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Tamil land and people (akam, prum, thinai, thurai etc..)
http://sangamtamilliterature.wordpress.com/useful-links
Dr.S.Sund...
• Thinai: There are seven thinai classifications in Puram, and five
in Akam. (There are 2 more Akam thinais which are rare...
நடுகல் – Memorial Stones for warriors and heroes
• Nadukkal or memorial stones were erected for
warriors and heroes (kings...
• Understanding Akam thinais: It is very important
to understand this to enjoy Akam poems. Each
Akam thinai consists of th...
• Comparing Akam and Puram thinais: Akam means
‘that which is inside’ and Puram means, ‘that which
is outside’, and they a...
• The two genres differ from each other not only in theme, but also in technique.
 Akam poems make much use of images sug...
Some Interesting Conventions and Facts that might help
new readers:
1. Snakes spit sparkling gems.
2. Pearls drop off the ...
6. There is a mythical creature called asunam : defines asunam as a
creature believed to be so susceptible to harmony, tha...
10. The utterances of the foster mother and real mother are not
quite clear. The foster mother also refers to the heroine ...
• Omens
• Omens – நிமித்தங்கள் – It is surprising that a few of the omens that we
have in our Tamil culture comes to us fr...
• மடல் ஏறுதல் – Riding on a Palmyra Horse
• மடல் ஏறுதல் – Climbing on a Palmyra leaf horse and
riding through town
• This ...
• He also wears an erukkam flower (calotropis gigantea) or āvirai
(Tanner’s senna, Cassia auriculata) flower garland while...
•
அமிழ்து பபாதி பெந்நா அஞ்ெவந்த
வார்ந்துஇைங்கு லவஎயிற்றுச் சின்பமாழி அரிலவலைப்
பபறுகதில் அம்ம ைானன! பபற்றாங்கு
அறிகதில் அம...
14. When the heroine is lovesick and thin, her mother
fears that she’s trouble with a disease because of the
wrath of Muru...
15. There is not a word in the English language for
‘virali’. A virali is a female artist who performs
dances and also sin...
17. Young girls are described as having ‘bright
forehead’, ‘sharp teeth’, ‘thick, dark hair’, ‘fragrant
hair, ‘deer-like l...
• த ொய்யில் – Body Painting Art
• This is an ancient Tamil custom where women painted
their breasts and backs with beautif...
• Akam Poetic Conventions
• Sangam poetry is highly conventionalized. It is best to
understand the thinais and the concept...
• Meaning of Akam and Puram
Akam – interior, Puram – exterior
Akam – heart, mind, Puram – body surfaces & extremeties
Akam...
Some interesting elements seen in the poems:
The heroine’s eyes are described as having red
streaks.(move very fast in a...
• The heroine’s friend (னதாழி) refers to the hero as our
lover (நம் காதைர்) often, even though she means ‘your
lover’, sin...
Typical Kurinji Thinai scenarios – Love in the mountains
The heroine chases parrots in the family’s millet field
Her frien...
Bangles slip down the arms of the heroine
Her skin has become pale and yellow spots have spread on her body
The village fi...
Typical Pālai Thinai scenarios – Separation
The hero leaves, passing the wasteland, to earn wealth (except
in Akananuru 25...
• Typical Mullai Thinai scenarios – Patient waiting
The hero has gone on a personal business trip, and is
expected at the ...
• Typical Neythal Thinai scenarios – Anxious waiting
The heroine and her friend dry fish on the seashore
Their fathers and...
• Typical Marutham Thinai scenarios – Infidelity and hurt
The hero takes a concubine
The hero plays with his concubine/con...
• யவனர் – Ionians, Greeks
• யவனர் – The Ionians (Greek people -Greeks) must
have come first to trade with us. We called th...
• அன்னம் உள்ள குத்து விளக்கு யவனரொல் தெய்யப்பட்டது, தபரும்பொணொற்றுபப்பை ட (316-317)
• தபரும்பொணொற்றுபப்பை ட – ஆெிரியர் கடி...
