- For Malayalam version of this article, See മാർത്താണ്ഡവർമ്മ
Marthandavarma (IPA: [mɑːṟt̪t̪ɑːɳɖaʋaṟmma]; Malayalam: മാർത്താണ്ഡവർമ്മ, Māṟttāṇḍavaṟmma) is the first novel by C.V. Raman Pillai published in 1891. It is presented as a historical romance recounting the history of Venad (Travancore) during the final period of Rajah Rama Varma’s reign and subsequently to the accession of Marthanda Varma. The action of story takes place in Kollavarsham 901-906 (Gregorian calendar: 1727-1732). The story revolves around the main protagonists, Ananthapadmanabhan, Subhadra, Mangoikkal Kurrup who are trying to secure the title character from the plans of Padmanabhan Thampi & Ettu Veetil Pillamar to oust him from the throne of Travancore.
This novel initiated the historical romance genre in Malayalam literature by being the first historical novel and the third novel published in Malayalam language. The story of Travancore was continued in Dharmaraja and Ramarajabahadur. These three novels are together known as Siviyuṭe Caritrākhyāyikakaḷ (Malayalam: സിവിയുടെ ചരിത്രാഖ്യായികകൾ).
The title of the novel is a single word Marthandavarma (മാർത്താണ്ഡവർമ്മ). There is no space between the words Marthanda and Varma unlike the translated name of historical character Marthanda Varma, the Maharaja of Travancore.
The authorship credit is C. V. Ramanpilla (സി. വി. രാമൻപിള്ള) in Malayalam literals where as its English counterpart is C. V. Raman Pillai.
A young man is found covered in blood and unconscious at Panchavan forest by a group of merchants who get their servants to carry the body of the young man along with them. Parukutty, the lover of the young man, is depressed because she does not believe her loved one is dead even though there has been no sign of him in the two years since he was found; meanwhile, her mother Karthyayani Amma arranges for a new marriage proposal through Sundarayyan for her daughter with Padmanabhan Thambi, the elder son of king Rama Varma. During the two years Padmanabhan Thambi and Sundarayyan conspired against the prince Marthanda Varma; they forged the news that attack on Ananthapadmanabhan at Panchavan forest was planned by the prince due to latter’s discord with the victim in the matter of a prostitute at Nagercoil. Eventually the aging king Rama Varma got sick and was confined to bed; Padmanabhan Thambi, who wants to become the next king, allies with the Ettuveettil Pillas to oust the rightful heir, Marthanda Varma. Association of Thambi with the Pillas caused an aversion among some sections of forces in the kingdom against the prince and royal officials and so, people excluded themselves from paying tax to the kingdom, subsequently the forces and finances at royal side got weaker than to that of the conspirators.
Three days after Sundarayyan brought the proposal at Chembakassery, a worried Marthanda Varma and his aide Parameswaran Pilla, venture out to head to Boothapandi, where the forces from Madurai are camped and are not willing to compromise to support the royal side as the payment for them is still pending as per the agreement with the king, Rama Varma. Dalawa Arumukham Pilla personally went there to make the payment, unfortunately as the amount was not sufficient for the full payment, he had to stay there as an assurance. Marthanda Varma worries that Raman Thambi, the second son of king might influence the Madurai forces adversely during latter's visit to Nanchinadu. When the prince and his aide are at Padmanabhapuram, Padmanabhan Thambi reaches there and to evade him, prince and the aide head to Charottu palace through the underground path. The next day morning, while coming to Thambi’s palace Sundarayyan sees Parameswaran Pilla and tips off to Velu Kuruppu, the loyalist fighter who serves Padmanabhan Thambi. Later, prince Marthanda Varma and his aide Pramerswaran Pilla are chased away from Charottu palace by Velu Kuruppu and lancers; however the former duo are helped by a mad Channan to evade the chasers, who puts up a fight with mad Channan only to be defeated by an archer Chulliyil Chatachi Marthandan Pilla, who was indebted to Channan once for saving his life when he was bitten by a snake. The prince Marthanda Varma and his aide take refuge at the house of Mangoikkal Kuruppu; meanwhile, Velu Kuruppu reaches back to his master Padmanabhan Thambi to inform about