Monday, October 30, 2006

The original father of Dravidian speakers - III

The degradation of appa among Hindu Malayalees:
I was puzzled by Malayalee Hindu vulgarization of terms denoting father like "appa" and "tanda"(formal). In my previous post, I have speculated that it could be a late development as grandfather is still called appoppa (appa's appa). Probably, we can get further insight into this phenomenon if we compare matrilineal system practiced by Tuluvas and Malayalees and also Malayalees living amongst Tuluvas.

There were few fundamental differences in Tulu and Malayalee matrilineal system. In my opinion, because of older existence, Tulu matrilineal system might be closer to the original system.

o In Tulu matrilineal system, wife could go and stay at her in-laws' place(patrilocal) or husband could live with his in-laws(matrilocal). Generally, wife lived with her husband's family. But husband living with his wife's family was not uncommon(In any case, husband and wife would stay together).
In Malayalee matrilineal system, husband and wife stayed in their respective matrifocal joint family houses(Tharavadu).

I came across this information in a book on "Aliyasantana Kattu"(lit. Nephew progeny law) dealing with matrilineal laws in Indian legal system as applied to Tulu/Malayalee societies. However, I am not sure if there was any kind of generalization for legal clarity. At least, Malayalee communites in Tulu regions, practiced matrilineal system similar to Tuluvas. More over, Malayalee matrilineal system reads like Nair matrilineal system and I am not sure if other matrilineal communities also had the similar traditions in the past. Anyway, I take Malayalees in Tulu region is an exception as they might have followed the rule of the land.

In my opinion, Tuluva matrilineal system is close to the original as both seniormost male(Yajamana) and seniormost female(Yajamanti) in a family could be the head of the family. However, among Malaylees this was the exclusive right of the seniormost male(known as Karnavan)(according to the book there were few exceptions). Also, Karnavan officiated the religious ceremonies in a Tharavadu, but, the seniormost female had this privilege among Tulu region Malayalees(I am not sure about Tuluvas in this respect). Therefore, Malayalee matrilineal system probably lost some of the female rights.

Therefore, I think, Malayalees, a branch of Tulu tribes, might have diverged from the original matrilineal system probably in the early centuries of last millennium. A strong feature of the new system was exclusion of father from a child's life.

For Malayalees in Tulu regions, father is appa and uncle is acca(This, I think is very important point along with appoppa). However, for other Malayalees appa meant nothing in the new system as he was not present. The vulgarization of appa(along with tanda) could have been deliberate or subconscious effort to put uncle(acca) into appa's place. Though I am not sure if this was one way to prevent any kind of matrilineal conflicts by securing full respect for the uncle and despise for the father. However, moving into modern times father has been reinstated but his lable has been changed permanently .

It would be really interesting to know how families turned into complete matrifocal in Kerala society.

1. Aliyasantana law by M. V. Shanker Bhat.

Update 4-Nov-2006:
I found this article on the web which gives a detailed account of Nair kinship system. Hmmm... all my arguments without much understanding or background are wrong. But I am not sure if accan is a Sanskrit word meaning "lord". This again goes back to arya <-> ajja argument. Many linguists do not subscribe to the view that Dravidian ajja(which is accan in Tamil/Malayalam) is tatbhava(or Prakrit) form of arya. Again, why some Malayali communities use it for uncle?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Tala people -II

I put forward Tala people hypothesis some time back. And recently I speculated that IVC might have spoken a Caucasian language. Some linguists believe Basque (Euskara) language, a language isolate in Western Europe, could be part of Caucasian language. Curiously, there is some coincidence here.

According to me , tala changed to buru in North-West of the Subcontinent(or vice versa in different direction). Hence we have communities like Burushos and Brahuis. What about Basque people? "tala" in Malayalam(tale in Kannada) means "head". Incidentally "buru" in Basque also means "head". Probably, Caucasian spekars were once wide spread, stretching from the Subcontinent to Iberian peninsula.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Studies supporting "culture only" hypothesis for IQ differences

J. Philippe Rushton and Richard Lynn are two psychology professors working mostly on race and IQ relationship. Though they interpret the data bit strangely that could be attributed to their funding trust.

The studies that caught my eye were Rushton's imaginatively titled;
General mental ability in South Asians: Data from three Roma (Gypsy) communities in Serbia(Via Dienekes)

And Lynn's
Skin color and intelligence in African Americans

According to Rushton;
Roma's average lower than Europeans on g, like South Asians.

According to Lynn;
There is a positive correlation between skin color and general intelligence among African Americans. Lighter the skin colour; higher the IQ. This could be attributed to European genes.

Now, let us consider the genetic make up of Roma and their founding population in India. Romas are believed to have originated in present day South-East Indian region(Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh). Their language shows close affinity to Sinhala. Sinhalese are mostly descendants of East Indian communities. Also, like East-South Indians they also lack Y-Haplogroup L.

I am not sure of Serbian Roma(the population used in the study) genetic make up. If they resemble non-Sinti Romas then they must have European male lineages like R1b and I and female lineages like H, X in appreciable frequency.

