Political Science of Singai Pallavas
The Pallava rulership reveals the heights to which Tamil civilisation reached. The Pallava rulership made eighteen divisions of their subject. All subjects received rights in an equitable manner. All people were considered equal. The security and rights of the people received the assurance of the ruler. Those who were conferred greater responsibilities were the channels through which the ruler was acquainted with the needs of the people and ruler accordingly to ensure social equilibrium. In knowing the peoples desires and short comings the ruler provided a stable background for his people. The people who were his subjects were considered his people and the people considered the king next to the devine; the sovereign was docked upon by the people. The sceptre was not allowed to bend. The people engendered a loyalty to the ruler in their hearts and were loyal to their land. The love and loyalty between ruler and people had a healthy interaction.
The ruler may be on the throne in the Kolumaadapam or in court with its members in the Aththanimandapam the peoples welfare was paramount. In court there were his advisors made up of several tiers his ministers, sages realised souls gave advice to the ruler. People brought their imbalances and complaint to the ruler. He was the protector of the people. He was their security moat defending them against adversity. His crown does not proclaim his loftiness but signifies the responsibilities he carries towards his people. Those who come to the ruler for relief with complaints, even if there is no witness, or lack of knowledge relating to the accused; it is his duty to find the accused, one or many and bring justice to the affected party and mete out punishment to the wrongdoer.
The country belonged to the King; the right to get benefit from it is the people given by the sovereign. To battle for the land the people considered it their right. To be wounded in battle and lose their lives for the king was their name and fame. Although the king was the repository of executive authority, the king is responsible to the royal court. The king will be seated on the throne, his royal priest (Siddha or Thavasi ) will be seated near him. To his right there will be the five – fold members of Royal assembly to his left will be the tiers of authoring from his commander, verls or verlalars, spies of the kingdom fighters and the town people. With the acknowledgement of this many tiered court, the king performs his duties. Royal lineage is the central factor behind the personage recognised as the king. Any one with defect in the royal line is rejected and there will not be the ceremony of crowing. The sceptre in the rulers hand represents that justice would be done to all. The sceptre would become bent when there is a failure of justice and the people will reject the ruler.
The rulership of Nallur became affected with the ageing of the great king Pararasasegaran and when Sangili one of his sons not an offspring of the royal alliance wrested power by imprisoning his father the king and ascended the throne; but, neither the court nor those in palace service at the lower ranges and the citizens refused to accept him. Without crown or sceptre, Sangili exercised his rule. There are many Tamil works on justice and adjudication; these rulers who exercised their authority without affecting justice were upheld as noble rulers. The Siddhas , Sages mendicants, men of intellect and poetic groups from coming with the few of time, period to period were responsible for the evolving of judicial traditions and pertinent features to justice and judicial norms.
In the king’s court were those persons who gained distinction in the different fields of Tamil heritage. The successor to the throne the crown prince is decided upon when the king is alive. The son of the king and queen, who has had a complete training and has achieved competence is the sixty – four arts and craft will be crowned as the one next in the royal line. If there had been no prior decision on the crown prince the titular queen’s first son will become the heir to the throne. It is usual to organise competitions in the different fields for the princes who are the sons of the departed king, in order to make an excellent choice as to who should be crowned. The five fold court – groups of royal assembbly participate in making a choice and crowning the would be king. The general acceptance of the court is essential to setting upon the choice for crowning as the future king. When such conditions for making a choice as to the future ruler became weakened or relaxed that is the kings son can only became king being the vital factor, lost importance, the quality of Tamil rulership gradually declined the most outstanding prince of royal blood ought to be crowned. The king had the right to choose his heir from the royal families as crown – prince; to ascend the thrown after him. The normal choice to be the future king is the offspring of titular head the king and his queen in addition this crown – prince should be a saivate (follower of Siva). This qualification are imperative to be crowned as king; any other categories of persons are not fit to be referred to as belonging to the royalty, ruler or prince. This is the tradition and connection associated with the titular head upheld by the land, qualifications and conditions of the similar nature are applied to fill the various positions in the kingdom (rulership) when a vacancy arises.
The subjects got trained in the sixty-four arts and craft; those who show excellence in these 64 fields in the annual competitions are awarded prizes at the festival of Indra (Indravizha) by the king. Those who receive appointments to positions will continue to hold it until they are through ageing or physical condition unable to fulfil their functions.
