Etymology of Bali, PiNDa

George Hart glhart at BERKELEY.EDU
Wed Jul 16 19:38:34 UTC 2008

Two words that occur fairly commonly in early Tamil are pali (Skt.  
bali) and piNTam (Skt. piNDa).  Both of these seem associated with  
local practices -- not the sort of Vedic or Hindu religion mostly  
borrowed from the North.  Neither seems to have an IE origin.  Turner  
thinks bali might be connected with the word for "strength" and he  
says piNDa, because of its many forms, is apparently a borrowing.   
Neither of these words is in the DED, and apparently Emeneau and  
Burrouw didn't think they were Dravidian.  I don't have Mayrhofer at  
hand.  Is there anything further to be said about these words?  If  
they are borrowed (from Dravidian?), it would indicate that the Vedic  
Aryans took some of the important elements of their religion from non- 
Aryans.  I would note that, unlike bali, piNTa does have a plausible  
Dravidian etymology (DED 4183 -- piRi, squeeze; piNTi, oilcake; the  
root is even in Brahui).  George Hart

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