[Note]: Tamil etc.

Venkatraman Iyer venkatraman_iyer at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon May 24 18:08:33 UTC 1999

On 28 Nov 1996, Shrisha Rao <dvaita at eskimo.com> wrote (in the
thread, Hindi etc.):

 >Tamil Nadu is a linguistically homogenous state to a much greater
 >extent than other states of the South are; Karnataka for instance
 >indigenously has Kannada, Tulu, and Konkani, all with their own
 >scripts even, and then there's a massive presence of Urdu, made all
 >the more permanent by the historical influence of Tipu Sultan,
 >et al.
 >Thus it is that the Tamil people are much more liable than their
 >neighbors to overreact, see "linguistic imposition," etc., because
 >                                                           ********
 >they have a narrower world-view linguistically.  However, this
 >should not be misread as general opposition to Hindi in the South

   This analyis, in spite of being too simplistic, is widely popular
and, is a constantly propagated myth. What Shrisha Rao
has written in a few postings about Tamil or Tamil Nadu political
movements in the above thread is simply NOT correct, I am afraid.

   In the book, "The Phoneme", Tamil grammarians have been praised
for their brilliance in condensing different sounds into
few letters whose phonology is well defined depending on their
postion. Reasons of Economy! This calls for comparison with the
eminent English alphabet. It is important to note that only Tamil has
the least number of consonants and was able to withstand the
overbearing impact of Sanskrit in the number of alphabets, poetics,
etc., All other languages had to succumb to Sanskrit.

Dr. Maheswaran Nair, Prof. of Sanskrit, wrote recently:
<<<As for Malayalam my mother-tongue the
influence was so fatal that we threw away our alphabet and embraced
the Sanskrit alphabet. While Tamil does everything with its double
vargas(ka-Na,Ca-Na,Ta-Na,ta-na,pa-ma) we in Malayalam have all the
twentyfive. Recently I found out a manuscript of a work by Chattampi
Swamikal who was one of the leaders of the renaissance of Kerala,named
ADIBHASA and edited and published it. The book is in Malayalam.It
tries to establish that MULADRAVIDAM was the ADIBHASA.It discards the
theory that Sanskrit is the ADIBHASA. >>>

I would say that Tamil does NOT possess a narrower world-view
linguistically. In fact, it is one of the most sophisticated
of all the world's grammars. Eg.,  the 3rd century BCE (?)
TolkAppiyar's theory of poetics (a cook book to compose love poems) is
unknown anywhere else (including Sanskrit). Anandavardhana's
dhvany theory and his exposition on the Natyashastra would have been
born when Tamil and Kashmiri Shaivism interacted.

V. Iyer

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