Social Scientist. v 3, no. 29 (Dec 1974) p. 20.

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Early South Indian Society and Economy:

The Tinai Concept

THE most ancient of the available Tamil literature is referred to as Cahkam literature—literature of the Academies.1 This literary corpus collected in two Anthologies—Ettutokai (Eight Anthologies) and Pattupattu (Ten Songs)2 is generally taken as belonging to a period from about 100 AD to 250 AD.8 Being the most ancient non-Sanskritized Indian literature, its literary conventions are rather unique and for that very reason has become the subject of study by scholars who wish to delineate the HOM-Aryan and pre-Aryan strands in Indian culture.4

The literary conventions of this corpus are codified in a grammatical work known as Tolkdppiyam (Tol) after the name of the author, Tolkappiyar. The forms and the contents found in Gankam literature are given in the third book of this work in the form of prescriptive rules.5 The date of this work has been much disputed but one could safely agree with the date assigned by Vaiyapuripillai, to the latter half of the fifth century AD.6. Tolkappiyar has always been considered the ultimate authority on Tamil literary matters and held as the prescriptive authority for linguistic usage and as the fountainhead for literary forms.

Cankam literature has a primary thematic classification: akam and puram. Akam (the interior) deals with love in both premarital and marital life and puram (the exterior) deals with military and non-love

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