Gossips , Scandal and Elopement in Sangam Literature


Gossips, the topic I have taken today. Previously I have discussed about flirtation,love passion and even seperation of lovers now I am about to discuss about gossips in the life of lovers.

97. நெய்தல் – தலைவி கூற்று 

யானே ஈண்டை யேனே யென்னலனே 

ஆனா நோயொடு கான லஃதே 

துறைவன் தம்மூ ரானே 

மறையல ராகி மன்றத் தஃதே. 

-வெண்பூதியார்.

 

Kurunthokai 97

What she said

I am here.My virtue

lies in grief

in the groves near the sea.

My lover

is back in his hometown. And our secret

is with the gossips

in public places.

Poet: Venputi

Translated by A.K.Ramanujan

Here the Talavi(heroine) is separated from the Talaivan(hero).  They are not married it can be understood from her fear for the gossip of their secret realtionship. They have already have had sexual union, these are indicated from the line virtue lies in grief in the groves near the sea.The poem is Neytal poem, this is indicate by the landscape, the sea. The lovers have had their sexual union in shores of the sea. Since its the Neytal poem it also has mood of separation.

Now that their secret is out, what does the Talaivi feel about it. There can be two situations one she doesn’t care about the gossips and continues her love relationship with her lover. A poem to illustrate such situation has been described in my earlier post ‘Fear of scandal‘(updated the post today with explanation).

The other situation is that the heroine cannot bare the torture of gossips made by the ladies of the village.

A poem to illustrate such a situation is given below.

 

24. முல்லை – தலைவி கூற்று 

கருங்கால் வேம்பின் ஒண்பூ யாணர் 

என்னை யின்றியுங் கழிவது கொல்லோ 

ஆற்றயல் எழுந்த வெண்கோட் டதவத் 

தெழுகுளிர் மிதித்த ஒருபழம் போலக் 

குழையக் கொடியோர் நாவே 

காதலர் அகலக் கல்லென் றவ்வே. 

-பரணர்.


Kurunthokai 24

What she said

It looks as if the summer’s glowing

new blossom on the dark neem tree

will not stay for his coming.

These cruel women’s tounges

are working on me,

and now that he is gone,

grinding me to paste

like the one fig

of the white tree rising by the waterside,

trampled on by seven ravenous crabs.

Poet:Paranar

Translated by A.K.Ramanujan

In this poem the heroine is finding it really painful when she hears the gossips going around especially after her lover has left the place to his home or in search of glory. There is a brilliant imagery in this poem, when the poet implies that the womens gossips is threatening the love affair of the Talaivi. This is indicated by the imagery of crabs grinding small and rising fig trees to paste. By this poet try to say that the growing love, love passion of the Talaivi is ground down to paste because of the gossips of the women.

There are two possible situations after gossips spread like a wild fire.

 

One kind of situation that arise when the gossips become wide spread. The parents of the girl come to know about it. I have given one such poem below,

 

அம்ம வாழி தோழி நென்னல்

ஓங்குதிரை வெண்மணல் உடைக்கும் துறைவற்கு

ஊரார் பெண்டென மொழிய என்னை

அதுகேட் டன்னாய் என்றனள் அன்னை

பைபய வெம்மை என்றனென் யானே.

 

Ainkurunuru 113

What she said

Yesterday ,

some people of this town

said about me,

she is the women

of that man from the seashore

where great waves break

on the white sands.

Mother heard it

and asked me,

” Is that true?”

I said,under my breath,

“I’m burning.”

Poet:Ammuvanar

Translated by A.K.Ramanujan

(Another Translation for the same poem by George L Hart is given in one of my previous posts ‘Cute Love Poem‘). The Parents of the Talaivi in this case arrange the marraige between Talaivan and Talaivi.