the fight with mad Channan. Following the order of an angry Thambi to capture the Channan-people, the mad Channan is captured and locked in the dungeon. Meanwhile, Velu Kuruppu, on realizing that Marthandavarma is at Mangoikkal house, deploys his men nearby to the house and rushes back to Thambi to arrange for more lancers and Nair soldiers by late evening to finish off Marthandavarma at Mangoikkal. The mad Channan, in meantime manages to find an underground path from the dungeon to Charottu palace. While Marthanda Varma and Mangoikkal Kuruppu are discussing about arranging additional force, Velu Kuruppu and his men launch attack on Mangoikkal at late evening; meanwhile, mad Channan rushes from Charottu palace to the Channan-people. Mangoikkal Kuruppu and his nephews try to resist the Velu Kuruppu’s men who surround and set the house afire. Mad Channan and his group of Channan accomplices reach at Mangoikkal by then and fight the attackers; mad Channan is able to rescue Marthanda Varma and Parameswaran Pilla out of the house before the same is completely on fire. Soon then, fighters from martial arts school of Mangoikkal arrive at the scene and defeat the attackers. On that night Thirumukhathu Pilla visits Padmanabhan Thambi to enquire about the news regarding the murder of his absconding son, Ananthapadmanabhan; soon then, one of the lancers of Velu Kurupp’s team reach there to inform about the defeat at Mangoikkal.
Padmanabhan Thambi and Marthanda Varma are back at their respective houses at Thiruvananthapuram and seven days after incidents at Mangoikkal a message from Thirumukhathu Pilla is delivered at Chembakasserry as a letter about the murder of his son Ananthapadmanabhan, however Parukutty who loves Ananthapadmanabhan rejects the same. The next day, Padmanabhan Thambi and Sundarayyan arrive and stay at Chembakassery. At night, Ananthapadmanabhan who disguised as a dweller of Kasi (Kasivasi) drugs Shanku Assan, the caretaker of armory at Chembakassery, to enter the house. Thambi, who is overwhelmed by the beauty of Parukutty goes to her room to attain her but only to be dragged out by Kasivasi, about which Parukutty gets glimpses of the frantic actions in her half sleep and falls sick. Later Sundarayyan steals the ornaments from there. Thambi and his team leave Chembakassery by next day early morning. Kazhakkoottathu Pilla arrives at Chembakassery to inquire about the illness of Parukutty and takes leave by late evening to the house of Kudamon Pilla only to be followed by Ananathapadmanabhan disguised as a beggar; meanwhile, Sundarayyan leaves from Thambi’s house for the discussions at Kudamon Pilla’s house. A council is formed by Kudamon Pilla, Ramanamadathil Pilla, Venganoor Pilla, Pallichal Pilla, Marthandan Thirumadathil Pilla, Chembazhanthy Pilla, Kulathoor Pilla, Kazhakkoottathu Pilla, who are known as Ettuveettil Pillas and Sundarayyan to support Padmanabhan Thambi as the next king; however Kazhakkoottathu Pilla informs his dislike on the issue and after assuring his support for their actions, he leaves the council at once only to be followed by the beggar. On the way, Kazhakkoottathu Pilla meets Mangoikkal Kuruppu, but the beggar heads back to the house of council to know final decision. Meanwhile, at council, decisions are made to assassinate prince Marthanda Varma and make Thambi as the next king. After the council, Ramanamadathil Pilla meets Subadra, the granddaughter of Kudamon Pilla's maternal aunt. Kazhakkoottathu Pilla tricks Mangoikkal Kuruppu to get the latter under detention. The beggar confronts Sundarayyan, who is on his way back after council, they indulge in a fight when the former tries to snatch the council note from the latter and due to the fight both of them fall into Killi river(Killiyar), however beggar rescues the drowning Sundarayyan, who does not know how to swim. The next day, Sundarayyan heads to Thambi’s house after awaking at the shore and conveys the council decision to Thambi. Subadra arrives at Chembakassery after learning about the illness of Parukutty; meanwhile Shanku Assan who is worried about previous day’s events go in search of the Kasivasi. Subadra condoles Karthyayani Amma and learns about the Thambi’s stay and the theft happened at the house. Meanwhile, at royal palace a message from Pathan camp informed that a council