If there were no cultural differences as stated by Rushton then we should go by Lynn's skin color and intelligence measurement. In India, the erstwhile outcastes(to which Romas probably belonged to, they are culturally similar to Doms or Dombas) and tribals still do not enjoy similar cultural advantages as other castes we have to compare other non-Brahmin castes with Romas.

At least from photos on the web, Romas look lighter than most of the castes in South-East Indian region which we can attribute to their higher European contribution. By Lynn's analysis their g should be higher than (and not equal to) Indians which could be around 80-85. However, Rushton's study does not observe that. When it has been observed that lighter skin and IQ positively correlated among African Americans but not among Romas it might show that only cultural inputs are relevent. Gene inputs might be positive/negative if they are associated with cultural inputs but on their own they are actually neutral.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

IVC spoke Caucasian

Both occurrences of ilisu in fact observed in the regions where once Caucasian languages were spoken.

Monday, October 16, 2006

IVC spoke Altaic by Google

Almost all of Indian male lineages(IE and Dravidian) now appear to be derived from Central Asia region. Michael Witzel, Indologist believes Dravidians moved from Central Asia region crossed Eastern Iran and reached southern IVC region(present day Sindh in Pakistan). It looks like genetic studies do support that theory as neither Arab nor Mediterranean lineages observed among Dravidians.
The article mentions a person named íu-iliSu, a translator from Meluhha. I just typed ilisu(iu ilisu did not return anything) and found villages with that names in Turkey and Azerbaijan, two Altaic countries. It's typical for Indians to keep village name as their second/first name. Probably, that person's name means íu from village iliSu(I am not sure about the sound changes as I can't pronounce that Altaic name).

Well, Michael Witzel believes IVC might have spoken an Austro-Asiatic language. But I wonder if it is possible for a civilized community to revert to tribalism. Is civilization just one way progress or can it go back to its tribalhood? If it was possible, what could be the reason? A loss of elite structure? Migration to places with remote chances of agriculture(IVC knew wheat cultivation)? How easy for an isolated tribe to come back to civilization? Would an occasional brilliant person from that tribe invest his/her time and energy in changing the whole tribe or would find it easier for him/her to merge with a civilized community by migrating. Will an isolated but close existence of a civilized community and a tribal community ensure a continued tribalhood(brain drain)? I am not sure, so I would rather think IVC must be either IE or Altaic.

Wheat and rice:
I don't think Dravidians of the past were either wheat or rice eaters. A big chunk of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh still uses various millets for staple diet. Rice might have spread from North East region much later and as such did not reach North-West of South India.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Dravidian 'f' revisited

While most of the Karnataka learn 'p' , 'ppa' , 'ba', 'bha' and 'ma'. We, in Tulu region, learn it as 'pa', 'fa', 'ba', 'bha' and 'ma'. In high school, our Kannada teacher, a migrant from northern region, would just look at the ceilings and would say nothing when we repeat his ppa(or pha... but this does not give the clear sound) fa. I guess 'fa' has a charm that 'ppa' can't capture. I wonder if it was Konkanis who brought 'fa' sound to this region. For that matter, I am not even sure if Indo-Aryan languages have this sound.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Temple architecture of Kerala -I

The temple architecture in Kerala shows East Asian influences. Few have speculated a population from North-East/East Asian region moving to Kerala. Others have speculated the overwhelming Buddhist presence in the region.

I don’t find much merit in the population movement. Let’s consider Buddhism. I do not have much knowledge about the area from which Buddhism spread in Kerala. Buddhism that was prevalent in Kerala might have been Tantraism. And Eastern regions are the origin of this sect. However, I don’t think the Buddhists who came to Kerala could be from Eastern regions beyond India. That leaves us with only cult that came from regions outside the boundaries of present day India. And that is Natha cult of Nepal.

Natha cult:
According to few sources, that I have read, not much is known about this cult. But it is in this cult where Buddhism met Shivaism. Buddhists became Shaivas.

According to legends in my place(Mangalore), a Natha cult guru Matsyendranatha (or Minnatha, literally Lord of fish) from Nepal visited Mangalore(and even Kerala) around 10th century. He propagated Shaiva Tantraism among Buddhists Tanriks*. One of his disciples was a queen called Mangale from an unknown(to me) Malayala region. She followed Matsyendranatha to Tulu regions along with her husband(to be precise, she followed her husband who was a follower of Minnatha) and two children. After few crazy incidents she would die tragically. And it looks like for some unknown reasons she was made goddess and the place was named Mangala Pura after her. Later the place came to known as Mangalooru (Or Mangalore) but Malayalees still call it Mangala Puram**. Now back to original topic.

In my opinion, the East Asian influence is because of Nepal connection through Natha cult. Nepal architecture has obvious Sino-Tibetan features. Probably, sculptors, architects from Nepal followed Natha cult gurus to Tulu/Malayala regions. I am not sure how many of these temples are older than 1000 years.

*Another region where Natha cult became popular was Bengal. No wonder, both Malayala/Tulu and Bengal regions show very strong Tantrik tradition even today.

