Dravidian origins

Vanbakkam Vijayaraghavan vijay at VOSSNET.CO.UK
Thu Dec 21 13:10:08 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, well past the age of retirement, whose idea of Sanskrit works is
of superstitious ravings of aryan racists and has 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 all the shouting from
rooftops about "Dravidian" languages, has anyone published Kannada-Brahui
dictionary or Tamil-Malto dict? 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. It is for making ethnic claims
on Gonds even without knowing Gondi or having lived there. In other words,
Dravidianism is at present Tamil glorification by other means without
taking true interest in other languages.

>>In fact even South Indian were not aware that
>>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 it in Eugene Irschilk's 'Politics and Social Conflict in South
India'. When I am able to lay hands on my books in a few days time, I can
give more reference

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