(Last Updated on : 28/12/2011)
Love Poems in Sangam Literature emphasize only on the most inner, personal and directly inexpressible human emotions and experiences in different phases. According to the Tolkappiyam, the first extant Tamil grammar, poems in Sangam Literature
can be broadly divided into 2 distinct categories, Akam (inner field) and Puram (outer field). Akam relates to the human or personal aspects like love and intimate relationships which are expressed in figurative and conceptual manner. Puram comprises of other aspects of human experience like benevolence, valour, heroism, social life, ethics, customs and philanthropy. In Akam poems, the physical beauty of women is described in the least and there are also minimum references of carnal pleasures of life. The different phases of love between two imaginative hero and heroine, is depicted in the Akam love poems.
Types of Love Poems in Sangam Literature
Love Poems in Sangam Literature usually depicts the thoughts and feelings of individuals in love and their various concerns relating to their relationships. In one of the poems, it is described that a love-lorn woman who is waiting a long time for the arrival of her lover, is on the brink of losing hope of living when she fails to get any sign of his return. The woman has doubts if she would die without ever seeing the love of her life return. Her desperate thoughts and feelings are stunningly portrayed in one of the poems in Narrinai.
In another poem, a woman madly in love describes her various feelings related to love and separation. This lady theorises that love between to persons can be compared with the relationship which exists between the soul and the body. Life is merely a union of the body with the soul. Separation from lover is compared to death as when soul leaves the body, occurrence of death is imminent. Paratiyar, who is amongst the best Tamil poets of this century, has elaborated the concept of love as depicted in Sangam poems, in his popular poem titled Kuyil Pattu.
There other love poems in Sangam literature that concentrates on the unselfishness of lovers, like in the poem Akananuru, the female character her wishes to be re-united with her lover, who has gone to a foreign land to complete a mission. In another poem, when a chambermaid asks the heroine of the poem the causes for her heartache, the heroine's answer reflects the complexities of her feelings. She is not concerned over her sorrow but desires her lover to be liberated from sufferings.
Other Love Poems in Sangam Literature
The intensity of love between lovers after their marriage and in later life is also portrayed in Sangam poems. In one of the poems the happy married life of the heroine has been eloquently described. There are other love poems in Tamil literature of the Sangam age
that depict a mother's worries regarding the change of attitude in her daughter, particularly her mental maturity after her marriage. The mother expresses that the daughter was raised with utmost love and care by the parents. But after marriage, even though she lived in poverty with her husband, the daughter is not concerned with wealth and materialistic comforts. She only cares about the love of her husband and lives her life with strength eating meagerly. The mother tends to wonder from where her daughter gets such strength to survive in this poverty.
Thus, poems that vividly describe and commend the mental maturity and selflessness of lovers are commonly found in Sangam literature. Since love poems in Sangam literature portrayed these noble emotions, subsequent poets also followed such poetic traditions loyally.