The Women of Ponniyin Selvan

Prashanthini Mande wrote a beautiful blog post about the women of Ponniyin Selvan. When she asked me to illustrate these women I was a little skeptical as I hadn’t read the books, but after reading what she wrote I was sure I wanted to draw them. She talks about the women and their strong personalities and how they grow throughout the book. It was a pleasure illustrating these women in a style thats very folkart.

“Our empire is now governed by females; we have a veritable Alli Rajyam on our hands. How do we rectify this terrible state of affairs?” — Periya Pazhuvettarayar, Book 1, Ponniyin Selvan



Kalki describes her beauty by invoking flowers, stars, and celestial beings, but what you will end up admiring is her brains and benevolence, not her beauty.

Mandhakini/Oomai Rani


She is scared of people but she can tame exotic horses and ride them. She is always around to save the prince, but no one knows where she lives. She looks fragile, but she is also like the wind and cannot be captured by force.



When she realizes that she is pitted against another woman, a commoner, in her efforts to gain the prince’s affection, instead of pulling that woman down, she lifts herself up. She is even ready to give up the throne just to prove that her love is not shallow.



As a boatwoman, her favorite thing to do is rowing her boat to Sri Lanka and back, braving the high tides, alone. She does what she likes, says what she wants and doesn’t take shit from anybody.



Men who are ensnared by her say that her beauty is her biggest weapon. But what they overlook and eventually pay for, is a sharper weapon that she is constantly honing — her mind.

You can read the entire post here
‘The women of Ponniyin Selvan’ by Prashanthini Mande

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