Home > Book, General Knowledge, Literature > 12/365 – Purananuru – புறநானூறு

12/365 – Purananuru – புறநானூறு

Purananuru is a Tamil poetic work in the Pathinenmaelkanakku anthology of Tamil literature, belonging to the Sangam period corresponding to between 200 BCE – 100 CE. Purananuru is part of the Ettuthokai anthology which is the oldest available collection of poems of Sangam literature in Tamil. Purananuru contains 400 poems of varying lengths in the  Akaval meter. More than 150 poets wrote the poems. It is not known when or who collected these poems into these  anthologies. Purananuru is a source of information on the political and social history of pre-historic Tamil Nadu. There is information on the various rulers who ruled the Tamil country before and during the Sangam era (200 BCE – 100 CE).

Authors
It is not known exactly how many authors wrote the poems in Purananuru. There are 147 different names found from the  colophons. However some of these could denote the same author. Don’t know the authors of around 14 poems. Fourteen of the authors are kings and  chieftains. Fifteen of the authors were women, one of whom was Auvaiyar who is credited with 33 poems. Some of the  authors of the poems such as Kapilar and Nakkirar have also written poems that are part of other anthologies.

Subject matters
As its name suggests, Purananuru poems deal with the puram (external or objective) concepts of life such as war, politics,  wealth, as well as aspects of every-day living. Some of the poems are in the form of elegies in tribute to a fallen hero. These  poems exhibit outpourings of affection and emotions.

Structure
There seems to be some definite structure to the order of the poems in Purananuru. The poems at the beginning of the book deal with the three major kings Chola, Chera and Pandya of ancient Tamil Nadu. The middle portion is on the lesser kings and  the Velir chieftains who were feudatories of these three major kingdoms with a short intervening section (poems 182 – 195)  of didactic poems. The final portion deals with the general scenery of war and the effect of warfare.

Landscapes
Tolkappiyam classifies puram (objective) poems into seven thinais based on the subject of the poems. Vetchi, Vanchi, Uzhingai, Thumbai, Vaakai, Paataan and Kanchi.
The Purananuru does not, however, follow this system. The colophons accompanying each poem name a total of eleven  thinais. From the subject matter of the poems they accompany, each can be said to represent the following themes:
vetchi, Karanthai, Vanchi, Kanchi, Uzhingai, Nochchi , Thumpa, Vaakai, Paadaan, Pothuviyal, Kaikkilai and Perunthinai.
The last two themes are traditionally associated with akam poetry.

The poems are further classified into thurais. A thurai denotes the locale of the poem giving the situation under which it was  written. Some of these are parisil thurai when the poet reminds the king or patron of the reward that he promised to him,  kalitrutanilai in which the hero dies with the elephant he killed in battle, and so on.

Purananuru Poet Work: http://www.infitt.org/pmadurai/pm_etexts/pdf/pm0057.pdf

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pu%E1%B9%9Fan%C4%81%E1%B9%89%C5%AB%E1%B9%9Fu

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