Monday, September 21, 2009

List of presidents of the party

Name of President Life Span Year of Presidency Place of Conference
Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee December 29, 1844- 1906 1885 Bombay
Dadabhai Naoroji September 4, 1825- 1917 1886 Calcutta
Badruddin Tyabji October 10, 1844- 1906 1887 Madras
George Yule 1829- 1892 1888 Allahabad
Sir William Wedderburn 1838- 1918 1889 Bombay
Sir Pherozeshah Mehta August 4, 1845- 1915 1890 Calcutta
P. Anandacharlu August 1843- 1908 1891 Nagpur
Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee December 29, 1844- 1906 1892 Allahabad
Dadabhai Naoroji September 4, 1848- 1925 1893 Lahore
Alfred Webb 1834- 1908 1894 Madras
Surendranath Banerjea November 10, 1848- 1925 1895 Poona
Rahimtulla M. Sayani April 5, 1847- 1902 1896 Calcutta
Sir C. Sankaran Nair July 11, 1857- 1934 1897 Amraoti
Ananda Mohan Bose September 23, 1847- 1906 1898 Madras
Romesh Chunder Dutt August 13, 1848- 1909 1899 Lucknow
Sir Narayan Ganesh Chandavarkar December 2, 1855- 1923 1900 Lahore
Sir Dinshaw Edulji Wacha August 2, 1844- 1936 1901 Calcutta
Surendranath Banerjea November 10, 1825- 1917 1902 Ahmedabad
Lalmohan Ghosh 1848- 1909 1903 Madras
Sir Henry Cotton 1845- 1915 1904 Bombay
Gopal Krishna Gokhale May 9, 1866- 1915 1905 Benares
Dadabhai Naoroji September 4, 1825- 1917 1906 Calcutta
Rashbihari Ghosh December 23, 1845- 1921 1907 Surat
Rashbihari Ghosh December 23, 1845- 1921 1908 Madras
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya December 25, 1861- 1946 1909 Lahore
Sir William Wedderburn 1838- 1918 1910 Allahabad
Pandit Bishan Narayan Dar 1864- 1916 1911 Calcutta
Rao Bahadur Raghunath Narasinha Mudholkar 1857- 1921 1912 Bankipur
Nawab Syed Muhammad Bahadur  ?- 1919 1913 Karachi
Bhupendra Nath Bose 1859- 1924 1914 Madras
Lord Satyendra Prasanna Sinha March 1863- 1928 1915 Bombay
Ambica Charan Mazumdar 1850- 1922 1916 Lucknow
Annie Besant October 1, 1847- 1933 1917 Calcutta
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya December 25, 1861- 1946 1918 Delhi
Syed Hasan Imam August 31, 1871- 1933 1918 Bombay (Special Session)
Pandit Motilal Nehru May 6, 1861- February 6, 1931 1919 Amritsar
Lala Lajpat Rai January 28, 1865- November 17, 1928 1920 Calcutta (Special Session)
C. Vijayaraghavachariar 1852- April 19, 1944 1920 Nagpur
Hakim Ajmal Khan 1863- December 29, 1927 1921 Ahmedabad
Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das November 5, 1870- June 16, 1925 1922 Gaya
Maulana Mohammad Ali December 10, 1878- January 4, 1931 1923 Kakinada
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1888- February 22, 1958 1923 Delhi (Special Session)
Mahatma Gandhi October 2, 1869- January 30, 1948 1924 Belgaum
Sarojini Naidu February 13, 1879- March 2, 1949 1925 Kanpur
S. Srinivasa Iyengar September 11, 1874- May 19, 1941 1926 Gauhati
Dr. M A Ansari December 25, 1880- May 10, 1936 1927 Madras
Pandit Motilal Nehru May 6, 1861- February 6, 1931 1928 Calcutta
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1929 & 30 Lahore
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel October 31, 1875- December 15, 1950 1931 Karachi
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya December 25, 1861- 1946 1932 Delhi
Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya December 25, 1861- 1946 1933 Calcutta
Nellie Sengupta 1886- 1973 1933 Calcutta
Dr. Rajendra Prasad December 3, 1884- February 28, 1963 1934 & 35 Bombay
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1936 Lucknow
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1936& 37 Faizpur
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose January 23, 1897- August 18, 1945? 1938 Haripura
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose January 23, 1897- August 18, 1945? 1939 Tripuri
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad 1888- February 22, 1958 1940-46 Ramgarh
Acharya J.B. Kripalani 1888- March 19, 1982 1947 Delhi
Dr Pattabhi Sitaraimayya December 24, 1880- December 17, 1959 1948 & 49 Jaipur
Purushottam Das Tandon August 1, 1882- July 1, 1961 1950 Nasik
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1951 & 52 Delhi
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1953 Hyderabad
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru November 14, 1889- May 27, 1964 1954 Calcutta
U N Dhebar September 21, 1905- 1977 1955 Avadi
U N Dhebar September 21, 1905- 1977 1956 Amritsar
U N Dhebar September 21, 1905- 1977 1957 Indore
U N Dhebar September 21, 1905- 1977 1958 Gauhati
U N Dhebar September 21, 1905- 1977 1959 Nagpur
Indira Gandhi November 19, 1917- October 31, 1984 1959 Delhi
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy May 19, 1913- June 1, 1996 1960 Bangalore
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy May 19, 1913- June 1, 1996 1961 Bhavnagar
Neelam Sanjiva Reddy May 19, 1913- June 1, 1996 1962 & 63 Patna
K. Kamaraj July 15, 1903- October 2, 1975 1964 Bhubaneswar
K. Kamaraj July 15, 1903- October 2, 1975 1965 Durgapur
K. Kamaraj July 15, 1903- October 2, 1975 1966 & 67 Jaipur
S. Nijalingappa December 10, 1902- August 9, 2000 1968 Hyderabad
S. Nijalingappa December 10, 1902- August 9, 2000 1969 Faridabad
Jagjivan Ram April 5, 1908- July 6, 1986 1970 & 71 Bombay
Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma August 19, 1918- December 26, 1999 1972- 74 Calcutta
Dev Kant Baruah February 22, 1914- 1996 1975- 77 Chandigarh
Indira Gandhi November 19, 1917- October 31, 1984 1978- 83 Delhi
Indira Gandhi November 19, 1917- October 31, 1984 1983 -84 Calcutta
Rajiv Gandhi August 20, 1944- May 21, 1991 1985 -91 Bombay
P. V. Narasimha Rao June 28, 1921- December 23, 2004 1992 -96 Tirupati
Sitaram Kesri November 1919- October 24, 2000 1997 -98 Kolkata

Black Hole of Calcutta

The Black Hole of Calcutta incident refers to forty three British soldiers and their Indian comrades in arms who perished in the Fort William brig, June 20, 1756. The events leading up to the Black Hole of Calcutta involved a campaign by the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah against the British East India Company security forces in Calcutta. In June 1756, he marched on the Company's settlement with a sizable force of 30,000 foot soldiers, 20,000 horsemen, 400 trained elephants and eighty pieces of cannon.[1] Faced with overwhelming superiority, most of the British soldiers fled along with their Indian troops. Siraj-ud-Daula took captive the few who remained, putting them into the brig at Fort William for the night.
The brig had been called the Black Hole by the British, and the name stuck after the events of the night had passed. June 20, 1756, proved a sweltering night, forty three of the sixty four prisoners perishing from heat exhaustion and suffocation.[2] Robert Clive, the man who proved most important in establishing of the British East India Company as a colonial power in India, led a putative expedition, defeating Siraj-ud-Daula and the Marathas. Clive continued over the next eleven years, until 1766, when he left India, to set up the British East India company in firm control of much of India. The Black Hole of Calcutta had given him the entrée to set Great Britain on the path to ruling India until 1947.
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World War II and “Quit India” (from Gandhiji's point of view)

World War II and “Quit India”

Mahadev Desai (left) reading out a letter to Gandhi from the viceroy at Birla House, Mumbai, April 7, 1939
Mahadev Desai (left) reading out a letter to Gandhi from the viceroy at Birla House, Mumbai, April 7, 1939
When World War II broke out in 1939, Gandhi was initially in favor of "non-violent moral support" for the British. Other Congress leaders, however, were offended that the viceroy had committed India in the war effort without consultation, and resigned en masse.[11] After lengthy deliberations, Indian politicians agreed to cooperate with the British government in exchange for complete independence. The viceroy refused, and Congress called on Gandhi to lead them. On August 8, 1942, Congress passed a “Quit India” resolution, which became the most important move in the struggle for independence. There were mass arrests and violence on an unprecedented scale.[12] Thousands of freedom fighters were killed or injured in police firing, and hundreds of thousands were arrested. Gandhi clarified that this time the movement would not be stopped if individual acts of violence were committed, saying that the "ordered anarchy" around him was "worse than real anarchy." He called on all Congressmen and Indians to maintain discipline in ahimsa, and Karo Ya Maro (“Do or Die”) in the cause of ultimate freedom.
Gandhi and the entire Congress Working Committee were arrested in Bombay (Mumbai) by the British on August 9, 1942. Gandhi was held for two years in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. Although the ruthless suppression of the movement by British forces brought relative order to India by the end of 1943, Quit India succeeded in its objective. At the end of the war, the British gave clear indications that power would be transferred to Indian hands, and Gandhi called off the struggle, and the Congress leadership and around 100,000 political prisoners were released.
During his time in prison, Gandhi's health had deteriorated, however, and he suffered two terrible blows in his personal life. In February 1944, his wife Kasturba died in prison, and just a few months earlier Mahadev Desai, his 42-year old secretary, died of a heart attack. Six weeks after his wife’s death, Gandhi suffered a severe malaria attack. He was released before the end of the war because of his failing health and necessary surgery; the British did not want him to die in prison and enrage the entire nation beyond control.

