This section is from the book "Some Contributions Of South India To Indian Culture", by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar. Also available from Amazon: Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture.
The question of this interregnum is so closely connected with the question of the origin of the Pallavas that the one cannot be separated from the other for any clear understanding of the early history of the Pallavas. The late Rai Bahadur V. Venkayya made an excellent contribution on the subject of the Pallavas to the annual report of the Archaeological Survey of India for the year 1906-07. This article was an elaboration of his presidential address to the South Indian Association on the same subject. He states it as his opinion, on page 221, that ' the Pallavas with whose history we are concerned, may, until their origin is satisfactorily established by indisputable evidence, be supposed to be identical with the Pahla-vas, Palhavas and Pahnavas of the Puranas. This identification is based on etymological grounds and supported by the fact that alhavas formed a distinct element in the population of Western India early in the second century A.D. Their movement from Western India to the East Coast is not only possible but rendered likely by known historical facts. Future researches must disclose the actual circumstances which led to the movement of the Palhavas to the East Coast and to their assumption of sovereignty.'
'As I have already remarked, the Pallavas were the political successors of the Andhras in the Godaveri and Kishna deltas and consequently, the former must have acquired sovereignty soon after the latter ceased to be the ruling power. The Andhras probably lost their dominion about the middle of the third century and the Pallavas may be supposed to have taken their place about the end of the same century.'
The late Mr. Venkayya arrived at these conclusions by dismissing the consideration that the Tondaman Ilam-Tirayan, who is known to Tamil-literature as the Viceroy of Kanchl, was the Tondaman who was the son of the Chola King by a Naga Princess "as it is not stated anywhere specifically." The connection is however clearly enough indicated in lines 29 to 37 of the Tamil poem Perumbanarruppadai. a work of Kadiyalur Rudran Kannan. This same poet has celebrated Karikala in the Pattinappalai. Both the poems are included in the collection Pattuppattu. But Mr. Venkayya would bring down Karikala to the period of interregnum, and Ilam-Tirayan will therefore naturally go also to that period according to his arrangement.1
He was led to this consideration by the fact that in the eastern Chalukya grant of Vimala-ditya of the early 11th century, a Trilochana Pallava is mentioned. This Trilochana Pallava Mr. Venkayya takes to he the feudatory of the Chola King Karikala, and therefore Karikala must be brought down to his period.
"Though this story is found only in records of the 11th century and is not corroborated by earlier inscriptions, it is evidently based on the belief current in the 11th century that the Pallava dominions extended in those early times to the modern Ceded Districts." If this consideration is due to a grant of the 11th century, it is hard to understand why a commentator who might have followed, it may be a century after, should not be shown similar consideration in regard to the connection of Ilam-Tirayan of Kanchl with a Chola, as the Perumbanarruppadai makes it certain. The learned scholar admits that there is no evidence of the eastward movement of the Pallavas, and still would postulate that the Pallavas got into the country and imposed themselves upon the people of the locality. We have already quoted references from early Tamil literature to the territory of the Tondaiyar, that is
1 A.S.I., 1906-7, note on p. 224.
Tondamandalam, dominated by Kanchi, the capital of Ilam-Tirayan. We have also quoted one passage in which the hill Vengadam (Tiru-pati) is said to have been in the territory of the Tondaiyar. What is more we have referred to a passage apparently from the ancient classics, though the actual source is not known at present, from the commentary of Nachinarkiniyar on the Tolkappiyam that these Tondaiyar were also known to these early Tamils by the name Pallava. These cogent considerations would make it certain that the terms Pallava and Tondaiyar were synonymous in the estimation of the early Tamils. If therefore we have to look for the origin of the Pallavas, here are the people from among whom they must have sprung. The region of the Tondamandalam, the more extended division, was known to the Tamils by another name. The Tondamandalam proper was called Aruva-Nadu, the northern portion of which dominated by Tirupati was apparently known Aruva-vada-talai. The people were also called Aruvalar, people with the bill-hook. The two descriptions therefore of these people as Tondaiyar and Aruvalar are descriptions based the one upon the totem of the tribe, the creeper Tondi; and the other a professional name from the scythe which must have been their weapon as cattleherds. We have pointed out already that the whole border land of the Tamils beyond this was occupied by a race of people known to them by the generic name Vadukar whose profession was cattle-rearing. That this region was divided among a number of petty chieftains is also known. These chieftains were called by the Tamils Kurumbar, sometimes also "Kurunila manner," petty chieftains. They are also classed as cowherds (Idaiyar). Among these one name comes out prominently, and that is the name of a chieftain Kaluvul who was very troublesome on this frontier, perhaps on the western side of it, and a victory against whom by the early Cheras is made much of in poem 88 of the Padirrupattu. That same passage taken along with poem 71 of the same collection makes it clear that Kaluvul was a chieftain among the cowherds.1
It is apparently these people that are referred to in poem 88 as Andar. Andar is a term in Tamil which is taken as synonymous with cowherds. The index to the work makes Andar mean enemy. In that sense the penultimate syllable must have been shortened for which process there is no need as the metre of the poem does not require it. It seems therefore open to the interpretation that the term Andar is a modification of the Sanskrit Andhra which Ptolemy renders Andara, apparently Andhra (Vadukar of the Tamils). Idaiyar would be a term applied to them as cattle-rearing was their main occupation. That that region was remarkable for cattle-rearing, and that even southern kings undertook expeditions against that region and its petty chieftains for the purpose of bringing in their cattle are in evidence in two pieces. One of the early Cheras is described as the Chera who carried off the cattle from Dandaranyam (Adu-kotpattu-Seran). There is a reference of a similar character to the cows from this country being carried off to the headquarters of Pulli of Tiru-pati. There is some justification therefore for Sir Walter Elliott's classification of certain early coins as those of the Kurumbar of this region, but anything like a dynasty of Kurumbar would seem unwarranted as the Pallavas never gave themselves that name, and the Kurumbar chiefs never seem to have advanced to the dignity of founding dynasties. Hence it is a far cry to connect the Pallavas of the Tondamandalam with the Yavanas, sakas and Pahlavas of the west till more evidence of a specific character becomes available to justify the hypothesis of a migration of the foreigners southeastwards from the region of Guzarat and North Konkan to the Ceded districts part of the Tondamandalam.
1 Compare poems 135 and 365 of Aham.