do which part etc. MGR is multi faceted that was proved if you watch Nadodi Mannan. We cannot put MGR into a position of mere actor alone.
When he talks about the story part he says that I am not blind sided that Nadodi Mannan does not have any minus points and I am not that stupid, but I can say that it does not have more minus points. See how humbly he uses the words. MGR further goes into how the story was developed in the year 1937-38 he was in the shooting of Maya Machindra, in Calcutta (Kolkatta) one day he went with his friends to watch a Hollywood movie "If I were King" acted by Ronald Colman, one of the scene the Hero says If I become a King ... but MGR did not follow what the dialogues his mind was revolving around the words If I become a King. That is the day when Nadodi Mannan was seeded in his mind, it developed slowly when the time was ripe, MGR went on to produce the movie. Why did he produce then? Because he said it is an experiment so I did not want other producers to loose money if the film fails.
The Vaigai is a river in Madurai,Tamil Nadu state of southern India. The actual name is Vaiyai in Tamil and the name has been referred as vaigai. It originates in the Periyar Plateau of the Western Ghats range, and flows northeast through the Kambam Valley, which lies between the Palni Hills to the north and the Varushanad Hills to the south. The Vattaparai Falls are located on this river. As it rounds the eastern corner of the Varushanad Hills, the river turns southeast, running through the region of Pandya Nadu. Madurai, the largest city in the Pandya Nadu region and its ancient capital, lies on the Vaigai. The river empties into the Palk Strait in Ramanathapuram District. fdf The main tributaries of the river Vaigai are, the river Suruliyaru, the river Mullaiyaaru, the river Varaganadi and the river Manajalaru. All these rivers join with the great Vaigai river nearer to the places around the Vaigai Dam which is situated in Theni district.
Vaigai gets major feed from the Periyar Dam in Kumuli in Kerala. As the Kerala government is refusing to increase the storage level, Vaigai river ends up dry very often. The water never reaches Madurai, let alone flowing into places past Madurai.
The Periyar Dam was built in 1895 by John Pennycuick, who implemented a plan proposed over a century earlier by Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai of Ramnad.
"Greater than the mother bearing child/Greater than the child that is born/Every breath is Periyar/Every word is Periyar/In every place, in all the world/As far as Periyar water flows/Your name will stand-Pennycuick-your name/Though written on water, will always stand".
That is how Anthony Muthu Pillai (1863-1929) had paid tributes in Tamil to John Pennycuick, the engineer who had taken up the "audacious and unprecedented feat of...engineering" for transferring some water from the Periyar river in Travancore State to the Vaigai basin in Madras Presidency. This basin was described by Poet and lyricist Vairamuthu, who hails from this area: "It is a different world. Another planet on the surface of the earth. Ignored by the clouds, cursed by nature and dry land, passed by the Gods with their eyes tightly shut...
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Friday, July 4, 2008
"The temple city of Madurai is situated at a distance of 307 miles south of Madras on the main railway line. This is decidedly the oldest city of South India, truly representing Dravidian culture. European scholars have compared it to Athens of Greece. It was in the past the seat of the Tamil Academy (the Tamil Sangam) .... It is estimated that there are 33 million carvings in the Madurai temple. The temple stands in the centre of the town and main roads run roughly parallel to the four sides. A writer has described the architecture as follows: "The architecture is almost purely Dravidian - its characteristics being the pyramidal towers of colossal height dominating the surrounding landscape for miles around; the rectangular enclosures one within the other like a China box; the use of the flat roof and the entire absence of the arch or dome; delicate sculpture worked in ponderous material, and finally a partiality for long galleries interspersed with sculptured pillars..." (R .K.Das in Temples of Tamil Nadu)
"Gopuram, in South Indian architecture, is the entrance gateway to the Hindu temple enclosure. Relatively small in the earlier period, the gopuras grew in size from the mid-12th century until the colossal gateways came to dominate the temple complex, quite surpassing the main sanctum for architectural elaboration.." (Gopurams - Encyclopaedia Britannica)"...Tirumulla Nayak commenced a gopura, which, had he lived to complete it, would probably have been the finest edifice of its class in southern India. It measures 174 ft. from north to south, and 107 ft. in depth. The entrance through it is 21 ft. 9 in. wide; and if it be true that its gateposts are 6o ft. (Tripe says 57 ft.) in height, that would have been the height of the opening. It will thus be seen that it was designed on even a larger scale than that at Sri Rangam, and it certainly far surpasses that celebrated edifice in the beauty of its details. Its doorposts alone, whether 57 ft. or 6o ft. in height, are single blocks of granite, carved with the most exquisite scroll patterns of elaborate foliage, and all the other carvings are equally beautiful. Being unfinished, and consequently never consecrated, it has escaped whitewash, and alone, of all the buildings of Madura, its beauties can still be admired in their original perfection. The great temple at Madura ...possesses...all the characteristics of a first-class Dravidian temple, and, as its date is perfectly well known, it forms a landmark of the utmost value in enabling us to fix the relative date of other temples. The sanctuary is said to have been built by Viswanath, the first king of the Nayak dynasty, A.D. 1520, which may possibly be the case; but the temple itself certainly owes all its magnificence to Tirumulla Nayak, A.D. 1622-1657, or to his elder brother, Muttu Virappa, who preceded him, and who built a mantapa, said to be the oldest thing now existing here. The Kalyana mantapa is said to have been built A.D. 1707, and the Tatta Suddhi in 1770.These, however, are insignificant parts compared with those which certainly owe their origin to Tirumulla Nayak..." (Temple of Madura )
Monday, June 30, 2008
Tamil Nadu was divided into three principal kingdoms, namely, Chera Nadu, Chola Nadu and Pandya Nadu, and ruled by Chera, Chola and Pandya kings. (This arrangement goes back to from the very beginning of written Tamil history.) During the reign of Rajathi Raja Cholan II over Chola Nadu (1163 - 1179), there was a quarrel within the Pandyan royal family for the throne of Pandiya Nadu. Both Parakkirama Pandyan and Kulasekhara Pandyan claimed the throne. Local chieftains within Pandya Nadu (who ruled small principalities subservient to the Pandya throne) took sides and a civil war ensued in Pandya Nadu.
