The Avvaiyars was the title of more than one poet who was active during different periods of Tamil literature. The Avvaiyar were some of the most famous and important female poets of the Tamil canon. Abithana Chintamani states that there were three female poets titled Avvaiyar.
Among them, Avvaiyar I lived during the Sangam period (c. 1st and 2nd century CE) and had cordial relation with the Tamil chieftains Paari and Athiyaman. She wrote 59 poems in the Puṟanāṉūṟu. Avvaiyar II lived during the period of Kambar and Ottakoothar during the reign of the Chola dynasty in the 13th century. She is often imagined as an old and intelligent lady by Tamil people. She wrote many of the poems that remain very popular even now and are inculcated in school textbooks in Tamil Nadu. These books include a list of dos and don'ts, useful for daily life, arranged in simple and short sentences.
There is a very famous legend that is associated with Auvaiyar a prominent female poets/ethicist/political activist of Sangam period (Tamil literature), and Naaval Pazham (Jambu) in Tamil Nadu. Auvaiyar, believing to have achieved everything that is to be achieved, is said to have been pondering her retirement from Tamil literary work while resting under Naaval Pazham tree. But she is met with and was wittily jousted by a disguised Lord Murugan (regarded as one of the guardian deities of Tamil language), who later revealed himself and made her realize that there was still a lot more to be done and learnt. Following this awakening, Auvaiyar is believed to have undertaken a fresh set of literary works, targeted at children. These works, even after a millennium, are often among the very first literature that children are exposed to in Tamil Nadu schools.
Tags: avvaiyar aathichudi , moothurai
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