Corraboration for the Tamil Confederacy mentioned by Kharavela

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Mon Aug 24 07:35:07 UTC 2009

Dear Indologists, 
The historically significant  Hathigumpha inscription of Kharavela mentions 
that he “thoroughly breaks up the  confederacy of the T[r]amira 
(Dramira)countries of one hundred and thirteen  years which has been a source of danger 
to (his) country (Janapada)” (EI 20,  p.89). Here T[r]amira has been 
interpreted as referring to ‘Tamil’. “Tramira or  Tamira is the equivalent of Tami
la just as Aira represents Aila. It has been  pointed out that Tamil is the 
origin of Dravida and of Dramila. Tramila would  thus be a perfectly 
correct substitute for Dramila.” (EI 20,  p.85) 
Till now no one has  presented any corroborative evidence for the existence 
of a Tamil confederacy  from the Tamil side. But in my opinion 
akam.31.14-15 presents such a confirming  piece of evidence.  The relevant  lines are: 
tamiz kezu mUvar  kAkkum 
mozi peyar tEetta pal  malai... (akam.31.14-15) 
The poem refers to the  “many hills in the language-changing region which 
the three persons (kings)  filled with Tamil protect” 
The language-changing  region is the region north of the Tamil country. The 
northern border of Tamil  country did not have any part that belonged to 
the Pandiyan kingdom. At best it  should have been Cholas on the east and 
Cheras on the west - in other words,  only two kings. So why would the poet say ‘
mUvar’ (three persons) unless he was  referring to a joint venture where 
all three had a role in protecting the Tamil  region's border? mUvar is 
commonly used in Classical Tamil texts to refer to the  three dynasties of Chera, 
Chola, and Pandiya and not any three  chieftains. 
Moreover, the use of  non-past form ‘kAkkum’ indicates that this ‘
confederacy’ was active at the time  of the composition of the poem. mAmUlan2Ar, the 
poet, is well-known for his  allusions to historical/political events.  
The poem raises some  interesting questions. What are the relative dates of 
the poem and the  inscription? Did the poem precede the inscription or the 
inscription precede the  poem? If latter, how ‘thoroughly’ did Kharavela 
break up the confederacy? If he  indeed broke up the confederacy and the poem 
follows the inscription with  the oft-cited dates, the confederacy seems to 
have re-formed well enough  and lasted long enough to be sung by the poet. 
In that case, the  continued survival of the confederacy is interesting .  
I would appreciate any  latest information on Hathigumpha Inscription's 
date or  interpretation. 
Thanks in  advance. 

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