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The Legend of Nandan: Nandan Kathai

Indira Parthasarathy (Author) C.T. Indra (Translator)
Synopsis Published in 1978 in Tamil, The Legend of Nandan is a superbly contemporary drama about a seventh-century hero in a clash between high-caste Hindus and the suppressed people of a typical Tamil village. Nandan, a bonded labourer, is deeply discontended with his servile existence, and yearns for a better way of life for himself and his people. His artistic appreciation of the dancing Lord Nataraja of Chidambaram temple leads him to seek and receive a darshan of the deity. The upper-caste Hindus begin to feel threatened by the rise of Nandan, and enlist the help of the ‘learned’ Vedic Brahmin, who misuses Nandan’s piety and deceives him into submitting himself to a fire-bath in front of the Lord, so that he may emerge ‘purified’. Thus, Nandan’s ambitious ascent from his low birth is effectively cut short. The story of Nandan can be interpreted as a saga of the suffering of suppressed people everywhere. It deconstructs the original legends of Nandan which are inalienable to Hindu culture, and challenges society’s canonization of bhakti and religious fervour. This play will appeal to students and scholars of Tamil literature, South Asian literature in translation, and Indian theatre, as well as the general reader.
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About the author

Indira Parthasarathy

Widely acknowledged as one of those who have revolutionized modern Tamil drama, Indira Parthasarathy is a creative writer, literary and cultural critic, and historian who started his career as an academic. His best known plays are Aurangzeb, Pas, Mazhai, Nandan Kathai and Raamaanujar. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award for the novel Kuruthi-p-punal (1977) which has been translated into all the major Indian languages, including Bengali.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Legend of Nandan: Nandan Kathai
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2003
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195664213
length xx+82p., 23cm.