Parasol in India

Venkatraman Iyer venkatraman_iyer at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 19 00:19:51 UTC 1999

  From my old computer diskettes:

16 Nov 1997
Tamil "vEntu" is also a verb

There is a Tamil word "vEntu"  considered to be a noun and synonymous
with the word "vEntan2" both meaning "king". But "vEntu" is not always
a noun. Consider the following lines from a Classical Tamil Poem.

vATiya mAlai malainta cen2n2iyan2
vEntutozil ayarum aruntalaic cuRRamoTu
neTunakar vanten2.............         (puRanAn2URu 285.6-8)

A modern commentator Auvai turaicAmippiLLai gives the meaning of these
lines as "As our lord with a withered garland on the head came to the
tall house with the aides including the minister with the rare
leadership qualities, who perform the king's kingly/governing job".
Thus "vEntutozil" is translated as "king's kingly/governing job". Thus
the words are taken as a conjoining of two nouns "vEntu and tozil" in
a case context (vERRumaip pUNarcci). But this seems to be wrong for
the following reason. According to tolkAppiyam (1.9.9)

vEntu+tozil > vEntu+t+tozil = vEntuttozil

Since there is no geminate "t" in "vEntutozil", this is not the case
in this poem, and  obviously we do not have a noun and noun
conjoining. Instead, what we have here is a non-past adjectival
participle "vEntu" which modifies the noun "tozil" resulting in the
following meaning "the job of governing/protecting". Thus, we have
here evidence of a word "vEntu" meaning "to govern/protect".

(The absence of a geminate "t" leads to some important results.)

S. Palaniappan


In an earlier posting, I have shown that Tamil "vEntu" is a verb used
to denote the job of a king. Since a king in his governing role would
have many kinds of responsibilities, we need to get a clear
understanding of the verb "vEntu". My hypothesis is that it is related
to "vEy" (DED 4552) meaning "to cover (as a building), roof, thatch,
put on (as a garland). (Compare DED 1219 "kAy" meaning "to grow hot,
burn , be warm, etc" and kAntu meaning "to burn, heat, etc.") The
cognates of "vEy" are found in all the branches of the Dravidian. So
this must go back to proto-Dravidian. To cover as a roof means
offering protection. It also means that you have dominion over those
you are protecting. In fact, a variant of "vEy" is "mEy" which
according to the Tamil Lexicon also means "to dominate, surpass,
govern". "vEntan2" (DED 4549) is a noun derived from "vEntu". The
cognates of this occur in South Dravidian and possibly Central
Dravidian as well. Considering the fact that other Dravidian
words meaning "king" are also not found in all the branches, we
probably have a situation where the words have been lost in the other
languages. The royal symbol, parasol, is another indication of this
widespread covering/protecting aspect of kingship.

Once we realize the fact that in Dravidian, the king was conceived as
"one who covers", the etymology of Sanskrit "vRtra" derived from "vR"
"to cover" is very interesting. MW gives the meaning of "vRtra" as
"coverer, investor, restrainer’, an enemy, foe, hostile host". Of
course, one’s protector is another’s restrainer. MW also includes
a meaning "N. of Indra (?), L". How can the arch-enemy of indra be
identified with Indra? As DED 4549 shows "vEntan2" also means "indra"
in Tamil. This is based on the "king" aspect of indra. If "vRtra" is a
translation of Dravidian "vEntan2" meaning "king", then "vRtra" and
"indra" can both be identified as kings.

This raises another question. If Vedic Aryan-speakers translated this
Dravidian concept, what does it imply for the relationship between
Aryan-speakers and Dravidian speakers?

What do the list members think of this? Does IE have the concept of
king as a coverer? Thanks in advance.

S. Palaniappan

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