Ghadar Movement

Ghadar Movement

Many Sikhs and Hindu Punjabis who tasted freeddom outside colonial India in USA started Ghadr movement to free India from British rule in early 1900's. These Sikhs and Punjabi Hindus were sent to Canada which was under British rule for labour work. They crossed the border over to USA and settled in Western Coast of USA in cities like Portland, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. These Punjabis created Gurdwaras and established societies. They were subject to draconian laws like "not allowed to marry to american woman" by many of these states at that time. The word Ghadr can be commonly translated as mutiny, was the name given to the newspaper edited and published for the Hindustani Association of the Pacific Coast which was founded at Portland, United States of America, in 1912. The movement this Association gave rise to for revolutionary activities in India also came to be known by the designation of Ghadr.
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Famous Mughal Monuments in India

Fateh Pur SikriImage by DJ SINGH via Flickr

Famous Mughal Monuments in India

Author: Swati Saxena

India is the treasure trove of historical monuments spread across its length and breath. Explore some of the greatest architectural monuments and be treated by fascination and glory that leaves the travelers in immense astonishment.

Taj Mahal :

Described as a 'tear on the face of eternity', Taj Mahal is undoubtedly one of the world's most marvelous monuments ever built for love. Over looking the Yamuna river, Taj is located in the historic city of Agra in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his second wife- Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. Taj is a world Heritage Site and comes in the list of the eight wonder of world. Presenting the finest example of the Mughal architecture, it is the most extravagant monument, built at the cost of 32 million rupees. In total some 20,000 people from India ans Central Asia to produce the exquisite marble screens and pietra dura made with thousand of semi precious stones.

Fatehpur Sikri :

The ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri, 40 kms southwest of Agra, was the short lived capital of the Mughal Empire for approximately 12 years. The magnificent town was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Akbar visited Sikri to consult the Sufi saint Shaikh Salim Chisti, who predicted the birth of his son. When the prophecy come true, Akbar named his prince as Salim and built his new capital here. The complex of monuments and temples presents the greatest example of Indo Islamic architecture. Some of the major attractions of Fatehpur Sikri are Diwan-i-khas, Buland Darwaza, Panch Mahal, Khwabagh, and Anup Talao. Fatehpur Sikri is adorned with largest mosque in Jama Masjid, also known as Dargah Mosque.

Agra Fort :

The city of Agra is most famous for Taj Mahal, but it is also famous for the Agra Fort, which is among the finest Mughal Forts in India. Situated on the banks of river Yamuna, it is 2 kms from north west of Taj Mahal. It is great monument of red sandstone built by Mughal Emperor Akbar between the years 1565 and 1573.Earlier the fort was built primarily as a military structure but later on Shah Jahan transferred into the palace and later it became the gilded prison for eight years after his son Aurangzeb seized power in 1658. The special attractions of the Mahal are Jahangiri Mahal, Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas, Anguri Bagh and an ornamental bath housed inside the palace of mirrors or Sheesh Mahal.

Humayun's Tomb :

Humayun's Tomb is the Delhi's first Mughal mausoleum, located on the Lodhi's road, 2 kms from Purana Quila. It was built in the mid 16th century by Haji Begum, the Persian born senior wife of second Mughal emperor Humayun. It was added in the list of World Heritage Site in the year 1993. Constructed of red sand, inlaid with black and white marble, Humayun's tomb is must visit on the tour to capital city of Delhi. The octagonal structure is adorned with the double dome that soars to a height of 38 m- the inner shell forms the vaulted ceiling. There are many other small monuments inside the Tomb. Chief among them are lack-and-yellow marble tomb of Humayun's wife and the tomb of Humayun's barber.
About the Author:
Swati Saxena is an eminent travel writer, she have authored websites like :
Article Source: - Famous Mughal Monuments in India
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Book Watch

Shashi TharoorImage via Wikipedia

India: From Midnight to the Millennium is a 1997 nonfiction book written by Shashi Tharoor. In his usual rambling style he covers India from its independence in 1947 until the turn of the millennium.
Along the way he covers diverse topics like caste, Indian democracy, the legacy of Indira Gandhi, the partition of India and India’s transition from a socialist economy to a free market.
"India: From Midnight to the Millennium" is an eloquent argument for the importance of India to the future of the industrialized world. Shashi Tharoor shows compellingly that India stands at the intersection of the most significant questions facing the world at the end of the twentieth century. If democracy leads to inefficient political infighting, should it be sacrificed in the interest of economic well-being? Does religious fundamentaism provide a way for countries in the developing world to assert their identity in the face of western hegemony, or is there a case for pluralism and diversity amid cultural and religious traditions? Does the entry of Western consumer goods threaten a country's economic self-sufficiency, and is protectionism the only guarantee of independence? The answers to such questions will determine what kind of world the next century will bring. And since Indians will soon account for a sixth of the world's population, their choices will have repercussions throughout the globe.
A very catching book narrated in Shashi's smooth style,very attractive book
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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Neolithic age

continue from last supplement

· On the northern spurs of vindhyas in belon valley all the 3 phase of Paleolithic followed by Mesolithic & then by Neolithic have been found in sequence similarly also narmada valley


· IN the world context the new stone age began in BC 9000

· The only Neolithic settlement in the Indian sub-continent attributed to the 7000bc lies in mehgarh

· In other parts of India Neolithic sites are found near about 2500 BC

· People of this age used tools of polished stones

· The main instrument was stone axes

· Three main axes of Neolithic age according to type of axes are

1. north western

2. north eastern

3. southern

south Indian neothlic

· imporatan sites are maski and utnur

· the neothilic settler in pkhkihal were cattle header

· they use cattle for dung to use as fuel for fire

· they use stone axes and bladed

· the use of bone weapon is not found here


· kashmiri neothilic culture is distinguished by its

· a varity of bone and stone tools and complete absence of microlith dwelling pits

· important sites are burzahom & gufkral near srinagar

· they do hunting and fishing for there living

· they are also found some evidences of agriculture

· dogs were domesticated during this time



· Earliest phase of human history is known as the stone age because THE EARLIEST MAN USED ONLY tools made of stone thus

· The evolution of the earth’s crust shows four stages the four stage is called quaternary

· Which has parts Pleistocene and Holocene

· Man was first appeared in Africa

· We find human presence in India about 250000 BC

· There are three parts of stone age


· Paleolithic man in India is also called the quartzite man as it mostly used quartzite tools

· Paleolithic culture of India developed in the Pleistocene time of ice age

· In India , the 1st human occupation is not earlier then the middle Pleistocene

· Paleolithic tools of 100000 BC have been found in Kurnool district

· The other Paleolithic sites are found in soan valley belan valley These are in Pakistan

· The most important site where cave and rocks shelter used by Paleolithic man are found binmbetka near Bhopal

· The Paleolithic tools of stone age are hand axe, cleavers, choppers, scrapers,

· They lived on hunting and food gathering.

· He had no knowledge of cultivation. However he knew the use of fire


· IN 9000 BC intermediate stage in the stone age culture, Mesolithic age began

· Mesolithic man lived on hunting, fish & food gathering and at later stages also domesticated animals

· Characteristics tools of Mesolithic age are microliths

· Adamgarh in M.P and bagor in the Rajasthan – earliest evidence of domestication of animal

· Bhimbetka is fine example of pre historic art. Rock painting existing from Paleolithic Mesolithic period



British came to India as traders & in span of century conquered whole India.

