Nadasurabhi Cultural Association located in Koramangala, Bangalore is in the forefront of promoting Classical Carnatic Music. Nadasurabhi conducts the highest quality music concerts every month and a week-long Annual Festival in November, free of charge to all rasikas. Our other events include a youth festival, Thyagaraja and Purandaradasa Aradhana, and music competitions for children.
Written by Smt.Harini Raghavan. Published in Ananya Abhivyakti journal in 2006.
Technically speaking, ’Manipravalam’ refers to a harmonious blend of gems, ‘Mani’ and ‘Pravalam’, forming a beautiful garland. In poetical and musical works, this means a composition combining phrases in various languages, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing work of art.
Manipravalam is a separate literary language, consciously crafted by the elite medieval Kerala. The literature of the elite was composed in the curious mixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam which is referred to as Manipravalam, ‘Mani’ meaning ‘Ruby’ in Malayalam and ‘Pravalam’ meaning ‘Coral’ in Sanskrit. So, it is a type of composition which employs more than one language, in any one single composition.
In Kerala, there are numerous works in Manipravalam. The early literature comprised of 3 types of compositions:
1. Classical songs known as ‘Paattu’ of the Tamil tradition.
2. Manipravalam of the Sanskrit tradition which permitted a generous interspersing of Sanskrit with Malayalam.
3. The ‘Folk Songs’ rich in native elements.
Malayalam language which belongs to the Dravidian group of languages evolved from Tamil. Malayalam remained in the shadows of Tamil till 10th century. The efforts of powerful ‘Namboodiris’ metamorphosed it into a highly sanskritised one. Thus Manipravalam style, a hybridization of Malayalam and Sanskrit, was a result of the predominant namboodiri influence.
The early literary works of Kerala are all in Manipravalam, of which ‘Vaisika Tantram’(13th century) is the earliest. ‘Achi Charitam’ (tales of courtesans) and ‘Sandesha Kavyas’(message poems) are the most representative of the early Manipravalam works. Manipravalam looked to Sanskrit for models of literary works. These works appealed to the “upper class reading public” of those days.
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