Monday 2 July 2012

Telugu, the pioneer of Dravidian Family- Latest observations of Afro Asiatic Linguistics

Telugu, the pioneer of Dravidian Family- Latest observations of Afro Asiatic Linguistics
-Dr. G. V. Purnachand

My paper published in ITIHAS - journal of the A.P. State archives and research institute, vol. 34(2008jan-dec)2011

The 21st century is the time of great Comparative Linguistics, a study of the Afro-Asiatic and Dravidian families, discussing their locations, origins and migrations, sub-groupings and characteristics. Research in comparative Linguistics gained new dimensions and relates Dravidian Languages with Saharan, Sumerian, Elamite etc.

The goal of research is to reconstruct the parent of the contemporary Dravidian Languages from their shared native words and grammatical features, which show regular patterns of correspondence across languages. The scientifically reconstructed parent is the proto-Language called Proto-Dravidian.

The Dravidian Languages are mainly spoken in southern, Eastern and Central India as well as certain areas in North Eastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, parts of Afghanistan and Iran, and in overseas such as the UK, US, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore. They are numbered around 85 languages spoken by about 200 millions of people. Written Evidences are available from 6th century BC onwards regarding the existence of theses languages, though their ancestry goes back to many Centuries before(1)

Early migrations and formation of language groups

Edo Nyland proposed one Hypothesis that the highly developed languages on earth might have been developed from the original Saharan Language, during the Neolithic Age. In his view, the ancient and oldest Saharan has remained relatively unchanged and stable and is still spoken as Dravidian in India (170 million speakers), as Ainu on the island of Hokkaido (18,000 speakers in 2005) and as Basque in Euskadi, Spain (800,000 speakers in 2005) (2)
It must have been a calamity of an unprecedented scale, which might drive out a large number of people from their homes in the once well populated Sahara. Some of the Saharan tribes migrated and settled along the Atlantic, Mediterranean and shores of Indian Ocean, in about 10,000 B.C. They had developed excellent skills in boat building, sailing techniques and star navigation. This specialized knowledge was carefully guarded by their generations involved.
 The appearance of the Neolithic Culture in Southern India was a continuation from the earlier Paleolithic culture. Some objects discovered in the prehistoric huts round the Deccan have their parallel in Pakistan Neolithic cultures of the third millennium before the establishment of the 2 Indus Civilisation. Indus was a continuation of the ancestors of the Dravidians in southern India in the second and first millennia BC(2)

Prof. Nyland said that Major advances in the fields of agriculture, metallurgy, astronomy etc. caused the female-based religion weakened and male domination arrived. It might happen in 3,000 BC. in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Anatolia, and about 1,500 BC in India. Living in New styles, eating of new food material, and inventing new utilities etc., were adopted. New comers brought along with them learned priesthoods who proceeded to invert all aspects of the old religion, society, language, legends etc. (2)
These new professionals for thousands of years have been creating Languages silently and injected them into each large area and placed under the control of a king. Sumerian and Acadian Languages in Mesopotamia, Old Egyptian in Egypt, Sanskrit in India, Hebrew in Palestine, Hittite and Lucian in Anatolia etc. are the best examples of them. All these were the products of formulaic distortion and scholarly manipulation of the original Saharan language.(2)

Telugu Land as the first domiciled region of Proto Dravidians

The origin of the parent Dravidian Language in India and its speakers is a question that defies consensus among scholars. The Proto-Dravidian Language speakers were whether indigenous inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent or migrants in pre-historic times are also an unanswered question.

