Samanam in Tamil Literature
This lesson discusses the role of the Samanars or Jains in the growth of the Tamil language. It examines the pioneering efforts of the Samanars in enriching the Tamil language. It analyses some of the most important grammar, literary and religious texts composed by the Samanars. It also refers to a wealth of information on the Samanars found in other Tamil literary works. The Tamil language owes its growth to various religious movements that flourished in ancient Tamilnadu. By using Tamil as a means of propagating their doctrines, these religions indirectly shaped the Tamil language. The Samanars played a significant role in developing the Tamil language. Like the Pandyas who established the Tamil Sangam, the Samanars founded the â€˜Tiramila Sangamâ€™ through which they contributed to the growth of the Tamil language. This Sangam was divided into 4 sects namely Nandi Kanam, Sena Kanam, Simha Kanam and Deva Kanam. Of these Nandi Kanam was the most popular. In 470 A.D., a Samanar called Vachira Nandi divided the Nandi Kanam into 2 groups and established the new group as Dravida Kanam in Madurai. The Dravida Kanam contributed a great deal to the growth of the Tamil language. Though the Samanars hailed from the Northern kingdom of Magada, they used Tamil to convey their philosophy. Samanars have the credit of writing the first grammar texts in Tamil. They also pioneered the compilation of â€˜nigandugalâ€™ or Thesaurus in Tamil and composed the early epics. â€˜Indra Kaleeyamâ€™, â€˜Yaaparungalamâ€™, â€˜Neminathamâ€™ and â€˜Nannoolâ€™ are some of the famous grammar texts written by the Samanars. There is a belief that â€˜Tholkappiamâ€™ is a Samana text. â€˜Divakara Nikanduâ€™ and â€˜Pingala Nikanduâ€™ are 2 popular thesauruses compiled by the Samanars. Three of the 5 great epics in Tamil- viz. â€˜Silapathigaramâ€™, â€˜Valaiyapathiâ€™ and â€˜Seevagasinthamaniâ€™ were written by Samanars. Among the 5 minor epics, â€˜Soolamaniâ€™,...
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