Parakkirama Pandyan held the capital city of Madurai and Kulasekhara Pandyan laid siege to it. Instead of keeping the fight within Pandya Nadu or even seeking help from a fellow Tamil king, Parakkirama Pandyan sought help from the Sinhala king Parakramabahu who was ruling the nearby island of Lanka. (Lanka is today called Sri Lanka. British called it Ceylon when it was part of the British Empire. Tamils used to call it Eelam or Ilankai. In recent years "Tamil Eelam" is used to refer to the historical Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern regions of the island.) Parakramabahu sent an army under the command of a Sinhala general, Lankapura (Lankapuri in Tamil). Before the army reached Pandya Nadu, Kulasekhara Pandyan capture Madurai and killed Parakkirama Pandyan. His son Veera Pandyan fled the capital and went into hiding. By now the Sinhala army landed in Pandya Nadu with orders from King Parakramabahu to defeat Kulasekhara Pandyan and put Veera Pandyan on the throne. The Sinhala army captured the coastal town of Rameshwaram and destroyed much of the famed Hindu temple for Lord Sivan (Lord Siva).
The Sinhala army marched from the coast into the interior of Pandya Nadu. It looted and burned many Tamil villages on the way. In the ensuing battles between the Sinhala army and Kulasekhara Pandyan's army, the latter met with defeat after defeat. Lankapura brought Veera Pandyan from hiding and installed him as the Pandya king in Madurai.
Kulasekhara Pandyan gathered all forces in Padya Nadu loyal to him and waged war again and won a major victory against Lankapura. Veera Pandyan fled Madurai again. Lankan King Parakramabahu sent reinforcements under the command of another Sinhala General, Jagat Vijaya (Jagat Vijayan). The combined forces of Lankapura and Jagat Vijaya defeated Kulasekhara Pandyan. The latter fled to the south (what is now known as Thirunelveli District) and sought help from the Chola King Rajathi Raja Cholan II. Rajathi Rajan sent an army under General Pallavarayan (Pallavarayar) to Pandya Nadu. He fought several battles with the Sinhalese army. Some of the major battles were at Thirukkanapaer, Thondi, Pasipon Amaravathi, Manamerkudi and Manjakudi. In the end Sinhalese army lost and Kulasekhara Pandyan became king of Pandya Nadu.
Furious at reports of the devastation of Pandya Nadu under the Sinhala army (looting and burning of villages, killing of villagers, desecration of the Rameswaram temple), Rajarthiraja Cholan ordered General Pallavarayan to capture and execute General Lankapuri who commanded the Sinhala army in Pandya Nadu. Pallavarayan pursued Lankapuri, captured him and beheaded him. The severed head was hoisted on a spear at the gates of Madurai, the Pandyan capital. Crows and other birds ate the flesh of the head, and the skull remained on display at the gates for months. Thus ended the occupation of Pandya Nadu (about one-third of Tamil Nadu) by the Sinhalese army. [NOTE: The beheading and the public display of the severed head may look uncivilized and barbaric today but it was not an uncommon practice in those days. Today war criminals are executed in private (example: many German and Japanese officers were executed after the Second Word War in the 1940s).]
The lotus tank evolved into an important city center in the height of the last Pandian era. The area around this pond was the meeting place of the Kadai Sangam - the last of the ancient academy of poets.
The pond is now a source of too many myths or rather jokes…One is about the Tamil sangam… The story goes that the academy judged the worth of any work of literature presented before it by throwing it into this pond. Only those that did not sink were considered worthy of attention. Another joke i heard is that , the pond is the drop of nectare that fell form Shiva's hair and hence the city was named madurapuri (drop of nectare)! Iam pained to see that reputable and learned people of the city saying stuff like this and making a mockery of our great Sangam culture and our basic common sence!
