How Kalki wrote Ponniyin Selvan by plunging into archival books in an old steel trunk

For the historical book, the author traveled extensively in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.

for the history book , the author traveled extensively in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka

KalkyPioneering historical novels Sivakamiyin Sapatham, Parthiban Kanavu Y Ponniyin Selvan they were not pioneering efforts. They were role models and experienced literary works, animated by an unprecedented style and originality. But you can see in them the impact of Sir Walter Scott and Victor Hugo. Also, in his childhood, Kalki had devoured historical novels by many writers. His own historical fiction was the result of his desire to present, as they had, the wonder and glory of his own country through literary works. Both opportunity and assistance were provided for this endeavor because authentic books on the history of South India had been published in its day.

READ ALSO Why Mani Ratnam’s ‘Ponniyin Selvan: 1’ Doesn’t Disappoint Fans Of Kalki’s Novel

Kalki at his desk

Kalki at his desk | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

by K. A. Nilakantha Sastri The tails (English) and Sadasiva Pandarathar’s The history of the later cholas (Tamil), they can be cited as books of immense value to Kalki. The first of these, which appeared in two parts in 1935 and 1937, was generally useful for all of Kalki’s historical novels. The second book, which appeared in 1949, was particularly important for Ponniyin Selvan. Other books consulted by Kalki were Rajaraja Chola — A. Balasundaram; The history of the Pallavas — Ma Rajamanickam Pillai; Palavas of Kanchi — R. Gopalan; The Pallavas — Professor Dubreil, Pallava architecture —AH Longhurst; Administration and Social Life under the Pallavas — Dr. C. Meenakshi; The Sangam Era — TG Aravamutan; Y ancient indian — Dr. S. Krishnaswami Iyengar.

Books with Kalki's handwritten notes

Kalki Handwritten Note Books | Photo credit: Ravindran R.

Kalki’s son revealed that his father had kept some important books providing historical evidence and authentic information in an old steel chest. While he was writing the novel in installments. Ponniyin Selvan (1950-54), Kalki kept this old trunk next to his big, shiny desk. When she had questions or needed more precise information, she would open the trunk, take out a book and look at the pages that she needed to consult.

real horoscopes

Remember the old astrologer box in ponniyin Selvan, where the horoscopes of various members of the royal families were stored? Historical information about the people those horoscopes belonged to, and notes about countless people connected to those people, were stored in Kalki’s old trunk!

Only some of those volumes are available now. One of them is the book of Sadasiva Pandarathar.

the library of kalky

by K. A. Nilakantha Sastri The tails (English) and Sadasiva Pandarathar’s The history of the later cholas (Tamil), they can be cited as books of immense value to Kalki. The first of these, which appeared in two parts in 1935 and 1937, was generally useful for all of Kalki’s historical novels. The second book, which appeared in 1949, was particularly important for Ponniyin Selvan. Other books consulted by Kalki were Rajaraja Chola — A Balasundaram; The history of the Pallavas — Ma Rajamanickam Pillai; Palavas of Kanchi — R Gopalan; The Pallavas — Professor Dubreil, Pallava architecture —AH Longhurst; Administration and Social Life under the Pallavas — Dr. C. Meenakshi; The Sangam Era — TG Aravamutan; Y ancient indian — Dr. S. Krishnaswami Iyengar.

We can also name some literary works that Kalki had undoubtedly read and found useful in writing his historical narratives: Pura Nanooru, Silappadikaram, Kalingathu Parani, Nandi Kalambakam, Periya Puranamthe poetry of the great poets of the Saiva and Vaishnava canons.

The deep concentration and utilitarian approach with which Kalki had read the book is evident in its pages littered with question and exclamation marks, underlined sentences, and short notes in the margin in English and Tamil: “Useful information,” “Suitable subject for novel”. , ‘Mere conjecture’, ‘This is my inference’.

the 75 the page of this book contains these words: “Princess Kundavai was given in marriage to Vallavaraiyan Vandiyatevan. She must have belonged to the dynasty of the southern Chalukyas who live in the kingdom of Vengi.

Kalki Rajendran, son of Kalki

Kalki Rajendran, son of Kalki | Photo credit: Ravindran R.

Rejecting the second fact, Kalki wrote in the margin: “Vallavaraiyan could have been a prince of the Vaanan tribe.” Confirming this fact later (the source and nature of this evidence remain unknown), he makes Vandiyatevan the protagonist who runs through the novel from beginning to end as a brave warrior, friend, and lover. Kalki has given him a space and status equal to that of Arulmozhi Varman, whose name gives the novel its title. Shaping Vandiyatevan with great ardor and with all his literary skills, Kalki ends his novel by wishing him, “May your name last forever!” And through that very novel, he makes his own wish come true.

singing verses

When Kalki decided that this warrior belonged to the Vaanan clan, he remembered how (scholar-aesthete) TK Chidambaranatha Mudaliar (TKC) had sung some come on verses about the great king who had founded the Vaanan dynasty. He wrote to TKC right away, asking them to mail him those and all other similar poems. He reading the verses that came to the same following post with exclamations of ” Bullet! Bullet!,Kalki carefully put them away in the steel chest, now his encyclopedia.

We can also name some literary works that Kalki had undoubtedly read and found useful in writing his historical narratives: Pura Nanooru, Silappadikaram, Kalingathu Parani, Nandi Kalambakam, Periya Puranamthe poetry of the great poets of the Saiva and Vaishnava canons.

Kalki’s novels were enhanced by his familiarity with the visual settings of his novels. her while she was writing Sivakamiyin SapathamKalki set out on a long journey to see Ajanta and Ellora. For ponniyin Selvan, he further traveled through Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. His accounts of those trips were collected and published as a travel diary. Nam Tanthaiyar Seida Vindaigalwonders wrought by our ancestors.

The artist Maniam traveled with Kalki on those trips. His illustrations accompanied Kalki’s words, making readers savor the joy of the visual along with the word.

This is an excerpt from Gowri Ramnarayan’s ‘Kalki Krishnamurthy: His Life and Times’, a translation of MRM Sundaram’s ‘Ponniyin Pudhalvar’

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