Saturday, 30 August 2014

Paranar – The fearless poet

Paranar is hailed as the first Tamil historian. His poems echoed his fearlessness and he acted positively while correcting erring Kings.

Paranar can easily be considered as one of the best Sangam poets. But for Paranar’s 85 poems with narration of historical anecdotes, we would have been clueless about kings who ruled during the period.

Paranar has sung praises about many of the great kings including the Chera kings Neduncheralathan, Cheran Senkuttuvan and some of the great philanthropists like Ay, Anji, Kari, Ori, and Pegan.

Pegan was a King from the Velir clan and was a great philanthropist. One day, as he was walking through the forests of his kingdom, he saw a peacock shivering in the cold. Without a moment’s hesitation he removed the gold-laced shawl that adorned him and wrapped it around the peacock.

While Paranar praised the king for his philanthropic deeds, the just poet also chided the king’s infidelity.  The poet wrote in one of the songs (classified as Purananuru), 

"May those who love mercy act with justice?" 

He tried hard to bring the king back to his senses, though the outcome of the poet’s efforts is not known. In one more of his poems, that the poet wrote he had emphasised that his work will never be aimed at pleasing kings. Parana hated praising kings of valour that they seldom exhibited. 

The poets and the Kings shared a unique relationship and some of the poets also used to counsel the Kings when they went wrong in their judgement. The kings, on their part, took the wise poets into confidence before they made crucial decisions. This system went a long way in enriching the land and its cultural past!