Friday, June 27, 2008
Arruppadai speaks at length about the kings and the Feudatories who patronized the poets and the scholars.The Tamil people had observed certain social, religious and moral customs. They possessed the qualities of courage, honour, courtesy and loyalty. The Chera king Neduncheralathan went up to the Himalayas and returned victoriously. He assumed the title of Himayavaramban. A Chola king hoisted the tiger flag on the Himalayas. The ancient Tamils also had the practice of raising hero stones called Virakkals in honor of the heroes who died while fighting for the king. Receiving wounds in the battlefields at the back was considered as a shameful deed.
The women of the Sangam Age enjoyed respectable position. However, male chauvinism prevailed. Some women were educated. We come across women poets like Kaakkai Paadiniyar, Pon Mudiyar and Avvaiyar. Some of them had knowledge in politics. At times they used to advise the kings. Chastity was the most important virtue of Tamil women. They considered Karpu much more important for them than life itself. They were highly devoted towards their husbands. Chaste women were greatly respected in the society.
The Sangam people had brisk internal trade. The wholesalers, retailers and hawkers had indulged themselves in brisk trade. Barter system prevailed in internal trade. The business people sold their goods by openly announcing the profits that they were aiming at. Honest trade led to increased trade and the increased trade led to the increased prosperity. Integrity in trade was accepted as a general principleThe people of the Sangam age traded with Rome, Greece, Africa, Sri Lanka and South East Asia. The Romans liked the pearls of the Pandya kingdom. Gemstones, ivory, sandalwood, peacock, cotton and silks textiles and spices were exported to Greece and Rome. The ancient Tamils were religious minded. They worshipped Mother Goddess. They also worshipped Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Indra and Varuna. Festival were organized periodically. The Sangam monarchs gave importance to justice. Hence their rule was benevolent.
with the people. They settled in present day Madurai on the banks of Vaigai away from the sea. After moving the capital to Madurai and extending/building the Meenakshi temple, the King started the third sangam there. The Cholas and the Elagais helped the Pandyas during this time. The Cholas already a matrimonial relationship with the Pandiyas as King Vijayalaya Cholan had already married a Pandyan princess. After the deluge Cholan men married lot of destitute Pandyan womens who had suffered because of the natural disaster. Some of them moved to Elagai as some(Northern) portion was ruled by the Cholas that time. This is mentioned in the Mahavamsa - the ceylonese chronicle. The pandya men joined the miltary
in large numbers. The Pandya king had to find a way to settle his uprooted people and provide land for agriculture to compensate for the lost land. He looked up North and that starts the campaign to get more land and starts the movement of Tamils to the North one of the many in history. This king was called Nilamtaru Tiruvir Pandyan or the Mudathirumaran the
The Tamil Sangams form one of the main parts of history for the Tamil people. It is a
tradition that they cherish and have been passing it on from generation to generation. Nobody knows exactly what it means and how it came about. According to some it was a literary academy where the scholars or poets met to discuss and criticize various things including literature in Tamilaham. It is mentioned in a commentary on the Iraiyanar Ahapporul.
It is said to have been composed by the sangam poet Nakkirar. According to tradition it was a literary academy established and supported by the Pandyan Kings. The first sangam or Talai sangam was established at Ten Madurai the capital of the Pandyan kings on the Indian Ocean shores. When a deluge destroyed Ten Madurai the capital was shifted to Kapatapuram and the second sangam called the idai sangam was established there. After sometime when kapatapuram too was destroyed by the sea the capital was shifted to present day Madurai away from the sea on the banks of the Vaigai. Madurai became the latest capital of the Pandyan kings and third sangam or Kadai sangam was established there. There are a number of historical persons and kings associated with these sangams. The Pandiyan king who ruled during the period of establishment of the Third sangam was Mudattirumaran who was lame. His other name was Ariyappadaikadanda Nedunjeliyan. He was contemporary of Karikalan Cholan and Senguttuvan Cheran and Elangai Gajabahu.
There is yet another forgotten thousand year old city of Kota Gelanggi, raided by the same King, far down South, in the state of Johor. Its ruins in thick jungle have been established via aerial photos and a ground level expedition is being planned.
The discovery of this place hit the headlines of today's The Star newspaper, the major English in Malaysia.
This is the single most exciting news on the ancient history of Malaysia apart from the Bujang Valley.
That makes me wonder, what was King Raja Rajendra Cholan up to in Malaya? Kadaram lies at the northern extremity, Gangga Nagaram lies a little south of Kadaram, whereas Kota Gelanggi lies in the southern extremity of Malaya. All these were destroyed by King Raja Rajendra Cholan. That seems to me the total destruction of the then existing Malay Kingdoms. This was no ordinary battle but all out war.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
- History of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 A.D.
P.T. Srinivas Iyengar
New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1982, Reprint
- A short history of the ancient Tamils and their literature
Annamalainagar: Thaiyalnayaki Velideeyu, 1979
- The history of the growth of Tamil during the Indian War of Independence
M.P. Sivagnanam; translated by K. Chellappan
Madras: University of Madras, 1980
- Tamil renaissance and Dravidian nationalism 1905-1944
K. Nambi Arooran
Madurai: Koodal Publishers, 1980
- A topographical list of inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states
New Delhi: Indian Council of Historical Research: S. Chand, 1985-
- Neolithic and megalithic cultures in Tamil Nadu
Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan, 1980
- The Manipravala literature of the Srivaisnava Acaryas : 12th to 15th century A.D.
