New discovery in Tamil Nadu

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sun Jun 28 16:12:26 UTC 2009

The view that IA/Sanskrit was the giver and Dravidian/Tamil was the  
borrower can be found long before Vasco da Gama came to India. An example is the  
statement of cEn2Avaraiyar, a medieval commentator on tolkAppiyam, that  
Tamil words are not borrowed by the northern language (Sanskrit)  but northern 
language words are used in all regions. That there were  some people in 
Tamil Nadu with the attitude that Sanskrit was superior  to Tamil can be 
inferred from the verse beginning with "Ariyam nan2Ru tamiz  tItu..." quoted by 
pErAciriyar, another commentator on tolkAppiyam, in his  explanation for 
'mantiram' in ceyyuLiyal.
I agree that the IA-Dravidian interaction was an extremely  complex one and 
that Classical Tamil does shed  important light on  Indian culture. 
However, Classical Tamil data do not suggest that  the "existence of caste (jaati, 
including Dalits) was pre-Aryan" if by  'pre-Aryan' Dravidian is being 
referred to. See "On the Unintended  Influence of Janinism on the Development of 
Caste in Post Classical Tamil  Society," International Journal of Jaina 
Studies (Online), Vol.4, No. 2 (2008),  1-65. 
(  )  
S. Palaniappan
In a message dated 6/27/2009 11:07:43 P.M. Central Daylight Time,  
glhart at BERKELEY.EDU writes:

There  is, to my mind, a serious problem with the notion that the   
Dravidians had no advanced culture and that the development of   
civilization in the South was entirely inspired by and imported from   
the North.  Surely this is part of a colonial narrative that has,  one  
hopes, been discredited.  The vocabulary of old Tamil  evidences a  
highly developed, intricate culture, especially  regarding music,  
performance, and the like.  Old Tamil also  possesses an considerable  
native vocabulary describing multi-storied  houses and buildings.  (The  
word nakar meaning "many-storied  house" is native; the Dravidian word  
is probably the source of  Sanskrit nagaram). To my mind much of Indian  
culture developed  symbiotically both in the South and North, with both  
areas  influencing one another from at least the first century BCE (and   
probably earlier) to produce a hybrid culture in both areas.  I  don't  
know how many historians of Britain would buy the argument  that  
everything advanced or noteworthy in old English culture came  from the  
Romans, but there is little likelihood that the great  cities of the  
Sangam era -- all of which had Tamil names -- were  built as outposts  
by invaders as London was.  What is true is  that from at least the  
Mauryan period, travelers and merchants went  between north and south  
pretty much as they do today.  They  carried ideas and cultural themes  
back and forth all the time, so  that by the first century BCE the  
Aryan north and Dravidian south  had much in common and owed a great  
deal to one another. The process  was (and continues to be) an  
extremely complex one, and whether a  feature of Indian culture is  
ultimately "Dravidian" or "Aryan" is  often determined by the cultural  
inclination of the person writing  about it rather than by solid  
evidence.  There are, however,  areas in which old Tamil sheds  
important light on Indian culture: it  suggests, for example, that the  
existence of caste (jaati, including  Dalits) was pre-Aryan and that  
many literary conventions made their  way from a Southern folk  
literature through Maharashtrian Prakrit  into the Sanskrit canon.   
Palani is the site of one of the most  famous (and second richest)  
temples in India.  It is near  Madurai and has been a site of Murugan  
worship for almost 2000 years  -- see  G. Hart

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