Volume 20 No 22 (2022)
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SALINI.S.S, Dr.D.Rani Mila
In ancient Tamilakam, women enjoyed a prominent position within the social structure, holding equality with men across various aspects of life. The Sangam literature provides ample references to support this elevated status. This equitable standing persisted until the dominance of Brahmanical supremacy, backed by their Sastras and Samhitas. A historical examination reveals that during the initial stages of the Sangam society, both men and women experienced equal rights, with women receiving high social status, unrestricted movement, and the right to a complete education. However, as society transitioned from tribal to kinship structures, women's status declined, and their social mobility became restricted. In the medieval period, women started withdrawing from public life, and the caste-based hierarchical society confined them to a secluded existence without political rights. The once-respected status of women underwent significant changes over the centuries due to external influences such as the Aryans and Europeans. This analysis is primarily grounded in inscriptional evidence and Sangam literature.
Ancient Tamilakam, Sangam period, Manimekhalai, Silappadikaram, Kundalakesi, Marava women, Panar women, Kurava women, Aryan immigration.
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