Book 3

Book 3 | Chapter 16 | Madhurantaka Thevar

We had spoken about Madhuranthaka Thevar twice on previous occasions – once during the midnight meeting at Kadambur, and once in the underground treasury tunnel. We never got to introduce this Prince properly… 

Before Emperor Sundara Chozhan ascended the throne, Thanjavur was ruled by Kandaraditya Chozhan. He and his wife Sembiyan Maadevi (daughter of Mazhavarayar), who he married quite late in life, were great Shaivites and spent a significant amount of time and money in building and renovating Shiva temples in the kingdom. He also desired to collate the great Devaram songs, but never got to achieve it during his lifetime. He wrote quite a bit of Tamizh poetry as well.  

Due to his focus on religious activities, the Chozha kingdom was at its smallest size. He had not focused on any expansion activities. His younger brother, Arinjaya Chozhan, had also been injured grievously. Arinjaya Chozhan’s son, Sundara Chozhan was a brave, strapping young lad at that time. To avoid any conflicts, Kandardityar and Sembiyan Maadevi had decided that Sundara Chozhan and his line of descendants would be the royal lineage, going forward. They intentionally raised their son Madhuranthakan as a Shiva devotee, without much of an exposure to politics and the art of ruling a kingdom. Madhuranthakan was a little boy when Kandaradityar passed away.  

Until recently, when he had wed the daughter of the Chinna Pazhuvettarayar, Madhuranthakan did not have an inkling of a thought about the throne. His intentions started changing after that. These thoughts were carefully fuelled by Nandini. We already saw the secret meeting between the vassal kings and the Pazhuvettarayars, endorsing Madhuranthakan for the throne.  

The original intention was to implement the coup after the passing of Sundara Chozhan. However, Madhuranthakan had started feeling otherwise recently. He did not want to wait that long. He felt that the terminally ill Emperor was not taking care of the kingdom effectively, and that the right heir, which was him, should take over immediately.  

The Pazhuvettarayars felt that since the entire kingdom and a significant portion of their army was in favour of Sundara Chozhan’s two sons, it would be foolish to try a coup at this time. Also, they had begun to notice some changes in the Emperor, who wanted Madhuranthakan to take over the throne. It would be best if the Emperor himself endorsed Madhuranthakan.  

The two main hindrances to this plan were Princess Kundavai and the Royal Matron Sembiyan Maadevi. The Princess’ plans could be overruled, if dealt with carefully, but it would be almost impossible to overrule the Royal Matron, who had the respect of the entire Tamizh kingdom. Only Madhuranthakan could convince his mother, but he had been hesitant to do this. 

The Royal Matron had now called her son from Thanjavur to be with her when she made an important announcement regarding a project of her late husband’s. Chinna Pazhuvettarayar had sent Madhuranthakan to Pazhayarai, urging him to use this opportunity to convince his mother about his ambitions to become Emperor.