Transgender in Silappathikaram

Iyyappan K
Department of Tamil, Loganatha Narayanasamy Government College, Ponneri-601204, Tamil Nadu, India


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Silappathikaram is the first Tamil epic. In this epic that is written by Ilangovadikal, there are records of transgender people living on the margins of society. As Tolkappiyar has recorded transgender people as masculinity challenged, Ilangovadikal too referred transgender as masculinity challenged. Silappathikaram talks about ‘Pedik Koothu (folk play)’ which can only be played by transgender people. Madurapathi, the deity of the Pandyas, one of the three crowned Kings, is understood to be in the bisexual transgender form. Silappathikaram beautifully captures the transcendental imagery of transgender people. It also records that transgender people worked as maids in the harem for Venmaal, the wife and queen of Senkuttuvan. Besides, Silappathikaram registers transgender people as trustworthy. Furthermore, worshiping them in the form of deities and through recording their images, it is clear that the society of the day regarded transgender people as equals without distinction.


  • Silappathikaram,
  • Masculine,
  • Bedi,
  • Madurapathi,
  • Transgender


  1. Puliyur Kesigan, (2014) Silappatikaram, Fourth Edition, Saradha pathippagam, Chennai, India.
  2. Somasundranaar, P.V., (1979) Silappatikaram, Kalaga Veliyeedu Chennai, India.
  3. Tholkappiyar, (1956) Tholkappiyam Sollathikaram, Kalaga Veliyeedu Chennai, India.
  4. Venkatasamy Nattar, Na.Mu., (2018), Silapathikaram Moolamum Uraiyum - First Edition, Gowra Agency, Chennai, India



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