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.

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