கல்கி (செப்டம்பர் 9, 1899 - டிசம்பர் 5, 1954) புகழ் பெற்ற தமிழ் எழுத்தாளர் ஆவார். இவர் இயற்பெயர் ரா. கிருஷ்ணமூர்த்தி. 35 சிறுகதைத் தொகுதிகள், புதினங்கள், கட்டுரைகள், பயணக்கட்டுரைகள் மற்றும் வாழ்க்கை வரலாற்று நூல்களை எழுதியுள்ளார். எனினும், மிகச் சிறந்த சமூக மற்றும் வரலாற்றுப் புதினங்களை எழுதியதற்காக பரவலாக அறியப்படுகிறார். இவர் எழுதிய பொன்னியின் செல்வன் புதினம் மிகப் புகழ் பெற்றதாகும். தன் படைப்புகள் மூலம் இந்திய தேசிய விடுதலை போராட்டத்திற்கும் பங்களித்திருக்கிறார். தியாகபூமி புதினம் திரைப்படமாகவும் எடுக்கப்பட்டது.
கல்கி அவர்கள் 1899-ஆம் ஆண்டு செப்டம்பர் மாதம் 9-ம் தேதி தஞ்சாவூர் மாவட்டத்திலுள்ள புட்டமங்கலம் என்னும் ஊரில் ஒரு பிராமணக் குடும்பத்தில் பிறந்தார். ஆரம்பப்பள்ளிப் படிப்பைத் தனது கிராமத்தில் முடித்த பிறகு அவர் திருச்சியில் உள்ள தேசிய உயர்நிலைப் பள்ளியில் சேர்ந்தார். 1921-ல் மகாத்மா காந்தியடிகள் ஒத்துழையாமை இயக்கத்தைத் துவங்கிய போது, அவரது கருத்துக்களால் ஈர்க்கப்பட்டு கல்கி தனது பள்ளிப்படிப்பைப் பாதியில் துறந்து இந்திய தேசிய காங்கிரஸ் கட்சியில் சேர்ந்தார். 1922-ல் சுதந்திரப் போராட்டத்தில் பங்குபெற்றதற்காக ஓராண்டு சிறைத் தண்டனை அனுபவித்தார். 1923-ல் அவர் நவசக்தி என்னும் பத்திரிக்கையின் துணை ஆசிரியராகப் பணியாற்றினார். அவருடைய முதல் புத்தகம் 1927-ல் வெளியானது.
சமஸ்கிருதமும் தியாகராஜரின் தெலுங்கு கீர்த்தனைகளும் பிரபலமாக இருந்து வந்த அக்காலக்கட்டத்தில் தமிழிசைக்காக கல்கி சதாசிவம் மற்றும் எம். எஸ். சுப்புலட்சுமியுடன் இணைந்து பாடுபட்டார் கல்கி. தமிழ் இசை குறித்த கல்கியின் சிந்தனைகளை "தரம் குறையுமா" எனும் புத்தக வடிவில் வானதி பதிப்பகம் வெளியிட்டுள்ளது.
கல்கி எழுதிய புதினங்கள் * கள்வனின் காதலி (1937) * தியாகபூமி (1938-1939) * மகுடபதி (1942) * பார்த்திபன் கனவு (1941 - 1943) * சிவகாமியின் சபதம் (1944) * அபலையின் கண்ணீர் (1947) * சோலைமலை இளவரசி (1947) * அலை ஓசை (1948) * பொன்னியின் செல்வன் (1950-1955) * தேவகியின் கணவன் (1950) * மோகினித்தீவு (1950) * பொய்மான் கரடு (1951) * புன்னைவனத்துப் புலி (1952) * அமர தாரா (1954)
"...Kalki Krishnamurthy was a colossus striding the Tamil journalistic field at a time when much was expected from a new India. Those were euphoric times, though it all evaporated quickly. I have been and still am his admirer. His Ponniyin Selvan introduced the grandiose empire of the Cholas - though it appears somewhat exaggerated when I read it now. Nevertheless it was a need of the time..." Nominated by C.Kumarabharathy, New Zealand
"Kalki may be regarded as a pioneer in the field of historical novels in Thamizh literature. With his inimitable descriptive style reminiscent of the English author, Walter Scott, Kalki had a tremendous capacity to take the readers back into the point and time in history when the story is supposed to have taken place..."Kalki in Thamizh Literature Through the Ages - Professor C.R.Krishnamurti
"...Using the historical romance as a lens with which to examine erstwhile formulations of Tamil identity (Indian nationalist and colonial rhetoric; Dravidian political separatism and anti-Brahmanism; the tanitamil (separate Tamil) language purity and suya mariyatei (self-respect) movements; the resurgence of Saiva Siddhanta religious tenets; the advent of theosophy in Tamilnadu; and Tamil marumalarcci or cultural renaissance), I argue that Krsnamurti’s novelistic writing sketched a cultural and political canvas against which competing and complementary ideals of a new regionalist consciousness could emerge, signalling a new kind of interventionist literature in the Tamil instance..." Dwelling in Futures Past: Place, Region and Tamil Nation in Ra. Krsnamurti’s Civakamiyin Capatam - Akhila Ramnarayan
"One of the easiest questions in Indian literature would be: Which is the best historical novel written by an Indian?’ The answer is Sivakamiyin Sabatham (The oath of Sivakami), authored by Kalki Krishnamurthy. Serialised in the magazine founded and named after him, the novel had been praised all over for its authenticity, descriptive power, emotional appeal and characterisation..."A novelist whose genius remains unmatched - V. Gangadhar, 1999
