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Udayar (உடையார்) is a Tamil novel written by Balakumaran. The story is written in six volumes, and is a sequel to Ponniyin Selvan depicting Rajaraja Chola's rule and the construction of the big temple at Tanjore c. 1000 CE. The story's first part was published in a weekly Tamil magazine and then published in monthly novels (Palsuvai novel, Ladies novel). Subsequently, 5 volumes were published as books by Thirumagal Nilayam. Recently sixth volume has been released.
This novel deals with the building of the Tanjore Temple, depicting in detail the mindset of the people, Rajaraja chola's courtiers and relatives. It also throws light on the significance of the various innovations that were done during the building of the temple. Some parts of this story also deals with the death of Aditya Karikalan, Rajaraja's brother.
The conceptual idea behind the novel is the thinking of how RajaRaja Chola would have dreamed about constructing this temple - Anbe Sivam. RajaRaja's love for his people and nation turns into an idea of constructing a big temple which will always speak about him and his people for the ages to come. The other main concept is that of a country that will succeed in all its endeavors. It asks "what is the next step in its improvement" - the Economy. RajaRaja is a clear thinker of his country's economy, and after clearing all the obstacles from his enemies, plans to develop his economy. He orders for a planning committee to initiate the correction of land boundaries, partitioning between cultivable and non-cultivable lands. Along with that, he needs to think of a next level of improvement, which is the Periya Kovil.
With this construction he will be able to reduce problems and move the country to a higher level. Namely, 1. He will able to construct a building shows his love for the Lord, the People and the Country. 2. He will be able to improve the pride and glory of his dynasty. 3. He will be able to improve his economy. 4. He can use the prisoners of war for useful work - rather than simply making them to sit and eat. 5. He can solve unemployment among the people. 6. Will be able to make the people concentrate on one goal and develop peace in the country.
Improvement in the economy
After starting the construction of the new temple, the following things happened: 1. A clear coin economy. Though there were gold coins before, they were used in large trades. For small trades there is still the process of exchange. There is no small coins that would help people to specifically give it for small workers. So, for crafts men, food sellers, shepherds etc. this coinage was developed. A clear partition among which work should get what salary was made. 2. Even small works were given good importance. For example, preparation of tools for construction, textiles for workers, people who herd cattle (for food and transportation) and horses (for transportation). 3. People in art (drawing, dancing, etc.) were given more attention and they created great works. 4. Proper construction of stone roads to the capital city Tanjavur to take heavy traffic. Construction of bridges and carts for transportation. 5. Settlement of different communities of people in a single city made the situation such that people got anything in Thanjavur. The eventual result is the development of the capital, which in turn makes the country prosperous.
Balakumaran's writing is a clear depiction of all these details. He does not make RajaRaja to be the great in all his ideas. He even points out that RajaRaja was still there in power even though Rajendra is in his mid 30s, showing that there was a power struggle between RajaRaja and Rajendra. So Rajendra is given an equal importance in the novel. Balakumaran was able to give equal importance to all his characters and brings truth to the forefront.