Monday, August 29, 2011

‘Makkal TV’ debate on Tamil New Year.

Today I happened to watch a debate in Makkal TV on the change of Tamil New Year to Chiththirai and wish to note down here some of my observations.

The debate was not a balanced one as there were 2 persons speaking for Thai (Pushya maasam) as the first month of the Year and only one person speaking for Chiththirai. This resulted in more time given for Thai – side. The speaker for Chiththirai was constantly interrupted by the others thereby not giving him room for replying to their side of arguments. But there is not much to lose as they could not give one proof or explanation to say that Thai was the first month of the Year. All they were saying were repeats of what Karunanidhi used to say, accusing of Aryan and the so-called  Sanskrit  influence on Tamil. If their view is to be accepted, we have to throw all works in Tamil including Sangam literature and Tholkappiyam to dustbin and start a new literature in Tamil. May be that is what Karunanidhi attempted to do by making a beginning in Samaccher kalvi books (Uniform Syllabus) by  filling them with his and Kanimozhi's 'poems'


The change to Thai effected by Karunanidhi was based on the suggestion mooted by a conference of Maraimalai Adigal with 500 Tamil scholars. There exists no records of that Conference, no records on who those 500 scholars were,  nor about the materials  accessed by them that made them  come to the conclusion that ancient Tamils celebrated New Year in Thai.  From the way the debaters for Thai failed to give any clue on what they spoke and who they were showed that it was more like a conglomeration of "Tamil Scholars" of the kind we saw in last year's Semmozi Maanadu.  What was to be essentially dismissed as of little significance has been given importance by Karunanidhi and made an issue.


Coming to what the debaters for Thai spoke, it was a good joke because what one debater of Thai said was off set by the other debater for Thai! One said that the traditional Tamil New Year on Chiththirai was a Vedic influence.  He also raked up the defunct Aryan influence and said the traditional one  in Chiththirai was thrust on Tamils. He conveniently forgot that 2 of the 5 Thinais of ancient Tamils had Aryan (Vedic) Gods namely Varuna and Indra. Does he mean to say that Tholkaappiyam which gives the system of these Gods is a book thrust on Tamils?


Interestingly, the other debater for Thai harped exactly on Vedic concept of Uththarayana and said that it marked the beginning of the Year.

The very term Uththarayana is a Sanskrit term having importance in Vedic culture. In those days Uththarayana homas were done. Vedanga Jyothisha locates the beginning of Yuga (5 year Yuga called as Pancha Varshathmaka Yuga) at the beginning of Uththarayana. The Rik Jyothisha of Lagadha says in verse 5 that when the sun and the moon enter Dhanishta constellation, the yuga begins. In the next verse he explains that in the beginning of Dhanishta, Surya and Chandra move towards the North and form the midst of Aslesha they move towards the South – thereby indicating that he is talking about the 2 ayanas. The Vedic Yuga of 5 years meant for Homas started in Utharayana!  Would our Tamil scholar agree that it is what the Tamils followed in those days?  Anyway thanks to him for accepting that Tamils followed Vedic beginning of Uththarayana.


The Uththarayana started in Dhanishta during Lagadha's period. (Lagadha was the author of Rik Jyothisha). The Jain astrological work called Surya Pragnapti was written in the period when the Uthatharayana started in Abhijit!  Their Yuga started in Abhijit. Abhijit was the star that occupied the space which is now attributed to Uththrashada 4th pada and 50 minutes of the first degree of Shravana. That star is no longer in the reckoning now. But it was in the reckoning at that time.


The Utharayana started in the 2nd pada of Uththrashada in Varahamihira's time. The Pancha Varshathmaka yuga started at that time in Varahamihira's period. Thus we see that this Ayana coinciding with Year / Yuga was very much a Vedic concept. But the speaker for Thai, quoted this Vedic concept to support Thai as the first month for Tamils!


Even if we were to accept his version of New Year in Thai, today Uththarayana  does not start in the first degree of Makara, (Uththrashada 2nd pada) but starts in the 2nd pada of Moola. (6th day of Maargazi).  This system of Yuga and year were given up when Pancha varshathmaka yuga based Vedic austerities were no longer done.  Without any idea about what these things mean or what these are about, these 'scholars' keep harping on Vedic concepts saying that they want to cleanse Tamil of any Vedic or Sanskrit influence!!


However this debater did catch up with the year from Chiththirai but dismissed it as something applicable to agriculture. Does he not know that agriculture and food production are the very basis of a culture and its people?  The New Year in chiththirai precisely gives clues about the rainfall, agricultural produce, price level of different commodities, the nature of flora and fauna in the coming year and overall happiness of the people based on these factors. Only these are indicated by the Year names and Year lords. The Tamil society was predominantly agricultural society as known from the Muthal, kerup poruL of the 5 ThiNais. The Chola desam  was known for food production only. (சோழ நாடு சோறுடைத்து)


Their arguments which can at best be qualified as personal views would not stand for scrutiny in an informed Forum. But they showed the true agenda behind the change of the Year to Thai when they said that not all Tamils can celebrate it if it is in Chiththirai! Yes not all those who speak Tamil can celebrate it because it is essentially a Hindu festival. But that was not so until Tamils were converted to Abrahamic religions.  All the people of Tamilnadu were Hindus only until conversions took place and even the Jain influence was temporary. In their anxiety to make the Tamil New Year relevant to Christians and Muslims who speak Tamil, they went to the extent of saying that the ancient Tamils had no religion and that sangam literature does not speak of any religion. They even said that there is no religion called Hinduism.  


