தமிழ்த் தேசியம்

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 


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Journey Down Memory Lane To Reach 'tamiz Izam'

Chapter 21

‘tamiz and murukan’ are almost synonymous. ‘murukan ‘ is sometimes referred to as, ‘maly NinRa tirukkumarA mAl marukA, tamiz taNta tavap putalvA vEl murukA.’

It is not surprising ‘tamizar’ get into a trance at the quick repetition of the word ‘murukA.’ This may be the basis of ‘veRijAdal’ ‘tiruppukaz’ by Arunakirinathar is a collection of songs set to music very easy to sing. The speed and foot work of untrained dancers given a ‘kAvadi’ and to the accompaniment of ‘tavil’ forces onlookers to join in the dance. It has happened to me several times.

‘kAvadi’ dancers adorned with silver spears pierced through their tongues, cheeks and hooks passed through the flesh on either side of the backbone. The free end of the hook is tied to a rope and all the ends on the left are knotted separately from the right together. They serve the purpose of a rein. As the tempo builds, the dancing gets vigorous and the driver or the ‘cedil kARan’ has his hands full. It also helps the ‘AddakkAran’ to respond to the command of the ‘cedil kAran’ who is in many cases a good ‘kAvadi’ dancer himself.

‘jAzppAnham’ was, according to legend or is it history? is that mass of land given to a blind musician for his professional handling of the ‘jAz.’ ‘tavil’ is also an ancient ‘tamiz’ percussion instrument along with ‘udukku.’ ‘udukku is a double ended small drum tapering in the middle to be held in the hand and played either by fingers or by a hanging string. The pitch is varied by tightening or loosening the rope that gives tension to the playing surface leather. Gypsies or snake charmers known as ‘kuRavar’ use this during their mind reading performance. It is also called ‘kudu kuduppyc cAttiram.’

I had a positive answer to a question that was a dilemma. I wished that I had outside help with the answer. It was a Sunday, and I had returned from my routine check up visit to the workshop. I was reminded that we had to give a definite reply whether we wanted the annex we were interested. The annex we were staying was a little inconvenient and had a severe water problem. The land lord was on the other hand a very amiable and I liked him a lot. As I was thinking about it, I heard the familiar ‘udukku’ beat and the accompanying, ‘yjAvinry manacily oru ymiccam unhdu, vIdu mARuvatA illyjA?’ Now here is a gypsy from nowhere telling exactly what was in my mind. I took out all I had in my wallet and gave tit to the ‘kudu kuduppyc cAttiri.’ I wished I had more.

The ‘udukku’ is also played as an accompaniment to ‘karakam.’ This karakam dance was traditionally associated with ‘amman vazipAdu’ The song goes something like this: ‘karakam karakamadi mutumAri, engkaL kavaly jellAm tIrt taruLvAj muttu mAri.’

I have also heard ‘udukku’ played in a ‘kodum pAvi’ procession. The American Indians invoked the clouds to shower rains. ‘tamizar’ believed in ‘tiru vaLLuvar:

(It was my intention to mix ‘tamiz’ texts in my writings in the internet, and since cyberspace is not yet equipped to accommodate ‘tamiz’ in the internet, I had to devise a simple method to overcome this deficiency. ‘tamiz’ through English alphabets. Table.)

My interpretation of Kural 56 goes like this:

So successive monsoon failure is attributed to either the absence of pleasing wives or as ‘avvyjAr’ expounds,:

Let me try this in English.

So in a so called civilized world, human sacrifices by individuals are not permitted. Governments can take away human lives in the name of law and order! For the comfort and pleasure of one group massacre another group? Effigies were invented. At times of drought, an effigy of the not so nice a guy or the not so husband pleasing woman called ‘kodum pAvi’ is pulled on wheels along affected areas and finally burnt to ashes.

The accompanying song goes something like this:

"kodum pAvi cAkALO kOdi mazy pejjAtO?’

‘AvvYp PAddy’ was a devout ‘muruka pakty’ and a’tamiz’ pitty’ The story about how ‘murukan’ showed his appreciation of ‘avvy’ by playing a practical joke on her. ‘avvy’ implored ‘piLLyjAr’ to give her old age to escape the demands of youth which was an impediment to her life purpose of singing praise of ‘murukan and tamiz.’ She undertook a walkathon through out ‘tamiz’ land singing and extolling the virtues of ‘murukan’ and beauty of ‘tamiz.’. She is the one who bribed ‘piLLYjAr’ with her ‘pngkal’ of milk, clear honey, caramel and lentils in exchange for the three ‘tamizkaL.’

I do not think any interpretation is necessary. ‘avvy’ was very fond of children. Those of you who are interested in knowing more about ‘avvy’ may get a look at ‘avvy’ in K.B. Suntharambal, in the film ‘avvyjAr’ a Gemini production. It is available in video. During such a journey, after a long walk in the sun, she was tired and sat under the shade of a ‘NAval’ tree. It is a berry with a dark skin and almost crimson colored fruit. They fall off the tree when ripe. ‘murukan’ thought that was the best time for his childish pranks on ‘avvy.’ ‘avvy’ saw ‘murukan’ on the tree eating the berry. She asked ‘murukan’ to throw a fruit or two. ‘murukan’ asked her if she wanted warm or cold fruit. ‘murukan dropped a fruit in the sand.

The tired thirsty ‘avvy’ retrieved the fallen fruit and blew away the sand. ‘murukan’ had a hearty laugh. ‘avvy wanted to know what was so funny? ‘murukan’ told her that she just tasted a warm berry because she cooled it by blowing into it. ‘avvy knew then that her idol and ‘tamiz tejvam’ was playing with her and begged ‘murukan’ to show himself instead of a prankster boy. The story is ‘murukan’ obliged her by transforming into the ‘murukan’ we see in paintings. Mounted on a peacock, with his crown and spear in one hand and the blessing pose with the open palm of his right hand. K. B. Suntharambal turns into a real ‘avvy’ and the song that follows is hair raising!

‘avvy’ in her days renounced her youth to be effective as a messenger. There is no need to renounce anything to send the message to the world today.

I leave you with a song by ‘kAryc cittar.’

About ‘cittar’ and my struggle to get the message across next.


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