Sugarcane (kan2n2al)

Tue May 18 10:35:16 UTC 1999

At 07:13 16/05/99 PDT, N.Ganesan a écrit :
>We are indeed fortunate to have a poem by TiruJAn2acampantar
>(7th century CE) on his hometown, cIrkAzi where he employs karunal:
>        [....]
>        *karunal paravai kamaz kAzi*
>        maruvap piriyum vin2ai mAyntE.  (Tevaram 1.34.9)
>"karunal paravai kamaz kAzi" = *The town, cIrkAzi, surrounded by
>sugarcane fields*; This meaning of Tev. taking
>karunal as sugarcane is not hitherto recognized by Tamil pundits.

Indeed, V.M.Subramanya Ayyar, who was a traditional scholar
(and a disciple of U.V.S.) takes that line to be
 "karu naR paravai kamazh kAzhi" and translates it as:
 <<kAzhi, where the good and blue sea is issuing its fragrance.>>
  (in an unpublished translation which he completed before his death,
   but without revising it; it is kept in the French Institute Library
   and we plan to make it available on CD-ROM some day
   along with a concordance of Tevaram)

One has to add that kan2n2al itself occurs several times inside Tevaram
 [4-43(10), 5-38(2), 5-93(6), 7-84(10)]

A problematic occurrence is 3-120(11):
*VMS takes the line to be:
  "kan2 nalam periya kAzhiyuL"
   <<K. which is great by the beautiful workmanship
     of the walls of fortification>>
*TVG (T.V.Gopal Iyer) takes the line to be:
 "kan2n2al am periya kAzhiyuL"

Another point which has always surprised me is the mention
of the sea in connection with kAzhi (=cIkAzhi)
To-day there is at least a 20km distance from there to the coast
but Tevaram says things like:
"nalam koL muttum maNiyum aNiyum tiraL Otam
 kalaGkaL tan2n2il koNTu karai cEr kalik kAzhi" [2-59(1)]
<<in K. of great bustle where the ships that sail
 on the accumulated waves, reach the shore with beautiful pearls,
 other precious stones and ornaments>> (VMS, transl.)
Was the sea closer to the town at that time (7th century)
 or is it poetic exageration?

-- Jean-Luc CHEVILLARD (Paris)

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