When one discusses the pre-history of South India, the origins of Dravidian speakers invariably comes up

When did the Dravidian languages make their entry in India?

Were they pan-Indian at any point?

On this - the views of Nilakantha Sastri / Fuerer Haimendorf are interesting
This is somewhat dated as these individuals operated some 70 years ago in academia

But their theory is -

1. Dravidian languages were never quite pan-Indian or dominant in North India

2. They have always been spoken mostly in the region where they are spoken now (lower Deccan)
3. It is likely the Dravidian speakers have affinity to the Armenoid race-type, who colonized South India through sea travel from the west, leaving their original homeland in Central Asia (Anatolia, Armenia, Iran)
4. During their travel, they perhaps left colonies along the coast (which explains remnant Dravidian speaking cultures like those of Brahui in Baluchistan, or the presence of megaliths near Karachi)
5. The period of colonization likely was in the Iron age. Which explains why South India made a direct jump from Stone age to Iron age

Circa 1000-500 BCE

Making the arrival of Dravidians in the peninsula contemporaneous with the Aryan colonization of the North and later Deccan
6. This makes Dravidians just as recent as the Aryans in the Indian subcontinent.

Also leaving open the possibility that the pre-Aryan IVC culture of North West India was likely neither Dravidian-speaking nor IE speaking
7. The association of the Dravidian homeland in Anatolia / Iraq / Iran is a bold hypothesis.

Likely one made by Sastri. Not so much Haimendorf

Some arguments to back that -
a. The Indian worship of Parvati (Lady of the mountain) and her marriage with Shiva (tirukkalyANam)

vs the Mesopotamian Mother Goddess (Lady of the mountain) and the annual celebration of her nuptials with the Moon God in the city of Ur
b. Institution of devadAsis common in South India was apparently well known in Ancient Sumer

c. Sumerian worship centered around Sacrifice, with the kitchen being v central part of the temple (not unlike Tamil country)
d. Snake worship very prevalent in Southern India.
Earliest prehistoric stratum in Persepolis (Iran) excavations also suggest a snake worship cult
What all of this suggests is -

Dravidian cultures did not evolve in India. Rather they entered India at a late date (maybe at the same time as Vedic culture)
That explains the sudden emergence of Sangam literature around the beginning of the Common era, with no strong traces of a literate culture in the region prior to it.
Possibly Sangam literature represents a collaboration of Dravidian and Aryan immigrants in Southern India, who likely were dominant over the local aborigine population

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More from @shrikanth_krish

22 Oct
One of the things that distinguishes Hinduism and the Vedic religion from other traditions is the importance ascribed to the shabda

Reciting texts in the original with correct pronunciation (ucchAraNa) and the right tonal modulations (svara-pATha)

The meaning takes a backseat
But does this have traditional sanction?

Is it OK to equate vedic study with mere chanting "pArAyaNa") as opposed to understanding the import of the works?

What's fascinating is that the tradition itself appears divided on this.
First of all learning through the oral tradition is clearly one of the obligatory duties of a brAhmaNa. There are no two ways about it.

Even Manu himself is explicit about this in his smRti -

Verse 1.88

अध्यापनमध्ययनं यजनं याजनं तथा
दानं प्रतिग्रहं चैव ब्राह्मणानामकल्पयत्
Read 14 tweets
20 Oct
Interesting piece, but it stereotypes the interaction of "brahminical thought" with the traditions of the hoi polloi

The paternalist attitude of the brAhmaNas is less evident in Southern India, where the give-and-take was more even

This is most evident when one studies the history of the Alvar and Nayanar saints of Tamil country

Where the cultural interaction of the brAhmaNas with local vellAlars was definitely not characterized by a supercilious attitude of the brahmin towards local traditions
Two good examples are -

1. The relationship between Appar and Sambandhar in Nayanar lore

2. The very high status accorded to Nammalvar in Sri-Vaishnava lore
Read 8 tweets
20 Oct
Often encountered the question in discussions -

"Why are you not a libertarian/classical liberal"?

I was one, back in my 20s

Outgrew that for a few reasons

1. Classical liberalism is predicated on "reason". Tends to dismiss prejudice altogether

2. It ignores history/culture
Classical liberalism is fundamentally anti-politics

Because it is based on the universalizing notions of individual liberty, economic freedom

It does not acknowledge "groups", "special interests"
E.g libertarians insist on low tariffs

But then zero tariffs are always in general interest. They may reduce prices for everybody just a wee bit

But not in the special interest of any group.

So if the idea is to support domestic industry, zero tariffs may not be beneficial
Read 13 tweets
16 Oct
It is often said Indian states diverge a lot in terms of incomes

I view it differently

E.g. TN PCI : $11K in PPP Terms
UP PCI : $3K

That's a ratio of 3.7. But absolute difference is $8K

In China, Jiangsu is at $33K, Yunnan at $11K
Ratio of 3. But absolute difference is $22K
To my mind, it is the absolute difference in PPP-adjusted PCI across regions you should focus on

Not the ratio

When you move from a province with $11K income to $33K, you feel the difference a LOT more than when you move from a province with $3K income to $11K
Ratios don't make sense when the base is low.

E.g. UP is perhaps 2 times richer than Haiti

But it may not feel that much richer.

As opposed to say moving from Argentina to US
Read 5 tweets
14 Oct
I can sense a certain Trad anxiety here

To my mind, ICM is merely a manifestation of a deeper deracination in habits / lifestyle

When lifestyles and values converge, ICM is inevitable

If the cultures are indeed v distinct, ICM will also be marginal
So my gratuitous advice to Trads is -

Don't campaign against ICM. That's just a symptom

Instead reflect on the distinctiveness of castes, and whether the diversity is worth preserving

If people are rooted enough, they are less likely to marry out
Trads tend to think -

Endoogamy will conserve traditions

I reverse it -

If the traditions have value and hold attraction, there will be a natural resistance to ICM

As is the case in much of India even today
Read 4 tweets
13 Oct
The reaction to the Tanishq ad is way over the top

The issue with H-Right is - the reactionary instinct predominates. There is no creative instinct

E.g. You can make a "conservative" movie where a H-M marriage fails because of cultural schisms

That never happens
There are many ideas for "conservative" films

1. H-M marriage fails because of differing cultures
2. Failure of love marriage. Parental wisdom held up favorably against young love
3. Show films where endogamy can drive better social outcomes / prevent cultural discontinuity
This creative spirit was v much present among "conservatives" 50 yrs ago

The last major manifestation of this spirit in Bollywood was the actor/director Manoj Kumar

Whose films may be cringe worthy in parts, but exude a certain creativity that is missing on the indic side today
Read 4 tweets

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