• Young women who swim in the drinking water
port along with friends they played with
while young making sand dolls,
left ...
Tamil land and people (akam, purum, thinai, thurai etc..)
Tamil land and people (akam, purum, thinai, thurai etc..)
Tamil land and people (akam, purum, thinai, thurai etc..)
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Dr.S.Sundarabalu
Assistant Professor
Department of Linguistics
Bharathiar University,Coimbatore-46
Visiting Professor ,ICCR’s Tamil Chair
Institute of Oriental Studies, Dept. of Indology
Jagiellonian University, Krakow-Poland
sunder_balu@yahoo.co.in

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Tamil land and people (akam, purum, thinai, thurai etc..)

  1. 1. Tamil land and people (akam, prum, thinai, thurai etc..) http://sangamtamilliterature.wordpress.com/useful-links Dr.S.Sundarabalu Assistant Professor Department of Linguistics Bharathiar University,Coimbatore-46 Visiting Professor ,ICCR’s Tamil Chair Institute of Oriental Studies, Dept. of Indology Jagiellonian University, Krakow-Poland sunder_balu@yahoo.co.in
  2. 2. • Thinai: There are seven thinai classifications in Puram, and five in Akam. (There are 2 more Akam thinais which are rarely used, and are seen only in the later Kalithokai poems. They are Kaikilai and Perunthinai which deal with one sided love, and are not regarded as pure Akam by scholars). • Puram Thinais: These seven thinais have been named after flowers. These are Vetchi, Vanji, Ulignai, Thumpai, Vākai, Kānji and Pādān. 1. Vetchi -is cattle raid, 2. Vanji -is preparation for war and invasion (especially the entrance of an armed force into a territory to conquer.), 3. Ulignai -is siege,(The surrounding and blockading of a city) 4. Thumpai -is battle, 5. Vākai -is victory, 6. Kānji -is tragedy, and 7. Pādān -is praise. • The Puram thinai poems are spoken by the poet himself, and frequently associated with real persons, places and events in history.
  3. 3. நடுகல் – Memorial Stones for warriors and heroes • Nadukkal or memorial stones were erected for warriors and heroes (kings, battle heroes etc. – not for the hero (main character) of the Akam poems). • These stones were decorated with peacock feathers and worshipped. Rice liquor was poured on them. Goats were killed and sacrificed to them (Akam 53). • The names of the warriors as well as their achievements were etched on these stones, and they were decorated with peacock feathers. There were spears and shields placed nearby, and they made the place appear like a battlefield (Akam 67, 131). All the memorial stones appear in pālai thinai (dry wasteland). அகநானூறு – 35, 53, 67, 131, 289, 297, 343, 365, 387 புறநானூறு – 221, 222, 223, 232, 261, 306, 314, 329 ஐங்குறுநூறு – 352 பட்டினப்பாலை – line 79
  4. 4. • Understanding Akam thinais: It is very important to understand this to enjoy Akam poems. Each Akam thinai consists of three components – Muthal, Karu and Uri. 1. Muthal consists of basic elements such as a tract of land, a season, a time of day or night. 2. Karu consists of the flora and fauna in that tract, its inhabitants, their occupations etc. 3. Uri is the aspect peculiar to each landscape; more specifically, the feelings, deeds and situations of the dramatis personae in love poetry.
  5. 5. • Comparing Akam and Puram thinais: Akam means ‘that which is inside’ and Puram means, ‘that which is outside’, and they are the two sides of Sangam poetry. For each Akam thinai, there is a coinciding Puram thinai. • The Puram poem is spoken by the poet, and has names, places and events of history. • The Akam poems are spoken by the hero, his friend, heroine, her friend (tholi), the friend’s mother (foster mother- sevili), the heroine’s real mother, the courtesan and the passer-by.