This shows how little they know of not only of Hinduism but also of Tamil literature. This also confirmed my opinion expressed in a previous post* that a section of people like these so-called scholars are worried that a day would come when Tamils following Tamil culture would start considering the converts to Abrahamic religions as non-Tamils.  It is true that Tamil speaking non Hindus cannot be called as Tamils as they do not follow the customs of ancient Tamils. To offset this view, Karunanidhi & Co invented Samaththuvap pongal (Pongal common to all people), least knowing that Pongal as such was never a festival in Tamil lands but only a modification of Makara Sankaranthi  which is celebrated throughout India on the first day of Thai.


Theirs is a mischievous agenda by which they are trying to undermine our culture, the culture of Tamil Hindus. We don't ask them to celebrate Tamil New Year's day in Chiththirai. Let them celebrate their festivals imported from foreign lands. But we want to retain our festivals of our land. Let them not meddle with our festivals. They have left their mother religion. They have left their mother culture. Why do they want this festival of mother culture?


*A big thanks to Ms Jayalalithaa for restoring Tamil New Year in Chiththirai. (or) Who is a Tamilian?



Anonymous said...

Dear Ms Saranathan

Please forward your two blog articles to the Editor of Makkal TV.

You omitted the most important point - Makara Sankranti or Pongal itself is Sanskritic. It is pan Indian and not uniquely Tamil.

Best regards

mosurh said...

Makkal and Kalaignar TV only have entertainment value for the absurd.
Kalaignar TV was showing this speech was Karunanidhi on how Brahmins had defeated DMK and there was this discussion by the presenter and one more guy shown as some Tamil scholar. I dont know who the guy was but he kept saying only DMK can save Tamil and Tamil Heritage and Tamil culture. What was funny was for a guy so vociferous on Tamil, his pronouciation of all la's and il's were wrong(the way Udit Narayan sings Tamil).People who cant even speak properly are shown as experts.
The Aryan-Dravidian theory is complete junk which is used a weapon to gain votes by DMK.

jayasree said...

Some of my previous articles on Tamil New Year starting in Chiththirai :-

2 part article in

Article on Pongal in Poojari Murasu (for temple priests)

jayasree said...

@ anonymous

I could not find out the email of Makkal TV. So sent it to an ID found in the Ad section.

On Pongal, Pongal is not a sanskrit word. It is very much a Tamil word.

பொங்கலாடுதல் என்பதிலிருந்து பொங்கல் என்ற சொல் வந்தது.

மக்கள் பொங்கலாடுவர் – எல்லாப் பண்டிகைகளிலும்.

“பூவும், புகையும், பொங்கலும் சொரிந்து” கடவுளை வணங்கி, இந்திர விழாவில் கொண்டாடினர் என்று சிலம்பு கூறுகிறது. இந்த இந்திர விழா சித்திரையில் நடந்தது.

இன்றைக்கும், எந்த விசேஷ நாளிலும் அம்மனுக்குப் பொங்கலிடுவர். தையில் மட்டும் அல்ல, மார்கழியிலேயே பொங்கல் பொங்குதல் ஆரம்பித்து விடுகிறது.

அறுவடையைக் கொண்டாடிப் பொங்கலிடுவர். பொதுவாக புது அரிசியைச் சமைத்தால் அளிந்து விடும். அதைப் பொங்கலாகச் சமைத்தால்தான் சரியாக இருக்கும். அதனால் புது அரிசியைக் கொண்டு பொங்கலிடுவார்கள். புது அரிசி உண்பதற்கு நேரம் காலம் பார்த்துதான் சமைத்து உண்ண வேண்டும். இதற்கென்றே சோதிட விதிகள் உண்டு. அறுவடையாகி வந்த புது அரிசியை வியாழக் கிழமையிலோ அல்லது சனிக் கிழமையிலோ சமைத்துச் சாப்பிட வேண்டும் என்பது சோதிட விதி. அதனால் வியாழன் கிரகத்தை அதிபதியாகக் கொண்ட தனுர் ராசியிலிருந்து, சனியை அதிபதியாகக் கொண்ட மகர ராசிக்குச் சூரியன் செல்லும்போது பொங்கலிட்டு, சூரிய பகவானுக்குப் படைப்பார்கள்.

மகர ராசிக்குள் சூரியன் நுழைவது மகர சங்கராந்தி என்று சொல்லப்படுகிறது. சங்கராந்தி என்பது சங்க்ரமணம் என்ற சமஸ்க்ருதச் சொல்லிலிருந்து வந்தது. சங்க்ரமணம் என்றால் நுழைதல் என்பது பொருள். மகர சங்கராந்தி என்றால் மகர ராசியில் நுழைதல் என்று அர்த்தம்.