Sri R. Krishnamurthi (1899-1954), popularly known as Kalki, is the author of thirty-five volumes of short stories, novels, essays, travelogues, and biographies. Though his eminent scholarship was found expressed in all types of literature still he is recognized and appreciated more as a writer of social and historical novels.
Novel as a new literary genre in Tamil had its beginning in the later part of the 19th century and there were a few works of originality and high quality in that century.
But the dawn of the twentieth century witnessed only poor imitations of Western detective fiction. It was an era of translated and adapted novels first from Bengali and then from English and Marathi. The flowers that blossomed were of foreign origin and did not display the colour and fragrance of this soil. The novels of J. W. M. Reynolds rambled in the garb of this country and their influence was so great that even a scholar like Maraimalai Adigal had adapted a story of Reynolds for his Kumudavalli or Naganttrasi.
With the appearance of Kalki in the literary scene Tamil novels had entered another era. His first novel Kalvanin Katali, when serialized in Ananta Vikatan, stole the hearts of the readers by its features of realism and description. It echoed the vox populi of this country and blazoned the colour and quality of this soil. These qualities raised the standard of the Tamil novel and increased the number of novel readers with literary taste.
Three reasons can be cited for the phenomenal success of Kalki's novels. First of all, he possessed in abundance the gift of story-telling. Secondly, he introduced healthy humour in his writings. And lastly, he threw light upon the cultural and social aspects of this country as well as the current time. "Like the great European novelists of the 19th century, Kalki was a master of striking scenes and episodes. With something of the burning patriotic fervour too of the humour of Dickens and the gift of portraiture of a Thackeray Kalki spread out his novels in impressive sequence."1
Almost all of Kalki's novels appeared first in the serial form and only then in the book form. So they had both the advantages and disadvantages of serialization.
Kalki and Historical Novels
In a broad sense, novels may be classified into historical and social novels. Historical novels deal with the society of the past while social novels, with that of the present.
The historical novel is `one in which the characters, setting and events are drawn from the past".2 It is a hybrid combination of history and fiction which like opera springs from music and dance.3
There are many difficulties in writing a historical novel. As Brander Mathews says, "a tale of the past is not necessarily a true historical novel: it is a true historical novel only when the historical events are woven into a texture of the story."4 It depends upon the historical personages depicted, its setting, description of the past and the presentation of historical events,
"In a perfect historical novel nothing should be written against the facts of history. It should only state what can be proved from history, though it might also state what cannot be disproved by history."5
The major incidents must be true to history, the life of the major characters must be agreeable to historians and the novelist has no liberty either to alter or add events contrary to historical facts. With his super-abundance of imagination he can only create a few causes for the events and raise emotions with the literature of the period, inscriptions and other sources. He has also the freedom to create a few non-historical characters, but they should not in any way affect the historical facts. So, the result of the process of history becoming art with the literary and non-literary sources of the age, is a historical novel. Fact and fiction intermingle here and the successful outcome lies in dramatization of historical events.
