Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WRITING MATERIALS OF TAMILS

WRITING MATERIALS OF TAMILS-#1

It is a normal beleif that we, the Tamils, were writing on Palmyra palm leaves with a stylus called elzuththaaNi.
We also had other writing materials.
We used ink.
Which means that we had other types of paper-like materials. 
Logically thinking, we deduce that if there is ink, there has to be a surface for using it. Writing, drawing, sketching, etc. 
You cant draw a map on a palm leaf, can you?
Unless you miniaturise it or make it a thumbnail sketch. Then you will have use a magnifying glass.
And this of course would raise another question - Did the Tamils have magnifying glass?


Ok then, let us see about the ink business.


 Young Kadukkaay and Maasikkaay - 5 parts
 AnnabEthi - 2 parts
 Kaasik katti - 1 part
 Gum from the Neem(VEppamaram) 
 mixed with 
 Gum from ViLaamaram - 1/2 part

 Powder them in a mortar with a pestle.
 Keep in a small kuduvai(container)
 Add sufficient hot water when necessary and use it. 


 Let us see about the other writing materials.


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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

SINGLE

"ORU SINGLE !"




In a chat session, one friend - Malaysian asked why they say 'single tea'.
I thought some of you might wonder about this.


There is a custom which is followed in India regarding buying a drink of tea.


Long ago, the monetary system of India was rather complicated. 12 pais make 1 anna; 16 anna make one rupee. 


About 50 years ago, this system was done away with and replaced by the decimal coinage - 100 pais = 1 rupee. 


There were numerous small tea stalls. They are there even today. These were for the poor people. The stall was stocked with cheap bun, crakers, murukku, titbits,snack, cigarettes, cheroot, cheap vaiety of bananas, etc.
Although called tea stall, they also sold milk and coffee. But to a much lesser scale. 
Tea was sold as a standard measure. They always used a standard sized small glass. Tea was served upto three quarters of this glass.


The cost was 1 anna. 
A single anna for a single measure. 
So this was called the 'Single Tea'.


Later on, the word, 'Single' would mean a small measure of tea. 


In North India, they called it 'Chotta Chai' or just 'Chotta'. 


        After the anna vanished the single tea was standardised for 10 paisas. 
        Now a single tea costs around one rupee of more.


There were also bigger glasses which cost more.


But the poor man's drink was and is a 'single' with a dried bun.
People were generally poor in those days. 
So they would order single chaayaa or tea and then say 'one by two'. 
The tea stall owner would divide this single tea into two halves and pour into two glasses. 

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

UNSUNG HEROES

INJUSTICE TO UNSUNG HEROES





One of my former hospital officers, Mr.Cheong is an ardent Buddhist. Recently he made a pilgrimage to many of the Buddhist shrines in Thailand where the state religion is Buddhism. 
Since he had also gone to northern Thailand, I asked him whether he visited Kanchanapuri. 
Kanchanapuri is the starting point of the Thai/Burmese Japanese Railway. This railway is otherwise known as the DEATH Railway. Because it was built with a huge cost of human lives and human suffering and toil. It was built by forced labour of the prisoners of war from belonging to Britain, Australia, and to a less extent NewZealand and Holland. A few Americans and Canadians were also there. They were captured by the Japanese. 
The main bulk of the worker force was made up Indian and Malay labourers from Malaya.
Here is the breakdown - 

180,000 Asian labourers and 60,000 Allied prisoners of war (POWs) worked on the railway. 
Of these, around 90,000 Asian labourers and 16,000 Allied POWs died as a direct result of the project. 
This railway was made famous by the movie, 'Bridge On The River Kwai'.
They have a Museum of war relics from the railway.
Mr Cheong said that he visited the JEATH Railway War Museum. 
I was puzzled.
I asked him, "You mean the Death Railway War museum.
"No", he said. "It is JEATH railway. Its called by that name now. 
Then he explained, "JEATH stands for the five countries - Japan, England, Australia, Thailand, and Holland".
I shouted, "Thats not fair. 80000 Malaysian Tamils worked in the railway and most of them did not come back".
He agreed, "Yes, its not fair. But thats how it is".
The following is the Wikipedia article about the JEATH War Museum.
There are other museums related to the railway. But JEATH is the main one.
So.......
Thats that.
Tamils fought in the INA against the British. They are unsung although heroes. 
Tamils lost their lives in that infamous notorious Death Railway. 
Their memory is eradicatd and nothing is known about them.
Not even Nam Ke VAstE.