The constitution of Singai was unwritten this was called ‘nadduvalamai’ or thesavalamai (the country’s customs and practices). Naddu Valamai was in force all sub-rulers and chieftains also followed the same Ceylon. Thesavalamai (the countries laws) is made up of the views in the works on justice, along with the wisdom of sages directed towards evolving a regimen for human culture and the practices that are supportive towards wholesome social living. Which have been in usage for a period of time. Tamil academy played an important role in making customs and practices. The ruler was the executive authority of the decisions made by the court headed by the King himself. The main theme of rulership was ‘one who protects before the occurrence’ .
The ruler was always mindful in having troops of great strength; also these troops had to be in peak training without lapse. The Singai rulers regiments were made up of the charity troops, elephant mounted troops, horse regiment, infantry, spy-force, and naval force in all six-fold troops. Weapons were kept in prime condition through a complete survey for defects which are made war-worthy at the iron – foundry in the hands of expert ironsmiths.
The Kings had the system of reliving the disabled soldiery and the ageing. Those who were retired for these reasons were replaced annually by younger fighters. The spy-force functioned directly under the supervision of the king. There was also a personal protective force for the king. During times of battle mercenaries too were secured for service.
The ruler’s embellishments were the regimental forces, the pennant, the subjects, the sounding drum, horse, elephant, chariot, garland and crown. The ruler must posses the capacity to fulfil the hopes of aspirations of the people he ruled. The Singai Pallavas were loved by the subjects in the sense of being godly in taking care of them to their almost. The sovereign was the repository of the people’s power and was a father; he was subject to justice and orderly moral living . The Kings exercised their authority for the welfare of the people and the people acted for the welfare of the Kings. An unbent unwavering sceptre representing the rule meant that the people submitted themselves to the authority represented by the sceptre.
The outlook of the Singai people was wholly patriotic to their kingdom and loyal to their Kings. The Singai ethic was to enhance the stature of their land throng the Pallava arts and culture; through the convention and traditions that were engendered by that land down the ages and there by to preserve the unique nature of their nation and the emphasis was on work and the gains from work was stressed in the socio cultural falric of Singai country. This may be called nationalism. To preserve the land the Pallava ethic was nurtured and, love for the land. Those who embraced the Pallava ethic also protected the land from outside depredations. The Singai rulers and the people understood that the love for their land and the Singai ethic would do the almost to up life the land and protect its security.
The practice in Singai Nadu was to request the heals of family heads who were gather public place as to whom they gave their political support. Following this, they would be requested to by a show of hands to register the votes for the persons who names were given. If more than one person hand been named. Finally aggregating the support against each name, the appointment of Peanmahan would be conferred. This practice continued up to the 20th century in approaching the Village had man and the Udaiyar. In only names of single persons to the positions were given, they would be appointed without a show of hands to assess the support. This practice came down from Pallava times up to the 20th Century Perumahans were the elected members of Royal Assemble by the citizens of Singainadu emphasising the people’s participation in the administration of the land.
The Perumahans thus elected by the people would bring to the notice of court the state of the peoples outs and inner life, their need, the custum associated with their work. The Perumahan committee in terms of their functions was made up of eighteen. Their functions, mainly, represented the different types of work and in the kings court all work an workers received representation. The Perumahan were accorded a special status ad authority in the rulership.
Judicial coral (the ruler of conduct, customs and conventions governing the peoples lives)
The Medical Council
This committee was made up of the Kings physicians and surgeons numbering five. They were proficient in their fields of work. They were responsible for the care in maintaining of the health of the palace rodent the palace workers and the forces. The fife member chief committee was compound of the chief committee, the araverl committee medical committee the nimithar committee (Astrologer committee and the minister’s committee composed the five member chief committee.
The subjects of the land on the basis of their occupation were made up to eighteen work related subjects. One member of each of these 18 occupational divisions were members of the King assembly, these members were called chieftains, who received much respect from the people and they possessed competence of the work related to their division. They were selected by the Vellalas for such representation from the regions in which they dwelt. The verl (Vellala) visited the ejective regions and requested the family heads to a public assembling spot and quarried them as to whom the preferred to be selected for representation at the Royal assembly. If more the one name was given there would have to be a selection. The verl would then go on to the procedure of selection the raising their lands in approval. And as to who should be finally selected would be made on this procedure of selection as chieftain. If only one name was mentioned there would be no electing on the bares of raising hands and the one person who become Perumohan. This practice continued up to the 20th century in electing the village headman and ‘Udaiyar’ (Overall Head). This practice belonged to the Pallava period.
