Tamil Historical Fiction Thennavan Padai – Part of Peru vala ilanchi Kingdom.

Fiction about 2500 year ago.

In the early morning of that day, the city of Peru vala ilanchi, looked green. The water that flew through the canal enriched the soil’s beauty. The UZHAVAR, land laborers, are on their way to the field. The sun slowly, embracing the earth. All the people, old to the children, are eager to perform their morning rituals. In the canal, that flew through the fields, small fishes jumped and fell into the water. The boundaries of the kingdom of peru vala ilanchi are , towards north Nambi river, in the west Kurunkudi mountains, towards east Bay of Bengal and in the south upto Aral Vai Mozhi. For the past one month, there haven rumors of, a far north chola king, war being waged against south kingdoms of Tamil Nadu. South is being ruled by four kingdom. One such kingdom is Peru vala ilanchi. The prominent among them are the Madurai Kingdom, Tirunelveli Kingdom, Nanchil Kingdom. These four kingdom are united at that point of time and also had a treaty to help each other in War. On the day as above mentioned, one man riding his horse on the mountain road rushed towards peruvalailanchi. Let us see who is this man. Oh! God , we see blood stains on his shoulder. His face shows us that he was , Senathi pathi Pulian, Head of the soldiers, send to assist the Tirunelveli Kingdom, in case of war. The Pulian’s horse reached the front entrance of the Fort of Peru vala ilanchi. After showing his identity, pulian went to the king’s palace. On seeing the king, pulian saluted. The king read pulian’s face and showed no surprise or sad emotion whatsoever, instead he smiled. He orderd his men to arrange for pulian’s treatment. After the first aid is over, pulian narrated what happened :Since majority of the Tirunelveli forces was sent to Madurai to help them, Pulian was made incharge of the River Tamirabarani boundary by the King of Tirunelveli. Pulian along with his, 600 foot army, 120 Knights put his camp on the beds of the river’s south part. In the afternoon, suddenly on the northern bed of the river, some soldiers appeared. Their appearance aroused suspicion in pulian. Within seconds, like the ants coming out of earth, on the northern bed appeared so many soldiers. Pulian climbed on a nearby neem tree and looked on the far the northern bed of river. There he saw, a mamooth sena (Soldiers) numbering about Ten thousand cavalry, 1000 Knights, and assisting carts and helpers. By their appearance, it is sure that they are the chola soldiers, then what happened to the Madurai and Tirunelveli soldiers. For a few seconds, he was actionless. … to be continued… Email ; manthiramekonar@rediffmail.com

Thennavan

At the time pulian was about to facing the cholas, Thennavan was asleep dreaming frightful scenes, wake up at the mid of night. The dream was so firm that Thennavan know what his order from the mother “Chinna muthaal”. It was still 2 jamams (about 6 hours) before the dawn, but he remembered what maa said to him in the dreams. Normally, Thennavan is a never afraid of character and used to live in small jungles and caves in rocks. Because of his unselfish character he was able to command respect in the below privileged community. There was always plenty of youths and middle aged men always there to accept his leadership, but Thennavan always rejected that. But today may be his day as it may be written by maa “ Chinna muthaal”. We will describe his story at a latter stage. Upon woke up, Thennavan, went to the her holy picture and prayed for seconds, and took his swords, he saw by gods grace the situation at river tamirabarani which pulian was facing. Within minutes, he was on his horse, and riding through the streets of Rajakkal Mangalam, Peru Vala ilanchi and Tiruvengadam , so many youths and middle aged men and even old aged but still strong men were after him without invitation. The crowd looked like an small kings army. Almost all have come with horses. Any king would be wondering, where these horses was hiding. The numbers, if numbered , would have been in excess of lacs, armoured with sword, arrow, javlin. Upon reaching the nimbi river befor 1 jamam of dawn, he ordered his fellow men :“ Brothers of this holy land, I have never asked you a favour for me hereinbefore. Now, it is because my MAA has said that there is a danger ahead, and she showed me it as tamirabarani river. There Peru Vazha ilanchi forces may be in trouble. The order to me is to safe guard the southern kingdoms, I thing so. We should reach tamirabarani by dawn. All the forces of Thennavan, the unselfish force, crossed the river nimbi and ran toward tirunelveli like a storm. At the same time in pulian’s camp, they were wondring why the enemy has not attacked them by crossing the river, when they have reached the river bed in the afternoon itself. Pulian was unable to find a solution, he sent a soldier to peru vala ilanchi to appraise the king about the situation. Pulian went to sleep, with confusion as to what to do in the next morning. THE BATTLE BEGINS – TAMIRABARANI 1 It was about 15 minutes before the sunrise, the chola forces colluding with cheras, and another 7 small kings forces, numbering ten more times what it was in the previous day evening was crossing the river tamirabarani. Pulian wake up at the noise raised by enemy troop movement. And he sensed that his death is not far away. The timing of the cholas army entering the southern bed of tamirabarani coincided with thenavan’s army reaching the spot. There arose big noise and both the army dashed with each other like mountains. The scene soon looked like blood river. Thennavan’s horse seemed to exhibit all the tactics it learned, in this battle. The horse moved vigorously, kicked the enemy with its foot and moved in circular way very speedly, because of that nobody was able to reach to thennavan. Thennavan has built several vyuga’s in such a way that not a single chola soldier entering the Thennavan was doing much damage to the cholas. Slowly, by the passage of time, the cholas, left the battle field. The Thennavan army raised victory rithems. Suddenly there was….. To be continued

