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Kerala Literary Works

by by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)  (Feedback)



'Chilappatikaram', written by a Chera Prince is the major literary work and is called as epic of anklets. This was originally conceived as a treatise of isai (music) which had two divisions.

The pan meaning full fledged raga and tiran meaning off shoot or Janya raga.

There were innumerable varieties of tunes of ancient music created as a result of the combination of these pans and tirans.

Many rulers of Kerala were musicians. Kulasekhara of 14th century and his brother Aditya Varma were great musicians. Aditya Varma has to his credit, the Vadasseri inscription of 1333 and also the fine message poem called ' Unnineeli Sandesam'. Veera Kerala Varma, the great administrator and scholar of the 17th century, translated  Valmiki's 'Ramayana', composed a beautiful hymn of eight stanzas which has dexterously woven into its lyrical text the names of two dozen ragas.

In 18th century, Ramapurath Warrier translated Jayadeva's 'Gita Govinda' into Malayalam. The ruler of Travancore, Balarama Varma wrote an important treatise on music and dance called 'Balarama Bharatam'. He follows Bharata and the accent in his analysis is on dance, for which music is an indispensable accompaniment and embellishment.

The treatment of music is detailed, especially valuable being descriptive classification of percussion, string and wind instruments.

Texts like the 'Sangita-Santram', the 'Sangita-Chudamani', the 'Sangita-Manjari', the 'Svarata-ladi-Lakshanam' etc belong to much earlier epochs.

The 'Sangita-Chudamani' describes ninety ragas, several of them, have 101 talas. Kunchan Nambiar created the dance recital form known as the “Thullal”.

He composed many ragas like Mohana, Dvijavanti, Ananda Bhairavi and a variety of talas.

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