Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?] PART:36

{Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam}
Women of the merchant class could run textile businesses. Women of royal families also ran businesses, but mostly for the city-state, rather than for themselves. In the palaces, women either made cloth by spinning and weaving, or helped with the food.

We also find women ran businesses during sangam period.Akananuru 390 mentioned one such woman who sell salt for rice.

".......................she went to

all the settlements and called out,
“Town people! Rice for salt, straight exchange! 
Will யு barter?”I blocked her and said to her,
“You with pretty, curved navel and bamboo-like arms,
what is the price of the salt on your body?”
She looked at me with her big, calm,kohl-rimmed eyes" [Akananuru 390]

During the Assyrian era, female power and freedom declined.Women's roles were strictly defined as daughters and wives. Women rarely acted as individuals outside their families.

Most girls were trained from childhood for the traditional roles of wife, mother, and housekeeper.In a hymn,the goddes Gula[the patron goddess of doctors & healing] describe the stage in a women's life as:"I am a daughter,I am a bride,I am a spouse,I am a house keeper". Girls learned how to grind grains, how to cook and make beverages, especially beer, and how to spin and weave cloth.

Also while describing the respective duties of a mother and father, it is stated in
one of the Sangam poems that the duty of a mother ends after giving birth to children and it is the father who makes them wise men.

To bring forth and rear a son is my duty.
To make him noble is the father’s.[Purananuru  312]

Women wore long tunics, wrapped around the body and pinned at the chest. They also wore make-up, such as red henna for lipstick and blusher.

In ancient Sumer,Family life started with a proposal, was followed by a marriage contract, and ended with a wedding.A girl was considered ready for marriage when she reached puberty. Marriages were arranged by the families of the future bride and groom. The groom provided a bridal payment. The bride's parents were responsible for a dowry (gift) to the husband. The dowry ensured that the woman would get everything that belonged to her in case the man divorced her or left her a widow.
In the Sangam age marriage was considered to be the proper career for a girl. There was no vocation outside marriage for the vast majority of the Tamil girls.Also Girls enjoyed tolerable freedom in the selection of their husbands. Marriage was not always arranged.Therefore,Natural union resulting from love formed the essential feature of marriage and though it was ultimately considered to be the gift of the bride by her father or guardian to the most eligible suitor.

In the case of boys, they first enquire about the girl, her name, residence etc., and make arrangements for marriage proposals through their parents[Kurunthokai 374]. the parents of boy go to the residence of girl and ask for marriage. They offer parisam i.e, bride-price[Purananuru 343]]if the parents of the girl accept, they proceed further to finalise for formalities.

In the wedding ceremony, the future husband poured perfume on the bride's head. The groom also gave the bride's family money and other presents. After the wedding, the husband and wife began the routine of daily life.This was usually the only marriage for the husband, as long as the wife lived and provided children.A sumerian proverb referred husband bragging that his wife had borne eight sons & was still ready to make love.  If the wife died or could not produce any children, the man had the right to have another wife or a concubine.The ancient ceremony of marriage which obtained among the Tamils before it was altered by the Aryans is described in two odes of the anthology called the Agam.Mothers of sons, with bellies marked with beauty-spots, wearing beautiful ornaments, poured water on the bride, so that her black hair shone bright with cool petals of flowers and rice-grains (which had been mixed with the water), and at the same time they blessed her, saying ‘do not swerve from the path of chastity, be serviceable in various ways to your husband who loves you and live with him as his wife’. On the night after the marriage ceremony was over, the neighbouring ladies assembled, (dressed the bride in new clothes) and sent her to the arms of her lover, to which she went with trepidation.”[ Agam 86, 1-22].Instead of perfume on the bride's head,Here they poured water mixed with petals of flowers and rice-grains on the bride's head.

Once a woman was engaged, she was considered part of her fiancé's family. If her fiancé died before the wedding, she was then married to one of his brothers or another male relative. If her husband died, a woman could share her property with her children and was allowed to marry again.

Life was very difficult for ordinary people in ancient Mesopotamia. There were plagues, wars, floods, drought and famine. Children were considered the property of their parents. Children could be sold into slavery if they disobeyed their parents, although this did not happen very often.Most boys went to work with their fathers. Girls stayed home with their mothers to learn household chores and to help look after younger children. Only boys from rich families went to school.

PART :37 WILL FOLLOW in next week


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