[INDOLOGY] N. Ganesan's Dravidian etymologies for Indo-Aryan and Dravidian words meaning 'crocodile'

palaniappa at aol.com palaniappa at aol.com
Fri Jan 9 05:20:59 UTC 2015

Sorry, all thediacritics in my earlier post did not come through right. So I am resending thepost.  I apologize for the lengthof this post. I summarize its contents first. Those who are interested in thedetails can read further.
In multipleInternet posts N. Ganesan has mentioned an article of his entitled, "A Dravidian Etymology for Makara - Crocodile," published by the International School of Dravidian Linguistics in2011.  (See Attachment 1 for the article.) In this article, Ganesan offersnew etymologies for words meaning crocodile such as Sanskrit makara, Sanskrit nakra/nākra,Tamil mutalai, and Tamil viá¹­aá¹
kar. As far as I can see,the article seems to have serious flaws from the viewpoints of linguistics andphilology. While usually an article of such a nature might not receive any seriousattention from scholars, the fact that it is said to be published byInternational School of Dravidian Linguistics suggests that it undergo scrutinyby scholars. 
In thediscussion below, I point out some of the problems I see in the article and Iwould appreciate any comments from the members of this list. 
Etymology forSanskrit makara
Dravidian EtymologicalDictionary (Revised edition, abbreviated as DEDR) entry 4952 gives thefollowing words for crocodile.
4952 Ta.mutalai, mutaḷai, mucali crocodile. Ma. mutala. Ko. mocaḷ.Ka. mosaḷe, masaḷe. Koḍ. mosale. Tu. mosaḷè, mudalè, mudaḷè,mūdalè. Te. mosali. Kol. (Kin.) moseli. Pa. mōca. Konḍa(BB) mōdi, mūdi. Kur. (BB) bōca. Malt. boce. / Cf.Skt. (lex.) mācala- crocodile; (lex.) musali-house-lizard; alligator; Pkt. muduga- = grāhaviśesa-.
Based on the aboveentry, Bh. Krishnamurti has given  * mōc- / *moc-Vḷ as the Proto-Dravidian form for the wordfor crocodile.  (Dravidian Languages, 2003, p. 13). 
However, on p.7 ofhis article, Ganesan states, "The Proto-Dravidian root for makara is *mokaray- a verbal noun from the verb, *mok-/*moá¹
ku- 'to eat greedily in large mouthfuls, eat voraciously,devour, gobble, swallow' (DEDR 5127+4897)." 
DEDR entries 4897and 5127 are given below.
4897 Ta.mukku (mukki-) to eat in large mouthfuls; mokku (mokki-), mokki-ttiṉ-to eat greedily in large mouthfuls. Ka. mukku to eat in a certainmanner, put any dry grain, etc., into the mouth with the hollowed hand andgobble; mukkuḷ, mukkuḷe mouthful of water for rinsing the mouth, rinsingthe mouth, cleaning the teeth; mukkuḷisu to rinse the mouth, spit out,abandon, reject. Tu. mukkuni to gobble, swallow, devour; mukkāvunito over-feed (tr.); mukkele voracious man; mukkuli, mukkuḷimouthful of any liquid; mukkuliyuni, mukkuḷiyuni to gargle or rinse themouth. Te. bokku to eat greedily, stuff the mouth and eatvoraciously, gobble. Kui muka (muki-) to cast food into the mouthwith the hand; mukal mouthful; mukal giva to rinse out the mouth,take a mouthful, gargle. Kuwi (Isr.) buk- (-it-) togobble, swallow. Cf. 5127 Ma. mōkuka. 
5127 Ma. mōkuka,mōntuka to drink, sip; mōyikka to give to sip; mōval a gulp. Kur.mōxnā to eat (anything except cooked rice); pass. or refl. mōxrnā;mōxta'ānā to cause or allow someone to eat. Malt. móqe to eat(as meat or fruit). ? Ta. moci (-pp-, -tt-) to eat; māntu (mānti-)to eat, drink, experience, enjoy Cf. 4897 Ta. mukku. 
I do not understandhow Ganesan could get the Proto-Dravidian 'root' *moṇku- from theseentries.
Having postulated *mok-/*moá¹
ku- from DEDR 5127 and 4897, Ganesan states:
"The Dravidian verb, mok-/moá¹
k- transformsto moc-/moñc- in south Dravidian languages." 
As far as I know,there has been no basis for such a context-free transformation mentioned in anywork on comparative Dravidian phonology. (Moreover, as one can see above inDEDR 4592, the words for 'crocodile' in north Dravidian languages, Kurukh andMalto, also have -c- and not -k- in DEDR 4952.)