Now the article - 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JEATH_War_Museum

JEATH War Museum
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The JEATH War Museum is one of two war museums in Thailand about the Death Railway built from 1942 to 1943 by Allied POWs under the direction of the Japanese. The museum was founded in 1977 and is located on the grounds of a temple at the junction of the Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi rivers in Kanchanaburi. The acronym JEATH stands for the four main nationalities involved in the construction of the railway: Japanese, English, Australian, and Thai.

The portion of the museum depicting the construction of the Death Railway is meant to recreate the quarters used by Allied POWs. It includes a prehistoric view on the province as well as the Miss Thailand contest room.
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

THONDHI VADUGAN


THONDHI VADUGAN



Tamil rule in Tamilnadu came to an end in 1313 AD when the Pandya regime was destroyed by the Turks from Delhi. After the Turks, Tamilnadu passed under the rule of the Kannada/Telugu rulers of Vijayanagar. They had governors and war-lords who ruled over parts of Tamilnadu under the Vijayanagar Emperors. The governors and war-lords were called Nayakkars and Palayakkaarars. Tamilnadu was ruled by the Nayakkars of Gingee, Thanjavur, and Madurai. Of these, Madurai Nayakdom was the biggest and strongest.
The most prominent Madurai Nayaks, was Tirumalai Nayakkar.
During the times of the Nayakkar rule, Tamil literature was cast into darkness. The country was parcelled out among war lords and military leaders and feudal chieftains. They did not have much interest in literary pursuits. Only once in a while, we come across patrons who would sponsor some poet. Poets were generally poor and had no other means apart from composing poems to make a living. And the rich people in those days did not have any taste for poetry.
And most of them had Telugu or Kannada as their mother tongues.
This was the time that a great many literary pieces from ancient times were lost.
Very few new great masterpieces took shape.
Poets had to pander to the taste of the war lords and feudal chieftains. The war-lords 
 were more tasteful towards pornographic writings and self-aggrandizements. Small pieces which involved intricate word jugglery were the order of the day. The other field that was in vogue, was the Sthala PuraNas - puranic works which were dedicated to certain towns and temples. 
The times of Tirumalai Nayakkar were not exceptional. Although a great works called ThiruviLaiyaadal puraaNam, Meenatchiyamman PiLLai Thamilz, Kandhar KaliVeNba and such like, it should be noted that they were divinely inspired and were composed by poets who were sagelike in outlook. And Father Beschi was making reformations in Tamil script. 
But they were all more exceptions than rule.

