KARI for Elephant is Not a Tamil Word? -Part 8 (Last Part) Post No.11,300


Post No. 11,300

Date uploaded in London – 27 SEPTEMBER 2022         

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

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Part 8 (Last Part)

Sangam age Tamil poet Nallantuvanaar was enjoying the scene of elephants bathing in the flooded river; he saw elephants bathing with their mates in such depths that their trunks get submerged- Akanaanuuru verse 43.

Nalvelliyaar (Miss Good Friday) was a poetess who was acquainted with the mountain scenery and the life of the animals there, especially of the elephants. Here is one description:

There is a pathetic picture of a family of elephants. The male is killed by a tiger, and the bereaved mate with its young one close to it, grieves over the loss like the warrior fatally wounded in a battle field – Natrinai 47

The elephants always move in a herd with a leader among them. The poetess refers to this in a comparison wherein she states that that the hero who has to leave his love returns to his village like the male elephant deserted by its herd- Akanaanuuru 32.

Paranar , one of the oldest and celebrated Sangam poets, punned on the word Venkai which means both a tiger and a tree with yellow flowers. The elephant hears the blended notes of the musical instruments of musicians and mistakes it for the roar of a tiger, gets angry, attacks a blossomed Venkai tree tears off its branches and wearing it on its head makes a roar that echoes in the mountain rocks-Pathitruppaththu 41

A block of rock covered with the Venkai blossoms looks like the coloured spots and stripes on the cheetah or tiger. So Tamils used this word to mean both the tree and the animal. They, very often, used it as apun.

Tamils were so wealthy they used ivory dice made up of elephant’s tusk- Akanaanuuru 135.

Mamulanar (maa muula naar) describes a horrible scene of a python slowly devouring a male elephant when its mate spends sleepless nights  roaring with great sorrow- Natrinai 14

In another picture , a tiger attacks a male elephant whose loud roar terrifies its mate and makes it run away leaving its young one; after a while the poor  female elephant searches for the young one with its trunk raised up and placed on its head, – really an affectionate mother searching for her missing child –

Akananuru 347

Uttiyar (uuttiyaar) is an unidentified poet of Sangam period. Like the compilers of the Rig veda, Tamils also named the unidentified poets with their repeated words or unique expression in the poem. The phrase used by the poet is ‘uutti anna’- paint like, is used as his name. He is describing a pathetic scene. A young elephant was carried away by a swift mountain stream immediately after a heavy rain. Its mother cried aloud and its father searches for it in the flowing current of water- Akananuru

Animal intelligence

Kavan Mullaipputanar  gives us some information on wise  elephants.  They are pictured wise enough to suspect a pit as one dug out by the hunters to catch them though in fact it is a well dug out and unfinished as no water was found in it- Akananuru 21

The dried leaves over it are thought of by the elephants as having been wantonly used by the hunters to camouflage the pit and to deceive the animals coming that way, and they get angry and fill it up. This the poet must have seen with his own eyes or learnt from the reports of others.

There are many similes comparing the mountain to an elephant. It is most appropriate when the waterfall on the mountain is compared to the must of the ruttish elephant.

A Konku tree of golden blooms is compared to an elephant. Adorned with gold ornaments- Kalittokai 42

Everything dark, huge and majestic suggests to the poets’ comparisons with the elephant, the greatest mammal of the hill. The blocks of rocks in the hills are to the poet like the elephants– Kalittokai 108.

The ruttish elephant that breaks its pegs, kills its keeper and runs wildly, is compared to a ship that is driven by the storm from its moorings–Maturaikkanchi  375-383.

There are some happy scenes watched by the pots as well. The baby elephants are said to play with the boys of the adjacent village (Kuruntokai 394) . There is a picture of a young elephant competing  with a boy and running to take a wood apple just fallen from the tree in front of the house- Purananuru 181

The broad leaves of the Cempu plant and the lotus waving in the wind remind the poets of the ceaseless waving of the ears of the elephant- Kuruntokai 76

A block of huge rock washed by rain resembles the washed elephant- Kuruntokai 31

Very often elephant’s trunk was compared to a snake- Akananuru 349, 391

All the body parts of the animal’s body are compared to something in nature. In Sangam Tamil books.

— Subham —

 Tags- Elephant, Kari, Tamil, Intelligence, similes 

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