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Ponniyin Selvan English Translation by Karthik Narayanan: A Review

Ponniyin Selvan English Translation by Karthik Narayanan: A Review

Ponniyin Selvan is a historical novel by Kalki Krishnamurthy, one of the most popular Tamil writers of the 20th century. The novel narrates the story of Arulmozhivarman, who later became the great Chola king Rajaraja I, and his struggle to ascend the throne amidst political intrigues, wars, and romance. The novel is widely regarded as a masterpiece of Tamil literature and has been translated into several languages.

ponniyin selvan english translation karthik narayanan pdf download

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One of the most recent and acclaimed translations of Ponniyin Selvan is by Karthik Narayanan, a retired diplomat and a scholar of Tamil literature. Narayanan's translation was published in five volumes between 2017 and 2019 by BJP e-Library, an online platform of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The translation is faithful to the original text and captures the essence and beauty of Kalki's language and style. Narayanan also provides extensive notes and explanations on the historical and cultural aspects of the novel.

If you are interested in reading Ponniyin Selvan in English, you can download the PDF version of Narayanan's translation from BJP e-Library's website[^1^]. Alternatively, you can also read another English translation by Varalotti Rengasamy, which is available in EPUB format from Zoboko.com[^2^]. Rengasamy's translation is also divided into five parts and follows the same chapter titles as Kalki's original.

Whichever translation you choose, you will surely enjoy reading Ponniyin Selvan, a classic novel that brings to life the glorious history of the Chola dynasty and its legendary ruler Rajaraja I.

Ponniyin Selvan: A Brief Plot Summary

Ponniyin Selvan is a sprawling epic that spans five volumes and covers the events of the 10th and 11th centuries in the Chola empire. The main plot revolves around the struggle for succession among the sons and nephews of Sundara Chola, the ailing emperor who is under the control of the Pazhuvettaraiyar brothers, the powerful chieftains and ministers of the empire. The novel also features several subplots involving romance, espionage, war, betrayal, and supernatural elements.

The first volume, Pudhu Vellam (New Floods), introduces the protagonist Vandhiyathevan, a brave and witty warrior from the Vanar clan. He is sent by his friend Aditya Karikalan, the eldest son of Sundara Chola and the crown prince, to deliver a secret message to his sister Kundavai, who lives in Pazhayarai. On his way, he meets several characters who will play important roles in the story, such as Nandini, the beautiful and mysterious wife of one of the Pazhuvettaraiyars; Azhwarkadiyan Nambi, a spy and devotee of Lord Shiva; Thirukovalur Malaiyaman, a loyal vassal of Aditya Karikalan; and Kandanmaran, the prince of Kadambur and a suitor of Kundavai. He also encounters Arulmozhivarman, the youngest son of Sundara Chola and a close friend of Kandanmaran, who is disguised as a Buddhist monk. Vandhiyathevan learns that Aditya Karikalan's message is about a conspiracy to kill him and Arulmozhivarman by a group of rebels led by Nandini and supported by some members of the royal family.

The second volume, Suzharkaatru (Whirlwind), shifts the scene to Sri Lanka, where Arulmozhivarman is sent by his father to quell a rebellion by Mahinda, the king of Ruhuna. There he meets Aniruddha Brahmarayar, his maternal uncle and the chief minister of the Chola empire; Poonguzhali, a boatwoman who falls in love with him; and Rakkammal alias Mandakini Devi, a mysterious woman who claims to be his mother. He also faces several dangers from Veerapandiyan's suicide squad (Aabathudhavigal), who seek revenge for the death of their king at the hands of Aditya Karikalan. Meanwhile, Vandhiyathevan travels to Sri Lanka with Nambi to meet Arulmozhivarman and deliver Aditya Karikalan's message.

The third volume, Kolai Vaal (Sword of Slaughter), narrates the events that lead to the assassination of Aditya Karikalan at Kadambur palace by one of Veerapandiyan's suicide squad members. The murder sparks a civil war among the Cholas, as different factions support different claimants to the throne. Some support Uttama Chola, the son of Sundara Chola's elder sister and the next in line according to the matrilineal system; some support Arulmozhivarman, who is favored by Kundavai and Aniruddha Brahmarayar; and some support Madhuranthaka Thevar, the son of Sundara Chola's younger brother and a puppet of Nandini and the Pazhuvettaraiyars. Vandhiyathevan escapes from Kadambur with Kandanmaran and reaches Thanjavur, where he meets Sundara Chola and informs him about Aditya Karikalan's death and Arulmozhivarman's whereabouts.

The fourth volume, Manimagudam (The Crown), focuses on Kundavai's efforts to secure Arulmozhivarman's return from Sri Lanka and his coronation as the next emperor. She also tries to win over Madhuranthaka Thevar and expose Nandini's plot. She is aided by Vanathi, her friend and confidante; Vallavarayan Vandhiyathevan, who becomes her lover; Thirukovalur Malaiyaman; Azhwarkadiyan Nambi; Alwarkadiyan alias Ravid e0e6b7cb5c


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