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Manimegalai

Manimegalai

AUTHOR’S PREFACE

    After writing the story of Silappadigaram, or the Killer Anklet, I thought this story will not have a good finish, unless I write the story of Manimegalai, in continuation of the earlier story for the reason Manimegalai, the daughter of Kovalan and Madhavi, was compelled by her mother to renounce the worldly life in her prime youthful days. It was a trial period for this young girl to face the male dominated society and keep her modesty while sticking up to the religious compulsions she was thrown in. Finally, she comes out successful in the new chosen field of religious order.

    Illangovadigal, a prince turned Jain monk, wrote the story of Silappadigaram. Later, the Tamil Poet Seethalai Sathanar wrote Manimegalai in the second century A.D., when Jainism and Buddhism were spreading in the Southern parts of India. At the end of the story, the author ruled out the other religious faiths, while writing in favour of Buddhism.

    I started writing Manimegalai, but in between I found it difficult to trace suitable English words to some of the words used by the author in the ancient Sangam Tamil. I had to make the best use of Tamil University Website Library, Tamilvu.org, in search of appropriate English words. I found it really a challenging work to understand and interpret some of the difficult verses, while trying to write in simple English verses.

    I wish to make it clear here that this work is not a verbatim translation of the original work in Tamil, but it is only a bold attempt of mine to adopt the essence of the entire story in simple English poem, which field is familiar to me, as a writer, for the past 40 years.

    I have tried my best to bring out here all the salient points and essential features, which are found in the original story. If there are any omissions or commissions in my performance, I would humbly request the Reader to bring it to my notice for rectification, where necessary.

    In fact, I had to deviate at the end of the story in writing the arguments and counter-arguments between the different religious leaders in the prose order. I thought this would help the Reader to understand easily the various abstract subjects dealt with in Chapters 27, 29 and 30. The Reader can find them at Annexure I to III to these Chapters given at the end of this book.

    Constructive suggestions are always welcome and can be sent to my email address: rrr@divinechannel.in.

Rajaram Ramachandran
Dated: 6th July, 2006.

 

Manimegalai

READER'S VIEW

 

The Poetess Sandra Fowler writes:

   Once again Rajaram Ramachandran gives us a fascinating glimpse into the past legends of India.

   His book, Manimegalai, was originally written by the Tamil Poet Seethalai Sathanar in the second century AD, as a continuation to the Story written by Illangovadigal, a prince turned monk some 1400 years ago. The poet has translated this ancient Tamil work into readable English with great skill and dexterity.

    Manimegalai was first introduced in Rajaram's fine book entitled Silappadigaram, or The Killer Anklet, as the love child of Madhavi, the noted dancer, and Kovalan, the husband of Kannagi, who has become the symbol of a chaste woman to the inhabitants of Southern India.

   After her affair with Kovalan brought heartbreak and tragedy into so many lives, Madhavi renounced her worldly ways and dedicated herself to a religious existence. In her remorse for past mistakes and fear that Manimegalai might follow the old path, she compels her daughter to withdraw from the world as well.

   The poet paints a memorable word picture of this sensitive girl who has to face a male dominated society, retain her religious values, and keep her modesty.

   She moves through this exotic book as if she moved against a rich tapestry glowing with the glories of India's illustrious past.

   The exquisite Manimegalai, with her magic bowl of food that never needs to be replenished, feeds the poor with genuine compassion. She enchants the reader and captures the imagination of all who know of her sacrifice.

How she succeeds in keeping herself unblemished by the world is expressed in these poetic eloquent lines:

Manimegalai knew her life past.
Also an insight on truth she got.
Charity minded always she was.
She came up morally famous (248)

   Rajaram Ramachandran is a literary ambassador for his country. His extraordinary visions of ancient life are as relevant today as they were yesterday. Forms and fashions may change, but human nature does not.

   The American writer, Mark Twain, called India "The mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition."

   I commend the writer of Manimegalai for his sense of history, for his gift for bringing ancient legends to life, and for his ability to convey the traditions of his country to the reader via his vivid poetry. Rajaram Ramachandran is a true son of India by any definition. His fine work, characterized by simplicity and wisdom, deserves to be read and appreciated both in the eastern and western worlds

   The Poetess Sandra Fowler was born in West Columbia, WV, on February 4, 1937, and has been writing poetry for almost fifty years. Associate Editor, Ocarina from about 1978 to 1989. Had a poem nominated for The Pushcart prize, 1998. Wazir Agha dedicated his Selected Poems to her in 1998. Interviewed by Skylark Purdue University Calumet in 2000. Honorary Doctorate, World Academy Of Arts And Culture, 2002. Wall Of Tolerance Honoree, 2002. Biography listed in Who's Who of American Women, Marquis, and The Dictionary Of International Biography, England. Chosen by The International Translation and Research Centre and The Journal Of World Poets Quarterly (Multilingual), and published in China, as one of The International Best Poets Of 2005.

 


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Silappadigaram

    The story of Silappadigaram, or The Killer Anklet has been attracting me for several years for two reasons.

    (1) It was written some 1400 years ago by a Prince turned Jain Saint, Illangovadigal in the Sangam age Tamil poetry, which reflected the culture and the life style of the people of that time in the Southern parts of India.
 
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