The Sangam landscape is the name given to a poetic device that was characteristic of love poetry in classical Tamil Sangam literature. Tamil (ta தமிழ்; t̪əmɨɻ is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. Sangam literature refers to a body of classical Tamil literature created between the years 300 BCE and 600 CE The core of the device was the categorisation of poems into different thinais or modes, depending on the nature, location, mood and type of relationship represented by the poem. Each thinai was closely associated with a particular landscape, and imagery associated with that landscape - its flowers, trees, wildlife, people, climate and geography - was woven into the poem in such a way as to convey a mood, associated with one aspect of a romantic relationship.
|Topics in Sangam literature|
|Inna Narpathu||Iniyavai Narpathu|
|Kar Narpathu||Kalavazhi Narpathu|
|Ainthinai Aimpathu||Thinaimozhi Aimpathu|
|Ainthinai Ezhupathu||Thinaimalai Nurru Aimpathu|
|Tamil history from Sangam literature||Tamil literature|
|Ancient Tamil music||Sangam society|
Classical Tamil love poetry, recognizing that human activities cannot take place in vacuum and are constantly influenced by environmental factors, assigns the human experiences it describes, and in particular the subjective topics that those experiences relate to, to specific habitats. Sangam literature refers to a body of classical Tamil literature created between the years 300 BCE and 600 CE Sangam literature refers to a body of classical Tamil literature created between the years 300 BCE and 600 CE Agattiyam (அகத்தியம் according to mentions in Sangam Literature, was the first known book on Tamil grammar The Tolkāppiyam (தொல்காப்பியம் is a work on the Grammar of the Tamil language and the earliest extant work of Tamil Pathinenmaelkanakku (பதினெண்மேல்கணக்கு is the collection of the oldest surviving Tamil Poetry. Ainkurunooru ( Tamil: ஐங்குறுநூறு a classical Tamil poetic work containing five hundred short poems and is part of Ettuthokai, a Kaliththokai (கலித்தொகைa classical Tamil poetic workis the sixth book of Ettuthokai, a Sangam literature anthology Kainnilai, and Innilai are Tamil poetic works belonging to the Pathinenkilkanakku anthology of Tamil literature. Tamil people (also called Tamils or Tamilians) ( are an Ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, a state in India, and the north-eastern The Tamil Sangams are legendary assemblies of Tamil scholars and poets that according to traditional Tamil accounts existed in the remote past Sangam Literature is one of the main sources used for documenting the early history of the Ancient Tamil country. Tamil literature refers to the Literature in the Tamil language. The ancient Tamil music was the music of the ancient Tamil people, who resided in the lands of the Ancient Tamil country. Every situation in the poems is described using themes in which the time, the place and the floral symbols of each episode are codified. These codifications are used as symbols to imply a socio-economic order, occupations and behaviour patterns, which, in turn, are symbolized, by specific flora and fauna. Details of secondary aspects are just as rigidly codified - the seasons, the hour a god, musical instruments and, above all, the sentimental connotations of each landscape: lovers' meetings, patient waiting, lovers' quarrels, separation, and the anxiously awaited return.
Under this codification, the inner universe associated with love is divided into seven modes, or thinai, five of which are geographical and associated with specific landscapes, and two of which are non-geographical and not associated with any specific landscape. Four of the geographical landscapes are described as being landscapes that occur naturally in the Tamil lands. The ancient Tamil country, also known as Tamilakam, refers to an ancient independent region in the areas of modern South India, corresponding roughly These are: kurinji (குறிஞ்சி) - mountainous regions, associated with union, mullai (முல்லை) - forests, associated with waiting, marutham (மருதம்) - cropland, associated with quarreling, and neithal (நெய்தல்) - seashore, associated with pining. The fifth - paalai (பாலை), or wasteland, associated with separation - is described in the Tolkappiyam as not being a naturally existing landscape. The Tolkāppiyam (தொல்காப்பியம் is a work on the Grammar of the Tamil language and the earliest extant work of Tamil
From these basic associations of landscape and subject, a wide range of specific themes suitable for each landscape were derived. Thus, for example, the commentary on the Iraiyanar Akapporul states that as a result of the association of the kurinji landscape with union, it was also associated with the fear of separation, reassurance, the hero's or heroine's discussions with their friends, their being teased or taunted by their friends, their replies to their friends, the friends' role as intermediary, the meeting of the lovers, grief and doubt, and other similar themes. According to the Tamilneri vilakkam, a 9th century text on poetry, the love themes described by the five thinais constitute "the Tamil way of life" or "the Tamil way of love. " (tamiḻneṟi)
The two non-geographical modes - kaikkilai and perunthinai - were seen as dealing with emotions that were unnatural, and therefore were not associated with any specific landscape. Kaikkilai, dealt with unreciprocated or one-sided love, while perunthinai, dealt with improper love or love against the rules of custom.
