Open main menu

Topics in Sangam literature
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

Kuṟuntokai (Tamil: குறுந்தொகை, meaning the short-collection[1]) a classical Tamil poetic work, is the second book of the Eight Anthologies (Ettut-thokai), a Sangam literature anthology. Kuruntokai contains poems dealing with matters of love and separation (அகம்) content matter and were written by numerous authors.It belongs to the period known as the Sangam period (300BCE-100AD). Kurunthogai compiled by Pooriko Nachinarkiniyar (உரை), a Tamil scholar who lived during the sixth or the seventh century CE, has annotated this work.

Red earth and pouring rainEdit

குறிஞ்சி - தலைவன் கூற்று

யாயும் ஞாயும் யாரா கியரோ,
எந்தையும் நுந்தையும் எம்முறைக் கேளிர்,
யானும் நீயும் எவ்வழி யறிதும்,
செம்புலப் பெயனீர் போல,
அன்புடை நெஞ்சம் தாங்கலந் தனவே.

-செம்புலப் பெயனீரார்.

What is my mother

to yours? How is my father related
to yours? Although
you and I knew not each other in any way,
just as red earth and pouring rain:
the love-filled hearts merged.

(Kuruntokai - 40)

மெல்ல மெல்ல நம் காதல் மாரி பெய்யலீல் நீர் உவமையிடவதி்ல் என் தந்தை மற்றும் உங்கள் தந்தை, எப்படி அவர்கள் தொடர்புள்ளனர் என்றும் நானும் நீயும் எப்படி ஒருவருக்கொருவர் அறிந்திருக்கிறோம் என்றும் புரிய செய்தது.

A beautiful poem from Kuruntokai is the famous Red earth and pouring rain by the Sangam age poet Sembula Peyaneerar. This poem is the verse 40 in the Kuruntokai anthology. The image of "red earth and pouring rain" evokes pictures of the first monsoon rains falling on the red-earthed hills typical of the Tamil lands to mingle with the dry, parched soil forming a cool, damp clay, and of the flowers blooming in the rain. The mood created is that of lovers, clandestinely meeting in the hills, their hearts waking suddenly, unexpectedly, to each other.

A second level of meaning is created by the imagery of progression. The poem opens with the possible bonds of friendship, and then kinship, between the parents. Then, it moves to bonds formed by two people learning and getting to know each other. From these abstractions, it comes to concreteness with the picture of red earth in the rain, drawing a parallel with the lover's journey from aloneness to union.

Finally, there is the image of the kurinji flower itself. Though never mentioned in the poem, it is nonetheless present as a fundamental part of a landscape of hills. A kurinji flower only blooms once in twelve years,[2] the period associated in Tamil tradition with the coming of a girl to sexual maturity. Unspoken, but present, in the poem through the image of the flower is a sense of a woman awakening to herself and to union.


In popular cultureEdit

The poem has been used in the song Narumagaye in Iruvar and in the song Yaayum in Sagaa.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ A Mariaselvam (1988). The Song of Songs and Ancient Tamil Love Poems: Poetry and Symbolism.
  2. ^ The latest flowering was during 2006.
  3. ^ [ English renderings of Kuruntokai - Problems in Translation]
  4. ^ Assamese poet first to find Estonian audience

External linksEdit