(Last Updated on : 15-10-2011)
Prathapa Mudaliar Charithram was authored by Mayuram Vedanayagam Pillai. It was published in the year 1879. This novel is considered as a landmark in Tamil literature
. This composition gave birth to a new literary genre and Tamil prose gained recognition.
The author was highly influenced by Western ideas of women's liberation and secularism. He also published works that projected his principles. This novel revolves round the story of Prathapa Mudaliar and his hard work.
The story is a group of events and narratives which is around an immature but good-natured hero and his life. It begins in a typical high caste setting. Young Prathapa Mudhaliar is always indulged in hunting. The heroine here is depicted as an intelligent and morally straight girl who gets married to the hero through a numerous of events.
They get separated and the wife is found wandering in the forest. As she had to protect herself, she dresses up as a man and roams in the jungle. In the meantime a kingdom nearby loses its heir and requires a new king that would be chosen randomly by the royal elephant. The elephant wanders in the forest and puts the flower garland on the young lady who is dressed as a man. She is declared as the chief of the region and carried to the palace.
The hero is depressed after losing his wife and goes in search of her. On his way his sandals are torn and he decides to repair them with the help of a cobbler. He promises the cobbler that if the sandals are stitched properly then he will reward him with happiness. His sandals are mended and he in turn gives the cobbler one rupee. The cobbler is not satisfied and demands his "happiness". He was bewildered and the matter reaches the court of the new "King". The king recognizes her husband despite his disturbed face. However he is unable to recognize his wife and addresses her as the King.
She decides to settle the issue by asking the cobbler if he was happy to see the kingdom's new king. The cobbler returns. The "King" reveals herself to her husband privately. She handles the kingdom to a young learner in the court and leaves. Both live happily ever after.