CBSE Sanskrit Week: Tamil parties with Sanskrit ‘Dravida’ names oppose mela – Jayasree Saranathan

Sanskrit class in Auroville

Ex-Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M. Karunanidhi: He is the self-proclaimed chief of the fictional Dravidian race.Our ‘Dravida’ leaders are worried that Sanskrit would hurt ‘national integrity’. It is funny that  the self avowed guardians of Tamil have not known that Tamil is actually a language integrated with Sanskrit! — Jayasree Saranathan

After the ban on Veshti, another issue that amuses me is the chorus against the proposed “Sanskrit week”  in CBSE schools. The loud voice that is heard against this proposal is that of Vaiko – originally known as Gopalsamy – a Sanskrit name.

VaikoOthers joining the chorus are Ramadoss – again a Sanskrit name, Karunanidhi – needless to say how much Sanskrit is there in his name and Stalin – not even an Indian name – I wonder whether Stalin knows the meaning of his name! Vijaykanth – another Sanskrit name – is yet to be heard. But the amazing commonality among these politicians is that – barring Ramadoss – the names of their political parties bear a Sanskrit name ‘Dravida’ whose meaning no one knows! With so much Sanskrit in their own names and in the name of their party, why these persons make such a big noise about the proposed Sanskrit week?

S. RamadossThe utility or not of something can be known only from the end users. The end users are the students of CBSE schools. Ask them what they think about this proposal. They would be only too happy to endorse it, as Sanskrit as taught in CBSE stream has many takers. It is the easiest to learn, less taxing in terms of size and content of the lessons and easy to score better compared to the labour put in for studying other language subjects. The Sanskrit week or Sanskrit mela or Sanskrit expo will make their learning easier.

Our ‘Dravida’ leaders are worried that Sanskrit would hurt ‘national integrity’. It is funny that  the self avowed guardians of Tamil have not known that Tamil is actually a language integrated with Sanskrit!

No Hindi!Take for example the famous grammar work of the Sangam age, the Tholkappiyam. In this name, Kaapiyam is a Sanskrit word! It lays down grammar for literature. Grammar in Tamil is known as Ilakkanam and literature called as “Ilakkiyam”. Both Ilakkanam and Ilakkiyam are Tamilised Sanskrit words! How?

Simple rule is that no word starts with ‘la’ in Tamil. If such a word has to be taken in Tamil it will be given a prefix ‘e’. Ilakkiyam (literature) and Ilakkanam (grammar) are not indigenously Tamil words. ‘Lakkiyam’ is adopted as ‘ilakkiyam’ and ‘lakkanam’ is adopted as ‘ilakkanam’.

For Ilakkiyam, the root word is Sanskrit ‘likh’ meaning ‘scratch’. Check the Sanskrit root here.

It means scarification of or scratching bark. Writing started by scratching the tree barks. Therefore Likh came to signify writing. From Likh > Likhya > Lekha > Lekhya. The word patram also is Sanskrit as Patram means leaf. Likita Patram means written leaf. What we say as “paththiram” in Tamil for land dealings is derived from this word only.

In the word likh / lekh, it is likh/ lekh + ya = lakhya > ilakkiyam in Tamil.

In the word ‘ilakkanam’, the Sanskrit root word is ‘laksh’. It is ‘laksh’ + Nam = lakshanam > lakkanam > ilakkanam.

Ilakkiyam from Lekhya in Sanskrit has similar meaning = writing Ilakkanam from Lakshana in Sanskrit has similar meaning = characteristics.

Thus the very basic terms for Tamil literature and grammar are derived from Sanskrit only. Let the ‘Dravida’ leaders such as Vaiko and Karunanidhi tell us in what way national integration was offended by these core and basic Sanskrit words in Tamil.