As Ernest E. Leisy says in his work, The American Historical Novel, the historical novel offers instruction in patriotism6 and it "is an excellent introduction to history, biography, and travel. It is an enrichment of our experience, an enlargement of our interests. We feel at one with all that has happened."7
Like Walter Scott, who in theory and practice laid the foundation of the English historical novel, Kalki laid the foundation for the historical novel in Tamil. It is true that the Tamil novel had its evolution with Vedanayakam Pillai's Prathapamudaliar Charitram in 1876, but the historical novel started only with Kalki's Parthiban Kanavu which appeared on the 16th of October 1941, Kalki number and ended on the 10th February 1943. With its appearance `a star of the first magnitude had appeared in the firmament of historical fiction'. The success of this novel made him write two or more novels Sivakamiyin Sabadam and Ponniyin Selvan.
Kalki loved his country, her scenery and her people and this love widened his imagination of the past. The social set up under the great Cholas and Pallavas made him admire the past and in his attempt to glorify and glamorize it, he began to write historial novels. His power of giving life to historical movements and characters helped him to erect these remarkable literary monuments. He mingled history with imagination and painted it with the touch of emotion too.
There are two more reasons for the rise of historical novels during this period. They are the urge to free the country from foreign bondage and the literary revival. Through his novels, he instructed that we too had a historic past and stressed the need for freedom. In short, he taught history to his countrymen in an entertaining form and prepared the ground for the freedom fight.
Parthiban Kanavu and Sivakamiyin Sabadam give a picture of the great Pallava Age of the seventh century A.D., while Ponniyin Selvan paints the age of the glorious Cholas. Both the periods are a mixture of many aspects of the history of Tamil Nad such as that of religions, literature, art and architecture and also of administration. Kalki had been a keen student of these aspects which he learnt through epigraphic, inscriptional and numismatic sources and he enriched his novels with all these facts of history.
Kalki got inspiration to write Parthibara Kanavu and Sivakamiyin Sabadam on the seashore of Mahabalipuram, when he was accompanied by Rasikamani T. K. C. and where he saw thousands and thousands of ships and boats carrying warriors on one side, and other people, architects, Ayanar, Sivakami, Mahendravarmar and Mamallar on the other side in his mental vision. They left a deep and lasting impression upon his heart and only after finishing Sivakamiyin Sabadam, twelve years later, they bade adieu to the novelist.8
Kalki had also the genius to classify the historical and non-historical events, historical and non-historical characters and how much the novel owes to history. In his introduction to Sivakamiyin Sabadam and conclusion to Ponniyin Selvan, he explains the percentage of fact and fiction. Really speaking, Kalki's interest in history, the features of his historical novels and the popularity they gained, made others enter this vast and new field and contribute. works of merit.
Kalki and Social Novels
The great English novelist, Walter Scott, is remembered only for his historical novels and no novel was written by him with the period in which he lived, as background. In this respect, Kalki excels him and his social novels are in a way the social history of his time.
Among them, Solaimalai Ilavarasi needs special reference. It is the bridge that connects Kalki's social and historical novels. On one side, it throws light upon his contemporary life and on the other it enlivens the early nineteenth century. In it, he compares India of 1842 and of 1942 side by side and explains how the Britishers were able to establish and expand their rule and the epic struggle for freedom. Alai Osai also has the national events as its background and in the preface Kalki states clearly :
". . . The work of the author is to paint the eighteen years of national history as the background of this story. Between 1930 and 1947 many wonderful incidents happened in the history of our Motherland. The readers will find them continuing as the background to this `Noise of the Waves'."
Kalki himself was a real patriot. While he was a student in the National College, Tiruchirappalli, he took part in the non-cooperation movement and was arrested (1921). Again he was incarcerated twice, in 1931 and in 1940 for participating in the freedom movement. His political experiences during this period made him portray excellently and thus his novels are true to life.
