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7.3. Short Poems

As an offshoot of the narrative type of poems of the epic period, several short poems appeared. In these short poems, the authors displayed their literary talents and technical skills in yAppu, prosody, (yapfp<) and adoration (`]i). These efforts resulted in changes in the format, style and subject matter of literary works. However, the minor poems lacked the depth and scope of the epics. The latter had a well defined story, involvement of a hero or heroine and a number of other characters, specific social or ethical message, similes and physical expression of emotions (emyfpfpaDkqf).

On the other hand, the minor poems dealt exclusively with a social or religious event, the glory of a deity, a great personal achievement in the battle field or the romance of a hero. Depending upon the subject matter and other specified criteria, these minor poems were referred to as kalampakam (klmfpkmf) , ThiruppaLLi ezhucchi (tiRpfpqfqieyZcfci) , paraNi (pr]i) , kOvai (EkaAv), ulA (ula) or ThUthu (T\T), The following Thiruppukazh (tiRpfp<kzf) mentions these different styles of minor poems which were in vogue:

pdrfp<viyi[f mIT vwfcrfkqf.....
p{vlfkAt kavfy maem e]]fkAl
tiRvqfQv Etvrf vayfAm ey[fkib
pzemaziAy Eyati Eyy< ]rfnfTplf cnftmaAl
mdlfpr]i EkaAv yarfk lmfpk
MtLqT EkaF Ekaqfpfr pnftMmf
vAkvAkyi laC Ecrfep Rgfjvi c]fdvay<

7.3.1. Kalampakam (klmfpkmf)

This format refers to minor poems 100 lines long in which many different topics are discussed in the same work. The an^thAthi (`nftati) style is followed so that one word or phrase or even a sound (`Ac) in one line becomes repeated in the next line of the verse. Literally there was a rivalry among poets to show off their skills in composing this type of poems, their literary proficiency being measured by the degree of complexity they could introduce into their poems. Rhyming sequences were also introduced to enhance the musical quality in resonance with appropriate human emotions.

The most admired kalampakam type of poem is n^an^thik kalampakam (nnftikfklmfpkmf) whose author is unknown. It was sung in praise of the Pallava King, n^an^dhi Varman III (nnftivrfm[f). It is said that n^an^dhi Varman liked the kalampakam type of songs so much that when the 100th poem was sung, he listened to it on the cremation ground and died. Poets famous for their capacity to compose kalampakam type of poems include irattaip- pulavar (;rdfAdpfp<lvrf) , Kumara Kuruparar (KmrKRprrf), and Sivap pirakAsar (civpfpirkacrf).

7.3.2. ThiruppaLLi ezhucchi (tiRpfpqfqieyZcfci)

Known as thuyiledai n^adai (TyielAdnAd), this kind of poem correspond to the current day 'wake up call music'. It is customary for PANars (pa]rf) who were professionals in music, to go to temples or residences of social elites and greet them into the new day. This literary format had their beginning as folk music but became more sophisticated in their literary style in course of time. The tradition continues unchanged up to the present time. MANickavAchakar (ma]ikffkvackrf) and ThoNdaradippodi AzhvAr (eta]fdrFpfepaF ~zfvarf) have composed ThirupaLLi ezhucchi type poems directed towards Sivan and ThirumAl respectively.

The following song composed by ThoNdaradippodi AzhvAr is very popular and is sung in the rAgam, pUbALam (p> paqmf) in the mornings in the month of mArkazhi (marfkzi).

ktirv[f K]tiAccf cikrmfvnf tA]nfta[f
kA[yiRqf `k[fbT kaAlymf epaZtayf
mTvirinf etaZki[ mamlrf 'lflamf
va[vrf `rcrfkqf vnfTvnf tI]fG
'tirftiAc niAbnft[rf ;veraDmf p<Knft
;Rgfkqibf bIdfdMmf piFeyaDmf MrCmf
`titlilf `Alkdlf Epa[fBq etgfKmf
`rgfktftmf mapqfqi 'ZnftR qaEy.
(ktirv[f= Vriy[f, K]tiAc = kizkfK
;RgfkqibfbIdfdMmf = epriy yaA[kQmf, MrCmf)

Other poets noted for their ThiruppaLLi ezhucchi compositions are TatthuvaRayar (ttfTvrayrf), SivaprakAsa SwAmikaL (civpfpirkacCvamikqf), Chithambara SwAmikaL (citmfprCvamikqf). In recent times, SubramaNiya BhArthiyAr (Cpfpirm]iypartiyarf) had composed the BhArathi mAthA ThiruppaLLi ezhucchi (partimata tiRpfpqfqieyZcfci).

