Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Devaneya Pavanar


There is a link to my car being in the garage and this article. Curious to know why? Last week I was travelling along with my friend way back home from office and near the Porur signal we saw a Maruti Car carrying the caption “Irrupai Tamizha Neruppai Irunthathu pothum iduvarai Seruppai” meaning “Rise O! Tamils from the clutches of slavery and become a fire” and the name below the statement was “Pavanar”. This kindled my interest in finding out who is this “Pavanar” and the result of the same is culminated in the form of an article about him. My respect towards tamizh language has increased manifold after reading about his theory. Want to know more? please read on..

Devaneya Pavanar (1902 – 1981)

Gnanamuthu Devaneyan Pavanar was born on 7 February 1902 in Sankaranayinar Koil, Tamil Nadu to his parents Thiru.Gnanamuthu Devendrar and Paripuranam Ammaiyar. He was educated in the C.M.J. High School, Palayankottai, S.S.L.C. (1916-1918) and trained as a teacher in Madras University. He married in 1930 and had four sons and one daughter, the daughter being the fourth child. He worked as a Tamil teacher in several High Schools, 1922-1944. During this time, he pursued autodidactic studies of Dravidian philology and comparative linguistics.
He was Tamil professor at Municipal College, Salem, 1944-1956. From 1956-1961, he was Reader in Dravidian Philology at Annamalai University. He was a member of the Tamil Development and Research Council, set up by the Nehru government in 1959, entrusted with producing Tamil school and college textbooks. From 1974, he was director of the Tamil Etymological Project, and he acted as president of the International Tamil League, Tamilnadu. (U.Tha. Ka.)

In his 1966 Primary Classical language of the World he makes some extraordinary claims - for example he argued that the Tamil language is the "most natural" (iyal-mozhi) and also a proto-world language, being the oldest (tol-mozhi) language of the world, from which all other major languages of the world are derived. He believed that its literature, later called Sangam literature and usually considered to have been written from 200 BCE and 300 CE, spanned a huge period from 10,000 to 5,500 BC. He was also a staunch proponent of the "Pure Tamil movement" and initiated the Etymological Dictionary Project primarily to bring out the roots of Tamil words and their connections and ramifications. Devaneya Pavanar composed many musical pieces (Isaik kalambakam) and many noteworthy poems, including the collection of Venpa. The title Senthamizh Selvar was conferred on him by the Tamil Nadu State Government in 1979, and he was also addressed as Mozhi Znayiru (மொழி ஞாயிறு) "Sun of language".

"Lemuria" according to Pavanar, connecting Madagascar, South India and Australia (covering most of the Indian Ocean). Mount Meru stretches southwards from Sri Lanka. Pavanar's Vadamoli Varalaru argues that hundreds of Sanskrit words can be traced to a Tamil origin, and at the same time he insisted that pure Tamil equivalents existed for Sanskrit loan words. He claimed that Tamil is a "superior and more divine" language than Sanskrit. In his view the Tamil language originated in "Lemuria" (இலெமூரியா Ilemūriyā), the cradle of civilization and place of origin of language. He believed that evidence of Tamil's antiquity was being suppressed by Sanskritists.

Pavanar's timeline for the evolution of mankind and Tamil is as follows:

Pavanar Theory
500000 BC - origin of the human race
200000 to 50000 BC - evolution of the "tamilian" or "homo dravida"
200000 to 100000 BC - beginnings of Tamizh
100000 to 50000 BC - growth & development of Tamizh
50000 BC - Kumari Kandam civilisation
20000 BC - a lost tamil culture on easter island which had an advanced civilization
16000 BC - Lemuria submerged
6087 BC - Second Tamil Sangam established by a Pandya King
3031 BC - A Chera prince wandering in the Solomon islands saw wild sugarcane and started cultivation in Tamilnadu
1780 BC - The third tamil sangam established by a Pandya King
7th Century BC - Tolkappiyam, the earliest extant Tamil Grammar

