A note on Poets in the Akananuru
palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sun Apr 18 02:45:47 UTC 2010
Checking my earlier post on the web, I see that some lines of the poem have mysteriously disappeared. So I am resending the post with some additional information.
In fact, I think the very presence of Kapilar as a family friend suggests that the attribution could be true indeed. U. Vē. Cāminātaiyar describes the poetic abilities of his teacher Mīṉāṭcicuntaram Piḷḷai (1815-1876) at about the same age. So, if the girls had studied Tamil with Kapilar, the two girls could have been excellent poets in their own right. I do not think it would be anything unusual for them to compose such a poem. Moreover, the very structure of the poem suggests that authorship by two persons is very possible as seen below
aṟṟait tiṅkaḷ avveṇ nilaviṉ
entaiyum uṭaiyēm em kuṉṟum piṟar koḷār
iṟṟait tiṅkaḷ ivveṇ nilaviṉ
veṉṟeṟi muraciṉ vēntar em
kuṉṟum koṇtār yām entaiyum ilamē
The first two lines could have been uttered by one daughter and the other three lines by another daughter. This pattern of two-person song-making/word play is common in folk songs and this has been depicted in the Tamil epic poetry of the Cilappatikāram (Kuṉṟakkuravai 12-14), in Bhakti poetry like the Tiruvācakam (Tiruccāḻal), and in modern film songs. Although Kuṉṟakkuravai and Tiruccāḻal are considered to be imitative of originals prevalent in the folk culture, the poem by Pāri's daughters could be an original. The only difference between Puṟam 112 and the later examples in the Cilappatikāram and the Tiruvācakam seems to be that the lines in the poem by Pari's daughters do not seem to be addressed to each other but to a third person (Kapilar?).
So, I do not think there is any reason to doubt the traditional attribution of the poem to Pāri Makaḷir.
Talking of Kuṉṟakkuravai 12-14, they also indicate that the source of the genre of antādi could be in the folk culture and be very old.
On Apr 17, 2010, at 4:45 PM, George Hart wrote:
> Dear Palaniappan,
> Just what seems likely, I suppose. Everyone may not know the story. The great poet Kapilar was patronized by Pāri, who ruled over a small mountain called Paṟampu. Pāri was (and still is) renowned for his generosity, and as a result the three great kings, Chera Chola and Pandya, became jealous, joined together, and laid siege to Paṟampu. In the end, they could not take it by force, but were able to do so by treachery. Pāri was killed, and Kapilar (a Brahmin) was spared. Kapilar took Pāri's daughters to many kings and attempted to get them married but was unsuccessful. In the end, he is supposed to have married them to other Brahmins. The poems Kapilar wrote about this are some of the most beautiful in any literature. There is one poem attributed to Pāri's daughters:
> On that day, under the white light of that moon,
> we had our father and no enemies had taken the hill.
> On this day, under the white light of this moon, the kings,
> royal drums beating out the victory,
> have taken the hill. And we! we have no father.
> The power of these lines has echoed through almost 2000 years of Tamil history. It seems to me unlikely that two young (12?) girls could compose such a master poem, especially when Kapilar, whom we know was a great poet, was with them and experienced what they did. Of course, there is no way of being 100% certain that the girls did not have a part in the poem -- it is not unlikely they said something and Kapilar put it into poetry. George
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