Starting with Bengal they soon defeated major powers of India including Marathas Mysore & Sikh


With decline of Mughal empire & death of nizam ul mulk ,carnatic became battleground for the English & French companies both trying to establish complete the domination of the area

Colbert the minister of emperor Louis of the France founded the French east India company in 1664

Its main centre was chandernagore near Calcutta & pondichhery on coromendal coast it also controlled the islands of Mauritius & reunion in the Indian ocean

1ST CARNATIC WAR Austarian war of succession started in Europe between france & England and it soon spread in India

The French governor of Mauritius la bourdonnais captured madras

During the war French also defeated the army of Nawab of anwar ud din of carnatic at the battle of St. Thome. This battle exposed the weakness of traditional Indian armies against the modern European trained armies

In the 1748, the war in Europe ended by treaty of Aix-la-chapelle & madras was was hended back to british


Dupleix the France Governor general at the pondichhery was the 1st to evolve a strategy of using the well disciplined modern French army to take advantage of the mutual quarrels of the Indian by supporting against the other

In 1748,political situation in the carnatic & Hyderabad gave dupliex to try out his strategy

In the carnatic, he supported the Chanda sahib against the Nawab anwaruddin .

In Hyderabad he supported Muzaffer jang against Nasir jang

In the 1749,the 3 allies defeated and killed anwaruddin in the battle of ambur the latter�s son, Muhammad ali fled to trichinopali

Chanda sahib became ruler of carnatic & rewarded the French a grant of 80 villages around pondicherry

Similarly nasir jung was killed & muzzafer jang become nizam

He gave the French territory near pondicherry & the famous port town of Masulipatnam along the huge sums of money


History bits

The Sangam Age


Historical and Pre-Historical Background

· The extreme southern part of India from the Tirupati Hill (Vengadam) also known as Pullikunram in an Aham passage to Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari), bounded by sea on the East and the West, was known as Tamilgam, Tamilham, Tamilkam or Tamizhakam (the Tamil realm).

· It was more or less co-terminus with the beginning of the Iron Age in this part of the sub-continent.

· Iron appears to have arrived in South India without a preceding Copper/Bronze Age or a Chalcolithic Age.

Historians assign a variety of sources to this period:

1. the megaliths and their grave goods;
2. the hero-stones; the Tamil Brahmi cave labels;
3. the early Tamil anthologies;
4. the Punch-Marked Coins;
5. references in the Arthasastra and in the in Asokan Edicts;
6. occasional sherd of the NBPW (Northern Black Polished Ware);
7. A scholium of Katyayana on Panini; Megasthenes; Greeco-Roman accounts; the archaeology and numismatics of Roman presence and so on.

The Sangam Literature

· Tamil is the oldest among the spoken literary languages in South India.

· The earliest known phase of this literature is usually designated the Sangam literature for the reason that the anthologies of odes, lyrics and idylls that form the bulk of that literature were composed by a body of Tamil scholars or poets in three successive literary academies called ‘Sangam’.

· These academies were established by the Pandyan kings.

· The term Sangam was first referred to by Tirunavukkarasu Nayanar (Appar), the Shiva or Saiva saint belonging to the early seventh century in the Tripputtur Tiruttanndaham.

· The next reference is to be found in the contemporary to the lraiyanar Ahappiorul belonging to the ninth century AD.

· This text talks about three successive Sangams, i.e., first Sangam or Talai Sangam, the middle Sangam or Idai Sangam and the last Sangam or Kadai Sangam.

· In the traditional accounts, the first Sangam was constituted at the first Pandyan capital at Ten-Madurai.

· On the occasion of a ‘deluge’, the Pandyan capital and the Sangam was shifted to Kapatapuram, which was also engulfed by sea, and the capital as well as the Sangam were again shifted to Madhurai, an inland city.

· On these occasions of deluge, many texts were lost.

· Silappadikaram and Kalittogai refer to the “loss of territory by deluge”.

· Before the seventh century AD the alternative term for Sangam was Avaiyam or Kudal or its variant Kuttu or Punarkuttu or even Togai.

Important Sangam Works

· Ettuttogai (the eight anthologies) and Pattupattu (the ten idylls) are the two major groups of texts included in the corpus of Sangam Literature.

· The group of Ettuttogai consists of:

1. Narrinai
2. Karuntogai
3. Aingurunuru
4. Padirrupattu
5. Paripadal
6. Kalittogai
7. Ahanamuru
8. Puraanuru.

· The group Pattupattu includes:
1. Tirumurugarruppadai
2. Porunararruppadai
3. Sirupanarruppadai
4. Perumbanarruppadai
5. Mullaipattu
6. Maduraikanchi
7. Nedunalvadai
8. Kurinjipattu
9. Pattinappalai
10. Malaipadukanchi

· Some scholars have included Tolkapium, the Tamil grammatical treatise by Tolkappiyar (supposed to be the disciple of Agastya, the famous saint who is said to have crossed the Vindhyas first and propagated the Brahmanical culture in the South), Patinenkilkanakku, the eighteen didactical texts (comprising:
1. Nladiyar
2. Nammanikkadigai
3. Inna Narpadu
4. Iniya Narpadu
5. Kar Narpadu
6. Kalavali Narpadu
7. Aintinai Aimpadu
8. Aintinai Elupadu
9. Tinaimoli Aimpadu
10. Tinaimalai Nurraimpadu
11. Kainnilai (or Innilai)
12. Kural
13. Tirikadugam
14. Charakkovai
15. Palamoli
16. Sirupanchachamulam
17. Mudumo Likkanchi
18. Eladi),

· Silappadikaram and Manimegalai, the twin epics, remnants of poems like Togadur Yattirai and Bharatam of Perundevanar in the Sangam corpus.

· The Ettutogai and Pattupattu are together grouped as Melkanakku (the longer serials) for they consist stanzas composed of metre which permits of a larger numbers of lines.

· On the other hand the Kilkkanakku works (the shorter serials) are so called because they consist of poems composed in the Venba metre which permits on an average four lines for each stanza.

· There is another important characterization or division of Sangam literature, i.e., into Aham and Puram.

· The Puram category of literature idealizes love and aspects related to it.

· In Ula, a later day minor form of literature dealing with the ‘King’s sojourn through the streets of the capital city’ the theme is partly Puram and partly Aham but it is in fact Kaikkilai (unilateral love) aspect of Aham literature.

· The Agattiyam, composed by Agattiyar, Tolkappiyar’s real teacher and the oldest exponent of Tamil grammar is lost, except for a few sutras not by medieval commentators. Hence, Tolkappiam is the oldest Tamil literary work extant today.

· The Kural by Tiruvalluvar, a compound of the Dharmasastra, the Arthasastra and the Kamasutra, is universally regarded as a work of immense importance.

· Kakkaippadiniyam, a work on poetics by Kakkaippadiniyar; Pannirupadalam, a work on the twelve different situations in warfare by Tolkappiar and eleven others;

· Tagadur Yattirai by Panmudiyar, Arisil Kilars and other dealing with Perunjeral Irumporai’s invasion of the capital of Adihaiman Neduman Anji;

· The Bharatam by Perundevanar are some works which are lost except for a few stanzas quoted by later composers.

· Some other works mentioned by Adiyarkkunallar and which are lost to us are Perunarai, Perunkuruhu, Pancha Bharatiyam (all by Narada), Isai Nunukkam by Sikandi, Indra Kaliyam, Panchamarabu and Bharata Senapatiyam.

· All these works deal with musico Adiyarkkunallur mentions Seyirriyam, Guan Nul, Bharatam, Agattiyam, Muruval, Jayantam, Nataka-t-Tamil Nul by Mativanan as important works on dance and drama.

· Erambam was a treatise on Mathematics mentioned by Parimelalgar.


· The Sangam was a college or an assembly of Tamil poets held under early Pandyan patronage.

· It is generally said that three Sangams were held which lasted for 9,990 years, attended by 8,598 poets and were patronized by 197 Pandyan kings.

· It is also believed that the available Sangam literature produced by these assemblies was compiled between AD 300 and AD 600.

· Ettuttogai collection excluding Kallittogai and Paripadal is considered to be the most archaic, belonging to 3rd century BC – 3rd century AD.

· The twin Tamil epics of Silappadikaram and Manimekalai are composed around the sixth century AD.

Corroborative Sources

Archaeological Evidence

· The site of Kaverippatinam, also known as Puhar, Kakandi and Sampapati, has yielded a sluice, a punch-marked silver coin, Roulettted Ware and a brick platform (a dock) – all probably contemporary with the Sangam period.

· At Uraiyur, a Chola capital, also known as Koli and Varanam, level I, which represents the Sangam period, yielded Black and Red Ware, Russet-Coated Painted Ware, Rouletted and supposedly Arretine Ware (of Roman inspiration), and a dying vat besides ordinary Red and Black Pottery.