Many national and international events are revealed in his masterpiece, Alai Osai and in other novels. The Sepoy Mutiny (1857), Gandhi Irwin Pact (March 1931), Civil Disobedience Campaign (1929), Salt Satyagraha (6-4-1930, its failure, and the imprisonment of Mahathma Gandhi and Nehru, Congress Party's decision to continue Civil Disobedience, Satyagraha at Coimbatore (6-6-1931), the `Quit India' movement (1934), the Second World War (1939-45) and its impact on England, Japan's invasion of Malaya, the fear of bombardment in the city of Madras, the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945), the great August movement of 1942, the announcement of the Prime Minister of England to send three members of the cabinet to study the Indian opinion, the formation of Interim Government, the proceedings of Karachi and Haripura Congresses, the Socialists' Conference in Lahore, the radio speech of Subash Chandra Bose from Berlin, the forming of the Indian National Army, the birth of the Muslim League, India's Independence (15-8-1947), the Independence-day celebrations in Delhi, the separation of Pakistan, the cruelties of Razakars and Communists in Hyderabad, the integration of Indian States, the Hindu-Muslim tumult and Gandhiji's fast to stop it are recorded with rare understanding and skill in his novels. From the entrance of Gandhiji into the political field to his tragic end (on 30-1-1948), many important incidents are delineated with great understanding.
His novels also picture with faith the social life of his time. Love, marriage, family life, social set-up, administration and even corruption and the black-market, the act of prohibition are vividly described. In brief, "the Gandhian Age in our national history has been fittingly described as our modern Heroic Age and Tamil Nad found in `Kalki' a writer of genius and fully equal to the task of recording both the outer happenings and the inner movements of the heart and mind of that Age."9
According to W. H. Hudson, the study of literature is a form of travel in one way10 and while we glide through Kalki's novels we become acquainted not only with the great Pallavas and the glorious Cholas of the middle period but also with the Gandhian era. This sort of communication of experience is an important characteristic of his novels.
"Structure will simply mean interconnection between elements or qualities" 11 or it is the "sum total of the elements that make up a work".12 The way in which the elements are interwoven is called the structure of a novel.
Story is the fundamental aspect of all prose fiction. As said earlier, Kalki's novels are based upon the past or contemporary events. The structures of Kalki's novels, except Ponniyin Selvan, are good because the stories are under the control of the novelist during construction. In Ponniyin Selvan, the story is as vast and wide as the Chola Kingdom itself so that it develops beyond the control of the novelist and seems to be rather loose in structure.
The beginnings and endings of Kalki's novels reveal some special features. Besides the conventional beginnings and endings in Alai Osai, Kalvanin Katali, Sivakamiyin Sabadam and Ponniyin Selvan, some of his novels begin with a conversation between the author himself and a character of the novel. Apalaiyin Kannir begins with such a conversation and its ending is also striking. The hero of the novel, all through his life, fights against the black-market, but alas! the author makes him buy sugar from a blackmarketeer in the end. Poiman Karadu also begins with the novelist's experience at a tea-party. This sort of beginnings and endings provide his novels with flesh and blood.
In fact, Poiman Karadu develops without any major incident. In this novel, there happens one horrible murder but nobody dies and a fire accident with nobody injured. Even then the story is interesting and the structure good.
Kalki has also introduced some psychological effects into his novels. Sita's hearing of the noise of the waves in Alai Osai is one such. It is an indicator of the forecoming joy or sorrow and Surya describes it as a divine power. Alai Osai utilizes this device fully and its influence upon the author is so great that he names his novel Alai Osai or `Noise of the Waves'.
Another feature of structure is the novelist's direct intervention into his novels. When Abirami is waiting for her brother in Kalvanin Katali, Kalki interferes and comments like this:
"Abirami ! Oh poor Abirami ! Don't think that your brother will return within a minute. He will not come back. Hereafter God alone is your Companion."13
At times, he leaves his characters at a critical juncture and diverts the reader's mind for some time. Muttaiyan, in Kalvanin Katali enters Kalyani's house through the roof in order to take revenge but suddenly and unexpectedly he meets her there. Kalki leaves them there looking at each other and goes about explaining some past events. In the same way, he pushes Magudapathi before Karkkodakkavandar's rifle and turns to describe the heroine's sorrows leaving them to remain in the same helpless position in Magudapati. There are many instances in Ponniyin Selvan and Alai Osai where the novelist enters directly and comments upon the events.
Of all, the structure of Solaimalai Illavarasi is the most complex one. The author combines two stories, one that happened in the early nineteenth century and the other in the year 1942 and narrates them side by side skilfully. The characters of the two stories are the same but with different names, the incidents are not the same but similar. With these two stories in one novel, Kalki manages to picture two periods. This type of structure exhibits Kalki's power in combining two stories of different periods into one.
