Friday, May 25, 2007

Tamil - A Later Language


My dad is a Tamil teacher and was a Tamil fundamentalist until recent past. He brought me up by brainwashing that Tamil is an ancient and superior language. But his repeated claims and many more claims from other Tamil scholars created a doubt in my mind. So I researched Tamil in my own and found many evidences that Tamil is not an ancient one. The arguments I placed against my dad made him to revise his faith on Tamil. Now he gave up his Tamil biased ideas. I wish to share some ideas here with you. I'm ready to debate on this topic with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Tamil's Mom:

Tamil is not an ancient language but it evolved from Bhrami, a primitive language. Researches suggest that Bhrami is a descendant of Hebrew. Now let us start. Bhrami has four "ka"s. Ka, KKa, Ga, Gha. All other Indian languages have like this. Even the Khmer language of Cambodia which evolved from Tamil also has this type of letters. The word Bhrami can not be written with Tamil properly. But it can be written using Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Sanskrit, Hindi, Sourashtra etc. So Tamil is the youngest of all her sisters. The geographical location of Tamil Nadu is on the ancient Bhrami civilization. So Tamils claim that they are having ancient language, which is actually not Tamil but Bhrami.


Sangam literatures are the most ancient among Tamil literatures. But the word Sangam is a Sanskrit word. This proves Tamil is much younger than Sanskrit. The Sillapathiharam mentions Indhra Vizha celebrations. Indhran is a Sanskrit god. So the Tamils worshipped Sanskrit gods from pre-historic era. The word Arasan meaning king, is from the Sanskrit word Rajan-->Arajan-->Arasan. I can prove that no Tamil literature is purely in Tamil. This shows that Tamil is a later language whose traces are not wiped properly.


When compared with all other languages in India, Tamil is the only language having modern scripts. The letters in inscriptions are unknown to almost all Tamils. Even most of the Tamil teachers and professors can't read Tamil inscriptions. Tamil words used in literatures are entirely differnet from today's Tamil. So, the ancient language having a different script, different set of alphabets and different words is not present day Tamil. Tamil and that ancient language do not mix in any aspect. It is clear that later scholars attempted to diminish this difference.

Name Game:

Which is the ancient city? What it's name? Madurai? Oh! It's a Sanskrit name. Kumari? It's also Sanskrit. Dravidam? It's also Sanskrit. Ok! Another argument. Kumari is not Sanskrit. But from the word Lemuri meaning Lemuria. Oh No! It's also not Tamil. Tamil words never start with L. Lanka's King Ravana is a Tamil. No! Both the words Lanka and Ravana do not fit in Tamil grammar. Tholkaapiyam is the most ancient Tamil work. No! Kaapiyam is from Sanskrit. Thirukural is the most ancient. No! The first Kural has Sanskrit words, Adhi Bhagavan!

What I Try to Say?

My aim is not to disgrace Tamil. But to say that Tamil is not an ancient classical language. It is just a later language built on Bhrami and borrowed from Sanskrit. Tamil is even later than Malayalam, Telugu etc. But due to presence of Bhrami inscriptions in Tamil Nadu, people often mistake that those literatures belongs to Tamil. But it is a total lie.


You may think that I'm disgracing Tamil. But I'm telling what I understood from my personal research. I challenge anyone for a public debate on this. I also request you to research and know the truth.


Karthy said...

why it could be like this..? sanskrit would have borrowed few words from tamil. there are some evidence ramayanam was written in tamil first and then it went to north. can't you believe? there r some sidhhar poet which was written even before 4000 yrs..

Manikandan said...

very funny ..probably ur father has stressed u a lot with tamil
ur vengeance is shown against the langauge ...
Tamil's Mom:
first of all brahmi is not a language it is only a writing system.
It is written in many ways for writing many languages.
the theory made by archeologists cannot be foolproof in such matters.
you can see below that the script derivation picture from ancient is not very convincing

"Bhrami civilization" --YOu are the first person to coin such a term :) :).

"sangam is a Sanskrit word"
----which God told u that sangam Madurai,Kaapiyam is a sanskrit word ??

"Tamils worshipped Sanskrit gods from pre-historic era"
----what do u mean by prehistoric era.

Historians favour the dominant.they dont write the truth..
somebody is claiming that tajmahal was built over a shiva temple..
now u tell me when ppl cannot be sure about mere 600 years history(time before tajmahal was built)

so we shall be least bothered about
your aguments on indiran,kumar etc

Shall we speak some logic..