· There were shell and paste beads, terracotta gamesmen, bone points and potsherds inscribed with the Brahmi script.

· At Akkadu in Tanjavur, “Arkatos” of Ptolemy and the second capital of the Cholas, exploration yielded the usual pottery types and some urns.

· Kanchipuram yielded some locally made imitations of Roman amphorai.

· Excavations around Madurai at Kudal was given up for lack of results.

· The ancient port sites of Korkai, Tondi and Kodungalur also did not yield any evidence of real cities.

· Karur, the ancient Chera capital, also known as Vanji and Vanjimurram, has yielded a fairly large number of Roman coins, some Roman Amphorai pieces, local Rouletted Ware, BRW, some with graffiti marks etc.

Foreign Accounts

· Megasthenes gives a quaint account of the Pandyan kingdom “ruled over by the Pandaiya, a daughter of Herakles, to whom he assigned that portion of India which lies southwards and extends to the sea”.

· He is the earliest non-Indian to make any mention of a southern kingdom.

· Strabo makes references to the Pandyan embassies to the court of Augustus.

· He also refers to the change of Pandyan capital from Korkai to Madurai.

· Pliny the elder mentions many Tamil ports on the west coast.

· The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea by an anonymous author (80-96 AD) gives the most elaborate information about the Tamil country which the author calls Damirike.

· Ptolemy wrote half a century later (150 AD) and his work marks a decided advance in the regularity and volume of trade between the Roman Empire and India.

· The Peutingerian tables, composed in 222 AD, speak of a temple of Augustus on the west coast of Tamilaham.

· Ptolemy’s accounts also show that the Roman trade with east, which began sometime in the reign of Augustus had by the first quarter of the second century AD reached beyond India to indo-china and Sumatra.

· The recent discovery of a ‘Roman factory’ of the first century AD in the proximity of Pondicherry deserves particular mention.

· Musiri or Muziris and Tondi on the west coast of South India, Korkai and Kaveripattinam on the east were among the chief ports of the Tamil land where foreigners crowded.

· The Chinese writer Pan Kou (1st Century AD) mentions the kingdom of Houangtche (Kanchi) in his ‘Ts’ien Han Chou’.

· The Sri Lankan chronicle, Mahavastu, read with the Uraiperu Katturai of Silappadikaram, gives us the clue to a crucial datum in Sangam history, i.e. the Senguttuvan-Gajabahu synchronism.

· It was Gajabahu I of Sri Lanka who was present on the occasion of the installation of a temple to Kannagi the goddess of chastity, by the Chera king Senguttuvan.

· Gajabahu I is known to have ruled in the second half of the 2nd century AD.

Sangam Polity

The Cheras

· The Cheras ruled over an area comprising north Travancore, Cochin and South Malabar.

· The site of Vanji, the Chera capital has been located by some scholars near Musiri (Cranganore) while many others identify it with the inland city of Karur on the Amaravati river in the Coimbatore district.

· The Cheras had the ankusha (elephant-goad) and the bow and arrow for their emblem.

· Musiri was their chief port, but there were many others e.g., Tondi (Kadalundi), Marandai, Naravu (Naura and Nitrias of the Greek writers) and Bakare (Porkad), etc.

· The information on the geneolgoical history of the Cheras largely comes from the Padirrupattu (ten tens).

· Some sundry information is also gathered from the Purananuru and the Silappadikaram.

· One of the earliest and better known Chera rulers was Udiyanjeral (130 AD).

· The titles Vanavaramban ‘one whose kingdom is bounded by the sky’ or ‘by the sea’, and Perunjoran Udiyan are applied to him by the poet Mudinagarayar in Puram literature.

· Udiyanjeral was famous for his lavish hospitality; and his kitchen had become a bye-word for sumptuous feeding.

· The commentator of Puraunanuru makes out that he supplied the rival armies at Kurukshetra with food.

· Silappadikaram also records this legend.

· The poet Mamulanar records in Aham (233) that the king gave a memorial offering to the spirits at the anniversary of the Mahabharata war, in which the heroes from whom he traced his descent, had died.

· Udiyanjera I’s royal kitchen was at Kulumur (Ptolemy’s Kourellour) which may have been the original capital of the Cheras.

· He was married to Nallini, the daughter of Veliyan Venman, later known as Porvaikko-Perunarkilli Chola.

· Udiyanjeral was succeeded by his son Nedunjeral Adan (AD 155) who is said to have subjugated the ‘Kadambu’ clan and conquered seven kings.

· He is also praised as having set his bow on the slope of the Himalyas so that his power was known from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas.

· This is why he is known as Imayavaramban.

· The Yavanas are said to have been punished in a strange way.

· Their arms were pinioned behind their back and ghee was poured on their head.
· The poet of Patirrupattu was rewarded with the free gift of 500 villages in Umbark Kadu (elephant forest) and the revenue for 38 years from the southern province of the kingdom, by this king who ruled for 58 years.

· His capital is called Marandai and he fought a war with his contemporary Chola king in which both the monarch lost their lives and their queens performed sati.

· Next in line was Pal-Yanai Selkelu-Kuttuvan or ‘Kuttuvan of many elephants’, a brother of Nedunjeral Adan.

· A fierce warrior who was the worshipper of Korraivai changed over to Brahmanism and accepted Nedumbaratayanar as his preceptor.

· He later entered the title of Dharmaputra.

· Kuttavan was succeeded by his nephew, a son of Nedunjaral Adan known as Kalankaik Kanni Narmudijera (the Chera with the Kalangay festoon and the fibre crown) who is said to have defeated the Atiyamanas.

· The other son of Nedunjeral Adan was Senguttuvan, ‘the righteous Kuttuva’ (AD 180).

· He was the greatest early Chera king, also known as Pirakottiya Senguttuvan or red Chera, and was a contemporary of the poet Parnar, one of the most celebrated and longest-lived poets of the Sangam era.

· He is the hero of the fifth decade of the Patirrupattu and the real of Silappadikaram, the Tamil epic by the Chera Prince Ilango Adigal.

· He is said to have conquered vast regions from Cape Comorin in the South to the Himalayas in the north ‘where the gods dwell’.

· From the Himalayas, he is supposed to have got a stone to make an idol of the goddess Kannagi.

· Early in his reign, he is said to have subjugated the chieftain of Mogur known as Palaiyan as well as the chief of Kongar.

· He won a great naval victory and got the title ‘Kadal-Pirakkottiya’, i.e., who destroyed the efficacy of the sea as a refuge.

· It was because of this naval victory that Musiri became a safe port and in Guttuvan’s days, Yavana ships called in large numbers.

· The Mogur chief Nannan Palaiyan again rose in revolt with assistance from the Chola and Pandyan rulers, sometime late in his reign.

· Senguttuvan repressed this revolt and, as a trophy, he wore on his chest the crest of jewels of seven ruling princes.

· He is also said to have participated in the civil strife in the Chola kingdom, helped Parum-Killis or Nalam-Killi, who was his brother-in-law, and placed him on the throne by defeating the rival at Nerivayil.

· The insignia that his royal decrees bore consisted of the bow, the fish, and the tiger.

· According to Silappadikaram, this monarch was the founder of the famous Pattini cult related to the worship of goddess of chastity.

· This function was attended by king Gajabahu of Sri Lanka.

· Senguttuvan was a great patron of arts and letters and was particularly fond of Kuttu or dancing and the drama which he patronized liberally. This great Chera king reigned for 55 years.

· Senguttuvan was succeeded by his half-brother Perunjeral (or Perumcheral) Adan (AD 180) known to Patirrupattu as Adu-Kotpattu Charalatan.

· He was the contemporary of the great Chola king Karikal.

· We learnt from the poems Puram and Aham, that while fighting against the Cholas in the battle of Venni, Perunjeral Adan received a wound in the back and expiated the disgrace by starving himself to death on the battlefield with his swords in hand.

· The sixth decade in which this king is discussed was composed by Naccellaiyar and was married to this king.

· All together, seven monarch of the line of Udiyanjeral are mentioned in the Patirruppattu while there is evidence of another line of Cheras in the same Sangam literature.

· Establishment of this line was the result of the expansion of the Chera kingdom towards with the north and placement of a viceroy with headquarters at Tondi.

· Olval-Ko-Perum-Cheral Irumporai may be regarded as the first of their viceroys as he is said in the Colophone to have gone to reign at Karuvur.

· The kingdom seems to have started with Anduvan Ceral Irumporai who died along with the Chola king Prunarkilli in the battle of Por.
· Anduvan was succeeded by his son Selvakkadungo Vali Adan was succeeded by his son Perum Cheral Irumporai, a great warrior in whose phase Arisil Kilar has sung the eighth decade of Patirrupattu.

