Recalling the glorious deeds of the great Chola kings who ruled Tamil Nadu in the ninth century, actor Vikram said that the benevolent and thoughtful acts of the great kings who ruled Tamil land was one of reasons why the popular Tamil phrase, ‘Tamilan Endru Sollada, Thalai Nimrnirndhu Nillada’ (Say you a Tamilian, Hold your head high) existed.
Participating in the audio and trailer launch event of director Mani Ratnam’s eagerly awaited ‘Ponniyin Selvan: 1’, in which he plays crown prince, Aditya Karikala Cholan, Vikram said: “You would have used the phrase ‘Tamilan Endru Sollada, Thalai nimrnirndhu Nillada’ several times. You might have it as even your DPs on social media as well. But there are several reasons for that phrase to have been formulated.
“One of the several reasons why that came into existence is the way our ancestors lived on this very soil several thousands of years ago. The way they ruled. The small small things that they did which made the entire world love them.
“This reminds me of a story. An elderly woman was heard making a prayer to a deity in a temple that she would light a lamp at the temple for 100 years if her prayers were answered.
“The king of the land got to know of the prayer request of the woman and got her wish fulfilled. He also got his minister to take the money for lighting a lamp at the temple for 100 years from the woman, assuring her that he would appoint a person to fulfill her promise.
“The king then asked the minister to find the poorest man in his kingdom. When the poor man was bought, the king asked him what he would need to fulfill the old woman’s promise. The man is believed to have asked for 48 cows. When asked if that would be enough, the man is known to have said that the first year, he would have 48, the next year, he would have 96 cows as the cows would multiply.
“The king is believed to have asked the minister to monitor him. After two years, the minister was asked to take 48 cows from this man and give it to the next poorest man in the kingdom. This is not a story. This happened in Thanjavur and the man who did it was Raja Raja Cholan. The temple I am speaking about is the world famous Brihadeeswarar temple.
“Raja Raja Cholan set up a small banking system a 1000 years ago to eradicate poverty.A At that point itself, they had elections to select village elders. Free medication was provided 1,000 years ago itself.
“They had a separate water body ministry to manage water resources,” Vikram said and pointed out that this film would be a story about that era.