  6. 6. • The two genres differ from each other not only in theme, but also in technique.  Akam poems make much use of images suggesting a mood and a situation, while Puram poems do not and are more straightforward.  For Akam, the mood and the situation are closely associated with each thinai, but, for Puram, the association is less.  In Akam poetry, themes described in poems are connected with each other, and, taken as a whole, form a ‘love drama’; each scene describe in Puram poems is a solitary one and not connected with each other.  Puram poetry is far less conventional than Akam poetry, and its subject matter is easier to understand.  Akam poems have many similes and metaphors, and fauna and flora are used to express situations and human emotions.
  7. 7. Some Interesting Conventions and Facts that might help new readers: 1. Snakes spit sparkling gems. 2. Pearls drop off the tusks of elephants. 3. A tiger will not eat a prey if it does not fall on its right side. 4. Women in love get yellow pallor spots on their bodies, and their eyes become pale and yellow. Their shoulders and arms become thin. Bangles fall off their wrists.
  8. 8. 6. There is a mythical creature called asunam : defines asunam as a creature believed to be so susceptible to harmony, that when it is fascinated by notes of music, a sudden loud beat of the drum causes its instantaneous death. 7. There is a mighty animal Āli, which kills elephants. It could be a hyena or a lion. 8. The heroine’s friend (tholi) refers to the hero as ‘our lover’, since both the girls are very closefriends. 9. The heroine’s friend is sometimes the voice of the heroine and she tells the hero what the heroine wants to tell him. It is because of an old convention which is in the Tholkāppiyam, that the heroine cannot utter her love feelings directly to the hero. This convention comes from ancient oral tradition.
  9. 9. 10. The utterances of the foster mother and real mother are not quite clear. The foster mother also refers to the heroine as ‘my daughter’. 11.The speakers of Puram poems are the poets. The speakers of Akam poems are the hero, heroine, heroine’s friend, heroine’s mother, heroine’s foster mother, hero’s charioteer, hero’s concubine and passers-by, when the hero and heroine are in the wasteland. 12. The fathers and brothers of the heroine have never been speakers of any poem. However, they are referred to in the poems. 13. When the heroine refuses to respond to the hero, he climbs on a palmyra stem horse (madal ēruthal, meaning climbing on a palmyra stem or frond) and has it pulled through town with a picture of the heroine in his hand. He does that as a last resort as a jilted lover, if the heroine refuses his love.
  10. 10. • Omens • Omens – நிமித்தங்கள் – It is surprising that a few of the omens that we have in our Tamil culture comes to us from Sangam times, unchanged. We see the lizard and crow omens in the Sangam poems. There are also விரிச்சி நிற்பது (waiting for the good word) and புள் நிமித்தம் (புள் was probably used for bird omens first, but was used for all omens later) • – Kurunthokai 218. Mullaipattu has a line describing விரிச்சி நிற்பது – line 11. In addition to these poems, Natrinai 258, 281, 343, and 367 have descriptions of crows being fed for good luck.
  11. 11. • மடல் ஏறுதல் – Riding on a Palmyra Horse • மடல் ஏறுதல் – Climbing on a Palmyra leaf horse and riding through town • This appears to be a silly ancient Tamil custom performed by young men who wanted to get the attention of their loved one and her family, so that a wedding could be arranged. The hero of the poem 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.
  12. 12. • He also wears an erukkam flower (calotropis gigantea) or āvirai (Tanner’s senna, Cassia auriculata) flower garland while on the horse. He carries a picture of his object of love, and shows it to the whole town. He becomes an object of ridicule. It is also hard on the young girl. This is an ultimate act of desperation by the man. He threatens to commit suicide if this fails. • Some of the poems talk about the hero’s threatening messages. He tells her beforehand that if she doesn’t respond, he’ll climb on a palmyra horse. I have come across 16 poems that deal with மடல் ஏறுதல்.
