Vēl Pāri

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Vēl Pāri was the title of the line of Tamil Vēlir Kings who ruled Parambu nādu and surrounding regions in ancient Tamilakkam. The most famous among them lived towards the end of the Sangam era and was the patron and friend of poet Kapilar. He is extolled for his benevolence and for his patronage of art and literature. He is remembered as one of the Kadai ēzhu vallal (literally meaning, the last of the 7 (lines) great patrons).[1] He was the master of the hill country of Parambu nādu and held sway over 300 prosperous villages.[2] The Parambu nadu covers the modern day cities of Gobichettipalayam and parts of Coimbatore and Erode. Pariyur, named after Pari himself is home to the great temples Sri Kondathu Kaliamman Temple, Sri Amarapaneeswarar Temple and Sri Adhi Narayanaswamy Temple.

Patron of bards[edit]

Such was his reputation for the patronage of arts and literature that bards thronged his court, competing with one another for his attention.[3] From Purananuru, song 107 by Kapilar:

But his favorite was poet Kapilar who was his close friend and life long companion.[5]

Kadai ezhu vallal[edit]

Pāri is considered one of the seven greatest "bestowers" of the last Sangam era - the Kadai Ezhu Vallalgal . The people of his time considered him the most modest of kings. Pāri's fame is better described by the saying "முல்லைக்கு தேர் கொடுத்தான் பாரி" (One who gave his chariot to a climber plant). Pāri is was so generous that he gave away his chariot to a climber plant when he saw that it was struggling to grow without a suitable support.

Siege of the three crowned Kings[edit]

During this period, the three crowned Tamil kings were in the process of expanding their kingdoms and turned the other independent Vēlir Kings into subordinates or eliminated them and assimilated their kingdoms. When they finally lay siege to the heavily fortified country of Parambu, Vēl Pāri would refuse to give in and the war would drag on for years. On one occasion, Kabilar would approach the three crowned kings and describe his patron as an unconquerable warrior and ask them to turn around(excerpt from Purananuru: song 109):

Death[edit]

After a long drawn out war, Vēl Pāri would be killed by treachery.[7] Purananuru, song (112) of Pāri's daughters on his death:

Family and Legacy[edit]

Vēl Pāri had two young daughters. Upon his death, his friend Kapilar would become their guardian and the three of them would leave Parambu. Kapilar would unsuccessfully approach different Vēlir kings in order to find suitable grooms and in the end leave them in the care of Brahmins. Kapilar would then take his own life by vadakirrutal, one of the Tamil ways of committing suicide.[5] Later, poetess Auvaiyar takes them and successfully marries them off into the family of another Vēlir king Malaiyamān Thirumudi Kāri.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Topics in South Indian history: from early times up to 1565 A.D, page 53
  2. ^ Epigraphia Indica, Volume 25, page 91
  3. ^ Traditions of Indian classical dance, page 45
  4. ^ Poets of the Tamil Anthologies: Ancient Poems of Love and War, page 163
  5. ^ a b The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom: An Anthology of Poems from Classical Tamil, the Purananuru
  6. ^ Poets of the Tamil Anthologies: Ancient Poems of Love and War, page 164
  7. ^ Great women of India, page 309
  8. ^ Poems of love and war: from the eight anthologies and the ten long poems of classical Tamil, page 145

References[edit]

  • Topics in South Indian history: from early times up to 1565 A.D. By A. Krishnaswami
  • Epigraphia Indica, Volume 25 By Devadatta Ramakrishna Bhandarkar, India. Archaeological Survey, India. Dept. of Archaeology
  • Traditions of Indian classical dance By Mohan Khokar
  • Poets of the Tamil Anthologies: Ancient Poems of Love and War, George L. Hart III, Princeton: Princeton University Press
  • Great women of India edited by Mādhavānanda (Swāmĭ.), Ramesh Chandra Majumdar
  • Poems of love and war: from the eight anthologies and the ten long poems of classical Tamil By A. K. Ramanujan
  • The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom: An Anthology of Poems from Classical Tamil, the Purananuru, Translations from the Asian classics By George L. Hart, Hank Heifetz