Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

<< Reproduction and Innovation in Literarure. The Narrative

Innovations in Tamil Literature

Arputharani Sengupta (Dept. of History of Art, National Museum Institute, New Delhi, India)


Innovations in Tamil literature datable to early Christian era are probably unsurpassed in history. The invention of Brahmi script adapted from Aramaic gave literary form to both Tamil and Sanskrit, language of two distinct races: the Dravidian and the Indo-Aryan. However, the Dravidians established stringent quality control from the very outset and established the "Tamil Sangam " or The Tamil Academy in the first century AD. Two of the earliest epics in the Sangam Literature are Silapadikaram and its sequel Manimakalai that reproduce the trans-cultural complexities of the Buddhist civilization during the second century AD. The paper highlights reproduction, invention, and the extraordinary narrative in the Tamil epic Manimakalai, which includes astral travel, Crystal Pavilion for life-size statues, oracular Pillar Statue, dance of the hermaphrodites, among others. However, the descriptions based on experiential experience cannot be substantiated by archaeology, placing a question mark on the geographical location of the events being described in the epic. Thus the Tamil epic Manimekalai may be said to be a classic narrative based on reproduction and innovation.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-09-22