Page:Pre-Aryan Tamil Culture.djvu/14

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front of him, tore and burnt the cities of the fireless Dasyus[1] Bṛhaspati broke the stone prisons in which they kept the cattle raided from the Āryas.[2] The Dasyus owned chariots and used then in war like the Āryas[3] and had the same weapons as the Aryas. The distinction indicated by 'Ārya' and 'Dasyu' was purely a difference of cult and not of race or culture.[4]

Linguistic Evidence

We now come to another fruitful source of information, the chief means of the study of the subject, i.e., 'pure Tamil words', those belonging to the earliest stratum of the Tamil language, those that were used by the Tamil people before they came in any kind of contact with the users of Sanskrit or with the cult associated with that language. The nouns and verbs belonging to this ancient stratum of the Tamil language indicate objects and actions with which the Tamil people were familiar in that ancient epoch. These 'pure' Tamil words are called tanittamiḻ moḻigaḷ,[5] words untouched by foreign influence; they were used by the Tamils to serve the needs of the culture which they had evolved for themselves before they were influenced by any other people in the world. This method of inferring the culture of a people from a study of the words peculiar to them was worked by Schräder, a generation ago, in his Pre-Historic Antiquities of the Aryan People; but Schräder's work suffered from three disabilities: (1) The baseless dream of a homogeneous Aryan race radiating in all directions from a central focus and carrying the torch of civilization to the countries of Western Asia and Europe, has dissolved in the light of Anthropological knowledge. (2) The people that carried the Indo-European dialects and imposed them in those countries have been proved to be a mixture of several tribes; moreover these dialects in their wanderings picked up so many words from other dialects that the words common to all the Indo-European dialects are few. (3) Even these few have undergone many phonetic changes; the laws governing these changes are being worked out so very slowly that in any equations of the early scholars, e.g., that of Greek Ouranos with Indian Varuṇa, have become discredited by later research. On account of these reasons several conclusions of Schräder have had to be given up by later scholars. But the method of investigation pursued by Schräder is sound and can very well be applied to Tamil. This language, as its speakers have always claimed to be, is indigenous to South India, and grew there undisturbed by foreign languages till it reached a high stage of literary development. The Tamil race has been a homogeneous one since the Stone Age. The first few foreign students of the Tamil language indulged in a wild speculation that the Tamil language and its ancient-speakers entered India from Central Asia, simply because a few Brahui words were found to appear to be allied to Tamil. This is far too slender a basis for concluding that Tamil was originally a non-Indian language. Scholars of two generations ago were fond of wantonly dragging

  1. R. V. vii. 5.3.
  2. R. V. iv. 28.5; x. 67.3.
  3. R. V. viii. 24.27; iii. 30.5; ii. 15.4.
  4. P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar, Life in Ancient India in the Age of the Mantras, p. 13.
  5. தனித்தமிழ்மொழிகள்.