Friday, June 27, 2008


The Sangam Age in Tamilnadu witnessed prosperity in all spheres of life. The land was divided into Kurinji, Mullai, Marudam, Neitha! and Palai. The life of the people in these divisions differed. The hunters and honey gatherers lived in Kurinji, Mullai and Palai regions. The farmers and the fishermen lived in Marudam and Neithal lands respectively. The people of Sangam Age had a well-organized social life. They lived in both towns and rural areas. Agriculture, pearl fishing and weaving were some of the important occupations of the people. Fine arts like music, dance, drama and painting flourished. Temple architecture also flourished well during the rule of the ancient Tarnil kings.The hospitality of the ancient Tamils is proverbial. It was in high order and the tradition is continuing even today. Thiruvalluvar wrote much about hospitality in his Thirukkural.
Arruppadai speaks at length about the kings and the Feudatories who patronized the poets and the scholars.
The Tamil people had observed certain social, religious and moral customs. They possessed the qualities of courage, honour, courtesy and loyalty. The Chera king Neduncheralathan went up to the Himalayas and returned victoriously. He assumed the title of Himayavaramban. A Chola king hoisted the tiger flag on the Himalayas. The ancient Tamils also had the practice of raising hero stones called Virakkals in honor of the heroes who died while fighting for the king. Receiving wounds in the battlefields at the back was considered as a shameful deed.
The women of the Sangam Age enjoyed respectable position. However, male chauvinism prevailed. Some women were educated. We come across women poets like Kaakkai Paadiniyar, Pon Mudiyar and Avvaiyar. Some of them had knowledge in politics. At times they used to advise the kings. Chastity was the most important virtue of Tamil women. They considered Karpu much more important for them than life itself. They were highly devoted towards their husbands. Chaste women were greatly respected in the society.

The Sangam people had brisk internal trade. The wholesalers, retailers and hawkers had indulged themselves in brisk trade. Barter system prevailed in internal trade. The business people sold their goods by openly announcing the profits that they were aiming at. Honest trade led to increased trade and the increased trade led to the increased prosperity. Integrity in trade was accepted as a general principleThe people of the Sangam age traded with Rome, Greece, Africa, Sri Lanka and South East Asia. The Romans liked the pearls of the Pandya kingdom. Gemstones, ivory, sandalwood, peacock, cotton and silks textiles and spices were exported to Greece and Rome.
The ancient Tamils were religious minded. They worshipped Mother Goddess. They also worshipped Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Indra and Varuna. Festival were organized periodically. The Sangam monarchs gave importance to justice. Hence their rule was benevolent.

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