On the Date of Classical Tamil Poems

Tieken, H.J.H. H.J.H.Tieken at HUM.LEIDENUNIV.NL
Sun Oct 21 07:53:17 UTC 2012

Dear Dr Palaniappan,
why don't you look up the verb uRaL (you know which letters I mean with the capitals R and L here) in the Tamil Lexicon? It means, among other things, "alternate, going back- and forwards". As far as I am concerned with this the discussion is closed. I will be "out of station" for the coming 7 days anyhow.

-----Original Message-----
From: Indology on behalf of Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan
Sent: Sun 10/21/2012 2:39 AM
To: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] On the Date of Classical Tamil Poems

Dear Dr. Tieken,

I am changing the transliteration convention because I see that my diacritics are not coming through properly as seen in your response. 

I disagree with UVS's interpretation that the subject of 'kaNTa' was 'pANar'. Indeed so does the commentator perumazaippulavar who says "pANarkaL pulippArvai otta pArvaiyuTaiyarAkiya nilaimaiyin2aik kaNTa".  The subject is the village or village people. Clearly UVS found it did not make sense for the village people to cheer the bards when a battle is going on. So he interpreted "kaNTa" as 'kANappaTTa".

'uRaz' here is a particle of comparison and does not mean battle going up and down. Even UVS says nothing about the battle going up and down. In fact, he says, "puliyin2atu pArvaiyai otta nilaiyin2AR kANappaTTa" where "otta" is the gloss for "uRaz".

Eva Wilden considers 'uRaz' as a particle of comparison in her translation too. It is clear even she is perplexed with this puli nOkku. She notes, "What does pANar puli nOkku uRaz nilai mean? T. V.G . explains the situation of the comparison as a competition of bards who would exchange challenging looks with each other." T. V. Gopal Iyer's explanation does not make sense. In fact it is silly. Are the bards having a musical competition while the battle is going on? 

The solution is very simple. The poem does not refer to bards at all. Here 'pANar' refers to the members of the bANa (Bana)  dynasty and their fighters. 

There is clear evidence that the variation of Tamil p- >  Ka./Te. b- in the word 'pANa-' has occurred historically. Consider the name of a Saiva devotee pANa-bhadra. He is said to belong to the pANar community of Madurai. He is referred to as 'bANa' in a Kannada inscription of the 12th century in the Dharwar district. See EI, vol. 5, p.254. Palkuriki Somanatha also refers to one 'bANa'. (Somanatha does not seem to have received the information about the devotees from any literary source. He conflates cOza and pANTiya personages, kAviri and vaikai rivers, etc. In the case of bANa, he conflates human bANa's story with that of bANAsura.) With the Kannada and Telugu forms as bANa- , the devotee's name is later fully Sanskritized/hypercorrected as bANabhadra in a Sanskrit composition of Muthaiya Bhagavathar. In a Tamil wedding song sung by Brahmins, the name is pronounced as bANa-.  The hypercorrection of 'pANa-' into 'bANa-' has been taken to such extreme lengths that R. Nagaswamy in his recent book, Mirror of Tamil and Sanskrit, says,

"...The record states that he was to sing in the presenceof God of the Thiruvidaimarudur temple and direct other Banas for arranging theDancing girls to sing (Thiruvidai marudur - udaiyarukku - padavum, ikkoyilTaliyilarai paduvikkavum ikkoyil Devaradiyarai paduvikkavum Banapperaka). TheBanas were great singers from the Sangam age and we find the Banas, Yalpana wasa close friend of Jnana-sambandar and again we find the Banas were appointed inthe Great temple of Thanjavaur. According to this inscription the serviceshould be added to the temple service and the Bana should be paid one kalamof paddy per day should be paid to the Perariayan for singing. He should beallotted one residence as Banak-kudiyiruppu as before." 

Thus in the case of the pANa- devotee, Ta. p- > Ka./Te. b- > Skt. b- and has become b- even in modernTamil contexts. In the case of the bANa dynasty, the sound variation has been Ta. p- > Te./Ka./Skt. b- > Ta. v-. 

Literary Tamil scholars not being familiar with historical records and lacking adequate historical linguistic approach, have misinterpreted the poem thus missing significant historical insights.



