Translations of Tamil names into Sanskrit

Palaniappa at Palaniappa at
Mon Apr 28 13:36:05 UTC 1997

In a message dated 97-04-28 07:36:34 EDT, you write:

<< 	Indeed I come from Pu.yapattana or Pu.nyanagarii (= Pune, in
 Marathi). I don't know how old this usage is, but it is commonly seen not
 only in modern Sanskrit publications from Pune, but often also in Marathi. 
 The old pre-urbanization name of this place was punava.dii. 
This is very very interesting. In an article entitled, "Etymology of
Place-Names PaTTi-HaTTi", in Annals of Bhandarkar Oriental Research
Institute, S.B. Joshi gives a Dravidian origin for words like, paTTi,
paTTaNa, haTTi, pADa, vADa, vADi, etc.
As for the first portion, 'puna', DED 3558 lists " puJcaTamil 'punam'  upland
fit for dry cultivation; 'punakkATu' shifting cultivation on the hills;
'puncey' land fit for dry cultivation only, dry crop; Malayalam 'punam'  a
jungle, chiefly highland overrun with underwood and capable of irregular
cultivation; 'punakkaNTam' as hill-tract; 'puJca' dry crop; 'puJca-kkaNTam'
field under irrigation, yielding even three harvests. Kannada 'puNaji'
dust-like dry soil in which a kind of paddy is grown. Tulu 'puJca-kaNDa a
very good rice-field. Telugu 'punja' land cultivated without artificial
irri8gation, high land."

In Classical Tamil literature one of the important landscape division is the
mountain/hill region (kuRinci) where the girls (heroines) are depicted as
going to 'punam' or millet-fields to protect them from birds like parrots
that would otherwise eat the grains. This 'punam' is the place where the hero
meets the heroine and falls in love in the hill-country.

Thus the old name for 'Pune' seems to have meant 'village of uncultivated
fields in the hills'. 


S. Palaniappan

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