Iyer Heritage Page

Ravi R. Iyer ravi at TAMU.EDU
Tue Nov 4 15:54:56 UTC 1997

Dear S. Krishna:
Thank you for your email and encouraging words about our project.
Also thank you for the feedback - it keeps us on our toes and hungry.

>1. He says that "Iyer" is from Ayya which is from Arya...This was
>discussed sometime ago on this net by
>S.Palaniappan(palaniappa at aol.com)who said that"Iyer" is derived from the
>Tamil root "ai" and not the "Arya"-"Ayya" route that was followed
>earlier. May I therefore ask for references/logic followed for this

I direct you to the references given at the bottom of the Iyer Heritage Page.
I am unaware of the deliberations regarding the etymology of Iyer on this
howver I have used published works as references.

>2. I believe that the logic of "proclaiming all smarthas from
>Tamil NAdu" to be Iyer can lead to flawed conclusions. Tyagaraja was a
>Telugu speaking Vaidiki Brahmin from Tanjavur, how does he become an
>Iyer? Also, S.Radhakrishnan was a Telugu speaking Niyogi from Tirutanni,
>how does become an Iyer? I am aware of the fact that Tirutanni was
>traditionally a part of the Tamizhagam, but am not sure if it is in
>Tamil NAdu now; from what I remember, it is in the Chittoor district of
>Andhra Pradesh( in which case the logic behind  his being an Iyer fails
>in two different ways).

This is a common misconception. The history of social migration dictates
that the first few generations of immigrants usually hold dual affiliation.
For example, are Indian Americans Indians or Americans? In the US, they are
called Indian Americans (even though they are technically Americans) and in
India they are called NRI (non resident indians).
The bigger issue would have been now whether Tyagaraja (or  TyagAYYA as he
is constantly referred to) was Iyer, but whether Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
was Indian.
Besides, in Tyagaraja's songs, he barely praised tha Andhra country as much
as he praised the land of his birth.
Similar is the case of Govinda Dikshitar (who I am informed was  a Kannada
speaking smarta).
If S. Chandrasekhar was American, Tyagayya was Iyer and so were Govinda
Dikshitar and Radhakrishnan.

> LEt me also venture to add that in the realm of  agricultural
>scientists, one is far safer with somebody like the late Sir
>T.S.Venkataraman(Tiruvadi Sambasivayyar Venkataraman) or at a lesser
>level, Krishnaswami Ramiah

Point taken. Ill try to list the above people.

>than M.S.Swaminathan( There was an article a
>long time ago in the Illustrated Weekly( by Janardan Thakur) which
>proved that many of MSS's results were flawed, his green revolution was
>far from even starting evolution, his tenure as DG at the ICAR was
>notable only for the number of scientists resigning or commiting
>suicide. There was another book written about scientific fraud in the
>world where the same facts were repeated and Dr Swaminathans statistical
>conclusions questioned..his work is taken with a pinch of salt by many

Well...I would much rather believe peer reviewd journals and the opinion of
his peers, than some pseudo sensationalist publication like Illustrated
As it turns out, I am at Texas A&M University, one of the top universities
in the US in agricultural research. Norman Borlaug is on our faculty. MSS
is held in high regard here among the faculty and agricultural students.

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WWW - http://http.tamu.edu/~rri3004/ravi.html
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Email: ravi at tamu.edu

Subhaashitam: (Ancient Sanskrit Couplet)

||Kshamaa balam a-shaktaanaam; shaktaanaam bhUshaNam kshamaa|
  Kshamaa vashikrte loke, kshamayA: kim na sidhyati ? | ||

Subhashitasya anuvaadam (Translation):

Forgiveness is the strength of the weak.
Forgiveness embellishes the mighty.
In a world that can be conquered by forgiveness,
what is not possible by forgiveness?

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