One of the poor poets was one named Supradeepa Kaviraayar.
There are 96 types of poetic compositions in Tamil. They are known as 'prabhandha's. Of these, there is one class called 'thuudhu'. This would mean a mission, embassy, sending a message. The love-lorn damsel sends a message about her plight to her lover. She has to choose a suitable messenger. According to the grammer guiding the composition of a 'thuudhu', certain objects and persons are specified. 
A maid, a cloud, a dancer, a bard, a kuyil, and a few others. Even the language Thamilz has been made the subject of thuudhu called 'Thamilz vidu thuudhu'. 
Another class of prabhandham is the 'kaadhal'. This class deals with all aspects of love and its preludes and follow-ups. It has romance and porno mixed. 
Supradeepa composed two pieces - a kaadhal and a thuudhu.
He made Tirumalai Nayakkar as the hero of the 'kaadhal'. Hence he named it, 'Thirumalai Naayakkan Kaadhal'. 
One day, he sought audience with Tirumalai Nayakkar early in the morning.
At that time, Tirumalai was brushing his teeth and washing his mouth and gargling. 
When Supradeepa told him that he had composed a prabhandham, Tirumalai asked what language it was in. 
Supradeepa answered 'Tamil'.
Tirumalai retorted contemptously, "Telugu tenugu; kannaram kasthuuri; aravam adhvaanam".
'The language Telugu is like honey; Kannada is like kasturi; Tamil is forsaken, discarded language'. 
Supradeepa got very much taken aback and upset. 
But who could argue with a most autocratic militaristic sexist despot?
Certainly not a half-starved hand-to-mouth poet like Supradeepa. 
So he left the presence of Tirumalai.
After sometime he went to another minor ruler called KuuLappa Naayakkar. With his consent, he made him the hero of the kaadhal and named it 'KuuLappa Naayakkan Kaadhal'. 
He wanted to take vengence on Tirumalai.
He created a scene where two prostitutes quarrel in public.
During the quarrel, one prostitute derides another, pointing out her very low professional qualities, standards, connections, and clientele. She compares herself to the other and says, "Would I ever let a pot-bellied vadugan to screw me; a pot-bellied Vadugan  who was born because of a very publicly displayed intercourse of a maami?"
The thondhi vadugan was Tirumalai. 'Vadugan' is a derogatory term for a Nayakkar. Vadugan literary means a 'Northerner' - the Andras who lived to the north of Tamilnaadu.
Tirumalai was pot-bellied. This can be seen clearly in many of his statues, especially the one at ThirupparanggunRam.
Tirumalai got wind of this and had Suprdeepa caught. In those days, there were many types of punishments. One was imprisonment inside a small cage. Sometimes this is shaped like a human figure with limbs. The victim is placed inside and the cage is locked. It is then hung. The victim cannot move his limbs and starves to death. Another type was a simple cage where the victim is placed and locked. This is known as the 'kiLi-kuudu' or 'kiLi-kuuNdu' - the parrot-cage.
Supradeepa was placed insde a parrot-cage and suspended.
He was there for three days and finally sang a poem depicting himself as a caged and starved parrot and apolologised to Tirumalai.
Tirumalai at last let him out. 
Later on, Supradeepa became the Tamil tutor to Father Beschi alias Veera Maa Munivar - the Man who made changes to and standardised Tamil script.
And the twin kaapiyams of KuuLappa Naayakkan Kaadhal and ViRali vidu Thuudhu remained popular until about fifty years ago.
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

THE PILLAIYAR WHO WROTE THE ACCOUNTS


THE PILLAIYAR WHO WROTE THE ACCOUNTS
கணக்கெழுதிய பிள்ளையார்

     When Rajendra Cholza came to the throne, for some hitherto unknown reason, he did not stay in Thanjavur which was his father RajaRaja Cholza the Great's seat of power.
Another city called PalzaiyaaRai was the ancient capital of the Cholzas. It was a power-house of many bretheren of Cholza royalty. Rajendra's grandfather Sundara Cholza had greatly expanded it and beautified it. 
But in his last days, Sundara Cholza did not move into his newly renovated, fortified, beautified and greatly expanded royal city. He went to Kanchipuram and stayed in a golden palace which he had built because Kanchi was considered to be a secondary capital of great strategic importance. 
Why he could not stay in PalzaiyaaRai, is another great mystery shrouding the history of the Imperial Cholzas. 
He died in the Golden Palace and earned the name 'Pon MaaLigai Thunjiya Devar' - 'The Lord who Died In The Golden Palace'.
Rajendra went to Chithambaram and stayed there in his palace and performed many renovations to the Siva Temple and worshiped there. 
At the same time, he sent armies to Kalinga, and Bengal and across the sea to the SriVijayan Empire in South East Asia.
And also caused a great city with a great big beautiful Siva temple to be built in the wilderness near the KoLLidam/Kaveri. 



The great temple was more intricate and supposed to be more beautiful than the temple of RajaRaja. How the vimana tower was built in such a shape remains a mystery.