happened at Kudamon Pilla’s house the other night, as the resolution could not be known, the prince shall be alert at all times. The message also conveyed about the arrival of Mangoikkal Kuruppu. Ramayyan proposes for strict actions against the conspirators; however, prince vouched against it and during the discussion Marthanda Varma realizes that Kalakkutty, on whom the prince entrusted to deliver a message to Thirumakhathu Pilla seeking help, is indeed the maternal uncle-in-law of Sundarayyan. Parameswaran Pilla leaves to locate Mangoikkal Kuruppu and returns soon to state the non-arrival of Kuruppu. The prince says that Ettu Veettil Pillas might have endangered Kuruppu, hearing the same Parameswaran Pilla rushes to Pathan camp. At late evening, Padmanabhan Thambi suggests Sundarayyan to inquire about the Parukutty’s illness; however, Sundarayyan who gets frightened with the thoughts of fight happened last night hides in the house. At night, Subadra reaches there to ask Thambi about his actions at Chembakassery. Thambi mentions that he was confronted by the ghost of Ananthapadmanabhan before he could touch Parukutty and he doesnot know anything about the ornaments; during the conversation Thambi realizes that Subadra knows about the murder of Ananthapadmanabhan by Velu Kuruppu, which he and Sundarayyan were trying to implicate on the prince Marthanada Varma. Thambi tries to stab her with his dagger to which Subadra stands unmoved and seeing her stance, he moves back. When Subadra leaves, Thambi and Sundarayyan decide to kill her, as she knows their secret.
The next day, Sundarayyan reaches at Pathan camp to buy the poison, but Ananthapadmanabhan disguised as Shamsudeen gives only a harmless colored powder. Meanwhile, Subadra persuades Shanku Assan to confirm whether the Kasivasi who entered Chambakassery the other night is still at Pathan camp. On his return from Pathan camp Assan informs her that Sundarayyan was there to buy some poison. At Pathan camp, Hakkim warns Shamsudeen not to get into any danger in search of Mangoikkal Kuruppu. Later Shamsudeen reveals to Zulaikha about his love for Parukutty; realizing the issue, Zulaikha, who also loves him, gives the consent to do, as he wants. Subadra who realizes the poison brought by Sundarayyan is for her, heads back to her house. Sundarayyan who plans to poison Subadra leaves Thambi’s house; meanwhile, prince Marthanda Varma, Parameswaran Pilla disguised as civilians together with Ramayyan venture out to lookout for Mangoikkal Kuruppu. At night, the prince and his aide take shelter behind a tree while Ramayyan goes to Sree Pandarathu house of Kazhakkoottathu Pilla to check the whereabouts of Mangoikkal Krurppu. The prince and his aide notice a person headed to western direction but cannot identify him, after then, prince witnesses Sundarayyan heading to his wife’s house. Meanwhile, Subadra is with Ramanamadathil Pilla, who leaves later after assuring her that he will be back. Ramanamadathil Pilla passes by speaking to himself about the greatness of Kazhakkoottathu Pilla, who captured Mangoikkal Kuruppu, which the prince overhears. Ramayyan returns to the prince informing that he could not check at Sree Panadarathu house due to additional security forces deployed there. Prince sends Rammayyan to the house of Sundarayyan’s wife to know the details of Sundarayyan’s plans; however Ramayyan returns soon as Sundarayyan was talking to his wife behind the doors and the house parameter is been checked by Kodanki. Meanwhile, at Thambi’s house the unidentified man who passed by the prince and his aide earlier, reaches there; seeing him, who happens to be Velu Kuruppu, Thambi becomes happy and keeps him hidden in his house. The prince and his aides realize the abduction of Mangoikkal Kuruppu and decide to look out for him at Chembakassery and Sree Panadarathu house; by then, Sundarayyan and his wife pass by, among which husband goes to Thambi’s house and wife heads to Subadra’s house with some food items that are poisoned by Sundarayyan. The prince and the aides take leave to know the health of the ailing king, when they are moving ahead, the archer Chulliyil Chadachi Marthandan Pilla chases and shoots arrows towards them, but his arrows aimed at the prince are struck down by mad Channan and then Channan beats down the archer. Sundarayyan’s