Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?] PART :68

Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam
In the Tamil society during the Sangam age,the women of the cattle rearing society grew up a bull of their own.Every girl of the cattle rearing family would personally take care of a bull right from the time it was born.She used to feed it well,dress it well,used to roam around with this pet bull and even have a name for it.Anyone wanting to marry her must enter into a duel with her bull.He must be able to catch hold of the horns of the bull and climb the bull by hugging its hump and finally lie on the bull with his face looking forward in between the horns while his hands were holding the horns as though he
were hugging her breasts.This expression is repeated in many Tamil verses of the Sangam age poems.Infact this duel was not known as bull-fight,but as “Bull- hugging” (ஏறு தழுவுதல்).No harm was allowed to be done to the bull by the one attempting at “bull-hugging”.The currently held name Jallikattu was not the olden or the original name for this duel.It was not even a sport but a method to choose the groom in the ancient Tamil society among the cattle rearing class.The girl of this community used to throw a challenge to the stalker to catch her bull like this if he wanted to marry her.The one,who succeeded in catching her bull,was almost equal to that bull that she would happily consent to marry him.

Over 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature Kalitokai,which is one of the eight anthologies of Sangam period sang by Nalluruthtiranar [Mullai Kali] gave a graphic description of bull fighting in the rich agrarian Tamil society of that time,in addition to the great Epics,Silappathikaram (Epic of the Anklet),which account of the living conditions of the Aayars (those who rear cows),for whom bullfight was not merely a sport but a wedding-related testing ground to assess the calibre of the youth.For the boy,a win in the event was a matter of pride and a symbol of valour,and for the girl,it was a reassurance that she had chosen the right partner.A pass in this test was a must even if a boy and a girl were in love with each other.While in most cases of Eru Thazhuvuthal[bullfight] the village head offered his daughter in marriage to the winner,mass bullfights were also held to choose grooms for other eligible girls of the village.Although bullfight has survived for many centuries, it has taken several forms and its purpose has also changed,as it is no more wedding-related Instead,gifts in the form of cash and jewellery.
A Mullai Kali poem,in Tamil literature. Kalitokai,says an Aayar girl will not touch,even in her next birth,a person who fails to humble the bull. as:

"Young herder women will not embrace the man who fears
the horns of killer bulls, even in their next birth.  Other
than men who seize murderous bulls without fear, it is rare
for those who have fear in their hearts to attain them.
It is not possible to unite with the herder women for men
who fear the horns of bulls and not consider their lives as
wind.Our herder women do not ask for a bride price from
those who jump without fear into the horns of bulls, like
they would rest their heads between the breasts of their
beloved."-[Kalitokai- 103 : 63-73] 

Here the bride price or parisam totally different from dowry or Varathatchanai,which was introduced by Aryans.Bride price,also known as bride token,is an amount of money,property or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the parents of the woman he has just married or is just about to marry.For example Akananuru 90,clearly says about parisam[bride price] as:"Even if they were given the prosperous Niyamam town,her parents will not accept it as a price for the young lady with fragrant brow and new jewels." In another poem,The poet mentioned how the bulls tear the bull fighters apart like the buffalo riding Yama, God of Death as:

"There are these and other bulls that enter the arena like

Yaman and Death with an axe coming to take lives at the end of time.
Musical instruments resound like the continuously
roaring thunderbolts of the monsoon season. Incense
smoke rises up like billowing clouds.
Young herder women, adorned with garlands with
flowers with stacks of petals, are standing in rows.
Young herder men jump in eagerly with uproar and
rage, and fine dust rises up to the sky filling the place.
The men are holding on to the horns of the bulls,
clasping them with their chests, holding firmly their
necks, embracing their humps, ruining them, pressing
them against their shoulders and moving close to subdue
them. Not allowing the men to hold them, the bulls
attack those who go close to them with their long horns."-[Kalitokai- 105:19-33:]


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