The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago

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KANISHKA

KING OF THE KOSHANS (A.D. 78—106)

(from his coins).





THE TAMILS
EIGHTEEN HUNDRED
YEARS AGO

 

V. KANAKASABHAI

 

Asian Educational Services
New Delhi




















PRICE : Rs 95

FIRST PUBLISHED : 1904
FIRST AES REPRINT : 1979
PRINTED IN INDIA
PUBLISHED BY J. JETLEY
FOR ASIAN EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
C-2/1 5. SDA., NEW DELHI-110016

PRINTED BY A. K. PROCESS, DELHI

TO

THE HONOURABLE DEWAN BAHADUR

Sir S. SUBRAMANYA IYER, K.C.I.E.

Actg. Chief Justice of Madras


THIS BOOK

IS

RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

AS A TOKEN OF

ESTEEM AND GRATITUDE

FOR

THE GREAT INTEREST HE HAS ALWAYS SHOWN IN
EVERY MOVEMENT INTENDED FOR THE
BENEFIT OR ENLIGHTENMENT OF
THE NATIVES OF INDIA

PREFACE.

A series of articles on the “Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago” was contributed by me to the Madras Review between the years 1895 and 1901, On the appearance of the very first article, Sir S. SUBRAMANYA IYER wrote to me suggesting that I should bring out all the information available in Tamil literature regarding the ancient civilization of the Tamils. I believe I have carried out the suggestion faithfully, as far as my leisure would permit. Since the completion of the series, many of my friends advised me to collect and publish the whole in the form of a book. I have therefore re-arranged the matter, dividing it into chapters, and added an Index, which I hope will facilitate reference. With a view to confine myself strictly to the subject of the book as shown in the title, I have carefully avoided touching upon the history of the Tamils before A.D. 50 or after A.D. 150.

MADRAS,

16th January, 1904. V. KANAKASABHAI.

CONTENTS.


Page

Introduction.

1
Political divisions of the known world 1800 years ago—The Tamil-land—Ancient Tamil literature recently published—Antiquity of the literature—Sangha poets—Ilánko-Adikal, brother of a Chera king and author of the Tamil epic Chilappathikaram—Allusion in the poem to contemporary kings Satakarnin of Magadha and Gajabaahu of Ceylon

Geography of Tamilakam.

10
The limits of Tamilakam—Neighbouring kingdoms—The thirteen nadus of Tamilakam and principal towns in them—Identification of places mentioned by Pliny and Ptolemy

Foreign Trade.

31
Early trade routes—Strabo—Discovery of direct route by sea from Arabia to Tamilakam—Pliny’s account of the trade— Fuller account in the Periplus of the Erythran Sea

Tamil Races and Tribes.

39
The Villavar and Minavar—The Nagas—Naga tribes: Maravar, Eyinar, Oliyar, Oviyar, Aruvalar, Parathavar—Mongolian immigrants from Tamilitti in Bengal called Tamils—Tamil tribes: Marar, Thirayar, Vanavar or Celestials—Kosar identical with the Koshans who conquered Northern India—Aryan immigrants—Princess of the Lunar race who founded Southern Madura—Brahmin settlement—Ayar or Shepherd races—The bull fight their national pastime—Jews—Correct reading of the double years in Jewish grant

The Cholas.

65
Chola genealogy from A.D. 50 to A.D. 150—Karikal the Groat—Ched-Chenni Nalank-Killi—Killi-Valavan—Rajasnyam—vedda-peru-nar-killi

The Pandyas.

81
Pandyan genealogy from AD. 50 to A.D. 150—Aryappadai-kadanta-nedunj-Cheliyan—Verri-ver-Cheliyan—Nedunj Cheliyan II—Ugrap-peru-valuti—Nanmaran

The Cheras.

89
Chera genealogy from A.D. 50 to A.D. 100—Athan I—Athan II alias Vana Varmman—Chonkudduvan alias Imaya Varmman—Yanaik-kad-Chey—Perun-cheral-Irumporai

Princes and Chiefs.