Pavanar is of the view that there is no other language in the whole world as Tamil, that has suffered so much damage by natural and human agencies, and has been done so much injustice by malignant foreigners and native dupes. The general belief that all arts and sciences are progressively advancing with the passage of time, is falsified in the case of philology, owing to the fundamental blunder of locating the original home of the Tamilians in the Mediterranean region, and taking Sanskrit, a post-Vedic semi-artificial composite literary dialect, the Indian Esperanto, so to speak, for the prototype of the Indo-European Form of Speech. Westerners do not know as yet, that Tamil is a highly developed classical language of Lemurian origin, and has been, and is being still, suppressed by a systematic and co-ordinated effort by the Sanskritists both in the public and private sectors, ever since the Vedic mendicants migrated to the South, and taking utmost advantage of their superior complexion and the primitive credulity of the ancient Tamil kings, posed themselves as earthly gods (Bhu-suras) and deluded the Tamilians into the belief, that their ancestral language or literary dialect was divine or celestial in origin.

In a chapter entitled Tamil more divine than Sanskrit, Pavanar gives the reasons why he judges Tamil to be "more divine" than Sanskrit, arguing for "Primary Classicality of Tamil". Poet Bharathidasan hails Devaneya Pavanar as the "King of all Tamils" (எந்தமிழர் எல்லார்க்கும் வேந்து). As per the book The Cultural Heritage of India; vol. V: Languages and literature (Ramakrishna, states that "but for his (Pavanar's) efforts the purity and antiquity of Tamil might have been a myth." The Central Plan Scheme for Classical Tamil of the Centre of Excellence for Classical Tamil recommends "To publish the translated but not yet published Sattambi Swamigal's Adhibhasa which seeks to establish that Tamil is the most ancient language. When published, it will provide an impetus to Pavanar's findings"

The literary works and books of Pavanar have been "nationalised" by the Government of Tamil Nadu in the course of the "Golden Jubilee year of National Independence" (2006). This means that the copyright for Pavanar's work is now owned by the state of Tamil Nadu, his legal heirs having been compensated financially. G. Elavazhagan of Tamilman Patippakam has brought out all the works of Pavanar for his centenary celebrations, 2000-2001. M. Tamil Kudimagan, Ex-Minister for Tamil Development, Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Madurai, in the preface to the 2001 reprint of Primary Classical Language of the World writes that "We are the followers of Pavanar and we are implementing the ideals of Pavanar in all walks of life". In the foreword to the same volume, Pavanar's assistant and disciple R. Madhivanan claims that Prof. Hakola (Finland), Prof. Levitt, M.B. Emeneau (U.S.A.) and T. Burrow (UK) approved Pavanar as an etymologists of great repute. The great Tamil scholar Maraimalai Adigal glorified ‘In the study of words Pavanar’s work is unique and he is unrivalled unmatched.” And continues into a eulogy to the effect that ‘It was a matter of surprise when the scientists came forward to split the atom. Now it has become still a matter of much more surprise when Pavanar came forward to split the root of words till the origin of human speech. His primary classical language of the world is an eye-opener for the linguists regarding the mother tongue of man. No reviews of Pavanar's linguistic works in mainstream academia are known. He does however figure in works on language activism and national mysticism and of Indian nationalism.
Awards and honours
A Silver plate presented to him by the Tamil Peravai, Salem in 1955 in appreciation of his service to Tamil. A Copper Plate presented to his by the Governor of Tamil Nadu 1960 in appreciation of his contribution to the collection of administrative terms in Tamil. A Silver Plate presented to him by the South Indian Saiva Sinddhanta Works Publishing Society, Thirunelveli Ltd., in 1970 in appreciations of his research work in Tamil philology and etymology. Official centenary celebrations of Pavanar were held at Sankarankoil (5 February 2002) and Gomathimuthupuram (6 February) of Tirunelveli district and at Chennai (8. February), attended by the Minister for Education and the Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam. In February 2006, a commemorative stamp of Devaneya Pavanar was released by the Postal Department in Chennai. In October 2007, a memorial was installed at Madurai by the Government of Tamil Nadu in honour of Devaneya Pavanar.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

intha blog thamizil iruntahl padipatharku migavum eduivaga irukum nanri vannakam