Name and Persons
The name of this poetess is variously spelt as Auvaiyār and Avvaiyār, with or without the r mark. The word Auvaiyār literally means a venerable woman of a certain age. But in the Tamil world, it usually refers to a poetess who is held in high regard and with great affection. There is some confusion regarding the name and personage of Auvaiyār. Books on Tamil literature tell us that there were at least two Auvaiyārs, perhaps even three, all with poetic gifts and keen intellect, who bore this name at various periods in Tamil history.
The First Auvaiyār
She belonged to the first and second century CE. This was the time of the first Sangam period. She is credited with several poems in the poetic anthologies of the period: Natṟṟinai, Kuṟuntokai, Akanānuru, and Puṟanānuru. She was a court poet in a small realm. In one of her poems, there is reference to the custom by which a warrior king, if he died while fleeing from the battlefield, used to be cut to pieces right there and...
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