7.3.3. KOvai (EkaAv)

This literary genre has been in vogue since the 6th or 7th century. In PANdyan KOvai (pa]fFy[f EkaAv), whose author is unknown, the achievements of the PANdya King n^edu MaRan (enDmab[f) were praised. KOvai type of poems describe the heroic accomplishments, the romantic lives or other noteworthy deeds of selected heroes in a coherent fashion. This is unlike earlier Sangam poems where akam and puRam poems contained sporadic descriptions of love affairs or battle field heroism. MANicka VAchakar's ThirukkOAvaiyAr (tiRkfEkaAvyarf) was sung in praise of Lord Sivan's noble deeds. A noteworthy addition to the KOvai series is Thanjai VANan KOvai (twfAcva][fEkaAv) written by PoyyA mozhip pulavar (epayfyaemazipfp<lvrf) in the 13th century. This kOvai is a tribute to the heroism of Thanjai VANan who was a general in the army of the PANdya King.

7.3.4. ParaNi (pr]i)

The poems in this category are restrictive in their scope and probably had their origin in the battle field environment. They describe the heroic actions of the hero and the gory scenes of the battle field as well. KALi (kaqi) is the deity to whom the soldiers pray at the time of war. It is said that the ghosts around the battle fields complained to KALi that they were starving and needed corpses to feed on.

The paraNi poems contain many such scary imaginative details of war. The work itself is usually named after the place where the battle took place. For example, the well known work, Kalingatthup paraNi (kligfktfTpfpr]i) by JayankoNdAr (jygfeka]fdarf) in the 11th century was written celebrating the heroic deeds of KulOthunga ChOzhan (KElatfTgfkEcaz[f) when he defeated the Kalinga King anantha Varma SOdha Gangan (`[nftvrfmEcadkgfk[f). The literary beauty of these poems lies in their capacity to capture the spirit and mood of excitement of the soldiers with action packed words and rhyming sequences.

7.3.5. ulA (ula)

This form of poem is also derived from preexisting folk traditions with literary improvisations. It is customary to take out the deities in the temples beautifully decorated through the four main streets surrounding the temples. With the deities coming at the back, the procession moves along in a leisurely manner preceded by groups of dancers and musicians who sing in praise of the deities of the place.

In the 9th century, CEramAn PerumAL (Ecrma[fepRmaqf) composed ThirukkailAya GnAna ulA (tiRkfAklay wa[ ula) which is believed to be the oldest available ulA. Hence it is also known as Adhi ulA (~tiula). The greatness of Lord Sivan and his entourage in his abode, Mount KailAsam (AklaymAl) is described in detail in this ulA. CEramAn PerumaL had also written other works, ThiruvArUr MummaNik kOvai (tiRvaYRrfMmfm]ikfEkaAv), ThiruvaNNat than^thAthi (tiRv]f]tftnftati) and Thiruvan^thAthi (tiRvnftati).

Besides the deities, the praise of Kings was also sung in later ulA works. In ALudaiya PiLLiyAr Thiru ulA (~QAdypiqfAqyarftiRula) writtten by n^ampiyANdar n^ampi (nmfpiya]fdarf nmfpi) (11th century), Thiru GnAna Sampan^thar (tiRwa[cmfpnftrf) was praised. MUvar ulA (YMvrfula) was written by ottak kUtthar (odfdkf Ptftrf), a contemporary of Kampan.

7.3.6. ThUthu (T\T)

In this format, the imagination of the poet is extended to the limit. The hero seeks the help of animals, birds and even inanimate objects to serve as messengers (T\T) and convey his love to the heroine. One poet went as far as sending the Tamizh language itself as his messenger to Lord Sivan in Mathurai! More than the literary worth, the imagination of the poet appears to be the most intriguing point in this style.

7.4. Miscellaneous Poems
7.4.1. ouvaiyAr (oqAvyarf) Introduction

In Thamizh literature there are many poetesses with the name ouvaiyAr (OqAvyarf). One of them lived during the Sangam period and was a close friend of the Kings, PAri and athikamAn (pari, `tikma[f). She wrote 59 poems in PuRa n^AnURu (p<bna{\B).

