During the sangam period tamils observe the 'just war',If war becomes necessary,Its cause must be just,Its purpose virtuous,Its objective to restrain the wicked,Its aim peace,Its method lawful.War can only be started and stopped by a legitimate authority.Weapons used must be proportionate to the opponent and the aim of war,not indiscriminate tools of destruction.All strategies and weapons used in the war must be to defeat the opponent,not designed to cause misery to the opponent;for example,use of arrows is allowed,but use of arrows smeared with painful poison is not allowed.Warriors must use judgment in the battlefield.Cruelty to the opponent during war is forbidden. Wounded,unarmed opponent warriors must not be attacked or killed,They must be brought to your realm and given medical treatment.Children,women and civilians must not be injured and fair treatment of captives and the wounded during such war,They beat/bang drum[murasu/முரசு ]for indicating the start and end of the day of the war and also for battlefield victories.

Just war -a war that is deemed to be morally or theologically justifiable and is conducted according to certain conditions -  a concept of ancient sangam tamils .also  found in the Indian epic,the Mahabharata,In it,one of five ruling brothers asks if the suffering caused by war can ever be justified, and then a long discussion ensues between the siblings, establishing criteria like proportionality (chariots cannot attack cavalry, only other chariots, no attacking people in distress), just means (no poisoned or barbed arrows), just cause (no attacking out of rage), and fair treatment of captives and the wounded.Latter ,in this modern world ,it was extensively developed by Christian theologians,such as Thomas Aquinas (c1225-74) and Francisco de Vitoria (c1483-1546) .Also,Guru Nanak (1469-1534), the first Sikh Guru (a guru is a spiritual teacher,a revered instructor) wrote this hymn:

‘No one is my enemy
No one is a foreigner
With all I am at peace
God within us renders us
Incapable of hate and prejudice.’

But,what is happening today? For example, A 2011 UN report said hospitals,UN centres and ships belonging to the Red Cross were deliberately targeted by the army.The government was accused of using heavy weaponry and UN images obtained by the BBC appeared to show shelling damage in a government-designated "safe zone" for civilians.and “the white flag incident”,where who surrendered were executed in cold blood - others have never been seen since .All contradict to just war principles !  

Sangam tamils had five types of armies including elephants, horses,chariot,foot-soldiers & commando type soldiers who goes front of the army unit.However ,After the world has changed to modernity, the armies have been classified as armies of land, naval and airforce.The chapter 77 of Thirukkural talks about the glory and magnificence of the tamil army of the state as :"தார்தாங்கிச் செல்வது தானை தலைவந்த போர்தாங்கும் தன்மை அறிந்து"/"A valiant army bears the onslaught,onward goes,Well taught with marshalled ranks to meet their coming foes." That is an army which knowing the art of warding off an impending struggle, can bear against the dust-van (of a hostile force).

 Kudakko Neduncheralathan [சேரமான் குடக்கோ நெடுஞ்சேரலாதன்] was an early Chera king who lived during the Tamil Sangam period 200-180 BC.He was a great soldier/an unconquerable warrior and also a great patron/a liberal person and friend of poets.Verpakradakkai Perunar Killi [சோழன் வேற்பஃறடக் கைப் பெருவிறற் கிள்ளி] was a Chola king,who was also called as 'Rasasooyam Vetta Perunar Killi'. One day Verpakradakkai Perunar Killi and his armies staged a war with the Chera king Kudakko Neduncheralathan.To avoid death & sufferings among people,Both decided to fight each others to decide out come of the war.This is called "Araththin manduthal"[‘அறத்தின் மண்டுதல்’/ Attacking as per justice /merit].However both of them died in the battlefield.The poet,Kalathalaiyar [கழாத்தலையார்],who witnessed this scene,wrote this below poem with question :"How can the war flare up now and soldiers brace against advancing troops?" 