 In the absence of contrary evidence to nativity, leading International Linguist, Prof. Bhadriraju Krishnamurti stated very clearly that the all the Dravidian Languages were native to India. In case of their coming from another region in Asia, Africa or Europe, then their migration must took place much before the arrival of the speakers of Proto Indo Aryan Language (3)

It is, however, a well-established and well supported hypothesis that Dravidian speakers must have been widespread throughout India including the northwest region before the arrival of Indo-European speakers. (4)

Sir Arthur John Evans (1851–1941), an English Archaeologist stated a Century ago, that Southern India was probably the cradle of the Human race. Investigations in relation to race show it to be possible. Southern India was also the passage ground by which the ancient progenitors of Northern Mediterranean Races proceeded to the parts of Globe which they now inhabit. The people who have for many ages occupied this portion of peninsula are a great people influencing the world, not much perhaps by moral and intellectual attributes but to a great extent by superior physical Qualities (5)

 Dr. Asko Parpola (University of Helsinki) as well as Father Heras (1930), the noted Indus expert Iravatham Mahadevan and Walter A. Fairservis Jr. and others state that the Indus sign system represented proto Dravidian Language.

Russian Linguist M.S. Andronov puts the split between Tamil (a written Southern Dravidian language) and Telugu (a written Central Dravidian language) at 1,500 BC to 1,000 BC. 3

In this context, the findings of Franklin C. Southworth, Professor Emeritus of South Asian Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania must be carefully considered. As far as my knowledge goes, Prof. Franklin C. Southworth is the First Historian who identified the earliest presence of the proto Dravidian Culture in Telugu Region and therefore the Telugus owe a Special gratitude to him.(6)

1. Prof. Southworth identifies late Proto-Dravidian with the Southern Neolithic culture in the lower Godavari River basin of South Central India, which first appeared 2,500 BC, based upon its agricultural vocabulary.
2. Languages of all the above three subgroups (North, Central, Southern Dravidian Languages)are found in eastern central India, in the lower Godavari River basin, and it would be most economical to assume that Proto-Dravidian was spoken somewhere in that region.

3. He further states that, Proto-Dravidian may have been spoken in a wider area, extending perhaps into Central India or the western Deccan, which are now occupied mainly by Indo–Aryan Languages like Marathi and Hindi. Furthermore, other forms of early Dravidian – pre-Proto-Dravidian, or other (at present unknown) branches of Dravidian –may also have existed in these same areas.

4. The most promising Archaeological Complex which might be connected with the Dravidian Languages is the South Indian Neolithic Complex, which made its first appearance in the mid-third millennium BC.

5. The first presence at Gulbarga, Raichur, and Bellary Districts of Karnataka, and Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh, and there after, judge by similarities in pottery styles, house construction, plant remains, and other features – at a very vast area from the Krishna-Tungabhadra in the north (or if we include the evidence from Daimabad on the Godavari) to the Kaveri in the south, and from the Krishna-Godavari mouths in the East to Dharwar in the West (Sankalia 1977:142). (Ref: F.C. Southworth, "Proto-Dravidian Agriculture" 2006) (6)   

6. Note that the core area is located in the vicinity of the upper Krishna River, not far from the area assumed on Linguistic grounds to be the home of Proto-Dravidian.

7. Though the close match between Proto-Dravidian and the Southern Neolithic may be gratifying to the researcher, in a sense there was no need to prove that this Archaeological complex is connected to Dravidian, since there are really no other likely candidates.

8. The Dravidian loanwords in late Vedic Sanskrit may be explained as the result of northward expansion of Dravidian speakers from the peninsula.

9. A number of the Sanskrit words attributed to Dravidian are also represented in the Kafir/Nuristani languages, spoken mainly in what is now northern Pakistan, and generally regarded as a separate third branch of the Indo -Iranian family (see Morgenstierne 1973, Degener 2002, Southworth 2005b).While this evidence could potentially push the period of Dravidian-Indo-Aryan contact back to a pre-Vedic period. (6)

Prof. Southworth suggests a dialogue between Archaeologists and Historical Linguists. ―If what Linguists say makes sense to Archaeologists—and I hope this is the case with at least some parts of this paper—then the door is open for conversations about the ways in which the two disciplines can serve to support, supplement, and question each other‘s conclusions. If Linguists can produce rigorous reconstructions which provide close matches to archaeological findings, then Prehistorians will have more reason to trust Linguistic reconstructions of more intangible things, such as social structure and ideology. Such a dialogue may well lead to further refinements in methods of reconstruction which will produce even better matches with the archaeological record(6)

