Iyer Heritage Page

Ravi R. Iyer ravi at TAMU.EDU
Tue Nov 4 16:58:13 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 conclusion?

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 forum... 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. QED.

>LEt me also venture to add that in the realm of agricultural scientists, one is far s
>afer 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 people).

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

Ravi R. Iyer

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