Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Undermining Tamil in the name of Dravidan politics. (World Tamil Conference series-2)


Sangam texts are no doubt the rich sources for deciphering the antiquity of Tamil. Nowhere in the sangam texts or in the texts that appeared in the early centuries of the Common era, do we come across a reference to Tamils as Dravidas. Any other research - archeologically or otherwise - must therefore be cross checked with the literary evidence available in Tamil.

The foremost information derived from Tamil texts is that Tamilnadu was part of Jamboo dweepa (நாவலம் தீவு) situated in the Dakshina pada. It was always known as (தமிழகம்)  or thamizh naadu (தமிழ்  நாடு) but never as Dravida naadu (திராவிட நாடு) 

புற நானூறு 51 -இல் 'தண்டமிழ் பொதுவென' என்று 'தமிழ் நாடு மூவேந்தர்களுக்கும் பொதுவென' என்று சொல்லபப்டுகிறது.

புற நானூறு 35 -இல் ' மண்டிணி கிடக்கைத் தண்டமிழ்க் கிழவர்" என்று கூறுமிடத்தே, கடலை எல்லையாகக் கொண்ட தமிழ் நிலம் என்றும், காவிரி பாயும் நிலம் என்றும் சிறப்பிக்கப்படுகின்றது.

"தமிழ்த் தலை" என்று புற நானூறு 19 - இலும், 'தமிழ்ச் சேரி' என்று பெரும் கதையிலும், 'வட வேங்கடம், தென் குமரி ஆயிடைத் தமிழ் கூறும் நல் உலகம் " என்று தொல்காப்பியத்திலும் கூறப்படும் தமிழ் நிலம் இருந்த பகுதி பாரத வர்ஷத்தின் தென்பகுதி ஆகும்.



தட்சிணப் பேரூர் என்று ஆங்காங்கே மணிமேகலையில் சொல்லப்படும் மதுரை, பாண்டியன் தலை நகரம். வட மதுரை என்று கிருஷ்ணன் பிறந்த இடத்தைச் சொன்ன அதே மூச்சில் தென் மதுரை என்று தமிழகத்தில் உள்ள மதுரையைச் சொல்லும் இடங்கள் உள்ளன.



வடக்கே இமயம் என்றால், தெற்கே பொதியம் அதற்கு இணையாகச் சொல்லப்பட்டது. வடக்கே கங்கை என்றால், தெற்கே காவேரி.
திருவாலங்காடு  செப்பேடுகளில், பாகீரதன் தவமிருந்து கங்கையைக் கொண்டு வந்ததைப் போல, 'கவேரகன்யகா' எனப்பட்ட கவேரனின் புத்திரியான காவேரியைக் கொண்டு வர, சித்ராதன்வன் என்னும் சோழ அரசன் விரும்பி, அவ்வாறே தானும் கொண்டு வந்தான் என்று எழுதப் பட்டுள்ளது.



அந்தக் காவேரி வந்த விதம் பற்றி மணிமேகலை விவரிக்கிறது.
பதிகத்தில்நாவலம் தீவு பற்றியும், இத்தீவின் காவல் தெய்வமான (தீவத் தெய்வம்), ஜம்பு மரத்தின் கீழ் அமர்ந்து தவம் இயற்றி, அதனால் "சம்பு என்பாள் சம்பா பதியினள்" என்று பெயர் பெற்று, இத்தீவின் தென் பகுதியில் உள்ளோர் அசுரர்களால் தீங்கு அடையா வண்ணம் அவர்களைக் காக்கும் பொருட்டு தென் திசை நோக்கி அவள் அமர்ந்த ஊர் சம்பாபதி என்று பெயர் பெற்றது என்றும் சொல்லப்படுகிறது . அவள் அங்கு அமர்ந்த வெகுகாலம் பின்னர்தான், சோழ மன்னன் அகத்தியரிடம் வேண்டி, காவேரியைக் கொணர்ந்தான என்று எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளது. 

சம்பாபதி நோக்கி வந்த காவேரியை , அந்த சம்புத் தெய்வமானவள் , அரவணைத்து , இத்தனை நாள் தன் பெயரால் , சம்பாபதி என்றழைக்கப்பட்ட அம்மூதூர் , இனி காவிரியின் பெயராலும் , காவிரிப் பூம் பட்டினம் என வழங்கப்படும் என்கிறாள் .

"என் பெயர் படுத்த இவ்விரும் மூதூர்
நின் பெயர் படுத்தேன் நீ வாழி "
எனக் காவேரியை வாழ்த்துகிறாள்.

நாவலம் தீவுத் தெய்வமான அவள், தெய்வங்களுக்கெல்லாம் முதன்மையான இந்திரனுக்குச் செய்து வந்த விழவே , இந்திரா விழவு என்று காலம் தொட்டு புகார் நகரத்தில் நிகழ்ந்து வந்தது .
இவ்வாறு நடந்தது எல்லாம் தமிழ் நாட்டினிலே.  புகாரும், காவிரி பாயும் நிலமும், அந்த சம்பாபதி தெய்வம் காத்த நாடும் தமிழ் நாடே. காவேரி
ருற்கு முன்னமேயே தமிழ் நிலங்களும், தமிழ் பேசும் மக்களும் இப்பகுதியில் இருந்திருக்கின்றனர்  என்றும் தெரிகிறது. 