The creation of character is the foundation of good fiction and in fact, the events of a novel flow logically from the nature of the characters. 14
Kalki's success lies in the creation of impressive characters in his novels and most of his characters are true to life. In a period where there were only detectives, his Kalvanin Katali sowed the seed for revolution in characterization. The hero of the novel is a thief and with unusual individuality and powerful imagination, he makes the readers sympathize with the hero. The descriptions of his affection for his sister Abirami and his love for Kalyani move the readers and compel them to take part in their joys and sorrows. It is no exaggeration to say that this characterization of a thief successfully inaugurated the change in the taste of the readers from detective novels to social novels.
Yet, another feature of charactization is his intermingling of fictional and non-fictional characters. In his historical novels, there are not only the great Mahendravarma Pallavar, Narasimhavarma Pallavar, Paran jothi, Pulikesin, Maravarman of Ceylon, Hieum-t-sang, the poet Bharavi, Raja Cholan, Rajendra Cholan, Kundavai and Vanama Devi but also Naganandhi, Ayanar, Nandhini and Sivakami.
All the four non-historical characters figure from the commencement till the end of the novels. Even in his social novels the imaginary characters are familiar with Gandhiji's personality, Nethaji's heroism and Nehru's vision.
Another feature is that Kalki makes his imaginary characters take part in the actual events of the day. Kumaralingam, Magudappathi, Sivaraj, Surya, Tarini and Pattabi are connected with the political movements of the day and among them Kumaralingam and Magudapathi participate in the famous August 1942 movement. In Solaimalai Ilavarasi he mixes the experiences of a patriot with an imaginary prince and paints on the canvas, the political history of a hundred years in myriad hues and shades.
The other thing to be mentioned is the number of characters in Alai Osai, which is the story of a generation like Tolstoy's War and Peace 15 and in Ponniyin Selvan. They are several in number and Kalki gives due importance to all the characters. This feature of introducing numerous characters is rare in Tamil novels. In addition, there is more than one heroine in Alai Osai and Kalki leaves to his readers to decide as to who is the heroine, Sita or Tarini or Lalitha.l6
Like Walter Scott, Kalki is fond of describing his characters in disguise. The story of The Talisman by Scott, develops upon the disguise of Sultan Saladin. In the same way, Parthibara Kanavu develops upon the disguise of Narasimhavarma Pallavan. In fact, the whole interest lies in the disguise of Narasimhavarman. King Narasimha Pallava also meets Sivakami at Vatapi in disguise and Surya in Alai Osai escapes from the police in the disguise of an ascetic.
Like Alexander Dumas, Kalki utilized the device of creating original and duplicate in his novels. Naganandhi - Pulikesin in Sivakamiyin Sabadam. Maduranthakar - Sendan Amudan in Ponniyin Selvan and Tarini - Sita in Alai Osai exhibit the success of this device.
Another feature is that Kalki's villains in the sociological novels are not so clever and charming as his villains in the historical novels. The creations of Naganandhi Adigal and Nandhini are in no way inferior to other villains of the world whereas the villains of his sociological novels are dull and drab. The freedom in creating characters in social novels is more restricted than in historical novels and this may be the reason for this shortcoming.
Some of his characters are created in such a way that they live for ever in the hearts of the readers. Naganandhi, 5ivakami, Sita, Rashia Beham, Sundara Cholan, Raja Raja Cholan, Mahendravarman, Mamallan and Nandhini have the unique charm of literary immortality.
Kalki introduced healthy humour as against the dull and the vulgar. His humour does not hurt anybody and so makes everybody laugh. "A story is considered poor if it makes some person blush with embarassment, if it makes something sacred appear common if it makes a man's weakness the cause for laughter, if it has to have profanity or vulgarity to be funny, or if everyone cannot join in the enjoyment of the joke."17 Kalki's humour is free from all these maladies. Sengodan's first experience in seeing a cinema in Poiman Karadu, Alwarkkadiyan's witty utterances in Ponniyin Selvan and the humorous disputes between Rao Bahadur Padmalochana Sastrigal and Professor Pavi Rajaka Sarma in Alai Osai will be ever remembered by the seekers of wit and humour.
These are the special features found in Kalki's novels in their background, theme, subject matter, structure and characterization and these features certainly pushed the Tamil novel forward. These features also weaned the readers from detective novels to sociological and historical novels and gained more readers for literary novels. In fact, a new era is ushered in with Ka1ki's Kalvanin Katali in the history of Tamil novel, and Parthiban Kanavu heralds the birth of a p_ asture new, the historical novel, in Tamil.