|Mood||Union of lovers||Heroine expresses patient|
waiting over separation
|Lovers' quarrels, wife's irritability|
(husband accused of visiting a courtesan)
|Heroine expresses grief|
|Elopment, Longest separation,|
dangerous journey by the hero
|Flower||Kurinchi||Mullai (Jasmine)||Marutam||Water lily||Paalai|
|Landscape||Mountains||Forest, pasture||Agricultural areas, plain or valley||Seashore||Parched wasteland, Desert|
|Time||Midnight||Evening||Shortly before sunrise||Sunset||Noon|
|Season/Climate||Winter/Cool and moist||Late Summer/Cloudy||No specific season||No specific season||Summer|
|Animal||Monkey, elephant, horse, bull||Deer||Water Buffalo, freshwater fish||Crocodile, shark||Fatigued elephant, tiger, or wolf|
|Crop/Plant||Jackfruit, bamboo, venkai||Konrai||Mango||Punnai||Cactus|
|Water||Waterfall||Rivers||Pond||Well, sea||dry wells, stagnant water|
|Soil||Red and black soils with stones and pebbles||Red soil||Alluvial||Sandy, saline soil||salt affected soil|
|Occupation||Hill tribes, gathering honey||Farmer||Pastoral and agricultural occupations||Selling fish, salt, fisherfolk||Travellers, bandits|
|God||ceyyOn or Murugan||mAyOn or mAl||vEntan||kaTalOn||Ur-amm or Kotravai|
Despite the strong association of each thinai with a geographical landscape, in classical prosody it was the conduct described by the poem that constituted its thinai, and that thus determined the geographical region that was appropriate to it. Strobilanthes is a genus of about 250 species of Flowering plants in the family Acanthaceae, mostly native to tropical Asia, but with a few Jasmine or Jessamine ( Jasminum) (from Persian yasmin, ie "gift from God" via Arabic) is a Genus of Shrubs thumb|left|Bark in [[Kolkata]] [[West Bengal]] [[India]] Lagerstroemia speciosa ( Giant Crape-myrtle, Queen's Crape-myrtle, Banabá Plant Nymphaeaceae is a family of Flowering plants Members of this family are commonly called water lilies and live in freshwater areas in temperate and tropical climates Wrightia is a Genus of 23 species of Flowering plants in the Apocynaceae (dogbane family native to tropical Africa, Asia Pasture is land with Herbaceous vegetation cover used for grazing of Ungulate Livestock as part of a Farm or Ranch. Agriculture refers to the production of goods through the growing of plants and fungi and the raising of domesticated Animals The study of agriculture In Geography, a plain is an area of land with relatively low relief — meaning that it is flat The coast is defined as the part of the land adjoining or near the Ocean. Summer is one of the four Temperate Seasons Summer marks the warmest time of year with the longest days A monkey is any member of either the New World monkeys or Old World monkeys two of the three groupings of Simian Primates the third group being Elephants ( family: Elephantidae) are large land Mammals of the order Proboscidea. The horse ( Equus caballus) is a hoofed ( Ungulate) Mammal, one of eight living species of the family Equidae. Cattle, colloquially referred to as cows, are domesticated Ungulates a member of the Subfamily Bovinae of the family A deer is a Ruminant Mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. Fish are aquatic Vertebrate animals that are typically ectothermic (previously Cold-blooded) covered with scales, and equipped with two A crocodile is any Species belonging to the family Crocodylidae (sometimes classified instead as the Subfamily Crocodylinae) Sharks ( Superorder Selachimorpha) are a type of Fish with a full cartilaginous Skeleton and a highly streamlined body The tiger ( Panthera tigris) is a member of the Felidae family the largest and the most powerful of the four " Big cats quot in the Genus The grey wolf or gray wolf ( Canis lupus) also known as the timber wolf or simply wolf, is a Mammal of the order Carnivora See also Mangifera caesia The jackfruit ( Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a species of Tree of the mulberry family ( Moraceae) Bamboo is a group of Woody perennial Evergreen Plants in the