 

There is also another kind of the situation. This  being that the Talaivi decides to elope with her lover. I have given a poem below to illustrate such a situation below,

 

149 நெய்தல் – உலோச்சனார் 

சிலரும் பலரும் கடைக்கண் நோக்கி 

மூக்கின் உச்சிச் சுட்டு விரல் சேர்த்தி 

மறுகில் பெண்டிர் அம்பல் தூற்ற 

சிறு கோல் வலந்தனள் அன்னை அலைப்ப 

அலந்தனென் வாழி தோழி கானல் 

புது மலர் தீண்டிய பூ நாறு குரூஉச் சுவல் 

கடு மான் பரிய கதழ் பரி கடைஇ 

நடு நாள் வரூஉம் இயல் தேர்க் கொண்கனொடு 

செலவு அயர்ந்திசினால் யானே 

அலர் சுமந்து ஒழிக இவ் அழுங்கல் ஊரே


Narrinai 149

What she said

Women in small groups here and there in the streets,

watching with eyeballs in the corner of their eyes,

with hands on their nose as if the were astonished,

were gossiping about us and beliving all these to be 

true mother threw the stick she had,

all these make me feel disappointed my friend.

Brushing the  new flowers in the fields which 

spread it fragrance through air,

are the honey combed mane of the horse

which pulls the charriot of my lord.

Shall I wait for the chariot and leave with him at midnight?

Then I dont have to care about these townsfolk and their gossip!

Poet:Uloccanar

My own approximate translation.

 In situation like this it is usally the Panki(Heroine’s friend) who urges Talaivi to elope with Talaivan. This particular poem according to A.Narayanaswami Iyer is a poem sung by the Panki whereas Nachinarkuiniyar and Illampuranar attribute it to the Talaivi. Either way the heroine elopes with the hero or decides to elope with the hero. After such elopement either the girls parents catch them and get them married or the Talaivan takes Talaivi to his home and get married there.

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Reference:

Smile of Murugan by Kamil Zvelebil

Lietrary conventions in Akam poetry by Kamil Zvelebil

The Interior Landscape by A.K.Ramanujan

Poems of Love and War by A.K.Ramanujan

Narrinai commentry by A.Narayanaswami Iyer

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9 thoughts on “Gossips , Scandal and Elopement in Sangam Literature

Add yours

  1. ur blog is truly a treasure trove.. especially for younger people like me who have just begun to nudge ourselves to explore our mother tounge tamil. very much like u, my love for tamil -not just the langusge but the poeple itself started only after i read PONNIYIN SELVAN.

    u have read so extensively. please keep it up.

    id like to know if u are familiar with tamil writing around the time of narasimha varman-the pallava king. is there a work that chronicles the war with pulikesi????

  2. excellent work, i have read most of ur writings, enjoyed it, do u have all ur research work consolidated in a book. if not, why dont u try writing one. ur knowledge should be reach every tamil.

  3. Most of the blogs are melowed down version of Dr.Zvelebil,Dr.Hart’s books. Only last few works have lot of inputs from me. Hope some time when my contribution increase I would write a book.

  4. Really great work. Hats off!!
    I was searching for some good Tamizh kavithai/katturai online. Never though I would landup with such good one.
    As told, your work will be people like me, who realized the Language’s greatness very late and still want to get thing that they missed in school/college..

  5. To AV,

    I know it is too late to respond to your question. I am not sure know if you would get this. I thought I would try anyway. Please read “Sivakamiyin Sabatham” (சிவகாமியின் சபதம் by KALKI)”. It was written based on Pulikesi’s invastion on Kanjeepuram and how the king Mamallam (famouns Pallava king) took revenge and captured Vathabi (capital of Chalukiyas)….

  6. தங்கள் படைப்புகள் அனைத்தும் அருமை.தொடர வாழ்த்துக்கள்
    அலர் என்பதன் பொருள் என்ன என்று சொல்ல முடியுமா
    நன்றி

  7. அலர்¹-தல் alar-
    , 4 v. intr. [T. alaru, K. M. Tu. alar.] 1. To blossom, open up; மலர்தல். 2. To spread, to expand, to be diffused, as the rays of the sun, as water; பரத் தல். அலர்தலை மாநிலம் (நைடத. சிறப்புப். 1). 3. To increase in size, become large; பெருத்தல். அலர் முலை யாகத்து (கலித். 14). 4. To manifest itself, shine forth; விளங்குதல். ஆழியங் கிழவனா யலரும் (சூளா. குமார. 43). 5. To form, collect; சுரத்தல். அலர்முலைச் செவிலியம் பெண்டிர்த் தழீஇ (பெரும் பாண். 250).
    http://dsal1.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.0:1:4019.tamillex

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