Archive for the ‘Tamil Novels’ Category

Ulaga Naagariham – Kamala Kandhasaamy

I had a chance to read this Tamil book on World Culture (Complete title: Ulaga Naagariham: Vazhangiya Naadugalum, Varalaarum). It is not a novel or story but a bunch of facts on the growth and evolution of World Culture, substantiated with historical records. The book starts with evolution of mankind from ancient stone-age man and their nomadic lifestyles. Then the proper settlement of people near the banks of river with agriculture as their main work. Initially four major civilizations evolved in various regions of the world: Sumerian culture on bank of Euphrates and Tigirs rivers (i.e. Mesopotamia, modern Iraq), Egyptian culture on bank of Nile river, Chinese culture on bank of Yellow river and Indus Valley civilization at the bank of Sindhu and Ganges river (Aryan settlement).
Then the book talks about Greek, Roman, African, Indian and American cultures and its related history. After that, the role of Religions in the culture of people followed by modern day evolution in culture was given. i.e. the cultural focus changed from Monarchy-based to Democracy-based society. A final touch on recent impact on people culture was discussed including two world wars and UNO formation, etc.
I feel this book is being presented as a form of History subject to students, that could be considered as a short reference book on various cultural and historical topics. But this may not be interesting for people, who read novels and story-telling style of history.

Kaaviri Maindhan – Anusha Venkatesh (Vol 2 and 3)

Completed the tamil novel Kaaviri Maindhan by reading the volumes 2 and 3.  The pluses of this story are its the continuation of Kalki’s novel ponniyin selvan and imagination introduced by the author in linking certain characters.  The references made on songs by Nandhanar and Thirugyana Sambhandar with respective temple towns are good.
Coming to the minuses I feel in the book like weakly substantiated historical information especially with Chola prince Aaditya Karikalan allegedly killed by Idumbankaari, a Pandiyan freedom-fighter.  Also, in some places I’ve felt the story is too slow to read and repetitions of multiple dialogues in same context.  Some of the instances and strategies could be easily guessed by frequent reader of historic novels.  As a whole, I felt the 3 volumes could have been compressed into a single 600 pages book to make it very interesting to read and affordable to keep a copy by everyone.

Kaviri Maindhan – Anusha Venkatesh (Volume I)

Readers who loved Ponniyin Selvan would be interested to read this Tamil historic novel.  Its a story on Chola empire which starts exactly after 5 years of Ponniyin selvan novel plot.  The readers could re-visit their favourite characters Vandhiya Thevan, Arulmozhi Varman, Kundhavai, Aazhvaarkadiyan and others.  The author Anusha Venkatesh did her part best in describing the scenes and making it interesting to read.  In this first volume Kandhamaaran, the Kadambur prince looks like the protagonist.  Yet to read the remaining 2 volumes and update the blog.

Sindhu Mudhal Gangai Varai – Raghul Sangruthiyaayan

Many readers would have heard about the book “Volga-vil Irundhu Gangai Varai” which is very famous on explaining the invasion and lifestyle of Aryans in Indian sub-continent during BC Era, written by the same author.  Inspired by that novel, I was tempted to give a read on this too.  This novel was not much informative and exhaustive as the former one.  I would recommend first time readers to go for former novel.

The story lies in the timeframe of around 500 BC when Magadha empire (location: present Bihar) was ruled by Bimbisara.  The protagonist Simman belongs to Vaisali kingdom, located north-east to Magadha.  The people of Vaisali claim they are pure Aryans, leading a life of democracy/ideal communist, doesn’t accept a King to rule them.  During his teenage Simman travel to Takshashila (location: present Punjab province of Pakistan) to gain knowledge from world-renowed teachers.  Takshahila and Vaisali had people with the same type of ideologies.  He stays in Takshashila for 8 years, learn academics, sword-fighting, horse-riding, farming, dancing, etc.  He stays in his Guru’s house and he fall in love with Guru’s daughter Rohini.  He lead an army of Takshashila to fight against the Persian invasion and exhibit exemplary fighting.  As a token of his victory, Takshashila leaders rewards him with high post and ask him to marry Guru’s daughter.  After a year of marriage, he decides to go to his motherland Vaishali with wife Rohini.  It was the right time on his entry to Vaisali, as its about to face a severe attack from Magadha King Bimbisara.  The story go on like this, as expected he leads the army and keep his country safe from enemies.  As a whole, this novel gives a limelight on lifestyle of Aryans, practise of slavery and war strategies during that period.

ISI – Pa. Raghavan

A complete insight to the Inter-Services Intelligence agency of Pakistan government has been done in this book.  How ISI was formed post-independence, reason behind it and recruitment procedure makes the starting of the book.  Even though Pakistan was under Army rule more than that of Democracy for many years after its independence, it was being on failure side on all of its 4 attacks against Kashmir.  This was majorly due to lack of co-ordination between intelligence and army.  The domestic intelligence was monitored by Intelligence Bureau (IB) and ISI was majorly involved in issues of Kashmir, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.  But later ISI was given full control to monitor IB and track activities of Pakistani politicians.