The building of the great temple was placed under the supervision of a special minister. 
After the building of the temple was begun, Rajendra suddenly had some doubts. 
He called forth his special minister and asked him for the accounts. He wanted it to be read to him in an assembly of his ministers and others. 
The minister was struck dumb.
Because he was so engrossed in his work, he never kept any accounts. 
He told the emperor that he would bring the accounts on the next day.
His favourite deity was Ganesa. 
He prayed to his Ganesa and went back home. 
Early in the morning, a young accountant went to Rajendra and told him that he had brought the accounts and would read to him. The minister is on his way and will join them in a short while. 
Rajendra gave the order to read.
The accountant read, "Eththu nool eNNaayiram pon".
He stopped and looked up at the Emperor. 
The Emperor was speechless and spellbound. 
"Eththu nool' is the string that they used for outlining the lay out of the temple including its entire structure from top to bottom and length and breadth.
If just the eththu nool only were to cost 8000 gold coins!
How much would the whole temple cost???!!!
The amount was so staggering that Rajendra did not have the mind to know the rest. 
He lifted up his hand and showed his palm. 
The accountant gathered up his account olais and went backwards and out of the presence of Rajendra. 
And disappeared near the statue of Ganesa. 
Just at that time, the special minister in charge of construction entered the site of the temple seated on his pallakku - palenquin. 
He learnt what had transpired and Rajendra also came to know that there was no such accountant who read the accounts. 
In due course, the temple was completed together with the new capital city which was 
named 'Gangai KoNda CholzaPuram'. The temple was called 'Gangai KoNda Cholzeeswaram' in memory of the great victory of Rajendra's armies on the banks of the Ganges.
And the Ganesa in that temple was known as 'KaNakku elzuthiya PiLLaiyaar' - 'The Ganesa Who Wrote The Accounts'.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

TACTFUL PREDICTIONS

TACTFUL PREDICTIONS


A postal stamp of modern day Greece commemorating the Greek victory over the Persians at the Battle Of Salamis

The system of calculations and computations for Peyar Raasi are different. If a person uses the same set of rules as those of normal predictive natal astrology, then things can go wrong.


For instance, there is a branch of astrology that is known as Prasna Marga. This is calculated according to the time and direction of the questioner. It resembles natal astrology(normal run- of-the-day astrology). But the similarity stops there. You have to use different
formulae for this. 
The astrologers who advise big politicians happen to know this. They are able to give very specific directives for specific questions.
But the astrologer has to be very tactful.
In around 400B.C. , the Persian Empire stretched between the Indus River and Anatolia(modern Turkey).
Xerxes, the Persian Emperor wanted to cross over to Europe and destroy the Greeks.
He did cross the Hellespont, which is a small sea which separates Asia from Europe. At 
present the modern day Turkey surrounds the sea. 
Xerxes went into Macedonia and several Greek states. 
The Greek countries formed a confederation and decided to wage war on two fronts. One on land and one on the sea. 
The Greeks were out-numbered many times over in army strength. More than 1 is to 50. And Xerxes  sent a very large naval force. Xerxes was winning. He wanted to finish off the Greeks at sea also. The Greeks had only 300 ships against Xerxes's thousands of ships. 
        But the Greeks had a brilliant admiral who knew the seas around very well.


On the eve of the naval battle, Xerxes asked his royal astrologer what will the out-come of the battle be.
The wise astrologer answered, "To-day, O King, Great King, King of Kings, will see a great empire fall."
Xerxes thought that it meant the Greek Confederation.
The Greek admiral arrayed his three hundred ships within the Straits of Salamis. The Persian ships in thousands started pouring in . 
Xerxes ordered the royal canopy to be erected on top of cliff overlooking the Straits of Salamis. He wanted to have a grand-stand view and witness the final destrucion of the Greeks.
But there was a freak storm and the Persian ships which were close to each other were dashed against each other. 
In addition, the Greek admiral who knew every nook and cove of Salamis attacked skillfully.
Almost all the Persian ships were destroyed in front of Xerxes's very own eyes. 
On land, Xerxes lost a further 80,000 men. Xerxes was hotly pursued and barely managed to cross over to Turkey in tattered clothes.
Just as the Royal Astrolger predicted, one great empire did fall on that day of the Battle of Salamis. That was the Persian Empire.


