Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The legend of King Manuneethi Cholan, Just king, S. India


Manuneethi Cholan. tamilandvedas.com
 Image above: This float shows a cow sounding a bell. Also seen in the image is the King, Manuneethi Cholan.

Those who have read about the great Tamil Poet of Madurai, Nakkiran (who lived centuries ago), know how courageously he argued in the Pandyan court before Lord Shiva (who was in the disguise of a poet) and whose verses contained minor flaws. He  said: ''A mistake is a mistake, even  if  it  is committed by God himself.'' Self-respecting people in the Chola Nadu never failed to follow  the tradition set by the great poet Nakkiran. Manuneedhi Cholan, a righteous King of  this lineage  ruled his country with justice, fairness, and honesty. Never had he gone off the path of righteousness.

King  Manuneethi  Cholan was a righteous  Chola  king from the  Chola  Kingdom, in the present day South India, who ruled a part of  Sri Lanka  from 205 BC to 161 BC including the ancient capital of Anuradhapura. Often referred to as 'the Just King,' Mahavamsa states  that he ruled his kingdom 'with even justice toward friend and foe, on occasions of disputes. To him, nobles and paupers were equal before law.  Fair justice or dharma (manu neethi) was more important than anything else and there was no room for biased verdict because he would make a decision upon hearing the statements from the eye-witnesses. Sometimes, he himself would visit the place of crime or dispute for additional confirmation and satisfaction.

 He had a huge bell installed in front of his palace and anyone seeking justice had to ring the bell. The king would immediately hear the case and dispense his verdict without delay purely on merit.  Such an honest king had to face a tough situation, a predicament where he had to hear his own son's case and give fair, unbiased justice and such was the edit of God. 

King Manuneethi Cholan.englishclass diary.blogspot.com  
 Above image:  King, Manuneethi Cholan, whose son Veedhividangan, is seen lying dead and a chariot with the charioteer inside.

One day his son, Veedhividangan, on his way to the temple in a chariot,  was being cheered by the crowd by way of beating drums, etc.  In the midst of loud noise and commotion,  a terrified stray calf ran here and there and at last got crushed under the wheels of the prince's chariot. The mother cow, sad and shocked, walked to the palace and rang the huge bell demanding justice from the king. The king came out, saw the cow and learned from his courtiers the death of the young calf under the wheels of his son's chariot. King Manuneethi  Cholan, upon hearing the case, ordered that his  son be killed for his recklessness. He thus upheld that before the court of law,  everybody was equal be they humans or even non-humans. He was a  true defender of Chola rulers.

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