Staff Reporter

Scholar has discovered names of other poets

  • The anthology of poems talks of the love affairs of the common man
  • It was believed that only one person had written them

    PONDICHERRY: Like any good "virus," the love bug bites one and all. It does not differentiate between royalty and commoners. `Kalithogai', a Tamil anthology of poems from the ancient Sangam literature, talks of the love affairs of the common man shepherds, farmers, fishermen and cowherds

    `Kali' meter

    In the `Kalithogai', there is a poem on a father saying he will give his daughter in marriage only to a man who tames bulls. Poems such as this run to tens of lines and are composed in the meter `Kali'; hence the name Kalithogai.

    According to Dominic Goodall, Head, Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient, "love and war were the mainstay of poems of the ancient Tamils and the `Kalithogai', which contains five portions - Kurunji, Mullai , Marudham, Neithal, and Paalai - is `agam' (mostly love) poetry.

    Old palm leaf discovery

    Till now it was believed that only one person had written them, but recently a scholar from Pondicherry discovered names of other poets who wrote them."

    Rajeshwar, a scholar working in the Tamil Department of the EFEO, has discovered an old palm leaf manuscript in which the first 35 poems have been attributed to poets such as Kirantaiyar, Mathurai, Perumaruthanaar and Nappaalattaanaar. It was earlier believed that the 35 poems were the work of King Palai Patiya Perun Kadun Ko, he said. The finding was made public at an international workshop on Tamil commentaries held recently in honour of Tamil pandit T. V. Gopala Iyer.

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