The kinship between Dravidians and Melano-Africans

Language never colonizes itself and also it doesn‘t extend itself; Language migrates along with the people-says Bernard Sergent. He is a French Historian and comparative Mythologist. In his book Genèse de L'Inde, Sergent stated that the Dravidian populations are not autochthonous but of African origin. The kinship between Dravidians and Melano-Africans is demonstrated by numerous ethnographic parallels both Linguistic and Cultural, like Existence of matrilineal filiations in Dravidian country as well as several African People (7)

Afro-Asiatic is a large Language family with the great diversity. At the same time, linguistic similarities such as vowel changes help show relationships among languages. The main quality of Afro-Asiatic is that it cuts across the racial boundaries. (Ref: The Afro-Asiatic Language Family by Meredith Holt) (8). In African Languages spoken in the entire Sahel belt, from Sudan to Senegal, numerous semantic and grammatical elements are found which also exist in Dravidian. The similarity with the Uralic languages (Finnish, Hungarian, and Samoyedic) is equally pronounced.

Sergent offers the hypothesis that at the dawn of the Neolithic Revolution, the Dravidians left the Sudan, one band splitting off in Iran to head north to the Urals, the others entering India and moving south. Excavations of Jean-Francois Jarrige at Mehrgarh revealed that agriculture is almost as old in north-western India and the Near East, dating from the eighth millennium. Bernard Sergent argues 5 that what agricultural Civilisation started at Mehrgarh, continues without interruption up to Indus. These findings clearly exhibit that Indus Civilisation belonged to Dravidian speakers only.

C. A Diop laid the foundations for the modern Afro centric idea against the earlier euro centric thought of the 20th century. He concludes that Egypt has played the same role as that of the Greco-Latin civilization played in the West. The African cultural facts will only find their profound meaning and their coherence in reference to Egypt. (9)

The presence of the intergenic COII/tRNALys 9-bp deletion in human mtDNA in 646 individuals from 12 caste and14 tribal populations of South India and compared them to individuals from Africa, Europe, and Asia. The 9-bp deletion is observed in four South Indian tribal populations, the Irula, Yanadi, Siddi, and Maria Gond, and in the Nicobarese. Length polymorphisms of the 9-bp motif are present in the Santal, Konda Dora, and Jalari, all of whom live in a circumscribed region on the eastern Indian coast. Phylogenetic analyses of mtDNA control region sequence from individuals with the 9-bp deletion indicate that some are likely to be of Asian and African origin, implying multiple origins of the 9-bp deletion in South India. By this report we are given to understand that African people were settled in Telugu region much before the Historical Period. (10)

From Nile to River Krishna

King ―Ka” was a Pre-dynastic pharaoh of Upper Egypt and was the first and earliest known Egyptian king with a serekh, inscribed on a number of artifacts. Ka (Sekhem Ka or Ka-Sekhem) ruled over Abydos in the late 32nd or early 31st century BC, and was buried at Umm el-Qa'ab. His tomb was excavated in 1902, where burial goods were found with the pharaoh's name on them. 6

The people of  “Ka “Dynasty might have commenced their migration and reached ultimately the Krishna Valley as observed by Sri Tekumalla Ramachandra Rao, one of our earliest scholars, in his Article –Akhila Andhravaniki toli rajadhani Srikakulam- Srikakulam the earliest Capital of entire Andhra Pradesh.”Ka people established Kakula Dynasty with kakulam (Present day Srikakulam) as their capital. Srikakulam is situated in Krishna District in Andhra Pradesh in the mouth of River Krishna. Their principle Deity was Kakuleswara. They might have spoken proto form of Dravidian Language that resemble present day Teluguhe said.

In the much later period, Andhra Vishnu, the son of  Koundinya Suchandra, defeated this Ka Dynasty and established his rule. Andhra Vishnu might unite the Telugu and Andhra Languages and Tribes. Thus the present day Telugu Language would have evolved.

