Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?]/PART:32

Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]-

For our understanding of Mesopotamian jurisprudence, we are aided by the survival of court records. Some cases acquired such notoriety or seemed so stereotypical that they became copying exercises for scribal trainees, and were thus preserved in multiple copies. One of the most famous trials found in sumeria is a murder that took place around 1900 BC. Three men conspired to murder a fourth, and the intended victim's wife found out about the plot, but she did nothing to stop it. The killers were later apprehended, along with the all-too-reticent wife. The transcript goes like this:

Nanna-sig, Ku-Enlilla the barber, and Enlil-ennam the orchard-keeper, murdered Lu-Inanna the priest. After Lu-Inanna was dead, they told his wife Nin-dada that her husband had been murdered. Nin-dada kept her mouth shut and didn't tell anyone. The case was referred to the city of Isin and presented to the king.Ur-Ninurta remanded the case for trial before Nippur's Assembly.

Ur-gula, Dudu the bird-catcher, Ali-ellati the noble, Puzu, Eluti, Sheshkalla the
potter, Lugal-kam the orchard-keeper, Lugal-azida, and Sheshkalla the son of Shara-har got up and said: "Since they killed a man, they shouldn't be allowed to live. All four should be killed in front of the ceremonial chair where Lu-Inanna used to sit." Then Shuqalilum the soldier and Ubar-Suen the orchard-keeper got up and said: "Nin-dada didn't really kill her husband, so why should she be executed?" At that point the Elders addressed the Assembly and said: "If a wife has no respect for her husband's life, it may be because she's already slept with another man. That other man may murder her husband knowing she would never tell. Why else would she keep silent? More than anyone else she's the one who caused her husband's death, and she bears the most guilt!".The Assembly having resolved the issue, Nanna-sig, Ku-Enlilla the barber, Enlil-ennam the orchard-keeper, and Nin-dada, the wife of Lu-Inanna, were sentenced to death. Verdict of the Assembly of Nippur.

All that is missing from the account are the tears in Nin-dada's eyes and the downcast expressions on the faces of the condemned, including Ku-Enlilla the barber, who probably wielded the deadly razor that took the unsuspecting priest's life 4,000 years ago.

Sangam literature also helps us to know the types of cases tried, the punishments awarded, and the mode of trial in Aramkuru Avaiam and also of subordinate courts  going by the name “Uoor Chapaikal.”Tamil sangam literature,madurai-kanchi,clearly mentioned about Courts that Deliver Justice as below:

"There are courts with fine principles delivering justice.
They protect justice without hatred or joy and are fair
like a balance scale, removing fear, shame and
anxiety of those who seek justice."[Lines 489 to 492]

We also find a court scene in silappathikaram as in Mesopotamia.where Kannagi husband Kovalan was wrongly punished with death sentence by pandian king Nedunchezhiyan and beheaded Kovalan.On hearing the news of her husband’s death, Kannagi  stormed into the court of the Pandiya King and and told the palace guard:

'Hay, doorkeeperi! Hay, watchman! Hay, palace guards of an irresponsible ruler whose vile heart lightly eases aside the kingly duty of rendering justice! God! Tell how a woman, carrying a single ankle bracelet from a pair that once joyfully rang together, waits at the gate. Go! announce me!”

The guard bowed before the king and said: “Long live the ruler of Korkai! Long live Tennavan, Lord of the Southern mountains" and conveyed the message of arrival of Kannagi.,

The king said: “The guard let the woman enter and brought her to the king.” When she drew near the monarch, he said; “Woman, your face is soiled from weeping. Who are you, young woman? What brings you before us?”

She replied:

            “Oh, you king of confused mind,


            I with complaint here have come;
            I come from Puhar famed for justice
            where the ruler gave himself
            Just to save a hostage bird:
            Mind you, Oh king! he gave his body
            To save a bird that found refuge.
            A weeping cow once rang the bell
            To get an audience of the king;
            She lost her calf a tender one!
            Who killed the calf? None but king’s son
            who drove the car on lurking calf;
            Accident! Accident! No thought he had
            to run the car to kill the calf;
            Many and many were the laws
            The priests and elders gave the king
            To excuse the son, the only heir.
            Shook his head in disdain,
            Rose the king from exalter throne.
            Took his son and ran the car
            Over his, who should succeed
            The noble throne of Chola clan,
            Thus was justice met to all
            This is the place from which I hail
            That is justice we have known.

How proud Kanuaki feels of her land and the justice of the rulers! And further she narrates: “There in Puhar a man Kovalan was born.He was the son of a wealthy merchant, Masathuvan. His family is known and his name untarnished. Led by fate, O king, he entered your city, with jingling anklets, expecting to earn a living. When he tried to sell my ankle bracelet, he was murdered. I am his wife. My name is Kannaki.”

The king answered,

“Divine woman, there is no injustice in putting a robber to death. Do you not know that that is the duty of a king?”
Kannaki said, “King of Korkai, you went astray from the path of duty. Remember that my ankle bracelet was filled with precious stones.”

“Woman” the king answered, “what you have said is pertinent. For ours was filled, not with gems, but with pearls. Let it be brought.” The ankle with bracelet was brought and placed before the king.

Kannaki seized it and broke it open. A gem sprang up into the king’s face. When he saw the stone, he faltered. He felt his parasol fallen, his scepter bent. He said, “It is right for a king to act upon the word of a miserable goldsmith? I am the thief. For the first time, I have failed in my duty as protector of the Southern kingdom. No way is left open to me save to give up my life.” And having spoken, the king swooned & died.


PART :33 WILL FOLLOW IN NEXT WEEK 

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