Then Ganesan goes onto say:
"HenceKannada and Telugu have mosale or mosali (< *mokaray), and Tamil andMalayalam derives its mosale> motalai > mutalai from thesame verbal root, mok- with -r- > -l- alternation in theSouth." 
Ganesan has notpresented any evidence of -oka- transforming to -oca- or -osa- in south Dravidian languages. So,in my opinion, Ganesan has not provided an acceptable Dravidian etymology thatsupposedly explains Sanskrit 'makara' as well as Tamil mutalai. 
Etymologyfor nakra/nākra
Ganesan also hasgiven an etymology for Indo-Aryan words for gharial, the long-snoutedcrocodile. 
On p. 4 of hispaper, Ganesan says, " The god Åšiva in Tamil bhakti texts of the firstmillennium, is extolled as either nakkar or viá¹­aá¹
kar indicating Åšiva’snudity and his virile lingam in particular. These epithets for Åšiva andhis lingam have origin in the names for gharial crocodile (Section 3.0). When viá¹­aá¹
kuis used, it indicates the naked bhikṣāṭana youth going rounds in thestreets and attracting women: maṉaikaḷ tōṟum talai kai Ä“nti viá¹­aá¹
karākittirivatu eṉṉē? (Tevaram 7.6.1)." 
The interpretationof Tamil viá¹­aá¹
kar as indicating a naked Åšiva is simply not valid according to Tamilphilology.  Indeed thetext quoted by Ganesan is translated by V. M. Subramanya Iyer in the Digital TÄ“vāramedition (from EFEO, Pondicherry) as "what is the reason for wandering from house to house,assuming a beauteous form and asking alms, " where he translates viá¹­aá¹
kar as'beauteous form” (http://tinyurl.com/p7vg2wl).  That viá¹­aá¹
karis not naked is shown by TÄ“vāram 7.36.3, another verse by Cuntarar, the sameperson who authored the verse quoted by Ganesan too. In this verse translatedby V. M. Subramanya Iyer, Viá¹­aá¹
kar is explicitly described as wearing aloin-cloth as given below (http://tinyurl.com/nbns4gt).
You are pure in your eyes, mouth andbody, you wear a sewn loin-cloth, give up dancing along with pÄ“y in thecremation-ground, areyou a mad person? Ourmaster! Civaṉ,who is known by the name of Ä€raṇiya viá¹­aá¹
kar in Paiññīli surrounded by averdant garden which has mast wood trees, cool and green delight of the woods,and lotus flowers growing in the moats into which water flows.
So there is noconnection between nudity and viá¹­aá¹
kar as claimed by Ganesan. 
On pp. 7-8 of hispaper, Ganesan says, "In EastIndia (Nepali, Bihari, Bengali) (3) nakar is the name of gharial [13],directly derivable from the Tamil verb, nakar- ‘to creep, to crawlslowly’. Compared to muggers (< makara), gharials have muchsmaller, weak legs and cannot do ‘high walk’ as muggers can (Figures 7, 8).When gharials come to the shore for sun bathing orfor laying eggs, they creep on the banks awkwardly pushing their huge bodiesforward. From this Dravidian nakar, Sanskrit gets nakra-/nākra- andMiddle Indo-Aryan nakka-. In Tamil Tevaram texts, Śiva is called nakkar/nakkaṉdue to his nudity traceable to the phallusshape of the gharial snout and its ancient name."
While Ganesaneasily moves from Tamil nakar to Dravidian nakar, DEDR does notinclude an entry that includes Tamil nakar 'to creep, to crawl slowly'. Thereseem to be no cognates of nakar in any other Dravidian language including Teluguand Kannada. (nakar is not included in Emeneau and Burrow's  "DravidianBorrowings from Indo-Aryan" either.) So Tamil nakar 'to creep slowly, crawl slowly' being the source ofIndo-Aryan nakra/nākra is not very convincingto me.  As a result,tracing nakkar/nakkaṉ (referring to Śiva) "to the phallusshape of the gharial snout and its ancient name" also seems to beimpossible.
However, thereis another possibility, as Burrow and Emeneau seem to think.
DEDR 3732 entryis given below.
3732 Ka.negar̤, negar̤e alligator. Tu. negaḷů id.; negarů asea-animal, the vehicle of Varuṇa. Te. (B.) negaḍu apolypus or marine animal supposed to entangle swimmers. / Cf. Skt. nakra-crocodile; nākra- a kind of aquatic animal; Turner, CDIAL, no.7038. 