Along with them, the earliest priests would have migrated and merged with local people (the
“Kapeople), the satapatha Brahmana narrates that sage Viswamitra cursed and abandoned and they migrated into Andhra region. Scholars are of the opinion that this event dates to 1200 BC, and those migrants might have been part of the priests that came down to Krishna valley.

“Andhras were nomads for several centuries. Says Sri yetukuri Balarama Moorty. He further states that some tribes (classes) migrated and others who did not want to do so remained in their older settlements. The tale of sage Apastamba explains that, some of these Andhra tribes inhabited in the Salvadesa on the banks of Yamuna River during 700 BC. Apastamba Gruhya Sootras have been widely in practice among Andhra Brahmin families even today. Andhra Tribes established relationships with Naga, Yaksha, and Dravida tribes of Vindhya Mountains who already were living there by that time. (11). The Smarta Brahmins of Andhra follow Apastamba Smriti or Apastamba Sutra but not the Manusmriti. Apastamba was one of the earliest lawmakers of south India who lived on the banks of the River Godavari(12)

Meaning of Ka: “Ka means "soul" in ancient Egyptian thought. The name of the king, “Kais the symbol for the soul. The dead pharaoh‘s spirit called his “Ka” was believed to remain with his body and it was thought that if the corpse did not have proper care, the former Pharaoh would not be able to carry his Duties. The Ancient Egyptians also believed that the “Kawas sustained through food and drink offerings. (13)

Meaning of Kakula: Sri Korada Ramakrishnayya explained the meaning of  Kakula –Ka+kulam=Black+River=Krishnaveni (14)

 “KaRiver: The Afro Asiatic source explains Kakula as “KaRiver. There is a River named Ka (also known as Gulbin Ka River) in the northern part of Nigeria. Originating in Zamfara State, it runs some 250 kilometers west into Kebbi State where it joins with the Sokoto River about 100 km south of Birnin Kebbi, shortly before joining the Niger River.

Osiris-Ka (7000 B.C): Osiris-Ka was called "The Great Black". “Kadenotes the Black color in both of the Proto afro Asiatic and Dravidian Languages.

Kulam: Database query to Dravidian etymology gave the following meanings for the word Kulam
Proto-Dravidian: *kU - pond, vessel; to run, leak from a vessel
Proto-South Dravidian: *kU lo
Proto-Telugu: *kol-
proto-Kolami-Gadba: kU lo

In the Online Dictionary DEDR1828 Kulam appears as river, tank or pond:
Ta: kuam tank, reservoir, lake
Ma: kuam tank Ka: koa, koahe, koa pond
Tu: kua tank, pond
Te: kolanu, kol ku, kol kuvu id (VPK) kollu deep pond dug or built near the outlet of a tank, in which water is collected before supplying it to fields; kollu guṇṭa pond into which water from irrigation wells is bailed out.

The words ka and kulam can also be found in Afro-asiatic etymology, Compiled by Alexander Militarev, Olga Stolbova gave the following meanings:
Proto-Afro-Asiatic: *kur- Meaning: river, lake
Western Chadic: *kur- 'pond'
East Chadic: *kur-/Vy/ 'pond' 1, 'river' 2
Central Cushitic (Agaw): *kur- 'river'
Low East Cushitic: *kur- 'rivulet'
Eurasiatic: *küɫä Borean: KVLV
 Indo-European: *gʷela- Skt:. k la- pond, pool. DED(S) 1518.
Altaic: *k li;
 Uralic: *kälV Kakula Island in pacific: Just a five-minute boat ride north of Éfaté Island in the Vanauatu Archipelago, there lies the uninhabited Kakula Island has been called “The Jewel of the South Pacific

 Kakula Port in North of Java: Mohammedan Traveler Ibn Batuta of India 1347 AD was a travelling on a Chinese junk, which has just come from the port of Kakula, north of Java and Sumatra and passed by Pangasinan on the way to Canton, China.
(Ref: Urduja - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-Ibn Battuta - Research - Urduja in popular culture - ) (15)