True grass family Poaceae, subfamily Pterocarpus marsupium ( Indian Kino Tree, also known as the Malabar Kino Benga, Bijiayasal Nepal or Venkai) is a species of "Cassia fistula" redirects here This Taxon can also refer to other Species; see below. Mangoes belong to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous species of tropical fruiting Trees in the Flowering plant family Anacardiaceae Calophyllum inophyllum is a large Evergreen tree in the family Clusiaceae, native from East Africa, southern coastal India A cactus (plural cacti) is any member of the Spine plant family Cactaceae, native to the Americas A waterfall is usually a geological formation resulting from water often in the form of a Stream, flowing over an Erosion -resistant rock A pond is a body of water smaller than a Lake, both being examples of Terrain features Although the term pond is universally used to describe waterbodies that Alluvium (from the Latin, alluvius, from alluere, "to wash against" is Soil or Sediments deposited by a river or other running Honey is a sweet and Viscous fluid produced by Honey bees (and some other species and derived from the nectar of Flowers According to the A farmer is a person who raises living organisms for food or raw materials Perumal பெருமாள் also Thirumal திருமால் is a Hindu Deity popular amongst Tamils of Tamil Nadu Nakkiranar, in his commentary on the Iraiyanar Akapporul provides an analogy. The word "a light", he says, is in Tamil used not only to describe the flame that gives light, but also the torch or other object being burned by the flame. This, however, does not change the fact that the light is the flame, and not the object that emits it. Similarly, though the thinai associated with the union of the lovers is called the "mountain country" thinai, the mountain country is like the object that emitting light. The thinai itself is the conduct that is the subject of the poem, namely, the union of the lovers.
In Tamil, each of the five geographical thinais are named for a flower that is characteristic of that landscape. In English translation, however, it is customary to use the name of the landscape rather than that of the flower, largely because the flowers lack the cultural association with a specific language in English that they have in Tamil.
The mountain is the scene of the lovers' union at midnight. It is the cold, dewy season. The forest is rich with lakes, waterfalls, teak, bamboo and sandalwood. In this region millet grows and wild bees are a source of honey. Love in this setting is exemplified by Murugan, and one of his wives, Valli, the daughter of a mountain dweller. Valli ( Tamil வள்ளி is a Goddess and the divine consort of the prominent Hindu God Murugan, according to Hindu mythology He wears the sparkling red kantal flower and rides a peacock, the bird of the mountains. The term peafowl refers to Gallinaceous Birds classified within the genera Rheinardia Argusianus Afropavoand Pavo
The name of the region, kurinci, is also the name of a famous flower (Strobilanthes kunthianus) from the lofty hills of Tamil country. The Strobilanthes, a shrub whose brilliant white flowers blossom for only a few days once every ten or twelve years, blanketing the slopes in radiant whiteness under the sun. Strobilanthes is a genus of about 250 species of Flowering plants in the family Acanthaceae, mostly native to tropical Asia, but with a few This event of jubilation and purity symbolizes the frenzy of a sudden love shared, in concert with the unleashed forces of nature: the amorous dance of peacocks, their echoing cries, the splash of waterfalls, the roar of savage beasts. The lovers hold each other tighter still and forget the dangers of the mountain path.
குறிஞ்சி - தலைவன் கூற்று
Kurinji (Kuruntokai - 2)
Mullai is the land of the forest. The forest is rich with lakes, waterfalls, teak, bamboo and sandalwood. In this region millet grows and wild bees are a source of honey. Mullai or Jasmine (Jasmiinum auriculatum) is the flower of the forests.
