Our final verse from the Madhurā Vijaya is taken from the climactic battle scene between King Kampa and the Sultan in Madurai. The few verses leading into the duel are awash with a mixture of poetic surrealism and bloody gore. Princess she may be, but Gaṅgādevī doesn’t baulk at describing the sound of iron striking bone, or the way in which a neck buckles and sinks into the shoulders as a hammer lands upon the crown of a head.
In this particular verse, she plays on rākṣasas‘ taste for blood, as well as the fact that elephant’s temples are one of the several places where pearls are found.
निशाचराः केचन कुञ्जराणां
चुचूषुरुत्पुष्करनालदण्डैः ॥ (उपजातिः)
A rabble of night-roaming rākṣasas,
inverting elephant trunks to make straws,
slurped with satisfied burps
the blood streaming from the beasts’ temples,
spitting out the pearls.
9.6 Gaṅgādevī’s Madhurā Vijaya
The Rasāla edition of this poem, The Conquest of Madhurā: Gaṅgādevī’s Madhurā Vijaya, is now available. The edition consists of a selection of 200-odd verses from the 500 or so extant verses of the original, alongside a new translation by Shankar Rajaraman and Venetia Kotamraju. The eBook also includes audio versions of several verses. Click here for more details.