Indus civilization – Dravidian remnants as a ‘fossilized representation of an immemorial past.’


Balakrishnan, R.

The “Dravidian hypothesis” is considered the most plausible of all the prevailing theories on the language of Indus Valley Civilization (IVC). Again, in the context of tracing the origins of Dravidians there are suggestions that connect the Dravidian speakers of Southern India to the geographical regions west and North West of India. However, the ‘vast gap in space and time’ has been the inhibiting factor in suggesting any direct linkage. Scholars in the past have used the place names as ‘one more potential sources of clues’ to identifying the language of the IVC.

Against this backdrop, this paper furnishes an extensive Onomastics evidence to suggest a ‘Dravidian connection’ to the areas where the IVC once flourished and the regions much beyond that, covering the modern Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. The paper lists numerous instances of identical place names found in the above countries and in Southern States of India. With a view to bridge the ‘gap in space and time’ the paper further makes a comparative study of toponymic , anthroponymic designations attested in the Cankam texts and the toponymic corpuses of the above countries. The study reveals that the toponymic corpuses of the countries under reference contain place names that show remarkable oneness with the place names, geographical feature names, tribe names, clan names and names of kings and chieftains attested in Cankam texts. The study also identifies some of the unique and crucial names attested in Cankam texts but not in vogue in Tamilnadu and locates those names in the place name corpus of the above countries under reference.

The paper seeks to suggest that the Onomastic corpus of Cankam texts contain inputs that reflect some remote ‘tribal memory’ of Indus or even pre-Indus vintage and that the place name corpuses of the above countries have still preserved some of the Dravidian remnants as a ‘fossilized representation of an immemorial past.’

For this study, this researcher has used GIS (Geographical Information System) tools to analyze a data base of 1.26 million place names of India and the other countries under reference. The paper offers supportive evidence in the form of Tables of place names with geo-coordinates and Maps.



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