AgastyaThe writer of Tholkappiyam has given his credentials in the very first verse that he had been trained in Aindra vyakarana. His work was tested by the teacher of Adang Odu who was well versed in fours Vedas. The 9th century commentator Nacchinaarkiniyar would say that the four Vedas told here are not the Rig etc Vedas. But then he does not give some Tamil Vedas either and only says the names of Sanskrit texts such as Taittriyam, Baudikam (Bavishyam?) Talavakara Shaka and Sama Veda. This is in conformity with the tradition that Veda Vyasa ordained that Sama Veda be taught in the south. These four texts were taught around 10th century AD is known from the inscription of Kokkaru Nanthadakkan.

Moreover Tholkappiyam starts with the word ‘vada-venkatam’ where ‘vada’ means north. Always the first letter is very important and had carried much weightage. The use of the word for North was in conformity with starting anything auspicious as North signifies auspiciousness, so says the 9th century commentator Nacchinaarkkiniyar.

The next word in Tholkappiyam is ‘then kumari’ – Southern Kumari. Kumeru stands for southern direction and from that Kumari had been derived. In other words, the word Kumari or Kumari-khandam that Tamils often speak proudly of is actually a derivation of Sanskrit Kumeru. Its counterpart is Sumeru – of what is now known as Sumeria – the part of land that neo-Tamils are eager to associate their origins with, least knowing that their association with Kumeru or Kumari puts them somewhere in the southern hemisphere and not in North and definitely not in Sumeria, Elam or even Egypt – a fantasy that Karunanidhi got painted in the Anna library he built, as the origin of Tamils.

There is a crucial verse 102 in the chapter[1] on origin of letters (Pirappiyal) where Tholkappiyar concludes that the origin of letters as sounds had been told by him but to know the core formation of those letters inside the body along with the maatra of these letters, it is ideal to refer to the Vedas! This shows that Tamil and Sanskrit grammar had been complementary to each other. Tradition is that the grammar of both these languages was given by Lord Shiva simultaneously. The Shiva factor may be dismissed as a myth by researchers but what cannot be denied is this tradition actually shows a shared birth or connection between Tamil and Sanskrit in grammar and vocabulary.

Rishi ValmikiValmiki as Ratnakar was asked to recite “mara” the Tamil word for tree as Maram, and it gave him the effect of Rama naama. The presence of divinity in both these languages is known from this incident. Read here to know more on the co-existence of these two languages in the remote past when Sita conversed with Hanuman in Manushya bhasha.

There are many words of Sanskrit origin found in Tholkappiyam and it is even desirable to refer to Tholkappiyam to know the inner meaning of those Sanskrit words. Prominent example is the word ‘pinda’. Tamils would claim that its root is in Tamil and not in Sanskrit and justify it by saying that ‘piNditthu vaippathaal athu piNdam’. Tholkappiyam gives a different meaning which is a derivation of Hindu philosophy. It says Pindam is that which has 3 components! (Porul adhikaram – Seyyul Iyal – 165). Physical, vital and mental or Bhu, Bhuvah and Svah are the three components. Not just the food or a mass of cell – anything that has three components is a Pindam, according to this sutra of Tholkappiyam, By this Agastheeyam, the oldest grammar book of Tamil is Pindam, so says the commentator as it has three chapters. In the similar vein, Tholkappiyam is a Pindam. Thirukkural is a Pindam. It is a terrific concept that would unveil many secrets of Hindu Thought.

Similarly the word, Mantra. It is a Sanskrit word but used in Tamil also. Sanskrit scholars may give many interpretations and meanings for that word. Most common meaning is ‘that which protects one who says it’. Tholkappiyam gives a detailed meaning for it which goes into the root of how a mantra becomes capable of protecting one. Refer sutra 171 in Seyyul Iyal in Porul Adhikaram. Let me give a rough translation of it. It says that a secret word given as a promise or order by a person of fulfilled knowledge becomes a mantra. Such a mantra recited repeatedly by a faithful one with the requisite discipline protects him.

The same word mantra has had many applications in Tamil kingdoms. One well known example is Mantra – chuRRam – the protective ring of Mantra people (ministers and advisors) around the king. When they were away from him, the Pandyan King Nedum Chezhiyan fell into the trap of the goldsmith and ordered the killing of Kovalan which eventually led to the ruination of himself and of  his country (Silappadhikaram).

TiruvalluvarThinking of Silappadhikaram, the word Adhikaram in this name is a Sanskrit word. Even Thiruvalluvar termed his chapters as Adhikaras! In what way our “Dravida” politicians are greater than Thiruvalluvar in his love for Tamil or concern for national, nay, global integration?

Thiruvalluvar in his first verse wrote down words “Adhi-Bhagavan” which are Sanskrit words. How did these words enter Tamil if not Tamil is an already integrated language with Sanskrit?

Think of the famous five Kaappiyaas of Tamil known as “Aim perum Kaappiyam. They are Silappadhikaram, Manimegalai, Jeevaka Chinthamani, Valaiyaapathi and Kundalakesi.  All these are Sanskrit names! How did this happen if Sanskrit was not part of Tamil and Tamil culture?

The so-called integration had happened long ago. A north Indian and a Sanskrit sage Agasthya who taught a winning formula to Rama in Sanskrit (Adhitya Hrudhaya) wrote the first grammar work for Tamil.

A north Indian and a Sanskrit scholar by name Thrunadhoomagni, born in the lineage of Jamadagni wrote Tholkappiyam, the last grammar work for Tamil which is still with us now. The integration of North and South and of Tamil and Sanskrit had happened at that time itself. The integration had withstood the test of time.

Only those who don’t know that, are still clinging on to an irrelevant – to – Tamil name such as ‘Dravida’ and are crying wolf for the sake of somehow ‘integrating’ themselves with the political arena of Tamilnadu. – Non-Random Thoughts, 18 July 2014


[1] தொல்காப்பியர் கூறும் அந்தச் சூத்திரம்,
பிறப்பியல் 102.

”எல்லா வெழுத்தும் வெளிப்படக் கிளந்து
சொல்லிய பள்ளி யெழுதரு வளியிற்
பிறப்பொடு விடுவழி யுறழ்ச்சி வாரத்
தகத்தெழு வளியிசை யரிறப நாடி
யளபிற் கோட லந்தணர் மறைத்தே
யஃதிவ ணுவலா தெழுந்துபுறத் திசைக்கு
மெய்தெரி வளியிசை யளவுநுவன் றிசினே.”

இதன் பொருள்:

எல்லா வெழுத்துங் கிளந்து வெளிப்பட – ஆசிரியன்
எல்லாவெழுத்துக்களும் பிறக்குமாறுமுந்துநூற்கண்ணே கூறி வெளிப்படுக்கையினாலே,

சொல்லிய பள்ளி பிறப்பொடு விடுவழி – யானும்
அவ்வாறே கூறிய எண்வகை நிலத்தும் பிறக்கின்றபிறப்போடே அவ் வெழுத்துக்களைக் கூறுமிடத்து,

எழுதரு வளியின் உறழ்ச்சிவாரத்தின் அளபு
கோடல் – யான் கூறியவாறு அன்றி உந்தியில்தோன்றுங் காற்றினது திரிதருங் கூற்றின்கண்ணேமாத்திரை கூறிக் கோடலும்,

அகத்து எழு வளியிசை அரில் தப நாடிக் கோடல் -மூலாதாரத்தில் எழுகின்ற காற்றினோசையைக்குற்றமற நாடிக் கோடலும்,

அந்தணர் மறைத்தே – பார்ப்பாரது வேதத்து உளதே ;

அந்நிலைமை ஆண்டு உணர்க, அஃது இவண் நுவலாது
– அங்ஙனம் கோடலை ஈண்டுக் கூறலாகாமையின் இந் நூற்கட் கூறாதே,

எழுந்து புறத்து இசைக்கும் – உந்தியிற்றோன்றிப் புறத்தே புலப்பட்டு ஒலிக்கும்,

மெய் தெரி வளியிசை அளவு நுவன்றிசினே -பொருடெரியுங் காற்றினது துணிவிற்கே யான்மாத்திரை கூறினேன்;

மாத்திரையை உணர்க என்றவாறு.

