Vital Statistics

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Fri Jan 7 04:29:21 UTC 2000

In a message dated 1/6/00 12:05:04 PM Central Standard Time, 
abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN writes:

> Indian states were made by Indians 
> following the
>  post eighteenth century  model of European nation states carved largely on 
> language
>  basis. 

>  I would like to ask Indologist to comment if any 19th century  Indian 
> have said
>  that he /she is Tamilian, Maliyali, Bengalii, or Hindi-bhaas.ii? Did bhaas.
> aa make up
>  identity as of now ?

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 
me give a few examples.

vaiyaka varaippil tamizakam kETpa (puR. 168.18)

taN tamiz vEli tamiznATTu akam ellAm (par.ti. 9.1)

The above one even defines tamiznATu (Tamil country) as the place bounded by 
the language Tamil

The following cilappatikAram lines make abundantly clear the geographical 
extent of this country. It defines the Tirupati hills and Cape Comorin as 
forming the boundaries of the country where Tamil is spoken.

neTiyOn2 kun2Ramum toTiyOL pauvamum 
tamiz varampu aRutta taN pun2al nal nATTu  (cil. 8.1-2)

The language-based self-appellation of Tamilians, tamizkkUTikaL, can be seen 
in the following line.

tAtin2 an2aiyar taN tamizkkuTikaL  (par.ti. 8.5)

The word  tamizan2 can be seen in the 7th century tEvAram of appar.

Ariyan2 kaNTAy; tamizan2 kaNTAy; aNNAmalai uRaiyum aNNal kaNTAy;    (tEv. 

Here tamizan2 (Tamilian) is contrasted from the Ariyan2 (Aryan) long before 
Max Muller. Even a cursory reading of cilappatikAram will confirm that this 
contrast was even more ancient.

Finally, the vaiSNavite saint pUtattAzvAr called himself tamizan2 (Tamilian)  
in the following line.

perum tamizan2 nallEn2 peritu (nAl. 2255.4)

One cannot ask for a better evidence than this.

I wonder why some Indians keep giving credit to Europeans for language-based 
identity and nationalism in India in spite of clear evidence to the contrary. 
The only way for this Indian view to make sense is if Tamilnadu was not part 
of the Indian state. After all, the Tamil country was not part of the Mauryan 
empire either.:-)

S. Palaniappan

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list