Wednesday, January 6, 2010



                     From Dr Arul’s Blog at :

It may explain why the bulk of Malayalees are so strongly Brahmanized. By the way the Tamil in ancient Chera Nad was NOT KodunTamil - it was also CaGkam Tamil, the chaste Tamil where great classics like Cilappatikaram were composed. Some say even Tolkaappiyam was from that region The whoe of PatiRRaup Pattu is from Chera Nad.
A very interesting study in sociaolinguistics and how deeply the casteism of Brahmins have served to divide and disintegrate the solid ancient Dravidian society. It was fortuniate the Tamils in the Chola and Pandiya regions fought against this decadence and preserved the purity of Tamil. It also almost became the MaNiprvaaLam whcih is what Malayam is, fostered by the SriVasihNavas in the Tamil country.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Malayalam: Motivated genesis of a language

Dr P P Narayanan Nambudiri, Retired Professor of History, St. Peter’s College, Kolencherry, Ernakulam writes:

                           “The origin of Malayalam as a separate language distinct from Tamil and the development of a literature may be assessed as one of the major contributions of the Nambudiris. After introducing the Aryan culture and institutions into Kerala, the Nambudiris refrained from imposing their language, Sanskrit upon the people just as they did not impose upon them their culture in its totality. Instead the Nambudiris made a new language, the Malayalam, by joining Kodum Tamil and Sanskrit.
This was indeed a wise step. The indigenous people were appeased while a barrier was created between Malayalis and the Tamil people. Politically the indigenous people liked the evolution of a new language. For when the new language was created somewhere in the 9th and 10th centuries, the Cera (Chera) or Kerala country was fighting a prolonged war with the Colas who constituted a considerable section of the Tamil people.

To the Nambudiris especially another benefit was there thereby. They could continue as the custodians and authority in regard to the religion and culture they introduced, as they only were proficient in the Sanskritic knowledge (Note 1). As regards the new language as well, they were the authority for long. In course of time, the Nambudiris also adopted this language as their lingua franca. The front tuft of hair, the Malayalam language and the Sambandhom form of marriage were the means by which the Nambudiris had merged with the comity of the Kerala people. With the development of the Malayalam language, the Cera portion of the Tamilakom became the Malayalam land, a separate region with its distinctive culture and were more akin to Bengal or Kashmir.
                       The beginning of Malayalam language may be traced to the early centuries of the Christian era. But for several centuries this language was nothing more than a provincial dialect of the Tamil language. The 8th or 9th century saw its independent course of development under the patronage of the Nambudiris who became an influential force in Kerala by that time. In dealing with the local people, they found that the local language had to be used. They found that the local language was an admixture of Tamil as can be illustrated by the inscriptions and copper place grants of the times. Under the initiative of the Nambudiris within two or three centuries Malayalam underwent a complete transformation by which it became an independent language. Sanskrit was adopted into Malayalam with reluctance in the early stages but later on more boldly and vigorously. The tatbhava and tasama forms of Sanskrit words in Malayalam bear witness to this fact. Not only the vocabulary, but the morphology of the idioms and to the extent the spirit of the language were also absorbed from Sanskrit. Sanskrit literary forms, its poetical conventions, and ideas were freely adopted into the Malayalam literature. ……………. These linguistic and literary innovations resulted in the evolution of a movement generally called by the name ‘bhasamisra’ or ‘manipravala’.
                          Bhasamisra or manipravala was the product of an original and sophisticated attempt to create a new language and literature. Just as the Nambudiris had created a new stock of people by their sambandham marriage with ‘trivarnikas’, so they created a language, a hybrid language, the Malayalam by blending it with Sanskrit. Sambandham might have been a novelty in Kerala; but not so was the linguistic formation or development. All the Dravidian languages like Telugu, Canarese (Kannadam) and even Tamil had borrowed much from Sanskrit. Amongst the Dravidian languages, only Tamil can dispense with its Sanskritic influence while others cannot assert independence from Sanskrit. The Aryan Nambudiris who introduced into Kerala the hybrid linguistic style, were well-acquainted with it elsewhere probably.
It was not possible for the Nambudiris to abandon Sanskrit. For it was their mother-tongue; there existed a close relationship between Sanskrit and brahmanical culture; beside the term scholarship came to mean Sanskrit scholarship. But the indigenous people had no knowledge and interest in Sanskrit. Hence the Nambudiris felt the need of conveying their needs to the people through an intelligible medium; thus arose bhasamisra or manipravala.

