Tolkappian on Women in Business Trips!

tolkappian katturai

Written by London Swaminathan
Post no. 1192; Dated 24th July 2014.

Tolkappian was a great genius. Unlike other grammar works of the world, he added one more chapter to the usual grammar topics. The uniqueness of Tolkappiam lies in this last chapter called Porul Adikaram where he deals with the themes of literature. It gives lot of information about Tamil’s view of life, way of life, values in life and rules to write various themes in life. The most interesting point is his instructions about matters concerning sex.

Hindus have been following certain rules from the Vedic times. Though Sringara Rasa is dealt with in literature by poets like Kalidasa, explicit sex is not dealt with. Only in books like ‘Kamasutra’ of Vatsyayana we come across such things as explicit sex. It is not meant to be read by the common folks. It is probably meant for sexologists or psychologists who can advise youths in matters of sex. They can solve problems concerning sex.

Tolkappian , author of the oldest Tamil book Tolkappiam, advises people regarding topics on love.
Tamils have divided their literature into two parts Akam and Puram; Akam poems are about love and family life. Puram poems are about war, kings, death, values, poets’ lives, beliefs and generosity and philanthropy of kings and chieftains.

The first and foremost rule in Akam (love) poems is that you should never reveal the identity of the people involved. No name is found in Akam verses (Porul Adikaram Sutra-1000).

Tolkappiar says that wives are banned from foreign travel. When husbands go on travel for business, war or delivering messages, wives can’t accompany them.

Likewise when kings go on war expeditions, queen should not accompany the king (Porul Adikaram 1121). But musicians and dancers are allowed to travel with them. One of the powerful Tamil kings Senguttuvan took 102 dancing girls with him when he went to the Himalalayas to fetch a stone for Kannaki’s statue. But he left his wife at Vanji, the capital of Chera country (Kerala in South India).

cheran senguttuvan

Cheran Senguttuvan going in procession with Kannaki statue.

Mullaippattu and Nedunal vadai, two Sangam books, have vivid scenes of the camps in the battlefields. There we see women with swords guarding the camps, but not the queens or the wives of the army commanders. Some women were used to maintain the camps. Karpiyal section of Tolkappiyam has the rules for women in the camps.

Whenever some Tamil novels or films with explicit sex come out, big controversies erupt. People who oppose them quote ethics. People who justify them say that they are showing the real world. But yet whether it is real or artificial, fiction or fact, there are some norms to follow (Porul: 999):

Nataka vazakkinum ulakiyal vazakkinum
Patal Sandra pulaneri vazakkam (999)

In this sutra ‘pulaneri vazakkam’ is explained as only that is good, self controlled and cultured can be reported in writing.

Tolkaapiyar , in another sutra (couplet), talks about women’s virtues:
For the modesty and the simplicity in the act of love belong to the feminine nature, her amorousness will be known only by gesture and environment in accordance with the code of love.
Kamam thinaiyir kannindru varuum
Nanum madanum penmaiya (Porul -1054)
Even in the modern Western world, it is men who propose to women and not vice verse.

Please read my earlier posts on Tolkappiyam:—

Tolkappian – A Genius — posted by me on 12 September 2012
Did Tolkappian copy from Sanskrit Books? – posted by me on 10 September 2012
Who was Tolkappiar? posted by me on 9 September 2012
Agni in Tolkappiam – posted on 31 March 2014.
Indra in the Oldest tamil Book — posted on 14th June 2013
Vedic God Varuna in Oldest Tamil Book — posted on July 8, 2013
Four Tamil articles on the Age of Tolkappiam are posted in the blog.


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: