Name #Dravidian for lang family was coined by Robert Caldwell who discussed this at length in “A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages”1856

He gives his rationale-justification, also cleverly sowing seeds for today’s “Dravidian movement”

He sort of acknowledges Francis Whyte Ellis & Stevenson for recognising that today’s “#Dravidian” languages had much common between them, distinct from samskRta.
Ellis noted this in his intro to Alexander D Campbell’ book, “Grammar of the Teloogoo Language” (1816)

But the idea of putting tamiZ at the centre of this language, giving it a disproportionately large importance wasn’t just Caldwell’s. He mentions the use of “tamulic” and “tamulian” for this family by European writers prior to him.


The tamiZ speaking regions being directly under colonial rule with Madras as the administrative capital, and due to these being the bone of contention between various European colonisers sure made them more familiar with, & lay emphasis on tamiZ


Caldwell goes on to justify his choice of #Dravidian as the name of the lang family. He quotes kumārila bhaṭṭa using āndhra-drāviḍa-bhāṣā. He then gratuitously adds his retrospective erroneous views on this use-that kannaDa was included in telugu, & Malayalam in tamiZ

He was clearly wrong on both counts. āndhra was never used to refer to kannaDa-karnāṭa region/lang. karnāṭa is found often in early samskRta literature

Malayalam did not exist in 7th C CE, when kumārila lived

kumārila was too well-read & travelled not to have known

He further quotes manu using drāviḍa as one of several fallen kṣatriya tribes. Again, with no evidence, he concludes that this was used as a common term for all South Indians. He again makes erroneous assumptions about only telugu/ āndhra being possibly excluded frm this

Caldwell’s relative ignorance of kannaDa is evident from how many pages he has dedicated to the summary of each language in his book.

Tamil 11.5 pages
Malayalam 9
Telugu 4
KannaDa 1.5 (!)
tuLu 1
koDava 1


Here Caldwell plays on plausibility- suggestibility, that the North Indian writers supposed all South Indian languages as “one tongue”.
Like “Madrasi” today? But is he right though?

Is drāviḍa/drāviḍī a name of South Indian lang(s) or in fact a form of Prakrit itself?

And here is some casually dropped in #Brahmin-bashing. Got to give it to him for knowing exactly where to hit! And thus were sowed the seeds that in latter days flowered as the “Dravidian movement”

Such suggestions are sprinkled elsewhere too from time to time


Caldwell also quotes varāhamihira, but acknowledges harbour is unclear if his use of the term drāviḍa was generic or specific


There‘s one valid point he makes- the use of the term pañcadrāviḍa in older samskRta literature to include draviḍa, karnāṭa, āndhra, mahārāṣṭra & gūrjara people/clans. In this term, draviḍa is used generally to refer to what were considered related groups

What this common relationship was is unclear? D’you know?

Tempting to think it’s based on linguistic insights but that’s most unlikely (marAThi Gujarati have significant #Dravidian substrate-admixture). There’s no evidence that ancient people saw Dravidian langs as related
Caldwell makes just that above point- tho there were countless scholars that knew their lang deeply, they didn’t quite see (or if they did, they didn’t record it) that another lang was from the same source. None of the #Dravidian langs have a common term for the family

So he makes his final point to justify the use of the name #Dravidian for the language family

The question is, today, how commonly is the term “Dravida” understood as tamiZ

What could be a viable alternative name for the family? (It is not restricted to South India)


• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Shrikaanth K Murthy

Shrikaanth K Murthy Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @ShrikaanthK

14 Oct
க்‌ஷோபம் பொருளதைக் கொள்ளும் விருப்பே
சோபம் அதுகிட்டிச் சொந்தமெனு மோகமாம்
லேபம் வலுத்தெனக்கு லே இலையீ டென்னமதம்
லாபம் எனக்கே லபிக்குக வென்பது
லோபம் விருப்புகை கூடாது லோபித்தால்
கோபம் பிறர்க்கது கூட வயிற்றில்
தாபம் உறமச் சரமாம் இதுதீர
தீபம் அறிவென்ப தேற்று

6 Foes
kṣōbam poruḷadaik koḷḷum viruppē
cōbam adukiṭṭic condamenu mōgamām
lēbam valuttenakku lē ilayī ḍennamadam
lābam tanakkē labikkuga enbadu
lōbam viruppukai kūḍādu lōpittāl
kōbam piRarkkadu kūḍa vayiTRil
tābam uRamac caramām idutīra
dībam aRivenba dēTRu

Desire (kāma) to get a thing is sorrow. The pleasure when I get it & feel it my own is attachment (mōha). When attachment grows & I feel “Hey! No one’s equal to me”- that‘s conceit (mada). To want all gain only for myself is greed (lōbha)..

#ariShaDvarga #kAma #lObha #mOha #mada
Read 5 tweets
12 Oct
ಸೀತಾವಿಯೋಗತಪ್ತ ರಾಮ ಮರವೊಂದನ್ನು ಸೀತೆಯೆಂದು ಭ್ರಮಿಸಿ...

