On the Date of Classical Tamil Poems

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan palaniappa at AOL.COM
Tue Oct 23 04:13:15 UTC 2012

Dear George,

I appreciate your comments. 

As for the fonts, I like to use the diacritic fonts too whenever possible. In my first post, I did use the diacritic fonts. But, when Dr. Tieken replied to my post the diacritic fonts in my earlier post showed up as question marks in my Mac. Since there were not too many participants in the thread, to be safe, I resorted to the transliteration I used.



-----Original Message-----
From: George Hart <glhart at BERKELEY.EDU>
To: INDOLOGY <INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk>
Sent: Mon, Oct 22, 2012 3:53 pm
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] On the Date of Classical Tamil Poems

Dear Palaniappan,

I think you have made a good case for Pāṇaṉ and Bāṇa, and especially like the perumpāṇaṉ / bṛhadbāṇa, as even the alliteration works.  I hope you publish this, as it is significant, I think.  I am still not convinced by what you say about pāṇar in the Kuṟuntokai poem -- after reading many Sangam poems and working through much of the Akananuru, your interpretation just doesn't sound right to me.  Of course, that doesn't mean you aren't correct, but there's really no way to tell.  If the Pāṇar were standing to one side (or, more likely, in the middle of one side playing their drums), and a battle started, they'd still be looking in front and behind them to avoid being killed.  Thanks for an intriguing and informative analysis.

One remark: Why not use roman unicode, as it's very hard to read the transliteration that eschews diacritic marks.  I believe every OS and email program is capable of handling 8-bit unicode.  


On Oct 21, 2012, at 9:21 PM, Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan <Palaniappa at AOL.COM> wrote:

Dear George,

Please see the attached inscription. What can one say about the perumpANan here? Is he a pANan2 or bANan2? Which comes first - perumpANan2 or bRhad-bANa? The modifier 'peru' is found in other names such as perumuttaraiyar (mentioned in nAlaTiyAr), ko-p-peruñ-cOzan2, peruñ-cEral, etc. The title peru- is very common in Tamil. It was also used in connection with different professions as in perumpANan2 and perunAvican2. Then how about the title bRhad in bRhadbANa?

First of all, the title bRhad-bANa for a dynasty is very unusual. The only other so-called dynastic title I know of, bRhatphAlAyana, is not a dynastic title at all. In fact, in the case of bRhatphAlAyanas and sAlankAyanas, according to K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, the scholars have simply used the gotra names in the absence of dynastic names.  (Early History of the Andhra Country, p.151, n.1). Moreover, it is only in the tALagunda inscription we find the occurrence of 'bRhad-bANa'. Everywhere else in non-Tamil inscriptions, the members of the dynasty are called bANarAja, bANAdhirAja-. In other words we only find bANa- but not bRhad-bANa. But in Tamil we find many instances of perumpANaraicar, permpANan, etc. 

This leads one to infer that the author of the tALagunda inscription was simply translating the name perumpANan2 into Sanskrit. Since in Tamil -p- following nasal -m- is pronounced as -b-, the author of tALagunda has rendered the first component as bRhad and kept the second part as bANa. This suggests that the original form of the dynastic name should have been Ta. pANan2. It is also possible that in the Kannada and Telugu areas 'pANa-' was being pronounced as 'bANa' either independently or influenced by the pronunciation of '- pANan2' in perumpANan2 as '-bANan2' .  Once the stand-alone form 'bANa' becomes widespread, a re-branding using a Sanskrit mythological pedigree tracing the lineage to mahAbali, father of bANAsura is carried out with the dynastic title as 'bANa'. Later when this form 'bANa' is imported back into Tamil, Skt. bANa > Ta. vANa-. 

In the book "ceGkam naTukaRkaL" inscription no. 1971/54 of the 2nd year of Narasimhavarman II mentions a vANakO atiraicar. In the same collection, no. 1971/73 of the 10th year of the same king mentions a perumpANatiyaraicar. 

The phrase "ezAap pANan2" further points to the homophon indicating bard as well as the chieftain suggesting in this case that the chieftain was called 'pANan2' too with word-initial p-. 

As for the domicile and area controlled by the pANan2/bANa chiefs, it has varied historically. They might have started near Gingee where the paRaiyan2paTTu inscription is found mentioning 'pANAtu'. (At least one variant of akam.155 mentions pANATu. See Early Tamil Epigraphy, p. 629 for a discussion of this.) Then they could have moved north so that by the 4th century they are found near zrIparvata hill. After serving the Chalukya, Pallava, and Chola dynasties, in the 13th century, we see bANa chieftains with titles such as mAvali vANAdirAyan, mAbali vANarAyar, etc., controlling parts of the pANTiya country under the pANTiyas. As a parallel case, it should be noted that a branch of the Cholas, Telugu Cholas,  were controlling areas around Sonepur in Orissa in the 12th century issuing inscriptions in Sanskrit tracing their descent to Chola karikAla and uRaiyUr (EI 28, p. 286) progressively moving northeast from the area to the north of the Tamil country over several centuries.

In my opinion, the pANan2 mentioned in Akam 113 and 226 referred to one or more members of the same lineage later called the bANas. 

kaTTi mentioned in akam 226 is also mentioned in akam 44 as well as kuRuntokai 11. See below.
tun2 arum kaTum tiRal kaGkan2 kaTTi (akam. 44.8)
pal vEl kaTTi nal nATTu umpar
mozipeyar tEettar Ayin2um (kuRu. 11.7-8)

We should take the dynatic names mentioned here as individuals belonging the dynasty being mentioned. Like the bAnas, these dynasties were also in the northern border of the Tamil country. 'kaGkan' referred to the Western Ganga dynasty. Vicciyar were also in the northern area. So it is not surprising that pANar allied themselves with vicci or kaTTi.
The use of the plural form pANar in kuRu. 328 is of the same nature as in akam. 336 below. 

mAri ampin2 mazai tOl cOzar
vil INTu kuRumpin2 vallattup puRa miLai
Ariyar paTaiyin2 uTaika en2
nEr iRai mun2kai vIgkiya vaLaiyE (akam. 336.20-23)

Here 'cOzar' (in plural) could refer to the cOza fighters.
Similarly, you can see 'cOzar' used below referring to the cOza fighters

koRRac cOzar kogkarp paNIiyar

veNkOTTu yAn2aip pOor kizavOn2

pazaiyan2 vEl vAyttan2n2a nin2 (naR. 10.6-8)

So in kuRu. 328, pANar (bANa) forces would have joined the battle on the side of the vicciyar who might be led by their chief, 'perumakan2'. It is possible the pANan2 chief might have sent his forces without joining them.
As for non-fighters standing between the two armies, I consider it highly unlikely they were standing in between the fighting armies. They have to be really standing on the side while the battle is raging and in that case they will only move their gaze from side to side and not front and back. So I do not think simhAvalokanyAya will be valid here. At least if the description applies to the fighters, then their behavior will parallel the warriors whether it is their fierce look or looking forward and backward, So, the looking persons should be fighters and not bards.



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