Telugu history

Bh. Krishnamurti bhk at HD1.VSNL.NET.IN
Thu Apr 30 18:34:01 UTC 1998

At 09:06 30/04/98 -0600, you wrote:
>Mr. S. Krishna writes:
>*by the 12th century, when the maNipravALam style held sway,
>*samskrtization had taken root so firmly that there were Tamil
>*works with more Samskrt words than Tamil words.
 >But in all periods, Tamil works employing tamil vocabulary
>far exceed the no. of maNipravALam tamil works. Can give you 100s of
>examples for any century CE.
> However Tamil has not had yet her own C. P. Brown who saved many
>Telugu manuscripts. There are about 3000 tamil palm-leaf
>manuscripts in Europe; some have not even been catalogued yet.
>Remember Europeans started working in Kerala & Tamil nadu from
>1600 CE onwards. Compared to Sanskrit manuscript editings by
>the West, equally ancient tamil works await critical edition.
>In Tamil India, tamil professors look more (to me, atleast)
>as comedians/jokers on TV & sabha/sangam meetings than
>in-depth researchers. In my honest searches, I know of not
>more than 10 Tamil professors who know enough of old & medieval
>Tamil literature who can edit a text from palm leaves.
>N. Ganesan

Mr. Ganesan:
I have no statistical studies on which literary Dravidian language  has been
more influenced by Sanskrit than others and in what period. Do you have
these studies? Or is it your personal intuition?  But, MalayaaLam, which was
the west coasst  dialect of Tamil until the 10th century or so is the most
influenced by Sanskrit. This is not my intuition. It is a fact. Look at
Raamacaritam or UNNuniilisandees'am.  Can you clarify why? Sometimes, the
Sanskrit influence in the pre-CE was subtle on Tamil. Tolkaappiyam used uyir
and mey which correspond to praaNa and praaNi, veeRRumai is translated from
vibhakti, tokai from samaasa, and  uvamai is upama; kaappiyam is itself a
tadbhava of kaavyam whatever Tamil purists may say. Is there any Tamil
classic which is devoid of the influence of Sanskrit langauge? Of course
not, because that was not a political problem then.

And what about the naming pattern in Tamil Nadu--GaNesan, KaruNaanidhi,
SaNmukam, etc. How old is this tradition? Most Tamil names, if you look at
the electoral roles, are of Sanskrit origin as it is true of the other
literary Dravidian languages. Nativizing Sanskrit names into Tamil, like
neTunceZiyan, aaRmukam, etc. is a recent trend which has political origins
and overtones.

What does it matter which language has more of Sanskrit or less of Sanskrit?
As a linguist, I see this kind of inquiry itself is political. English, the
greatest language of the world, has  only 5% of Anglo Saxon native element.
How are you suddenly interested in the Telugu History and what are you
driving at? It is true, as JBSHaldane (in the Hindu in the fifties) once
said, Telugu has greater accommodative power of foreign borrowings without
creating tadbhavas than the other modern Indian languages and he said it
deserved to be the official language of India.

Purity of a language is a myth. All languages borrow including Tamil.Do
different degrees matter? How? Borrowing is one of the ways of enriching a
language. Purism of any language is a pathological state of some of its
speakers who wanted to banish foreign elements from the language for
political purposes. No languge has benefitted by such attitudes; on the
contrary such languages have suffered in the long run.
Best regards, Bh. K.
Bh. Krishnamurti
H.No. 12-13-1233, "Bhaarati"
Street No.9, Tarnaka
Hyderabad 500 017, A.P.
Telephone (R)(40)701 9665
E-mail: <bhk at HD1.VSNL.NET.IN>

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