Koil Kandadai Appan Venkatachari
Bombay : Ananthacharya Research Institute, 1978.
- European impact on modern Tamil writing and literature
Somalay [i.e. S.M.L. Lakshmanan Lena].
Trivandrum : Dravidian Linguistic Association ; Madras,1976.
- Tamil ilakkiya varalaru, Ki. Pi. 1 nutal: Camanamum Tamilum, Pauttamum Tamilum, Vainavamum Tamilum
E.S. Varataraja Aiyar
Annamalainakar]: Annamalaip Palkalaik Kalakam, 1979
- The brahmin in the Tamil country
Madurai: Ennes Publications, 1989
- Tamil polity, c. A.D. 600-c. A.D. 1300
Madurai: Ennes Publications, 1983
- Symbols of substance, court and state in Nayaka period Tamilnadu
Velcheru Narayana Rao, David Shulman, Sanjay Subrahmanyam
Delhi; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992
- History of Tamil Nadu, 1565-1982
Madurai: Raj Publishers, 1982
- The role of feudatories in later Chola history
Annamalai Nagar: Annamalai University, 1979
- Selections from history of Tamilnadu, 1565-1965<^br> K. Rajayyan
Madurai: Madurai Pub. House, 1978
- A history of the Maravas, 1700-1802
Madurai: Madurai Publishing House, 1977
- The congress in Tamilnad: nationalist politics in south India, 1919-1937
Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Books, 1977
- March to freedom in Madras Presidency, 1916-1947
Madras: Lalitha Publications, 1989
- The national movement in Tamil Nadu, 1905-14: agitational politics and state coercion
Madras; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994
- Tamil: Sprache als politisches Symbol: politische Literatur in der Tamilsprache in den Jahren 1945 bis 1967: mit besonderer Berucksichtigung der Schriften der Fuhrer der dravidischen Bewegung E.V. Ramacami und C.N. Annaturai
Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1984
- A history of the Tamil siddha cult
Madurai: Ennes Publications, 1990
- Folk beliefs of the Tamils
translated and edited by M. Shanmugam Pillai (1920 - ), Erica A.E. Claus
Madurai: Muttu Patippakam, 1981
- Caste, nationalism and ethnicity: an interpretation of Tamil cultural history and social order
Bombay: Popular Prakashan, 1987
- Play, Symbolism, and Ritual : A Study of Tamil Brahmin Women's Rites of Passage
Vasumathi K. Duvvury
American University Studies, Series Xi, Anthropology and Sociology,4);
Peter Lang Publishing, June 1991, ISBN: 0820411086
- The Powers of Tamil Women
Susan S. Wadley (Editor)
Syracuse Univ, November 1991, ISBN: 0915984423
Foreign and Comparative Studies/South Asian Series, No 6)
- Shakti : Power in the Conceptual Structure of Karimper Religion
Susan S. Wadley
Univ of Chicago, June 1975, ISBN: 0916256014
- Tamil research through journals: (an annotated bibliography)
Madras: International Institute of Tamil Studies, 1975
- Mission and Tamil society: social and religious change in South India (1840-1900)
Richmond: Curzon, 1994
- Chieftains of the Sangam age
K.D. Thirunavukkarasu (Tirunavukkaracu, Ka. Ta., 1931- )
Madras : International Institute of Tamil Studies, 1994.1st ed.
- Tamil nattuppura iyal ayvu
patippaciriyar Ca. Ve. Cuppiramaniyan (Subramanian, Shanmuga Velayutham, 1929- )
Cennai: Ulakat Tamilaraycci Niruvanam, 1979, 1st ed.
International Institute of Tamil Studies Publication no.13
- thamizh naattup pazhankuti makkaL: vaazhvum varalaarum
Cu. Caktivel (S. Sakthivel)
Citamparam: Manivacakar Nulakam, 1980
- Tamizhum pirathuraikaLum
patippaciriyar Na. Katikacalam. Ed. Cennai : Ulakat Tamilaraycci Niruvanam, 1994.1st.
International Institute of Tamil Studies Publication, no. 191.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
According to mythology, earth was dug out from the tank to build the Tirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. The place was supposed to be blessed and was later converted into a Teppakulam (tank). The tank is connected to Vaigai River via underground channels. It has total of 12 long stairs (steps) made of granite on all four sides. The temple as well as the stairs was built by the King Thirumalai Nayak.
