[INDOLOGY] Kuruntokai 106

Tieken, H.J.H. H.J.H.Tieken at hum.leidenuniv.nl
Sat Feb 22 15:17:53 EST 2014

I had another look at Kuṟuntokai 106, discussed earlier by Palaniappan and Hart:


tīti ṉeñcattuk kil̥avi namvayiṉ

vantaṉṟu vāḻi tōḻi nāmu

neypey tīyiṉ etirkoṇṭu

tām(/tāṉ/taṉ) maṇantaṉaiyam eṉa viṭukan tūtē.

As I see it, the real problem of the poem consists of the construction of two verbal participles, or absolutives, etirkoṇṭu and maṇantu, followed by aṉaiyam “we are like that”. The construction is rare but I found one other instance in Naṟṟiṇai 179, lines 6-7 (vīṅkuvaṉal̥ vimmi nerunalum aṉaiyal̥) about a spoilt girl who refuses to drink the sweet milk her mother gave her, sobbing (vimmi, a verbal participle) and clamouring for more extravagant sweets (vīṅkuvaṉal̥, a participial noun). Only yesterday the girl behaved like that (aṉaiyal̥) but just now she ran away with a unknown – and poor – fellow. No more sweet milk for her!

If this is how the construction works, the situation underlying our Kuṟuntokai poems may be described in the following way. The woman speaking had sulked, her lover had fled away and sent a messenger telling that he does not understand why she was angry at him. She replies that sulking is just part of the play: making love (maṇantu) after a quarrel (opposing the lover's avances, etirkoṇṭu, flaring up like fire into which ghee/oil is poured) is special. Compare Sattasaī 522 in the translation by Peter Khoroche and me (Poems of Life and Love in Ancient India. Hāla's Sattasaī, p. 115): “After every quarrel, it's true/The pleasures of love taste new.


Herman Tieken
University of Leiden
The Netherlands
website: hermantieken.com<http://hermantieken.com/>
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