Sangam literature is the Tamil literature composed during the great poetic confluences of ‘Sangams’ during 1-3rd century AD in Tamil land.
Economic significance of Sangam literature
- It tells us about the brisk Indo Roman trade. It tells us we used to import gold, wine, pottery, slaves and export spices, textiles, silk.
- It tells us of the important ports of the age (Muchiri, Arikamedu), important cities (Kanchivaram), important economic activities (textile making, agriculture).
- It tells us the important role played by women in the economy.
- It tells us that rice cultivation was important.
- It tells us that economic decline had set in by the end of 3rd century as the poets don’t praise the then kings highly.
Social significance of Sangam literature
- It tells us that brahmanisation of tamil society was going on, it was not complete.
- It tells us at the top of the society were brahmans. Below them everybody was shudra but among them the vellalars held importance.
- It tells us of the clan based society, the importance of kinship. The poets praise entire kins of the kings and not just the king.
- It tells us that main clans were hillsmen, forestmen, delta people, coastal people.
- It tells us untouchability had come into existence.
- It tells us of kannagi worship and thus the virtues expected from a noble woman i.e. chastity and devotion to husband.
- It tells us education was dominated by brahmans.
Political significance of Sangam literature
- Some of the stories like attempts to link to mahabharata war and pandavas are obviously an exaggeration. Yet it tells us some important real political events.
- For example the Chola king Karikala who won his kingdom back after defeating an alliance of opponents.
Answer by Gaurav Agrawal AIR 1 CS 2013- Courtesy his superman blog