Dravidian origins

Vanbakkam Vijayaraghavan vijay at VOSSNET.CO.UK
Thu Dec 21 11:19:32 UTC 2000

On Wed, 20 Dec 2000 12:13:53 -0800, Swaminathan Madhuresan
<smadhuresan at YAHOO.COM> wrote:

>SM>> Sanskrit persists in the pop culture of Europe, To check with
>SM>> the situation on the ground in India Dravidian studies with
>SM>> support will help, but those endowments are very rare.
>Vanbakkam Vijayaraghavan <vijay at VOSSNET.CO.UK> wrote:
>>Why look for presumably western endowments.?
>>. .. why depend upon western endownments?
>   There is no mention of "western" endowments, funds can come from
>   east (eg. Japan or India) or west for Dravidology studies, we
>   don't mind.
>Several months before you started writing in the list,
>the list founder forwarded a request for for funds
>from you. Seeking support for Dravidian studies is no different.

Yes, I forwarded a request because my PC did not allow me to post mesages
for a long time. This shows the vast difference between the support for
Sanskrit studies and Tamil and Dravidian studies. Even the few Sanskrit
colleges in Tamilnadu founded more than hundred years ago was to close a
few months back due to lack of funds; I have not kept track of subsequently
what happened. The sanskrit varsity in Kerala has got as it's new chief
(K.M.Pakikkar), who, the reports say, does not have any scholarsip in
sanskrit and well past the age of retirement and as been given the sinecure
job as a political reward. The study of sanskrit is dying in India - in
Tamilnadu definitely- due to lack of funds, falling patronage ,waning
interest and lack of career oppurtunities. Creative work in six darshanas,
etc and bring it upto date within a global context remains is beyond even
day dreaming

In contrast, Tamil and dravidian studies have been supported to the hilt by
a general public and successive governmnets committed just for the cause of
Tamil maintanance. That is why I was surprised when you ask for endowments
for Dravidian studies when there is a groundswell of public and government
support for just that. When even individual corruption scandals and
embezzlement charges in Tamilnadu run to the tune of $$s of hundreds of
millions, can't a few million $$s be diverted from personal and state
coffers from allegedly committed cultural and political groups whose motto
was "Thamizhe uyir" viz Tamil is (our) life.

This discussion also provides me the right pretext for bemoaning about a
lack of linguistic skills and interest among Indians who are loud
about 'Dravidian' studies. I have not come across a single  Tamil who knows
say about 4'dravidian' languages in depth at any level of knowledge.
Western Indologists  like Witzel or Zydenbos have indpeth fluency in a
number of European languages and a number of "aryan" languages and for all
I know other asian languages. How many dravidianists in India and Tamilnadu
have as much knowledge of say Kannada as Tamil.? or do they have command,
fluency in other dravidan languages like Brahui? For the shouting from
rooftops about "Dravidian" languages has anyone published Kannada-Brahui
dictionary or Tamil-Malto dict? Is there Tamil - Gond dictionary? All we
have DED and what has been the contribution of Indian scholars in it?
beyond DED does any Tamil know other 'dravidian' languages? At the
moment 'dravidian' research means how sanskrit words are derived from Tamil
words - how 'siva' is basically a Tamil word, etc. Even without knowing
Gond ( as far as I can see), some people have started claiming "Dravidian
ethnicity" of Gonds. In other words 'Dravidian' interests in India is an
expresion of linguistic narcissm with  a large political bias

>Vanbakkam Vijayaraghavan <vijay at VOSSNET.CO.UK> wrote:
>>You are calling them Dravidian tribes, but they themselves don't use the
>>word and not even aware of it. In fact even South Indian were not aware
>>till Padiri Caldwell introduced the term. Even then there were riots
>>the Reverend's theories. That was how the tamils received 'Dravidian
>>ethnics' theory- with hostility.
>   You wrote about "Padiri" Caldwell, and the hostility and riots against
>   the Reverend's theories. Is this so? Where can i read about them?

I have seen in mentioned in Eugene Irschilk's 'Politics and Social Conflict
in South India'-  It will be a few days before I lay my hands on my books,
then I can give page no. etc

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