· Like his father, he is also said to have performed a Yajna Ali Adan.

· It is recorded that this king won a victory over the combined forces of the Cholas and Pandyas.

· He was renowned for his overthrow of the stronghold of Tagadur, the seat of the power of the Adigaiman chieftains.

· He is also said to have subjugated a rebellious shepherd leader named Kaluvul and captured his fortress.

· The last king of this dynasty was the son of (or cousin of) Irumporai called Ilam-Cheral Irumporai, the hero of the ninth decade of Patirruppattu.

· He is said to have fought a battle against ‘the two big kings’ (Pandya and Chola).

· Another Chola Prince of the northern line deserving mention is Yanaik-Kat-Sey Mandaranjeral Irumporai, i.e., ‘Sey of the elephant look’ (AD 210).

· He was captured by his Pandya contemporary Nedunjeliyam, but regained his freedom in time to prevent his enemies at home from deposing him.

· Another important Chera king was Kanaikkalirumporai who punished Muvan, a chief, by having his teeth pulled out and fixed on the gate at Tondi as warning.

· This king was some time later captured by the Chola king Sen-Kanan and later released on request of the poet Poigaiyar but died without water in the Chola prison itself.

· The famous Chera port Musiri or Muziris was a great centre of indo-Roman trade.

The Cholas

· Col. Gerini connected the word Chola with Sanskrit kala (black) and with kola which in the early days designated the dark-coloured pre-Aryan population of southern India in general.

· Bhandarkar connected it with Sanskrit ‘Chora’ (thief) while it has been connected with ‘Colam’ which means millet in Tamil.

· Killi, Valavan and Sembiyan are the other names of the Cholas.
· The Cholas adopted the tiger as their crest while figured on their banner.

· The Chola dominion came to be known as Tondaimandalam or Cholamandalam in early medieval times with the capital at Uraiyur in Tiruchirapalli dist and subsequently at Kaveripattinam or Puhar founded by the Chola king Perunjeral Adan.

· In the middle of the 2nd Century BC, it seems that a Chola king called Elara conquered Sri Lanka and ruled over it for nearly 50 years.

· Karikala, the foremost among the Sangam Cholas, was the son of Ilanjetcenni.

· Karikala means ‘the main man with the charred legs’.

· In later times, under Sanskritic influences, the name was explained as death (kala) to ‘kali’ or death to (‘enemies’) elephants.

· Karikala Chola was a very competent ruler and a great warrior.

· He fought a great battle at Venni in which the Pandyas and the Cheras both suffered crushing defeats. In this battle eleven minor chieftains were also uprooted.

· He again defeated a confederacy of nine minor chieftains in a battle at Vakaipparandalai.

· Karikala maintained a powerful navy, which he used to conquer Sri Lanka, from where he brought a large number of prisoners of war whom he used for building a huge embankment of 160 km to tame the Kaveri river.

· This was built with the labour of 12,000 slaves brought as captives from Sri Lanka.

· He made Puhar or Kaverippumapattinam an important port and an alternative capital of the Chola kingdom.

· The poet of Pattinappalai gives an account of the port of Puhar, state of industry and commerce under Karikala, who also promoted the reclamation and settlement of forest land, and added to the prosperity of the country by multiplying irrigation tanks.

· He is also credited with converting the Oliyar community from nomadism to a settled life.

· Two sons of Karikala ruled from two different capitals – Nalangilli from Puhar and Nedungilli from Uraiyur.

· The consequent civil war ended with the death of Nedungilli.

· After Nalangilli, Killivalavan came to the throne who captured Karur, the Chera capital.
· He seems to have died in a battle with the Pandyan forces.

· Another renowned Chola king was Kopperunjolan who also ruled from Uraiyur.

· There was a serious quarrel between Kopperunjolan and his two sons and the king ultimately committed suicide, along with his friend and poet Andai.

· Perunarkilli was another Chola king who is the only one among the Sangam kings who performed the Rajasuya sacrifice attended by Chera Mari Venko and Pandya Ugra Peruvaludi.

· Koccenganam come next as Chola king. He is generally known for his religious zeal.

· Another Chola king was Ilanjetcenni who captured two fortresses (Seruppali and Pamulur) from the Cheras.

· Senganan, the Chola king famed in legend for his devotion to Siva, figures as the victor in battle of Por against the Chera Kanaikkal Irumporai.

· The Chera king was imprisoned and later released.

· Senganan Chola is said to have built 70 fine temples of Siva.

· With the rise of Pallavas, the Cholas became only a marginal force in South Indian history.

The Pandyas

· The Maduraikkanji refers to Nediyon or Vadimbalamba Ninravan as the first Pandya king.

· He is credited with bringing the Pahruli river into existence and organizing the worship of the sea.

· The same text mentions Pasalai Mudukudumi as the second ruler who is mentioned as the first king in the Velvikkudi grant.

· Palsalai Mudukudumi or Mudukudumi Peruvaludi is praised by three poets in five short poems.

· A description of the way he treated conquered territory, ploughing it with white-mouthed ass and refers to the many big sacrifices he performed, hence the title Palsalai meaning ‘of the many (sacrificial) halls’.

· The third ruler mentioned in Maduraikkanji was one Nedunjelian, distinguished by the title Ariyappadaikadanda meaning “he who won a victory against an Aryan army”.

· A short poem (Puram 183) ascribed to him, puts learning above birth and caste.

· He is said to have died of broken heart when the innocence of Kovalan was proved to him by Kannagi. This story is the main theme of the epic Silappadikaram.

· His viceroy at Korkai and perhaps his son and successor was Seliyan, called Verri Verceliyan or Ilanjelian, who wrecked terrible vengeance on the goldsmiths by sacrificing a thousand of them in one day to appease the great goddess who had been Kannagi.

· The only other figure that stands out from the rest, the victor of Talaiyalanganam, was later than the rulers mentioned in the silappadikaram and is known as Nedunjelian (different from Nedunjelian Ariyappadaikadanda).

· He came to the throne as a youth and at the very beginning of his reign he had to face a hostile combination of his two neighbouring monarchs aided by five minor chiefs at a place called Palaiyalanganam.

· In this campaign, Mandaram Cheral Irumporai, the son of the Chera king of the elephant look was captured.
· He is said to have performed a Vedic sacrifice.

· Ilvandikaippallittunjiya Nanmaran have pilloried in song for his liberality.

· Another king Ugrapperuvaludi subdued the chieftain of Kanapper.

· Himself a poet, he is said to have caused the Ahananuru to be made.

· Bhutappandiyan took Ollaiyur and his queen is well known by her song on the occasion of her sati.

· Under the Pandyas their capital Madurai and the Pandyan poet Korkai were great centers of trade and commerce.

· The Pandyan dominion was very wealthy and prosperous on account of the brisk indo-Roman trade.

· The Pandyan kings sent embassies to the Roman emperor Augustus and Trojan.

The Sangam Government

· Clues in the texts points point more or less to a chiefdom level society with three categories of political powers:

· Kilar (village headman), velar (hill chiefs) and Ventar (lowl and chiefs).

· An Ur-Kilar of the pristine type was a clan based headman with kinship ties with his people.

· Velir were the hill chiefs who sometimes subjugated the neighbouring Ur-Kilar for predatory exaction, but were confined to their respective hills.

· The Ventars were the biggest chiefs who held control over larger areas through the subordination of the Kilar who fought for and shared the booty with them.

· The Chera, Chola and Pandya, constituting the Muventar (three crowned kings), owed their superiority to controlling the rice-producing plains and the transmarine trade set them apart from the less fortunate chiefs called Vels, Velars or Kurunilaimannar.

· The kings in the Sangam texts are known by terms like Kon, Ko, Mannan, Vendan, Korravan or Iraivan, etc.

· Ko is shortened form of Kon which means cowherd and it is also used as a general term for ‘god’.

· Courts were known as Avai (a corrupt form of Sabha), Arasavai, Olakkam or Irukkai.

· The crowned kings acquired many titles.

· The Cheras were known by Vanavar (celestials), Villavar (hunters and bowmen), Kudavar, Kuttuvar (westerners), Poraiyar, Malaiyar (rulers of mountain land), Puliyar (rulers of Puli Nadu), etc.

· The Cholas were known as Sennis (leaders), Sembiyam (descendants of Sibi), Valavan (rulers of the fertile land), Killi (the chief) etc.

· The Pandyas were known as Minavar (fisherman), Kavuriya (related to the Kauravas), Panchavar (related to the Pandavas), Tennar (Southerners), Sliyar (of the fertile land), Marar (Southerners), Valudi etc.

