History & Culture

Exploring Kamba Ramayanam

SCHOLARLY: T. Gnanasundaram speaking at the 40th Kamban Vizha with other speakers listening to him. Photo: S. Siva Saravanan  

Will the mute speak? What if they speak? The ‘Suvai Arangam' on the topic, ‘Kambanil, Pesaadhana Pesinaal?' as part of the 40 Kamban Vizha organised by Kovai Kamban Kazhagam, Coimbatore, had the answer.

The stone, the bow, the footwear and the throne attained greater significance as speakers threw new light on their roles in the epic.

With firm and relevant points, M. Rajarathinam spoke on behalf of the stone (Kal), narrating the circumstances under which Ahalya, the beautiful wife of Sage Gautama, lost her chastity.

He began by explaining the meaning of the name ‘Ahalya.' (Halya, means the ugly one; Ahalya is the opposite) By the time he concluded his speech, the listeners' hearts bled for Ahalya and the speaker earned a lot of sympathy for the object he argued for.

R. Nagappan spoke on the bow, ‘Vil.' He pointed out that Rama's bow bent only to destroy enmity. When it was not possible, it destroyed the enemies, as in the case of Ravana. However, he spoke more on behalf of the arrow than on the bow.

Subtle references

‘Marabin Maindhan' Muthaiah gave a sensible speech pregnant with strong arguments on behalf of Rama's footwear (Padhukai). Arivu Nambi's interesting speech peppered with subtle references to today's politics was well received.

T. Gnanasundaram, the mediator, initiated the programme drawing attention to Kamba Ramayanam's relevance in today's world. His speech, studded with memorable remarks reflected his wide and deep learning. A sample: ‘Valmiki's Ahalya was a ‘sinner deliberate' and Kamban's Ahalya was a ‘victim unfortunate.'

‘Sollarangam' on the most impressive character in Balakandam was heart-warming as it brought to light some talented young speakers who could argue very well with relevant points. V. Sivakumar, M. Vivek Prabhu, C. Madhumathi, S. Suchithra, G. Manoj Kumar and V. Subhashini spoke on Vashishta, Dasarata Trishanku, Janaka, Viswamitra and Thataka, respectively. However, some of them certainly need to improve their pronunciation.

In the evening, students of Mani Higher Secondary School and Rasakondalar Matriculation School presented an impressive dance ballet, ‘Kishkindha Kandam' based on Kamba Ramayanam. They have been presenting one ‘kandam' each year and its popularity can be judged by the speed with which the hall fills up half-an-hour before the programme begins.

The Pattimandram in the evening brought Tiruvalluvar and Kamban together with the topic, ‘Bala Kandam, Ayodhya Kandam and Sundara Kandam - in which is Thiruvalluvar's voice most loudly heard.' R. Nagappan and Amsaveni spoke in support of Balakandam; Arivu Nambi and P. Latha argued for Ayodhya Kandam and M. Rajarathinam and G. Bhuvaneswari for Sundara Kandam. Abdul Kadar, the mediator, gave the verdict that though Valluvar's influence is ubiquitous in all the three Kandams, it is more palpable in Sundarakandam.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 12:54:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/exploring-kamba-ramayanam/article2923779.ece

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