ISI was initially trained by CIA of United States of America and continuously backed by them on resources and intelligence front.  ISI tried to unite all the local Kashmiri militant groups and form a big power against Indian government.  But the militant groups differed in their goals like, Lashkars wanted extended Islamic region in world, Hizbul Mujahideen wanted Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan and JKLF (Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front) & Azad Kashmir wanted Kashmir as a separate country.  Because of these differences of groups, ISI failed to unite them and it was major blow to ISI.  But they are being the front-runner in providing military resources and any sort of help to Kashmiri militant groups.  The coastal gundas and goons in Maharastra region were heavily backed by ISI and they were the creators of Dawood Ibrahim.

Also, ISI was the first hand agency to ignite Sikhs agitation on Khalistan movement, which is nothing but making Punjab as a separate country.  During the time of India-Pakistan partition based on religion, some leaders of the Sikh community felt they will get treated as second-grade citizens in both Hindu-based and Muslim-based countries and they were in wish of separate country.  Because of secular face of India, they’ve joined to it, but the Punjab province was treated as Hindi language speaking region by Indian government.  This made some Sikh leaders anger towards India and started agitation against government.  ISI was happy to help these Sikh lions in all means in 1970s.  But when Indian government decided to separate out Himachal Pradesh and Haryana from Punjab province, the agitation was lowered by Punjabi-speaking localities and acted as a failure to ISI.

The interesting part in the book I felt was involvement of ISI to train Taliban students.  Afghanistan (Bhastoon tribes) lads were picked and given training in Kunaar region by ISI in order to help Afghanistan for the 10 year Afghan-Soviet war of 1980s.  War ended with victory to Afghanistan and it was considered one of the best strategical-political win of Pakistan among Muslim-ruling countries.  Because of the intelligence leveraged by ISI, Afghan groups were able to taste the victory with the support of America and Osama Bin Laden (a Saudi millionaire who was not very popular at that time).  After the war, around 10,000 Afghan militants under Mullah Mohammad Omar get trained in Pakistan formed Afghan Mujahideen and felt Muslim people were not following the laws and rituals in order of Kuran.  With the blessings of ISI, they headed towards Kandahaar and then to Kabul and established the infamous Taliban rule.

ISI was at its peak during Ayub Khan and Jiya rule in Pakistan and had full role in influencing the politics and Army leaders.  Benazir Bhutto was not favoring ISI and during her rule, the agency faced lesser power than Intelligence Bureau.  During Musharraf period after September 11 attacks, Pakistan faced severe pressure from America to stop relations with Afghan militants.  It was a tough time for ISI to suppress and evacuate their own Afghan trainees but they did it to some extent.

Particularly I like the humourous language used by the author on descrbing certain events in the book.  Its worth reading it at this high time of Mumbai terror attacks.  For readers it raises serious question on involvement of ISI on this planned scary mission.  I’m one among many Desis who want Indian government to take stringent action against terriorists.

Karaindha Nizhalgal – Asokamithran

This short novel depicts the life-style and suffering of people in cinema industry. It doesn’t talk about the few people who have tasted the success in film, but many other technicians and co-actors’ pathetic lifestyle. Many of the characters in this novel will get vanished during the flow of story and it exactly apt the title ‘Karaindha Nizhalgal’ meaning ‘the dissolved shadows’. It looks like the author had had the first-hand experience with the program management of a film, as the way he describes the work and schedule of a cinema program manager.

There is no protagonist here, as every character simply registers their presence in full swing. I like one emotional talk given by a father Rama Iyengar, who is a millionaire film producer, to his irresponsible son about the struggles he faced in his life to become a big-shot and the way his son is currently spending his money lavishly. i.e. his son thinks about money is one-way traffic, in which he knows to get the money from his father but he doesn’t have the knowledge or eligibility to earn the money and give it back to him. Also if a person loses a part of money, then at the same time ten other persons in the world will grab that money from him. So, every the person should always be responsible for his fortune and should be cautious about the act he is doing.

I feel, the setback of this novel is of too many characters involved in this and it seems quite difficult to remember many of the character names and their role. Also, it lags the  description or characterization and hence no major character will remain forever in mind. May be this is intentional from author’s perspective in order to suite the title of Karaindha Nizhalgal. Yet some descriptions are good to reveal the poverty life of people. The way in which he describes the house of Natarajan shows the difficult situation of his family.

One assistant director named Rajagopal who was aspiring to become a director faces many difficulties in that industry. He had some good relation with the star actress Jayachandrika. I feel this character Rajagopal can be considered as the main one because of depiction of his struggles for many chapters together. He was working in film industry for around 10 years and looking for a chance to get a position as film director. He faces many shameful moments at his home because his brother doesn’t bother to help him or atleast speak to him. He was in that home only because of his mother. One day he takes his bicycle and heading towards Kodambakkam, but the cycle tube get punctured. The way author explaining this situation of his pain in riding the cycle on flyover and other struggles for having a meal on that way was quite good. Then at the end of the story one person Sambath informs to reader that Rajagopal got married with Jayachandrika and their life was not-so-good because of the actress character. I felt some similarity of this character in a recent Tamil movie in which actor Prithivraj plays some sort of role which is equivalent to that of Rajagopal.

