SANGAKKATHAIGAL: S. Soundararajan; Azhagar Solai Pathippagam, 66/30 Second Street, Partheeswarar Colony, Kodambakkam, Chennai-600024. Rs. 100.

True to the adage that literature is but a mirror of the times, the Sangam anthologies typically reflect the ways of life, the people's feelings, and the ethics of governance during the reign of the Chera, Chola and Pandya kings.

In this book, Soundararajan has drawn from those literary resources to put together 13 stories/episodes that bring back memories of the golden era, as noted in the forewords.

The episodes relate, among others, to: Avvaiyar humbling King Adhiamaan who puts her to test; poet Kapilar's proven loyalty towards King Paari, assassinated by conspirators; the miracle that brings out Aai's greatness; Kopperunalli's comments on a poem set to music; and the philanthropy of Ori.

The story of Ilankumaran usurping the throne from his elder brother, Kumaran, and the ultimate return of the reputed king has been told vividly and in detail. The classicism of Tamil and the glory of ancient Tamil poets come across clearly. Manu Needhi Cholan's legendary reputation for fairness in delivering justice is brought into focus.

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