Telugu history

S Krishna mahadevasiva at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun May 3 04:15:56 UTC 1998

May I request all members involved in the Samskrt-vs-Tamil topic to look
at something very interesting:

   Dr V.Narayana Rao, a professor of Telugu at the U Wisconsin who has
authored scholarly commentaries on the padas of kSEtraiya as well has
translated pAlakuriki sOmanAtha's basavapurANamu into English, has the
following comments to make in his article "Coconut and Honey: Samskrt
and Telugu in mediaval Andhra" (Social Scientist, Vol 23, October 1995,
Pages 24-38):

Page 33: ( from a translation of a poem by the 16th century telugu poet
koravi gOparAju)

"If I write lucidly in telugu, they say
the poem is not tight, it is soft and lacks strength
If I use samskrt with some force,
they complain "it is as thorny as darbhA grass"."

and translates a verse on page 34 by the poet vallabharAya as
"Given a choice between the aged mother and the ravishing daughter,
I'll take the daughter any day!" (The aged mother refering to samskrt,
the ravishing daughter being telugu).

  In addition, I'm told that 14th century works in Malayalam categorize
maNipravALam works as "adhamam"( low class) if they use a high
proportion of samskrt words vis a vis malayALam and "uttamam" if they
use a low proportion of samskrt words.( i.e. degree of samskrtization is
inversely proportional to quality).

Since the works quoted yesterday by Prof Ganesan in Tamil, and the above
works in telugu and malayALam are all in the 12th-16th century
( a period which saw a lot of writing in the vernaculars), is it
possible that there was some kind of resentment in this period towards
the hitherto superior position that samskrt enjoyed and the poets
writing in the vernaculars therefore took potshots at samskrt by
describing it as "harsh"( as happened in the Tamil text) or as
"thorny as darbhA grass"( as happened in the Telugu text)?

I believe that this was more a feature of that period than any specific
bias/animus on the part of one language or poet towards samskrt.

In my humble opinion, we would benefit from a discussion of THAT i.e.
"anti-samskrtization" phenomenon and it's causative factors than a
discussion of which language is harsh and what is not, which is a highly
subjective matter.

  May I therefore request all to bury any hatchets around and light the
peace pipes and share any information that they may have regarding this


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