S.A.K. DURGA

MARUDANILATHU MALLAR ISAI - Pallisai: K. Mariappan; Mamannar Press, 10/2A, Nalvar Nagar, Maruthamalai Road, Bharathiyar University Post, Coimbatore-641046. Rs. 150.THIS BOOK is an extensive study on the "Pallu" literature in Tamil written from 17th to 19th centuries. Pallu literature belongs to folk musical plays known as "Pallisai" and has the folk musical forms such as chindu, talattu, and others. The Pallu works describe the Pallan and Palli family, their profession and culture. Pallar is a community among farmers in Tamil Nadu. The name "Marudam" in the title is one of the five agricultural lands classified by ancient Tamils, the others being Palai, Mullai, Neidal and Kurinji. The author has given the name "Mallar" instead of 'Pallar' in the title. In the Sangam works the name Mallar is given for Pallar. The name "Pallar" came into vogue during the 17th century when the musical literature was written and it is retained till now. But in the contents it is mentioned as "Pallisai" and also in all the chapter headings covering the origin, history, literature, musical forms, content of the text and its evolution. Thirty works on Pallu have been studied and neatly documented. He has also given rare Pallu works and the information about the Palani copper plates (1528) in the appendix will be useful to researchers. But his conclusions are not supported by research findings. For instance, the author remarks that the Vedas were written in Tamil but later during Kalappirar's rule were translated into Sanskrit and people believe that they were written in Sanskrit, which is not true. While the documentation part of the work is commendable, the conclusions lack the objectivity expected of a researcher.