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Thursday, June 16, 2011

RICH FOLKLORE IN TAMIL


RICH FOLKLORE IN TAMIL

Tamilnadu is very rich in folklore. Stories abound in the hundreds. They may be single stories or compilations. There is a peculiar compilation wherein the stories are found within the main story. Many such compilations are in several formates. 
Somebody telling the story to another person is a favourite  formate. 
Most of the puranas are found in this format.
All the rishis were performing a long series of yagams in the holy forest of Naimisa Aaranya. 
Because the yagams were very complex and of long duration, the rishis wanted to do away with their duress by some form of relaxation.
So they got another rishi called Suutha Munivar to tell them the puranas.
These puranas were later compiled by Vyasa into the 18 major puranas and the 18 minor puranas.
Another story is the Story of Vikramadhithya. The main story starts with King Bhoja excavating the Throne of Vikramadhithya. It has 32 steps which have 32 female figures. 
He is about to ascend the throne when he is stopped by the female figures. Each one of them tells him a story from the life of Vikramadhithya and challenges him whether he 
can equal the exploits and experiences of Vikramadhithya. Among the stories that the figures told was the story of the stories told by Vethala, the demon.
I am compiling some of these old stories for the VisvaComplex. 
I have already written Patti-Vikramaditya, KathaSarith Sagara, and several other vintage stories which form part of our heritage.
Jagadhala Pradapa is one such story.
Some of these stories are really ancient. 
The story of Palzaiyanur Neeli is mentioned in a Thevaram song by ThiruGnyana Sambandhar. He lived sometime around 650 AD. The story was already old at that time.
There are some stories which contain stories within stories. The big story telescopes into other stories and finally one by one gets folded within each other. 
PanchaTantra follows the same pattern.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A GREAT TAMIL TEACHER




A GREAT TAMIL TEACHER


Come to think of it, many scholars and writers have left behind unfinished works. There would have been several reasons why the works were unfinished.


The Thamil Thatha, UVSwaminatha Aiyar had his Tamil education under several scholars. But the most ourtstanding amongst them was MahaVidvan MinatchiSundaram Pillai. UVS has remarked that while the others gave education as if taking a gold coin and examining it carefully and giving it one by one, little by little. But in the case of PiLLai,
he taught as if laying open a treasure chest full of gold and gem stones and letting the student take his fill as much as possible.


The compositions and creations of PiLLai were many.
Among them were - 


22 puranas; 
historical works 2; 
kavyas 2; 
padhikams 4; 
padhiRRu paththu andhaadhi 6; 
thiripandhadhi 4; 
yamaka andhaadhi 3; 
veNbaa andhaadhi 1; 
maalai 10;
piLLai thamilz 10; 
kalambakam 2; 
kOvai 3; 
ula 1; 
thuudhu 2;
kuRavanji 1; 
silEdai veNbaa 1; 
miscellaneous 7.


Apart from these, he has sung separate stanzas and laudatory pieces. These were innumerable. Tamil schoalrs conclude that there are no class of poetry that has not been sung by PiLLai.


He has created his puranas elaborately. They are very lengthy. They would range from 2000 to 10000 verses.
Among the puranas, the best composition is said to be 'Thiru Nagaai KarONa PuraNam'.
He has sung more that 100000 verses. 
Kamban's Ramayana is 12000. 
But MinatchSundaram PiLLai sang more than 100000.
Hence the scholars of his times and soon after, called him as 'Paththu Kamban' - 'Ten Kambans'.
Among all his creations, PiLLai wanted to create a Magnum Opus - his master-piece.
So he started on a work called 'ThiyagaRaasa Leelai'.
It was left unfinished. Had it been completed, it would have been among the best works in the Tamil literary world. He had composed 699 verses. He never proceeded to the 700th.
Many of his students and well-wishers exhorted him to complete the work. But PiLLai would not answer them. He seemed dejected or dissuaded into proceding with the work.


This work was based on the original Sanskrit version. 


The first thirteen and a half chapters of that original version is available. The rest of the originial piece is lost. It was never found. 
Because of this, PiLLai was not able to finish the Tamil version.
The disappointment and unhappiness was always with him till the last.


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Monday, June 6, 2011

IN SEARCH OF A LOST COMMUNITY

IN SEARCH OF A LOST COMMUNITY

I have an interesting story to tell. 
Long long ago, while I was doing medicine in Madurai, I also picked up archaeology as a hobby. 
My subject of interest was Parambu Malai of Paari and the adjoining areas. My ancesteral hometown Singampunari is just 3 miles from Parambu Malai which is now called Piranmalai. A thousand and five hundred years ago, it was known as ThiruKodungunRam.  There are many ancient temples and many more destroyed temples and townships. 
One among the totally destroyed entities, was a merchant town - a town which belonged to a merchantile colony - Aruviyur @ Kulasekara Pattinam which was discovered by me. They had a guild called 'Thisai Aayiraththu AinnuuRRuvar' which traded with North India and South East Asia.
The main body of inscriptional evidence came for a temple called Sivapuri. 
One of the noteworthy inscriptions belonged to the 12th year of Vikrama Cholza - around 1132 AD. 
Who was Vikrama Cholza?


