WHY IS THIS LANDSCAPE SO LUSH AND GREEN?
This Legend of Ponnivala video clip is representative of the song refrains the bards used to lend extra emotional feeling to the story. You can hear the words of the original song (and tune) in the background. An English translation has been superimposed to aid a non-Tamil speaker in understanding what is being said. It could be called a ”praise song” in that the song honours the Chola king and the lush landscape his well-tended fields represent. But there is a deeper message as well. The authority of the king is respected and his rule is considered just. Traditionally, in this area, the just reign of a monarch is reflected in the prosperity and lush growth of all that grows around him. It is as if the landscape itself is a mirror that reflects the happiness and contentment of its many subjects. It also acts as a metaphor that implies the king has honoured the gods (and especially the local goddess) from whom all prosperity flows. Finally, as we shall see in my next blog, the loyalty and contentment of the king’s key workers is another reason for the crops to be bountiful, and the fields to be full of moist beauty.
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