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History as we know it, as we studied in school, revolves around kings and queens, names and dates, and the rise and fall of kingdoms/dynasties, and conquests.

This series of blog posts will start off by focussing on the lives of ordinary people and how societies and cultures developed.

The history of Tamilakam may be divided into three chronological periods:

  1. Pre-historical times (pre 3rd century BCE)
  2. The Sangam era (3rd century BCE to 3rd century CE)
  3. Post Sangam era (3rd to the 200th century CE)

(Caveat: These time periods are guestimates.)

(Image source: Wiki)

The first half a dozen or so blog posts shall focus on pre-historical times.

Five tribes (for want of a better word) peopled prehistoric South India, as distinguished by the geographical characteristics of the regions they inhabited:

  1. Agriculturists of the Marudam (the arable lands)
  2. Pastoralists of the Mullai (forested lands)
  3. Hunters of the Kurinji (hill country)
  4. Fishermen of the Neydal (coastal lands)
  5. Nomads of the Paalai (semi-arid lands)

The societies in these five geographical regions did not develop in isolation. Neither did they evolve in a straight timeline to suit the agenda of historians.

There was interaction among the various “tribes” with each borrowing norms from the others, and adapting or discarding as their needs and beliefs warranted.

Over the next few weeks we shall look at each of these societies with regards to their social structure; the position of men and women, the primary vocations, and the approach to love and marriage.

(Disclaimer: Treat these posts on Ancient (South) Indian history as highly simplified introductions to a complex, often conflicting, and vague period mired in the mists of antiquity.)

*** Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018 ***