Mariamman Teppakulam is famous for the celebrations of the Float festival, which is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai. The festival commemorates the birthday of King Thirumalai Nayak. The celebrations take place on a full moon night and the pristine water turns colourful as the temple is lit. The deities of the temple come down to the tank in colorful floats, presenting a mesmerizing sight. Pilgrims across India come to Madurai to participate in the festival.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
There was legal and social inequality between the sexes. Women had no rights on property and, in general, were subordinated by men. However, women mixed freely in the business and amusements of social life. In towns and cities, women of lower classes were employed as hawkers, vendors, shopkeepers or servants in rich households and in the villages, they worked in the fields and gardens along with men and shared their hardships. The ladies of the higher classes were more confined to their homes, but they were not secluded from society. The plight of widows was miserable – they were considered inauspicious and had to live life according to very strict rules. They were prohibited from decorating themselves or participating in any form of amusement. The practice of Sati was also prevalent in ancient Tamil country and was known as tippaydal. When the Pandyan king Pudappandiyan died, his queen killed herself by ascending the funeral pyre of the king. Women were exposed to education, a fact testified by the presence of many women poetesses in the Sangam works – some of them include Avvaiyar, Mudatamakkanniar, Kaakkaippaadiniyaar, Naachchellayaar, Naagaiyaar, Nanmullaiyaar, Ponmudiyaar, Ilaveyiniyaar and Nappasaliyaar.
A variety of clothing was used by people during this age, including those made of cotton and silk. People living in hilly and deserted areas wore dresses made of foliage and flowers. Sheaths of grassy weeds (Korai) were used for making dress by the hill and forest area people. Skins of animals and barks of trees were also used. Men of the poorer classes wore only one piece of cloth around the waist. Women covered their upper body with a kind of dress called, kachchu. Among the higher classes, men wore two pieces: one around the waist and the other, the upper cloth, thrown over the shoulders. Women of sophisticated society wore half sarees, made of the finest cotton and silk fabrics, with embroidery. Both men and women sported long tresses of hair. The diet was plain, rice being the staple cereal, with maize, millet, milk, butter and honey being in common use. Meat eating was common - people ate flesh of rams, deer, hare, fowl, porcupines, pigs and boar, fresh and dried fish. The kind of housing was determined by the type of geography of the land and the economic status of the occupants. The rich built their houses with tiled roofs and walls made of burnt bricks and mud, while the poor built their huts with mud and thatched it with grass, coconut leaves or palmyra palm leaves. Both in the huts and houses, the flooring was smeared with cowdung. The affluent had houses with porticoes, many storeys, open terraces and furnished their houses well. The inner walls of their houses were decorated with flowers and paintings, with cottages to protect them from the wind. Cots were in common use – the rich had luxurious beds decked with swan’s feathers and flowers, while the common people had beds woven with the straw of maize and the poorest people used beds made of grass or hay.
The first Pandyan king who has been mentioned in the Sangam works recovered so far is Nedunj Cheliyan I, who ruled from the coastal town of Korkai, at the mouth of river Tamraparni. During this time, the Tamil country consisted of several small kingdoms ruled over by independent chieftains, in addition to the three monarchies of Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas. In a bid to expand his territory, Nedunj Cheliyan I invaded the kingdom of Kudal (later renamed Madurai), which was under the rule of an independent chieftain, Akutai. He defeated Akutai and moved the capital of Pandyan kingdom to Madurai. This king also defeated an invading army from the Deccan and hence was called Aariyap Padaikadantha Pandyan or the king who conquered the Aryan army. He was succeeded by his son Pudappandiyan, who expanded the kingdom by conquering Ollaiyur (near modern day Pudukkottai) – an act that earned him the name Ollaiyur thantha Pudappandian. Both Pudappandiyan and his predecessor, Nedunj Cheliyan I, were poets themselves who contributed to the Purananuru collection.
The successor of Pudappandiyan was Nedunj Cheliyan II also known as "Pasumpun Pandyan." Immediately after ascending the throne, he marched with his troops to the north of Vaigai and defeated the chieftain Evvi II. He then headed west and captured the Aayi territory controlled by another chieftain, Atiyan. Both Evvi II and Atiyan were made commanders of the Pandyan army for his battles against Kongu country that was further west. From here he expanded the Pandyan kingdom almost to the western coast, which earned him the title Vidambalamba Ninra Pandyan (the Pandyan whose kingdom was washed by two seas). Since he was responsible for expanding the Pandyan kingdom by annexing several kingdoms, he was also called Pannadu thantha Pandyan (the Pandyan who annexed many lands). His successor, Mudukudumi Peruvaludhi, was also a great warrior and carried the devastation into enemy territories. He performed yagas with the aid of Brahmin priests, similar to the tradition in northern India at that time.
The next king in the hierarchy was Nedunj Cheliyan III, who is considered the greatest of all the early Pandyan kings. Since the Pandyan kingdom was considerably larger than a few generations ago, he had to defend it against many neighbors invading from various fronts. Not only did he succeed in defending his territory, he also seems to have advanced into the enemy territories – the southern province of Cholas and eastern province of the Cheras. At one point, it is said that a coalition of his neighbors including the Cheras, Cholas and five other kingdoms, met him at a pitched battle in Talaialanganam, in present day Tanjore district. Nedunj Cheliyan emerged victorious in the battle that ensued and ended up annexing several new territories to his kingdom. He thus came to be known as Talaialanganathu Seruvendra Pandyan. The genealogy after this king is not very clear but there are at least four other kings who are thought to have ruled in the immediate succeeding generations. Notable among them were, Musiri Mutriya Cheliyan for the fact that he conquered the town of Musiri on the coast of the Arabian Sea and Ukkirap Peruvaludi for the fact that it was in his court that the famous poet Tiruvalluvar submitted his much-acclaimed work Tirukkural.