-----Original Message-----
From: Tieken, H.J.H. <H.J.H.Tieken at HUM.LEIDENUNIV.NL>
To: INDOLOGY <INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk>
Sent: Sat, Oct 20, 2012 2:07 pm
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] On the Date of Classical Tamil Poems

Dear Dr Palaniappan
I am not sure if the paaNar are directly involved in the fighting, as you seem to think. One can only agree with Swaminathaiyar, when he wrote that they are the bards of the two fighting kings, the veentar and the vicciyar perumakaN respectively. The bards are looking on while the battle goes up and down (uraL nilai). Admittedly, I do not know as yet what to do with puli nookku. The main point is that the bards are the subject (or implied subject, depending on the meaning of puli nookku) of the participle kaNTa.
Herman Tieken

-----Original Message-----
From: Indology on behalf of Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan
Sent: Sat 10/20/2012 7:11 PM
To: INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk
Subject: [INDOLOGY] On the Date of Classical Tamil Poems


I hadearlier written about the chieftain mentioned in Classical Tamil poems as Pa?a? who ruled in a northern border area of Tami?akam. (See http://listserv.liv.ac.uk/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind1009&L=INDOLOGY&P=R912&D=0&I=-3) Although the poemseemed to refer to a single individual, I had suggested that it referred to thedynasty of the 'Bana' kings whose names had originally been Pa?a? (in singular) before the variation p->b- in thename took place.  

Now I havefound one more Classical Tamil poem that confirms my thesis.
vil ke?u ta?ai vicciyar perumaka?
ventaro?u poruta ña??aip pa?ar
puli nokkuu?a? nilai ka??a
kali ke?u ku?umpur arppi?umperite (Ku?untokai 328.5-8)

Thiscan be translated as given below:
"The gossip was louder thanthe roar of the noisy village in the arid tract, that saw the stance of the Pa?arthat resembled the look of the tiger, when the chief of Vicciyar of armyabounding in archers fought against the kings."

Inthe past, commentators like U. V. Caminathaiyarhad interpreted the word "Pa?ar" here as the homophon,'pa?ar',meaning 'bards'. They interpreted thebards as standing between the two armies and looking at both armies as a 'lion'does!. The real meaning of 'lookof a tiger' can be seen in the following Kalittokai poem

valimu?pi? valle??a yakkai puli nokki?
cu??uamai villar curi va?ar pittaiyar
a??am parttu alkum ka?u?ka? ma?avar .(Kalittokai 4.1-3)

This canbe translated as "the warriors of the arid tract with hard bodies ofextraordinary strength, looks of tiger, bows with string/leather(?) coiledaround, locks of hair with curls, and fierce eyes, who are on the watch intenton killing."

So the 'lookof tiger' in Ku?untokai 328.7 should refer to the fierce look of 'Panar'warriors who were engaged in fighting. It cannot refer to 'panar' bards, ifthey are supposed to be bystanders.  The context of the poem indicatesthat the Pa?ar had fought on one side. Since the Vicciyar wereonly minor chieftains engaged in a battle against major kings, we can guessthat the Pa?ar fought fiercely on the side of the underdogs,the Vicciyar. This was probably why their bravery was appreciated by thevillagers.

Interestingly,Akam.226.13 describes the Pa?an as "vali mikum mu?pi? pa?a?" reminding us of Kalittokai 4.1.

Thisidentification of Pa?ar with the Ba?akings mentioned in later inscriptions and the epic Ma?imekalai is very important for the dating of Classical Tamil texts.

It shouldbe noted that the 5th century Ta?agu??a inscription refers to the dynasty under consideration as B?had-Ba?a. Later non-Tamil inscriptions continue to referto them as Ba?as while Tamil inscriptions refer to them as Va?a- where b- > v-. The name Va?a? occurs as the lord of Ci?uku?i,probably a coastal village on the east coast of the Pa??iyan kingdom. There is aninstance in the Maturaikkañci 203 where the name Va?a? seems to refer to Ba?asurain the context of referring to his fabulous wealth. We should note that theCilappatikaram refers more explicitly to Ba?asura,son of Mahabali, as Va?a? and not as Pa?a?. The same is true of the Ma?imekalaialso.  Clearly if the ClassicalTamil texts had been composed in the 5th century CE or later, they would bereferring to the Pa?ar chieftain as Va?a? and not Pa?a?. So the Classical Tamiltexts would have been composed earlier than the time when Pa?a- has changed toBa?a. Interestingly, Mamula?ar, the author of Akam 31, has also authored Akam325, which mentions Pa?a?, thechieftain. As I had discussed earlier, Akam 31 was composed earlier than theKalabhra rule in Tami?akam. 

Froma historian's viewpoint, Akam 325 is probably the earliest mention of theBanas.

Thanks inadvance for your comments




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