THE BOOK OF VANCI QUESTIONS ANSWERS
1 . What did king Satakarni offer to the Chera king Senkuttuvan while he was preparing for expedition to the north?
Ans. During his preparation for the military expedition to the north in Canto 26 the Chera king Senkuttuvan had consulted his royal astrologers and received assurance and inspiration for unquestionable victory. Many poets, bards, noblemen and panegyrists had praised the king and wished him victory in the battlefield. Wise sages on their way to the Malaya hills had also paid a visit to the king and blessed him with words of success and protection. Beautiful dancers from the Konkana country also had contributed to this appraisal. Then came the folk from the Kutaku country with their dancing girls with fine bangles and wide fishlike eyes. They chanted beautiful songs of encouragement for the king and his army.
Then we find Samjaya, a messenger from king Satakarni to attend the tent of Senkuttuvan with a very large number of dancers, singers, jests, chariots, elephants, horses and carts as military support. He bows to the king and delivers the message from Satakarni who is friendly relation to Chera kingdom.
King Satakarni, apart from sending such a huge number of entertainment and military assistance as a gift to Senkuttuvan, had also respectfully expressed his wish that Senkuttuvan may not need to take the pain of paying a visit to the north for bringing the sacred stone from the Himalayas, but he (Satakarni) would be delighted to do this entire task on his own on Senkuttuvan’s behalf. Senkuttuvan, however, did not need this help, but he expressed his gratitude by asking Samjaya to get a large fleet of boats ready by Satakarni’s men, for his (Senkuttuvan’s) army to cross the holy Ganga.
2. How is the theme of loss and death poignantly dealt with in Silapathikaram?
Ans. Almost all epics in the history of human civilisation have dealt with a grand salutation to the Dionysian instruct. Death of dance is a centrality too in The Book of Vanci. The deaths of the rebellious northern kings in the battle against the army of Senkuttuvan, innumerable soldiers belonging to both sides, the supernatural interventions by the dance of death by the goblins all contribute to the grotesque side of the Puram domain. Repugnance and violence walk hand in hand in Ilango’s description.
But this is not all; there are resonances of death in every corner of the epic. It begins with the unjustified execution of Kovalan; then leads to the eventual deaths of the Pantya king and queen; then by the curse of Kannaki the entire city of Maturai burns into fire. Kannaki dies after fourteen days. Matarai who was taking care of Kannaki previously, dies at the grief of the fate of this couple. Kavunti, the Jain ascetic also starves herself to death at the sad news of Kannaki and Kovalan. Kovalan’s and Kannaki’s mothers die in grief too.
Their respective fathers become monks. Even towards the end of the text the brutal “sacrifice of one thousand goldsmiths in a single day to the goddess Pattini” by the new Pantya king evokes the sense of extreme bloodshed and cruelty. Thus both in Akam and Puram domains death lurks as a prevailing theme in the entire epic.
3. Narrate both the Akam and Puram aspects as revealed in the welcoming of the victorious king and his army back in Vanci.
Ans. According to the ancient Tamil literary tradition Akam means ‘private’ and Puram means ‘public’. Here in Silapathikaram both of these sides of the king and other characters are portrayed with precision. Canto 28 opens with the homecoming of the triumphant king Senkuttuvan and his army. He is now wealthier and more renowned, so much so that his stock epithet the white parasol is now replaced by the golden one…….
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INDIAN CLASSICAL LITERATURE
- MAHABHARATA MARKS-10
- THE TEMPTATION OF KARNA MARKS-10
- THE TEMPTATION OF KARNA MARKS-05
- MRICHHAKATIKA MARKS-02
- MRICHHAKATIKA MARKS-05
- MRICHHAKATIKA MARKS-10
- KADAMBARI MARKS-10
- ABHIJYANAMSHAKUNTALAM MARKS-02
- ABHIJYANAMSHAKUNTALAM MARKS-05
- ABHIJYANAMSHAKUNTALAM MARKS-10
ILANGO ADIGAL :
- THE BOOK OF VANCI MARKS-02
- THE BOOK OF VANCI MARKS-05
EUROPEAN CLASSICAL LITERATURE
HOMER : THE ILIAD MARKS-10
SOPHOCLES : OEDIPUS THE KING MARKS-10
OVID : METAMORPHOSIS BOOK-III , BOOK-IV, BOOK-VI— MARKS- 02, 05 & 10
PLAUTUS : THE POT OF GOLD MARKS-02
THE POT OF GOLD MARKS-05
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