Who is Nandini?
  • Who is Nandini?

    When Ram (our moderator) approached me for a weekly article based on
    the discussions that we have in the group, I was wondering how to
    start. After much head scratching I thought I would like to begin
    this series with a question which pops in all our minds while we read
    this great epic – "Who is Nandini?"

    I wonder if there was a more complex character created at all by any
    author. And the way Kalki builds her character through the entire
    novel is beautiful. In each part, episode and dialogue we get to know
    a new facet about her character and equally a new secret about her

    Right from the beginning of this epic, we see conflicting images that
    this character portrays. Initially we know her as a mystery woman in
    a palanquin and then slowly Kalki reveals her history. When
    Azhvarkadiyan narrates her story we feel sorry for her but she
    presents a conflicting image when our hero meets her. After listening
    to Azhvarkadiyan's story we are prepared to meet a helpless girl who
    was kidnapped and forced to wed an old man but when Vandiya Devan
    meets her for the first time she appears to be powerful woman with a
    fleet of servants to do her bidding and she also wields enough power
    to help him get inside the Fort.

    After Vandiya Devan meets her we know that she is an exceptionally
    beautiful woman. And what better way could there be to compare her
    beauty with that of Kundavai's than through a man's eyes! But it is
    certain that Nandini's magnetism and beauty are unparalleled in the
    novel and she cleverly uses it as a lever to wrap men around her
    little finger. She has a success rate of 99% in creating love sick
    puppies like Pazhuvetar, Kandanmaran, Aditya Karikalan, Pallava
    Parthibendran etc. But she meets her match in Vandiya Devan who is
    unfazed by her hypnotic beauty.

    The war of will between these two characters is beautiful.
    flirtatious yet determined, condescending yet clever Vandiya Devan
    escapes from being pulled into Nandini's dangerous web.

    Why does Nandini try to entrap Vandiya Devan? Kalki gives us the
    reason immediately because he does not want his audience to get the
    wrong impression about her. She is associated with the Pandya spies
    who want avenge their king's death.

    Through the course of the novel we see different kaleidoscopic images
    of her as a Schemer, Strategist, Leader and also as an unfortunate
    woman whose life was manipulated by many people.

    Coming back to our basic question, "Who is she?" We know for sure
    that she is Mandakini's daughter but who is her father? Is it
    Veerapandiyan or Karuthiruman?

    I think we can safely leave Sundara Chola out of the discussion
    because both Nandini and Madhuranthakan were born two years after
    Sundara Chola returned to the Kingdom.

    The crux of the problem is Mandakini's loss of memory. Karuthiruman
    saves her from her suicide attempt during which she looses her memory
    and takes her back to Boodha Thevu and on the way he rescues
    Veerapandiyan who is fleeing from the Cholas.

    Karuthiruman leaves them both in the Boodha Thevu and takes the
    Pandya King's message to the Sri Lanka King. Did Veerapandiyan fall
    in love with her? Did Mandakini have an affair with him?

    Now let's discuss the other possibility. Karuthiruman confesses to
    Azhvarkadiyan that he is the father of Nandini and Madhuranthakan.
    Could this be true? We know that later he falls in love with Vani,
    Mandakini's twin sister. Could that be because he was reminded of
    Mandakini who by then had regained her memory and could not recognize

    The truth can only be guessed by the actions of these two individuals
    after they meet Mandakini. Veerapandiyan sends Karuthiruman as a
    messenger to Mandakini who was taken back to Kodi Karai by her
    father. But when he arrives there he finds that Mandakini has had
    another accident with result her memory is back. Now she does not
    recognize Karuthiruman, which means she does not know what happened
    to her from the time she fell from the lighthouse and her last

    Why did Veerapandiyan send a message through Karuthiruman to her? Was
    he in love with her? Going by the fact that Nandini resembles
    Mandakini we can conclude that Mandakini too was an exceptionally
    beautiful woman barring the fact that she was handicapped. If we
    assume that he had an affair with her, this fits in perfectly because
    I cannot imagine what other business a king like Veerapandiyan would
    have with her. And that too, a king who has been ousted from his
    kingdom and who is in Sri Lanka trying to rally support. One would
    think that he has lots of things in mind other than to wonder about
    an unfortunate woman with whom he had traveled for a short while
    unless he had developed a special love or affection for her. Only
    that could have prompted him find out what happened to her.

    Veerapandiyan is persistently trying to find out what happened to
    her. Did he know that she was pregnant with his baby? Karuthiruman
    finds out that Veerapandiyan's children are being brought up in Chola
    household but before he could get this information to the king he is
    captured and thrown in prison. Maybe Veerapandiyan knows that she was
    pregnant but doesn't know what happened to the babies or to their

    Ram had earlier raised a question in the group saying that
    Veerapandiyan who is rescued by Karuthiruman is the father of the
    Veerapandiyan who is killed by Karikalan. (Ref:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ponniyinselvan/message/1) That is also
    possible because I think there is a gap of atleast 20 – 22 years
    before Veerapandiyan meets Mandakini and later on Nandini. Either way
    we get the same answer – Nandini is Veerapandiyan's daughter.

    The second possibility is that Karuthiruman might be the father of
    Nandini and Madhuranthakan. But I find very little evidence to
    suggest that. All his actions prove that he has been acting for the
    Pandya King. So it would be safe to assume that he had lied to
    Azhvarkadiyan. But there is also one little point that we must note.
    When Karuthiruman narrates his story to Vandiya Devan he starts with
    a preamble that – "Is it Ok if I combine some imagination as well
    along with the story?" Now which part of it is imagination is
    difficult for me to concur.

    After the babies are born, Sembiyanmadevi gives away Nandini to
    Azhvarkadiyan's parents. Sembiyanmadevi does not approve of Nandini's
    friendship with Karikalan and she sends away Nandini to Pandya
    Kingdom. There can be another reason for this. Nandini and
    Madhuranthakan are identical twins, maybe she didn't want anybody to
    wonder how come they both look alike.

    When the final war between Veerapandiyan and Chola armies takes place
    the soldiers bring the

    New members -

    your views too please ..

  • Dear SPS,

    That is an excellent analysis. My hats off to you for articulating it so well.

    I too have always believed that Nandini is Veerapandiyan's daughter, and she was out to take revenge on Karikalan, but why exactly she said to Karikalan that she is Veerapandiyan's lover and how exactly Karikalan died have not been clear to me.

    I assume that these have been discussed in the group; could you please let me know where I can find the details of this discussion? Thanks.

  • Hi all,

    Interesting .... Since, I am new to the group , i have not read this b4 ..

    In last, it is mentioned that next week nandhini's true lover will be discussed ..
    can u send that discussion also? it ll be interesting to read tht ...

    s rakesh
  • Dear Sri Prabakar,

    That was written by respected member SUMEETHA
  • Dear SPS,

    Thanks for pointing out my wrong attribution. My hats off and other comments are then duly directed to Sumeetha.


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