Its plot is derived from a well-known story. Such is the power of a faithful wife. One of the great achievements of Tamil genius, the Silappathikaram is a detailed poetic witness to Tamil culture , its varied religions, its town plans and city types, the commingling of Greek, Arab, and Tamil peoples, and the arts of dance and music. Article Media. Info Print Cite.

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This article will be permanently flagged as inappropriate and made unaccessible to everyone. Are you certain this article is inappropriate? Email Address:. He is reputed to be the brother of Senguttuvan from Chera dynasty. As a literary work, it is held in high regard by the Tamils.

The nature of the book is non-religious, narrative and has a moralistic undertone. It contains three chapters and a total of lines of poetry. The epic revolves around Kannagi , who having lost her husband to a miscarriage of justice at the court of the Pandya king, wreaks her revenge on his kingdom.

Silappatikaram has been dated to likely belong to the beginning of Common era, [ 4 ] although the author might have built upon a pre-existing folklore to spin this tale. The story involves the three Tamil kingdoms of the ancient era, the Chola , the Pandya and the Chera. Silappatikaram has many references to historical events and personalities, although it has not been accepted as a reliable source of history by many historians because of the inclusion of many exaggerated events and achievements to the ancient Tamil kings.

A copy of Silppatikaram was first found in Trincomalee by Tamil scholars. The northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka has several temples in honour of Kannaki Amman. Regarded as one of the great achievements of Tamil genius, the Silappatikaram is a poetic rendition with details of Tamil culture; its varied religions; its town plans and city types; the mingling of Greek, Arab, and Tamil peoples; and the arts of dance and music.

At the end of the Sangam epoch second — third centuries CE , the Tamil country was in political confusion. The older order of the three Tamil dynasties was replaced by the invasion of the Kalabhras.

These new kings and others encouraged the religions of Buddhism and Jainism. Ilango Adigal, the author of Silappatikaram , probably lived in this period and was one of the vast number of Jain and Buddhist authors in Tamil poetry. These authors, perhaps influenced by their monastic faiths, wrote books based on moralistic values to illustrate the futility of secular pleasures. Silappatikaram used akaval meter monologue , a style adopted from Sangam literature.

Silappatikaram do not use the convention of regarding the land divisions becoming part of description of life among various communities of hero and heroine. The story of Silappatikaram is set during the first few centuries of CE and narrates the events in the three Tamil kingdoms: Chera , Chola , and Pandya. It also mentions the Ilankai king Gajabahu and the Chera Senguttuvan. The epic also vividly describes the Tamil society of the period, its cities, the people's religious and folk traditions and their gods.

The author of Silappatikaram was Ilango Adigal lit. Prince- Ascetic. He is reputed to be the brother of Chera king Senguttuvan, although there is no evidence in the Sangam poetries that the famous king had a brother. From comparative studies between Silappatikaram and certain Buddhist and Jain works such as Nyayaprakasa , the date of Silappatikaram has been determined to be around the fifth and the sixth centuries CE. He also lays the objectives of the book:. Silappatikaram literally translated to the story of anklet that depicts the life of Kannagi , a chaste woman who lead a peaceful life with Kovalan in Puhar Poompuhar , then the capital of Cholas.

Her life later went astray by the association of Kovalan with an another woman Madhavi who was a dancer. The duo started resurrecting their life in Madurai , the capital of Pandyas.

Kovalan went on to sell the anklet of Kannagi to start a business, but was beheaded having been held guilty of stealing it from the queen. Kannagi went on to prove the innocence of her husband and was believed to have burnt the entire city of Madurai by her chastity. Apart from the story, it is a vast treasure of information of music and dance, both classical and folk.

The Silappatikaram, apart from being the first known epic poem in Tamil, is also important for its literary innovations. It introduces the intermingling of poetry with prose, a form not seen in previous Tamil works. It features an unusual praise of the Sun, the Moon, the river Kaveri and the city of Poompuhar at its beginning, the contemporary tradition being to praise a deity.

It is also considered to be a predecessor of the Nigandu lexicographic tradition. It has 30 referred as monologues sung by any character in the story or by an outsider as his own monologue often quoting the dialogues he has known or witnessed. The alternative for this meter is called aicirucappu verse of teachers associted with verse composed in learned circles. Silappatikaram is also credited to bring folk songs to literary genre, a proof of the claim that folk songs institutionalised literary culture with the best maintained cultures root back to folk origin.

Swaminatha Iyer CE resurrected the first three epics from appalling neglect and wanton destruction of centuries. The postscript invites readers to review the work. Like other epic works, it is criticised of having unfamiliar and a difficult poem to understand. However, a possible cause for this reaction in the west might be due to the unfamiliar prominence of a female character in the epic, which is unknown in epic cycles of Greek and other European sources.

In addition, the idea of chastity as exemplified in the epic is difficult to understand outside the context of Tamil and Indian cultural norms. Modern scholars have a more favourable view of the poem and consider it to be the foremost epic in Tamil literature as well as the first to envision a united Tamil consciousness through the depiction on the three major countries occupied by the Tamil people as one nation united in worship of the goddess of chastity Kannagi.

There have been multiple movies based on the story of Silappathikaram and the most famous is the portrayal of Kannagi by actress Kannamba in the movie Kannagi. Chinnappa played the lead as Kovalan. The movie faithfully follows the story of Silappathikaram and was a hit when it was released. The movie Poompuhar , penned by M. Karunanidhi is also based on Silapathikaram. Silappatikaram also occupies much of the screen time in the 15 th and 16 th episodes of the television series Bharat Ek Khoj.

Aichiyar Kuravai, the song depicting the dance of the cowherd women in Silappathikaram has been sung by Bharat Ratna M. Subbulakshmi titled 'Vadavaraiyai Mathakki'. Recently P. Unni Krishnan rendered the song again with additional orchestration to relive the old memory of the song. Sivagnanam popularly known as Ma.

He had written numerous research books on Silappatikaram. Sethu Pillai gave him the title 'Silambu Selvar' ,acknowledging the tremendous knowledge Ma.

Due to his immense love on this epic, Ma. Books written by Ma. Si wanted to spread the merits of Silappathikaram throughout the world.

He conducted the 'Silapathikara Vizha' in for the first time in Tamil History. The ceremony consisted of emminent Tamil scholars from all Tamil parties. From onwards Ma.

After Ma. Si's demise ,his daughter Ma. Si Madhavi Baskeran started celebrating Silapathigara Vizha in ,through a Trust run by her in the name of her father.

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This article will be permanently flagged as inappropriate and made unaccessible to everyone. Are you certain this article is inappropriate? Email Address:. He is reputed to be the brother of Senguttuvan from Chera dynasty. As a literary work, it is held in high regard by the Tamils.


Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? The original was written in the Tamil language, spoken in the southern most part of India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and other places where the Tamil Diaspora is spread out. This Tamil epic ic distinctly different from the epics in Sanskrit and other western languages.

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