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Monday, July 29, 2019

Silappadhikaram, Kannagi and Coleman !!


Silappadikaram ( சிலப்பதிகாரம்)  is one of Five Great Epics  of Tamil literary works.  Ilango Adigal the younger brother of reputed warrior-king Senguttuvan of the Chera dynasty wrote this.  Silappadikaram is held in high regard by the Tamils. It contains three chapters and a total of 5270 lines of poetry. The epic revolves around Kannagi, who having lost her husband to a miscarriage of justice at the court of the Pandyan Dynasty, wreaks her revenge on his kingdom.  Silappadikaram is a poetic rendition with details of Tamil culture; its varied religions; its town plans and city types; the mingling of different people; and the arts of dance and music.  U. V. Swaminatha Iyer known as Tamil thatha resurrected the first three epics from appalling neglect and wanton destruction of centuries.

Miles away, in British history - Charles II (1630 – 1685) was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, and king of England, Scotland and Ireland from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until his death. Charles II's father, Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War. Although the Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II king,  the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell defeated Charles II at the Battle of Worcester in  1651, and Charles fled to mainland Europe. After Cromwell’s death, Charles was invited to return to Britain in 1660.  Charles's English parliament enacted laws known as the Clarendon Code, designed to shore up the position of the re-established Church of England.

Unlike many plots with hero or heroins, Silappathikaram  is the story of the jeweled anklet !  it has no villainous or  wicked characters to cause the twists and turns of the events. The ending or climax is poetical emphasizing  the morals (1) Dharma or Justice would be the destroyer of those who err in Political and Judicial Administration (2) Adorable would be the lady of chastity by the great minds and (3) Fate would be the ultimate cause of misery in human life. The hero Kovalan  and heroine Kannagi  hail from the North-East part of Tamilnadu ruled by the Cholas; they move out in search of good fortune to the middle South of Tamilnadu ruled by the Pandyas  where the climax happens and finally after avenging her husband’s unjustified killing,  Kannagi ascends heaven.   

The story occurs at  Kaveripoompattinam aka  Poompuhar, a busy port city of the Chola kingdom ruled by the famous king Karikala and the native place of Kovalan, a rich merchant’s son and the hero.  Kannagi his wife is a  young lady bestowed with all the virtues of a sincere wife.  Kovalan is enamoured by  dance performance of Madhavi, a young and very beautiful Courtesan of the city. He falls in love with her and started living with her completely forgetting Kannagi and his business. He moves to  to Madurai, a prosperous business centre and the capital of the Pandya king Nedunchezhiyan. He is by quirk of fate, accused of stealing  Queen’s golden anklet and is killed – Kannagi proves by throwing her anklet on the Court proving that what Kovalan possessed was hers and … .. .. Madurai is set to flames !! 

Read in today’s MailOnline that a gold ring that belonged to courtier who was wrongly executed for plotting to kill King Charles II is found on the shores Loch Lomond 350 years after he was killed !  - it is reported that the rare  signet ring was discovered in six inches of soil using a metal detector.  This ring is believed to have  belonged to Edward Colman who worked for King Charles II before his death.  He was hung, drawn and quartered in 1678 for treason after assassination claims !
That  gold ring now found now and believed to have belonged to a King's courtier is tipped to sell for £10,000 after it was found by a metal detectorist - some 350 years later.  Edward Colman,  was implemented in the Popish Plot - a fictitious Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles.  The ring, that bears the grand-looking coat of arms of the Colman family, was declared by Mrs Vall to a treasure trove finds liaison officer - but is now her property  It is believed the ring originally belonged to Colman's grandfather Samuel, who lived in Norfolk between 1569 and 1653, and was handed down through the family. But as no museum came forward to acquire it, the item was given back to the 53-year-old as 'finders keepers'. Mrs Vall is now selling it at auction with Dix Noonan Webb who have given it an estimate of £10,000.

Nigel Mills, of Dix Noonan Webb, said: 'The Colman seal ring is an excellent example of a high status ring of the period of which there are only a very limited number surviving in this condition. Mrs Vall, a school teacher from Blackpool, Lancs, found the ring on the banks of Loch Lomond in Scotland while holiday with her husband, Tony. She said: 'Uncovering the ring was an unforeseen event as myself and husband were detecting on a field with no particular history of finds in the area. 'The ring was only six inches underground. I knew straight away that it was something special although obviously I didn't know exactly what it was.  'To find gold is rare for us detectorists and I even did a little dance to celebrate. It was a very exciting moment and you just don't expect to find something so special.'

She added: 'The history of the ring is really interesting and it's been a really amazing find.'  Edward Colman was convicted as part of the Popish Plot, a fake conspiracy put before the privy council by priest Titus Oates in 1678. Oates, later dubbed 'Titus the Liar', claimed several Catholic men were plotting to kill the King, with Edward Colman among those named. Although later established to be false, the plot resulted in the execution of at least 22 people, including Colman. He was hung, drawn and quartered at Newgate Prison in London in 1678. That was not the ending.  In 1685, Oates' lies began to unravel and he was later convicted of perjury. He was imprisoned for life and ordered to be 'whipped through the streets of London five days a year for the remainder of his life.' In 1689 he was pardoned, sixteen years before his death in 1705.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th July 2019.

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