Sangam Lit

Sangam Lit

Puranaanooru 85 – Winning in a foreign land

January 18, 2023

In this episode, we perceive the conclusion of a fight, as portrayed in Sangam Literary work, Puranaanooru 85, penned about the Chozha King Poravai Kopperunarkilli by the poet Nakkannaiyaar. Set in the category of ‘Kaikilai’ or ‘Inappropriate love’, the verse highlights two different stances of the townsfolk regarding the king.

என்னைக்கு ஊர் இஃது அன்மையானும்,
என்னைக்கு நாடு இஃது அன்மையானும்,
‘ஆடு ஆடு’ என்ப, ஒரு சாரோரே;
‘ஆடு அன்று’ என்ப, ஒரு சாரோரே;
நல்ல, பல்லோர் இரு நன் மொழியே;
அம் சிலம்பு ஒலிப்ப ஓடி, எம் இல்,
முழாஅரைப் போந்தை பொருந்தி நின்று,
யான் கண்டனன், அவன் ஆடு ஆகுதலே.

This is the finale in the series of songs by this female poet on this Chozha king. The poet’s words can be understood through this translation:

“Since this is not the town of my lord, and since this is not the domain of my lord, ‘Victory, victory’, shouted one group; ‘No victory’, shouted another group; It’s good that so many there had differing views. Making my anklets resound aloud, I ran to the palmyra tree, with a drum-like trunk near my house, and leaning on it, I witnessed for myself, his clear victory there!”

Time to explore the nuances herein. The poet starts by establishing the reason for a certain event, and talks about how that was neither a town belonging to this Chozha king, nor was that land, part of his domain. And this is why the people of the town were of two minds. One group declared, ‘victory shall surely be his’, and another group said, ‘No way is he going to win’. The poet in question hears the words of both these groups and says it’s good to hear such differing views. Why it’s good, we’ll learn in a short while! And so, she seems to have run away to a short distance to a palm tree near her house, and as she stood there, she was able to get the joy of seeing her loved one emerge victorious in that battle. The king’s victory is so much sweeter to her because it’s a vindication of her stand, amidst the differing views of her townsfolk.

All the previous songs about this king slowly start to make sense. We knew that the king had come to ‘Aamoor’ and had fought with another king in a hand-to-hand combat. Divisive voices of the town said to be split into two, by this poet, now becomes clearer as some support the king and others oppose him. If only this were the king’s town and country, every single subject therein would surely be on the king’s side, the poet implies. It’s natural for people to take opposing sides when they know nothing about the king. That’s why this poet felt even more delighted, when proving wrong those who did not expect his victory, the king emerged as the clear victor. It’s kind of like the emotion an avid supporter of a sports team would feel when the team plays in another town in another country with a divided audience, when the team manages to seize the cup. In another angle, this is a verse that highlights the relatable emotion of joy we feel, when someone we love emerges the winner in some aspect of life!