                    Bhasamisram and manipravala are not quite distinct terms. If one is the plant, the other is its flower. Manipravalam is refined bhashamisra with a halo of literary efflorescence. The mixed language used by the Nambudiris by blending the native tongue and Sanskrit was bhashamisra or misrabhasa. This style of composition is best illustrated by ancient astrological, medical and asauca treatises. Bhasamisram pertains to the field of non-literary subjects while manipravalam to that of literature.
                                 The origin of bhasamisra or manipravala may be traced to the 9th century A.D., its founding father being Tolan, a courtier or Vidusaka of the Kulasekhara court. The name ‘Tolan’ was a nick-name. According to tradition he was a Nambudiri by name Nilakantan but excommunicated from the caste for having violated the injunction to refrain from sex in brahmacarihood. He was sold to a Buddhist Sanyasi at Mahodayapuram. But later he escaped and by virtue of his resourcefulness became the Vidusaka in the royal court. He was a great scholar. He was the author of the earliest bhasamisra or manipravala works, namely Attaprakaram and Kramadipika. Bhasamisra or manipravala begins with Vidushaka in Kutiyattam, the first Vidusaka being Tolan. Kutiyattam is the Kerala counterpart of Sanskrit drama from which branched off Kuthu and Kathakali, all the three forms forming into the well known classical performing arts of Kerala. The Vidusaka who was a consummate scholar and genius, manipulated words in such a way in his explanations and parodies as to convey humour through sense and sound. He had to babble coherently, meaninglessly, and unnaturally using obscene and vulgar words to create laughter. Sanskrit, Prakrit and Malayalam were at his lips and he used to combine these languages in as many ways as possible as it pleased him, resulting in a curious medly of sounds and phrases. He cared little for grammar. He overlooked conveniently the essential difference between the two linguistic systems and thus while making a grotesque pattern of words, phrases and stanzas, he might not have thought that he was laying the foundation of a new dynamic literary movement, the so-called Manipravala.
                     In the centuries that followed, Nambudiri scholars and poets one after another so developed and improved the bhasamisra progressively, that by 14th or 15th century Kerala had the good fortune to have a language and literature of its own quite distinct from Tamil and Sanskrit.
                               The earliest manipravala works were composed in slokas in Sanskritic metre. The first of this kind was ‘Vaisikatantram’ of an unknown author, a manual on the art of prostitution. This was followed by other works such as Unicirutevicaritom, Padyaratnam, Cerumicaritom, and Candrolsavam. The subject matter of these works is love in its sensual and amorous aspects. The term manipravala is used in a general and broad sense and also in a limited sense. In the former case it is bhasamisra and in the latter it should deal with women and theme of love. …………. that only pertains to a particular stage of the development of the manipravala literary movement. Later other themes were also adopted. Several prabandhams and kavyas were composed in manipravala from the 14th to 16th centuries. Besides a further development arose when the indigenous literary form, ‘Pattu’ or ballads was adopted to bhasamisra or manipravala. ………. Thus the Nambudiris (Note 2) created a new language and literature for Kerala………….”
- Aryans in South India (1992), p. 191 - 194

Note 1:
“The Nambudiris had to study Sanskrit; for their mother tongue was Sanskrit for a long time. Their zeal for Aryanizing the land to such an extent to secure for them the high status at least in religion and society was an incentive to them to spread the Sanskritic culture amongst others. Their own duties of studying the Veda, and the manuals of rituals for performing samskaras and sacrifices, interpreting laws and guiding social and religious conduct for themselves, and for others, were other circumstances that necessitated the study of Sanskrit.” (p. 184)
Note 2:
“The name or word ‘Nambudiri’ is not found anywhere in the ancient and early medieval records in Kerala as well as outside Kerala…… The word ‘Nambudiri’ seems to be a word belonging to Manipravala or Bhasamisra. The word ‘Nambuka’ is Dravidian, meaning to confide, to advise etc. ‘Tiri’ is a common Sanskrit affix, office, or dignity meaning ‘blessed’, ‘fortunate’, Sri, etc. Hence the word ‘Nambudiri’ originated only late in the later stage of the development of Manipravalam or Bhasamisrom which may be attributed to the 11th or 12th centuries A.D.” (p. 135 – 136)

Reference taken from :

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