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Manimekalai (Text, Transliteration, Translations in English Verse and Prose)

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Item Code: UAW716
Author: K.G. Seshadri, Prema Nandakumar
Publisher: Central Institute of Classical Tamil, Chennai
Language: Tamil Text with Translitertion and English Translation
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9789381744215
Pages: 810
Other Details 9.30 X 6.30 inch
Weight 1.27 kg
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Book Description

The Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT), established in Chennai, has mapped out various plans including preparation of definitive editions of forty-one Classical Tamil texts and translation of these works into English and other major European languages as well as into major Indian languages and writing of a historical grammar of Tamil. Language being the autobiography of a people, our objective is to preserve and safeguard the invaluable treasure of the literary compositions in our language. If only we could delve into our past and recover the riches and wealth of the mighty treasure trove of Classical Tamil poetry, we will be amply rewarded by its lofty poetry, the poetry that strengthens and purifies the holiness of heart's affection and enlarges our imagination. Apart from these, reading the ancient Tamil texts such as Tolkäppiyam, Ettuttokai, Pattuppattu, Tirukkural etc., provides a foundation for scholarship for the present and in this sense they do provide enlightened education.

It is heartening to write this foreword to the series of publications brought out by CICT, which I am sure, will do full justice to the masterpieces in Tamil without compromising on the quality of production. The Cankam corpus and the post-Cankam Classics such as Cilappatikaram and Manimekalai being a repository of our glorious culture, it behoves our present and future generations to study them and to convey their message and the vision of life embodied in them to the public at large. Let me, therefore, commend the series to the enlightened beings the world over.


Tamil language has a very rich tradition of art, literature, music, dance and several other forms of artistic expression. Tamil literature, especially, has not just been a collection of literary works, but also a historical source of reference about the life and art of the period. This is especially true of Cankam literature, which contains vivid descriptions of the life and values of the times.

Manimekalai, a Cankam classic of the 2nd century AD is one of the five great epics of the Tamil literary tradition. Authored by Cattanar, this epic, a sequel to another of the five epics, Cilappatikaram, narrates the story of young Manimekalai, daughter of Madhavi, one of the principal characters of Cilappatikaram. The story of Manimekalai is one of quest for spiritual enlightenment. Her engagement in philosophical disquisitions with learned men of various systems of faiths forms the core of this immortal work. As a repository of Buddhist logic, ethics, beliefs and values of the times, it is a literary treasure not merely for its literary value but for the depth of ethical and philosophical analysis. Rich in poetic representations of the dancers, musicians and other artists and detailed accounts of social and religious life, Manimekalai transports us to the times when Tamil civilization was at its zenith.

The present volume aims at bringing out the richness of this work to the non-Tamil audience by means of three translations two in verse and one in prose. This will definitely go a long way in bringing out the inherent depth of Tamil language and culture.

I especially wish to thank the Editorial Committee of CICT.

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