Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?] PART :69

Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]
In the Indus seal,Marshall seal No.338,the shape of the neck of the cocks and the straight shape of the wings of the tail show that they were well groomed cocks.A close scrutiny of the images reveals the tell-tale markers and the probable reason:the necks are raised;the tails are up and stiff;the legs are unsettled and slightly raised above the ground level.They are probably the gamecocks of Mohenjodaro in a fighting-mode.The bull also looks like a ferocious one,trained for bull fights.The cocks are seen as a pair where as the bull is single.This seal may perhaps be about the cock fight and bull fight.The bull is alone-may be because the fighter at the other end is not another bull but a man.Both cock fights and bull fights are popular with pastoral and agrarian societies.Cock-fight is also one of the 64 arts.Also in this seal,the images of two cocks are inscribed side by side,along with a sign that is generally interpreted as ‘city’.Iravatham Mahadevan reads the sign sequence on the seal as ‘cocks-city.’ For an important Indus city to be named after cocks there has to be a reason.A cock being a common domestic bird,normally found in every habitat,there has to be something special about the cocks at that specific place to justify such naming.An analogy to this is available in ‘kozhi’( kozhi hen or rooster), the name of the capital town (Kozhiyur,also known as Urayur) of early Cholas of Tamilnadu.In this case as well, the traditional accounts recall the valor of a ‘cock’ that fought against an elephant at that place as the basis for this commemorative name.In celebration of this episode,the Cholas of the sangam age even issued a coin with an image of a cock fighting an elephant. The cocks were groomed for such fights.Such cocks used to be ferocious.The instance of an elephant being threatened by a cock might well be about a fighter cock jumping in ferocity that made an elephant run away from that place.This seems to be a possible explanation for the cock versus elephant fight that led to the popularity of the cock and the place where it was seen.Perhaps Urayur in those days had people who groomed cocks for fighting.Hence, tracing the genesis of ‘cocks-
city’ of the Indus Age to the ‘fighting quality’of the cocks of the specific-region may not be without basis.Evidence to support this view,organized cock-fights,is available directly and indirectly in the ancient Tamil texts.(Kurunthogai:305:5-6;Akananuru 277:13-16) and epigraphic records,at Arasalapuram in Tamilnadu,a hero-stone,dated 5th century AD installed in the memory of a fighting-cock.The name Kozhi also seems to be derived from the word, "kozh"(கோழ்) which means slippery,well-built,fatty etc.(வழ வழப்பான,செழிப்பான,கொழுப்பான).Cock fighting was a pastime in most agrarian societies.It was popular in Thanjavur, the Cholan capital in later years. It came at the time of Harvest festival (Pongal) in those days.Cock fights were popular in Kerala also.It is popular in most parts of Indian subcontinent including Pakistan.Punjab and Kashmir also are known for having this cock fight as a game.Chickens from the Harappan culture of the Indus Valley (2500–2100 BC) may have been the main source of diffusion throughout the world.Within the Indus Valley,indications are that chickens were used for sport and not for food and that by 1000 BC they had assumed "religious significance" also.For example,Ode to God in Kurunthogai,we find a line,which says,"சேவலங் கொடியோன் காப்ப ஏம வைகல் எய்தின்றால் உலகே."this means,"His flag is cock.-God Murugan saves the world peace"

In Kurunthogai:305, it is said that the thalaivi (heroine) suffered from the pangs of pain of separation from her lover.The pain was not caused by others and can not be cured by others.It was like the fight between the 'Kuppai kozhikal"[குப்பைக் கோழிகள்]–the fight between the cocks that were searching food from the wastes.There was none to prompt them to fight and none to separate them in time. Similarly the heroine was suffering from a pain which was not induced by others nor solved by others.Author of the poem is KUPPAI KOZIYAR .This name is coined from a phrase he used in this poem.

"The bright flame of passion
that my eyes gave to me,
torments me to my very bone.
It is not possible to see him
and embrace him.
He is not capable of coming
and removing my distress.

My love affliction is like two chickens
fighting alone on a rubbish pile
with no one to separate them.
Unless it ceases by itself,
no one will free me of my suffering!"- [Kurunthogai:305]

The heroine lets her friend know about her love affliction.Here the poet
makes a hidden note of sandaik kozhi (cocks in fight).When the cock fights are organized ones,there are people who make the cocks enter a fight and also separate them whenever they wish to stop it.The fight between the cocks on the mounds of wastes is not similar to that fight.From this it is known that cock fights had been popular in olden Tamil lands.In Akananuru 277,narrates that as the neck of the domestic fighting cock with the sharp beak and flaming red feathers bristles when it fights as below:

"Early summer season is here, bees swarm
and spill honey from clusters of murukkam
flowers, like rising flame, that look like the
swaying-flame-like feathers of pretty, fighting
roosters with sharp beaks, mates of
house-residing fowl
My lover has not come back, my friend!"-.[Akananuru 277:13-20]

PART:70,WILL FOLLOW

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