Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Dravidian peoples also Dravidians refers to the peoples that natively speak languages belonging to the Dravidian language family. Populations of speakers are found mostly in southern India. Other Dravidian peoples are found in parts of central India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. It is widely believed by scholars, that the Dravidian peoples were the originators of the Indus Valley Civilization. Recent genetic studies revealed, that these people were indeed of Indian subcontinent origin. Dravidians with the most speakers include Telugus, Tamils, Kannadigas and Malayalis. Populations with lesser speakers include Gonds and Tuluvas.

The English word Dravidian was first employed by Robert Caldwell in his book of comparative Dravidian grammar based on the usage of the Sanskrit word drāvida in the work Tantravārttika by Kumārila Bhaṭṭa (Zvelebil 1990:xx). Caldwell coined the term "Dravidian" from the Sanskrit drāvida, which was used in a 7th century text to refer to the Tamil language of the south of India.

The word Dravida may also have its origin from Sanskrit 'Drava' - meaning water or sea. The word Dravidian may have been used to identify people living in India close to the sea. Since southern parts of India is surrounded by sea on three sides, the word may been used predominantly to identify the inhabitants of these areas.

The Dravidians were preceded in the subcontinent by an Austro-Asiatic people, and followed by Indo-European-speaking migrants sometime later. The original inhabitants may be identified with the speakers of the Munda languages, which are unrelated to either Indo-Aryan or Dravidian languages. However, the Munda languages, as a subgroup of the larger Austro-Asiatic language family, are presumed to have arrived in the Indian subcontinent from the east, possibly from the area that is now southwestern China, so any genetic similarity between the present-day speakers of the Munda languages and the "original inhabitants" of India is likely to be due to assimilation of the natives by Southeast Asian immigrants speaking a proto-Munda language

List of Dravidian people

  • Brahui people: People belonging to the north-Dravidian subgroup, mostly found in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. They now culturally and ethnically largely resemble the Balochi people around them, with whom they have mixed with substantially. Gond people: A prominent group of Dravidian-speaking tribal people inhabiting the central region of India.
  •     Kannadiga: People belonging to the south-Dravidian subgroup. Mostly found in Karnataka and parts of northern Kerala.

  •       Khonds: Tribal people who speak the Dravidian Kui language. Mostly found in the eastern Indian  states of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.
  •        Kodava: People belonging to the south-Dravidian subgroup. Mostly found in the Kodagu (Coorg) region of Karnataka.

  •         Kurukh: People belonging to the north-Dravidian subgroup. Found in India and Bangladesh. It is the only Dravidian language indigenous in Bangladesh

  •       Malayali: People belonging to the south-Dravidian subgroup found primarily in Kerala.

  •         Tamil: These people belong to south-Dravidian linguistic subgroup. Mostly found in Tamil  Nadu,   Singapore, Andaman and Nicobar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and parts of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and South Africa.

  •          Telugu: These people belong to south-Dravidian subgroup (formerly classified with the Central Dravidian but now more specifically in the South Dravidian II or South Central Dravidian inner branch of the South Dravidian (Krishnamurti 2003:p19)). Mostly found in Andhra Pradesh also in Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

  •         Tuluva: People belonging to the south Dravidian subgroup, found in coastal Karnataka and northern Kerala, alternatively named Tulu Nadu.




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