The Tamil literary tradition is an ancient one, thought to span more than two thousand years. This collection attempts to bring together some of the best-loved works, both ancient and modern. The story of Kannagi is taken from Ilango Adigal's Silappadikaram. Along with the Jivaka Chintamani, from which the story of Jivaka has been adapted, it is considered one of the five epics of the Tamil Language. The Adventures of Pratapan is adapted from Vedanayakam Pillai's 1879 book, Pratapa Mudaliar Charitram, the first novel to be written in Tamil.. Manonmani is from the 19th century play, Manonmaniyam, by Sundaram Pillai.
Hardbound set of 5 comics includes the following titles:
Prince Jivaka: In the kingdom of Hemangada, a treacherous minister named Kattiyangaran, decides to usurp the throne, and kill the entire royal family. Queen Vijaya escapes the slaughter. In a dark cremation ground, unhappy and alone, she gives birth to a child and puts his father's royal ring upon his finger. The child grows up to be Prince Jivaka. Jivaka has many adventures but the core of the book becomes apparent in the end when a weary Jivaka decides to renounce his kingdom and become a Jain monk.
Kannagi: Kannagi, a gem of a housewife, a 'paragon of chastity' has been immortalised in the pages of Silappadikaaram, the famous Tamil epic of Ilango, the Chera prince-turned-ascetic. It is the story of a clash between three anklets: the anklet of home, the anklet of stage and the anklet of the palace. An ill-fated housewife, Kannagi loses her husband Kovalan, to the art of a dancer, Madhavi, and finds him again to lose him to the blind law of a king. Her story is set in the three ancient cities of South India - Poompuhar, the Chola capital where she grew up, Madurai, the Pandya capital where she fell; and Vanji, the Chera capital which placed her on a pedestal. The epic is a rich record of a great civilization, vivid with descriptions of edifices, shrines, docks, market places and squares, of laws and rituals, Natya Shastra (science of dance), musicology and musical instruments of the day. Known for its high dramatic content, Silappadikaaram is a shining jewel in Tamil literature. The memory of Ilango and his immortal classic has recently been perpetuated by the Tamil Nadu Government by erecting at Kaveripattinam, a magnificent seven-story art gallery 'Silappadikaaram Kalaikoodam' in ancient Dravidian architectural style. The structure narrates the story in stone carvings.
Kumanan: Kumanan was the king of Mudiramalai near modern day Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. More inclined towards poetry than war, he was famed for his generosity and willingly gave his kingdom to his greedy brother, Ilankumanan. Kumanan is thought to have ruled around the first century AD, during the Sangam age. Our knowledge of Kumanan comes from a poetry collection of the time, the Purananooru.In it, the Sangam poets, Peruchithiranar and Peruthalaichattanar, write of him with love and admiration. Kumanan encouraged and patronised all art forms. He was known to be a just and caring ruler.
The Adventures of Pratapan: The Adventures of Pratapan is adapted from Pratapa Mudaliar Charitram, the first novel to be written in Tamil. Written in 1879 by Mayuram Vedanayakam Pillai (1826-1889), the novel was a landmark in Tamil literature because till that time, Tamil literature only consisted of poetry. Vedanayakam Pillai, influenced by the ideas of women's liberation and secularism, created a strong female character, Jnanam. The story begins with the hero, Pratapan, being completely in love with Jnanam's beauty and strength of character. Jnanam returns his feelings. Unfortunately their happiness is marred by the constant bickering of their fathers. The couple is separated and one day, Jnanam goes missing. Pratapan's adventures begin then and conclude with a surprising twist to the story.
Manonmani: The story of Manonmani is taken from the pioneering play Manonmaniyam, written by the playwright Sundaram Pillai in the 19th century. Though Tamil literature had a rich heritage of poetry and prose, it surprisingly had no plays till Sundaram Pillai, a great admirer of Shakespeare, first introduced it as a literary form. Manonmani is the story of a princess who finds love in the middle of a web of political intrigue and betrayals.