"If it is true that liberal education should "liberate" by demonstrating the cultural values and norms foreign to us, by revealing the relativity of our own values, then the "discovery" and enjoyment of Tamil literature, and even its teaching should find its place in the systems of Western training and instruction in the humanities." - Kamil Zvelebil in his book, The Smile of Murugan , The Tamil literature of South India

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Like red soil with rain

The hero assures his beloved who is apprehensive about the future of their relation. He says that they will be united in love forever. He relates beautifully something happening in nature and uses it as a simile for their love. What does he take from the nature to symbolize their relation?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Come not in midnight

Monkeys are known for jumping, leaping and bouncing. They are born acrobats. But why does this monkey jump off a cliff to die? What made her make this decision? She even leaves her infant. And what does this tragic story have to do with the life and love of the man? Please read more to untie all the knots!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Crab forsaking its companion

Am glad to share a poem from Ainkurunooru, one of the eight anthologies. It is sung by the poem Orampogiyaar(ஓரம்போகியார்). It is set as the words spoken by the thalaivi (heroine) to her thozhi (friend). This is one of the marutham thinai songs.  

Knows not me and the concubines
Thus has he become, why mother?"

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sangam Literature the Basics - Marutham thinai

Marutham thinai refers to the paddy fields and adjoining lands. It gets its name from the flowering marutham tree which grows in farmlands. 

After the hero and heroine get married and even have a child, the hero leaves the house to live with courtesans. Hence the marutham thinai poems talk about the hero’s infidelity and the heroine’s sorrow and resentment. The subject of the poems is called the uripporul (உரிப்பொருள்), meaning the base characteristic of the poems. Hence in marutham thinai, the  infidelity of the hero and the resentment of the heroine is the uriporul.

The hero leaves and lives with concubine, he plays with concubines in rivers,