wife Anantham visits Subadra, who realizes that the stolen ornaments from Chembakassery are at the former’s house and Anantham is unaware about the plans of her husband. Mad Channan, who hides nearby overhears their conversation. Meanwhile, Raman Madathil Pilla reaches at Thambi’s house and later joined by Sundarayyan and discuss about assassinating the prince Marthanda Varma, soon then Chulliyil Chadachi Marthandan Pilla also arrives there. On the return of Ramanamadathil Pilla, Subadra realizes the plan to assassinate the prince by Velu Kuruppu. She prepares a note and entrusts the note to Shankarachar to deliver the same to the prince. She assembles her other servants and orders eight of them to steal the particulars from the house of Anantham. She orders her another servant Pappu to inform at Thambi’s house that she is dead, by tomorrow, she sends her another servant to Pathan camp. Meanwhile, at king’s palace, prince Marthanda Varma gets relief that the king is feeling a little better after taking the medicine from Hakkim. While returning from there to his palace with Parameswaran Pilla, the prince is about to be stabbed by Velu Kuruppu but only to be stopped by Shankarachar followed by a fight from which Velu Kuruppu runs away after stabbing Shankarachar. Prince and his aide reaches to the dying Shankarachar, who manages to convey about the message note before his final breath. Velu Kuruppu reaches back to Thambi, who summons Ramamanam Madathil Pilla, Chulliyil Chadachi Marthandan Pilla, Sundarayyan and Kodanki and they decide to move Mangoikkal Kuruppu from Sree Pandarathu house to Chembakassery. Meanwhile, mad Channan leaves from Subadra’s house to Sree Pandarathu house, where he drugs the guards there and gets keys and subsequently finds Mangoikkal Kurupu in the dungeon; but, before they could escape from there, Ramanamadathil Pilla and team reaches there. Velu Kuruppu gets angry by seeing Channan and paces towards him with his sword but gets killed by a gunshot from the latter’s pistol. Kondanki advances towards Channan after the fall of Velu Kurppu, but he too gets shot by pistol and falls to death. An angry Chulliyil Chadachi Marthandan Pilla draws his bow while Channan takes another pistol from his waist. Ramamanam Madathil Pilla intervenes and informs that they are to be moved to Chembakassery and only to be prosecuted by Thirumikhathu Pilla, to which Channan agrees on condition that he will keep his weapons with himself. Meanwhile, Subadra’s servants return with the items from the house of Anantham. Subadra sends two of her servants to know the whereabouts of Shankarachar, and after a few hours the servants return with the news of deaths happened during that night. Mangoikkal Kuruppu and Channan are moved to Chembakassery and guards from palace who favors Thambi are kept as security force after getting the keys from Shanku Assan. Sundarayyan and others spread the false news that prince Marthanda Varma is behind the murders happened that night and he also tried to assassinate Ramanamadathil Pilla.
Next day early morning, Anantham arrives at Subadra’s house to inform about the theft happened at her house. After Anantham left, a sad Subabra gets some relief when her servant went to Pathan camp came back with the medicine for Parukutty. He also informs that one of the men at the camp resembled her ex-spouse. Meanwhile, Subadra’s servant Pappu cries out at Thambi’s house that Subadra had passed away. Soon then, one of the servants at Thambi’s house informs that a theft happened at Sundarayyan’s house and Sundarayyan realizes from his wife that Subadra is not dead. Meanwhile, at palace an angry mob of civilians rushed to the palace, but only to be confronted by the ailing king who signals them to leave. Ramanamadathil Pilla reaches to Thambi’s house to share about the revolt at palace and praises the actions of Sundarayyan. Later, Chulliyil Chadachi Marthandan Pilla and a servant arrive there to convey about the demise of the king Rama Varma. After the funeral rituals of Rama Varma, Marthanda Varma manages to send payment required for the forces from Madurai. On that day, Subadra reaches at Chembakassery by evening with the medicine for Parukutty, who starts recovering from the illness from the next day onwards. Subadra stays at Chembakassery for the next five days.
