Kill before being killed

AppuArchie AppuArchie at AOL.COM
Sat Dec 13 17:24:40 UTC 1997

 Kill before being killed.
      I was reluctant to post anything in Indology, after the 'tolkAppijam'
fracas. As a student of Tamil I could not go past a reference to: �taRkollijy
muR kolka' in the Tamil book 'tamizh ilakkija varalARu' by Prof. Madhu S.
Vimalanandham under 'kunhdalakEci', without passing it to those interested.
This is also a quotation in translation from another Tamil scholar. Only my
interpretation of that passage follows:
      [The only daughter Paththirai of the Prime Minister from the land
Rajakiruka, fell in love with a thief by the name of Kalan who was sentenced
to death. She saved him from the gallows set by her father and married him.
One day during one of their love quarrels - ('Udal'), she addressed him as a
thief! This angered Kalan the husband. He controlled his anger and pretended
to love her and at the right time invited her to pay homage to the mountain
god that saved his life - ('en ujir kAtta malyt tejvatty vanhangki varuvOm
vA'') and took her to the mountain peak. There he said to her,  "The other day
you called me a thief, I am going to kill you. Pray to your God." - ('anRenyk
kaLvanenRAj : inRunyk kollap pOkiRen, vazhipadu kadavuLy vanhangkikkoL').
      The shocked Paththirai, thought of "Kill before being killed" - ('taR
kollijy muR kolka,') and having destroyed her love for him, asked him as she
walked around him in worship: "Is there any other God I worship? You are that
God." - ('NAn vazhipadu kadavuL vERundO? tAngkaL anRO attejvam') and pushed
him from behind head first. Thereafter she got fed up with material worldly
life and became a Jain nun. According to Jain custom, she had to cut short her
hair. The hair continued to grow into ball of curls. Since her hair appeared
as a ball - ('kunhdu') she came to be known as "The woman with the hair of
ball of curls" - ('kunhdala kEci'). She participated in religious debates.
Because she lost in debate to a Buddhist monk, she embraced Buddhism. This is
the story of Kundalakesi.
      Based on Kundalakeci, Kalaignar Karunanidhi created the cinema epic
'maNtirikumAri' - the Prime Minister's daughter.
      Poems in Kundalakesi are full of sweet words and contents.]

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