(Last Updated on : 13/02/2012)
The work of Mukkutar Pallu is probably one of the most prominent works in the Pallu
genre in plays in Tamil literature
which are still in existence. Pallu Plays in Tamil Literature
are those plays, drama and folk songs of Tamil Nadu
which were created for the peasants and farmers. Mukkutar Pallu was written by a poet who was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and belonged to the Vaishnavism
sect. He lived during the 18th century. The Pallu play tells the story of a farmer or agricultural worker, known as a Pallan in Tamil language
, in the form of a play. The main plot of Mukkutar Pallu revolves around the various interesting and complex incidents that occur in the household of the farmer and his two wives. The landlord, known as pannaiyar, also plays a pivotal role in the story. The rivalry and suspicion between the two wives related to their husband raises several complications and problems for the farmer, but these are solved at the end of the narrative.
Content of Mukkutar Pallu
The farmer or Pallan is the main protagonist of the plot in the play of Mukkutar Pallu. The farmer had 2 wives and was fond of both of them, but still he preferred to spend most of his time in the company of his younger wife. This aggravated and irritated the first wife. As a result, she hatched a scheme to complain about his husband to the landlord or pannaiyar. She stated that the farmer was more focused in spending the most of his time with his second wife and gave less priority to his work which proved detrimental to his farm work and eventually affected the landlord. The Pannaiyar or landlord called for the Pallan or farmer and counseled and warned him so that he would focus more on his work than his wife and would not neglect his duties further.
Therefore, the farmer concentrated on his farm work. But his deep rooted love for his second and younger wife was so strong that again it led him to ignore his usual duties. The first wife, who was now extremely jealous of the second wife, again complained about the fact to the landlord. This time the landlord decided to punish the farmer and thus tied him into a post in the cattle-shed as a chastisement. Due to the intense suffering of the farmer, the jealous first wife felt guilty about her actions and was moved. She pleaded to the landlord for the release of her husband. After the farmer was released, he became completely focused on his work. One day when he was at work, the pallan was pushed and stamped by cattle. The farmer was severely injured and became bedridden for sometime.
After the injured farmer was healed properly and recovered, he went back to work and harvested the paddy. The landlord paid the farmer his share of the cultivation, which in turn he shared with his two wives. The first wife again became jealous and complained to her neighbours that her husband did not provide her due share of rice and was partial to the second wife. This act enraged the younger second wife and both wives started and argument. The first wife was rebuked her for her irresponsible behaviour by the second wife. Later all of the problems were sorted out between the wives as the farmer gave proper importance to both of them. Finally sanity prevailed and peace was restored. Both the wives of the farmer praised him for his generosity.
During the 17th century, a religious rivalry existed between the Shaivites and the Vaishnavites. As the work of Mukkutar Pallu was composed by a Vaishnava poet, hence Vaisnavism received the most importance in the poetic work. Ennayinar, a Tamil poet, composed a dramatized version of the Mukkutar Pallu at a later period, known as Mukkutar Pallu Natakam. The work was especially created for plays and dramas and thus many changes were made to the original work in order to make it interesting to the spectators.