New discovery in Tamil Nadu

Alexandra van der Geer avandergeer at PLANET.NL
Sun Jun 28 15:04:12 UTC 2009

I could find no depiction of a stirrup in Sanchi stone sculptures, nor in 
Gandharan ones. Has anybody a picture of or precise reference to such 

Alexandra van der Geer
Athens / Leiden

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "George Hart" <glhart at BERKELEY.EDU>
Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2009 7:06 AM
Subject: Re: New discovery in Tamil Nadu

> 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
> On Jun 27, 2009, at 7:04 PM, Dipak Bhattacharya wrote:
>> The report is hardly realistic in its socio-cultural assessment but
>> the findings are interesting. I tried Palani in the map without
>> success.Has anybody any idea about its location?. The dating, if
>> correct, might place it within the lifetime of or as linked to
>> Arikamedu whose modus vevendi, according to the first reports (quite
>> old now and may be outdated),  was limked to the urban centres of
>> the North.. Its cultural-economic independence, too, was as much as
>> that of Britain during Roman occupation and the few years that
>> followed. The follow up of excavations is often not very
>> encouraging. But link to proved Mauryan expeditions must be sought.
>> DB
>> --- On Sun, 28/6/09, George Hart <glhart at BERKELEY.EDU> wrote:
>> From: George Hart <glhart at BERKELEY.EDU>
>> Subject: New discovery in Tamil Nadu
>> To: INDOLOGY at
>> Date: Sunday, 28 June, 2009, 6:12 AM
>> See
>> This is quite interesting, because it suggests that writing followed
>> commerce into a rather remote area of Tamil Nadu around the 1st
>> century BCE.  (It should also be noted that there is some dispute
>> about whether the symbols are actually writing -- a disagreement
>> quite familiar to most of us who have been following the IV
>> "writing").  In any event, writing or not, this find is consistent
>> with what is described in Sangam literature. Also notable is the
>> word for "diamond" (if the writing decipherment is correct) as vayra
>> < vajra, through Prakrit.  But the most interesting part of this is
>> something no one mentions in the article -- the discovery of
>> stirrups.  I'm hardly an expert on this, but Wikipedia says that
>> stirrups are depicted about the 1st century BCE in Sanchi, and that
>> is 500 years before anywhere else.  G. Hart
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>> and more. Click here


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