  13. 13. • அமிழ்து பபாதி பெந்நா அஞ்ெவந்த வார்ந்துஇைங்கு லவஎயிற்றுச் சின்பமாழி அரிலவலைப் பபறுகதில் அம்ம ைானன! பபற்றாங்கு அறிகதில் அம்ம, இவ்வூனே! மறுகில் நல்னைாள் கணவன் இவன் எனப் பல்னைார் கூற ைாஅம் நாணுகம் சிறினத. • The reddish sweet nectar-like tongue of my girl of few words, fears her sharp teeth. Listen! I desire to attain her. Once attained, they’ll know. Listen town! On the streets, “he’s a good woman’s husband”, is what many will say then, and we’ll feel a little shy. • Translated by Vaidehi
  14. 14. 14. When the heroine is lovesick and thin, her mother fears that she’s trouble with a disease because of the wrath of Murukan, and brings a diviner to her house to appease Murukan, the mountain deity. The diviner (Velan) uses divines, offers a goat as sacrifice, ties a talisman(magic signs) on the heroine’s arms and does frenzied (wild) ritual dances on freshly laid sand in the front yard of the house that is decorated with flowers.
  15. 15. 15. There is not a word in the English language for ‘virali’. A virali is a female artist who performs dances and also sings. She belongs to the bard’s family. She is the bard’s wife in some poems. 16. A demon (evil) protects wounded warriors on the battlefield, when they have nobody to guard them. This convention comes from Tholkāppiyam PurathinaiIyal.
  16. 16. 17. Young girls are described as having ‘bright forehead’, ‘sharp teeth’, ‘thick, dark hair’, ‘fragrant hair, ‘deer-like looks’, ‘bamboo-like arms’, ‘swaying walk’, ‘delicate shoulders’ etc. These phrases are repeated quite often in the poems. Young girls drew designs on their breasts and shoulders, and these were called thoyyil.
  17. 17. • த ொய்யில் – Body Painting Art • This is an ancient Tamil custom where women painted their breasts and backs with beautiful paintings. • நற்றிணை – 29, 39, 225, 298 குறுந்த ொணை – 276, 384 அைநொனூறு – 177, 239, 389 ைலித்த ொணை - 18, 24, 54, 63, 64, 76, 97, 111, 112, 117, 125, 142, 143, 144 மதுணைக்ைொஞ்சி – 283
  18. 18. • Akam Poetic Conventions • Sangam poetry is highly conventionalized. It is best to understand the thinais and the concepts of muthal, karu, uri and ullurai to enjoy them best. Tholkāppiyam, Kalaviyal endra Iraiyanār Akapporul, and Nampi’s Akapporul Vilakkam are the three books that deal with Sangam Akam conventions. • Parts of Tholkappiyam (4th – 5th centuries) dealing with akam, Kalaviyal endra Iraiyanār Akapporul (4th – 5th centuries) , and Nampi’s Akapporul Vilakkam (13th century) were all written many centuries after the Sangam poems. These akam conventions are probably much older than the poems themselves, coming from an ancient oral bardic tradition. The authors of the three books mention quote ancient Tamil scholars (referring to them as “they said so”, “என்ப”) from oral tradition times.
  19. 19. • Meaning of Akam and Puram Akam – interior, Puram – exterior Akam – heart, mind, Puram – body surfaces & extremeties Akam – self, Puram – others Akam – Kin, Puram – non-kin Akam – house, family, Puram – house yard, field Akam – earth, Puram – farthest ocean Akam – love poems & no names or person, Puram – poems about war, kings, people, names Akam – codes of conduct appropriate to akam poetry, Puram – Codes of conduct appropriate to puram poetry
  20. 20. Some interesting elements seen in the poems: The heroine’s eyes are described as having red streaks.(move very fast in a specified direction) The heroine who is in love becomes thin when separated from her lover, and the bangles on her arms slip down. She becomes pale and develops yellow spots on her body. The words used to describe this are – பெலை, பைப்பு, சுணங்கு, னதமல், தித்தி, திதலை, பீேம், வரி. • pale -lacking brightness of colour
  21. 21. • The heroine’s friend (னதாழி) refers to the hero as our lover (நம் காதைர்) often, even though she means ‘your lover’, since the two of them are very close friends. The heroine’s friend plays a very important role in the poems. • She is a friend, confidante, she arranges trysts(a secret meeting between two people who are having a romantic relationship) and is a messenger between the lovers.
