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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kadai Ezhu Vallalgal - Angavai & Sangavai - Sivaji the Boss



Rajnikanth starrer ‘Sivaji- the Boss’ released in 2007 ran packed houses reportedly for 175 days.  The film begins with a masked person being brought to Central jail – the story narrated in   ‘in medias res’ artistic narrative technique…. the masked person is revealed to be Sivaji (Rajinikanth). It’s central theme was black money but Rajni upstaged the story……..  Patti Mandram [stage for literary discussions] is very popular in Tamil Nadu ~ two persons who are famous in this form acted in Sivaji but both roles brought some dishonour than fame….

Over centuries there have been Kings and Kings…. What set apart the famous  from others was their great virtues of valour and benevolence. There have been some Emperors known for their - benevolence, generosity, charity, humanitarianism, bountifulness, large-heartedness, magnanimity …… Tamil literature is ripe with Kings who were greatly appreciated for their philanthropy. Those benevolent donors were called ‘Vallals” in Tamil.  The Sangam era eulogies them as ‘Seven great donors’ [Ezhu vallalgal] ~ in fact there were 3 sets of them and this particular post is more about the ‘last set – popularly known as “Kadai-ezhu-vallalgal”’. 

Thirukovilur is famous for Sri Ulagalantha Perumal temple sung by Azhwars.  This place is associated with vallalgal.  The Kadai ezhu vallalgal were : “Thirumudi Kari, Paari, Valvil Oari, Adiyaman, Perumpeyar Began, Aai Andiran and Nalli” – the sangam literature while eulogizing their philanthropic quality lists out that :
  • Thirumudi Kari gave his horse and kingdom to Iravalas a tribe;
  • Paari vallal gave his chariot to support a creeper [mullaikku ther koduthon]; 
  • Valvil Oari gave his kingdom to the artists of Kollimalai.;
  • Adiyaman gave the  Nelli fruit to AVvaiyar;
  • Began gave a shawl to protect a peacock from exposure to cold.;
  • Aai Andiran gave the rare dress he obtained to Lord Shiva;
  • Nalli helped people who came to him for help in the forest without  revealing his true identity.
All of them were very generous, benevolent kings who felt that service to the people was their duty. The notable aspect was the avowed friendship between Kings and Scholars.  Scholars advised the Kings on correct way of ruling. During this period great poets like Kapilar, Paranar, Nakkeerar, Pisirandaiyar, Avvaiyar – all flourished.  The Kings respected and took great care of poets of wisdom.  Agriculture, industry, crafts, trade and arts flourished during this time thus spreading prosperity all around.  The Kings were concerned of the welfare of their subjects.  They did not erect statues of themselves but built Temples, Forts, Dams and more for the wellbeing of their kingdom. 

Malaiyamān Thirumudi Kāri was one amongst them, was a clan of Malaiyaman dynasty.  The Malaiyamān chiefs ruled over the Tirukoyilur area also known as Kovalur. It was a strategically important region located on southern the banks of the Pennar river.  There were battles of supremacy between the many kingdoms that existed

Pari was another vallal – the bestower of the Sangam era.  He was considered to be very modest King acquiring fame by leaving his chariot to allow the ‘mullai’ creeper to grow. "முல்லைக்கு தேர் கொடுத்தான் பாரி" .  He had two daughters by name -  Angavai and Sangavai  - who were also very good in literature and poetry.  They are referred in Purananuru also.  When Pari died,  these two daughters of Pari were taken care of by Kapilan who at a later point of time gave up life. Great poetess Avvaiyar took care of them and got them married to  king Malaiyamān Thirumudi Kāri, by some accounts. 

Quite unfortunate that in the supposedly comic scene “Vaanga Pazhagalam” Solomon Pappaiah introduces Sivaji to his daughters using not so decent language and those two daughters who are shown as black and somewhat ugly are named ‘Angavai and Sangavai’… Vivek’s dialogues are replete with vulgarity and do not befit the scene.  A person of Pappaiah’s caliber should not have acted in such a role denigrating two great poetesses of Sangam era.

Here is a newsitem that appeared in Dinamalar about the drama ‘Avvaiyar’ in which the characters of Angavai and Sangavai were depicted appropriately.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

26th Aug 2013

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