“Ka in the word Africa: Gerald Massey, in 1881, derived an etymology from the Egyptian af-rui-ka, "to turn toward the opening of the “Kais the energetic double of every person and "opening of the Ka" refers to a womb or birthplace. Africa would be, for the Egyptians, "the birthplace (Ref: Nile Genesis: the opus of Gerald Massey) (16)

Veneration of Dead: The most original elements of the culture of southern India have their parallel in Africa. Religious practices of the Dravidian and the African are alike. In India, the crow is considered a spirit of the ancestors. Crows also feature in European legends or mythology as portents (foretoken, Augury) or harbingers (Fore Runners) of death, because of their dark plumage, unnerving calls, and tendency to eat carrion. They are commonly thought to circle above scenes of 8 death such as battles. (Ref: Crow Systematics - Crows and humans - Evolution – Behavior; Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (17)

Kaaki(crow): Telugu word Kaaki(crow)and proto Afro-Asiatic and Semitic words resemble in phonological and morphological structures.
Proto-Afro-Asiatic: * ʷar-Meaning: crow (also 'partridge; crane'?)
Semitic: * riʔ- partridge riy- kind of bird ʷariy crane arr- chicken * a ayr- * ʷVr- 'crow'
Berber: *- rVw-t 'raven'
Low East Cushitic: ur- 'crow' 1, 'kite' 2
High East Cushitic: ur(an-t)- 'crow': Omotic: * ur- 'crow'

Similar Place Names: El Kurru is the one of the place name of Napata‘s Kingdom (900-650 B.C.), Which closely resembles the name of an existent Village in Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, Yela Kurru was the birth place of Sri kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao, founder of Andhra Patrika. Yelakurru is few kilometers away from Srikakulam, the first capital of Ka (Telugu) people. Ellakaru is another place name in Nellore District, A.P. where the evidence of Paleolithic and Neolithic occupancies and use of black&redwsare were found. An Encyclopaedia of Indian Archeology(A. Ghosh-paage 81) gave the details of theis Ellakaru site.
Many cemeteries in Sudan are characterized by the presence of some large conical-shaped tombs. They are called as 'Qubba'. In Telugu, the words Kuppa and Gubba are very nearer structures phonologically and morphologically to Qubba, denoting the conical or elliptical shape of the Burials. The earliest surviving example of this type of structure is the Qubbat al-Sulaybiyya at Samarra which is octagonal. Qubba is a cubic volume covered with a dome or vault. This roof can be simplified into a truncated octagonal pyramid carpentry, whose corners support 9 four tubes or pendentives; or a hemiespheric shape carved in stone, brick or wood; or can be covered with a polygonal or star dome.

DEDR-1731: Te. Kuppa -heap, pile, collection, assemblage, (MBE 1978, p. 127) heap of dirt, dung heap; guppu to place in heaps or lots; abundance; in heaps, abundantly;
kopparamu, kopramu increase, rise, swell; kopparincu to increase, rise, swell; kopparinta

DEDR-1174: Te. Gubaka: knob, boss, stud; gubba id., protuberance, woman's breast; guburu protuberance; kuppe knob. Kona (BB) koparam hump of bullock.

DEDR-1655: Te. koika hamlet; gui temple; guise hut, cottage, hovel. guḍḍī (Ph.) temple, (Tr.) tomb (Voc. 1113). Kui gui central room of house, living room.

In the year 1969 Dr. V.V. Krishna Sastry, was deputed by AP state Archeology, to conduct excavations at Peddabankur in Karimnagar District The excavations revealed two major phases of human activity. The first phase was coeval with the Iron Age or the so-called Megalithic Period marked by a number of elliptical or oval shaped houses and the other one coincide with Satavahana period.

The above findings are suggestive of the affinity of ancient Egyptians with proto Dravidians or Proto Telugu People.
The new researchers of Dravidian Etymology at National or International level are severely handicapped by the absence of reliable Telugu Lexicon. They even complain that they are unable to have proper material in Telugu for research purpose because of this lacking of a Lexicon. The available DEDR do not have so many Telugu words and meanings in it. The researchers are compelled to move to Tamil, as the availability of Data is plenty in it. The researchers often take Tamil as a fore most example and that in turn pushes back the justified Legacy of Telugu, as the fore runner of the Dravidian family. It is therefore the immediate Historic need of all those working in Telugu Linguistics to compile a comprehensive Telugu Lexicon. That alone would remedy the misgivings and precisely prove that Telugu is the Most ancient Language in the Dravidian Family.

