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Maravar: The Old Wolf and the Tiger Cub

 

The British and Portuguese weren't the first European nations to try and conquer Southern India. Around 180 AD the Greek successor Kingdoms of Alexander the Great tried to divide and conquer the South by manipulating both the Chera's and the Pandians into waging war against the most powerful Southern Kingdom at the time, the Chola Empire. 





Events culminated in the assassination of the the Chola King, Ilamcetcenni, and his entire family after being tricked into attending a "peace meeting" by the Cheran king (Red wedding style). The only survivor was the Chola Queens brother, Irumpitar Thalaiyan, who due to some quick thinking managed to escape with last surviving heir to the Chola Kingdom, the infant Karikalan. 


If this was a movie this would be the moment where they play the sad Illaiyarajah score as Irumpitar cradled his orphaned nephew and stared out into the horizon, all teary-eyed. He had lost his entire family, he had no home, no army…all hope was lost. Epic peelings. You see, Irumpitar Thalaiyan wasn't your text book virtuous Tamil prince. He was, what can be best described as a, Sangam period 'wasteman'. Someone who spent most of his days hanging around sarakku houses, getting drunk and more than likely sight adikku-ing village belles. If you wanted anyone to look after the infant saviour of the Chola empire this dude would've been the last person anyone would've selected. I guess the only solution left now for Irumpitar was to suffocate his nephew before committing suicide himself, right? 


Fuck no. 

Irumpitar may have been a shitty prince but he had talent for one thing, kicking ass. Due to his overall uselessness in regards to all things princely he was enlisted into the Chola army at an early age and was now a battle hardened warrior. Fighting was in his blood and he wasn’t going to let some humus eating Greek assholes and back stabbing Tamils bend him over a barrel. This wasn't over, it was just getting started. 



 

Googled 'Chola badass' and found this


There is little information on what happened next but since my mind has been corrupted by Hollywood, I'm gonna ask you to imagine a badass training montage spanning 20 years: Irumpitar training his nephew Karikalan in the art of war. Possibly interjected with "peeling moments” showing the grizzled tough as nails warrior bonding with his nephew. 

 


 

Yea its the Drona training scene from Mahabarata but  fuck it, close enough

After 20 years of training, Karikalan grew up to be a hard core Tamil warrior ready to bring the smack down on those Greek bastards and traitorous Tamils. His uncle, knowing they had little chance in defeating the enemy in open combat, advised the young prince to use guerrilla warfare tactics: ambushes on enemy baggage trains, assassinations, scorched earth tactics etc. They would ambush the enemy, cause havoc and then quickly disappear before anyone could figure out what the hell was going on. They became an epic pain in the ass since the enemy had no clue how to handle this new type of warfare and, over time their legend grew. As word of their exploits spread throughout the South they slowly became Robin Hood style legendary figures to those still loyal to the Chola's. Greek Historian Megasthenes dubbed the dynamic duo as "The Old Wolf and the Tiger cub". 

 


 


Frustrated by their tactics the enemy demanded that Karikalan and his uncle stop behaving like a bunch of internet trolls and come out and face them in the open. Karikalan accepted. After a decade of guerrilla tactics the enemy had grown weak and mentally destroyed so this was the perfect opportunity. Both armies faced off on a beach in Venni. Despite being outnumbered 10 to 1, Karikalan crushed the combined forces of the Greeks, Chera’s and Pandian. The Pandian King was so embarrassed by the defeat he committed suicide. Karikalan negotiated peace with the Greeks and told them "not to fuck with us again”. They didn't. 

 


 


Karikalan went onto become one of the greatest Kings in Tamil history. His uncle, well I guess it’s safe to say most have never heard of him. There are no songs sung about him, no temples dedicated to his name but, at least imo, he is one of the greatest Tamil heroes of them all.