SILAMBIL PAATHTHIRANGALIN PANGUM PANBUM: By K Meenakshisundaram; Copies can be had from Professor Rama Ramanathan, 2/14, 9th Street North, Subramanyapuram, Karaikkudi- 630003. Rs. 150.
A GREAT lover of Ilangovadigal’s Silappathikaram, Meenakshisundaram has, in this book, taken a critical look at the characters in the 2nd century epic. Counting out the preface, the prologue and the epilogue, the book has five chapters. First, the major characters, Kovalan and Kannagi, are dealt with. Then follow the secondary characters — such as Madhavi, the Chera King Senguttuvan, Devanthi, Kavundhi Adigal and Maadala Marayone — the anti- or negative characters, and the supportive characters whom the author calls kurumai paathirangal or oonru paathirangal, which are essential for the smooth flow of the story. These characters are divided into two categories, those with form and those without form. There is yet another category, ‘group characters’. Traditionally the characters are classified as round and flat. The author has attempted a classification that is different and novel. It must be said that, in this book, we find for the first time a scientific study of the characters in Silappathikaram. An erudite scholar and author of some 15 books in Tamil and two in English, Meenakshisundaram has made a remarkable contribution to Tamilology through this criticial study.