மடல் ஏறுதல் – Climbing on a Palmyra stem/leaf horse and riding through town
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This act is performed by the hero who wants to get the attention of the heroine and her family, so that a wedding could be arranged. The hero climbs on a palm stems/leaves horse that has bells on its neck, and has it pulled through the streets where people can see him. He also wears an erukkam flower (calotropis gigantea) or āvirai flower (Tanner’s senna, Cassia auriculata) garland while riding. He becomes an object of ridicule. It is also hard on the heroine. This is an ultimate act of desperation by the hero. He threatens to commit suicide if this fails.
Most of the poems are about the hero’s threatening messages. He informs the heroine beforehand that if she doesn’t respond, he’ll climb on a palmyra horse. There are a couple of poems where he does go on the street. I have come across the following 16 poems with மடல் ஏறுதல்.
குறுந்தொகை – (5 in total) 14, 17, 32, 173, 182
நற்றிணை – (5 in total) 146, 152, 220, 342, 377
கலித்தொகை – (6 in total) 58, 61, 138, 139, 140, 141
In the Vaishnava ‘Periya Madal’ and ‘Siriya Madal’ hyms of Divya Prabandham, Thirumangai Azhvar uses this theme to show great devotion to god.