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Song of the Ankle Rings

321 pages4 hours


Song of the Ankle Rings, a literary novel based on Silappatikaram, an ancient Tamil classic of a chaste woman, Kannagi, immortalized in statues and temples especially in south India and Sri Lanka. Hereunder, an overview:

Kannagi, born during the glorious age of the three Tamil kingdoms—Cheran, Cholan, and Pandyan—renowned for their just rule, and when men were honourable and women virtuous, is betrothed at birth to Kovalan, scion of a merchant prince.

Societal norms smoother Kannagi's verve and beneath her calm she struggles with private demons and her husband's adultery with Madhavi, a courtesan but also a budding feminist. 

Madhavi questions Kovalan's morals and infuriates him. But realizing his errors he returns a pauper to Kannagi, who takes him back and gives him her ankle rings to rebuild his wealth.

Kovalan travels to a neighbouring kingdom and, arrested and found guilty of grand larceny of that queen's ankle ring which is identical to Kannagi's, faces the executioner's blade.

Kannagi, outraged but determined that society's strictures will no longer stifle her, crosses her threshold unescorted, an unheard of conduct by a chaste woman. But she is all alone in a foreign land, has to get past the palace guards, and confront their upright king.

Kannagi races to Kovalan's rescue to fulfil her destiny, not knowing whether she will be late for his salvation or early for her vengeance.

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