[INDOLOGY] Reconstructing the history of a possible emendation/choice in Akanāṉūṟu 155

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan palaniappa at aol.com
Fri Sep 24 00:18:48 UTC 2021

Dear Indologists,


I apologize for the length of the following post dealing with Tamil philology, epigraphy, and critical editions. Those, who are not interested in these, please delete this post and move on. I am writing this post in order to seek some relevant information.


Before publication of Early Tamil Epigraphy (ETE), in 2001 I had a chance to read a portion of the manuscript and gave my comments to Mr. Iravatham Mahadevan. In connection with the inscription from Paṟaiyaṉpaṭṭu in which the place name pāṇāṭu in its oblique form pāṇāṭṭu occurred, I pointed out to Mahadevan the occurrence of the same word in Akanāṉūṟu 155 and the occurrences of pāṇāṉ nal nāṭṭu in Akanāṉūṟu 113 and 325. I have attached page 629 from ETE, where he writes what he learnt further regarding Akanāṉūṟu 155. 


Mahadevan mentions that R. Raghava Iyengar’s edition as well as the edition by N. M. Vēṅkaṭacāmi Nāṭṭār and R. Vēṅkṭācalam Pillai gave the reading as pāṇāṭtu in Akanāṉūṟu 155. The so-called R. Raghavaiyangar edition is actually the work of R. Raghavaiyangar as well as Ve. Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār alias Vē. Irājakōpālaṉ alias Irājakōpālāryaṉ with some input from Mu. Irākavaiyaṅkār. Wilden in her introduction to the critical edition of Akanāṉūṟu Part 1, says, “With a few variations (most of which are printing mistakes), it [the edition by Nāṭṭār and Piḷḷai] reproduces the text” established by R. Raghavaiyangar / Irājakōpālaṉ, the 1933 edition, and gives a number of (but not all) variants (Wilden 2018, xiv – xvi). Wilden also notes that the 1973 edition by P. V. Cōmacuntaraṉār does not materially differ from the one by Nāṭṭār and Piḷḷai. So, it is not surprising that pāṇāṭu is the word used in the edition by Nāṭṭār and Piḷḷai. 


For our purposes, it is good to follow the publishing history of the Akanāṉūṟu by Vē. Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār. It should be noted that the whole Akanāṉūṟu was published by Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār on 1923 June 27 (Rutirōtkāri Āṉi 13). In 1926, he published Akanāṉūṟu Part 1 (Kaḷiṟṟiyāṉai Nirai) with the old commentary for the first 90 poems and his own commentary for poems 91-120. In 1933, he published Akanāṉūṟu Part 3 (Nittilakkōvai). The interesting thing about this is that the cover page shows the date Śrīmuka year and Āvaṇi month (1933 August-September) but the preface by Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār is dated Śrīmuka year and Āippaci month (1933 October-November). This suggests that the cover page of Part 3 was printed in August-September of 1933 but the rest of the volume was printed only by 1933 October-November. From his preface to the Nittilakkōvai, it looks like he did not publish Part 2 (Maṇimiṭaipavaḷam) as a separate volume. As mentioned earlier, the complete Akanāṉūṟu was also published by Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār with the cover page showing the date Śrīmuka year and Āippaci month (1933 October-November). This is summarized in the table below.


Text                                                                 Publishing Date

-------                                                                --------------------

Whole Akanāṉūṟu                                             June 27, 1923

Akanāṉūṟu Part 1 (Kaḷiṟṟiyāṉai Nirai)                 1926 January-February

Akanāṉūṟu Part 3 (Nittilakkōvai)                        Possibly began in 1933 August-September, completed in 1933 October-November 

Whole Akanāṉūṟu                                             1933 October-November


Two changes in readings relevant to our discussion occur between 1923 and 1933 editions. The variant reading is given in parenthesis.


                        Poem 155                     Poem 325                                 Notes

                        ------------                      -------------------------------------   --------

1923 edition      pāḻnāṭṭu                        palvēṟ pāṇaṉ (nalvēṟ pāṇar)                  

1926 Part 1                                           palvēṟ pāṇaṉ                             in comments for 113. Also links 226 and 386.