ಟಿಸಿಲಂ ಕಂಡೊರಟಾದುದೆಣ್ಣೆಯಿಲದೇ ಕೂದಲ್ ಪ್ರಿಯೇ ತಾಳದೀ
ಬಿಸಿಲಂ ತೋಲ್ ತೊಗಟಾದುದಾರಯಿಕೆಯಂ ತಾಂ ಕಾಣದೇ ಮೈಥಿಲೀ
ಸುಸಿಲಂ ಕೂರ್ತೆದೆಗಪ್ಪೆ ದೋರ್ಲತಿಕೆಯಂ ಚಾಚಿರ್ದೊಡಂ ನಾಣ್ಚಿ ಜೋ-
ಡಿಸಿ ಲಂಬೋರುವನಿರ್ಪಯೇಕೆನುವನಾ ಭೂಜೋತ್ಸುಕಂ ರಾಘವಂ

ಮರದ ರೆಂಬೆ ನೋಡಿ, “ಎಣ್ಣೆ ಕಾಣದೆ ನಿನ್ನ ಕೂದಲು ಒರಟಾಗಿದೆ ಪ್ರಿಯೇ! ಬಿಸಿಲನು ಸಹಿಸದೆ ತ್ವಚೆ, ಏನೂ ಆರೈಕೆ ಕಾಣದೆ ತೊಗಟೆಯಾಗಿದೆ! ನಿನ್ನಲಿ ನಾ ರತಿಸುಖ ಬಯಸಿ ನಿನ್ನ ತೋಳ ಬಳಸಿ ಎದೆಗಪ್ಪಿದರೆ ನಾಚಿ ಉದ್ದವಾದ ತೊಡೆಗಳನು ಸೇರಿಸಿಬಿಡುತೀಯಲ್ಲ! ಏಕೆ” ಎನ್ನುವನು ಆ ಭೂಜೋತ್ಸುಕನಾದ ರಾಮನು.

ಭೂಜೋತ್ಸುಕ-ಮರ/ಸೀತೆಯನು ಬಯಸುವವ Image
Seeing a branch, “Darling! your hair has gone rough from lack of oil! Not bearing the sun, lacking any care, your skin has turned to bark! When I hug your arms to make love, you shyly clasp together your long thighs & turn away! Why maithili?”, so says rama, lover of sItA/tree Image
Read 4 tweets
17 Aug
1-one who’s from kannaDa nADu/pradESa
2-one who has kannaDa as mother tongue

The definitions are “either/or”, not “and”.

So every tuLuva, koDava, konkaNi (in karNATaka) & sankEti (I am one) is a kannaDiga. There is no mutual conflict here. There needn’t/shouldn’t be
I understand everyone has different perspectives. But what’s the need to deny one part of our identity to validate another? And this seems to increasingly apparent only in recent times.

That kannaDa has been a vital part of tuLu, koDava and konkaNi regions is a historic fact.
One can not argue against history just because one disagrees with it or because one is dissatisfied with the present and/or that one wants to change the future.
Read 4 tweets
17 May
ಕನ್ನಡದ ಅಂಶಗಣಗಳ ಛಂದಸ್ಸ ಬಗೆಗೆ ನಾನು ಈವತ್ತು ಝೂಂನಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾತನಾಡಿದೆ. ನೀವು ೩೦-೪೦ ಜನ ಬಂದು ಪಾಲ್ಗೊಂಡು ಸಾರ್ಥಕ ಮಾಡಿದಿರಿ 🙏

ಛಂದಸ್ಸ ವಿಷಯವ ತಂದು ನಾ ಹೇಳಿದೆ
ಚಂದದಿ ಕೇಳಿ ತಿಳಿಯಲು-
ಚಂದದಿ ಕೇಳಿ ತಿಳಿಯಲು ತಾವೆಲ್ಲ
ಬಂದಿರಿ ಇಂದು ಭರದಿಂದ

ಅದರ ತಿರುಳನು ಈ ಟುವ್ವಿ ಸರಣಿಯಲಿ ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳುತ್ತೇನೆ

I gave a talk on Zoom about amSagaNa chandassu in kannaDa today. 30-40 of you joined & made it meaningful🙏

chandassa viShayava tandu nA hELide
candadi kELi tiLiyalu-
candadi kELi tiLiyalu tAvella
bandiri indu bharadinda

I’m sharing the gist of it in this tweet series
ಕನ್ನಡದಲಿ ಪದ್ಯಗಳ ಬಂಧ ೩ ಪ್ರಕಾರ- ಅಂಶಬಂಧ, ಮಾತ್ರಾಬಂಧ, ಅಕ್ಷರಬಂಧ

ಅಕ್ಷರಬಂಧಗಳು ವೃತ್ತಗಳು- ಎಲ್ಲಿ ಲಘು ಗುರುಗಳು ಬರಬೇಕು ಎಂದು ನಿಗದಿತವಾಗಿರುತ್ತೆ. ಹೆಚ್ಚಿನಂಶ ಒಂದು ಪದ್ಯದ ಎಲ್ಲ ಪಾದಗಳೂ (ಅಡಿ/ಸಾಲು) ಏಕರೀತಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಇರುತ್ತವೆ
ಉದಾ-ಚಂಪಕಮಾಲೆ, ಮತ್ತೇಭವಿಕ್ರೀಡಿತ, ಮಹಾಸ್ರಗ್ಧರೆ ವೃತ್ತಗಳು

Read 41 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!