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Updated: March 10, 2013 02:19 IST

Effusive farmers crown CM Ponniyin Selvi

B. Kolappan
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They gift her bronze memento to hail her efforts

Though King Raja Raja Chola, who extended the frontiers of the Chola kingdom beyond Sri Lanka and Cambodia, carried many titles, one of them, Ponniyin Selvan, became a household name, thanks to writer Kalki.

Ponni is not only another name for the Cauvery, but is also the name of a popular rice variety. Therefore, when the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association decided to honour Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for her efforts to get the final award of the Cauvery Tribunal notified in the central gazette, they could not find a more appropriate name than Ponniyin Selvi, for a memento they gave her on Saturday.

“The idea came from V. Rajaram, vice-president of our association. We named the bronze icon to be presented to the Chief Minister as ‘Ponniyin Selvi’,” said S. Ranganathan, the association’s general secretary.

“We are all sons and daughters of Ponni. The title Ponniyin Selvi suits our Chief Minister perfectly,” Mr. Ranganathan said.

When his association looked for a suitable memento, it was not easy to find one. And making a bronze statuette at a short notice was not easy either. So, they improvised. They got hold of a figurine of Andal, a woman poet and one of the famous Vaishnavite minstrels.

The task of modifying it was given to Srikanda Sthapathy and his brothers, the famous bronze idol makers of Swamimalai.

“We replaced the parrot in Andal’s hands with sheaves of paddy, and added a couple on the statuette’s pedestal. Moreover, we created the sun behind the head to reiterate that life on the globe is impossible without the sun’s rays,” said Srikanda Sthapathy.

P.K. Deivasikamani, president, Turmeric Farmers Association, said the hairstyle of Andal had been retained as she personified human efforts to achieve the impossible. “She had a dream, and she realised it by marrying Lord Ranganatha, with the background music of matham and varisangam. Our Chief Minister also fulfilled the dream of the people of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

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