1933 edition      pāṇāṭṭu (pāḻ nāṭṭu)         nalvēṟ pāṇaṉ (palvēṟ pāṇar)      the index links pāṇaṉ with Akanāṉūṟu 113, 226, 325, and 386 and 

                                                                                                            pāṇaṉāṭu (the country of Pāṇaṉ) with Akanāṉūṟu 113 and 325 


UVS view         pāḻ nāṭṭu (pāṉāṭṭu)        palvēṟ pāṇaṉ (palvēṟ pāṇar)      in comments for 113, UVS links with 325 based on published                                                                                                        Civacuppiramaṇiyaṉ (UVSL) edition of 1990.  Per Mahadevan, UVS connects 

155 with 113 and 325. Since the 1990 edition shows palvēṟ pāṇar as both the chosen reading as well as the variant, I consider pāṇar to be a printing error and pāṇaṉ to be correct in 325.  If anybody can share a picture of the UVS manuscript pages for poems 155 and 355, it will be very helpful.                                


Conspicuously absent in the two index entries, (pāṇaṉ and pāṇaṉāṭu) is poem 155 as can be seen in the attached index page. (The index page for Part 3 also shows the same connections.) So, even at the time of printing the index, which could be sometime between 1933 August-September and October-November, Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār had not emended/chosen pāḻ nāṭṭu to pāṇāṭṭu. But, by October-November, when he printed the complete volume, he had made the emendation/choice and he has given notes, from which we can infer the reasons for his emendation/choice. I have attached the pages from the 1933 edition.


Looking at the emendation/choice Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār made in poem 155 and the notes he has given, we can infer the following as his views.

Although, he does not explicitly link poem 155 with 113 and 325, the fact that he glosses paṇaṉ as ‘a warrior’ shows he has implicitly done so. 
Since he glosses pāṇ as pāṇaṉ citing the Puṟapporuḷ Veṇpāmālai, where pāṇaṉ is used in the sense of ‘a bard’, and he also glosses pāṇaṉ as a warrior, Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār seems to identify the warrior as a bard. 
In poem 113, Pāṇaṉ is described as being engaged in cattle-raiding and having a lot of food. Poem 155 mentions there were many milch cattle in his land. This suggests that his land could not be described as ‘ruined’ or ‘barren’, which is what pāḻ nāṭu would mean. 
The original place name in the text must have been pāṇāṭu < pāṇ+nāṭu and all the earlier copyists of manuscripts had reinterpreted pāṇāṭu as pāḻ+naṭu.

In his preface to the 1933 edition, Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār says that he obtained some additional manuscripts after 1926 and that the revised readings were based on the additional manuscripts and further research. Could the UVS’ unpublished manuscript with notes have influenced Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār? 


Wilden says in her introduction to the critical edition that R. Raghavaiyangar had used a manuscript from Aiyar, which she wonders if it was from UVS. (See pp. xxxiv and xxxv in the attachment.) The reading ‘Aiyar’ is a misreading of a word in the printed preface by R. Raghavaiyangar. The word uses a symbol used in the Tamil society to indicate ‘what has been mentioned above’.  See attached page from the 1933 edition. The manuscript in question was from Ti. Ta. Kaṉakacuntaram Piḷḷai and not any ‘Aiyar’. 


Even apart from the above manuscript, the difference between ‘palvēṟ’ used by UVS and ‘nalvēṟ’ in poem 325 used by Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār suggests he must have had a different source to adopt the reading, which he had earlier considered a variant. Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār probably had access to another manuscript. Or he might have come to know about the reading ‘pāṇa-rāṣṭra’ in the Loka Vibhāga, which was brought to the attention of epigraphists by R. Narasimhachar in Mysore Archaeological Department Reports for 1909 and 1910 and mentioned by Lewis Rice in Epigraphia Indica of 1917-18.


This suggests that although Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār may not have provided all the details regarding his choice of/emendation as ‘pāṇāttu’ in poem 155, I think he has given enough to justify that to be the critical reading. The fact that the Paṟaiyanpaṭṭu inscription, which was discovered more than more than 40 years after Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār published the 1933 edition, has pāṇāttu’ seems to validate Irājakōpālaiyaṅkār’s choice or emendation.


Thank you in advance.




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