The Royal assembly in which these representatives were members; would appraise the conditions for inner and outer life of the people of their region, of their needs and how well the region functioned. Thus the Five – fold chieftain committee made up of lighten members represented all the work – segments. The Perumahan enjoyed a position of importance and regard in the Royal assembly.
There member of the caravel committee wore proficient in ‘Theravalamai’ (The tradition) and convention in practice in the society) their knowledge of the aram literary works highlighting wholesome social factices and the total of rulership practices. The Praverl group was the pivotal factor in the functioning of the Royal assembly. The practices in their totality made up of traditions, contentious and time – tested ways farmed the basis for the functioning of this committee. And to make the functioning of this committee more relevant to society, was decided int five segments, Arcenkoory avai expert views on convention traditions and related factors, and functioned in defined fields as court of Justice, Tribunal, Panchayam. This committee ensured the rights of the people, meting of punishments for those who committed violations of practice with the objective of maintain. Social felicity and promoting community consciousness in the people. The sceptre represented the upholding of the welfare of the people as member of society. As such the ruler’s main task was the welfare of society as a whole.
At present what is called Thesavalamai was fashioned by the Colonial rulers to their own advantage to Pacillate their governance and there were made laws. What was omitted from the fund of ‘Thesavalamai’ covering a large period formed a large section and only what was necessary to the colonial rulers gained the status of law. What should kept in mind is that what was called ‘Thesavalamai’ is the high point of the Tamil’s administrative culture linking several periods of Pallava rule. This is stated by V.T.Thamiln, lecherer in law. Although Thesavalamai had under gone change through colonial rule, it represented, practices that were in force in Lanka per thousands of years.
‘Thesavalamai’ formed the basis of rulership for the whole of Sri Lanka and received significance being appropriate for the whole land. After the arrival of the colonial British rule it became confined only to the north of Sri Lanka in connection with property rights and where ever the northerners lived ‘Thesavalamai’ governed property rights. The ‘Thesavalamai’ made clear that a man may have more than one spouse and the objective could be that women ought to have care divorce and re-marriage are features of ‘Thesavalamai’. On the whole ‘Thesavalamai’ had the welfare of women in mind in granting women in mind in granting women the right for divorces and widows to re-marry. Thus the status of women in Tamil society of the Pallavas was of the high order.
The Board of Ministers
In the five-fold chieftains committee the ministers committee had importance. The description of this committee is found with some variations in literacy works. Connected with this committee. One chief minister of distinction and sagacity headed the ministerial committee and when there were four capable deputy ministers. Many function were handled by the ministerial committee.
- Income of the land
- Moral and ethics institutions
- Nurturing welfare of the people
- Security of the land
- The palace – serving staff
- The supervision of the function of the other committee
This ministerial committee was invested with the function of overseeing the sovereign’s welfare and the taxation for war-purposes which were discussed and received before making decisions. The ministerial committee which had five functioning as chief and deputy ministers. Under them functioned the commander of the forces, the spiritual ambassadors and spy group as members. The make – up of this ministerial committee had secular and religions functions under it.
Sound to the king was the prince in authority next prince next come the ministerial committees head. During times of was the commander of the forces functioned with authority. The Kadai Kappalar head of palace security took care of the palace and all articles belonging to the palace. Also the security of the palace and fort came under him. When ever there was conflict in opinion as to the laws and their functioning in definite situations, the King’s court with its five-fold chieftain’s committee took over the responsibility of decision making.
Singai Royal Assembly
The King court was made up five fold
Perumahans committee – 18 members.
Ministers committee – five members
Araverl committee – five members
Nimithar committee – five members
Medical committee – five members
Chamber of commerce – made up of trading and commercial numbering five
The priest of the Pallava ruler, who was a sidddha or mendicant. The verls numbering five The chief commander of the forces. Spy-group head The Elephant – troop head, The Horse – troop head, Kadai Kappalar – Store and security of palace. The prince and others were in the King’s court when it assembled in times of emergence the five – fold chieftain’s committee, ministerial committee heads of other committees and the commander of all forces assembled.