History of Akananuru
The anthology of Akananuru is believed to be composed by the poetic creations of around 145 poets who significantly contributed to the collection. Perunthevanaar, the author of the Tamil Mahabharatham (a translation of Mahabharata), is one of the poets. The collection of verses was complied by Rudrasarman at the request of Ukkiraperuvazhuthi, the Pandya king. Scholars are of the opinion that the poems in the anthology series were independently written before they were accumulated and compiled in the current form. The origin of the literary collection of Akananuru can be traced back to the period between the 1st century CE and 2nd century CE. But the poems were written at an earlier period and some of the verses belong to the 5th century BC to 3rd century BC. Some poems also contain mentions of the Mauryas and Nanda, and thus they can be dated between 4th century BC and 3rd century BC.
Composition of Akananuru
Akananuru is constructed under the Akam (internal) or subjective tradition of Tamil literature and the content of the poems fall under this category. Ancient poems in Tamil were segmented in the wide categories of Akam and Puram. Akam deals with the subjective matters like human emotions and love; while Puram deals with the objective and tangibles matters like politics, war, wealth etc. the verses in the compilation are composed in the Akaval meter.
The poems based on the Akam tradition depict the various aspects of love of the leading character and his lover. The poems narrate a particular moment of love instead of a continuous and an entire love story. The fortunate time of wedding was regarded as the harvest season. A high standard of moral virtue seemingly prevailed amongst the women of household.
The Tamil poetic work of Akananuru comprises of 401 verses and is segmented into 3 sections, namely Kalintruyanainirai (containing 121 verses), Manimidaipavalam (containing 180 verses) and Nittilakkovai (containing 100 verses).