His son’s mother – Kurunthokai 8

It was 1968. Rajathi Ammal had given birth to Kanimozhi in a hospital. As per hospital procedure she had to give father’s name , which she did. At this point of time, Karunanthi was minister in the cabinet of Anna as Minister of Public Works, Highways, Transport, Ports and Minor Irrigation and he was already married to Dayalu Ammal.

The news reached the ears of Congressmen. Congress has just been defeated by DMK, a year earlier in 1967. this was first political scandal in their hand and wanted to use to their advantage to inflict as much damage to the new DMK government. The state assembly was to be battlefield.

‘Who is Rajathi?’ asked a Congress MLA, followed by a chorus from entire opposition. The opposition was hell bent in embarrassing Karunanidhi and in essence the new DMK government headed by Anna.  Anna understood these chants weren’t going to end and had potential to become a great threat to his government. He took Karunanithi aside and asked Karunanithi to own up the issue and face the consequences.

Karunanithi stepped back into the assembly to answer the Congress chants of ‘Who is Rajathi?’. His answer had potential of becoming a state wide scandal and possibly any negative reaction could have put an end to his budding political career.

He stepped forward to the microphone and answered, ‘en magal Kanimozhiyin Thai’ (‘my Daughter Kanimozhi’s mother’).  With these four words, he turned politically disastrous situation to state he could gain sympathy from many.

look specifically into these four words ‘en magal Kanimozhiyin Thai’ (‘my Daughter Kanimozhi’s mother’) – he doesn’t call Rajathi Ammal his companion/wife rather he says she is mother of my daughter. This extraordinary usage of Tamil language helped him survive in 1968 and now it is 2018.

But is it really extra ordinary usage of Tamil?

Not really, this is a very common usage in Sangam literature. For example see the poem below

குறுந்தொகை 8, ஆலங்குடி வங்கனார்மருதத் திணை – பரத்தை சொன்னதுதலைவியின் தோழியர் கேட்கும்படி

கழனி மாஅத்து விளைந்து உகு தீம் பழம்

பழன வாளை கதூஉம் ஊரன்

எம் இல் பெருமொழி கூறித் தம் இல்

கையும் காலும் தூக்கத் தூக்கும்

ஆடிப் பாவை போல

மேவன செய்யும் தன் புதல்வன் தாய்க்கே.

Kurunthokai 9 – What a concubine said about Thalaivan’s wife

Thalaivan who is from fields

where the mango fruit grows ripe and

falls down into a pond for the Valai fish to grab

He makes big promises in my house

But acts like a puppet controlled by strings

And does what is desired by

The mother of his son!!

Poet: Alangudi Vanganar

Translated by Palaniappan Vairam Sarathy

[Poem basically says that Hero on his own accord came to the concubine and she didn’t not covet him. But this guys promises lot in concubine’s house and becomes his wife’s puppet in his house. Concubine doesn’t want to accord status of wife to his wife , so address her as mother of his son, meaning she has some value only because she has borne a son for him. Else concubine was hero’s sweet heart]

Note the words here –

தன் புதல்வன் தாய்க்கே –

Than puthalvan thaike

His son’s mother

This is not the only poem with this usage

புதல்வன் தாய் – puthalvan thai – Mother of son – Kurunthokai 359

அவன் புதல்வன் தாயே – avan puthalvan thaiye – his son’s mother – Ainkurunooru 90

நின் மகன் தாய் – Nin Magan thai – your son’s mother – Akanaanooru 16

புதல்வன் தாயே – puthalvan thaye – Mother of son – Ainkurunooru 405

It is of common knowledge that Karunanidhi was master of Sangam Tamil. He is known as Kalaingar. All he had to do to save his political career was to change,

‘Than puthalvan thai’ to ‘en magalin thai’

‘his son’s mother’ to ‘My daughter’s mother’

The rest is history.

So my friends read Sangam Literature and you never know how it is going to influence your life.




Kurunthokai – U.V. Swaminathan Iyer urai

Learn Sangam Tamil

Tamil Lexicon – University of Madras




கழனி மாஅத்து விளைந்து உகு தீம் பழம்

Field – mango – grow ripe – fall – sweet – fruit

பழன வாளை கதூஉம் ஊரன்

tank – valai fish – grab – agricultural tract man

எம் இல் பெருமொழி கூறித் தம் இல்

my – house – big words – speak – his house

கையும் காலும் தூக்கத் தூக்கும்

Leg – hand – to lift – lift

ஆடிப் பாவை போல

Dancing puppet – alike

மேவன செய்யும் தன் புதல்வன் தாய்க்கே.

Desired – do – his – son’s – mother for



  1. ஆடிப் பாவை என்பது கண்ணாடியில் தெரியும் நிழலுருவம் ஆகும், இங்கு குறிப்பிட்டது போல நூல் பாவை அல்ல. அவ்வரிகளின் மூலமே இதை நாம் அறியலாம் “கையும் காலும் தூக்கத் தூக்கும் ஆடிப் பாவை போல” கண்ணாடியின் எதிரே நிற்பவர் கை கால்களை அசைவதை போல அதில் தெரியும் உருவமும் அசையும் என்று பொருள்படும். இப்பொருளை சாரங்கபாணி எழுதிய சங்க இலக்கியப் பிழிவு என்ற நூலில் காணலாம்.

  2. Tring to buy சங்க இலக்கியப் பிழிவு book. Heard a lot about that. Can you please suggest.. whwre is it available

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