The great epic the 'Ramayanam' has been authored by a number of poets and sages. But, the 'Kamba Ramayanam' stands out on several features, reflecting, on a par with other 'Ramayanam', not only the greatness of the divine characters but also the importance of Tamil and the significance of Tamil culture and their civilisation.
A special seminar organised under the auspices of Senbaga Tamizh Arangu at Srirangam recently brought out every details of the great epic authored by poet Kamban.
The topic centred around the efforts made by Kamban in utilising Tamil language and the culture of the Tamils in projecting the characters.
The events and sequences narrated in the 'Kamba Ramayanam' are exceptional in several aspects.
The seminar also sought to bring out the speciality of the ‘Kamba Ramayanam' with a comparative study on the ‘Valmiki Ramayanam' and ‘Thulasi Ramayanam.'
P. Subramanian, former Head of Department of Tamil of EVR Government Arts College, who presided over the function and delivered the special lecture, described a few sequences from the ‘Kamba Ramayanam' not to be found in the ‘Ramayanam' authored by others.
The best sequence was the popular verse ‘Annalum nokkinal; avalum nokkinal.' This sequence takes place at Mithilai when the sage Viswamithrar was accompanying Lord Rama for the 'swamvaram' planned at Mithilai.
It is only in the ‘Kamba Ramayanam' that Lord Rama and Sri Sita meet one another, well before the 'swamvaram'. The sequence aims at projecting Tamil culture and the lifestyle prevailing on the Tamil land.
The Tamil culture is associated with promoting a mutual trust and building cordial ties on faithful and sincere grounds between a bride and bridegroom as a prelude to marriage. A spontaneous and mutual influence and impact Lord Rama and Sri Sita experienced had been well described in the verse ‘Annalum nokkinal…' he said.
Prema Nandakumar, a noted writer, said that Kamban adhered to strict norms on translating even the names of the holy characters. For instance, the character “Lakshmanan” was translated as ‘Ilakkuvan.'
Every incident described in the ‘Kamba Ramayanam' is in consistent with the Tamil culture and environment, she added.
K. Rasavelu Senbagavalli, founder of the Arangu, said that the seminar was organised as part of death anniversary of the Tamil scholar S. K. Ramarajan.