Suddenly there was calm. The reason for the calm was at some distance the Yuva Rani (Princess) of Tirunelveli was coming towards the force along with about some 2000 soldiers, 500 cavalry and 200 elephant’s. These forces were at the port of Kudankulam because there was fear of attack from ilankai and other eastern countries through sea. Because of the long distance, the forces could reach just now only even though ordered to march towards tirunelveli very early. Tirunelveli Yuva Rani’s name was Puthuvili. The horse upon which Puthuvili sat reached Thennavan. Puthuvili got down from the horse and seeing thennavan said “ Good Morning Senapati (Head of Army). So you have kept nothing for me. You denied me an opportunity to prove my skill and vigour” “It may be true. But for your highness, this battle is nothing. It seems that there is plenty of opportunity for you to prove your skills.” Thennavan said and continued “See, the cholas has reached up to Tirunelveli. It means that they must have conquered Madurai. It is not clear as to what happened to the Army of Madurai & Tirunelveli.” “I am also thinking in the same way. What could have happened to my forces at madurai, not a single soldier seemed to have returned. The scene might be terrific. Thennava ! you chalk out the strategy and let me know.” Puthuvilli By the time the army has constructed make-shift dents. Puthivili reached her dent and Thennavan reached his dent. By noon the sun was spraying his heated arms. But the wind that flew has kept the heat under control. Thennavan came out of his dent and reached his horse and took it to the river and took bath along with his horse. He was looking at the sky expecting something, but it was not known what it was. Finally after passage of about half an hour or so, a pigeon flied toward him and sat on his right shoulder. Thennavan took the cute bird in his hand and took out something looked like a tiny piece out of the bird’s body. The tiny piece looked like small palm leave upon which something was written. What is written. Thennavan started reading the script in it. “Thennava & Puthuvili , Madurai must be under cholas control. Reach up to madurai. I will join you in due course.” “ PVI Vikraman”. After reading thennavan face fell for some thinking and started toward his dent. By the time he reached his dent, the meal was ready. The soldiers, took the meal in their hands, and started eating. Some soldiers was standing and some were sitting. Some soldiers are tasting the Palm Wine (Wine made from Palm Tree) along with the food. Thennavan witnessed all these happenings among the soldiers. He reached the Dinning are allotted for the higher grade army men. Puthvili and others are awaiting thennavan to join them for the meal. The meal was served. It contained Keappa Kool (a type of food in semi liquid form in southern India). While having the meal, the dialogue started amongst them. “Yuvarani! We shall send some spy to Madurai to know the situation. After knowing the situation we can take proper action” – elder man Suryanar “At the same time we can ask my king & Peru Vala ilanchi king permission to march the troops toward madurai. Peru vala ilanchi’s balance troop has still not reached here. That would give us some time to refresh also” - Nanchil kingdom senapathi Srivallvan.

