(Last Updated on : 29/01/2013)
Nantik Kalampakam is one of the several types of Tamil literature
which were written during the middle ages. It was considered a novelty to include various themes in composing a literary work. The Kalampakam was composed on a range of themes and also in various forms of poetry. The entire work should be written in one hundred verses in the antati form. In this type of poetical composition, the final line or the word or the syllable or the foot of the previous verse forms the beginning of the next poem. This results in the appearance of a chain or a garland in the literary work. One of the Kalampakams is a verse in honour of an important king of the Pallava dynasty
known as Nantivarman. Hence, this type of literary work is known as Nantik Kalampakam.
Nantik Kalampakam is noteworthy because of its vivid innovation and poetic brilliance. In fact the exquisiteness and style of the verses facilitates to overlook the hyperbolic handling of the theme. A story or account is narrated to represent the importance of the work. Even though the story does not contain any historical base, yet it has gained prevalence as it describes the significance of the work. According to legends, one of the rivals of King Nantivarman made numerous deceitful plans to execute him. When the enemy's plans failed, he wrote a poetical work. It is believed that the poetry comprised of many verses and lines that would accelerate the process of his death, when heard by King Nantivarman. After the poetic work was completed, Nantivarman's rival pleaded him to be seated on a funeral pyre and hear his poetry and the king agreed due to his admiration for Tamil poetry.
Legends state that the quality of the verses was so fascinating and mesmerizing, that Nantivarman declined to leave the funeral pyre even after knowing his enemy's real intentions. After the king listened to the hundredth verse, the pyre went up in flames and king Nantivarman died a tragic death. The wretched poem composed by the king's rival is renowned for its poetic magnificence and the tragic descriptions about the king and the assorted rivalries and the continuing battles and never ending wars.
The Nantik-kalampakam evidently signified the latest trend in the development of Tamil literature. There is uniqueness and innovation in the representation of ideas, and novelty in the use of poetic metre for the portrayal of different emotions. There is also freshness in the style of the poems. Although the style is simple, yet is packed with vibrant life and conveys ideas with outstanding lucidity.