Sangam Literature


    In News

    • Recently, Tamil Nadu has sent soil samples for a project relating to the new Parliament building.

    Key Points

    • The rich cultural history of the Tamils will be featured in a project relating to the new Parliament being constructed by the Union government in New Delhi.
    • Tamil Nadu’s first Agriculture Budget presented for 2021-22 also announced that a museum for agriculture would be established in Chennai to showcase its glory to the younger generation, which would also depict the traditional land classification modes.
    • Soil samples from five ecological regions mentioned in ancient Tamil Sangam literature have been collected and sent to the capital. These 5 ecological Regions are: 
      • Kurinji, 
      • Mullai, 
      • Marutham, 
      • Neithal and 
      • Paalai

    Image Courtesy: Wiki 

    • Location of Soil Sample Collection: 
      • The soil samples for Kurinji Tinai (mountains and slope) were collected from the Nilgiris, Kodaikanal and Palani Hills in Dindigul district, Kolli hills in Namakkal district, Yercaud in Salem district, Courtrallam in Tenkasi district and Jawadhu Hills in Tiruvannamalai district.
      • Soil samples from the foothills of the Eastern and Western Ghats in Coimbatore, Salem, Tirunelveli, Krishnagiri, Theni and Kanniyakumari districts have been collected for Mullai Tinai (forests and grasslands). 
      • Samples from Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Coimbatore, Tiruchi, Salem, Tirunelveli and Krishnagiri were collected for Marudham Tinai (plains, valleys and agricultural lands).
      • The soil samples for Neithal Tinai (coastal or seashore) were collected from Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thoothukudi and Kanniyakumari districts 
      • Those for Paalai Tinai (parched wasteland or desert) were collected from Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi, Sivaganga and Virudhunagar districts. Some of the samples collected were also from some historical sites.

    Sangam Literature

    • Some of the earliest works in Tamil, known as Sangam literature, were composed around 2300 years ago.
    • The Sangam Age was the period of the history of ancient Tamil Nadu and Kerala and parts of Sri Lanka spanning from the 6th century BCE to the 3rd century CE
    • These texts were called Sangam because they were supposed to have been composed and compiled in assemblies (known as sangams) of poets that were held in the city of Madurai. 
    • It is also referred to as Cankam literature connoting the ancient Tamil literature and is the earliest known literature of South India.
    • According to Tamil legends, there were three Sangams held in ancient South India popularly called Muchchangam.
      • The first Sangam is believed to be held at Madurai, attended by gods and legendary sages. No literary work of this Sangam is available.
      • The second Sangam was held at Kapadapuram, only Tolkappiyam survived from this.
      • The third Sangam was also held at Madurai. A few of these Tamil literary works have survived and are useful sources to reconstruct the history of the Sangam period.
    • The Sangam literature includes:
      • Tolkappiyam, 
      • Ettuthogai, 
      • Pattupattu, 
      • Patinenkilkanakku, and 
      • Two epics named:
        • Silappathikaram
        • Manimekalai.
    • Tolkappiyam(second Sangam):
      • Composed by Tolkappiyar.
      • It offers information on social life, human psychology, political and economic conditions during the Sangam Age.
      • It also talks about Tamil grammar.
      • It is divided into three sections, each section further divided into nine chapters.
      • Contains a total of 1612 sutras which are extensive in their range.
    • Third Tamil Sangam: The compositions of the third Sangam are classified into eight anthologies known as Ettuthogai and ten idylls known as Pattupattu.
    • Decline: 
      • The Sangam Period slowly witnessed its decline towards the end of the 3rd century AD.
      • The Kalabhras occupied the Tamil country post-Sangam period between 300 AD to 600 AD, whose period was called an interregnum or ‘dark side’ by earlier historians.

    Source: TH