Ayyanar or Sathanar worship is a very ancient ancestral clan-based worship system linked to nature and fertility worship. The festivals of Ayyanars,a popular village deity in and around madurai are celebrated in Sacred Groves during spring season by all the related clan. Ayyanar shrines are usually located at the peripheries or boundaries of rural villages and the deity is seen riding a horse with a sword. Weapons such as a trident or a lance are also associated with the shrine. Most officiating priests are non-Brahmins and derive from local lineages that had initiated the cult centers generations ago.
The worship pattern is non-agamic and is associated with sacrificial offerings of pure vegetarian food. However animals such as chicken and goats are offered to few of the selected 21 associate deities (Kaval deivangal) such as Karuppa samy, Sudalai maadan samy and some other Amman deities located within Ayyanar temple for favors. In return the local priest might offer holy flowers or Veeputhi (holy ash) to the worshippers. Folk Tales like koothu and Folk arts like villupattu are enacted to bring out the message of the Ayyanar folk story to one and all.
Many thousands of Hindu devotees and tourists from around the world visit the Thanjai Big Temple. If Raja Rajan's statue is installed on the temple grounds for all to see, they may ask the others and tour guides about him and will come to know of his conquests, his majesty and the glorious days of the Second Golden Age of Tamil Nadu. The Hindian controlled Indian Government does not want people to know about this glorious past and the great kings of Tamil Nadu who are second to none. Hindian politicians and elite want people to think that all the glorious past of Indian history is centered on the Hindi heartland of today. They want to hide and put under a blanket all other histories, be it that of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala or Tamil Nadu, for example.
Read the history books used at schools under the jurisdiction of the Indian Government (Central Schools and schools accredited under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)). You will read in detail about the kings and emperors who ruled from what is today the Hindi heartland, for example, Chandra Guptan, Ashokan, Akbar, et al. But you will not read very little about the Tamil kings or the Bengali kings or the Assamese kings, etc. (Count the pages in those books. Tamil kings get less than 5% of what is allotted for kings from the present Hindi belt region. Great kings like Senguttuvan and Karikalan are not even mentioned.) In the Indian history according to Hindians, these lands do not have a glorious history worth mentioning although, in truth, every one of these nations has a rich past. Refusal to grant permission to install the statue of one of the greatest emperors of South Asia on the grounds of the temple he built is just another attempt by the Hindian politicians to hide the glorious past of the Tamil people.
(NOTE: Emperor Raja Raja Cholan is not the only one whose history the Indian Government wants to hide. About two decades ago, the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi tried to distort the history of Emperor Rajendra Cholan's conquest of the Ganges Plains (today's Hindi land). )
Raja Rajan reigned between 985 AD and 1014 AD. It can be rightly said that the Second Golden Age of Tamil Nadu started with his reign and continued for another two centuries. (The First Golden Age of Tamil Nadu in known Tamil history was in the days of the Third Tamil Academy (Third Tamil Sangam)). He built one of the most glorious empires of South Asia that peaked during the regin of his son Rajendra Cholan - I and continued for another 200 years or so under his sons, grandsons and great grandsons. He was not only a great warrior king in the tradition of Cheran Senguttuvan, Cholan Karikalan and Pandian Nedunchezhian, he was also an able administrator, a patron of the arts and a devote Saivaite Hindu.
During that period, Sinhala kings from Ilankai (now known as Sri Lanka and Ceylon) had the habit of interfering in Tamil Nadu by allying with one Tamil king against another, usually allying with Cheras or Pandias against the Cholas. (Of course, the blame should rightly be put on those Tamil kings who invited foreign interference and not on the Sinhala kings who made use of the opportunity.) So, after decisively defeating the Cheras and Pandias, Raja Rajan Cholan turned his attention to the Sinhalese King Mahinda-V. He assembled a naval armada and sent it to Sri Lanka. The Chola Navy defeated King Mahinda. After the military victory Raja Rajan built a Hindu temple there in Polonnaruva.
Having defeated the enemy in the south, he moved north. The Chola army under the command of Crown Prince Rajendran marched north, all the way up to what is now Bijapur. The army defeated all who opposed its march north, including the powerful army of Chalukya Emperor Satyasraya who ruled the Deccans.
As noted before, Raja Rajan's legacy is not just wars and conquests. He is remembered today primarily for the construction of the Tanjore Big Temple (Thanjavur Peria Koil). The temple is also called "Rajarajeswaram" after him. This Saivaite Hindu temple is one of the most beautiful and magnificent architectural monuments in South Asia. The magnificent tower and the delicate sculptures are truly a feast for the eyes. Not only Hindus from all over the world, but also tourists from around the world visit this temple.
Though Raja Rajan was a devote Saivaite Hindu, he respected other religions. He built Vishnu temples in Mysore after he conquered the region. He not only permitted Silendra Emperor Srimara Vijayottunga Varman to build the Buddhist shrine Chudamanivihara in Tamil Nadu at Nagapattinam, he also contributed money for its construction.