அது போல சித்திரையில் நுழைவதற்கு மேஷ சங்க்ரமணம் என்று பெயர். ஒவ்வொரு ராசியிலும் நுழைவதற்கு அந்த ராசியின் பெயரால் சங்கராந்தி என்று சொல்லப்படும். ஒவ்வொரு சங்கராந்திக்கும் ஒவ்வொரு வித சோதிடப் பலன்கள் உள்ளன. ஒரு வருடம் முழுவதற்குமான பலன், மேஷ சங்கராந்தியின் அடிப்படையில்தான் சொல்ல முடியும். மேஷ சங்கராந்தி நடக்கும் போது இருக்கும் கிழமையின் அதிபதியை ‘சர்வ தேசோத் யோகாதிபதி” என்று சொல்கின்றன சோதிட நூல்கள். அதாவது தேசம் முழுவதற்கும் அந்த கிரகம் அந்த வருஷத்துக்கு அதிபதியாவான் என்பது பொருள்.

ஆனால் மகர சங்கராந்தி அதிபதி நீரசாதிபதியாகவும், ஜங்கமாதிபதியாகவும் மட்டுமே ஆவான். இந்த இரண்டில் முதலாவது ரத்தினக் கற்கள் கிடைக்கும் அளவு அவற்றின் விலை ஏற்ற இறக்கம் அந்த வருடம் எவ்வாறு இருக்கும் என்று தெரியப்படுத்துவது. இரண்டாவது அந்த வருடம் விலங்குகள் நிலை எப்படி இருக்கும் என்று காட்டுவது. இவை இரண்டு மட்டுமே மகர சங்கராந்திப் பலன்கள் ஆகும்.

இனி பொங்கலுக்கு வருவோம். பொங்கலாடுதல் என்று ஒரு சொல்லாட்சி தமிழில் உண்டு. “பெய்து புறன் தந்து பொங்கலாடி விண்டுச் சேர்ந்த வெண்மழை போல” என்று 6 -ஆம் பதிற்றுப் பத்தில், 5 -ஆம் பாடலில், காக்கைப் பாடினியார், ஆடு கோட்பாட்டுச் சேரலாதனைப் பற்றிச் சொல்கிறார்.

பொங்கலாடுதல் என்றால், நன்கு பெய்து ஓய்ந்த மேகமானது, பஞ்சினைப் போல வெண்மையாக, பரவி, விரிந்து, பொங்கி, வானத்தின் மேலே போய் நிற்கும். அதைப் போல் சேரமானும், நன்கு சிறப்பாக வாழ்ந்து, விரிந்து, உயர்ந்து, பரந்து பொங்கலாடுவது போல் பல்லாண்டுகள் வாழ்கிறான்.
இக்கருத்தை அகம் 217 -இலும் காணலாம்.

jayasree said...

மகிழ்ந்து, மனம் நிறைந்து இருக்கும் நிலையே ’பொங்கலாடுதல்’ ஆகும். வெண் பஞ்சு மேகம் நிறைவாக மழை பொழிந்தபின் மேல் நோக்கிப் பொங்குவது போல பொங்கல் சமைக்கும் போதும் வெண் பஞ்சு போல உலையும் பொங்குவதால், அப்படிச் சமைக்கும் பண்டம் பொங்கல் எனப்பட்டது.

மன நிறைவு தரும் எந்த காலக்கட்டத்திலும் பொங்கலாக்கிப் படைப்பர்.அம்மனுக்குப் பொங்கலிடுவது அப்படிப்பட்ட ஒன்றே. சிலப்பதிகாரத்தில், இந்திர விழாவின் போது மக்கள் ”பூவும், புகையும், பொங்கலும்” சொரிந்ததும் அவ்வாறானதே.

Xavier said...

Even your comment doesn't looks balanced, some how your trying to support Jaya and sanskrit. May be you might not be a tamilian or you might be a north indian to support sanskrit or you might be a brahmin to support Jaya. Just like now Hindi trying to impose into all states those days Sanskrit might have tried imposing their language into tamil, just because tamil has some sanskrit words you cant say that tamil came from sanskrit. the meaning of sanskrit itself is "new" which says that it itself was a new language those days. Tamil is the oldest language in the world. Sanskrit was just a new bloody language which could survive and it is dead now

jayasree said...

@ Xavier

Your comment shows the little learning behind it.

For your info I suggest reading the following
On Sanskrit and Tamil mix, read 76th and 77th article from Thamizhan Dravidanaa series
The links are

To know about the antiquity of Tamil and it being the mother of all Indian languages along with Sanskrit (read the full article coz at the latter part only there is info on Apanrhmsa, the antiquated Tamil.

For relevance to the above blog post read my recent articles on New Year,

jayasree said...

@ Xavier

There is no other leader to match Jayalalithaa in Tamilnadu.

Sheela said...

Mr Xavier,

everyone adores their own language. it is equally important to respect other languages and not use unparliamentary words.

i love tamil for its literary richness and bhakthi cult though my mother tongue is telugu. we should respect values and sentiments of others which makes our society better place to live.


Unknown said...

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