Malaiyamaan Kaari

Malaiyamaan Kaari

Malaiyamaan Thirumudi Kaari (c.90- 122 C.E.), "a.k.a." Malaiyamaan and Malaiyan, was a king of Mulloor Malai, a small region in ancient Tamil Nadu in South India. He ruled from c. 106 to 122 C.E. in the present East Namakkal and Salem, and West Thiruvannamalai districts. His capital was called Thirukkoiloor.

His country

Having taken the throne at an early age of fifteen, Kaari was tested many times by the Chola emperor and the neighbouring "kurunila mannargal", or the "smaller kings." His country was fertile and prosperous due to the two rivers Ponnai Aarru in the north and Vellaarru in the far south. It was a constant attraction to the Cholas and the Cheras. Mulloor Malai included the North Kolli Malai range, the Chera Varaiyan Malai (the Shervaroy Hills) and Thiuvannaamalai, the coveted ancient homeland of the Siththar, devotees of the god Siva and practitioners of meditation and healing arts.

His conquests

Between 106 and 115 C.E., Kaari successfully thwarted four attempts of Chola-Chera invasion into Mulloor Malai. In 118 C.E. he waged war on Thagadoor against the famous Athiyamaan Nedumaan Anji. It was an attempt fuelled by his longterm desire to become an emperor equivalent in power to the Cholas. After a fierce battle, Kaari lost to Athiyamaan and retreated. In 120 C.E., the Chera king "Paalai paadiya" Perum Cheral Irumporrai sought his strategic help in the conquest of Kollimalai. Kaari agreed to conquer Kollimalai for the Chera and it was agreed that the Chera should on his behalf invade Thagadoor in order to avenge his earlier defeat. This strange pact was due to the strategically important easy access points favouring the Chera and Kaari in the case of Thagadoor and Kollimalai respectively. Kaari defeated the Kolli army and killed Valvil Oari for the Chera. In turn the Chera undertook the march of Thagadoor, which is memorialized in the "Thagadoor Yaaththirai" of Sangam literature. He completely demolished the city, and this is considered by many scholars of that era as one of the region's greatest battles.

Turn of events

Thus with the help of the Chera, Kaari was climbing on the ladder to become an emperor. He began to overshadow the Chola King Killi Valavan. This prompted the Chola king to check Kaari's growth with an invasion on Thirukkoiloor. The battles were fierce, but Kaari was determined to win or die. As a result the Cholas lost 10,000 soldiers in the first five days of the war. But on the sixth day the Malaiyamaan princes, Kaari's three-year-old twin sons, were caught by the intruding Chola spies, giving the Cholas an edge. Killi Valavan began dictating terms and Kaari was forced to venture into the enemy campsite, where he was caught and killed immediately.

The Chola king planned to crush the two princes by walking an elephant over them, but on consultation with the poet Kovoor Kizhaar, he changed his mind. The boys were raised with the patronage of the emperor and served as generals of the Chola army under Killi and his son Rasasuyam Vaetta Peru Nal Killi. They were married to the twin daughters of Parambu Malai King Paari.

"Kadai ezhu vallal"

Malayamaan Thirumudi Kaari is considered one of the seven greatest "bestowers" of the last Sangam era - the "Kadai Ezhu Vallalgal ". The others were Paari, Valvil Oari, Athiyamaan Nedumaan Anji, Perumpeyar Pegun (or Perunceyal Paegan), Aai Eyinan (Aay Kandiran) and Nalli. The people of his time considered him the most modest of kings. Nobody left empty-handed after paying a visit to him and the visitor who came on barefoot would usually return mounted on a horse or an elephant of his choice. He called himself not a king but a "rightful servant of his beloved people". People in his country lived in prosperity. Every citizen was occupied with a specific job and none of them starved.

"The Modest"

During peacetime, the king of Mulloor and Thirukkoiloor would usually start his daily routine in the paddy ("nel"), "saamai " and "thinai" fields working with his plough and sickle. He was strong and said to be so kind-hearted that he would rather plough his fields by hand than to trouble bulls to work for him.

In one story about Kaari, the Tamil poet and saint Avvaiyaar II happened to pass by his field on course a long journey. Kaari quickly recognized the tired "mother" and without introducing himself requested that she look after his field for a few minutes and help herself to his rations in the meantime, so that he could go to a nearby pond to fetch some water. The king was away for long during which time the saint ate well and fell asleep. When sun rose the next day, Kaari returned to the field to find old mother angry. Kaari revealed his identity and explained that since she was a great friend of Athiyamaan of Thagadoor, who was his archrival, he feared she would not agree if he asked her to rest in his land. So he had to make her stay a while and bestow his land with her saintly presence. Avvaiyaar, flattered, blessed his country with perennial prosperity.


*cite book |title=The Tamilian Antiquary |last=Savariroyan |first=D |year=2004 |publisher=Asian Educational Services |isbn=8120617525 |pages=p.63 |url=
*cite book |title=History Of The Tamils: From the Earliest Times to 600 A.D. |last=Iyengar |first=P.T.Srinivasa |year=2001 |publisher=Asian Educational Services |isbn=8120601459 |pages=p. 508 |url=

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