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Social Formation in Tamil Eco-zones
Sangam poems help us understand the social formation of the time. According to the thinai concept, Tamilagam was divided into five landscapes or eco-regions namely Kurinji, Marutam, Mullai, Neytal and Palai. Each region had distinct characteristics – a presiding deity, people and cultural life according to the environmental conditions, as follows:
Kurinji: hilly region: hunting and gathering
Marutham: riverine tract:agriculture using plough and irrigation.
Mullai: forested region: pastoralism combined with shifting cultivation
Neythal: coastal land: fishing and salt making.
Palai: parched land. Unsuitable for cultivation and hence people took to cattle lifting and robbery.
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