Vital Statistics

Bharat Gupt abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN
Tue Jan 4 05:54:16 UTC 2000

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan wrote:

> I am sorry to disappoint the promoters of the theory that sees the
> language-based identity as an European import. We have incontovertible proof
> that Tamils called themselves tamizkkuTi/tamizan2 living in the land of tamiz
> called tamizakam/tamiznATu at least 1500 years earlier than the 19th century.
>  Some of these facts have already been presented in Indology. Once more let....

The issue discussed is the nation state based on language as a creation of
post-Renaissance Europe imported into India and the identity of the citizen of such a
state . The issue is not languages and their territories in India and whether people
were named denominated after the language they spoke.

In all humility I must assert that description of languages spread over territories  in
ancient or medieval Indian sources do not make a case for carving, making and unmaking a
state, sovereign or subsidiary, on linguistic basis. Why Tamil country only, Saurashtra,
Gauda,Aavanti, Magadha, Pancanada , Gandhaara,  and so many other regions  and their
people were given the same name as the language spoken by them. But did any monarch stop
his conquering army after he reached the limits of his native language territory?  He
may be described, let us say, as a Tamil king, but he was not chosen to rule
tamil-speakers only. In the logic of state making language had no place.

The language identity did not play cardinal role in making marital allinaces as did
gotra, varna and jaati nor were the army battalions marked along linguistic lines.
Soldiers would cook and eat according to varna-jati not as Maratha-brothers or
Andhra-biddas. This grouping of the Indian Army is colonial.

Linguistic state means that everything shall be done in ONE language from selling fruits
to teaching scriptures. Comparing 19cent Europe with India shall show that this never
obtained in the subcontinent, where different languages were used for different purposes
in any given place, some for poetry, others for music, many for theatre, two or three
for scriptures and philosophy and so on. Whereas the monolingual state and its citizen
translates everything into one language (usually the now so glorified mother-tongue),
the multilingual state and its citizen goes to many tongues. Historically, most Indians
except the poor and uneducated have never been mono-lingual. The how could there be a
glossocentric state ?

Bharat Gupt

[admin note: changed date from Fri, 4 Jan 1980 05:54:16 +0000]

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