References & Notes:
1. Dravidian languages – Wikipedia Article, the free encyclopedia

2. The origin of Sumerian- Edo Nyland- Athenaeum Library of Philosophy evans- Edo Nyland is doing research in the fields of Linguistic Archaeology, is digging artefacts of Language. In his book Linguistic Archaeology: An Introduction, he lets us take part in his adventures of recovering stone-age and medieval history by analysis of language. The efforts of 10 Edo Nyland in translating ancient inscriptions have resulted in the development of Afro Asiatic Family of Language.

 3. The Dravidian Languages: Prof. Bhadriraju Krishnamurti; Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (South Asian edition, 2003. Prof. Bhadrir ju Kṛṣṇam rti is an eminent Dravidianist and the most respected Indian Linguist of his generation. He was a former Vice Chancellor of the Hyderabad Central University and was a professor of Linguistics at the Dravidian Department of Linguistics at the Osmania University which he founded. His magnum opus Languages is considered a landmark volume in the study of Dravidian linguistics. He was a student and a close associate of Murray Barnson Emeneau

 4 "Dravidian Languages." Encyclopedia Britannica - Online. 5 June 2008)

5. Dravidian India - T. R. Sesha Iyengar–Asian Educational Services 2001- page 60

6. F.C. Southworth, "Proto-Dravidian Agriculture" 2006 F.C. Southworth - Professor Emeritus of South Asian Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania. Proto-Dravidian Agriculture, is the paper from the 7th ESCA Round Table Conference held at Kyoto in June 2005. He is mostly attached to SARVA (South Asian Residual Vocabulary Assemblage) Project, a research tool in the form of an online, ongoing etymological dictionary, whose ultimate goal is to assemble all words showing early language contact among the (known and unknown) languages of the subcontinent, in order to provide data for the reconstruction of the history of language contact in the region, from the time of the earliest knowable South Asian linguistic strata, including inferences regarding the locations of these strata in time and space.

7. Bernard Sergent (born in 1946) is a French ancient historian and comparative mythologist. He is researcher of the CNRS and president of the Société de mythologie française. - African origin of the Dravidians Excerpts on the origins of the Dravidians, from Bernard Sergent's Génèse de l'Inde translated by Sunthar Visuvalingam.

8. The Afro-Asiatic Language Family by Meredith Holt,

9. Prof. Cheikh Anta Diop; Civilization or Barbarism. Brooklyn, N.Y) Cheikh Anta Diop born in 29 December 1923 in Thieytou, was a historian, anthropologist, physicist, and politician who studied the human race's origins and pre-colonial African culture. He is regarded as an important figure in the development of the Afrocentric viewpoint, in particular for his controversial theory that the Ancient Egyptians were Black Africans. Cheikh Anta Diop University, in Dakar, Senegal is named after him.

10. American Journal Of Physical Anthropology 109:147–158 (1999) ‗Multiple Origins of the mtDNA 9-bp Deletion‘ in Populations of South India-W.S. WATKINS and others

 11. Ancient History of Andhras-By Sri Yetukoori Balaraama Moorti - Andhrula Samkshipta Charitra-English translation: PALANA (

12. Telugu Brahmins-, Wikipedia encyclopedia 11

13. Egyptian Pharaohs: Predynastic Egyptian Journeys 2003 -

14. Ref: Krishna zilla Grama namamulu- Oka Pariseelana: Bharati, Feb. 1984, pp 72)

15. Urduja - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia-Ibn Battuta - Research - Urduja in Popular culture -

16. Nile Genesis: the opus of Gerald Massey'". gerald- Retrieved 2010-05-18.

17. Crow Systematics - Crows and humans - Evolution – Behavior; Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia