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History of Lankan Thamilians revisited

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Lankan History is recoded, interpreted and commented by both scholars and academics and also by racial minded individuals in such a way to carry out their individual political stances and an agenda of ethnic superiority. However, inscriptional evidence is often not considered for an impartial establishment of facts. Parts of our precarious maladies are due to falsifying facts and conveniently ignoring them.  This is blatantly seen in accounts by nondescript commentators who cannot sufficiently claim authority and authenticity. This indifference on their part comes from ethic-oriented ultra-nationalists belonging to different ethnic communities in the island.

In this context, I wish to give a few facts gleaned from a few articles written in Thamil by a living historian who happens to be a Lankan Thamilian. But that information, I hope, would not prevent you from reading what Prof S Pathmanathan has got to say. In this piece, I am retelling in English his introduction on two terms that are not completely understood by many that have a vagrant knowledge in history namely Brahmi and Prakrit.

What follows are selections of what Professor Emeritus S Pathmanathan has written in his articles:From the 3rd century B C to 4th century A D. all documents in the subcontinent of South Asia were written in Brahmi script. The Brahmi script used in Thamilnadu was known as Thamil Brahmi script. This was because there were special alphabets peculiar to the Thamil language.

Prakrit language does not have these peculiar sounds.The South Asian languages that prevail at present like Thamil, Telugu, Kannada, Sinhala, Bangla, Marathi and others are based on Brahmi scripts.Brahmi is different from Prakrit which was a link language in a specific period in the South Asian Subcontinent.
Prakrit was a spoken language in North Indian States. It was prevalent even during the period of the Buddha and Mahavirar. The basic literature of the Buddhist and Jain religions were in Prakrit language.

There were regional dialects of Prakrit language. Four such usage is mentioned in some works,In Southern India Prakrit was only a communication language.
But by 4th century Prakrit lost its influence as a link language. Sanskrit replaced Prakrit.There is a relationship between Brahmi and Prakrit. Inscriptions in Prakrit were written in Brahmi letters.The early documents in post Indus Valley Civilization were available in Prakrit language but in Brahmi form. Those documents were inscriptions.

When the original Prakrit language lost its impact, even in North India the Devanaagiri script came into existence.In Lanka there are many Brahmi inscriptions. They are mainly found in hills and large rocks.In Maddakkalappu and Ampaarai districts in the East Brahmi inscriptions are found in large rocks at found level.
Towards four kilometers west to Chengaladi in the Maddakalappu district there is a place called Kaayankuda. There is a long inscription found there.In the Ampaarai district there is a village called Palaveli. In its border towards the forest are found such inscriptions.

In Lanka the Brahmi inscriptions are written in Prakrit language. Most of them were small in size. Most of them relate to Buddhism. They are within the caves. They were inscriptions regarding donations.In Lanka we find inscriptions of belonging to more than six centuries. There are nearly 2000 Brahmic inscriptions available.Paranavitana tried to convince that these inscriptions were written in Sinhala language. He interpreted the words found in the inscriptions in terms of Sanskrit grammar.Sinhala language did not directly derive from the Sanskrit language. It actually grew through the Prakrit language. This he failed to record.
Sanskrit used in Vedas lost its value in the5th century A D. The second stage of the development of Sanskrit was flourishing in literature. It became a language for documentation and as an instructional language. Except in Lanka, it functioned as a link language in South Asian countries. No body spoke in Sanskrit in Lanka.

According to Paranavithana, the Naagas mentioned in Mahavamsa were descendants of Aryans who came from North India.There is no mention in any place that that no sections of Lankans were Aryans.In Lankan Brahmi inscriptions Thamil Brahmi letters are found in many places. Arya Abeysingha and Saddamangala Karunaratne have explained this feature showing examples.But Paranavithana hides these findings. He has completely ignored the Thamil Brahmi letters.

Three letters were differently written Thamil Brahmi and Ashoka Brahmi. These two kinds were in existence Lanka until the demise of Brahmi script.
The formation of letters of two different languages –Thamil and Prakrit- were found in the inscriptions from the beginning and its end. This shows that the inscriptions were written in both languages.Prof. K. Indrapala has pointed out that the words like marumahana, parumaka, vela, aya and the like found in Brahmic inscriptions are not Prakrit words. At the same time Paratha a tribal world could  have been Prakritized or Sanskritized In short Indrapala says that in Brahmic inscriptions Thami l words are also found. It was the Italian  Maloni who  said first that the word Bharatha found in Lankan Thamil inscriptions was really the Prakrit form of the of the Thamil word Bharathar Fr Canagaratnam, Dr A. Velupillai, P.Pushparatnam and others have found more Thamil words in Brahmi inscriptions.

The above points were taken from an article written by Prof S Pathmanathanin in the Sunday Thinakkural of January 13, 2013. Please read it.
Part of our malady is ignoring facts and depending on myths fantasized as history.
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