Pu ṟam 332.5-6

George Hart glhart at BERKELEY.EDU
Wed Oct 3 18:28:56 UTC 2012

Dear Palaniappan,

Here's the translation Hank Heifetz and I published -- I know you've seen it, but the poem is intriguing and worth sharing:


The spear that belongs to the warrior from this city is not
like the spears of other men but its worth is immense.
It may rest in the eaves of a hut, its long back
gathering dust.  It may travel, garlanded, in procession
around the streets and reservoirs of pure water while
the sweet voices of virtuous women mingle with the notes
of yāḻs that had been stored in large sacks.  Or it may advance
so that the entire land of the enemy reels!  Should the spear do that,
then it never stops thrusting into the faces
of the massive elephants of kings with their armies like the vast ocean!

The song of Viriyūr Nakkaṉār.  Tiṇai: vākai.  Tuṟai: mūtiṉmullai.

In addition to your suggestion that it might mean Viṟali's, I wonder whether it might refer to courtesans, since they were called nityasumangali's when they morphed into Devadasis.  It is worth noting that this would seem to be a predecessor of the ulā prabandham genre.  I'd love to hear if you can find anything to clarify this.  George Hart

On Oct 2, 2012, at 11:12 PM, Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan <palaniappa at AOL.COM> wrote:

> Dear Indologists,
> I am intrigued by the words "maṅkala makaḷir" in the following lines.
> maṅkala makaḷiroṭu mālai cūṭṭi
> iṉkural irumpai yāḻoṭu tatumpa (Puṟam 332.5-6)
> Interpreting "maṅkala makaḷir" as 'auspicious women' or 'women who are not widows' does not seem to make sense. If the women are supposed to sing as is usually interpreted, one cannot expect ordinary women to be able to sing to the accompaniment of lutes. This kind of singing requires significant training in music which is not expected of the women of the household depicted in the poem.  What is more likely is the women who sing to the accompaniment of lutes were bardic women such as viṟaliyar or pāṭiṉiyar. 
> Thanks in advance for any comments.
> Regards,
> Palaniappan 

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