· The term Vendan was used only for the three supreme kings and rest were lesser kings who did not wear a regular crown.

· The place of the king and the place of the god were both called Koyil (the adobe of Ko).

· Arasan, a general term referring to a king was Tamilized form of Rajan.

· The king’s birthday is celebrated every year and the day was called Perunal (the great day).

· The royal emblem (viz. the tiger of the Chola, the bow of the Chera and the carp of the Pandya) was inscribed on the outer gate of the palace.

· The eldest son of the reigning king generally succeeded to the throne by right and this was known as Murai Mudal Kattil.

· The crown Prince was known as Komahan while the younger ones were known as Ilango, Ilanjeliyan, Ilanjeral etc.

· The right of succession was called Tayam (a general term for securing a property).

· The coronation ceremony was known as Arasu Kattil Erudal or Mudi Suttu Vila.

· The king’s power was restricted by five councils which were known as the ‘five great councils’, also known as Aimperunkulu.

· The ‘group of five’ was a recognized body of people, composed of five divisions and constituting a council.

· These five consisted of:

1. ministers (armaichchar)
2. priests (purohitar)
3. army chiefs (senapatiyar)
4. envoys or ambassadors (dutar)
5. Spies (orrar).

· There was another institution called Enperayam which consisted of:

1. karanattiyalavar (accountants)
2. karumakarar (executive officials)
3. kanakasurram (treasury officials)
4. kadaikappalar (palace guards)
5. nagaramandar (elderly persons in the city)
6. padaittalaivar (chiefs of the infantry)
7. yanai virar (chiefs of the elephantry)
8. ivuli maravar (chiefs of the cavalry)

· The kings bestowed titles and honours on their subordinates in recognition of their performance.

· These honour were called Marayam and were of three categories viz. Etti (conferred on leading merchants, the Vanigars), Kavidi (conferred on personal attendants who got tax-free holdings), and Enadi (to be conferred on distinguished soldiers).

· Some other officials of the Sangam age included Mandirakkanakkar (scribes in-charge of royal correspondence and were also known as Mandira Olai), Arakkalattu Andanar (judicial advisers), Tandira Vinainar (executive officials doing odd clerical job), dharma Vinainar (discharging religious duties) and Ayakkanakkar (incharge of revenue collection).

Municipal and Village Administration

· The village was the fundamental unit of administration and in connection with the management of village affairs we come across the terms: Manaram, Podiyil, Ambalam and Avai.

· The Manaram, the Podiyil and the Ambalam seem to be synonymous terms denoting a place where the village assembly (Avai) met to transact local business.

· The entire kingdom (big or small) was called Mandalam.

· Nachchinarkkiyar speaks of the four divisions of Tamilaham: Chera, Chola, Pandya and Tondai Mandalams.

· Below the Mandalam a major division was Nadu and we also hear of a unit called Kurram.

· According to V.R.R. Dikishitar, Nadu was a subdivision of Kurram and According to U.V.S. Iyer, Kurram was the subdivision of Nadu.

· The Ur was a town which variously described as a big village (Perur), a small village (Sirur) or an old village (Mudur).

· Cheri was the suburb of a town or village, while Pakkam was a neighbouring area.

· Salai was the trunk road and Teru the street in a town.

· Pattinam was a term for a coastal town and Puhar was a general term for harbour area.

· Kaverippumpattinam was the Pattinam par excellence of Tamilaham and was generally known as Pattinam only.

· Many towns have been mentioned in the texts but the major ones were Puhar (the famous Chola port and coastal capital), and uraiyur (the Chola inland capital also known as Koli and Varanam: it was a strongly defended city and its outskirts had burial grounds which were full of stones and hence ‘there were many obstacles to easy movement’.

· This description is strongly suggestive of the existence megalithic burials;

· The classical writers describe the place as noted for its cotton textiles-argaritic derived from Argaru or Uraiyur, Korkai (the Pandyan coastal capital, situated on Tamraparni river;

· It was reputed for its pearl fisheries where the Paradavar (fisherman) dived for pearls), Kaval (meaning salt pans, situated near Korkai;

· The Periplus talks of Colchi (Korkai) and its pearl fishiers worked by condemned criminals), Madurai (the Pandyan inland capital), Musiri (the Chera port) and Vanji or Karur (the Chera capital), Kanchi (also known as Kacci, Kaccimurram and Kacchippetu) the capital of Tondainadir, was another major city.

· Arikamedu was known to the Sangam literature as Virai (modern Viram Pattinam). It was one of the velar strongholds known to Sangam literature.
· Virai, described as a harbour was probably one of the coastal town like Sopatinam (modern Marakkanam), of the Oy clan of Velir.
· It was also the capital of the Velir chieftain Virai Veliyan Venman.

Military Organization

· Defending fortresses (Inji, Purisai or Ahappa) well developed.

· High battlement walls – Nayil

· Moat – Ahali or Kidangu

· Towered gates – Parvgal

· The fortress of Kanapper had on additional fence of impenetrable forest.

· The sufferings of a beleaguered fortress from the subject of a poem by kovur kilar.

· The traditional four fold army – Padai.

· Chariots were drawn by oxen or horses.

· Sword (Val) and shield (Kedaham or Kiduhu) were used in close combat, and the Tomaram is mentioned, evidently as a missiles to be thrown at the enemy from a distance.

· Body-armour (tol) made of tiger-skin for the protection of the body, and a cover of leather for the forearm were in use.

· Generally the war started with a well-known incident, viz., cattle lifting known as Atandombal in the Tolkappiam.

· The warriors wore the heroic anklet called Virakkalal on which the heroic deeds of the wearer were inscribed.

· In the army the van (Tusi) and the rear (Kulai) were distinguished besides the flanks (Pakkam).

· The war drum was worshipped as a Diety and crows and kites ate the bali offered.

· Before marching, the sword was taken into a procession and umbrella and drum were sent in advance as a token of march towards the battlefield. This was known as the ceremony of Nalkol.

· The slain soldiers were believed to attain the ‘heaven of heroes’ (Virasvarga) and were often honoured by the erection of memorial stones (Virakkal or Nadukal).

· An institution peculiar to the Sangam Tamils was the Kavalmaram.
· The kings – sovereigns as well as the feudatories – maintained with great care a tree in the courtyard of their palaces or near the Manaram or some central place in the town or at some convenient or well-protected spot.

· It was a totemic symbol and was believed that the tree had the power to protect the town; it was therefore, called ‘Tutelary tree’, a Kadimaram or Kavalmaram.

· Senguttuvan destroyed Palyan’s Vembu (Margosa) and tree and transported it in a huge vehicle drawn by elephants which were yoked to the carriage by strong ropes made of the twisted hair of the women of the enemy land.

· Kalangaikkanni Narmudi Cheral defeated the chieftain Nannan (the rules of Puli land) and cut down his Vahai (Albizzia Lebbek) tree.

Revenue Administration

· Land tax was called Irai or Karai.

· Tributes paid by the feudatories and war booty collected from recently conquered foes were Irai;

· Tolls and customs duties were Ulugu or Sungam.

· The duties to be paid to the king were generally known as Kadamai or Padu, and Paduvadu.

· Vari was also a generic term meaning income.

· Extra demands or forced gifts were called Iravu.

· A well known unit of territory yielding tax was a Variyam and the tax collecting authority was a Variyar.

· The rate of revenue was 1/6 of the produce.

· Kural states that the king’s revenues were derived from:
1. Uru Porul (treasure-troves and escheats or land revenue according to K.A. Nilakanta Shastri).
2. Ulgu Porul (customs and tolls).
3. Onnartteru Porul (war-booty and tributes).

· Tamilakam had an extensive trade with Rome, Egypt, Myanmar (Burma), Kadaram (Malaya) and Java (Yava) and Ulgu was collected on all items.
· Other than Variyar (land tax collector) we hear of Alumbil Vel (assisted by Ayakkanakkar – revenue accountant), Kavidi (finance minister), Karanattiyalavar, Ayakkarar (toll collectors) etc, as tax collecting authorities.

Weights and Measures

· Kanam was a measure of gold, very small in size.

· Pons referred to perhaps the same measure as Kanam.

· Kasu was a kind of coin of the size of a margosa fruit and of the shape of lotus bud.

· Kasu generally meant a small copper coin.

· Silver was called Velli and rarely Ven Pon.

· Iron was also known as Pon.

· The grain from the field was measured in Ambanam.

· The Padirrupattu commentator equates Ambanam with a Marakkal.

· Nail was a much smaller measure equal to one Ulakku or two Alakkus.

· Nalikai was a measure of time.

· Usually, the grain measure was called nail and the time measure Nalikai.

