Historytuition » Ancient India » Post Mauryan Period » Sangam literatureSangam Life and Administration

Sangam Life and Administration

The king was the center of administration. Avai was the court of crowned monarch. The main officials were Armaichhar (Ministers), Dutar (envoys),Orrar (spies),Purohitar (purohits),Senapatiyar(senapati),Orrar (spies).The kingdom was divided into Mandala Mandu (province),Ur (town),Sirur(small village) and Perur ( big village).The society was divided into Brahmins and non Brahmins. The Tamil Brahmins were a respectable and learned community who lived apart in their areas and treated with reverence including kings. Trade was common to vaishyas and villas and learning, agriculture, performing sacrifice etc prescribed to the vaishyas as well. Untouchability was practiced and lowly castes were called parriyas. Education was encouraged and widespread among different classes. The Sangam economy was self-sufficient. Land was classified as vanpulam (the non –agrarian region) and menpulam (agrarian) sangam texts refer to ulavar and toluvare as the tillers of menpulam.Tank irrigation (ayam and minor dam Sinai irrigation was employed. Some important taxes were karai (land tax),irai ( tribute paid by feudatories and booty collected in war),ulgr ( custom duties) and Iravu (extra demand or forced gift).Barter system as a medium of exchange was prevalent .Pattinam were the centres of long distance trade. The main agricultural products were paddy, ginger, turmeric, pepper and sugarcane. The Chola capital Uraiyur was famous for trade in cotton cloth.

Spinning and weaving were most important and widely practiced craft. Taniyurs were developed out of Brahmadeyas and temple settlements and can include several hamlets and revenue villages. Eripatti was special category of land. The revenue from these lands was set apart for the maintenance of the village tank. Rituals and animism influenced the religion. A planted log of wood called kandu was an object of worship. There was a special festival instituted in puhar dedicated to the Vedic God Indra.Deities like Korravai Goddess of victory and Murugan were worshipped. Musicians, stage artists and performers entertained the kings, the nobility, the rich and the general population. Thudian players of the thudi a small percussion instrument. Paraiyan beat maylam (drums) and performed kooththu a stage drama in dance form as well as proclaiming the King’ s announcements. Muzhavan blew into a muzhavu a wind instrument for the army indicating the start and end of the day and battlefield victories. Kadamban beat a large bass like drum, the kadamparai and blew a long bamboo, kuzhal, and their thuthi. PaaNan who sang songs in all pan tunes (tunes specific for each landscape) and were masters of the yaazh, a stringed instrument with a wide frequency range. Together with the poets and the academic scholars (saandror) these people came from all sections of the society.