The reference to a submerged southern land from which the Tamils migrated came from two books – Iraiyanar Akapporul and Silappathikaram. Silappathikaram talks about the submerged land mass Kumari while Iraiyanar Akapporul talks about the poetic gatherings which happened there, called Sangams albeit much exaggeratedly. Things would have stayed rational had the continent of Lemuria not been proposed in 1864. Using that as a lynchpin, a person by name Suryanarayana Sastri proposed that Kumari is Lemuria and this is picked by many, with Kanakasabai Pillai becoming one of the greatest and most influential propoenents. Lemuria is supposed to be a submerged continent lying between Madagascar, Australia and India and geographically, if it ever existed, it would have submerged at least a few millions of years ago. This has created a scenario where Tamils identify themselves with a long submerged supercontinent much bigger than what Tamil Nadu today is, instilling a sense of pride in them. This, in return, has made the abnormally long numbers given regarding the Sangams supposed to have happened real in their eyes. It is this theory which lets Tamils claim their language is the oldest in the world. And this theory refuses to die like that of Aryan Invasion Theory. To give credence to this fact, an etymology for Pandya which means old is proposed – they are the rulers of the submerged Kumari and a timeline(for example, the below is by Pavanar) is attributed to it. This, actually, became a fertile ground for imagination.
ca. 500,000 BC: origin of the human race,
ca. 200,000 to 50,000 BC: evolution of “the Tamilian or Homo Dravida”,
ca. 200,000 to 100,000 BC, beginnings of Tamil
ca. 100,000 to 50,000 BC, growth and development of Tamil,
50,000 BC: Kumari Kandam civilisation
20,000 BC: A lost Tamil culture of the Easter Island which had an advanced civilisation
16,000 BC: Lemuria submerged
6087 BC: Second Tamil Sangam established by a Pandya king
3031 BC: A Chera prince in his wanderings in the Solomon Island saw wild sugarcane and started cultivation in Tamilnadu.
1780 BC: The Third Tamil Sangam established by a Pandya king
7th century BC: Tolkappiyam, the earliest extant Tamil grammar
A total of three Sangams are supposed to have happened, with two of them, in the submerged lands. The first one happened at Madurai, which is submerged, second at Kapatapuram, which again is submerged and the third in the current Madurai. This Sangam culture was interrupted by the Kalabhra interregnum and was never restored. It is important to note that there was no reference whatsoever for these Sangams in pre-Pallava period and the first book referring to Sangam is Iraiyanar Akapporul and Silappathikaram may have been the first book referring to Kumari. They could have been pure poetic fantasies or a blown up account of a small sea side city or a small island submerged in water and people migrated out of there. Since the names of two rivers and a mountain ridge is mentioned, it could have been an island, if not somewhere else, in the Kaveri Delta itself. As to the Sangams, it would have been dynastic patronages. Three Sangams can indicate three dynasties – the first and second can indicate dynasties while the third indicates a migration. A historic memory, blown up to a scale which doesn’t seem probable whatsoever.
Below are the details of the Sangams and one can only see how exaggerated the numbers are. In continuous succession itself, the first Sangam would have started around 9000 BC.
|Mutaṟcaṅkam||Madurai submerged by sea||4400 years||549||4449||89||Paripaadal, Mudunarai, Mudukurugu, Kalariyavirai||Agattiyam|
|iṭaicaṅkam||Kapatapuram||3700 years||59||3700||59||Kali, Kurugu, Vendali, Viyalamalai ahaval||Budapuranam, Agattiyam, Tholkaapiyam, Mapuranam, Iainunukkam|
|kaṭaicaṅkam||Madurai||1850 years||49||449||49||Kurunthogai,Netunthogai, Krunthogai Nanooru, Narrinai Nanooru, Purananooru, Aingurunooru, Padirrupaatu, Kali, Paripaadal, Kuttu, Vari, Sirrisai, Perisai||agattiyam, tholkappiyam|