puLLi, a "negative" letter

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 7 21:43:19 UTC 1999

>It is however clear that Tamil Brahmi itself did not
>use the "puLLi". In fact this has been used
>incidentally to draw some conclusions re dates for
>some layers of the Tolkappiam. Refer, for example,
>Falk ("Schrift in alten Indien").

Even today, the North Indian scripts/grammars lack the
concept of "puLLi". Hence, when Brahmi script enters
the Tamil lands, possibly it might have taken 2-3 centuries
for the Brahmi script to incorporate "puLLi", a bright
and indigenous native grammatical concept. The Jain monks
around Madurai wrote about a Tamil sangam around 200 B.C
under the patronage of Pandyas (dated by I. Mahadevan).

While the occurence of puLLi in Tamil inscriptions may give
the latest possible date for those tolkAppiyam sUtras,
there is nothing in Tamil inscriptions that prohibits Tol.
to be much older.

N. Ganesan

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