இந்தப் பக்கத்தை தமிழில் வாசிக்க: ஏழாம் உலகம்
Ezham Ulagam (2007) is a novel written by Jeyamohan. It depicts the lives of depraved human beings of marginal status of being bought and sold for begging. In Hinduism, there is a concept of Ezhu Kil Logangal (seven lower worlds); this novel symbolises the seventh and lowest world (Ezham Ulagam).
The background of this novel is the days spent by the writer in Thiruvannamalai in a kaavi cloth (saffron dhoti). The novel’s stark realism, polyphony, and sharp satire were pointed out by critics. Even in the most dangerous environments, humanity exists, shedding light on the human soul behind all the negativity––believe readers. Based on this novel, Bala’s film Naan Kaduval, accompanied by Ilayaraja’s music, was released in 2009.
The first edition was published by Tamilini in 2007. Later, it was published by Kizhakku Pathippagam in 2010.
Pothivelu Pandaram has been in the business of buying and selling differently-abled (they are referred to as urupadikal in the novel) people. He lives with his wife and three daughters. He is a devotee of Lord Muruga, nevertheless, a womaniser and a drunk.
Muthammai, one of his urupadikal (items), delivers a child. Muthammai has only one eye, one hand, one leg, and a slender head. He identifies Muthammai and other people with disabilities and uses them to reproduce. These children are also made to beg.
This is her eighteenth child. She says that she only remembers her first child, who was born with just one finger; forgetting the rest, they were all sold.
Pandaram takes Muthammai and a few others, just a week after her delivery to Palani thai poosam festival for begging. Pandaram requires money to marry off his first daughter. Hence, he sells Thorappu, the father of Muthammai’s child and a few others. He had to sell Mangadu Saami, who was paralysed, could only sing and smile and was adored by the siddhars (saints).
Pandaram faces a downfall since Mangadu Saami was sold. He returns to his town; Suppamai, his eldest daughter, receives a marriage proposal. After his daughter’s engagement, he finds out that the groom’s job is not permanent; this worries Pandaram. Meanwhile, Vadivammai, his second daughter, runs away. He later finds out that she has gotten herself into an improper life. He somehow manages to marry off his elder daughter. Subsequently, he contracts a serious illness due to his philandering.
Mangadu Saami joins with him again. He anticipates recovering the loss if he gets Muthammai to deliver another child. He chooses a rude, dumb young man for her. This young man was thrown on top of Mutthamai one night, under the bridge. She recognised that it was her son; he had only one finger. The incident takes place despite her harrowing screams.
The main characters in this novel interact with the stories of people who are made to beg. Ramappan, a leper who views the world artistically. Thorappu, a blind who yearns to touch his (and Muthammai’s) baby, at least for a second. Madhavaperumal ties a thali (an auspicious chain worn by women to signify marriage) to Erruku while she’s in the hospital to bring her back home; she considers him her husband after that. Kuyan, who wishes to taste the special meals in a hotel, without the food being mixed. Ahmedkutty, an intellectual who reads the newspaper is portrayed as one of the many unique characters. Eykiammai, who firmly believes she’s innocuous. Meenakshi adores bangles. Communist Kochan Nair, who calls the people he buys and sells "thozha" (friend). Pothi and many other exuberant characters are featured in this novel.
- Pothivelu Pandaram - Buys and sells differently-abled people for begging.
- Ekkiyamai - Pandaram’s wife.
- Suppamai - Pandaram’s eldest daughter.
- Vadivammai - Pandaram’s second daughter.
- Meenatchi - Pandaram’s youngest daughter.
- Pothi - Pandaram’s friend.
- Muthammai - Mother of eighteen children. She was made to have intercourse with many men; used the children to beg. One eye, arm, a crippled leg, single breast and a plus-size woman.
- Mangadu Saami - Looks at the world with a big smile on his face. He is considered a siddhar (saint) by the other urupadikal. Sings spiritual songs with passion. He has two legs and one arm.
- Ramappan - A leper who observes the world artistically.
- Kuyan - Often speaks sarcastically. Desires to eat a grand meal.
- Erruku (Saraswathi) - Police misbehaved with her at night. Wife of Madhavaperumal.
- Thorrapan (Joseph) - Pandaram sold him for organs. Father of Muthammai’s child. Blind, humped back.
- Kuruvi - High-pitched voice. She’s like a daughter to Ramappan.
- Sannapi - The one who asks Muthammai about her babies.
- Unniyammai - Ekkiyammai’s neighbour; old lady.
- Rajinikanth - Muthammai’s child. He was sold at the age of one.
- Madhavaperumal - Pandaram’s helper.
- Vandimalai - urupadikal's guardian.
- Ahmedkutty - He’s educated, intelligent. A Malayali. Hydrocele patient.
- Kochan - He buys and sells differently-abled people. Communist. Business dealings with Pandaram.
- Srikandan Nair - Kochan’s nephew. Advocate. Involved in human trafficking.
- Nayakkar - Had business dealings with Pandaram.
- Ramanujan - Nayakan’s assistant. Introduced Pandaram to the human trafficking gang.
Jeyamohan has travelled India thrice, wearing kaavi before his thirties. He spent a part of his trip in Palanimalai. The life of the marginalized people over there is the background of Ezham Ulagam.
The backdrop of the novel is the gang that buys and sells differently-abled people; using them for begging. Their naturalistic lifestyle and conversations are brought out. The novel is set in Kumari, Nagercoil.
Literary Significance, Review
The stark realism, authenticity, and transparency of Ezham Ulagam have been noted by critics since its publication. The language style of the novel is considered to be significant in the history of Tamil literature. Only a couple of lines come across as kottoviyam(line drawing). However, the exceptional characters and well-constructed conversations in the regional dialect are two of the aspects repeatedly mentioned by the critics as remarkable in Ezham Ulagam. The novel's versatility, the ever-evolving element in conversations, and the novel's humanism combined make it a unique work. This novel critiques religion and religious institutions while considering the profound expressions of spirituality.
In 2009, Bala’s film Naan Kaduval based on this novel, accompanied by Ilayaraja’s music, was released. Critics consider the film to reflect the novel’s spiritual space and humanity.
- Ezham Ulagam Discussions, blog
- A. Muttulingam, Review
- S. Venugopal Aarugal Kazhivu Odaigal [Review] - Ezham Ulagam, Kizhaku Pathipaga Veliyidu 
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