Hearing these, Puthuvili smiled at Thennavan so did Thennavan at Puthuvili. The smile conveyed that the decision was already taken. “The troops will march toward Madurai. Madurai is under Cholas control. Our job in hand is to liberate madurai from the cholas. Our Troops should be ready within an hour. All of you do the necessary things.” Thennavan “Srivallava. You will lead the army up to the outskirts of Madurai. Stay at Thirumangalam. I will send a message when and where to strike” Puthuvili “Puthuvili and myself will move fast toward madurai. We have to see the Madurai King Manavarman’s fate. He may be in extreme danger.” Thennavan After the meal was over, the order for march was given to the soldiers. The army, like a new flood, rose with joy and started preparing for march. By the time the army was ready to leave, Thennavan team arrived there. Puthuvili and thennavan sat on their horses, and offered their wishes to the forces and told them that they would join them at the battle ground. The army started its march. It looked like a sea of humans. Kuravan Chinna malai & Valli Kurathi The Artists

Puthuvili and Thennavan rode their horses towards madurai in a hasty way. The horse left the road and went through the jungle and unstructured path. By evening they reached Senthanur. In senthanur, they stood before a hut looked house and knocked the door. Kuravan Chinna malai came out and seeing thennavan and puthuvili he was surprised and joyous. He held thennavan’s hand and kissed it. He took both of them into his hut. He told both of them sit there he will come out after keeping their horses in the garden behind the hut. After coming out of the garden, he joined them both. By the time Kurathi valli (wife of Kuravan) also joined them. In a slow voice their dialogue started. “Prabho. Raja Manavarman is in captive of Cholas. In the battle our army was scattered most of the army was destroyed. Some escaped soldiers are also hiding in the mountains. The cholas captured the king. It is pity that our escaped soldiers must be hanging around the mountain for food. The may move towards tirunelveli through the mountain. But it will take few days. Without food it would be difficult to walk in the mountain. By god’s grace ample fruits available at the mountain. Today I have arranged food grains and some utensils to cook for supply to them. The passage will move secretly at the start of the dark night. It was my luck that you joined me at this time. The passage will move like the Artist’s Party. At the start of the dark night the Folk Artist’s Party moved on the pretext of reaching kodai for performance. Even at the night the passage was halted for checking. Kuravan Chinnamalai was like chanakya. He cleverly evaded the checkers by singing a song or making a comedy. Kurathi also joined him at some places where the number of soldier’s was more. Near the checking point, the passage moved slowly otherwise it moved fastly. By the sun set of the next day they reached the foot of the mountains. From here it would be difficult to move the passage. The food grains should be moved by hand. It was at the time packing itself taken care of. Each bundle of food grain was easily carryable by a man.

To call the Madurai soldiers & Tirunelveli soldiers to lift the grain they devised a plan. The plan was that singing a folk song, in which the pride of Madurai and Tirunelveli are to be scripted. By hearing the song, their nearby soldiers may turn up. Kuravan Started “Muthu kulithidum pon kadal Konda Muthalvan allava.. .. Nee engal thalavann allavaa… Madurai nagar aalum mannavan nee allavaa.” “Thenralirundhu vilayaadum then porunai Nayagiye… Muthu pavala vaai kondu Karunkoonthal mudi choodi vaalenthum pen mayile … enkal valvukku thunai neeye.” As planned the song reached the targets. After some time the soldiers started coming towards the artist’s party. Signals in the form of flames sent which reached all the soldiers. All the soldiers started coming down towards the Artists party. After pass of two Jamam ( 6 hours), the place was full of army numbering more than 6000. The soldiers were happy by seeing puthuvili and thennavan at the site. Their presence inspired their vigour and fighting sense. The grains were cooked there and served among them. The soldiers thanked the artist’s party and thennavan and puthuvili. They went for rest. A few men sat for watch. To be continued……… Please send your feed back at manthiramekonar@rediffmail.com manthiramkonar@yahoo.com Madurai – Kings Palace – Sri Vallavan’s Siege The sun has set in the east, it was very early morning of the day, one man looked like an border or check post army rushing towards the palace in his horse. From his hasty ness it appeared that he was on an important task. His horse reached the fort of madurai. The soldiers at the entrance stopped him and asked him to show the authorization to enter the palace. He showed using his hands something which had the authorization code / symbol. By seeing the action, the guards left him in with respect. He reached the palace of the king and told the gate guards that he wants to see the king urgently. After few minutes , the chola king appeared. The man gave the respect and sat upon to narrate the story. “Prabho! My Lord! I came from Thirumangalam. I saw that large soldiers of the south has reached Tirumangalam and stay at there. The numbers may be in lakhs. I heared a hearsay that some more troops are coming from Kodai & Peru Vala Ilanchi.” Chola spy Chokkannar “ Oh!. It is good that you brought this news very early, Chokannare. You go back and sent the news as and when available. Take all the help you want from the minister” Chola King At the same time the forces at Kodai Mountain were on their way towards madurai. Puthuvili and thennavan led them. Be cause of their walking it will take two days to reach madurai.

