"Curry" and its origins?

Richard Salomon rsalomon at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Fri Feb 6 02:33:32 UTC 1998

On Thu, 5 Feb 1998, Geeta Bharathan wrote:

> Two questions in response to Richard Salomon's question--
> 1. Would the answer to this depend upon when E. Hultzsch did the
> translation?  If after "curry" had become established in the European
> context, then I imagine he mightt have equated the two (curry=kaRi) and
> come up with the closest approximation to what "suupa" must mean.

Hultzsch's translation was published in 1925.  It might be interesting to
see whether A. Cunningham's earlier version (1877) and other early
translations used the word "curry"--I don't have a copy at hand.  But in
any case I would assume that
"curry" was widely current in Anglo-Indian use by Cunningham's time.

> I find it interesting that the term "suupa", rather than kaRi, is used
> in the edict; this raises the second set of questions--
> 2. Where was this Asokan edict located? Given that kaRi is of Dravidian
> ancestry and therefore its usage prevalent in southern India, then my
> guess (sticking my neck out) would be that the edict was located in the
> northern region-- is this correct?

The "major rock edicts" were recorded at (at least) nine different places
India (at latest count); the version I cited is from Girnar (near
Junagadh, Gujarat) [This is meant to also answer J. Thakur's earlier
question about Girnar.]  But the original text was presumably composed in
the capital,
namely Pataliputra (modern Patna) in Magadha (=Bihar); so you are right to
think that the usage in question is essentially "northern."

> If not, and the location is southern, then it seems to me that its date
> actually time the spread of the usage of kaRi in that part of
> southern India. Is this correct?
> Thank you, this is actually getting a little closer to answering the
> question that was in my mind when I first posted here.
> --Geeta
> On Wed, 4 Feb 1998, Richard Salomon wrote:
> > As regards the question, in general, of what "curry" implies in indigenous
> > and English use: it caught my eye that E. Hultzsch, and others following
> > him, translated suupa- in Asokan rock edict 1 as "curry."  This word
> > occurs in the context of Asoka's concerns about the number of animals
> > (including "peacock' [moraa] and "deer" [mago]) being killed for food
> > (suupaathaaya), so evidently  suupa- refers to meat dishes.  Does this
> > term then perhaps correspond to Kannada kaRi,  etc? (and was Hultzsch,
> > who I think knew Kannada, consciously thinking of
> > this in his translation?).

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