Friday, July 12, 2013

Classical Status for Malayalam

I came across this rather hilarious reason that supposedly clinched the classical status deal for Malayalam.

Mahadevan’s intervention on the Edakkal engraving was decisive in a way. He proffered the reading ‘pazhama’, meaning ‘antiquity’ in Tamil and Malayalam. Coincidentally, just about then, Kerala had set up an experts’ panel to make a case for classical status. Besides litterateurs like O.N.V. Kurup, it included linguist Naduvattom Gopalakrishnan. Now, he had just what he wan­ted. Zeroing in on ‘pazhama’, he ext­ended it, saying the prefixed string was not ‘Sree’ but the Malayalam ‘Ee’ (‘this’). Most advocated caution, Varier even called it a “dangerous interpretation”. But who was to argue against the tide of provisionist history! If you’re looking to prove your antiquity, what could be more fortuitous than to come across a petroglyph that proclaims, precisely, “O! This Antiquity” and putatively joins you to Indus cultures? It’s almost pluperfect: a past that talks of an older past. One neat standing jump on an Indus Valley zebu over the 1,500-year cutoff.
In fact, the author of the article mentions Tulu being left behind. But if Malayalis say 'This Antiquity' and get Rs. 100 crores classical status, Tuluvas can say 'pirak' (archaic/old) and claim the same. In fact, some of the Tulu enthusiasts have observed the origin of the word in the Indus valley region Pirak. Thus Tuluvas are also connected to Indus culture.

Anyway,drab I don't see any reason for not giving classical status to Tulu. 

1 comment:

milieu said...

Interesting piece and agree that this issue is now more about politics than other things. 100 crores is a tidy sum, and someone from Tulu community might notice and start the pitch!

Thought it would be interesting to hear your opinion on the piece. Looking at the author's past contribution in Outlook, shows a fairly long record of contribution in this theme. I also read with interest : a review of Fritz Staal's book on Vedas.