The forces lead by senapathy Srivallavan has reached Tirumangalam. The forces put a stay and constructed small dents for its comfort. Srivallavan was proud that he was given opportunity to lead such a mammoth sena. He has given the necessary orders for the stay. Eventhough he was 18 years of age, he didn’t want the opportunity to go out of hand. Srivallavan ordered his forces in to stay at rest in stages. He split his forces in to group. The first group consited of 200 forces. The have to rest with a gap of 10 meter between each soldier, 50 in a row. After that 200 soldiers a gap of 200 meters. And another group of 200 in increamental to the previous group. It was made in such a way that even the enemy attacks the troops in a surprise manner, they will have sufficient time to react, without much loss. After seeing this arrangement, SriVallavan went to his dent. Srivallavan was thinking of entering madurai city, but for thennavan’s order. Even though he reached thirumangalam in the early morning there was no news from either puthuvili or thennavan till evening. By sun set Sri vallavan was rest less. He thought that there must be something wrong has happened else how he could not get message from the high command. Puthuvili and thennavan must be in danger. He thought that it is his duty to save them. By thing the same again and again he become more rest less. The degree of his impatience was such that he immediately, after dinner, ordered the troops to reach and attack Madurai city. Even though he was angry, he was cleaver and sensed that it is more important to save the Madurai King, Thennavan and puthuvili. While on the way to madurai city he planned to siege the City and to demand release of the three. While he was on his way, two man standing behind the trees watched him and his troops. One man said, “ See, because of these soldiers only the soil is still not in the hands of outsiders. Let us follow and see what this young lion can do” The other man said, “ It is clear from the face of Srivallavan that the Chola king will not see the sun rise tommorrow “. Now we have identified these two man, the first one was PVI Vikraman The great king of Peru Vala Ilanchi and the other was Pulian. After the dialogue, Vikraman and pulian left the scene and reached Tirumangalam, there the troops they led separately has reached just after Sri vallavan left. They ordered the troops stay a put still message comes form any of the south kings or Senapathy and left the place to join Srivallavan at Madurai Fort siege, but hided themselves as an ordinary soldier. Sri vallavan’s forces reached the fort of madurai and started to siege. Sri vallavan has implemented a plan of siege that no king of that saga could not have imagined. He put soldiers at all the doors of the fort. The supply lines to the fort was totally cut. Since the fort was recently occupied by the chola, there will not be much ration to defend. And the fact that since maduari was conquered, the cholas are on free tour through the madurai kindom. So they are widely spread. There will not be much soldiers inside fort to challenge the siege. By the night itself with the help of Thennavan’s force formed a team of 10 under the his leadership and has jumped into the city with the help of rope. The team upon reaching inside the city, searched for the captivity of the Madurai King and other two.

Un expected help to reach Under Ground Jail

( Paathala chirai)

Upon jumping in to the city they split themselves in a group of 2 each and has made a secret code of the new mission to convey the message between themselves.