1.Did sanskrit have a writing system.It borrowed tamil letters as base to write grantha...u can verywell see that it is extended tamil(includes the missing sounds of tamil)

2.Why tamil did not have kha,ga etc
--that is why it is called basic and CLASSICAL.any development has to start from simple to complex.
not ther otherway.

telugu,kannada,malayalam,hindi,sanskrit--written forms are derived from tamil
it simple added the strong sounds in between the basic tamil letters

3.When u say tamil derived from sanskrit ...u classify the tamil works according to perid
0---500 years before
500-1000 years before
1000-2000 years before

you can see the sanskrit words are
fewer as u refer a older work.
MEANS ---sanskrit has come at some time in tamil history(can be even at the time of thirukural)..
slowly it increased the dominance..

If it is the other way...u should heavy influence of sanskrit in older works which is not.

As u very well said research to understand the truth...u should understand things logically

1.The aryan civilization is dominant,attractive(white) and tamils/dravidians are very modest.

--compare the behaviour of north indians or bhramins VS south indians

any dominant civilization will only try to destroy.hence many tamil works before kural might have been destroyed.

2.Truth is not always the fact that is wellknown to u
a well know example....
hindi is THE national language of india...
How many educated ppl know it is a FALSE statement.That is the power of dominance..
afterall u and me can be made to worship shit as god.god and shit are noway close to each other.

I belive tamil is a classical langauge bcos

1.contains the basic sounds
2.donated the writing system to all indian languages
3.contains ORIGINAL works..
(if mal/tel/kanada is older what happened to their literature,like tamil had tolkapiyam,kurunthogai,naladiyar,puram,agam etc)

last but not least
Mr Shengaga murugan....your son/grandson should not write a blog that tamil is derived from english just because he uses a lot of english words in his speech..:)
just kidding....

when u are doing research be neutral.mostly dont believe the historians,but in the facts that u experience in present..
present can project u a very good pic about the past aswell.

Manikandan said...

some more content for your thought

rivers are considered to be the cradle of civilization..
if Tamil... came from Sanskrit...

porunai ---all are tamilnames
porunai ---
tamirabharanai(sanskritized) version of porunai

Manikandan said...


1.bharatnatyam is considered as classical dance of tamilnadu

originally it is called as avinayam ->now called as bharathnatyam.
(this change only happened 200years before)

why should the ppl change the name from avinayam to bharatnatyam.
simple -->to give a feel that it came from north

tamizisai (simple form) developed into carnatic music.

chidambaram---tamil name is thillai
natarajan---nata--dance ,rajan -lord
in tamil shiva is actually called as koothayyan

why should the so called god's language speakers should change these names.TO GIVE A FEEL THAT THEIR LANGUAGE IS DOMINANT

SHIVA --transported from south to north..

the mordern shiva has a beatiful figure with ganges flowing from his head,wears the mooon in his head and resides in kailash..

when manikavasagar writes about beauty of shiva.
kunitha puruvam,kovai sevai etc

gnanasamanthar wrote
thodudaya seviyan ...
What happened to kailash,moon,ganga etc

So shiva is transported to north with moon,ganga ornaments and a luxury house in kailash.

so whatever u see is faked..the native culture is tampered beyond recognition and it is very hard to isolate what came from what

tamilians should first respect self before appreciating others..

naam tamizai uNarvu poruLaai parka kuudaathu
ARivu poruLaai paarka vendum.

Jayasinghe said...

Tamil is oldest member of Dravidian Language family. It developed very independently. All living languages have other languages contacts. Therefore Tamil has Sanskrit influences. Also Sanskrit has Tamil influence.Eg: mayil>mayura,tamrei>tamra
Sinhalese also a classical language which used in Sri Lanka. It also has Sanskrit and Dravidic influences. These three languages are classical languages in south Asia.

Sam said...

Very interesting! I live outside India and I look at it all from outside the typical jingoistic Tamil proponents. I do get frustrated when authors, on both sides of the aisle, write about some topics with weak research. It seems your take was biased by retaliation than research. It seems to be a frustration let out about jingoistic attitude of your father.

There seems to be a Sanskrit fanaticism in India. Funny, we didn't really care for it, until westerners told us it was a great language. After all, we let it die as a spoken language, didn't we? Agreed it was a great language, even good for computer they say, but it's a dead language, nonetheless. In the evolution process of humans, we have come a long way from the days we merely made noises. Now, we compete which language is better!! Sanskrit being an extinct language, many people try to own it, and glow from it's greatness. So, see my take is not whether Sanskrit is great or ancient, but rather, what is/was the glory of Tamil. After all, you would agree it belongs to a different language family, Dravidian and has it's own grammar structure.