· Tuni and Padakku were also cubic measures used for measuring horse gram and other grains.

· A smaller measure of a weight was a Todi which was an equivalent of a Polam.

· Kalanju was a unit of measuring gold.

· Popular unit of distance was a Kuppidu.

Sangam Society

· The stratification in Tamil Sangam society was primarily confined to the binary between the Vyarntor (the high born) and Ilipirappalar (the low born).

· Tolkappiyam list of four categories (castes): Andanar (brahmanas), arasar (kings), vaisiyar (traders) and velalar (farmers).
· Tamilham consisted of five Tinais or physiographical divisions viz., Kurinji (hilly backwoods), Palai (parched zones), Mullai (Pastrol tract), Marutam (wet land), and Neital (littoral).

· The Kanavar, Kuravar and Vetar or Kadar were the inhabitants of the Kurinji-tinai and hunting and gathering their form of subsistence.

· Palai-tinai, the inhabitants were Kalavar, Eyinar and Maravar living by plunder and cattle lifting.

· In the Mullai-tinai the inhabitants were Ayar and Idaiyar subsisting on shifting agriculture and animal husbandry.

· Marutam-tinai were inhabited by Ulavar and Toluvar subsisting on plough agriculture.

· Neital-tinai was inhabited by Paratavar, Valavar and Minavar dependent on fishing and salt extraction.

· We get a total of eight social groups, viz.,
1. Kuravar (shifting agriculturists)
2. Vetar (hunters and food gatherers)
3. Idaiyar (cattle-keepers)
4. Kallar (plundering cattle lifting-people)
5. Ulavar (plough agriculturists)
6. Paratavar (fisherman)
7. Umnar (salt manufacturers)
8. Panar (wandering bards associated with all the tinails)

· On the basis of nature of production the agriculture zone (marutum) was called Menpulam and the rest, excluding Neital, were collectively called Vanpulam.

· Menpulam produced paddy and sugarcane and vanpulam grew pulses and dryland grains.

· Full-time craft specialists in the poems:

1. Pon-kolavan (goldsmith)

2. Kolavan(blacksmith)

3. Kuyavam or kalace-kovan (potter).

· The basis of production relations was kinship, signified by Ilaiyarum Mutiyarum Kilaiyutan Tuvunri, which is a stock expression in the poems referring to the labour processes in any Tinai.

· Illiyar means youngsters, Mutiyar means elders and Kilai means agnatic kin.

· The term Kilai stands as the Tamil counterpart of Jati.

· Grain was husked in hollows made in the ground (Nila-ural), and converted into flakes (Aval).

· Appam (Apupa) or rice-cake soaked in milk was a luxury.

· Mural paintings – Ovaikkalai.

· Traveling troops of dances carried their Yal (lute); Padalai (one-sided drum).

· The dances of Viralis (professional dancing-girls) took place at night.

· Different kinds of lutes like Periyal, Palai-yal and Sengottiyal are described in detail in different contexts.

· There is a full length description of a Padini, a singing women of the Panar community (Viraliyar) in the Perunanuruppadai in which Karikal himself is described as a master of the seven notes of music.

· Woman enjoyed much freedom of movement in society and the number of women poets of the age is sufficient indication that they were not excluded from the best education then available.

· Sati (Tippaidal – falling into flames) was common.

· The worship of Kannagi or Pattini (‘the chaste lady’) was perhaps a very early institution and was but an extension of the worship of the goddess of chastity’.

· This become popular with Senaguttuvana’s worship of Kannagi and spread to distant places like Sri Lanka in the South and Malva in the north.

· The images of the Pattini Devi were preserved in Tamil temples till recently.

· The courtesans are mentioned at many places in the places in the texts, especially in Aham literature. They were called Parattaiyar or Kanigaiyar.

· Later works like the Tolkappiyam and the Kalaviyal say that the Aryans introduced the rituals and ceremonies of marriage (Karanam).

· These works also mention the spontaneous coming together of the sexes (Kamakkuttam), they distinguish secret marriage (Kalavu) from the open alliance contracted with the consent of parents (Karpu); last they refer to the eight forms of marriage known to the Sanskrit Dharmasashtra and show great ingenuity in fitting them into framework of the Tamil scheme.

· Though the Gandharva form of marriage is easily equated to Ualavu (later known as Yalor system), the other Aryan forms do not fall in line so easily.

Sangam Age Economy

· Vanpulam included all the hill slopes, arid plains and pastures which were larger than Menpulam which included exclusively the wet-land plains of paddy cultivation.

· Cultivable tracts in the Vanpulam were called Enal or Punam where millet and gram grew in abundance.

· The material basis of Menpulam was of advanced plough agriculture.

· Sangam texts refer to Ulavar or Toluvar as the tillers of Menpulam.

· They knew the technique of harnessing the bullocks (Erutu) at their necks with a cross-bar (Nukam) to a ploughshare (Meli or Nanjil) which was iron-tipped for furrowing.

· Buffaloes (Erumai) were also used for ploughing.

· Tank irrigation (Ayam) and minor dam (Sirai) irrigation are mentioned.

· Many of the jobless clans of Vanpulam depended on the produce of menpulam as iravar (beggars), Kallar (thieves) and Panar (the bards).

· The subsistence farmers of Vanpulam came to Menpulam for exchanging their hill products for paddy and other goods.

· The coastal people came to Menpulam to exchange fish and salt for paddy.

· In short, Menpulam was the nerve centre of contemporary economic life.

· And this is the region; the early Tamil kingdoms were located in – Cholas on the Kaveri, Pandyas on the Tambraparani and Vaigai and Cheras on the Kerala coast.

· Poems refer to the exchange of goods for goods (Notuttal).

· Kadam or Kadan meaning debt is mentioned in the texts.

· The loan of a commodity to be paid back in the same kind and quantity was in vogue and was called Kurittumaretirppai or Kuriyetirppai.
· Avanam or Angadi were the main organized points of exchange (market place).

· Pattanam were the centres of long distance trade.

· Certain weights of gold known as Kaame and Kalanju were used as media of exchange in the Pattanam, perhaps also in certain higher transactions.

· The institutionalization of war is clear from the description of Vetcci (cattle raid), Karanttai (cattle recovering war), Vanji (cheiftains’s attack of a territory), kanji (defending war), Tumpai (getting ready for war), Vakai (the killing of enemies), Untattu (social dining and drinking before and after the wars), Perumcorruvilavu (grand rice feast) and Citucorruvilavu (small rice feast).

· In these plunder raids, often cultivated fields (Kalani or Palanam) and settlements were destroyed.

Agricultural Products

· The anthologies mention paddy (Cennel, Putunnel), wild paddy (Aivanam, Torai, Kalaivennel), ginger, turmeric, pepper, sugarcane, cotton, horse-gram, and many other cereals of coarse variety as main agricultural products.

· Uraiyur, a Chola capital, was famous for cotton cloth.

· Smithy was another industrial activity which indulged in making weapons of war and the place (factory) was known as Panikkalari.

· Pattinappalai mentions how goods brought to the Chola port were piled up and customs officers stamped each bundle with king’s tiger seal.

· Fishers and coastal traders called Paratavar imported horses, sandalwood and some kind of white snow.

· Purunanuru tells how high-piled sacks of pepper were taken by Yavanas (Romans) in exchange for gold Padirruppattu mentions that a Chera king had warehouses for valuables coming by ship.

· From the Periplus, we know that the Chera port of Musiri imported spikenard from the Ganga, while silk, tortoise shell and betel leaf came from South-East Asia.

· At puhar, the Chola capital, there were merchant colonies speaking different languages.

· Silappadikaram mentions how ships sailed directly from South-East Asia to the Chola coast with special woods, silk, sandle, camphor and spices.

Important Ports

· Ptolemy lists six coastal places in TN to which he appends the word ‘emporium’.

· Three of these, Musiri, Korkai and Kavarippattinam are known from anthologies to have been chief ports of three early kingdoms.

· Another city, called either Perimula or Perimuda, is described as “the greatest emporium of trade in India”. It was on the Vaigai delta near Rameshwaram.

· A walled city called kapadapuram was situated around tambraparani delta.

· Akkadu village in Tanjavur has been suggested to have been the Arkatos of Ptolemy which was also the second capital of the Cholas.

· Musiri of anthologies was known as Muziris of the Greeks.

· A subsidiary capital, Tondi has been identified with Ponnani.

· Greek records also mention Vaikkarai, Nilakanta and Netravati as ancient port towns in Kerala.

· Pantar in the South of Kerala and Puli (around Tuluva) were ports of the Sangam period.

· Kaveripumppattinam was known to Ptolemy as Khaberis (Puhar of literature).