Only one day was set as the operation day. At the end of the day all should get out of the fort, paving the way for attack. Sri vallavan along with, Velan ( a sixteen year old, handsome, vigorous, skillful fighter, from Tirunelveli). The duo searched hither and tither but of no use., it was only 1 jamam (3 hours) for the sun rise. The due after moving within the fort got tired. They came near a hut, and in the varanda of that hut decided to have some sleep so that they can continue the search afresh. They were so tired that they immediately fell asleep, forgot about the environment. When the sun was slowly raised his hands, an women at his young age, Meghala as of now we may call her, came out of the hut, and started the cleaning task in front of the house. she laid a rangoli (an art, drawn at the street, in front of the door, using rice powder, There was an belief that the rice will feed the ants.). Before, entering the house she saw the duo on the varanda. She thought that the duo must be from out of the city and because of non-availability of stay anywhere they must have rested here. She went inside the hut, as usual she went to the garden behind the hut and took the flowers out of the plant. The Garden had a Well, from that water the garden is grown. She after getting the flowers went inside the hut and prayed lord shiva “Nama shivaya vazhga, Nathan thaal vaazhga Imai pozhuthum en nenchil neengaathaan thaal vaazhga Kokali aanda gurumanithan thaal vaazhga Aagamam aagi ninru annippaan thaal vaazhga Yegan anegan iravainadi vazhga” She may have sung a song different from the above, but it resembled the above Thiruvasagam. It seemed that she has finished his prayer. She sat and started cooking the midday meal. Don’t get surprised. She has to go to the rice fields for work, she will return only after the sun rise. Her son, Manimaran , aged 7 years, was still asleep. She woke him up. He hummed and fell in to sleep again. After a few attempt she was successful woke him up. She asked him to finish his brushing and bathing. She in a glass ,made in mud, poured the Kool (liquid food). The child sucked it slowly and finished it. She took another three glasses and poured the Kool. She took one for herself and started drinking it. She has separately cooked the rice for the meal. Because of the guests at the varanda, she has made it enough for four. The sun, by this time has showed all his hands, the land is fully ventilated. The street witnessed human movement. Unusually, there was horse movement also heard on the street. Meghala asked manimaran to wake up the guest who are still at sleep in the varanda. Manimaran reached the varanda and shouted, “ Mama! Mama! Wake up. It is getting late” “Mamaaa! Oh! Mama! Wake up” By hearing the child’s voice, Srivallavan and Velan woke up. There they saw that Meghala was standing and smiling. Even though her dressed showed she as poor, her face showed that she is respectable. Her face resembled the peace that is of the moon. There is no word to describe her beauty. Even though she is 23 years of old. Any body will put her in to less than 18. The duo upon seeing meghala wished her and told that they were so tired that they could not got time to ask permission to sleep in that varanda. “ It is Ok. The varanda is made for the street walkers. There is nothing in rule

to ask permission” Meghala “ It shows your highness Maa. Oh God! It is very late. Forgive us maa. If you don’t mind, a bathing facility will be best for us. We are ready to give you the money for that” Sri vallavan “ If it is for money, then OK. How much will you give?” Meghala By the time of their conversation, the street witnessed troop movement and confusion among the people. Meghala knew nothing about that so she asked the duo to get inside the hut. “ Four varagan. If you offer food. In all we will give you 10 varagan”. – Sri vallavan Velan was not in the mood to enjoy the conversation. His entire concentration was at rescuing the king. So his concise was absent to analyse the situation. It some time happens that we were in search of something. But the same thing will be in front of us. But we might have imagined the thing to be of a particular character or size. So even if circumstances permit we will not be able to reach the thing. Velan’s mind was facing such an abstacle because of his concentration. The pragmented sri vallavan was open to questions and answer. After the bath, they came inside the hut for the Kool. By this time, Meghala asked, who they are, what task they were up to. After a long thought, Sri vallavan started, “ Maa. I am senapathi Sri vallavan and my colleque is Cavalry leader Velan. We are here to save King Manavarman, who we belive that is in the underground jail. But we failed to find the location of the jail at the night”. By hearing that Manavarman was jailed, meghala shocked for a movement and her feet immediately. “How you are sure that Manavarman is at jail. It may be a rumour”got to

Meghala.

“By god’s grace let it be a rumour. But thennavan and puthuvili opined that manavarman may be in captivity of cholas and asked me to attack Madurai. My forces have already laid a siege of this fort. By evening the attack will begin. But by the sun set we must find the king.” Sri vallavan “ I will help you, if your statements are true. I know the secret path which reaches the under ground jail” Meghala It came to the mind of velan that, “Kannai nambaathey. Unnai yemattrum. Unmai illaathathu. Arivai nee nambu, adayaalam kaattum. Poiye sollaathathu. “ To be continued weekly. Sen your feed back at manthiramekonar@rediffmail.com manthiramkonar@yahoo.com

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