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Sangam literature
Akattiyam Tholkāppiyam
Eighteen Greater Texts
Eight Anthologies
Aiṅkurunūṟu Akanāṉūṟu
Puṟanāṉūṟu Kalittokai
Kuṟuntokai Natṟiṇai
Paripāṭal Patiṟṟuppattu
Ten Idylls
Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai Kuṟiñcippāṭṭu
Malaipaṭukaṭām Maturaikkāñci
Mullaippāṭṭu Neṭunalvāṭai
Paṭṭiṉappālai Perumpāṇāṟṟuppaṭai
Poruṇarāṟṟuppaṭai Ciṟupāṇāṟṟuppaṭai
Eighteen Lesser Texts
Nālaṭiyār Nāṉmaṇikkaṭikai
Iṉṉā Nāṟpatu Iṉiyavai Nāṟpatu
Kār Nāṟpatu Kaḷavaḻi Nāṟpatu
Aintiṇai Aimpatu Tiṉaimoḻi Aimpatu
Aintinai Eḻupatu Tiṉaimalai Nūṟṟu Aimpatu
Tirukkuṛaḷ Tirikaṭukam
Ācārakkōvai Paḻamoḻi Nāṉūṟu
Ciṟupañcamūlam Mutumoḻikkānci
Elāti Kainnilai
Related topics
Sangam Sangam landscape
Tamil history from Sangam literature Ancient Tamil music

Kalithogai (Tamil: கலித்தொகை meaning the kali-metre anthology[1]), a classical Tamil poetic work, is the sixth book of Eight Anthologies (Ettuthokai), a Sangam literature anthology. Belonging to the Sangam period, Kalithogai contains one hundred and fifty poems and were written by various authors. Nachinarkiniyar, a Tamil scholar who lived during the sixth or the seventh century CE, has annotated this work.

Kalithogai is an anthology of 150 poems in kali metre of varied length dealing with all phases and types of love experience. The poems are categorised into the five thinais according to the mood and subject matter conforming to the Sangam landscape. The first part (2-36) deals with paalai setting, the second (37-65) with kurinchi, the third (66-100) with marutam, the fourth (101-117) with mullai and the fifth (118-150) with neital. These five section were each written by a separate author. Perunkadunkon wrote the paalai songs, the poet Kapilar is attributed to the kurinchi, Ilanaagan the marutham songs, Nalluruthiran the mullai songs and the poet nallanthuvan the neithal songs. However, modern scholarship attributes the entire work to a single author.

Considering the style and usage of words, the work is also considered to be of a later period when compared to most of other Sangam works. The name of the compiler of Kalithogai and his patron are not known. The book of annotations for this book written by Nachinarkiniyaar in the mid fifteenth century says that Nallanthuvanaar compiled the Kalithogai anthology.

The poems of Kalithogai show evidence of the ancient music of the Tamil people with its rhythmic phrases.

One of the best examples from this compilation is the one attributed to Nallanthuvanar.

ஆற்றுதல்' என்பது, ஒன்று அலந்தவர்க்கு உதவுதல்;
போற்றுதல்' என்பது, புணர்ந்தாரை பிரியாமை;
பண்பு' எனப்படுவது, பாடு அறிந்து ஒழுகுதல்;
அன்பு' எனப்படுவது, தன் கிளை செறாஅமை;
அறிவு' எனப்படுவது, பேதையார் சொல் நோன்றல்;
செறிவு' எனப்படுவது, கூறியது மறாஅமை;
நிறை' எனப்படுவது, மறை பிறர் அறியாமை;
முறை' எனப்படுவது, கண்ணோடாது உயிர் வௌவல்;
பொறை' எனப்படுவது, போற்றாரை பொறுத்தல்.

Goodness is helping one in distress;
Support is not deserting one who is dependent;
Culture is to act in unison with the ways of the world;
Love is not surrendering ties with one’s kin;
Wisdom is to ignore the advice of the ignorant;
Honesty is not to go back on one’s words;
Integrity is to ignore others’ faults;
Justice is awarding punishment without partiality;
Patience is to suffer the ill-disposed.

—Kalithogai 133 —Translated by C.K. Swaminathan

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ A. Mariaselvam (1988). The Song of Songs and Ancient Tamil Love Poems: Poetry and Symbolism.