· Vellaiyan-Irrupu (“white man’s settlement”) is located near Kaveripattinam.

· Kalaiyur, located near Kaveripattinam has yielded a structure which was identified as a dock by S.R. Rao, Korkai, a port of the Sangam period, was a pearl market and the seat of the Pandyan vice-royalty.

· Manabalipuram may have been Ptolemy’s mélange (Mavilankai) which is said to have been an emporium.

· It is also identifiable with the port of Nirpayarrurai mentioned in Perumpanarruppadai.

· Marakanam, north of Pondicherry, appears to have been a harbour and is identified with Sopatma of the Periplus and Eyil of Sirupanarruppadai.

· The mouth of the Vellaru was an Arab ship building port.

· The place called Agarlu in the periplus was situated near Tondi on Palk bay (different from Tondi in Kerala).

· It exported pearls and muslins.

· The end of the peninsula, called Kodi, was one of the earliest points of the South known in the north (Arthashastra) and was used by the Greeks as a fixed point of navigation.

· Nearby was situated Pasika mentioned in the Arthashastra as a source of pearl.

· Muthupettai, west of the Vaigai delta, was a pearl market.

· Tirucendur, South of the Tambraparani delta, has a well known temple of murukan, said in myths to protect the Pandyas from incursions from the sea.

· This is probably the same as Sentil of Tirumurukarruppadai and is certainly one of the earliest Pandyan sacred spots.

· Somewhere nearby was the early Pandyan capital of Kapadapuram, and also on the coast in the same region was South Madurai.

· These are supposed to have been the first two Pandyan capitals and the sites of the first two literary academies, Kanniyakumari (Cape Comorin) is mentioned as early as Eratosthenes which the Greeks used as a fixed point for navigation. Ptolemy lists it among the ports.

· Bandar and Kodumanam were other ports with a wealth of seaborne imports, Bandar being noted for its pearls and Kodumanam for rare jewels.

· Mention is made of the abundance of quartzite precious stones in the hills of the Chera country.

· Pepper, ginger, rice, sandalwood, ahil, almug, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, ivory and pearls, gems like beryl (an aquamarine gem) and corundum, cotton and cotton fabrics were the main commodities, which were in great demand in foreign countries.

· Monkeys, deer, peacocks, cheetahs, tigers and elephants were also in demand.

· Kapin (Kavi in Tamil) and Tukim (peacock, Tokai in Tamil) are Hebrew words and these were exported to the western world.

· Similarly, Greek Oruza for rice is derived from Tamil Arisi, English ginger is derieved from Latin Zingiber which in turn was derieved from Tamil Injiver, the Tamil Chiruttai became cheetah in English, cardamom was from kurundam and sandal was derived from Sandana or Sandu.

· We find large hoards of Roman gold coins of the Augustan age in many parts of South India which provide evidence of the brisk trade between Tamilaham and Rome.
· The direct trade route between Tamilaham and Arabia, Egypt and Rome had been well established by the date of the periplus.

· Trade with Rome in the first century AD was so lucrative to the Tamils that the Pandyan king sent two embassies to Augustus (20 BC) to win his favour.

· We have reference to the inability of others to enter the western sea where the Chera led his gold-giving ship.

· One text mentions the ships of titan Veliyan bringing gold.

· Pliny’s reference to an Indian ship carried off to the German coast by wind is also given as evidence.

· Recent excavations on the red sea coast have brought to light graffiti in Tamil Brahmi characters, probably the two names Chatan and Kanan.

· Inscription’s dated to the first century BC from Sri Lanka mention a Damila Vaija, Damila Navika and a Damila Gahapati showing their association with horse trade.

· A Jataka (480) also mentions Kaveripattam in the Damila country.

Religion of Sangam Tamils

· The religion of the Sangam age was not uniform.

· Their rituals were related to animism and other forms of anthropomorphic diety worship.

· The whole philosophy of reincarnation, hero worship, ancestor worship, sati worship etc. were related to death.

· Animism accounts for a good part of Tamil Sangam religion and comprised worship stones, water, stars and planets.

· A mere planted log of wood called Kandu was an object of worship for it was believed that a deity resided in that log of wood.

· Three strands of religion, clearly marked off from each other, are discernible during the Sangam period:
1. The indigenous gods and systems of worship
2. The exotic Hindu gods and systems of worship
3. The exotic non-Hindu religious faiths and functions.

· The hunters of the hill tracts worshipped murugan as the god of the hillock.
· Indra, god of Marudam, was worshipped by the agriculturists. There was a special festival instituted in puhar in honour of Indra.

· The fishermen and the people of the coastal regions worshipped varuna, the god of the wide ocean.

· Korravai was the goddess of victory.

· Among the established gods worshipped according to rituals, the three eyed god (Siva), Murugan, Tirumal, Balram and Indra seem to have been the more important.

· The temple was called nagar, koil, kottam, purai or devlayam.

· The popularity and prevalence of the Brahmanical Velvi (Yajna) the Sraddha and panda to the dead, fasting etc. are well attested to by the Sangam literature.

· References are not lacking to the performance of Vedic sacrifices and the sacrificial posts, the Yupas, those of Pandya king Mudukudumi Peruvaludi being the best known.

· The word Yakacalai is used for Yajnasala.

· Vishnu sleeping on the coils of Ananta in Kanchipuram is mentioned in the Perumbanarruppadai.

· Shiva as Ardhanarisvara (half-man half-woman), his bull Nandi, his Ganas, in fact the whole gamut of Saivite legends are found together in the invocatory verse of the Purananuru.

· Siva, Balarama, Krishna, and Subrahmanya (better known as Murugan in Tamil) are mentioned together in one poem.

· The birth of Subramanya from Kali and his warlike achievements like the destruction of the Asura called Sura are favourite themes of the poets.

· The worship of this deity was attended by primitive dances known as Velanadal.

· The reference to the worship of the deity of the forest (Kaduraikadavul), often identified with Durga, may be another survival of a similar nature.

· Though Buddhism and Jainism must have found a footing in the land, there are few references to them in this literature.

· Ascetics wearing orange robes and carrying a Tridanda (Mukkol) are referred to.
· Tapas – austerities.
· There are references both to cremation and burial urns, and to judge only from the trend of these references, cremation and burial appear to have been alternative modes of disposal, and the Manimekalai furnishes evidence that both these and other methods of disposal survived together up to a relatively late age, say the sixth or seventh century AD.

· Some light on the funerary rites of the time is thrown by the references to the wife offering a Pindam (rice-ball) to her dead husband who was supposed to eat it at the instance of a Pulaiyan, before his pyre was kindled.

· Indra, Yama, Varuna and Soma (Kubera) are mentioned as the guardians of the four directions: the east, the South, the west and the north respectively.

· Gods on the basis of caste are also mentioned in the Silappadikaram.

· Brahma (the four faced one), the thirty-three Devas and the eleven Ganas are also mentioned in Tirumuruarruopadai.

· Umai, Tirumal, Kalaimaga, Aylrani (wife of Indra) were some of the goddesses worshipped.

· There seem to be parallel names in Tamil and in Sanskrit for the same gods – Murugan and Subrahmanya, Tirumal and Vishnu, Siva and Rudra.

· Among the temples in the Sangam age there is specific mention of quite a large number.

· The temple was called Nagar, in latter-day inscription’s we also read of Vinnagara, meaning the temple of ‘Vishnu’.

· Kottam, Koil, Nagar, Il or Griha meant place of residence; hence the expression Vishnugriha also meant ‘temple for Vishnu’.

· The name ‘Siva’ is rarely mentioned in the Sangam literature; but many of his attributes (namely, the three-eyed one, the one that destroyed the three aerial forts, he that holds the Trisula, he that is seated under the Baniyan tree) are given in many contexts.

· Siva, of course had his temple and Kari Kilar advising Pandyan Palyagasalai Mudukudumipperuvaludi, says that his royal umbrella should be lowered when he comes round the temple of the three-eyed one.

· The temple of Indra is mentioned in Silappadikaram and in Manimekalai.

· The festival of Indra was held all pomp by Chola king in puhar and Manimekalai calls it “the festival of the thousand-eyed one”. His temple was called Vajrakkottam, for Vajra is the divine weapon of Indra.
· The commencement of the festival of Indra (Vira Kalkol) was proclaimed by the beat of drums placed on elephant’s back.

· Tirumal as Tirumal and as Kannan is quite often mentioned and was worshipped and associated with Valigaon (Baladeva) and with Kaman.

· Synthesis of the non-Aryan Tamil and the Aryan Vedic deities had begun during this period.

· The culture of Sangam age, as a whole, is a synthesis of the Tamil and Aryan cultures.