Just because some names/words in Tamil belong to another language, we cannot make that a parent, can we? The word for foreigners in Sanskrit and Tamil, Yavana, comes from how the Greeks identified themselves, as from Iona. Does that make Greek ancestor of both the languages? India or Hindustan was not the name India gave herself. It was derived from what Arabs called us. Does that make Arabs discovered India and taught us everything, just because they named us? If you carefully (or not-so-carefully) pick words, you can probably say that about any language in the world!!! To make one better, you do not have to lower another. In fact, what you said could be extended to Sanskrit as well, if you took Prakrit to be it's predecessor.

There were several Sanskrit scholars in Tamil Nadu in ancient times, that translated several works both ways. They did not compete about which language was older. They enriched the language by borrowing or adding more foreign literature. Try teaching Tamil to a northerner, and Hindi to a Southerner. You will see where the languages might have developed or even co-existed in the early times.

Like Manikandan said, there was nothing called Brahmi culture. I am sure you would agree, a script is really not the culture and doesn't really help dating a language. If so, several American Indian languages, African and Australian languages wouldn't qualify to be ancient languages. And we know they are old, as they developed in isolation and thus we cannot claim, they developed from another!

I love Tamil because it's my mother tongue. I do not mind how old my mom is, I still love her because she is my mom. Same thing applies to your language. The English word for one's own language is Mother Tongue, isn't it? You will be amazed to see the sentiment people around the world have about their own language and culture. Your father was not alone in that respect. At least, he did justification to his job as a Tamil teacher.

I live in the US and I live and breathe English everyday. I appreciate the versatility of that language. Yet, when I read an old Tamil literature, I could see how that language developed so much through ages. I could see the parallels of developments in English now and Tamil then. Somewhere along the way, we lost our priority of developing the language and got into these silly arguments. If Tholkappiar or Thiruvalluvar was here now, I am sure, he wouldn't even get into this discussion, because they had the task of developing their own language, and not compete with another!

Please continue your research and leave out the bias. Yours may actually come out better than all those jingoists out there. But, please do not perpetuate false/weak research. That will do disservice to your own identity!!! And finally, please take your father out of the picture. Your upbringing or biases in personal life should not come in to play, when you do "independent" research. It doesn't matter if Tamil is ancient language or not. Please look at the enrichment of the language. Who we are today is essentially a continuation or evolution from our past. You cannot deny your thinking process and the culture is Tamil (Assuming what you said is true, that you are Tamil).

Happy New Year!

P Shenbaga Murugan said...

Too all people who commented above...

Thank you all for reading and posting your valuable comments. Many think that I have some anger on my dad which I vent like this. False... I encourage my dad to translate Glorious Tamil works like Purananooru, Kurunthogai etc. He completed some part of it. We are planning to release it as book. Moreover, I have set up a blog with my father's poetical interpretation of Kural. ( As Sam has told, I never hate Tamil. I'm not a Sanskrit supporter either. I just don't like people boasting that Tamil is the "oldest", "sweetest", "best" etc. Even my dad now believes the same... By Bhrami, I meant to say Prakrit. Prakrit is the proto-Indian language from which Tamil derives in a later date than Sanskrit.

kaverison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kaverison said...

From Sam:

Thanks for following up with comments. That "prakrit" is proto Indian is what the northerners would have you believe. If you notice the language and grammar are different. Indian languages are not grouped as Dravidian and Aryan groups of languages for no reason.

If you look at man's origin, in many of the theories, one of them is Afro-centric. And southern India, southeast asia might have been part of that Gondwana land. This could mean that language actually spready upwards, not southerly.

My point is that, man from early days learned to make sounds and then "talk". Why would one man be better than another in inventing languages? Apparently, they did form in different spots and eventually people started mixing and merging, training their tongue into various languages.

All these proto- stuff are european concoctions to make them all euro-centric. Didn't you hear? Just as they claim Proto-Indo-European to be from Europe, they are claiming proto-Dravidian from around Finland. So, what do you believe?

Anyways, thanks for promoting your father's Tamil works. At least, you try to do something on both sides.

- Sam

Suren said...

Interesting discussion. I do agree that the Eurocentric interpretation of the history of India should change. They have always been out to categorize and put labels. Indo-european and the Aryan invasion is a pure European invention. It is proved beyond any doubt that this invasion never happened and that all people in India are indeginous to India. The Europeans just can't accept that Indic people had such a great civilisation, before them. Now we are fighting whether Sanskrit or Tamil is oldest/superior etc. No language is superior to another.

