Palaniappa Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Thu May 7 03:55:32 UTC 1998

In a message dated 98-05-06 13:29:55 EDT, g.v.simson at EAST.UIO.NO writes:

<< In our discussions about the Aryan-Invasion/Immigration-Theory a series of
 both linguistic and archaeological arguments have been brought forward. It
 seems to me that ideological arguments so far have been neglected. If you
 have a look at the vocabulary of the Rgveda, you will find that the horse
 plays a very prominent part in it, a fact that already would point to its
 ideological relevance even before you start reading the texts. Not only the
 word azva is used about 200 times (not to mention hari and other words for
 horse), there are also more than 30 derivatives from and compounds with
 azva! The Indus seals, on the other hand, often depict other animals, but -
 as far as I know - not the horse. If we assume that the seals to a certain
 degree reflect religious concepts, the absence of the horse is highly
 significant, especially if we compare it with the high position of the
 horse in other Indo-European cultures. Therefore - even if some horse-bones
 should be found in the Indus culture - the horse does not seem to have
 played any prominent role in the minds of its people. This makes a very
 strong contrast to Vedic culture as reflected in the Rgveda. For me the
 horse-argument still has much weight, in spite of the counterarguments that
 have been brought forward up to now. >>

I posted the following in Indology on July 6, 1997.

"In Classical Tamil, there is a word, 'mAn2', which seems to denote wild
animals and especially antelope/deer. This word is contrasted with 'An2'
which refers to the domesticated cattle. The term used to refer to wild
cattle is 'AmAn2'. This pair of 'mAn2' and 'An2' seems to be comparable to
the contrasting pair 'mRga' and 'pazu' in Sanskrit. But there is a
significant difference which seems to give some important information
regarding the domestication of the horse and elephant, if it can be called

In Sanskrit, horse is included in the category of 'pazu' as a domesticated
animal. But in Classical Tamil literature which comes several centuries
later, the horse is still called 'mAn2'. This is in spite of it being very
widely used by itself for riding as well as for drawing chariots. This seems
to suggest two things to me. For one, Dravidians did not domesticate the
horse (which everybody knows anyway) and secondly, and more importantly, the
language has preserved the original 'alienness' of the horse even after so
many centuries if not millennia. This is one more evidence for the
extraordinary preservation of ancient cultural elements in Classical Tamil.

Another interesting fact is that apart from the horse, the elephant is also
called 'mAn2'. When coupled with the fact that CT often talks about the Aryan
language spoken by the elephant trainers/drivers, it leads one to wonder if
the training of wild elephants was an Aryan contribution? or Did the
semantics of 'mAn2' change?

In Sanskrit, which category does the elephant belong to?"


S. Palaniappan

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list