Historical novel described Nagapattinam ravaged by tidal waves
Legendary Tamil historical novelist 'Kalki' Krishnamurthy has described a tidal wave attack on Nagapattinam in his magnum opus "Ponniyin Selvan" (Darling of Ponni), novel written in 1950.
In this novel, Kalki describes how the waves, 'looking like a big black mountain', surged into Nagapattinam and destroyed it in the 10th century AD.
"Ponniyin Selvan' deals with the fortunes of the Chola empire in the 10th and 11th century AD. Kalki, a student of religions, art, literature, learnt a lot through epigraphic inscriptional and numismatic sources. The novel contains six volumes. In volume 5 'Thiyaga Sigram' (pinnacle of sacrifice), he describes the tidal wave attack in three chapters, starting from chapter 3 "Kadal Pongiyadhu" (surge of the sea).
"The tide rose as high as a coconut tree. It seemed to touch even the clouds. Water laden with dust looked like a big, black mountain. It moved quickly into Nagapattinam town, inundated godowns and granaries. Catamarans, boats and barges were floating atop the mountain of water. The tides stormed into streets and swallowed huts. People ran helter-skelter. Many were sitting atop houses and trees. Hundreds of cattle were killed and floating on water.Human beings also lost their lives. People were crying inconsolably.When the water receded, one could see boats thrashed on top of houses and trees ...."
Kalki's narration is much similar to the devastation that took place on December 26. Eyewitnesses in Nagapattinam say that a black mountain of sea water surged into hamlets, killing many people. Kalki's imagination about the 10th century devastation came true in the 21st century.