I am from Sri Lanka, where the discussion about what is Tamil and Sinhalese is very heated, due to the Tamil National issue, and most of the arguments are like the ones we see here. I have a Tamil father and a Sinhalese mother, so for me both these languages are mother tongues. For me it doesn't really matter who came first or what is oldest in Sri Lanka, but the Tamils seem to take any word or place name in Sinhala and say that it is Tamil to prove some ancient presence in a very odd way. Most of the time these words are of Sanskrit and Pali origin :).

When it comes to language groups and what is Dravidian and what is Sanskrit we have to see where it all began, and what people were speaking earlier. According to genetic and archeological studies, humans started using ''languages'' about 50-60,000 years ago, which is just prior to the time we started to get out of Africa. They were just words and sounds not languages, though, which later evolved into languages.

Hindi for example has over 30% of words which cannot be traced to Dravidian or Indo-aryan words. Same goes for many other languages. There are many words in the Sinhala language too, which can't be traced to any of these languages. Unless people were telepathic, they didn't know what was spoken in North India or even in South India, in the case of Lankans. Given the distances from North India to South India, in your case, and given the fact that in thoes times these were distances not covered easily, it is almost stupid to assume to centres for development and categorize languages the way they have done. In the case of Sinhala, it is categorized as an Indo-Aryan language. It is very Indo-aryan in character and vocabulary, phonetics etc, but it has many syntax features and vocabulary which is not seen anywhere else.

In the case of Tamil, it seems that Tamils claim that everything is Tamil. Even with todays accessiblity, i.e clear roads, no thick vegetation and other hindrances like wild animals, automobiles, aeroplanes, internet, telephone, it would be an impossible task for one language to have dominance over such a vast area. Like all other languages Tamil too developed from something, with a few words, many thousands of years ago.

In my humble opinion, I think to find the roots of both language and religion, we have to look at the begining, that is Africa. Upto now, all studies to find origins are confined to the Indian sub-continent, while it is Africa we all originated in. There are almost no studies done in this connection, and the academics in the fields of African and Indian studies, do not communicate and compare their studies. It is the same for other fields like linguistics, population studies, archeology etc. Everything has to be put together and coordinated to find answers.

At present, we have to just be content with ''quarrelling'', since none of us know the truth, and the truth will most probably be that all these languages are equal in age, which is only logical, given the fact that all these people have been speaking their respective root languages all the time.

PS. Good luck with your father :).

kaverison said...

I like your comment, Suren. Living in a multi-ethnicity, multi-lingual family definitely gives you a good perspective on both sides of the aisle.

The reason Tamils have to do this now, is because, for ages they have been refused the claim for it's antiquity (I will not go into the politics of it all). No matter where and when they originated, Tamil does have her own treasure chest of antique anthologies. If Tholkappiar were to write a grammar system for it about 2000 years ago, the language must have developed centuries, if not thousands of years before that.

I do not think ancient Tamils really cared about where and if they borrowed words from outside. They had some rules for "cleaning up" such loan words, like the Japanese do now.

As you may all know, Japanese language doesn't have L sound and they make it an R sound. So, baseball becomes Besu Baaru and Hilton Hotel becomes Hirutanu Hoteru. So, can we reduce the glory of that language?

Just because Tamil didn't have the tones Sanskrit did, doesn't make Tamil any less. Tamil did not need those sounds in those days. That's the argument presented (author mentions Brahmi, Prakrit...) in this post. This is what I don't like. Just because you know something and that something is not in a language, don't go about reducing it.

Sanskrit doesn't have some of the tones that Chinese or some ancient Aztec languages have. If we ever were ruled by those people, Sanskrit may look lacking too! Where do we stop?

Language, irrespective of how connected or disconnected, develop indigenously. It develops based on the culture and society of the people that speak it. In that sense, each language is unique.

That Brahmi is descendant of Hebrew???? is another shocking revelation author comes up with. Can't we Indians (Soth Asians?) just settle for something that we could have "discovered" ourselves?? We do need to get out of this "colonial" mentality?

I like and propose the Afro centric as well. But, at least until that is proved, let's settle on Indian sub-continent being the center of (our) universe.


elmon said...

Dear Shenba,

Really i am appreciating for your effort on this side.I saw you in your childhood days in your home itself.I am the thambi for Anbu Anna Pasamigu Paramasiva Pandiyan.Really i am proud of you!There are so many things to discuss in this subject.We will meet once and discuss.

P Shenbaga Murugan said...


Nice to hear from you... Can you give me any details? I can contact you.

Arunai said...

You are partly wrong, Sanskrit is not an evolved language like Tamil.