On the fifith day, prince realizes that the men sent from Kilimanoor under the leadership of Narayanayyan were defeated by Kazhakkoottathu Pilla and his men. Prince orders the employment termination of palace guards who are working for Thambi. Meanwhile, at Chembakassery, Subadra conveys that one of the men in detention is a mad man and at least he could have been released. Parakutty insists on releasing both men from detention, however, Shanku Assan reveals that he doesnot have the keys which are entrusted to the guards. Later Chembakassery Mootha Pilla restores the keys to Shanku Assan as the guards are summoned to palace urgently. Parukutty, who could not sleep with the thoughts of releasing the mad man, conveys her worries to Karthyayani Amma. Meanwhile, Subadra leaves to her house after realizing about the council at her house by Thambi and team. Parukutty compels Shanku Assan to release the two men from detention; when latter provides the keys, she and her mother head themselves to the dungeon. In the dungeon Karthyayayani Amma asks Mangoikkal Kuruppu to move out as per the wishes of her daughter. Mad Channan conveys that he cannot reveal about himself and runs ahead followed by Kuruppu. Parukutty realizes that mad Channan is the one who entered her chamber during the night in which Thambi tried to attain her and he resembled her lover. Meanwhile, Ettuveettil Pillas, Thambi brothers and Sundarayyan decide to execute the assassination of the prince at palace that night. Meanwhile, nephews of Mangoikkal Kuruppu arrive at palace to support prince, who tells them to come in the morning and coordinate with Ramayyan. Later, the prince, who was asleep is soon awakened with the arrival of Subadra to his room. She conveys that his life is in danger and he shall leave at once from the palace and also to move his nephew and aunt to a safe place. Prince, who was reluctant at first, follows her realizing that she helped him other night. Kudamon Pilla, Padmanabhan Thambi and their team enter the palace to assassinate the prince but find no one. Meanwhile, after sending her servant to another direction Subadra heads to her house together with Marthanada Varma, Parameswaran Pilla and Ramayyan disguised as menials and get spotted by Raman Thambi and his team on the way, but she and the trio evade him easily by Subadra’s prompt response in favor of his actions and due to his aversion towards her. When Subadra and the trio are away from Raman Tambi and his men, she heads to her house alone and comes back with five men, who look like porters to the banyan tree, near where the trio are waiting. She instructs them to cross Venganoor by night and when they are about to leave Thirumukhathu Pilla arrives there and identifies the prince. When Thirumukhathu Pilla asks Subadra why she is helping the one who killed her brother, Ananthapadmanabhan, she assures that Ananthapadmanabhan is not dead and to her persuasion Thirumukhathu Pilla reveals that he is her father. Subadra conveys that Ananthapadmanabhan will be at Pathan camp. Subadra leaves to her house while others head east as Thirumukhathu Pilla knows that Aruveettukar are waiting near the west banks of the river, Karamana. Meanwhile, when the team of attackers led by Thambi and Ettuveettil Pillas cannot find the prince at palace, they decide to lead the forces to Manakkadu, where fighters of Magaoikkal are camped. However, the fighters of Mangoikkal are ready to face the attackers as they were tipped off by Subadra in time. When the attackers led by the Thambi brothers reach Manakkadu(Manacaud), Mangoikkal fighters put up a stiff resistance even though they are less in numbers and before they have been overpowered, Pathan fighters led by Shamsudeen and Beeram Khan arrive there against the Thambi’s forces. While Shamsudeen fights the Padamananabhan Thambi, Beeram Khan, who has a long standing grudge against Sundarayyan for forging the plans that separated him from his then-spouse Subadra, takes up the fight with him. Sundarayyan brings down the horse of Beeram Khan and the latter is locked under the dead horse, while Sundarayyan advanced towards him; but before he could do anything, Beeram Khan springs up from under the body of horse and manages to kill Sundarayyan and leaves the battlefield at once. Padmanabhan Thambi is shot in the hand by Shamsudeen when the former is about to kill Nuradeen and before Ramanamadathil Pilla and Raman Thambi advance towards Shamsudden the whole battlefield is surrounded by the forces led by Thirumukhathu Pilla and the prince Marthanda Varma and subsequently the Thambi brothers and Ettuveettil Pillas are arrested.