Around 1000 AD, the Pandya country was conquered by RajaRaja Cholzar who named it 'RajaRaja Pandi Mandalam'. 
From that time onwards, the Pandya land was under the rule of the Imperial Cholzas who were the descendants of RajaRaja Cholza. His son, Rajendra Cholza I had 3 sons who ruled after him. But there were some mysterious developements and Kulothunga Cholza came to the Cholza throne. He actually belongs to the Eastern Chalukya royal family. But he was the grand son of Rajendra Cholza I through his daughter. 
There were some administrative changes during Kuloththunga's time. 
After him, his fourth son Vikrama Cholza came to power. He ruled from 1120 to 1150. 


In the inscription was a term 'VaaLilaar'.
They were an elite army corps of specialised swordsmen. The Emperor endowed land 
as udhirappatti to the VaaLilaar and also to their servants who do not bear arms. 
Udhirappatti is a grant of taxless cultivated land which would be enjoyed by the descendants of the warrior who died for the Emperor. The land was in lieu of the blood shed by the warrior. Hence the term 'udhirappatti'.
I started my search for the place which was given as 'udhirappatti' and if possible find the descendants of the VaaLilaar army.


In the course of my search, I was told that there is a very small hamlet called 
'Vaal-LLa Chukkaampatti' which even in 1969 did not have buses going to their place. There was no proper road. 
It was quite an interior place with no electricity until a few years ago.
Something struck me as bearing some similarity and connection with the VaaLilaar.


It was a few miles south-west of Singampunari. So I decided to make a visit to the place. 
The people who knew the place told me that there is no road. I will have to cycle parts of the way and mostly I will have to walk. 
I had to pass through Kannamangala Patti and then proceed to Kumari Patti.
Although both of them bear the name 'Patti', Kannamangalam was a big town one thousand years ago. It was a subcapital of the region. The local feudatory had his seat of government there. It also had a big fort. KumariPatti also had a fort. There is a place which people used to identify as 'KOttai'. They used to hold some sort of worship in the place where the 'KOttai' was.
I passed through these places.
I had to cycle there and several miles had be covered pushing the bicycle over the varappus - bunds between rice fields.
On the way, the drinking water finished. And mid-day was fast approaching. Hunger pangs also started.
After losing our way, we were wandering. 
Suddenly, a tall youth appeared. He had long brown hair - what we would call 'sempattai mayir'. And he had pale brown eyes and sharp-cut features. 
He certainly did not look like a typical Tamilian. 
He told me the direction to VaLiiaa Chukkaampatti. 
I was very curious because the youth had a Caucasian look with sharp features. I 
asked him what community he belonged to. He said he was a KOnaar. I have seen some Konars in the neighbourhood of Singampunari who had sharp features with Caucasoid appearances. 
Then we went to VaaLilaa Chukkampatti. We reached the place by afternoon.
This is the area where VaaLilaa Chukkampatti is situated. Within the triangle bounded by Singampunari, Karungalakudi and Thumbaipatti. You can see outlines of a fort/
fortification.


http://maps.google.com.my/maps?q=google&ie=UTF8&hl=en&ll=10.147001,78.386078&spn=0.161203,0.174751&t=h&z=12


At last.....


We asked for some water. They gave nice well-water which we drank to our fill. Then they followed up with young coconuts That took care of the intense thirst and hunger.


It was inhabited by a certain caste of people called Val-LLa PiLLaimaar. The whole uRavinmuRai was called 'Vaalulaa-manai'.
The chief of the community was Sundararaja Pillai. 
Again Caucasoid features. If he had had fair skin, he would easily pass for a Greek/Roman or Iranian.
I asked whether he had any copper grants.
He admitted that there was a copper plate given during ancient times. He said nobody can read what is written in the grant.
I asked him whether the land and the village belonged to them.
He answered that a very large tract of land once belonged to them, given by the 'RaasaakkaL' during their time. But the predominating community from the surrounding area appropriated all the land. 
It is true. it was a very large area belonging to that predominating community.
In the middle of this area was this tiny island of Vaal-LLa Pillaimaar.
They said they were a branch of a community called KaaraaLar. 
The KaaraaLar were another mysterious people of unknown antiquity with connections to a very important branch of the Tamil ruling class.
The Val-LLa piLLaimaar were the descendants of the VaaLilaar warriors who were awarded by Vikrama Cholza.
They were still around after 900 years.
Thats how I discovered a lost 'community'.