  22. 22. Typical Kurinji Thinai scenarios – Love in the mountains The heroine chases parrots in the family’s millet field Her friend joins her often in chasing parrots The young girls use rattles and noise producing gadgets (implement)to chase parrots The heroine meets the hero while chasing parrots, and fall in love The friend helps the lovers to meet The hero comes through forest paths at night to meet his lover The heroine worries about his safety and the friend conveys this to him The friend arranges for day and night trysts The heroine and her friend play with the hero at the waterfalls The heroine and her friend play on swings The heroine is badly affect with love and becomes thin
  23. 23. Bangles slip down the arms of the heroine Her skin has become pale and yellow spots have spread on her body The village finds out about the affair and rumours start The heroine’s friend asks the hero whether they can come to his town Heroine’s mother finds out about it and locks her up The friend urges the hero to come and marry her friend Mother arranges for a velan (Murugan priest) to cure her daughter Velan prepares the ceremonial ground with fresh sand in their front yard Velan does veriyāttam dances, and offers a goat and other things to appease Murugan The heroine’s parents try to arrange her marriage with somebody else The heroine does not respond to the hero’s love The hero threatens that he is going to climb on the palmyra palm and be drawn around town with a photo of his beloved The mountain dwellers plant millet and aivanam grain They guard their crops from wild boars and elephants
  24. 24. Typical Pālai Thinai scenarios – Separation The hero leaves, passing the wasteland, to earn wealth (except in Akananuru 255, the only poem in Sangam poetry where the hero goes on a ship) The hero and heroine elope and go through the wasteland paths The foster mother goes in search of the heroine Passers-by give advice to the hero and heroine The heroine’s mother is very hurt since her daughter has eloped The hero goes alone in search of wealth, leaving behind the heroine The heroine is afraid that he has to go through paths with bandits(A robber,) and wild animals The heroine’s friend consoles her The heroine is distressed and bangles slip down her forearms The hero speaks to his heart about his feelings The heroine’s mother pleads (appeal earnestly)with the crow to caw and bring her daughter back
  25. 25. • Typical Mullai Thinai scenarios – Patient waiting The hero has gone on a personal business trip, and is expected at the start of the rainy season The hero has gone on the king’s business, and is expected at the start of the rainy season The heroine awaits his arrival when the rainy season arrives The heroine is upset that the rainy season has started, and her man has not returned The heroine is in denial that the rainy season has started and blames the trees for showing signs of the season The heroine’s friend consoles her when she is worried The hero is anxious to get back home once his business is over The heroine is upset when rainy season has started and the hero has not returned The hero talks to his charioteer on his way back The rains start and forest is filled with kāyā, kondrai, mullai and other flowers The hero eventually reaches home and tells the heroine how happy he is to be back
  26. 26. • Typical Neythal Thinai scenarios – Anxious waiting The heroine and her friend dry fish on the seashore Their fathers and brothers go into the ocean to fish The heroine plays with her friends on the seashore The heroine waits nervously for the hero who is away There is rumour in their settlement when the love affair is known The heroine’s friend assures her that the hero will come on his chariot The heroine’s body becomes pale and weak due to the separation The heroine is unable to sleep at night
  27. 27. • Typical Marutham Thinai scenarios – Infidelity and hurt The hero takes a concubine The hero plays with his concubine/concubines in the river The heroine is very sad and hurt The heroine’s friend accosts the hero The concubine talks about her feelings The concubine talks about the heroine The hero uses a messenger bard to send word to the heroine The heroine tells the bard about her sad feelings The heroine tells the hero how hurt she is The heroine tells the hero about rumour The heroine tells the hero that he was seen with his concubines The friend speaks her mind to the bard The friend refuses the hero entry into the house • Concubine-woman in the past who had a sexual relationship with an important man but was not married to him
  28. 28. • யவனர் – Ionians, Greeks • யவனர் – The Ionians (Greek people -Greeks) must have come first to trade with us. We called them Yavanas. Those who came subsequently were also called Yavanas – like the Romans and Turks. • There are nine references to Yavanas. The Sangam poems speak about the trade with the Yavanas in many poems. Trade with them started a few centuries before Christ and continued until the 3rd century A.D. • We sold black pepper to these foreigners and got gold coins in return. We bought wine from them. It appears that the ‘pāvai vilakku’ lamp and the ‘kuthu vilaku with an annam top’ was designed by Yavanas. See the information in the poems below.
