Kannaki’s Anklet; A perfect blend of Culture, Feminism and Religion

Kannaki’s Anklet; A perfect blend of Culture, Feminism and Religion

Kannaki’s Anklet is an adaptation of Ilango Adigal’s Shilappadikaram. After writing the plights of Shakuntala and Satyavati, this time Mr. Utkarsh Patel takes us through the life of Kannaki, the lead character of this book. For the folks who are not very well versed with southern literature, let me tell them that Shilappadikaram is one of the greatest epics of Tamil literature.

My first interaction with this story came a little late, when I started watching all the episodes of “Bharat Ek Khoj” on the youtube channel of “PublicResourceOrg”. But the impact of the tale is strong enough to create a debate in my mind. On the one hand Kannaki forgives her husband’s infidelity but at the same time she did not forgive the city of Madurai for the injustice done by the King. Can a lady forgive the infidelity of her husband? Can a lady blame the whole city for the injustice made by the King? There are so many questions which are beautifully answered by Mr. Patel in his book Kannaki’s Anklet. How? Simply by analyzing each of the characters beautifully! I must give credit to Mr. Patel for describing each of the characters, no matter how insignificant they are; in the best possible manner.

Kannaki, A woman or A Goddess?

The book “Kannaki’s Anklet” can also be presented as a journey of a girl; from “being a lady whose husband left her” to “being the Goddess of chastity”; from Kannaki to Kannaki Amman. Kannaki Amman is the Goddess of chastity and fertilization, primarily being worshipped in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and in some part of Sri Lanka. Why do people considered her as a Goddess? Is it because she has the heart big enough to forgive her husband or is it because she destroyed the whole city to avenge the injustice? There is no conclusive answer to this question. But by the end of the book, the author takes the help of poetry to explain this.

kanakis anklet

Kannaki’s Anklet, the easy prose form of the epic

The original masterpiece “Shilappadikaram” is not very famous outside South India, as the Jain Monk Ilango Adigal chose to write it in Tamil rather than Sanskrit, which was more popular. So for the non-Tamil speaking people, we have to rely on the translated version of the epic. There are many such translation works available; but Mr. Utkarsh Patel’s Kannaki’s Anklet stands out to be one of the best works. In his book Kannaki’s Anklet, the author simplifies the complex verses of the original masterpiece so that an average reader like me can enjoy it. However, he also made sure that the beauty of the verses should remain there. So, throughout the book, he uses the verses to make the reader feel close to the original epic. That’s the beauty of Mr. Patel’s narrative.

Kannaki’s Anklet is truly a perfect blend of Tamil culture, literature, feminism and religion.


My Review

This is the third book from Mr. Utkars Patel. The common theme of all the three books, Shakuntala, Satyavati and Kannaki’s Anklet is the women wronged. Like the previous books, here also the author takes ample freedom to narrate the story by using his own imagination. But he did not make any significant twist in the original characters of the epic. That’s really admirable. This book is a must for today’s time where forgiveness seems to be equated with cowardliness; whereas in reality it is the strongest thing one can do in her/his lifetime.

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