Origins of Tamils?[Where are Tamil people from?] PART:71

Compiled by: Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]

Although we don't know much about what it was like to be a child in the Indus Valley,we do know a small amount of information about these times..Indus Valley people seem to have loved toys.They made many toys, such as toy carts and toy animals, from baked clay.Archaeologists have found model cows that waggle their heads on a string,and toy monkeys that could slide down ropes,and little squirrels.They have also discovered toy carts have a little roof, to keep off the rain and hot sun.All these shows that the Humans have been playing with toys for over 4000-5000 years.Indus valley children would play on courtyards,streets and roofs.Unlike today,where children are amused by television,the Ancient Indians were easily amused by the simplest things,like,whistles.The Ancient Indians are most likely the first people to invent the whistle and give us the idea of it.Indus children may also have played with pull-along animals on wheels,as well as rattles and bird-whistles as said earlier,all made from terracotta.One clay figure,which was found there,is of a boy holding a small disc,probably used in a throw-and-chase game.We understand that while Younger Indus Valley kids take part in smaller daily chores whereas older children were taught skills such as hunting,building,and farming.Also the people (especially adults) of the Indus Valley cities enjoyed gambling and playing board games in their spare time.At Harrappa archaeologists also found dice made from cubes of sandstone and terracotta.These dice are probably the oldest in the world! Hence,the Indus Valley people were probably the first people in the world to use cube dice with six sides and spots (the kind of dice we use today). These dice have been found in Harrapan sites such as Kalibangan, Lothal, Ropar, Alamgirpur, Desalpur and surrounding territories ,some dating back to the third millennium BC,which may be used for gambling.Dicing is believed to have later spread westwards to Persia,influencing Persian board games.Early references to dicing can be found in the ig Veda as well as the newer atharvaveda .The following excellent remarks are probably the oldest in the world upon the vice of gambling.They are found in Rig Veda,10-34-13,which says:“Play not with dice:no,cultivate thy corn-land. Enjoy the gain, and deem that wealth sufficient.There are thy cattle there thy wife, O gambler. So this good Savitar himself hath told me"[Rig Veda 10-34-13,]  that is "Never play with dice; practice husbandry; rejoice in thy prosperity, esteeming it sufficient. Be satisfied with thy cattle and thy wife, the god advises."

The Sangam works contain mines of information for the study of early history of Tamilakam.They reflect the matter of great historical importance.Narrinai refers to the games played with decorated dolls.Kuruntogai mentions about children playing with toy-cart and with the sand houses made by them on the seashore.Women amused themselves with the religious dances,playing the dice and varippanthu or cloth ball.Also,playing in swings made of palmrya fibres was common among girls.

Girls in the ancient Tamil land enjoyed a life of comparative freedom and happiness.The Tamil literature gives us a clear picture of the happy time spent by the girl in her home before she was married.However,the games in which they found pleasure differed with their age.when they were in Pethai stage,the age of innocence,they played with her companions the favourite game of dolls.Many of the pastimes were usually common to the girls of the five regions.Playing with dolls made of grass or silt was a favourite.The crude doll shaped out of mud or grass and decorated with flowers went by the name of pavai (doll)* called "Vandar-Pavai" where ' Vandal ' means silt. In Ainkurunuru 124,Sangam poem,where,the concubine or the heroine’s friend teased the hero as;

"Hearken[listen attentively], My Lord, Have we not seen your
beloved Stamping and throwing the fine sand,
To dry the sea which washed her doll away".

Also Kalittogai, 59 says that the girl was no longer a child,but yet she was not of an age to understand the poignancy of love's darts.Thus it is that we find the lover accusing her saying "you are running away from me with your anklets tinkling,to play with toy utensils and gaily coloured doll." Here,the doll may be a wooden one,brightly coloured. Most probably these wooden doll may be belonged to a later period.

"O girl with pearl-studded gold bangles
that resemble decked lotus petals in bloom, pretty
fingers like the fragrant, delicate kānthal flowers of
the mountain slopes, and pretty forearms like ladles!
Did you come to play with your red striped clay toys
and dolls?  I saw you with your beautiful hair flowing
down your shoulders when you walked by, your lovely
anklets jingling.  I lost my senses as you ignored me
with your silence and moved away. Listen to me!"

Similarly we find that the little boys were playing with toy chariot by Akananuru  16 as well as by Pattinappalai[20-25]

"Women with bright brows, fine jewels
and delicate looks, dry food
in the wide front yards of their huge
houses, and chase hens that come to
steal their food, throwing at them their
earrings, heavy and curved at the bases,
hindering the horseless, three-wheeled
toy chariots rolled by youngsters wearing
gold anklets-"[Pattinappalai,20-25]

The art of puppetry is a very ancient tradition of India and it is regarded to be universal art. Puppetry has served as a medium for human communication for several years.The origin of the art of puppetry can be traced back to Indus valley civilization but now it has crossed the geographical boundaries and political frontiers and reached many other countries.Evidence of puppetry comes from the excavations at the Indus Valley.Archaeologists have unearthed terracotta dolls with detachable heads capable of manipulation by a string dating to 2500 BC.Other excavations include terracotta animals which could be manipulated up and down a stick,further confirming this puppetry existed in Indus valley.Even the Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar mentioned two thousand years ago,that:'“The movements of a man who has not a sensitive conscience are like the simulation of life by marionettes moved by strings.”in his compositions.The mention of the 'pavai koothu' in the Tamil epic Silappadhikaram by Ilango Adigal is also very significant regarding the history of puppetry.

Tis as with strings a wooden puppet apes life's functions, when
Those void of shame within hold intercourse with men.[Thirukkural 1020]

[Meaning:The actions of those who are without modesty at heart are like those of puppet moved by a string.]


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