History Optional Paper-1 Solution – 2015: Q.3 (c)
Q.3 (c) “Not only does ancient Tamil Literature furnish an accurate picture of widely disparate classes; it also describes the social condition of Tamil country as it was.”Discuss.
An accurate picture of widely disparate classes
Tholkappiyam refers to 5 fold division of lands in the Tamil country:
(1) Kurinji (Hilly tracts)- Chief deity was Murugan and Occupation was hunting and honey collection.
(2) Mullai (Pastoral lands)-Chief deity was Mayon(Vishnu) and Occupation was Cattle rearing and dairy works.
(3) Marudam (Agricultural lands)-!Chief deity was Indira and Occupation was agriculture.
(4) Neydal (Coastal tracts)-Chief deity was Varuna and Occupation Was fishing and Salt manufacturing.
(5) Palai (Desert)- Chief deity was Korravai and Occupation was robbery.
Tholkappiyam also refers to 4 classes:
(1) Arasar- Ruling class
(2) Anthanar- A significant role in polity and religion
(3) Vanigar- practiced trade and commerce
(4) Vellalars- agriculturists
Social Condition of Tamil Country
(1) Primary deity was Murugan who is hailed as Tamil god and other gods were Mayon, Indira, Varuna and Korravai.
(2) The Hero stone was erected in the memory of the bravery shown by the warrior in the battle. The Hero stone (Nadu kal) worship was prevalent.
(3) Women poets contributed to the tamil literature. Courage of women is appreciated in many poems.
(4) Karpu or chaste life was the highest virtue of the women.
(5) Love marriage was a common practice and women were allowed to chose their life partner.
(6) Life of widows was miserable. The practice of sati was prevalent in the higher strata of the society.
(7) The class of dancers were patronised by the kings and the nobles.
(8) Poetry, music, dancing were popular among the people. Royal courts were crowded with singing bards. Koothu was the popular entertainment of the people.