Now coming to the copper plate.....


It was in a worn out state. It seems that the owners had been polishing it on and off.
The letters were not clear. They kept it in pujai. 


But they had other edu leave records of later times where the name 'Vaalilaa PiLLaimaar' was mentioned. 


I told them that they were the descendants of warriors and there was an inscription in Sivapuri temple.


I did not tell them anything more because it would start an intercaste war. Probably 
they might get annihilated by the predominating communities surrounding them, if they knew that Vikrama Cholza, the son of Kuloththunga Cholza I, had given the large tract of land. 
It corresponds to what  SundaraRaja Pillai said, "The land was given by the RaasaakkaL".
This happened sometime before 1972. 
I left for Malaysia in 1973.


One man wrote a Thesis on Singampunari SevugaPerumaL Temple based on my valuable findings for his M.A., sometime in 1986. My brother's daughter used my discovery 
of Aruviyur for her M.A. thesis. Earlier, a present day professor of Tamil in Tiruchi made 
use of my Parambu Malai research for his Ph.D. Another one used it for M.A.Thesis. 
Another one used the stuff about the merchant community of Aruviyur for his thesis. 


In 2000, when I went to India, I was visited by a few scholars. One of them wanted 
the material on VaaLilaar because he was doing a research.
So we may have something on VaLilaar after all these years.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

GANGAIKONDACHOLZAPURAM by MAHAVIDVAN MEENATCHISUNDARAM PILLAI


GANGAIKONDACHOLZAPURAM by MAHAVIDVAN MEENATCHISUNDARAM PILLAI


The Grand Old Man of Tamil - UVSaminatha Aiyar was the student of MeenatchiSundaram Pillai of Thiruchi. 


 UVS Aiyar was staying with the Mahavidvan for 4 years until the PiLLai passed away. 


During the time, UVS Aiyar picked up a lot of information about various things from the PiLLai.  


Gangai Konda CholzaPuram was a freshly built capital city of the Cholzas. It was built from scratch by Rajendra Cholza I when he came to the throne. It remained the Cholza capital until the last days of the Imperial Cholza dynasty.

He built a very large and beautiful city with a huge temple dedicated to Siva. This was to commemorate his victory in his Ganga Campaign. The temple received a Mangala Saasanam from the great Siddhar Karuvur Thevar who was the Guru of his father RajaRaja Cholzar.
He also excavated a huge reservoir of fresh water. The city, the temple and the reservoir were all sanctified by the holy water brought in golden vessels from the Gnaga River. The vessels were said to have been carried on the heads of the kings of the captured countries.


On one occassion, Pillai took his students along with him when he went to stay with one of his relatives - Arumugam Pillai of Patteeswaram.
On the way to Patteeswaram, Pillai and his entourage passed the village of GangaiKonda Cholzapuram.
Pillai told them about the grandeur once possessed by GKCPuram. 
He took them to a spot in the fields called 'MaaLigai Medu'. It was a platform-like structure. Now it is paddy field.

Pillai told them that this was the site of the palace of the Cholzas. Hence it was called 'MaaLigai MEdu'.
The MaLigai MEdu is about one mile by one and a half mile in dimensions. 
There was another place called 'Cholzan MaaLigai'. In one place there were two walls. The walls was about the height of two palmyra trees. That would be about 60 feet or twenty metres in height. No buildings or edifices were seen. 
At a later stage the wall was broken down and the bricks were auctioned off.
The palace complex must have been someting of this size. Was it just one palace that was of this immensity or was it a palace complex? That would be million dollar question. 
But there were other palaces also. 
The main palace was in the city centre.
But at the present time, little remains. Much of the bricks have been taken away for other building works.
The Archeological Department did seem to have done any worthwhile excavation work in this place. 
My Kadaram Research includes the Kadaram Naval Campaign of Rajendra Cholza. GKCPuram was built by him. 
Hence my research also involves GKCPuram along with Kadaram.
I have been collecting facts and making notes about Kadaram and Naval Campaign and GKCPuram for nearly 45 years.
My postings in Agathiyar about GKCPuram, PalzaiyaaRai, Nandipuram and RajaRajaPuri were all derived from these notes.
I was going through the notes and came across some interesting information.
I willl put them up with newer comments later.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

