[INDOLOGY] Malaipaṭukaṭām102

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan palaniappa at aol.com
Mon Mar 6 18:58:12 UTC 2017

Dear Indologists,

Current editions of Malaipaṭukaṭām, a Classical Tamil text, have lines 102-103 as follows:
nīlat taṉṉa vitaippuṉa maruṅkiṉ
makuḷi pāyātu malituḷi taḻāliṉ

These lines have been taken as consisting of the following words:
nīlattu aṉṉa vitaippuṉam maruṅkil
makuḷi pāyātu malituḷi taḻāliṉ

Line 102 is interpreted as (nīlamaṇiyaiyotta niṟattaiyuṭaiyavayeḻumpaṭi avaṟṟai vitaitta kollaiyiṉ pakkattil) ‘by the side of cultivated field in which have been sown the seeds, which grow with leaves like sapphire’ by Nacciṉārkkiṉiyar.

The compound ‘vitaippuṉam’ (vitai + p + puṉam) in line 102 does not make sense.  First of all, if vitaippuṉam were to be considered an adjectival participle (vitaitta kollaiyiṉ) as the commentator has considered, the gemination of ‘p’ does not make sense. Also, it is highly unlikely that a cultivated field is qualified in a convoluted way as a field sown with seeds which grow to be with leaves like sapphire.

The correct rendition of line 102 would have been nīlattu aṉṉa itaippuṉam maruṅkil.  (v in ‘vitaippuṉam' is simply a glide.) According to Tamil Lexicon, itaippuṉam means ‘plot of ground newly cultivated for dry crops such as millet’. itaippuṉa occurs in Akanāṉūṟu 394.3. 

Interestingly, when glossing the word vitaippuṉam, Tamil Lexicon says the following.

விதைப்புனம் vitai-p-puṉam, n. < இதைப் புனம். Plot of land newly cultivated. See இதைப்புனம். (யாழ். அக.)

Although, the lexicon does not cite Malaipaṭukaṭām 102, the editors probably had this vitaippuṉam in mind. Later commentators like Perumaḻaippulavar have simply followed Nacciṉārkkiṉiyar without considering Tamil Lexicon’s insight. Does anybody know if this issue has been discussed by any other scholar?

(The misunderstanding of the role of the glide v has led to Nacciṉārkkiṉiyar (14th century CE) misinterpreting i- as vi- in Malaipaṭukaṭām102. In an earlier post, I had suggested that a similar misinterpretation has led to the word iṭaṅkar being mistaken for viṭaṅkar and used in a 16th century text. (http://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology_list.indology.info/2015-January/040561.html <http://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology_list.indology.info/2015-January/040561.html>) The case of vitaippuṉam in Malaipaṭukaṭām 102 suggests that viṭaṅkar was not an isolated case.)

Thank you in advance.


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