காவேரி என்று தோன்றியது  என்ற ஆராய்ச்சியை தமிழக முதல்வர் ஊக்கிவித்திருந்தால், தமிழின் தொன்மையை உலகிற்கே பறை சாற்றி இருக்கலாம்.

மூழ்கின குமரியைக் கண்டறிய ஆழ் கடல் ஆராய்ச்சியை ஊக்கிவித்திருந்தால் தம்ழின் முதுமையை ஐயம் திரிபற அறிவித்திருக்கலாம்.

அதை எல்லாம் விட்டு விட்டு திராவிடன், திராவிடன் என்று பேசிக்கொண்டிருக்கிறார். திராவிட ஆராய்ச்சியாளருக்கு விருதும்அறிவித்திருக்கிறார்.


இதை எல்லாம் ஏன் இங்கு சொல்கிறேன் என்றால், தமிழன் என்பவன், திராவிடன் என்று சிந்து சமவெளிப் பகுதியில் இருந்து பின் தெற்கு நோக்கி வந்தவன் என்றால், அவன் தன் அடையாளத்தை தென் பகுதியிலும், காவிரியிலும், குமரியிலும், தமிழன் என்றும் பதித்திருப்பானா?


I would like to draw the attention to arguments in demolishing the Aryan invasion theory. It is argued that if only the Aryans had entered from outside India, why is there no trace of their culture in those outside areas? Why did they talk in their works (vedas) only about the rivers and places where they were supposed to have migrated? This is a strong argument to prove that the so-called Aryans belonged to the Ganga and Saraswathy and not tothe places outside Bharatha varsha.


Similarly we find a strong and repeated allegiance to Kaveri, Kumari and the lands to the south of Venkatam in Tamil texts. If the Tamils  originally belonged to the Indus valley why is there no mention of that land or the sorrow for having lost that land? While they were able to remember the lost lands of Kumari, why didn't they make any mention of lost lands of Indus which is chronologically later to the loss of Kumari?


Today the researchers say that the Indus excavation bear some resemblance to Tamil culture. In the wake of non-tenability of Aryan invasion theory, they certainly can not claim that the Indus people were driven out to the present day Tamil lands. If that is true there must be some mention of it in the vast literature available in Tamil. On the contrary, the Tamil texts lament about the lost lands of Kumari in the South which suffered submergence thrice in the past.


If we find similarity between Indus culture and Tamil culture, the reason must be something else. The more plausible reason could be that Tamils and Indus people had shared a common way of life and culture. Their religion and beliefs and way of life must have been the same.


If Tamil seems to have a link to the Indus scripts and other scripts found in India, that is clear indication that Tamil had been wide spread as spoken language in Bharatha varsha where Sanskrit was the language of Vedas. Earlier posts on how Tamil could have been the spoken language of people all over Bharatha varsha can be read here.

Purananuru contains Vaalmiki's Tamil poem

The so-called Dravidian languages of the south were the by-products of the mix of Tamil and Sanskrit.

In this background, it looks strange that the Tamil nadu Chief minister continues to harp on Dravidan identity for Tamils and have even decided to honour Prof  Parpola with the Classical Tamil award. I don't question the credentials and achievements of the Professor. But how is it right to link Tamil to Indus language when Tamil is much older and independently developed and nourished in the South and not in the Indus valley? 

The Classical status of Tamil owes its origins to the Tamil lands of sunken Mudurai in Kumari and  to Kapatapuram of Kumari lands. By honoring the Professor and constantly harping on Dravidan identity of Tamils, Mr Karunanidhi is doing a disservice to Tamil.


********

From

http://beta.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article462079.ece

Parpola and the Indus script

(Professor Parpola and other Dravidian researchers consider Old Tamil to be a possible route to get at the language of the Indus inscriptions. )

Iravatham Mahadevan


Professor Parpola and other Dravidian researchers consider Old Tamil to be a possible route to get at the language of the Indus inscriptions. Photo: Shaju John
Professor Parpola
The first recipient of the Classical Tamil Award instituted by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
Photo: Shaju John

In the recent interview with Asko Parpola published in The Hindu (April 15, 2010), readers were made aware of the lasting contributions by Professor Parpola to Indological studies, especially in the field of the Indus Civilisation and its script. Having known him personally for four decades and having closely watched his great contribution to the study of the Indus script, I am in a position to amplify the information provided in the interview.


Professor Parpola's contributions to Harappan studies are truly monumental, and these are not confined merely to the study of the Indus script. He has published a long series of brilliant papers to establish the fact of Aryan immigration into South Asia after the decline of the Indus Civilisation. As a Vedic scholar-turned-Dravidianist, he has the best academic credentials to prove that the Indus Civilisation was pre-Aryan and that its writing encoded a Dravidian language. In addition to his linguistic skills and deep scholarship of Vedic Sanskrit and the Dravidian languages, he has harnessed the computer in one of the earliest scientific attempts to study the structure of the Indus texts through computational linguistic procedures. Professor Parpola has produced the first truly scientific concordance to the Indus inscriptions. His concordance is accurate and exhaustive and has become an indispensable tool for researchers in the field.


