Page:Origin and spread of the Tamils.djvu/13

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ORIGIN AND SPREAD OF THE TAMILS

became drowned, thus separating various islands. This geological action is explained as the occurrence of a great deluge in the Vedic, Epic and Purānic works, Manu who survived this catastrophe became the father of mankind.

According to the account in the Bhagavata Purana, a part of the Dravida des'a which centred the Malaya Hill survived this deluge. It is said that a fish who is regarded as the first avatar of Tirumal (Sans. Visņu) showed Manu a boat nearby to save himself from being drowned. In this connection it is worth noting that the emblem of the Pandya kings of South India was the Fish. The diluvial legends are not peculiar to our country. For we have versions of this in Hebrew, Babylonian and Sumerian, not to speak of other countries of the ancient world. These legends could not be summarily dismissed as myths but should be taken to have been based on certain historical traditions as the science of Geology would undoubtedly testify, I have pointed elsewhere the striking coincidences between the Babylonian and Indian legends. It is interesting that the Mesopotamian story of the deluge retains two Tamil words mīn (fish) and nir (water) (Census of India, 1931, p. 366).

According to the evidence of Geology, rocks of great antiquity—whether they are the Deccan traps or the foundation rocks of the south—have been found in the Indian Peninsula which forms one of the ancient land-surfaces of the globe. The Nilgiris, the Palni and Anamalais hills are supposed to be primeval ones, And