There is a proverb in Tamil.
See around yourself and speak even in daytime.
This is actally an all emcompassing sort of a proverb.
Normally people tend to think the before speaking,
look around to see if there are some unseen unwanted persons
who might be eavesdropping.
But that alone is not sufficient.
You have to see what sort of persons are being spoken
too. This is very important.
Some thirty years ago, a civil servant in an East Coast
state in Malaysia, made a joke about getting a royal award.
The next day, he received a royal order from the state
ordering his expulsion from the state within twenty four hours.
The one who laughed the loudest was the one who made
The Tirumalai Nayak Palace in Madurai was one place
where no secret can be whispered even during day time.
The Palace was built in a marvellous way. Not only was
it an architectural wonder. But it was also an acoustics wonder.
There were certain places in Palace where a whisper
would be carried to another part of the palace and amplified
But that whisper would not be audible to people who are
only a few metres away.
The grandson of Tirumalai Nayakkar was Chokkanatha
Nayakkar. He was one of the worst of the Nayakkar kings of
Madurai. He caused the downfall of the Nayakdom with his
But that is another story. Or rather... stories.
When Chokka came to the throne, he was a mere boy.
The real power was with three high level officers -
Raayasam, Pradhani, and Dalavaay.
A Dalavaay was the commander of the armed forces.
But there were times when they were given/took more powers
and became dictators.
A Pradhani is a minister who attends to all departmental
activities. Something like a Chief Minister or a minister of all
A Raayasam was a Royal Secretary who took down the
orders of the king and sent out orders in the name of the king.
As you see, the total power in the kingdom was
concentrated in the hands of these three officers.
They ran the country. But they were very corrupt and
One day they conspired to murder the boy king.
But unfortunately for them, they chose the wrong place
It happend to be one of the secret acoustical points
where no secret may be spoken.
Each word fell into the ears of the personal bodyguard
Chokka who was sixteen years old at that time, decided
then and there to grasp the nettle - take decisive action.
He manipulated a counter-coup.
The Raayasam was way-laid during the night and he
The Pradhani was murdered secretly.
The Dalavay was sent away on a military campaign with the
divisions of the army which were faithful to him. He was sent to
where he would be defeated and probably would be killed.
The Dalavaay defected and went on a self-exile.
Thus Chokka came to power.
He shifted his capital city from Madurai to Tiruchi. He
a palace there.
So he destroyed a large part Tirumalai's Mahal and carried
the material to Tiruchi.
Thus eighty percent of the Tirumalai Nayakkar Mahal became
What we see now, is not even 20 percent of the original
Palace of TiruMalai Nayakkar.