Language of Harappan Civilization; funerary pottery eviden]]

S.Kalyanaraman kalyan99 at NETSCAPE.NET
Mon Mar 8 15:17:53 UTC 1999

Prof. Witzel wrote:
> Dear members,
> The message quoted below was intended as a personal one for Dr
> Kalyanaraman, as you might have guessed from the personal style. > 

It will be a privilege indeed to have the benefit of guidance from members of
the indology group on peacocks, fishes, trefoils and antelopes and their
association with cremation/ashes...

As an exercise in reconstructing comparative grammar ca. 2000/3000 BC
of the Harappan linguistic area, I hope indology members will enlighten
further on the following: 

Tulu: mair, Ma. Ta.: mayil (Tamil: payilpu_n~co_lai
mayiler..unta_lavum--Pur_na_. 116); Tamil: mayilam, mayir_pi_li = peacock
feather; mayilai = fish; ash colour, grey.

J.Bloch saw the older lexeme to be Dravidian (BSL 76,16); J. Przyluski saw it
as Austro-as. (BSL 79,100); Morgensteierne noted Savara ma_ra_ = peacock; HW
Bailey (BSOAS xx 59, IL 21,18) noted a link with Khot. mura_sa as orig.
'Indo-ir. colour word'... [loc. cit. CDIAL 9865]. 

Let me cite some compounds in Santali:
pincar marak = peacock; matu marak = peahen; marak rak = peacock crow; marak
t.ikli = the disc on the tail feathers of the peacock; korkot. marak = common

CDIAL 9865 notes: OAw. mam.ju_ra, mora; Nepali. mujur; Pkt. mau_la, mau_ra;
Pali. mo_ra

Would it be possible to predict the older forms of this lexeme, reconciling
the Drav., IA and Munda streams? The homonym, mara = world of death (AitUp.);
maraka = epidemic (Skt.)may explain the depiction of the pictorial on a
funerary pot, together with the homonym earlier observed: ji_vanji_vaka =
peacock, cry of a peacock (Pali).

My contention was that another etymon related to the blackbuck antelope (also
depicted on funerary pots), s'am.bhara (or similar older form) seems also to
be related to the world of death since a homonym is semant. 'remembrance',
'vow or religious observance'...

When archaeologists unearth artefacts with emphatic pictorials, adding some
'sound bites' (or semantic clusters) to them may help throw some light leading
to a possible resolution of the language enigma?

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

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