The other ouvaiyAr (oqAvyarf) was a contemporary of Kampan and ottak KUtthar (odfdkfPtftrf). She was the elderly figure most familiar to Thamizh people (tmizfYMtadfF). Anyone who was educated in the Thamizh region would have studied and memorized ouvaiyAr's poems early in school. Her list of Do's and Don'ts, useful for daily life was arranged in simple and short sentences. The recital of these poems by groups of children with a characteristic melody would always bring nostalgic memories of childhood days. Background

One of the major criticisms of Thamizh poets and authors is that, in their zeal to display their literary skills, they made their style very difficult. Only after attaining a certain level of proficiency, one would be able to understand the meaning or appreciate the finer points of literary maneuvers. In these days of technical specialization, many do not ever reach this stage so that our own literary treasure becomes a closed chapter for them. ouvaiyAr's motto can very well be phrased as short and effective following the n^annUl addict " (CRgfkcfecalfllf viqgfk Avtftlf) ". Secondly as discussed in the preceding pages, all the social reformers up to this time were focusing their efforts in conveying ethical messages at adults with varying degrees of success. ouvaiyAr followed a different strategy and directed her moral instructions at children who have open minds and are more receptive. Her important works are Atthi ChUdi (~tftiVF), KonRai VEn^than (eka[fAbEvnft[f), MUthurai (YMTAr) and n^alvazhi nlfvzi. Salient Features of ouvaiyAr's Literary Works
a) By considering universally acceptable values in just one line ouvaiyar even excelled ThiruvaLLuvar's brevity and succeeded in making them stay in memory for the rest of one's life. The following quotes from Atthi ChUdi (~tftiVF) will illustrate the simplicity of her style and profoundness of the messages:


`bmf ecy viRmfp< Enjoy giving alms
~BvT ci[mf Anger is to be controlled
;ylfvT krEvlfNever stop learning
:vT vilkfEklf Don't prevent charity
uAdyT viqmfEplf Avoid injurious words
UkfkmT AkviEdlf Don't give up persevering
']f 'ZtfT ;kEzlf Don't despise learning
"bfpT ;kzfcfci Accepting alms is despicable
_ymidfD]f Eat after donating
opfp<r evaZK Act virtuously
OTvT oziEyl Don't give up prayers
oqviymf EpEclf Don't carry tales

b) It is difficult to match ouvaiyAr's similes for their appropriateness or simplicity. The first two lines in the following MUthurai (YMTAr) poem give the upamAnam (upma[mf), the example in the simile taken from the social environment and the next two lines state the upamEyam (upEmymf), the concept to be simulated.

enlfLkfkiArtft nIrfvayfkfkalf vziEyaF
p<lfLkfKmf ~gfEk epaciy<mamf- etalfLlkilf
nlflarf oRvrf uqErlf `vrfepaRdfD
'lfElarfkfKmf epyfy<mf mAz

In the next example the first two lines depict the concept and the next two denote the simile. When you do a good deed to someone else, you should do so without expecting when it will be repaid. The analogy is the coconut palm tree which takes in water from the ground and gives it back through the coconut milk without expecting any thanks.

n[fbi oRvrfkfKcf ecyftkfkalf `nfn[fbi
'[fB tRgfekalf '[Ev]fda - ni[fB
tqra vqrfetgfK taQ]fd nIAr
tAlyaEl ta[ftRt lalf.

c) ouvaiyAr used the same literary format even to drive home certain weaknesses in the society. In the following example, the evils of the caste distinctions were pointed out in the clearest possible manner. She states that human beings can be divided only into two divisions, high and low, depending upon how much they are willing to share their fortunes with others.

cati ;r]fedaziy EvbilfAl cabfBgfkalf
nItivZva enbiMAbyi[f - Emti[iyilf
;dfdarf epriEyarf ;datarf ;ziKltfEtarf
pdfdagfki Lqfq pF

Two lessons ccould be learnt from this 12th century poem: i) the caste distinctions were in existence for along time and people realized how it could be a source of social turmoil and ii) the word mEthiniyil (Emti[iyilf) would extrapolate the application of these concepts to the whole world. The stratification of people into high and low was not desirable whether it was based on caste, religion or wealth.

The pulavar (p<lvrf) community, like so many other segments of the society, was a male dominated one even in those distant days. When Kampan tried to put ouvaiyAr on the spot with some disparaging remarks, she proved that she could be as ruthless as the next person. Without actually calling him names, ouvaiyAr recited a poem which, on the surface, gave the impression that she was praising Kampan.

