Horses/Indus seals

Mon May 18 12:55:07 UTC 1998

Dr. M. Witzel wrote:
*With regard to horses or cows on seals, it is of course a well known fact
*that only certain animals appear on the seals, esp. the Unicorn, Zebu
*bull, rhinoceros, water buffalo, and the short-horned bull. Also elephant,
*tiger, seals . <NOTE: all male, it seems: no female beasts, such as cows!)

*All of which Archaeologists ( the late W. Fairservis), and now M.
*Kenoyer in his recent book: Ancient Cities of the Indis Cvilization,
*Oxford (Karachi) 1998) have often treated as clan signs.  (And joint
*figures, with multiple heads, as clan alliances)

Among the Kongu Vellalas who are near Dharmapuri, Salem, Erode,
Karur, Palani, Coimbatore, there about 70 kuuTTams (kulams).
Within a kuuTTam, they are considered paternal cousins
and don't intermarry. Their marriage customs between different
kuuTTams are described by M.A. thesis in Oxford by Brenda E. F. Beck.
Her DPhil at Oxford came out from U. British Columbia in 1972.
Thomas Trautmann treats the kuuTTams with totem symbols
in Dravidian kinship.

These KV kuuTTam names are found earliest inscriptions
(1-2nd centuries AD) on rocks, potsherds in those districts.
The word joining rule is found only in Tolkaappiyam,
and not in later grammars.
eg., KV kuuTTam names.
kaNNan + tantai = kaNNantai
pUtan + tantai = puuttantai
caattan + tantai = cAttantai
The KV kuuTTams are named after animals,birds, plants, trees, ...
Many sangam poets sport these names too.

mEti kuuTTam (mEti = water buffalo)
kAri kuuTTam (a dark bull)
mayilai kuuTTam (a white bull)

kaaDai kuuTTam (kaaDai = partridge)
aantai kuuTTam (aantai = owl)
panaGkaadai kuuTTam (a bird)
cempUtan (cempuuttu = a koel like bird, but with brown
          feathers and black body)
ceGkUni kuuTTam (ceGkuun = a fish)

panaiyan (panai = palmyra)
paNNan (paNNai = a spinach)
veNDuvan (veNDai = okra)
IiJcan (Injam panai = a type of palm)

periyan, ceGkaNNan, payiran, tODai, ponnan,
cETan, cemban, aati, antuvan, OtALan, cAttantai,
kuzAyan, peruGkuTi, pavazan, muttan, maNiyan,
pUcan, tUran, kURai, maaDai, taziJci, kiiran,
cella, cEran, cEralan, villi, kanavALan, kaNNan,
pillan, vaNNakkan, IInJan, cevanti, veLLampan,
aavaN, poruLantai, ...

KV number 6 to 7 million. These type
of clan names may be found among
Gowdas of Karnataka too. kAmiNDan
is the one found in inscriptions.
Now Goundan. Tamil experts say
just like the word 'two'
is 'iraNDu' in tamil and 'eraDu' in
kannaDa, the words GowNDan and
GowDa are cognates.

Does the kuuTTams using different natural things
as clan/totem symbols occur amidst Gowdas of
Mysore region? May be Dr. Zydenbos or someone else
can tell. Does this occur among other Indian

N. Ganesan

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