To be honest, my eyes are wet, hands are shivering while I am typing this. I feel all the characters that were traveling together with me have left me alone in the woods. I am dumbstruck.
Why doesn’t someone come on a horse and take me to the mighty Chola dynasty? Why didn’t Vanthiyadeva come to rescue me? Why I don’t hear Poonkuzlali singing? Where is Arunmozi Devar who conquered and hoisted the Tiger flag from the Ganges to Sri Lanka, From Lakshadweep to the Maldives, from Malaysia to Singapore? From where did Nandhini gain such courage? Where are the people who praised Vaishnavas and Shivas? How can Brahadeshar temple stay strong for more than 1035 years?
All these might sound very weird if you haven’t read Ponniyn Selvan. If you think this bog is a book review you are wrong. Nobody even deserves to review this masterpiece that has engaged the audience for more than four years in weekly Newspapers in the early 1950s. Kalki has traveled to Sri Lanka four times to research and write this historic novel.
Can you imagine five volumes and 2210 pages of book still every page engages audience generation after generation? No doubt that’s why India’s most renowned director Mani Ratnam told that Ponnin Selvan is his dream project.
When people nowadays talk about some random prequels and sequels, I just think of authors like Kalki who has explored and traveled a long way in this genre more than 70 years ago.
I have read many novels till now but, nothing has brought such an impact on me. So what makes this one very special? Before reading even I thought someone who is called Poniyin Selvan (Son of river Ponni) is the hero, but none of the readers would have guessed that Poniyin Selvan’s best friend, the orphan Vanthiyadevan is our hero who takes us into dark caves, beautiful Veeranarayanan lake, does adventures in enemies land, and risks his life for his dear friend.
The novel portraits the culture of the Chola dynasty, the water management they had, the respect they showed towards other religions like Buddism, the importance they gave for literature, the braveness, the courage, the knowledge on weather, geographies, astrology, how much they valued every single life, above all the importance they gave for a women’s opinion. If your heart still finds hard to believe these you should look at the details of Keeladi, Poompuhar, Tlaichankadu excavations.
Can you imagine the fearless, dauntless, mighty Raja Raja Cholan listened to his sister Kundavi Devi’s to every decision he made in the golden era? And there were women like Poonkuzhali who can ride a boat to Sri Lanka in one night and was praised as “Samutharakumari” (queen of oceans) by the king. The heights of friendship, love was beautifully portrayed.
I couldn’t express how crazy, happy, surprised, heavy I feel after reading this. This is going to take me weeks to come out of the golden era. I am proud that I have gifted myself by completing this novel on my born day, and after reading it, I got the answer to why people are crazy about Poniyin Selvan.
The novel has been translated into many languages, Macmillan and Westland publications in English are very famous among them.