CHOLIANISATION

CHOLIANISATION




A long time ago, when I was doing historical and archeological research as a favourite hobby, I noticed a great many things that struck me.
One among them was 'name changes'.
I noticed that a particular region or province was called 'kEraLasinga vaLanAdu'. During the time of the rule of Kulothunga Cholza I and Vikrama Cholza, it was called Rajendra Cholza VaLanaadu. Pandya nadu was renamed as RajaRaja PandiMandalam. 'NirupaseKhara ChathurvEdimangalam' was called 'CholzaMarthanda ChathurVedimangalam'. An irrigation lake was called 'SriKundhavai pErEri'. A canal leading from it was called 'KarikAl ChOlza vAykkAl'.
I gave a name for this process of making everything Cholza. I called it ChOliyanisation'. 
       There was an Archeological Seminar organised by Tamilnadu Archeological Department and another one by Madurai University which were held at Madurai in 1971. I submited a paper where I mentioned about this process of Cholianiation. 
Later on I found in a few books something on the same phenomenon. One of the authors had given the name 'Cholaisation'. One author went to the extent of called it 'Cholification'.
It all meant the same thing. 
RajaRaja Cholza tried very hard to subdue the Pandyas. The Pandyas had a network of Pandyas. There were five of them ruling over different parts of the country at any one time. They were bothers or paternal uncles. They were not distinct collateral branches. Fathers brothers or own brothers held the four rulerships. The Big Chief ruled at Madurai. 
They had their head-quarters at different parts of the country. Madurai, Kilzaikarai, Thirunelveli, Thiruvadanai, and ThenKasi. They had standing armies at all these places. Furthermore they had faithful feudatories who pledged fealty to their overlords. 
Even though the Cholzas tried very hard for more than one hundred years, they had very little success against the Pandyas. Finally RajaRaja succeeded. But even then Manabharana Pandya and others escaped and waged limited wars of attrition upon the Cholza. 
Ulimately Rajendra Cholza captured the country and subdued it.
He hated the Pandyas and their country so very much that he imposed very harsh terms and subjected them to the utmost cruelty, insult, and humiliation. Their treasures were also taken away. 
Then he took a very extreme measure.
He erased out the dynasty of the Pandyas. 
In their place, he created a new dynasty. The sons of the Cholza emperor became the rulers of the Pandya country. They adopted the Pandya name and Pandya titles - Sundara Cholza Pandya, etc. Hence they were known as the 'Cholza Pandya Viceroys'.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PLACE NAMES OF INDIAN ORIGIN IN SE ASIA



Place Names Of Indian Origin In South East Asia


There are many place names in South East Asia which have Indian origins. 
And the names are still in use. Some have retained their pristine pure form. But others have changed in forms. 


These names can be found in Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and to a lesser extent, in Phillipines and Malaya.
Many of the places in the above countries have modern names. But they had ancient names which were of Indian origin. 


Kedah was ancient Kadaaram. It was also known as Kataaha and Kaalzagam. A hundred and fifty years ago, it was under the suzerainty of Thailand. At that time it was called Saipuri. Pahang was IndraPura. 
Perlis is IndraKayangan.
Sabah was Indra Sabah.
Perak was GangaNagara.
Penang was Pulau Pertama.


Bangkok has a very long Sanskrit name which is used in official functions. Very very long name, actually. 


"Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit"


What does it mean?


"The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn."


Well......
For many male tourists, it is the City Of Angels alright. 


And some of the names are still in use. Some have retained their pristine pure form. But others have changed in forms. 


Phillipines was Lingapura. It is still known as Likkam in Tagalog language. Phillipines is named after a Spanish King - Phillip. 
It was under Spanish rule until 1910. When it gained independance, they wanted to call it Likkam. But changed their minds because they thought the original word has also a 
different meaning which they did not like. 
Borneo Island was Varuna Dvipa. 
Singapore is very obvious.
Malacca was named after the Nelli tree which is called Aamalaka in Sanskrit, and in Malay it is known as Malaka.