Today I was discussing a piece from old Tamil Sangam literature with a friend of mine. It was quite interesting and led me to do some personal research on it, small but deep.
There were three Sangam periods, the first one is said to have been over 7000 years ago. The third Sangam period, between the 6th century BCE and the 3rd century CE, is generally called the Sangam Era because most of Sangam literature available to us today was composed during that period.
It is very interesting that in those days poets wrote poems on romance, love, war, valour, devotion, spirituality, and a lot of things, but their writings were categorized under geographical divisions also. For example, a romance in the mountain region comes under Kurinji Thinai (in Tamil Kurinji means Mountain), and another musing near the seashore comes under Neithal Thinai (Neithal means coastal region), and so on.
When I checked the etymology, the origin of the word “Sangam” is from a Sanskrit word the meaning of which is a group of well-wishers or people close to us and the core Tamil translation for the word “Sangam” is “Changam”. In old Tamil, “Changam” has many interesting meanings including group, people close to us, friendship, someone we can trust or depend on, etc.
It was a very interesting insight for me. Even in Malayalam, which is also a derivative of Tamil and Sanskrit languages, we call our heart “Chunk”. In the present day, especially among youngsters, the word “Chunk” is used for a close friend, a buddy you can truly, madly, blindly depend on. The word “Chunkathi” is the feminine version of the masculine noun “Chunk”.
I was amazed by the beautiful correlation between words trending now in 2020 – “Chunk” and “Chunkathi” – with 2300-year-old “Sangam” literature and “Changam Paruvam” (Sangam period).
I felt like I should share this with you today and I am grateful to that friend of mine who shared that piece of Sangam poetry which triggered my whole research.
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