"vRtra" and "vEntan2"

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sun Nov 16 15:57:40 UTC 1997

In an earlier posting, I have shown that Tamil "vEntu" is a verb used to
denote the job of a king. Since a king in his governing role would have many
kinds of responsibilities, we need to get a clear understanding of the verb
"vEntu". My hypothesis is that it is related to "vEy" (DED 4552) meaning "to
cover (as a building), roof, thatch, put on (as a garland). (Compare DED 1219
"kAy" meaning "to grow hot, burn , be warm, etc" and kAntu meaning "to burn,
heat, etc.") The cognates of "vEy" are found in all the branches of the
Dravidian. So this must go back to proto-Dravidian. To cover as a roof means
offering protection. It also means that you have dominion over those you are
protecting. In fact, a variant of "vEy" is "mEy" which according to the Tamil
Lexicon also means "to dominate, surpass, govern". "vEntan2" (DED 4549) is a
noun derived from "vEntu". The cognates of this occur in South Dravidian and
possibly Central Dravidian as well. Considering the fact that other Dravidian
words meaning "king" are also not found in all the branches, we probably have
a situation where the words have been lost in the other languages. The royal
symbol, parasol, is another indication of this widespread covering/protecting
aspect of kingship. 

Once we realize the fact that in Dravidian, the king was conceived as "one
who covers", the etymology of Sanskrit "vRtra" derived from "vR" "to cover"
is very interesting. MW gives the meaning of "vRtra" as "coverer, investor,
restrainer�, an enemy, foe, hostile host". Of course, one�s protector is
another�s restrainer. MW also includes  a meaning "N. of Indra (?), L". How
can the arch-enemy of indra be identified with Indra? As DED 4549 shows
"vEntan2" also means "indra" in Tamil. This is based on the "king" aspect of
indra. If "vRtra" is a translation of Dravidian "vEntan2" meaning "king",
then "vRtra" and "indra" can both be identified as kings.

This raises another question. If Vedic Aryan-speakers translated this
Dravidian concept, what does it imply for the relationship between
Aryan-speakers and Dravidian speakers?

What do the list members think of this? Does IE have the concept of king as a
coverer? Thanks in advance.


S. Palaniappan

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