Yes Tamil got words from other languages like Pali and Parakrit similarly Tamil words had gone there.

Regarding words like Sangam these are actually later day Tamil words developed from people here in the Tamil country. For ex Chankam is Chan+Akam Cha means multiple/many and Akam means inside.
similarly AraSan becomes Aram+San Goodness to many etc...
Easan is Give to Many.
In the above, words like Aram, Akam, Ee are all Tamil words. I can give you multiple similar words that Starts or ends with Chan/San having Tamil words along with it.Why these words have Tamil words along with Chan? Chankadam, Chanthanam,Chanku,Chanam, santhi, Chanthippu,Changili, Tharusanam,Chandai,Chanthai etc. So if you call these words as Sanskrit then it means Sanskrit came after Tamil using Tamil words?

Tolkaapiyam says Tamil words will not start with Cha, but that itself is debatable, as per Paavaanar its misunderstood by many. We know Tolkaapiyam is very old and its natural for a language to evolve as per political changes that happens with time.
Do some research on the so called Sanskrit words and try to find its roots, I am sure you will appreciate Tamil's heritage.

Arunai said...

About the words,
Madurai, Kumari, Pakavan, Aadhi

Can you explain the meaning of these words in Sanskrit?

I can give you in Tamil.

MaThurai - Ma is middle and Thurai is port.

KuMari do you accept Kumaran is Tamil god? Ku is small in Tamil Mara or Mari is more in Tamil than Sanskrit.

Pakavan - If Pakal is Tamil then Pakavan is Tamil?

Aadhi, If Aalam, Aali, Aaakam, Aani, Aasai, AaSeeriyan, Aamai,Aandavan, Aadai are Tamil than Aadhi is also Tamil.

Arunai said...


Its not ThamiraBarani, The correct Tamil word should be Thamaraparani it should be
ThaanMaraParaNi(r) Means Thannai Marantha Para(flowing,flying) Water.

Another word the author of this blog should learn is "Paandyan", This word came from PaarAandaIyan means experts of the ocean.

RAM said...

Ancient Indian literature has great values, the Vedas and Sangam literature of Tamil gives the moral of life. Tamillanguage is the oldest and beautiful Dravidian language. The literary tradition of Tamil language is more than 2,200 years, the most remarkable thing is secular poetry extant in India.

P Shenbaga Murugan said...

Hi Ram,

Thanks for the opinion. It is true that Tamil is oldest of Dravidian (arguably) languages. But what I am opposed to is that, claims like "Tamil is the oldest of all languages", "Tamil is the greatest of all languages" etc.

There are some people like Devaneya Pavanar who theorized some pseudo-scientific stories which puts Tamil in dates before Human race itself as per modern science.

Vedas mentioned in your post are not written in Tamil. The word Veda itself is not Tamil. Tamils are not that much secular when they impaled thousands of Jains or fought with each other for caste and religion.

The word "parathaiyar ozhukkam" and "theiva-addiyal" give some extant of the social practices like temple-prostitution and legalized (accepted/tolerated) prostitution.

For me, Tamil is my other tongue and worth learning. I enjoy its literature and I try my best to use it in everyday life.

No culture old culture is good enough. We have to move forward with time. Our judgement on anything should be based on current social/political/economical/cultural scenario. That applies to language too. It is hard to stick to a language and try to prove ourselves superior than to adapt what is really superior and move forward.

P Shenbaga Murugan said...

For those who think I am anti-Tamil, please note that I am fighting against the false pride and propaganda about Tamil. I am not against any language, culture or group of people. That holds good to Sanskrit or English too... The first language humans used must had died long ago. Even the oldest languages (claimed by people) are heavily corrupted with borrowed words. So let us all leave behind the pride and start to think about what can we do to make our language survive and evolve to meet the future.

kennady said...

Tamil language is one of the greatest classical literature and traditions of the world. It predates the literature of other modern Indian languages by more than a thousand years

vasanth said...

in the olden days tamil nadu was surrounded by water on 3 the music in tamil was known as "karai naattu isai"but slowly some they changed its name as karnataka music and then to carnatic music....................and now they say that carnatic music is derived from a sanskrit word.....its very funny

P Shenbaga Murugan said...

ok. Less ranting, more work. I have made a Tamil layout for Android keyboard. You can find it here for free...

use it and let me know your comments.

Manikandan said...

Good it seems now u reverted ur belief :) .I ll try using this font.

P Shenbaga Murugan said...

No. I still believe Tamil is a later language. So what? There is no shame in being a Tamilian.

Manikandan said...

No problem :-) ..It is perfectly fine when belief is a matter of evidence rather than blind.