In the initial chapters I felt pity for the state of film producer Reddiar for the struggles he faced for taking a film. The last day of shooting was planned as outdoor shooting for first half of the day and indoor shooting for rest of the day. So, the activities happening on this single day was described in initial three chapters and within this day how the characters like Nataraj and Reddiar getting vanished in their life was depicted. The first half of the shooting (outdoor stuffs) were taken successfully by the director but the rest of indoor shooting was depend on actress Jayachandrika. As she was not interested to turn up, then the producer Reddiar himself made a visit to actress’ home and asked to come for rest of shooting day. Some of the words used by Reddiar towards the actress were disgusting but it reveals the fact of mindset of a film producer. So after her pretend on illness and the entire shooting get cancelled. This event made the entire film to get dropped, because of shortage of money and shortage of studio availability. And finally it leads to bankruptcy of Reddiar’s wealth.

Any novel will have a core event, on top of it the entire story revolves around. I feel the author took the ‘suffering in film industry’ as core event and tried to explain this via many characters. Even the short depiction of dance girls’ miserable life is an example for this, as they don’t have any proper timings or recognition for their work and that too for tiny amount of money. I extend my sincere thanks to New Horizon Media Pvt Ltd (Kizhakku pathipagam) for offering this novel for free reading and review.  This book can be viewed in the following link:

http://nhm.in/printedbook/72/Karaintha%20Nizhalgal


Thyagarajar – Veeyesvee

The life history of first Sangeetha Mummoorthigal Saint Thyagarajar was clearly described in this book.  The author chose some krithis of Thyagarajar and explained the situation on which he sang those.  He had given Tamil explanation for the five great Keerthanas (pancha-ratna kritis) written by Thyagarajar.  The saint had immense devotion towards Rama and he was always chanting Rama nama with atmost pleasure.  He had many disciples to whom he teaches krithis and Lalgudi Jeyaraman’s great-grand-father Lalgudi Ramayyar is one among the direct disciple of Thyagaraja.  He had good rapport with many of his contemporary Carnatic musicians like Gopalakrishna Bharathi.  Also he sang krithis on Lord Shiva and Ambal.  Singing his krithis with bhakthi are the direct way to anyone who like to devote oneself to God.

Velaikaari – Aringar Anna

This is a short tamil drama written by Annadurai and its the first drama I’ve read.  This is a typical tit-for-tat story and rich-vs-poor struggle in a village backdrop.  One can feel as watching a black and white tamil film on reading this novel (as this was taken as a film too).   Anna didn’t forget to register his thoughts on women freedom and atheism.

Rani Mangammal – Na. Parthasarathy

A short historic novel about Madurai Queen Mangammal.  She lived during 17th century and after her husband’s death in a war, she ruled the kingdom of Nayakkar dynasty for 18 years.  She was the wife of Sokkanadha Nayakkar, who was the grandson of famous Thirumalai Nayakkar king of Madurai.  She was a  popular queen of South India for her strategies in retaining and expanding her kingdom.  She was providing a safe and secular life for all the people.  Also, she was maintaining good political relation with contemporary Mughal king Aurangzeb.  After her son RangaKrishnaMuthuVeerappan came to power, the good rule continued with help of her.  But after 6 years he died due to illness, then she was forced to take over the power again.  Her grandson VijayaRangaSokkanadhan was only a new born who lost his parents.  It became her responsibility to bring up her grandson too.  But once her grandson attained teenage, because of wrong relations and inherent cruelty, he made Mangammal as a prisoner and humiliated a lot.  After her death, the Madurai Nayakkar dynasty came to an end and her grandson could save the kingdom not even a year. The name Mangammal is common in Madurai even today, because of her goodwill and charity made to people.  This novel helped me in educating the piece of historical information of Madurai.

Pudhu VeLLam – Akilan

This novel by Akilan revolves around the protagonist Murugayyan who was firm in his Gandhian principles.  He was a rich village lad doing his college education in nearby town.  During pre-independence agitation, he got influenced by Gandhi’s Ahimsa and got thrown out of college for his activities.  After that he happened to spend 3 years in jail.  When he returned back to village, his father lost all of the wealth to his friend, who cunningly did that.  Then he moves to Madras and faces all bitter experiences in his relative home and he comes to verge of beach sales-boy and rickshaw-puller.  He faces immediate upliftment in life with the help of his rich would-be bride, but because of his strong principles and merciness towards poor people his life again becomes miserable.  Finally he made to lead his life as coalmine-worker in Hyderabad and he finds his lady-love.  The flow of this novel is equivalent to watching a movie and Akilan portraits he is good in screenplay writing.

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