Democracy in old India

Swaminathan Madhuresan smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM
Fri Aug 25 14:05:00 UTC 2000

S. Palaniappan wrote:
 This is not widely known. But, indeed, the kuTavOlai process
 was in existence in CT times also.  Consider the following
 lines of akanAn2URu 77:7-11.

 kayiRu piNi kuzici Olai koNmAr
 poRi kaNTu azikkum AvaNa mAkkaLin2
 uyir tiRam peyara nal amar kaTanta
 taRukaNALar kuTar tarIi teRuvara
 ce cevi eruvai ajncuvara ikukkum

 This is a love poem of the desolate pAlai landscape. The theme
 deals with the hero thinking about a journey through a harsh
 land. The description of the land involves vultures and dead

 The vultures moving aside the armor/clothes covering dead
 warriors' bodies, tearing into the bodies and pulling out the
 entrails is compared to the officials removing the seals of
 pots that had been bound by ropes and reaching into the pots
 and removing the palm leaves.

 Even M.G.S. Narayanan (Foundations of South Indian Society
 and Culture, 1994, p. 109) says of the CT times that "it may
 be inferred that people drawn from different ethnic and
 professional groups were being transformed into
 land-owning cultivators in course of time."

 The Indus valley civilization was a sprawling bronze age
civilization without temples, palaces, royal tombs, monumental
art/architecture. Scholars have demonstarted the absence of
Aryan Vedic religion in the IVC archaeological finds.

Given that Classical Tamil poetry gives a rare glimpse into an
ancient India where the Brahminical varNa hierarchy has
not been established, and folks from all walks of life
participate in literacy production, will it be useful
to model the ivc life more in terms of the CT "tiNai"-type
ideals, rather than the Aryan vertical hierarchy?

Best wishes,

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