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A01143 Ravana Kaaviyam

  • LESSON - 3

    A01143 Ravana Kaaviyam

    This lesson discusses the unique features and literary merits of "Ravana Kaaviyam" written by Pulavar Kuzhandhai. This epic was published in 1946. The epic is a bold attempt at deconstructing "The Ramayana" and understanding the characters of Rama and Ravana from a totally new perspective.

    Valmiki’s "Ramayana" and Kambar’s "Kambaramayanam" glorify the life of Rama, the prince of Ayodhya. In both the epics Ravana is depicted as an unscrupulous king who abducts Sita, Rama’s wife, in order to marry her. The conflict between Rama and Ravana is essentially portrayed as a struggle between the forces of good and evil. "Ravana Kaaviyam" punctures this myth on the premise that "The Ramayana" was written to establish the supremacy of the Aryan race that lived in northern India, over the Dravidians, who lived in the south. Ravana, a Dravidian king, is therefore portrayed in a negative light. In "Ravana Kaaviyam", on the other hand, Ravana is the protagonist and is hailed as a noble King. He is an epitome of justice, courage and compassion. He is a learned scholar, a just king, a caring father, a generous patron of poets and artists, and above all a devoted lover of the Tamil language. Rama emerges as the antagonist.

    "The Ramayana" is held as a sacred text all over India and enjoys wide popularity among the people. Therefore "Ravana Kaaviyam" met with a lot of criticism when it was published. However, over the years it has gained immense popularity, especially among scholars of Tamil literature, on account of its literary merits and daring theme.

    "Ravana Kaaviyam" is written along the tradition of ancient Tamil epics. It falls into 5 books (Kandam) and has 3100 verses. The author Pulavar Kuzhandhai took active part in the "Suyamariyathai Iyyakkam" (Self-respect Movement) launched by Thanthai Periayaar, a popular Tamil political leader. Affirmation of the greatness of ancient Tamil culture was one of the key objectives of the movement. "Ravana Kaaviyam" is undoubtedly an effort in this direction.

    It extols the greatness of ancient Tamil culture. It reiterates the fact that the Tamils were a highly virtuous and moral race. Ravana, the Dravidian king who descended from this tradition wouldn’t certainly covet another man’s wife. The Tamils, unlike the Aryans, did not approve of animal sacrifice during religious penances. The epic points out that contrary to what is said in "The Ramayana", Ravana only aids queen Thadakai in putting an end to this evil practice. Again, Ravana abducts Sita only to avenge the disfigurement of his sister Kamavalli by Lakshmana. However, he treats Sita with due respect. Similarly, Vibeedana, who deserts his brother Ravana to join Rama is portrayed as a selfish, power thirsty man who seeks to usurp the throne. Thus "Ravana Kaaviyam" lends a startlingly fresh perspective to "Ramayana", the most celebrated epic in India. The plot, theme as well as the chief characters are seen in a totally new light.

    By virtue of its original theme and striking literary style "Ravana Kaaviyam" is considered as an important work of the twentieth century.

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புதுப்பிக்கபட்ட நாள் : 10-09-2018 13:26:05(இந்திய நேரம்)