Mathuranthaka Uttama Chozhan

This article is based on Gokul ‘s Facts and Fiction series.

Speaking about Mathuranthaka there is a historical Mathuranthaka Uttama Chozha and Senthan amudhan turned Mathuranthaka with respect to Ponniyin Selvan[1]. Senthan Amudhan is a fictional character, personification of soft hearted men of great character and ideals. He is also human and down to earth and says he will prefer Poonguzhali over Sivabhakthi sloka.

Initially Senthan Amudhan was not intended to be converted to Mathuranthaka by Kalki. The reasons for this sudden change of mind on Kalki’s side in itself is a point of great debate.

Kalki’s son Mr.Rajendran narrated the exact incident as wrote:One day Kalki was doing Yogasana, every morning he had the habit of doing that. (Remember that Yogacharya Sundaram’s widely acclaimed series on Yoga featured as a series in Kalki in those days.) And it was boy Rajendran’s duty, every day to count numbers for his father when he was doing Sirasasanam, a posture of standing upside down!

On the given day after recovering from asana posture Kalki suddenly asked the boy : Senthan Amudhan|Senthan AmudhanayeRaja Aakki vittal enna ? (Why not make Sendhan Amudhan a king ?)

In Ponniyin Selvan Uttama Chola conspired to kill Adithya Karikalan. There are few evidences available to support it.

Evidence 1

The very first evidence that throws some light into this is the Thiruvalangadu plates. They say pretty clearly that the country men wanted to bring Arumozhi as the next prince but

Arumozhi declined saying that wrote:”As long as his step father Uttama Chozha wishes, he will not consider even mentally about suceeding the chozha throne.

T.V.Sadasiva Pandarathar, a noted historian, views that Arumozhi had so much respect in his step father that he proclaimed this statement. And Kalki aptly named the Part 5 as ”’Thiyaga Chigaram”’.

As per Thiruvalangadu inscriptions ”’Uttama did wish for the throne”’. Thus, in order to avoid a serious domestic conflict, Arumozhi would have decided to give room for his step father’s wishes. It is absolutely possible that the power camps were divided in this issue as Ponniyin Selvan succinctly portrays and since the overall chola empire was under the threat of disintegration, Arumozhi gave way for Uttama and decided to move his coins cautiously as Uttama did.

Evidence 2[2]

Pandyas had been the sworn enemies of cholas since time immemorial and there were battles between the two throughout the later chola regime. Vijayala / Aditya, Paranthaka, Gandaradhitya and Paranthaka II (Sundara chola) all had to fight Pandya revolt at some point of their time. In fact Paranthaka had to fight more than once to supress Pandya king Veerapandyan.

One such war was fought in Sevur in which Veerapandyan lost his life. Rajaraja the great began his historic conquest first from Pandya country (though Kandhalur Salai Battle with Cheras is considered the first, Rajarja had to first cross the pandya empire even to reach Kandhalur. Thus he had to suppress Amarabhujanga, the then pandyan emperor before proceeding to chera country).

But as per the history there was absolutely no Pandya revolt during Uttama’s time, for 15 long years. It is evident that Pandyas were alive and well during this period because Rajaraja’s first battle with them and subsequent battles with cheras (in which Pandyas obviously aligned with cheras to overcome chola power) were nevertheless easy victories. Thus Pandyas were not weak to plan any revolt in this period.

Evidence 3

By right, history should have seen a chola – pandya fight very close to Adithya Chola’s death. The confusion that was prevailing in chola empire was obvious, there were confusions as to who might be the successor and it was a very good time for pandya’s to capitalize this. But they didn’t.

One argument could be that there were no pandya emperors in the meanwhile. But that is strange, considering the way Pandyas organized themselves. Because, Pandya’s called themselves as descendants of Pancha Pandavas and to make people believe this, more than one ruler was available at any point of time. Of course, they all had a supreme leader among themselves, who was called the emperor, but the important thing is there were always some royal guys to replace a leader.

The overall point implied here is that Pandyas might have had their own leader who replaced Veerapandya probably the Amarabhujanga! when Adithya was killed. There was a 3 year gap between Sevur Battle and Aditya’s death, a sufficiently long gap for the pandyas to identify their next leader.

Evidence 4[3]

Mathuranthaka either had no issues or had some issues who could not come to power. T.V.S. Pandarathar talks about certain ”’Mathuranthaka”’ who was working as a temple supervisor in Rajaraja’s times and says that he was the son of Uttama chola. But there is no evidence to claim his theory. Remember that even Rajendra had the name Madhuranthaka before he became a king.

Arumizhi was recognized as the heir apparent during Uttama’s time. If Uttama had children, they should have come to power either during his own life time or after Rajaraja. But surprisingly, there is no trace of Utttama chola family. It is difficult to accept that theory that Uttama didn’t have any children considering the fact that he had many wives.

Taking TVS theory that he had a son, why was he not given a very high position or recognized in Rajaraja’s times? What happened to the generations that followed? At a much later date, there is a new breed of cholas (chalukya – cholas) were allowed to reign the kingdom after Athirajendra. It is quite surprising that the sons of Uttama chola could not make a headway into the royal frontiers at all.

It somehow seems that the whole generation was disregarded in terms of power since Rajaraja. Why did the generation did not revolt ? After all, going by the chola practice the crown belongs to the generation of Uttama more than Arumozhi.

Was it true that Rajaraja and Rajendra completely overshadowed the other branch by their sheer valor ? Or was it a deliberate attempt to sideline the generation of Uttama who committed a heinous crime to seize the throne ?