The Sangam literature is very vast source of information on Tamils' past and their way of life. From what I have read so far, I am able to get a lot of information that integrate Tamils with the rest of Bharath. There is absolutely no talk of Dravidians or Dravidian connection to Tamils in Tamil texts. Only at 2 places I could see some lineage connection of Tamils to the north (of the Vindhyas). There is of course a lot of information on movement of people or travel of people within India from to north to South and from south to North India. But these 2 places which I intend to write in this series are about tracing the lineage to the people of North India.
The first one - the most obvious one which many readers of Sangam texts would have known - is found in poet Kapilar's song on the VeL king, Irungo veL
( இருங்கோ வேள்) compiled as the 201st verse in Purananuru. I will take up the explanation later in the series. In the current post I want to focus on a description of copper plated walls or walls made of copper of Dwaraka.
We know that Dwaraka and Gujarat present a very rich archeological source for IVC. The contention of Dr Parpola and the Dravidian politicians of Tamilnadu is that Tamils have descended form the IVC locations of North India. The verse by poet Kapilar in fact traces the origins of the King IrungoveL to Dwaraka. He says that he belonged to the 49th generation of the king who was born of the Sacrificial Fire conducted by the sage of the North. This king ruled Dwaraka, so says the poet. Reserving the other details of this verse for a future post, I am now concentrating on another description in that song.
Kapilar describes Dwaraka as being surrounded by walls made of copper.
நீயே, வடபால் முனிவன் தடவினுள் தோன்றிச்,
செம்பு புனைந்து இயற்றிய சேண்நெடும் புரிசை,
உவரா ஈகைத், துவரை ஆண்டு,
நாற்பத்து ஒன்பது வழிமுறை வந்த
This means "O king IrungoveL! you were the 49th king in the lineage of the king, who was born of the sacrificial fire conducted by the sage and ruled Dwarka which was surrounded by long / tall walls of copper."
From the commentary that Dr U.Ve.Sa found out form the palm leaf manuscripts :-
"நீ தான் வட பக்கத்து முனிவனுடைய ஓம குண்டத்தின் கண் தோன்றிச் செம்பால் புனைத்து செய்தாலொத்த சேய்மையை உடைத்தாகிய நெடிய மதிலை உடைய துவராவதி என்னும் படை வீட்டை ஆண்டு, வெறுப்பில்லாத கொடையினை உடையராய் நாற்பத்தொன்பது தலைமுறை தொன்றுபட்டு வந்த வேள்களுள் வைத்து வேளாய் உள்ளாய்!"
This king was not in Dwaraka when Kapilar met him and sang this verse. He was ruling some part of the western ghats in present day's Karnataka. This Vel's kingdom was different from the Tamil lands of the 3 kings (Chera, Chola and Pandya). The next verse was on the same king sung by Kapilar in which he describes his land in the hills.
This king's palace was not surrounded by walls of copper. Copper walls were there in the kingdom of his ancestors in Dwaraka.
Assuming that 3 kings lived per century, we can say that 1600 years have passed by the time this 49th king had come into being. The period of this king is not exactly known, but can be deciphered from Kapilar's other connections. Kapilar was a close friend of another VeL king, Paari who was killed by the 3 Tamil kings. Kapilar took care of Parri's orphaned daughters and approached another Vel king, IrungoveL to request him to marry the two daughters of Paari. This verse contains that request.
If we know the time period of Paari, we can ascertain the original period of the king of Dwaraka mentioned in this verse.
Paari and other Vel kings were regarded as the 3rd and last group of Patrons (கடை ஏழு வள்ளல்கள்).
The Vel lineage seems to have ended by the time Silapapdhikaram was written.
Silappadhikaram is about the Cheran king Neduncheralaathan (நெடுஞ்சேரலாதன்) who brought the stone from Himalayas to construct a temple for Kannagi. He conquered kings of the North and brought them as prisoners (They were made to carry the stone).
He later released them and ordered his deputy to keep them in the palace of the Vel king, by name Aavikko (வேளாவிக்கோ).
(Silapapdhikaaram chapter 28 )
"வஞ்சி மூதூர் புறத்துத்
தாழ் நீர் வேலித் தன மலர்ப் பூம்பொழில்
வேளாவிக்கோ மாளிகை காட்டி"
The king showed the palace of Velaavikko surrounded by cool waters and gardens in the city of Vanji (his capital city).
(Vanji is perhaps Kochi of Kerala.)
From this we can say that the Vels were there before 2nd century AD.
1600 years before that period coincides with the time of Dwarkan excavations given by Prof S.R Rao on Bet Dwaraka.
Bet Dwaraka was a later-built city which is dated at 1520 BC by Prof Rao
Details in this link :-
This date does not coincide with Krishna's date as we saw in the previous post in this series. Krishna's time precedes by another 1500 years.
Krishna's Dwaraka could have been very much under the sea as there is marine archeological proof of very old habitations - now sunken - of a period, 5000 years to 7500 years ago.
The Vel king of this sangam verse might have had his lineage traced to the Dwarakan king of Bet Dwaraka.
Further explanations will be discussed in other posts in this series.
Here I want to throw light on similar mention of copper walls in other Sangam texts also.
The areas connected with such walls were in Tamil lands.
The verses are
செம்பியன் றன்ன செஞ்சுவர் " - Madurai-k-kaanchi 485
செம்பியன் றன்ன செய்யுறு நெடுஞ்சுவர் " - Nedu nal vaadai 112
செம் புறழ் புரிசை " - Aga nanuru 375
செம்படுத்த செழும் புரிசை
செம்பு கொப்புளித்த மூன்று மதில்
(all from Devaaram)
செம்பு கொண்டன்ன விஞ்சித் திருநகர் - Seevaga chinthamani 439
Use of copper and construction of copper walls or copper plated walls had been there in Dwaraka and in Tamil nadu as well.
The unearthed artifacts in IVC sites include copper items and copper statues.
The mold used for making statues that are found in IVC are the same as the molds that are still being used today.
It is inferred from this that the use of copper for various purposes had been there since 2000 BC.
Similar use in IVC areas and in Tamilnadu shows that either the knowledge of it and the technology to put into use had been widespread throughout India for 1000s of years (or 4000 years at the minimum)
or the people from Dwaraka (whose descendants ruled Tamil lands with the titular name VeL) brought that knowledge to Tamilnadu.
Whatever it could be,
the import of these verses is that the so-called Dravidians of IVC could have closer connection to Vel kings of Dwaraka
than with the Tamils of Tamilnadu.
The Dwarakan link to this king is traced to the one born out of sacrificial fire.
In whose culture (according to Dr Parpola and his friends in DMK) sacrificial fires were found?
In the culture of Dravidians or Vedic Hindus?