The next day, prince conducts the post funeral rituals of the king and brings back his nephew, the little prince and aunt who, were safeguarded by Keralavarma Koithampuran at Chembakassery, where a joyful Parakutty awaits her lover Ananathapadnanabhan from the Pathan camp. Soon then, Anananthapadmanabhan reaches Chembakassery and re-unites with Parukutty. A few days later Marthanda Varma arrives at Pathan camp after ascending to the throne. It is revelead that Anathapadmanabhan was attacked at Panchavan forest two years ago by Velu Kuruppu, when the former was heading to aid the prince. He was rescued by the Pathan people, who took him along with him. When the discussion came about Subadra, the king orders Anananthapadmanabhan to move her from the house to safeguard from Kudamon Pilla, who is just released by the king. Subadra is at her house and sad due to the revelation about her ex-spouse. Kudamon Pilla reaches there and catches her by her hair and is about to plunge his sword while Beeram Khan rushes inside crying not to kill her; on hearing the voice of her ex-spouse and seeing him longing for her, she thanks god that she can even die, by that instant sword of Kudamon Pilla falls on her neck and before Kudamon Pilla could slay Beeram Khan, the former is cut into two by Ananthapadmanabhan who just reached there. Marthandavarma on hearing the news about Subadra, swears under his breath that he would seek vengeance on those responsible for the un-warranted deed of blood and heads to her house.
Three years pass by, Mangoikkal house has been rebuilt, Ananthapadmanabhan headed Marthanda Varma’s forces in the battles with Desinganadu and other kingdoms during the period. He stays at Chembakassery with his family including his daughter named Subadra. Marthanda Varma earns the impeccable fame as a protector to the people of kingdom as well as a servant to Sreepadmanabha deity and so, the public rejoice as in a festive mood.
- Marthanda Varma
- Ananthapadmanabhan / Brandan Chanan / Shamsudeen
- Subhadra / Chembakam Akka
- Shri Rayi Padmanabhan Thampi / Pappu Thampi
- Parvathi Amma / Parvathi Pilla / Parukutty / Thankam
- Shri Raman Thampi
- Mangoyikkal Kuruppu / Iraviperuman Kandan Kumaran Kuruppu
- Parameswaran Pilla
- Thirumukhathu Pilla
- Chulliyil Chatachi Marthandan Pilla
- Kudaman Pilla
- Ramanam Madathil Pilla
- Kazhakoottathu Pilla
- Chembazhanthi Pilla
- Marthandan Thirumadathil Pilla
- Venganoor Pilla
- Pallichal Pilla
- Thevan Vikraman Pilla
- Shanku Ashan
- Karthiyani Amma / Karthiyani Pilla
- Chembakasserry Mootha Pilla
- Beeram Khan
- Usman Khan
- Kochu Velu Thampi
- Krishna Kuruppu
- Karthika Thirunnal Ramavarma
- Raja Rama Varma
- Arumukham Pilla (Dalawa)
- Ramayyan (Rayasakkaran)
- Shankunni Menon (Diwan)
- Iravikutty Pilla
- Marthandan Pilla (Karyakkar)
- Ramayyan (Dalawa)
- Ayyappan (Dalawa)
- Marthandan Pilla (Dalawa)
- Kutti Pilla
- Chatayan Pilla
- Ooli Nayar
- Parappan Nayar
- 1933: Marthanda Varma (film) – a silent black & white film directed by P. V Rao
- 1997: Kulam (film) - a loose adaptation directed by Lenin Rajendran
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Pillai, C.V. Raman; Menon, B.K (1936) (in English). MARTHANDA VARMA (First ed.). Trivandrum: Kamalalaya Book Depot. "A Historical Romance"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Nair, E.S.Guptan (1992). "Foreward". C.V.Raman Pillai (First ed.). New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 7201-273-X.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Novel and Short Story to the Present Day History of Malayalam Literature, Thiruvananthapuram: TDIL RCILTS-MALAYALAM.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Pillai, C.V. Raman; Devi, R. Leela (1979) (in English). MARTHANDA VARMA (1984 ed.). New Delhi: Sterling Paperbacks. "A Historical Novel"
- ↑ Malayalam Literature, Indian Literature: Indianetzone.com 2009.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Pillai, C.V. Raman (1891) (in Malayalam). Marthandavarma (1991 ed.). Kottayam: Sahitya Pravartaka Co-operative Society Ltd. p. 2.