The theme of the forest and of shepherds at play, the image of confident waiting for the loved one, produced an original offshoot; for this is the region of Vishnu, and the love theme it represents symbolizes the devotee waiting in the hope that Vishnu, as Krishna, will eventually come and fill his soul, thus experiencing the joys of expectation. For other meanings see Vishnu (disambiguation. Vishnu ( IAST viṣṇu Devanagari विष्णु (honorific Krishna (कृष्ण in Devanagari kṛṣṇa in IAST, ˈkr̩ʂɳə in classical Sanskrit is a deity worshiped across many traditions of Hinduism
முல்லை - தலைவி கூற்று
The sun goes down and the sky reddens, pain grows sharp,
The plains were the scene of triangular love plots in which the hero's visits to the courtesan oblige the heroine to counter with a mixed show of coquetry and moodiness, tactics whose limits are described in the Thirukkural ("Sulking is like flavouring with salt; a little suffices, but it is easy to go too far. ").
The Marutam tree was the characteristic tree of this region. Banaba Island (bəˈnɑːbə (also Ocean Island) an island in the Pacific Ocean, is a solitary raised
மருதம் - தலைவி கூற்று
Nowhere, not among the warriors at their festival,
he's a dancer too.
The seashore affords many examples of the compelling charm of Sangam poetry and the extraordinary freshness of its realism. From behind the conventional symbolization of waiting there emerges a picture of the life of the fisherfolk; the nets and boats drawn up on the beach, scuttling crabs and cart wheels bogged down in the sand, the odour of drying fish, cut into thick slices, which attracts the birds, beautiful village girls peering through the Pandanus hedges, and the wind blowing through the cracks in the roughly constructed straw huts at night. Pandanus is a Genus of Monocots with about 600 known Species.
Water lily is the characteristic flower of the region. Nelumbo is a Genus of aquatic plants with large showy Water lily -like flowers commonly known as Lotus or sacred lotus
நெய்தல் இருங்கழி நெய்தல் நீக்கி
Water lilies bloom
In classical Tamil prosody, the paalai or wasteland is not seen as being a naturally occurring ecology. Ilampuranar, in his commentary on the Tolkappiyam, explains that instead, the landscape of the wasteland with which the paalai is associated emerges when other landscapes whither under the heat of the burning sun. Thus this landscape is associated with the theme of separation, which occurs when love is subject to external pressures that drive the lovers apart. Paalai could thus be seen as a mixture of Mullai and Kurinji tracts, rather than as a mere sandy area.
The theme of wasteland and separation occupies half of one of the most famous anthologies, the theme of the mountain being only secondary.
Paalai tree is identified as Wrightia (Wrightia tinctoria). Wrightia is a Genus of 23 species of Flowering plants in the Apocynaceae (dogbane family native to tropical Africa, Asia
பாலை - தோழி கூற்று
He will not dig up the earth and enter it,
Whilst the palai landscape is not associated with a permanently existing landscape, it is nonetheless assigned a definite landscape. The two thinais of kaikkilai and perunthinai, however, are assigned no landscape, nor are they named for flowers, instead, they are named directly for the emotions they describe. In Tamil prosody, the reason for this is stated to be that they deal with unnatural emotions, and consequently cannot be associated with a landscape that is part of nature. Although kaikkilai and perunthinai, too, deal with emotions that are similar to those dealt with in the poems that belong to the five geographical thinais. The difference, however, is that in these non-geographical thinais, the situation of the lovers makes the emotions unnatural.
In kaikkilai, the situation that is describes is made unnatural by the fact that the love that animates the feelings is one-sided.
அடிபுனை தொடுகழல் மையணல் காளைக்குஎன்
Longing for the feet encircled by anklets of war
In perunthinai, the situation is made unnatureal by the fact that it has occurred as the result of acts contrary to tradition, such as a union of a man with a woman who is much older, a union where one of the parties does not consent, or a separation that occurs as the result of the breach by one party of his or her duties.
அன்ன வாக நின் அருங்கல வெறுக்கை
Let your wealth and precious jewels be