  29. 29. • அன்னம் உள்ள குத்து விளக்கு யவனரொல் தெய்யப்பட்டது, தபரும்பொணொற்றுபப்பை ட (316-317) • தபரும்பொணொற்றுபப்பை ட – ஆெிரியர் கடியலூர் உரித் ிரங் கண்ணனொர் • வண்டல் ஆயதமொடு உண் துணற ணல இப் புனலொடு மைளிர் இட்ட த ொலங்குணை இணற த ர் மைிச்சிைல் இணை தசத்து எறிந் னப் புள் ஆர் த ண்ணைப் புலம்பு மடல் தசல்லொது தைள்வி அந் ைர் அருங்ைடன் இறுத் தவள்வித் தூைத்து அணசஇ யவன ஓ ிம விளக்கின் உயர் மிணசக் தைொண்ட ணவகுறு மீனின் ண யத் த ொன்றும். (311 – 318) • வண்டல் – sand dolls making, ஆயதமொடு – friends, உண்துணற – water tank steps, ணல இப் – join together, புனலொடு மைளிர் – women playing in the water, இட்ட த ொலங்குணை – the gold earrings that they left (on the shore), இணை – food, த ர் – searching, மைிச்சிைல் – kingfisher bird, இணை – food, தசத்து – thought, எறிந் னப் – took it, புள் – bird, ஆர் – filled, த ண்ணைப் – palmyra palm, புலம்பு – lonely, மடல் – leaf, frond, தசல்லொது – not going, தைள்வி அந் ைர் – brahmins who learn vedas, அருங்ைடன் இறுத் – to do their rituals, தவள்வித் தூைத்து – ritual building pillar, அணசஇ – was kept, யவன – Greek, ஓ ிம விளக்ைின் – goose lamp, உயர் மிணசக்தைொண்ட – above it, ணவகுறு மீனின் – morning star (venus), ண யத் த ொன்றும் – appears slowly/in a dull manner
  30. 30. • Young women who swim in the drinking water port along with friends they played with while young making sand dolls, left their gold earrings on the shore. A kingfisher, thinking that it was food took the jewels, did not go to its usual palm tree perch filled with birds, but left it on a column top near where the Vedic Brahmins did rituals. It looked like the top of the Yavanar’s goose lamp and the slowly appearing morning star (venus) in the high skies. • Translated by Vaidehi
  • BabjeeSingaram

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  • vsathiy1

    Jul. 12, 2019
  • JenittaJacquline

    Oct. 18, 2015

Dr.S.Sundarabalu Assistant Professor Department of Linguistics Bharathiar University,Coimbatore-46 Visiting Professor ,ICCR’s Tamil Chair Institute of Oriental Studies, Dept. of Indology Jagiellonian University, Krakow-Poland sunder_balu@yahoo.co.in

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