Many arts - sculpture, painting, drama, dance and music - flourished during his time. He conductedd a survey of his kingdom and is considered a major achievement of that time. He divided the kingdom into a number of administrative units and appointed administrative officers for each unit. Villages were governed by local elders (a type of self-government). According to Dr. M. Rajamanickam, Raja Rajan's administrative structure is comparable to modern administrative structure seen around the world.
Raja Raja Cholan is truly one of the greatest rulers in Tamil history. This is in fact the reason why Hindi politicians who dominate and control the Indian Government refuse permission to install his statue within the outside walls of Thanjai Big Temple that he built.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
It is festival time in Madurai -Goddess Meenakshi Thirukalyanam and Alagar aartil irangum vaibhavam!The devotees in hundreds are awaiting andworshipping Alagar on his way to Madurai to attend the wedding of Meenakshi. Well the story goes that the celestial wedding gets over, before Alagar reaches Madurai. So Alagar changes his plan to cross river Vaigai to attend the function. Instead he just gets in the Vaigai and enthralls the thousands of devotees with his dharshan and returns back to Algar Koil, along the banks of the river. Before reaching, he gives dharshans in various attires in different mandapams. In the Ramaraya Mandapam, Dasavadaram is enacted! People in their new dresses and some devotees dressed up in their special shorts and long zari, decorative caps, carrying leather bags containing water - all eager to see the God - is really a sight to be seen. Alagar rides the golden horse and steps into the river; this is when the devotees pump out water from the leather bags on to the thronging Bhakthas. These devotees are so enthu. ;they travel with Alagar back to Alagar Koil. This Chithirai thiruvizha was started by Thirumalai Nayak to unite the saivaites and vaishnavites. Hundreds of people from villages around Madurai come to celebrate the festival. Exhibition - the chithirai porutkatchi - is a regular feature every year!
It is not chithirai thiruvizha but "peruvizha" enjoyed not only by devotees but also children and people of all ages
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Tirupparankundram is situated three miles southeast of Madurai on the main railway line. It is one of the Aru padai veedugal or six sacred places selected by Lord Subrahmanya for his abode. The importance of this temple is that here was celebrated the marriage of Lord Subrahmanya with the daughter of Indra, Devayani.
Long, long ago, when Lord Subrahmanya was staying at Kanda Verpu, the two daughters of Lord Maha Vishnu, Amrita Valli and Sundara Valli, cherished the desire of becoming the consorts of Subrahmanya. With this aim in mind they both went to Saravana Poigai and commenced austere penance to fulfil their desires.
Pleased with their prayer and worship, Lord Subrahmanya appeared before them and told Amrita Valli, "You will be brought up by Indra as his daughter and I shall marry you in due course." Her younger sister Sundara Valli was also graced with a similar blessing. She was born to sage Sivamuni and brought up by Nambi, the headman of Veddas.
Amrita Valli took the form of a female child and went to Mount Meru, the abode of Indra, and told him, "I am the daughter of Maha Vishnu and the responsibility of looking after me has been entrusted to you." On hearing this, Indra became very happy and directed Airavatam, his white elephant, to take care of the child.
The elephant with all love brought her up and affection and she attained the age of marriage in course of time. Hence she came to be known as Devayanai, one who was brought up by the heavenly elephant of Indra (yānai in Tamil means elephant).
The six sons of sage Parasara were cursed to become fishes in the Saravana Poigai. On request for redemption, these six boys were ordered to pray to Lord Subrahmanya.
When they got his darshan, they could get redemption. It was also made known to them that Lord Subrahmanya would come to Tirupparankunram after vanquishing the demon Surapadma. Anxiously they waited for the arrival of Subrahmanya.
When the mission of Subrahmanva to vanquish Surapadma was over at Tiruchendur, on his way, he came to this spot followed by all the devas and heavenly beings whom he had released from the untold miseries caused by Surapadma.
On his arrival at Tirupparankunram, the sons of Parasara received Subrahmanya and, at their request, he consented to stay there. He at once ordered Viswakarma to construct a beautiful abode for himself, for the devas and for others.
He also suggested to the heavenly architect to build roads and erect a city around them. Indra, the king of the angels, desired to get his daughter Devayanai married to Subrahmanya, as a mark of his gratitude for relieving him and the devas from the depredations of the demon Surapadma.
He expressed his desire to Brahma and Vishnu who were present there. They were only too glad to hear the proposal. When they communicated the desire of Indra to Lord Subrahmanya he readily agreed to it and said: "Devayanai has been praying at Saravana Poigai in the Himalayas for this happy marriage. Now the time has come for its being solemnised." As Subrahmanya agreed to this marriage, Indra sent a messenger to bring his wife Indrani and daughter Devayanai from Mout Meru.