102
Thirayan of Kanchi—Pulli and Athanungan of Venkadam—Malayaman of Kovalur—Evvi of Milalai—Nannan of Chenkanma—Ay of Aykudi—Porunan of Nanjil Nad—Palayan Maran of Mohoor—Alumbil-Vel—Piddan—Korran of Kuthiraimalai—Athiyaman of Thakadoor

Social Life.

109
System of government—The king—Five great assemblies—Eight groups of attendants—Officers of State—Customs, tolls and taxes—Tamil castes : Arivar, Ulavar, Vellalar or Karalar, Ayar, Vedduvar, Artizans, Padaiadchiyar, Valayar, Pulayar—Tamil castes similar to the castes described by Megasthenes—Mode of dress—Perfumes—Ornaments—Freedom of women—Courting—Suicide of disappointed lovers—Harlots and courtezans—Marriages— Articles of food—Entertainments—Music—Tamil and Aryan plays—Dances—Actresses—Painting—Sculpture—Houses—Forts—Assault and battle—Military caste—War-bards, minstrels, and actors—Description of city life in Madura

The Kural of Tiruvalluvar.

133
Tiruvalluvar—Visit to the court of Ugrap-peru-yaluti—Conclave of poets and authors—Kural or Muppal, a moral code in poetical aphorisms—Opinion of the court poets

The Story of Chillap-athikaram.

141
The marriage of Kovilan and Kannaki—Kovilan falls in love with the beautiful actress Mathavi—Wastes all his wealth—Leaves her in a fit of jealousy—Travels to Madura with his wife Kannaki—Goes to the market to sell one of his wife’s anklets—Is accused of having stolen it from the palace and is beheaded—Kannaki appears before the Pandya and proves her husbaud’s innocence—Wanders into the Chera country and dies brokenbearted

The Story of Mani-mekalai.

162
Mathavi, the beautiful actress, becomes a Buddhist nun on hearing of the tragic death of her lover Kovilan—Her daughter Mani-mekalai is courted by Udayakumara, the Chola king’s son—She escapes to the island Manippallavam—Returns to Kavirip-paddinam—Assumes the disguise of a Buddhist mendicant—Prince Udayakumara seeks her at night and is killed in the Buddhist monastery—Mani-mekalai is6 thrown into prison by the Chola king—She is released—Visits Nagapuram in Chavakam and Vanchi the Chera capital—Learns the six systems of Hindu philosophy—Goes to Kanchi, feeds the poor, and becomes a Buddhist nun

Tamil Poems and Poets.

190
The Kalith-thokai, a love poem—Kalath-thalai—Uriththiran-kannanar—Mudath-thamak-kanniyar—Kapilar—Nakkirar—Mamulanar—Kalladanar—Mankudi-maruthanar—Tiruvalluvar-Kovur-kilar—Iraiyanar—Paranar—Perun-kausikanar—Auvvaiyar— Ilanko-adikal—Arisil-kilar—Ponmudiyar—Perunkunrurkilar—Total extent of Tamil literature 1800 years old—Aillusions to Aryan literature

Six Systems of Philosophy.

212
Vedanta—Ajivaka—Nigrantha—Sankhya—Vaiseshika Bhutavati—Bauddha

Religion.

227
Evolution of religion according to civilization—Worship of the aborigines: Kali, Muruga, Krishna, Siva, Balarama—Effect of Nigrantha and Bauddha faiths—High ideals of morality and charity—Belief in transmigration of souls—Speculation as to a future state—Utter neglect of affairs of this world by wise men the cause of national decay

Conclusion.

235
The Tamils under their own kings—Changes during the last sixty generations—Extension of sea-coast—Ancient cities in ruins—Decline and fall of royal dynasties—Malayalam and Canarese become separate dialects—Foreign invasions—Peace and security under British rule—Tamils now at the parting of ways—Urgent need of immediate reform on the lines at Western civilization


This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.