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Tamil Sangams


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Pandyan Kings patronised Tamil language in a great way. They created Sangams to develop the language. The "Mudhal Sangam" was established in Southern Madurai which was situated in the land Kumari by the river called "Kanni". Iraiyanaar was the first scholar to preside over the Mudhal Sangam.Iraiyanaar, then popularly came to be known as "Thiripuram Eriththa Virisadaik Kadavul". 

Later, the capital was shifted to "Kabaadapuram" due to sudden and violent change in nature. This place was on the banks of river "Kumari" which is situated to south of Kanyakumari. The second Tamil Sangam or "Idai Sangam" is said to have been held in Kabaadapuram.Lord Muruga, who presided over this Idai Sangam hence came to be known as "Kundram Erintha Kumaravel". The famous epic "Tolkappiam" was written during this period.

The Pandyan Kings then shifted their capital to present Madurai, after a debacle. The third Tamil Sangam or "Kadai Sangam" was held here. The great Literary Compositions like "Ettuththogai" and "Paththu Paattu" belong to this period. Lord Shiva performed his "Thiruvilayaadals" with Tharumi and Nakkeerar during this "Kadai Sangam" period. Many works belonging to "Pathinen Kizh Kanakku" were composed during this period. Tamil literature reached its glory during this period. This period is an epoch in the history of Madurai.

Madurai was under the Jains from 4th to 7th Century. It was during this period, the great works like "Aym Perum Kaapiyam" and "Aym Sirum Kaapiyam" were written. The Jains formed another Sangam during this period under the leadership of a eminent scholar by name "Vajra Nandhi". So, this Sangam was named after the scholar and was referred to as "Vajra Nandhi Tamil Sangam". This Sangam, however was not the fourth Tamil sangam as it lasted only for a short period.

Then, Madurai was under the control of Turkish kings. After their period, Madurai went into the hands of Telugu Nayaks. Nachchinaarkkiniyar wrote comments on "Tholkaapiyam" and other sangam works during this period. Some of the important Personalities are Swaminatha Iyer, Thamotharan Pillai and Nachchinaarkiniyar. Many Tamil literature works which remained obscure were brought into light by the efforts of Swaminatha Iyer and many others. A Tamil Sangam was formed by Prince Paandi Thurai Thevar and other scholars which was the fourth Madurai Tamil Sangam.