Page:Pre-Aryan Tamil Culture.djvu/6

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but an unbroken continuation of that of the earlier epoch, the evidence of that literature can be used to confirm the conclusions reached by the use of the other two lines of evidence. It is proposed in this study to construct a picture of the culture of Tamils five thousand years ago by utilizing these sources of information.

The Evening of the Lithic Epoch

An account of the life of the South Indians of very ancient times derived from a study of the artefacts of the stone ages has been given by me in my Stone Age in India. The life of the marauder, of the hunter and the worker in bamboo, of the cowherd and the shepherd, of the farmer and the weaver, and of the fisherman, the salt-scraper and the sailor, had all been evolved amongst them while yet in the New Stone Age, as is proved by the fact that they made polished stone tools necessary for the pursuits of the different means of livelihood associated with these forms of ancient culture. All these different pursuits existed at the same time, each in the region suited to it.

The life of the people at the end of the lithic times may yet be found in the interior of the Tamil land. There still exist in the heart of the Tamil country hamlets and villages where the ubiquitous Telugu Komaţi is not found, where the ministrations of the all-pervasive Brāhmaṇa do not exist, and where even the Kabandha arm of British trade has not introduced kerosene oil and the safety match, called by the people maṇṇeṇṇey,[1] earth-oil and the fire-stick, tīkkuchchi,[2] where the whistle of the steam-engine and the toot of the motor horn has not yet been heard, and if you wipe off from the picture of the life of the people there the part played by iron tools, you can see with your eyes the slow placid life of the stone-age man exactly as it was in ten thousand b.c. Even in other parts of the country, which have participated in the elevation of culture due to the later discovery of iron, to the spread of the Ārya culture by the Brāhmaṇas, and to the development of internal trade during the long ages when there were numerous shufflings of dynasties of Indian Rajas and of foreign trade after European ships pierced the extensive sea-wall of Bhāratavarṣha, the greater part of the life of the people is but the life of the stone-age man, exactly as it was when Indian man was in the lithic epoch of culture.

The Dawn of the Iron Age

About seven thousand years ago, began the Iron Age in India. I assign a greater antiquity to the Iron Age in India than most scholars are inclined to admit, because the Vedic culture which began at least five thousand years ago was a culture of an advanced iron age. Prior to it flourished the cultures revealed by the excavations at Adichchanallūr in the Tinnevelly District and Moheñjo Daro and Harappa in the Indus valley. Moreover I shall presently prove that the Iron Age began when Tamil had not come in any kind of contact with Sanskrit

  1. மண்ணெண்ணெய்.
  2. தீக்குச்சி.