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In ancient days, Tamil Country was divided in to 12 parts. These division are not mentioned in the cankam literature. In Tolkappiam the twelve divisions are mentioned but their names are not given llampuranar, the earliest commentator of Tholkappiam, was the first to mention these divisions by name, followed by canavaraiuar and nacchinarkiniyar. The meaning of tol. Col, Sutra 400 is this: thisaiccol or the dialectal words are those spoken with their meanings unchanged in the twelve divisions of Tamil Land  where correct Tamil in use. Centamil cerndha panniru nilam’ means the Tamil Country which is divided into twelve parts where chaste Tamil [centhamil] is spoken. All the commentators, except Thyvacchiliyar, have interpreted this verse in different manner. They have said that main Tamil Nadu itself of Tamilnadu lay between rever vaigal on the north the rever maruthuru on the south. Kanuvur on the east and maruvar on the west. According to the above division the twelve lands were. 

1. Pongarnadu 2. Olinadu 3.Tenpandiadu 4.Kuttanadu 5.Kadanadu 6.Panrinadu 7.Karkanadu 8.Sitthanadu 9.Puzhinadu 10.Malainadu 11.Aruvanadu and 12,Auvavedethainadu

 Olinadu, we must not, is the second in the list.

               In Nannual (273) Llakkana Viiakkam (174) and Muthu Variyam (52) we find that the twelve divisions are spoken of in different manners . the commentators of the above verse which leaves out Olinadu:

  The author of Tamil vidu Thoothukudi’ also refers to the twelve divisions (kanni-39) 

For the last eight hundred years Olinadu has been completely out of the picture. Now we have new evidence about this forgotten country. A Tamil Brahmi inscription which has recently been discovered at Arithapatti near Melur, Madurai District, throws new light on Olinadu. The inscription as follows :-  


             The inscription can be tentatively translated;’ Chaliyan Atanan Volyan of Nelveli gave this gave’, the world voliyan (Oliyan) means the king of Olinadu’, According to pattinappaiai. Karikal Choiia I conquered the Oliyas.

              Before the discovery of the Arithaptti inscription, we did not know the proper meaning of the above line. Now we have a clear understanding of the same. 

               Mr.V.Kanagasabai Pillai, the author of the  Tamils  1800 years Ago’, explains these twelve divisions of ancient Tamil Nadu. But he never mentions Olinadu’ in his book. Only his Tamil Transistor mentions OliNadu in a footnote where he says. That Olinadu was Vanadu (Present Kanyakumari District ).? 

               According to the arithapatti inscription, the word Oliyar’ does not refer to the people of Vanadu. It refers to the pandiyas opf Thirunelveli. Thus Olinadu was one of the name of PandiuaNadu. The views of the old commentators also confirm this idea. Llampuranar, Cenavaraiyar and nacchinarkiniyar way the 12 divisions were in TamilNadu itself. Mayilainather and the succeeding commentators of nannul thought that the divisions were the border arches of chentamilnadu of Pandiyanadu. According to the commentators of Tolkappiyam (except Teyvacchilaiyar Pandiyanadu was one among the twelve divisions. In their list, Pandinadu is given. As Olinadu, just as Chonadu is Given as Pongarnadu Therefore. Both the names pandiyas and Oliyas mean the same things. This fact is confirmed by the discovery of the said inscription at Arithapatti and the theory Olinadu was Venadu does not stand to proof.