'dfEdka ldfc]Em 'mE[ BmfpriEy
mdffFlf epriymfAm vak[Em - MdfdEmbf
PAryilfla vIEd Klram[f T\TvE[
~Aryda eca[f[ayf `da.
('dfEdkalldfc]mf = `vldfc]mf, 'm[f"Bmf pri = 'RAm, epriymfAmvak[mf = kZAt, PAr;lflavID = KdfFcfCvrf, Klram[fT\Tv[f = KrgfK)

ouvaiyAr had a tremendous capacity in expressing profound concepts in a simple but convincing manner. She said, "art can be mastered by practice; Thamizh can be mastered by speaking; one can become learned by cultivation of mind; good behavior can be developed by practice; but friendship, grace and philanthropy are inherent".

citftirMmf Akpfpzkfkwf ecnftmiZ napfpzkfkmf
AvtftetaR klfvi m[pfpzkfkmf - nitftmf
nAdy< nAdpfpzkfk ndfp<nf tAky<mf
ekaAdy<mf pibvikfK]m.f

It is amazing that with a short but effective minor poems, ouvaiyAr gained fame and remained in the hearts of people for over a millennium, a feat not accomplished even by poets who have great literary works to their credit. The fact that this was done by a woman is something Thamizh people can really be proud of. The surprise is why her advice has fallen on deaf ears.

7.4.2. ottak kUtthar (odfdkfPtftrf)

ottak kUthar was a poet in the Vikrama Chozhan's (vikfrm Ecaz[f) court (1118-1133 A.D.). Like so many of his colleagues he was a very learned man proficient in both Thamizh and Sanskrit. He is said to have hailed from Orissa and hence acquired his name. KUtthan is the name of the dancing God, n^atarAjan. ottak kUttthar gained notoriety because of his egocentricity and his ruthlessness towards his adversaries.

There are several anecdotes about the animosities between him and Kampan. He was given the title, Emperor of Poets (kvicfckfkrvrftfti) by the ChOzha King. His famous works include Thakka yAkapparaNi (tkfkyakpfpr]i) and MUvar ulA ( YYMvrfula). His Kalinkap paraNi (kligfkpfpr]i), where he admired the heroism of Vikarama ChOzhan is not available. After Kampan completed his rAmAyaNam with six chapters, ottak kUtthar is said to have added one more chapter (utftir ka]fdmf) to the epic. His personality was also reflected in his literary style which was considered to be bombastic and lacking in smoothness.

7.4.3. PukazhEn^thi (p<kEznfti) (12th century A.D.)

He was at first a poet in ParAkkirama PAndiyan's (prakfkirmpa]fFy[f) court. When the PAndya princess got married to the ChOzha king, PukazhEn^thi was sent along with other presents to the ChOzha Kingdom. ottak kUthar who was already an influential figure in the ChOzha court did not approve of PukazhEn^thi for some reason, got him arrested and put him in jail. PukazhEn^thi exploited his sojourn in the jail to teach Thamizh to the inmates. The ChOzha King was highly at PukazhEn^thi's literary genius and was moved by his service to the inmates some of whom became excellent poets.

After release from the jail, PukazhEn^thi wrote his famous work, n^aLa veNpA (nqev]fpa). Many believed that it was not possible to write a whole story in the veNpA style and PukazhEn^thi proved them all wrong. n^aLa veNpA dealt with the life of King n^aLan (nq[f) and his wife, Dhamayan^thi (tmynfti) who was noted for her fidelity. The characters in n^aLa veNpA found in the Sanskrit work, MahA BhAratham (mkapartmf).

In contrast to ottak kUthar, PukazhEn^thi was a very amiable person. He had acknowledged the support of his patron, Chan^thiran Suvarkki (cnftir[fCvrfkfki) during the early stage of his career several times in n^aLa veNpA. His literary style is simple and appeals to folks and elite alike. The way he described love themes was filled with uncanny imaginations and was the envy of his peers. For example, in order to describe the simple act of beautiful girls plucking flowers, PukazhEn^thi said that "as soon as their gentle hands touch the flowers, the whole branch bends down to their feet; after all, who can help bowing to the charm of pretty girls".

paAvyrfAk tI]fdpf p]iyatarf yavEr
p>AvyrfAk tI]fdLmf`pf p>gfekamfp< - Emvi`vrf
epa[f[Fyilf tazfnft[Ev p>gfKzlayf ka]f'[f$[f
mi[fenDEvlf Akya[f viArnfT.

7.5. Conclusion

The proliferation of literary works in the epic and Bhakthi periods gave the impetus for the updating of grammar texts. These new grammar books were particularly useful to those who had difficulty in understanding TholkAppiam. The development of lexicography marked a milestone in the literary progress of Thamizh. Commentaries on well known literary works were written to facilitate their understanding by people. New literary formats came into use in the form of minor or short poems. Their length and easy style were in contrast to the big epics so that their literary content was directed to the common folks in addition to the elites.

7.6. Bibliography

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