[INDOLOGY] R. Nagaswamy on the Tamil word for bard

Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan palaniappa at aol.com
Tue Mar 29 16:50:39 UTC 2022

Dear Asko,


Thank you for your comments. 


A twelfth-century inscription in the Tiruviṭaimarutūr temple (Nagaswamy (2012, pp. 373–74)) discusses an order by Cōḻa Kulottuṅga II41 to appoint a Pāṇaṉ to sing before the deity, appoint other Pāṇar, and train two classes of temple women to sing. In Nagaswamy’s Mirror of Tamil and Sanskrit 



‘A new service was started in the temple of Thiruvidaimarudūr creating an enactment for singing the Thirup-padiayams [sic] and also arranging for the dancing girls of the temple to sing in the 9th year of Vikramachola, the son of Kulottunga II. The service was called “Bānap-peru” (Bānap-pani). This was a royal appointment issued by Vikkramachola [sic] and a certain Irumudi Cholan alias Acancala Peraraiayan [sic] was appointed to do the service...The record states that he was to sing in the presence of God of the Thiruvidaimarudūr temple and direct other Bānas for arranging the Dancing girls to sing (Thiruvidai marudur—udaiyārukku—pādavum, ikkoyil Taliyilārai pāduvikkavum ikkoyil Devaradiyārai pāduvikkavum Bānapperāka). The Bānas were great singers from the Sangam age and we find the Bānas, Yālpāna was a close friend of Jnāna-sambandar and again we find the Bānas were appointed in the Great temple of Thanjavaur [sic]. According to this inscription the service should be added to the temple service and the Bāna should be paid one kalam of paddy per day to the Perariayan [sic] for singing. He should be allotted one residence as Bānak-kudiyiruppuas before…


Venkatesan says, 

“The territorial division viz., Pāṇāḍu, is in all probability, the same as Bāṇāḍu i.e., the nāḍu of the Bāṇas. (emphasis mine) The Bāṇas were an ancient line of kings, who also ruled a portion of the Tamil country. This is the earliest so far known inscription, which mentions their territorial division as Pāṇāḍu. The names Vāṇagōppādi-nāḍu and Perumbāṇappādi, etc., are employed in the Tamil inscriptions of the latter period to indicate the territory of the Bāṇas.


From: Asko Parpola <aparpola at gmail.com>
Date: Friday, March 25, 2022 at 11:23 AM
To: "palaniappa at aol.com" <palaniappa at aol.com>
Cc: Indology List <Indology at list.indology.info>
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] R. Nagaswamy on the Tamil word for bard


The Sanskrit word meant by Nagaswamy should be (instead of bāṇa- ‘arrow’) vāṇá- ’sound, voice, music’, attested since the Rigveda, but according to Mayrhofer without a good etymology. A look at DEDR 4068 suggests that Tamil pāṇ ’song, melody’ etc have a good Dravidian etymology, which could explain Sanskrit vāṇa.


Best wishes,  Asko Parpola

On 25. Mar 2022, at 17.34, Sudalaimuthu Palaniappan via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:


Dear Indologists,


Recently I came across this interview of late Dr. R. Nagaswamy by Prof. Bharat Gupt. At timepoint 10:16, I was surprised to hear Nagaswamy’s understanding of the word for the Tamil bard as ‘bāṇa’ instead of ‘pāṇaṉ’ (DEDR 4068) and his claim of Sanskritic derivation for that word.  




I would like to know if any other scholar has offered this etymology. 


Thank you in advance




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