Parthiban Kanavu

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Parthiban Kanavu
Author Kalki Krishnamurthy
Original title பார்த்திபன் கனவு
Country  India
Language Tamil
Genre Historical novel
Publisher MacMillan India
Publication date
1942 (An abridged English translation was published in January 2003)
Media type Print (Hardcover)
ISBN 1-4039-0954-7
OCLC 52846173
LC Class MLCM 2003/00425 (P) PL4758.9.K68

Parthiban Kanavu (Tamil: பார்த்திபன் கனவு, [pārttipaṉ kaṉavu] error: {{transl}}: unrecognized transliteration standard: iso 15919 (help), lit. Parthiban's dream) is a famous Tamil novel written by Kalki Krishnamurthy.


Later adopted as film in 1960 with same name starring Gemini Ganesan.[1] The story is the sequel of Sivagamiyin Sapatham and the incidents mentioned in the book are referred very often in Ponniyin Selvan, one of the greatest novels in Tamil language.[2] In 2004, Nirupama Raghavan penned an abridged (English) translation.[3]

Plot summary[edit]

This novel deals with the attempts of the son of Chola king Parthiban, Vikraman, to attain independence from the Pallava ruler, Narasimhavarman.

The Cholas remain vassals of the Pallavas. Parthiban conveys his dream of the Chola dynasty regaining its glory – which he believes is lost since they are no longer the independent rulers of their land – to his young son Vikraman. Parthiban refuses to pay the taxes to the Pallavas and this triggers the Pallavas to wage war against the Cholas. In the resulting war Parthiban is killed. But before he dies, in the battlefield, an enigmatic monk promises to Parthiban that he will make sure that Vikraman fulfills Parthiban's dream. Vikraman grows up and plans his retaliation against Narasimhavarman. But his uncle, Marappa Bhupathi, betrays him and Vikraman is arrested and deported to a far off island by Narasimhavarman.

The narrative moves on to describe how Vikraman comes back longing to meet his mother and the mysterious beauty whom he saw before being deported. To his woe he later discovers that his mother has disappeared and has in fact been kidnapped by members of a savage cult who are known as Kapalikas – a group which believes in human sacrifice. He also comes to know that the beauty he has fallen for, Kundhavi, is none other than the daughter of his sworn enemy, Narasimhavarman.

The novel climaxes with the identity of the monk finally being revealed as Pallava King, Narasimhavarman and establishment of the independent Chola kingdom under Vikraman in Uraiyur. Vikraman marries Kundhavi in the final chapter.

The novel mentions that King Parthiban's dream of a great Chola dynasty was passed on from father to son every generation and finally came true three hundred years after Parthiban's time when Raja Raja Chola became king.

Allusions/references to actual history, geography and current science[edit]

As is his work, Kalki mixes many historical events/personalities along with fictional characters to weave an interesting novel that moves at a brisk pace. The historical characters/events include :

Above details are a part of different novel Sivagamiyin Sapatham by the same writer.