Equally impressive, and again truly monumental, are the publications inspired and co-authored by Professor Parpola, of two volumes of the Corpus of Indus Seals and Inscriptions. These volumes reproduce in amazing clarity and detail all the Indus seals (and their newly-made impressions) and other inscriptions. I happen to know personally the enormous difficulties Professor Parpola faced in publishing these volumes, nudging and goading the slow-moving bureaucracy in India and Pakistan to make available the originals, most of which were photographed again by the expert whom Professor Parpola sent from Finland for the purpose.


He published his magnum opus in 1994, Deciphering the Indus Script. The book contains the best exposition of the Dravidian hypothesis relating to the Indus Civilisation and its writing. Even though the Indus script remains undeciphered, as Professor Parpola readily admits, his theoretical groundwork on the Dravidian character of the Indus Civilisation and the script, and the fact of Aryan immigration into India after the decline of the Indus Civilisation, have been accepted by most scholars in the world.


Most of the Early Dravidian speakers of North and Central India switched over to the dominant Indo-Aryan languages in Post-Harappan times. Speakers of Aryan languages have indistinguishably merged with speakers of Dravidian and Munda languages millennia ago, creating a composite Indian society containing elements inherited from every source. It is thus likely that the Indus art, religious motifs and craft editions survived and can be traced in Sanskrit literature from the days of the Rigveda, and also in Old Tamil traditions recorded in the Sangam poems. Professor Parpola is aware of the Harappan heritage of both Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages, the former culturally and the latter linguistically. His profound scholarship in both families of languages enables him to mine the Indian cultural heritage holistically in his search for clues to solve the mysteries of the Indus script.


It may be asked: What has Tamil to do with the Indus script that Professor Parpola should be honoured with the inaugural Classical Tamil Award? Tamil happens to be the oldest and the best-documented Dravidian language. It is mainly for this reason that the Dravidian Etymological Dictionary of Burrow and Emeneau accords the head position to Tamil entries in the dictionary. That this distinction is well-deserved is also proved by the fact that Old Tamil contains the most archaic features of Dravidian phonology and morphology, like for example, the retention of the character aytam and the sound zh. Dravidian linguists have also established that most proto-Dravidian reconstructions are in close accord with words in Old Tamil. The earliest Tamil inscriptions date from the Mauryan Era. The earliest Tamil literature, the Sangam works, are from the early centuries of the Common Era, but record oral traditions from a much earlier time. It is for this reason that Professor Parpola and other Dravidian researchers consider Old Tamil to be a possible route to get at the language of the Indus inscriptions.


Professor Parpola speaks for himself in the following excerpt from his message of acceptance of the Classical Tamil Award. He says: "When the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu's award is given to me for a Dravidian solution of the Indus enigma, this award will inevitably be interpreted by many people as politically motivated. Nevertheless, I am ready to fight for the truth, and in my opinion, the Tamils are entitled to some pride for having preserved so well the linguistic heritage of the Indus Civilisation. At the same time, it must not be forgotten that though their language has shifted in the course of millennia, people of North India too are to a large extent descended from the Harappan people, and have also preserved cultural heritage of the same civilisation."


Professor Parpola's work on the Indus script will prove to be as important and as long-lasting as U.Ve. Swaminathaiyar's resurrection of the Tamil Classics from decaying palm leaves. He richly deserves the honour of being the first recipient of the Classical Tamil Award instituted by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.


(Iravatham Mahadevan is a noted epigraphist and Tamil scholar.)

1 comment:

Romesh said...

I am not competent to speak about the Aryan Invasion Theory or the Aryan Migration Theory. This said, I am also not confident about the credentials of David Frawley and Navaratna Rajaram to debate the issue. Neither is a qualified historian with the appropriate credentials from an academic institution in the field of history.

In short, more research is needed before any theory can be asserted or demolished.

This said, the word 'Dravidian' is indeed a colonial-missionary construct. Ironically, it is derived from the word in Sanskrit for Tamil-Brahmin!

Tamil literature is at least 2,000 years old and belongs to the deep south of India as you correctly point out. The Indus valley, about which we know little, marked the beginnings of Indian history. All Indians can claim that legacy, not just Tamil Nadu. The Sindh and Punjab have particular reason to appropriate that pride.

I would like to refer you to Polynesian migration myths. The folklore of the Maori, the Hawaiian, the Tahitians and Malagasy for instance refer to their ancestors as having traveled across the oceans in their out-rigger canoes from a far away land, memories of which remain in their legends and tradition.

There is no such recollection of a northern origin to the Tamil people while vague memories exist of a southern extension of the current Tamil country prior to a reported tsunami-like deluge several millenia ago. You are indeed correct in that regard.

I would like to add by mentioning however that all Indic culture is a mix between the 'Aryan' and the 'Dravidian', between the Sanskritic and the folk.

Best regards and keep up the good work.