Based on DEDR3732 Krishnamurti has given a reconstructed form *nek-Vḷ¸· (Dravidian Languages, 2003, p. 13). This word atleast could be transmitted to Indo-Aryan since Kannada is adjacent toIndo-Aryan linguistic areas. 
Etymology ofTamil iá¹­aá¹
As best as Icould figure out Ganesan's chain of reasoning, this is how Ganesan seems toarrive at how Tamil words viá¹­aá¹
kar are interpreted as referring togharial.
 Śiva is naked as Bhikṣāṭana. 
 Gharial's snout has the shape of aphallus.
 Gharial is called nakka in MiddleIndo-Aryan
 So Åšiva is called nakkar becausehe is naked.
 Tamil viá¹­aá¹
ku means 'to beerect (as lingam)' (Ganesan's own interpretation)
 Åšiva is called viá¹­aá¹
 So viá¹­aá¹
kar stands for the male organ. 
 Gharial's snout has the shape of aphallus. 
 So viá¹­aá¹
karin Tamil means gharial. 
According toGanesan, viá¹­aá¹
kar lost the initial v- and became iá¹­aá¹
The word viá¹­aá¹
karreferring to a crocodile occurs for the first time in the Varatarāca Aiyaá¹
kār Pākavatam,a 16th century text. Earlier literary texts or lexicons do not mention thatword. But earlier texts going back to 2nd century CE mention iá¹­aá¹
kar inthe sense of 'crocodile'.  In several instances in the Kamparāmāyaṇam (ca.9th or 12th century), iá¹­aá¹
kar is the word used to describe the crocodilethat attacked the elephant in the Gajendra Mokṣa episode. (For example, see Kamparāṃāyaṇam5.12.79.3.)
(In fact,contrary to Ganesan’s suggestion of viá¹­aá¹
karbeing the original form, which lost v-to result in iá¹­aá¹
kar, I would arguethat the original form was indeed iá¹­aá¹
karand the form viá¹­aá¹
kar probablyresulted from a reanalysis of a manuscript line such as tuyiṉṟaṉaviá¹­aá¹
kaṭōṟumÄ“ in Kamparāmāyaṇam Kitkintā KāṇṭamKārkālappaá¹­alam published in 1862 as shown in Attachment 2, where –v- is a glide resulting from themorphophonemics of joining tuyiṉṟaṉaending in -a and iá¹­aá¹
kar beginning in i-.When the words in the quoted line are separated, the word in question is takenas iá¹­ankar as can be seen in http://tinyurl.com/kd756qp .)
Even if oneaccepts the form viá¹­aá¹
kar to beearlier, in the 16th century text, the word 'viá¹­aá¹
kar' is used inconnection with crocodile-elephant encounter. Since gharials are not known toattack even human beings  (http://crocodilian.com/cnhc/csp_ggan.htm), it is doubtful if they are biologicallyequipped to attack big elephants.   Even in the MaṇimÄ“kalai (6th century CE), themoat around Kānci wasdescribed as having crocodiles indicated by the term iá¹­aá¹
kar, whichmeans that iá¹­aá¹
kar cannot be identified as gharial.  (As gharials do not attack human beings, they would not have beenused in moats, which were designed to ward off attacks by hostile warriors.) So the case of viá¹­aá¹
karrepresenting gharial is not defensible.
In my opinion, Ganesan'setymologies for Sanskrit makara and nakra/nākra are not supportedby comparative Dravidian linguistic evidence or Tamil philology. Also, hisetymological interpretation of Tamil viá¹­aá¹
kar is not supportedby Tamil philology. 
In January 2012 Ganesanstated that the article had been published in "Prof. V. I. Subramoniumcommemoration volume, ISDL, Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 2011". Later, inFebruary 2013 he stated that the article had been published in "Prof. V.I. Subramonian Memorial Volume, International School of Dravidian Linguistics,2011, (Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala)". International Journal of DravidianLinguistics, Volume 39, Issue 2 published in June 2010 was called"PROFESSOR V. I. SUBRAMONIAM MEMORIAL VOLUME" as can be seen in Attachment3. Ganesan's article was not included in that volume. Nor was it published inthe IJDL issues of 2011. There was no commemoration volume published by ISDL in2011. 
However, thereis going to be a separate Professor V. I. Subramoniam Commemoration Volume thatwill be published in June 2015 during the 43rd annual conference of DravidianLinguistics Association to be held in Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu. (Forconference details, see http://www.ijdl.org/Html/announcement_43.pdf.) Ganesan’s article might beincluded in Professor V. I. Subramoniam Commemoration Volume.
I wouldappreciate any comments from the list members.
Thank you inadvance.
S. Palaniappan  

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