**The native Tuluvas call the region “Kudla”. Fits well with my Tala people theory with little bit stretching(tala-> kada).

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Dravidian movements

In this post, I am trying to delve into various studies that may throw some light into spread of Dravidian speakers.

The original Dravidians were not Mediterranean:
As the genetic studies point out the original Dravidian speakers could be only found in present day Iran, Afghanistan or in Pakistan and not beyond that. Neither Mediterranean nor West Asian(present day Semitic lands) origins can be sustained considering the lack of E3b and J1 among Dravidian speakers. Till date J1 is observed in only one Irula tribal (Sengupta et al. 2006). Probably, showing earlier migration from that region.

Who are Barahs?
Other day I read that an Akkadian king defeated Elamites and Barahs. Who were these Barahs? Could they be the present day Brahuis? Elamites ruled South-West of present day Iran. May be Barahs inhabited Eastern Iranian regions close to present day Pakistan.

Pukku-Mekku and Kutti-Donne:
I was browsing thro’ Sumerian language page. Something caught my eye in FAQ page. It was about two instruments called pukku-mekku(probably, in Akkadian language). It was speculated that these two instruments were used in some game. Some experts have reconstructed that game as Polo, with pukku meaning a wooden ball or puck for Polo and mekku meaning mallet. But not all experts are clear about this. These words were attested in Gilgamesh written around 2650 BCE but horse was introduced in Sumerian society around 2000 BCE and as such was called “ass from foreign countries”. Therefore, this game could possibly not Polo. However, the wooden ball and stick could be precursor to Polo. I wonder how the game with that wooden stick and wooden ball was played.

Sumerians ruled present day southern Iraq. There were many cultural exchanges with the neighbouring countries. If Dravidians were living an area close to Sumerians(like in Iran and as mentioned above eastern region), I suppose there could have been some cultural exchanges between Sumerians and Dravidians too. I wonder if our game called Kutti-Donne played with a small wooden stick with pointed ends and around 4-5” long and another a foot long stick is similar to the game with pukku-mekku. I don’t think if I remember the game correctly but here is a small description of the game. In fact, I didn’t like the game much and thought it was too boring.

In the beginning a small ditch with 2-3” length and 1” in depth is dug. The small stick pointed at both ends(known as kutti) is placed across that hole. The game starts with the player with the mallet ( called donne) lifting the kutti using donne. All other players stand around him anticipating to catch the kutti. The player with donne has to lift the kutti with his back to other players. The player places his legs across the hole and bending front tries to lift kutti behind his back using his donne. If the kutti is caught by one of the surrounding players then the player with donne is “out” of the game. If he manages to lift the kutti into a safe place, he can continue the game. In this case, he will get a bonus hit. One of the surrounding players throws the kutti at him and donneman hits it with all his might(if he misses no problem). Then he counts the distance travelled by the kutti from his standing place using the donne. The game is continued by hitting the kutti at one of the pointed ends and when it rises in the air giving it another shot. Again, the distance travelled by the kutti is calculated as before. I think game continues until donneman misses the hit to the rising kutti. What a boring game! It seems Sumerians would stop the game of pukku-mekku for the day and continue it next morning. I believe kutti-donne can continue any number of days.

Southerners and AIDS:
A recent study by Hyderabad based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology(CCMB) says that southern Indians(Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu) are more prone to HIV and as such 75% of the cases in India is reported from these regions. Two out of five genes that make people vulnerable to this virus is prevalent among southerners.

As I have already discussed Dravidian speakers spread from the region of Maharashtra to other southern regions. Those two genes might have appeared(or became activated for some reasons) and spread only after Dravidian speakers reached the region of present day Maharashtra. If this is not the case you must find these in Gujaratis and Rajastanis too.

The original Dravidian sound is 'f' and not 'p'

Of all Dravidian languages only Kannada shows p->h sound change(as far as I know). Some people believe this change was brought about by literature in the 14th-15th century. That means majority people would have been still using 'p' till very recently. Something I find difficult to believe. In my opinion, the change from p->h in literature during medieval times had occurred because a big section of population was already using 'h'.

During my discussion with Maju(at Atlantis), he mentioned that Basque influence resulted in dropping of initial 'f' and replacement with 'h' in certain Latin words. eg. fablar -> hablar

I believe this must be the case with Kannada too. All other Dravidian languages show f->p change but Kannadaites* somehow dropped the letter completely. At least one Sanskrit word with Dravidian root show the original sound. eg. phala = fruit.

* It looks like prevalent identification term for Kannada people is Kannadiga. However, in Kannada that means Kannada male whereas a Kannada female is called Kannaditi . I am bit uncomfortable using Kannadiga to denote all Kannada speakers. I am not sure what should be the unisex word for Kannada speakers. Kannadaite or Karnatakan or Kannadee. Well, just Kannada does not sound anything unlike. I mean you can say he/she is a Telugu or he/she is a Tamil and that sounds somethinng but he/she is a Kannada sounds nothing.