[INDOLOGY] Brahmin in Akam 337? (Re: dacoits, bandits, thugs and other unsavory characters)

palaniappa at aol.com palaniappa at aol.com
Wed Jun 12 06:02:32 UTC 2013

Dear Suresh,

As far as I know, the words, pārppār/pāppār do not occur in Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions. The word pārppār occurs in Pullur plates of Nandivarman II of the 8th century. 

As I said I do not subscribe to the etymology of pārppār from pār- 'to see'. But Caldwell glosses pārppār as 'overseers' clearly seeing the etymology of pår 'to see'. (See http://gretil.sub.uni-goettingen.de/gretil_elib/Cdw856__Caldwell_ComparativeGrammarDravidian.pdf, p.79)  And if you look at the Malayalam  word Ma. pārppavar the seers, brahmans in DEDR 4091b, one can understand why DEDR has grouped it that way. 

As for your second point, as DEDR notes we may have some contamination with Skt. brāhmaṇa- and its derivatives in the words bã̄pũḍu brahman; fem. bã̄pata; bã̄pana the brahman caste. On the other hand, these forms may be related to IA bappa. In Pullur plates, the Sanskrit section has bappa bhaṭṭāraka while the Tamil section has pārppār, referring to the same group of brahmins. Moreover, that the form pār alone can indicate a brahmin suggests that we dot really have to derive it from brāhmaṇa.  

I agree with your third point. I was mentioning pōṟṟi as a synonym and not as a cognate.


-----Original Message-----
From: Suresh Kolichala <suresh.kolichala at gmail.com>
To: Indology <indology at list.indology.info>
Sent: Mon, Jun 10, 2013 9:43 pm
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Brahmin in Akam 337? (Re: dacoits, bandits, thugs and other unsavory characters)

On Sun, Jun 9, 2013 at 7:49 PM,  <palaniappa at aol.com> wrote:


Considering that the form pārppār often occurs as pāppār, clearly even as late as 9th century 'pārppāṉ', its singular form, must not have been restricted to refer to brahmins.[...] if one were to consider the term 'pārppāṉ' linguistically, we see that the usual interpretation that it referred to brahmins as seers based on 'pār-' 'to see' (as implied by DEDR 4091a and b as given below) is unwarranted.

Dear Palaniappan:  

Very interesting discussion. What percentage of the Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions show the spelling of pāppār as opposed to pārppār?

1. I believe pār (-pp-, -tt-) 'to see' is unrelated to  pā(r)ppāṉ 'Brahmin';  Although DEDR grouped them under the same entry (4091a and 4091b), I am not very sure if we can make a semantic connection of 'see' with 'seer' in Dravidian. 

2. CDIAL entry 9327 shows Pk. baṁbhaṇa,S. ḇã̄bhaṇu, kal. baṁbhana, OB. bāmbhaṇa, Or. bāmbhuṇa, bābhuṇa, Bi. Mth. bābhan, Bhoj.bāmhan, bābhan, among other reflexes. We cannot ignore the close similarity of these reflexes with Te. bã̄pãḍu, Ta. pāppāṉ.

3. I think you would agree that connecting pōṟṟi/pōṯṯi with pā(r)ppāṉ is a bit far fetched.

Without more information about the socio-linguistic situation of the early periods of the Indo-Aryan and Davidian interaction, I think, we cannot easily determine if pār (-pp-, -tt-) 'to see' is related to  pā(r)ppāṉ 'Brahmin' or not.

Atlanta, GA.

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