The primary theme of Pattinappalai is the portrayal of the hero's severance from his lover. The poems not only venerates the distinguished Chola king Karikalan but also highlights Kavirippumpattinam as one of the most important port cities in the Tamil land. The scepter and spear of the Kings are used as metaphors in the poem and provides opportunity for Uruttirangannanar the poet to magnify the prowess and justice of the ruler. Similarly, Kavirippumpattinam, which is the King's harbour town, is also praised through the poem Pattinappalai.
Content of Pattinappalai
The poetic work of Pattinappaalai narrates the tale of the hero who has to move away from Kavirippumpattinam (Puhar) in order to find a source of income to earn his living. But he remains uncertain and hesitant as he realizes that his lover will be desperate in his absence. He realizes the pain and suffering his lover will undergo after his departure. In a soliloquy of the hero, he tells himself that he will remain in Puhar and not go abroad as he cannot leave the love of his life. Ultimately the hero of the poem Pattinappaalai decides to stay back at Puhar and abstain from his journey as he could not to leave his lover.
The main theme of the poem Pattinappaalai is expressed out only in mere 6 lines. The rest of the poem describes the valour and might of the king and his land Puhar. The capital of the Chola kingdom is narrated elaborately in the commencement of the poem in 217 lines. In the final 80 lines of Pattinappaalai, the Chola emperor Karikalan's proficiency and importance are described.
Description of Kavirippumpattinam (Puhar)
The long poems of Pattinappaalaiis devoted to the earlier grandeur of the Tamil nation. The elaborately describes the booming maritime trade of the region, the magnificent harbour town of Kavirippumpattinam, which was situated at the mouth of the Kaveri river. It also narrates the behavior and activities of its foreign inhabitants known as Yavanas, who were merchants from ancient Rome and Greece. Moreover it described the tariff policy followed at the port, the stamping of Chola's tiger mark on the inward bound goods, the merchandise mounded upon the docksides and the flourishing local trade. In explaining the market place the poem mentions the honesty of the ancient Tamil traders and merchants. It is also mentioned that the traders never took too much or too little and hoisted various types of flags in front of their shops which was an indicator of the goods that the merchants traded in.
The traders benefited from an ancient heritage of prosperity and lived in close proximity of each other. Similarly the scholars and authors also hoisted respective flags while being involved in debates.
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