varna and jati

Periannan Chandrasekaran perichandra at YAHOO.COM
Sun May 23 01:14:53 UTC 1999

--- Stephens  wrote:
> Dear Dr. Ganesan,
> What kind of education system was there in ancient Tamilnadu? Was it
> open to
> everyone?
> Regards,
> Sujatha

It was not only caste-blind but gender blind too. And blind to
handicaps also.  there were a sizeable proportion of female poets who
were recognized by the peers and rewarded handsomley by the royalty.
If you look at the list of the names of poets of the classical era,
you find that their epithets contain their professions such
veNNiyak kuyattiyAr (kuyatti = female potter);
maurttuvan2 mOci kIran2 (medical doctor)
kaDuvan2 iLa eyin2nan (eyin2 = hunter,  like vAlmiki)
kazArk kIran2 eyRRiyAr (huntress: eyiRRi - female hunter)
kAkkai pAdin2i nacceLlaiyAr (female poet)
thangkAl pon2 kollan2 (kollan2 = gold smith)
kUla vAnikan2 cIttalaic cAttan2 (kUlam = grains; vANikan2 = merchant)
ceyti vaLLuvan2 perum cAttan2 (ceyti = news; vaLLuvan2 = proclaimer who
employs the drums (paRai) often considered low caste; especially these
days we have untouchables called paRaiyar = drummers)
and a disproportionate number of poets were farmers which the Aryan
or vedic brahminism considered shUdras!
The poets had epithets  of kizAr (= land owner or farmer) who
would address the kings directly in case of problems with taxation etc.
without intermediaries.
aricil kizAr, kOvUr kizAr etc.
kaNiyan2 pUngkunRan2 (kaNiyan2 = mathematician, astrologer etc)
kanakkAyan2ar (professional teacher, conducts a large school)
umaTTUr mutukUttan2Ar (kUttan2 = dancer)
pon2vaNikan2 makan2 nappUtattan2 (pon2 vaNikan2 = gold merchant)
kAval peNDu (nanny)
maturai ezuttALan2 cEntam pUtan2 (ezuttAlan2 = government archiver,
document writer)
kIran2 (bangle makers)
The poetess mentioned above kAkkaipADin2i nacceLLaiyAr was awarded gold
in her body weight for jewels  and 100,000 gold coins for general
purposes by a chEran king for her poetry!


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