Parthiban Kanavu

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Parthiban Kanavu
AuthorKalki Krishnamurthy
Original titleபார்த்திபன் கனவு
Country India
GenreHistorical novel
PublisherMacMillan India
Publication date
1942 (An abridged English translation was published in January 2003)
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
LC ClassMLCM 2003/00425 (P) PL4758.9.K68
Preceded bySivagamiyin Sapatham 
Followed byPonniyin Selvan 

Parthiban Kanavu (Tamil: பார்த்திபன் கனவு, pārttipaṉ kaṉavu, lit. Parthiban's dream) is a Tamil novel written by Kalki Krishnamurthy.


Adapted in 1960 into a film of the same name, starring Gemini Ganesan,[1] the story is a sequel to Sivagamiyin Sapatham and a curtain-raiser to Ponniyin Selvan.[2] In 2004, Nirupama Raghavan penned an abridged (English) translation.[3]

Plot summary[edit]

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

In the seventh century the Cholas are 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 – to his young son Vikraman. Parthiban refuses to pay tribute to the Pallavas, triggering a battle in which Parthiban is killed. Before he dies, on the battlefield, an enigmatic monk promises Parthiban that he will make sure that Vikraman fulfills Parthiban's dream. On becoming an adult, Vikraman plans his revenge but is betrayed by his treacherous uncle, Marappa Bhupathi. The prince is arrested and exiled to a far-off island by Narasimhavarman.

Three years later Vikraman returns, longing to meet his mother and a mysterious beauty whom he saw before being deported. He discovers that his mother has disappeared, kidnapped by members of the savage Kapalika cult given to performing human sacrifices. He also learns that the beauty he has fallen for, Kundhavi, is none other than the daughter of his sworn enemy, Narasimhavarman.

Several twists and turns later, the monk is revealed as the Pallava emperor Narasimhavarman, who keeps his word to the dying Parthiban by helping establish an independent kingdom under Vikraman in Uraiyur, followed by the Chola prince's marriage to Kundhavi.

The novel ends by stating that Parthiban's dream of a great Chola dynasty was passed on from father to son, and was finally realised three hundred years after Parthiban's time, in the reign of Raja Raja Chola I.

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

As is his wont, Kalki mixes historical events/personalities along with fictional characters. The historical characters/events include :