"வருதார் தாங்கி அமர் மிகல் யாவது
பொருது ஆண்டு ஒழிந்த மைந்தர் புண் தொட்டுக்
குருதிச் செங்கைக் கூந்தல் தீட்டி
நிறம் கிளர் உருவின் பேஎய்ப் பெண்டிர்
எடுத்து எறி அனந்தர் பறைச் சீர் தூங்கப்
பருந்து அருந்துற்ற தானையொடு செரு முனிந்து
அறத்தின் மண்டிய மறப்போர் வேந்தர்
தாம் மாய்ந்தனரே குடை துளங்கினவே
உரை சால் சிறப்பின் முரசு ஒழிந்தனவே
பன் நூறு அடுக்கிய வேறு படு பைஞ்ஞிலம்
இடம் கெட ஈண்டிய வியன் கண் பாசறைக்
களம் கொளற்கு உரியோர் இன்றித் தெறுவர
உடன் வீழ்ந்தன்றால் அமரே பெண்டிரும்
பாசடகு மிசையார் பனி நீர் மூழ்கார்
மார்பகம் பொருந்தி ஆங்கு அமைந்தன்றே
வாடாப் பூவின் இமையா நாட்டத்து
நாற்ற உணவினோரும் ஆற்ற
அரும் பெறல் உலகம் நிறைய
விருந்து பெற்றனரால் பொலிக நும் புகழே!"
[புறநானூறு 62]
"How can the war flare up now and soldiers brace against advancing troops?
Demonesses, garishly glowing, plunge their hands into the wounds of warriors
who have died there in battle and smearing their hair red with the blood,
they dance then to the sad throb of the parai drums beaten in slowed pain.
Vultures are feasting on the army and the two kings too have perished
along with their soldiers, those kings who with Righteousness on their side
in furious battle fought a valiant war. Their umbrellas of majesty
droop down and their drums, whose power has drawn praise, stand ruined.
In that enormous camp, where there were hundreds of men speaking in varied
languages, so many of them gathered together that all the space was consumed,
now there is no one with strength left to triumph on the battlefield
and so the uproar of combat has suddenly stopped and that silence
is terrifying! As yet their women, the widows, do not eat green leaves
nor do they bathe themselves in cool water. Lying there on the ground,
they embrace the chests of their fallen men. While those who always dine
on the most fragrant food, who wear garlands of flowers that never wither,
whose eyes do not blink, attend to welcoming the new
arrivals entering and filling up the other world
that is so hard to attain! May the glory of both of you shine on!"
[Purananuru 62]

The poet Kalathalaiyar praised both kings as:It is very ignorant to think that we will get victory in the coming war.The black devil dig the wound of the dead warriors and stroke their hair with their blood stained hands and hear the mild sound of the drum played by the ladies.The eagles will be circling to eat the dead bodies.In this cruel war both the kings who fought died.Their white umbrellas fell down.The victorious drums perished.The army camps which were filled with warriors became empty.The war which frightened those who saw ended like this.The ladies who lost their husbands in the war did not eat even greens.They did not bathe.They laid down embracing the dead bodies of their husbands.The warriors fought in such a way so that they became the guests of heaven where there  are Suraas[Immortal beings/Celestials] who have garlands which do not dry,eyes which do not wink and amudham[elixir/nectar] as their food.Oh warriors! Let your fame live!!

Similar type of war happened between Ellalan [எல்லாளன்] & Dutthagamani [துட்டகைமுணு] in Srilanka.Ellalan was a Tamil monarch who ruled the central part of ancient Sri Lanka called Rajarata[Anuradhapura] and ruled for forty four years.In the Sinhala monastic chronicle-the Mahavamsa-he is described as a just king,who was fair to his officials and to his subjects & further states that he ruled 'with even justice toward friend and foe.Dutthagamani was a prince in the lesser kingdom of Rohana (Ruhunu) located south of Rajarata.Dutthagamani[0r Dutugemunu] decided to attack Anuradhapura where Ellalan was.There were 30,000 men who were on Ellalan's side,ready to confront Dutthagamani's army.As he felt that he can't win Ellalan & his army,He called Ellalan to fight face to face alone to decide winners.At this stage Ellalan too accepted to fight alone with Dutthagamani,as he knows the meaning of "Araththin manduthal"[ Attacking as per justice /merit] & belief that he too observe this strictly. 

Dressed in full armour,he got on his elephant Mahapabbata,marched towards Dutugemunu who was waiting for him.He fought valiantly until the end .But finally Dutthagamani killed an ageing Ellalan (age 74)  when the old king fell from his elephant.Young Gemunu was only 25 years old at that time.This acts is definitely a violation against the principle of "just war".King Dutthagamani did not live to see his beloved Ruwanweliseya completed.He died of snake-bite before the plaster work was finished.

[Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]


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