Thursday, June 28, 2012

Episode 19: Independence Won

In this feature, we outline the chapters of The Legend of Ponnivala as we've laid them out in the animated and print series. The sub-story descriptions are those that occur in each episode, and are drawn from our Teacher's Handbook.

A neighbouring monarch demands tribute from Ponnivala’s two rulers, but only one brother is willing to pay up. When he arrives with the required gifts he is jailed in a move designed to force the other brother to appear. When this brother does arrive, the cunning King tries many more tricks. Eventually the two brothers overthrow him in battle and Ponnivala’s independence is won.

The Humble, Tribute-Paying Elder Brother Is Thrown In Jail!

As a consequence the elder sibling takes the humbling gift to the Chola palace by himself, accompanied only by the loyal family assistant. The great king accepts the payment but he is not happy. He has not won the submission of the younger twin, the one he really wants to humiliate. So he develops his own scheme and throws the elder twin in jail. The king reasons that when the younger twin gets word of this he will come to his palace in search of his missing brother. Back at the palace the younger sister has a dream in which she learns that the brother who took the tribute to the Chola has been jailed there. She tells her other brother who angrily takes off to rescue his twin.

The Younger Brother Rides To His Elder’s Rescue

The young king rides at full speed towards the Chola’s palace. When the younger king arrives he finds the assistant still waiting patiently outside the palace. He knows nothing of the “jailing” story. He stops to vent some of his anger on him. Meanwhile the Chola, knowing that the younger twin is prone to violence, gets worried. So decides to pretend that nothing is wrong. He releases his brother and prepares a feast. Pretending that he wants to honor the elder brother he decorates him by putting rings on his toes, seating him on a throne, and so forth. But, in fact, there are several more tricks up this monarch’s sleeve. He is not willing to let the younger brother “off the hook.”

The Dishonest King Attempts Many Kinds of Treachery

First the Chola king tries to poison his two guests while offering them a pretentious palace "feast." Foiled by a cat (an envoy of Lord Vishnu) the Chola then tries another trick. This time he hopes to get them to sit on a chair that has been cunningly tied over a deep pit and is designed to dump its occupant into that hole. But one of the Chola’s own sons falls into that deep hole instead. Finally the Chola proposes a trip to a mountain shrine near by. Eventually he traps the two brothers there, stranding them on a high cliff. He helps them climb up by providing a long ladder, but then pulls it way. Then the Chola runs gleefully back to his palace, believing his “enemy-guests” will die on the isolated mountain. But the two heroes are not ready to give up. As usual they call on Lord Vishnu for help once more. The Lord starts to fly towards earth.

Lord Vishnu Rescues the Heroes From A Lonely Mountain Top

Vishnu rescues the stranded royal twins from the top of the cliff where they are stranded. He appears to them as a beggar with very long hair, walking along a path at the foot of that cliff. Hearing the two stranded me call out, the beggar then braids his hair and throws his magically long plaits up to them. The two men scramble down those braids readily. As soon as they are “free,” however, they have only one thought: They want to attack the Chola king in revenge. An all out fight ensues.

A Battle Royal With The King Which the Heroes Win

The heroes are without their horses. So they run at full speed towards the Chola’s palace. When arrive both the wicked Chola king and the angry clansmen are inside the palace gates. There is a major attack by the skilful heroes and their huge assistant. At the end of the scuffle the Chola king lies dead, along with all of the rival clansmen who initially brought their complaint to him. The twins return home victorious. They have now freed themselves from the requirement to show submission to an onerous overlord. Peace reigns throughout the kingdom.

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