Modi & Rajini

 Wearing Veshti is Tamil culture; but is Veshti a Tamil word?

9 Responses

  1. Hindi is a regional language. So why include it here if you oppose a regional language as national language?

    Even Urdu is better than Hindi as it doesn’t belong to any state.

    And have you learned four Indian languages yet, plus English? Or is your advice for others only?


  2. One Regional langauge cannot be National langauage , Instead 5 langauges system should be started for everyone – Sanskrit , English , Hindi , Mandatory for all , One State langauge and one local dialect of village is optional as according to native of person


  3. Yes, Tamil. Sanskrit and Tamil are the two eyes of Lord Shiva.

    Perhaps the North Indian chauvinist is not aware of the history and value of Tamil. Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil are the Dravidian languages to learn about. They have to be recognised at the national level too.


  4. Tamil..!!? For Srilankan Tamil.. yes.. why not.. 😉


  5. It is a matter of great shame that the ultra-Dravidian pseuds are opposing the celebration of Sanskrit week out of vested interests. Just like Kalam had said “the Bharatiya soul dwells in Vedas”, so does Sanskrit – only through which the Vedas can be properly understood in the first place. On one hand we are lamenting the lack of values & cultural awareness among the present generation of youngsters, on the other hand we are denying them the same things by such chauvinistic attitudes. It is the saying of God’s names in Sanskrit that will fetch punya to us and not our mother tongues, no matter how great they are, although it must be admitted that they must be employed as a natural and best means to achieve the end. Instead of learning some foreign language like Spanish etc. as the capricious global linguistic trends dictate, it helps immensely to learn Sanskrit starting from functional/conversational level and graduating to scriptural level.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, Sanskrit AND Tamil should be made the national languages.


  7. Sanskrit should be the national language. We should press for it now. Narendra Modi understands this notion fully. The state languages should be given their dues but the potential of Sanskrit should not be neglected. Not Sanskrit, English is the enemy of State languages.


  8. This reminds me of DhEsika VinAyakam PiLLai who once said “Apaththirku dOsham illai, ithil mUnril iraNdu thamizhum illai.” Note the proportionality, and consider his name. But then irony has never been a strong suit of the thamizh litterateur or the self-styled maRath thamizhan of today.

    // Note: Transliteration uses internet text conventions, except for capitalized first letter of name.//


  9. Jayalalithaa at Srirangam
    Jayalalithaa writes to Modi against CBSE’s Sanskrit Week celebrations – PTI – FirstPost – 19 July 2014 – Chennai

    Chennai: Taking strong exception to CBSE’s Sanskrit Week celebrations in schools under its ambit next month, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today said it would be appropriate to have organised a ‘Classical Language Week’ in each state based on its linguistic heritage.

    As per the communication sent by the Ministry of HRD, while the celebrations would be conducted by CBSE, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) and National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in all states between 7 and 13 August, state Governments have also been requested to organise such events at the State, District and other levels.

    “Tamil Nadu has a rich cultural heritage based on the ancient Tamil language. There has also been a strong social justice and language movement in the state. Hence, any official celebration of ‘Sanskrit week’ in Tamil Nadu is highly inappropriate”, she in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    “It would have been much more appropriate to have organised a Classical Language Week in each state based on the linguistic heritage” she said and requested Modi to advise officials to suitably modify the letter to enable each state, including the CBSE schools, to organise celebrations in tune with the language and culture of the state.

    “This would be in keeping with the cultural and linguistic sensitivities in a diverse country like ours”, she said.

    Allies of the BJP in Tamil Nadu – MDMK and PMK – had also last week spoken against the proposal.


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