The new form of Tamil literature has only been around for about two centuries.
Before that, the form of poetry ruled the world for almost two thousand years. Novel is a relatively new genre in Tamil literature but is very popular among the Tamil novel readers. The new format was popularized by legendary writers such as Kalki Krishnamurthy, Vai. mu. Kothainayaki, Lakshmi, Na. Parthasarathy etc. The new form has given us several others. The Historical Novels of Kalki, Akilan, Sandilyan and Na. The Tamil readers enjoyed Parthasarathy for their skillful portrayal of the historical, social and cultural aspects of the bygone era. These novels are no less than priceless treasures for the Tamil people of even successive generations. Here’s a bird’s-eye view of some of the famous historical novels.
Historical novels by Kalki
Ponniyin Selvan is a novel set in the Chola period and shows the social and political situation prevailing at that time. The imaginary characters and events fit well into the historical events. He could even mix humor and satire into the actual events. His description of the kings and the wars they fought and their aspirations and dreams for their country and people. The stories were full of twists and turns that captured the imagination of the reading public. Sivagamiyin Sabhatham is his masterpiece, romantic novel set during the reign of the Pallava dynasty over South India. Parthiban Kanavu is the story of Chola prince Vikkiraman who fulfills the dream of his father Parthiban, the Chola king, to restore the Chola kingdom and free it from the Pallava ruler Narasimha Varma Pallavan.
Akilan’s Kayalvizhi is a gripping saga set in the background of the Pandiya kingdom. His other novels include Vengayin Maindhan, Kanni Maadam and Vettri Thirunagar. Vengayin Mainthan won the Sahitya Academy Award in 1963. Vettri Thirunagar depicts the life of Viswanatha Nayaka of Vijaya Nagar, the founder of the Nayakas. He played an important role in the integration of the country.
Popularly known as Deepam Parthasarathy, after the name of the Tamil magazine he published, his novels Paandimaa Devi, Rani Mangammal and Manipallavam are very popular. Paandimaa Devi showcases the glorious Tamil culture and philosophy. The novel is a story of the Pandian ruler the third Rasa Simma Pandiyan.
Vanthiyathevan Vaal by Vikkiraman is a novel set in the Raja Raja Chola period. He has written some interesting novels like Kulothungan Kanavu, Raja Rajan Sabhatham, Aalavai Arasi and Vathapi Vijayam which are very popular.
Kollippaavai, Naaga Nandhini, Vengai Vanam, Sera Sooriyan and Ilavarasi Mohanangi are famous novels by Kovi. Manisekaran serials in Tamil Magazines.
Ra Ki Rangarajan
Naan Krishnadevarayan by Ra. ki. Rangarajan is a story woven around Vijayanagaram and as seen by the king Krishnadeva Rayan.
His novels are historical romance with a lot of adventure incorporated. Most of them are set during the time of the Chola Kingdom. His novels also describe the political situation in South India and the conflict with the other countries over the seas. Yavana Rani is about a Greek princess who is rescued by Ilanchezhiyan, from the Chola Empire. Kadal Pura is another novel about the army commander of Chola king Rajendra II and the princess of Sumatra.
Tamil readers could read most of the historical novels that are in Tamil weeklies. They were later published as a book.