Monday, July 10, 2017

Arava and Tamil

I find this passage about Krishnadevaraya’s time in a 1995 article Sanskrit and Telugu In Medieval Andhra  by Velcheru Narayana Rao 
“An interesting tidbit that might be noted here is that people who ridiculed other languages were supposed to be fined by the king with a fine of one hundred ‘panas’, and that ‘arava’ was considered a derogatory term for Tamil.” 
Today in a discussion about Sarat's Devdas in 'Songs of Yore' on Sarat's Devdas, one RSR, presumably a Tamilian, writes in comment 94:
"I am told that tamilians are known as ‘arava’, because they do not have the fourth sound for consonants. ( pa,ppa,ba but no bha)(ka,kka,ga, no gha ) as in all the other Indian languages patterned on Sanskrit. It was just descriptive not derogatory. I feel that the fourth sound is rather unnatural and tamil omits that sound rightly!"
An internet search shows that There may be genuine roots, tribal, regional etc for the word arava. But words also have a life of their own, both in time and space. But the 'fact' that it was considered defagotary so long ago and continues to be in some places means that it has to be handled with care.

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