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Sangam literature offers valuable insights in reconstructing the history of ancient south India. Discuss.

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

3. Sangam literature offers valuable insights in reconstructing the history of ancient south India. Discuss. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

Sattanar’s story of Manimekalai from circa the second or third century CE is an action-packed tale with many sub-plots, a curious cast of characters and a methodical comparison of the major Indian doctrines. It also has excellent details on the customs, manners and ceremonies of ‘Tamizhagam’, the old Tamil country that narrowed south to the sea from the northern boundary of the Tirupati hills.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the historical importance of Sangam literature.

Directive word: 

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the three Tamil Sangams and the formation of state in Southern India.

Body:

In the first part, write about I detail bring out the various dimensions of the Sangam texts – Ideals, ritualism, mysticism and tale of valour and love.

Next, write about Sangam literature as historical texts, they give information about kings, dynasties, administration, taxes, trade and commerce, societal aspects etc. The classical epics also throw light on contemporary events as well as historical aspects. Show the refined and advanced nature of literature. Use various Sangam texts as examples to substantiate your points.

Write a few criticisms of Sangam literature as historical texts – lack of chronology, discontinuities etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving your opinion of Sangam texts as source of history.