The marriage took place at Tirupparankunram, after the victory of Subrahmanya over Surapadma. All arrangements for marriage were made and the marriage was performed at the Tirupparankunram Temple. All the devas, Siva and Parvati attended the marriage and blessed Subrahmanya and Devayanai. Since then, the temple has become a very famous abode of Subrahmanya
Thursday, March 20, 2008
So overnight he took a decision that he should be a model to everyone and to dress in a simple manner like the peasants and poor people he witnessed in his journey to Madurai and he carried out this from the very next day itself. On 22-09-1921 (the next day) morning all were shocked to see him in his new pattern of dress and Gandhiji explained them about his decision and he followed this throughout his life. Then he attended the meetings in Madurai (The place now called as Gandhi Pottal) at 0700 hrs, explaining the reason for his new mode of dress.It was just because of this reason Gandhi Museum was established in madurai overlooking several other big cities after he was assasinated.
The building that houses of the Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai is the historic Tamukkam Palace of Rani Mangammal of Nayak dynasty built about 1670 A.D. Later, this was made under the occupation of the Nawab of Carnatic, the East India Company and a few others. Finally, the palace had remained for many years as the official residence of the District Collector of Madurai. It was in the year 1955 that the palace with about 13 acres of land was gifted by the Tamilnadu state Government, to the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi for the purpose of housing Gandhi Memorial Museum
When people talk about the city of madurai,the one place which overshadows allthe other is the much revered meenakshi temple.But there are many other temples in and around Madurai that are visited by tourists. One such temple is Alagarkoil. The term Alagarkoil actually means Alagar Temple.
Alagarkoil is located at a distance of about 21 km to the east of Madurai at the foot of the Alagar hills. According to history, Malayadvaja Paandian was the first patron of this temple. He was the son of Kulaseekara Paandian, the founder of the city of Madurai. Jaatavarman Sundara Paandian, ruler of Madurai in the period 1251-1270 is credited with gold plating the tower of the sanctum of Alagarkoil. The Naayakaa kings were great patrons of art and architecture. Alagarkoil was also highly patronized by them.
The presiding deity of Alagarkoil is Lord Vishnu. His stone idol is referred to as Kallalgar. There is a very interesting story in Hindu Mythology that is related to him. It is believed that Lord Vishnu visits Madurai in the human form of Alagar to get his sister Meenakshi married to Sundareswarar. He crosses the River Vaigai in a golden horse and this spectacular procession is attended by a large number of people with joyous enthusiasm each year.
According to the Mahabharata, Alagarkoil was visited both by Yudhistira and Arjuna. Statues of Kallalagar in different poses are to be found at Alagarkoil, Madurai . He is seen in seated, standing and reclining postures. Local inhabitants also refer to him as Soundarajan or beautiful king. There is a shrine within the premises of the Alagarkoil dedicated to Karuppa Swamy.
There are a total of 11 Mandapams or halls within the fortified walls of the Alagarkoil in Madurai . There are many ornamented pillars within the halls. They are rich in decorative details. It is rather unfortunate that mural paintings presently exist in only one of the Mandapams. These wall paintings in the Vasanta Mandapam are indeed very impressive. They depict scenes from the Ramayana. The yali or an imaginary lion like beast representing human passions that is to be sighted at the Alagarkoil temple Madurai exhibits intertwining trunks and is much akin to the one that is to be found at the Meenakshi temple.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The recent drive against beggars undertaken by the city police following an order of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has spared the population of abandoned people. Yet the move has affected Krishnan's mission in a big way.
Donors, who used to contribute anything from Rs.10 to Rs.4,500, have withdrawn this gesture under the impression that Madurai's streets are bereft of the deprived.
Krishnan makes three trips a day in his van, donated by the Life Insurance Corporation of India, to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner to about 200 people, including 50 women. Krishnan and three others cook the food.
The beneficiaries of Akshaya Trust, started by Krishnan in 2002, are not beggars. For them food or money means nothing. Some are able-bodied but many are on their last legs. For them, a garbage dump or even a sewage drain would have provided something to fill their stomachs. "I have seen people eat dead rats," he once told me.
Many of these abandoned people have lost their sense of identity. They cannot remember who they are or where they belong. Krishnan has a name for each of them. `China Bhai' (a person believed to have come from Nepal), `Ganapathi Ayya', `Dhamu Ayya', `Moorthy', `Manickam' and `Shailaja' are some of the identities he has provided for them. About 50 per cent of the destitutes are from North India. These people were perhaps brought by their families on a pilgrimage to southern Tamil Nadu and abandoned near temples.
Only one person among them is able to recollect that he is from Indore. Baburaj from Kozhikode in Kerala is a platform dweller on West Veli Street. An accident victim, he had nowhere to go after he was discharged from the Government Rajaji Hospital. The condition of abandoned women is a shame on the city. "I can only provide them food, not protection," says Krishnan.
Besides food, Krishnan carries a pair of scissors and a comb. He provides a hair cut for his "adopted family".
Krishnan confines his noble service to the Madurai Corporation limits although there are disadvantaged people roaming on the city's peripheries. As in life, their death is also not dignified. The bodies of the old and infirm are left on the roadside. Krishnan has performed the last rites of at least 12 persons so far.
The youth wants to create a rehabilitation home. He has purchased a four-acre plot with his own funds and donations provided by Infosys and T.V. Sundaram Iyengar and Sons. The blueprint for the Rs.45-lakh project is ready.