-Aryan, Dravidan, Sanskrit, Tamil, Dravidam, India, Dravidian

Origin  of the Words Aryan and Dravidan

Inia Pandian

TAMIL TRIBUNE, October 2001 (ID.2001-10-02)

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(AUTHOR'S NOTE: I am not a linguist by training. I am presenting my views so scholars may discuss and dissect the views presented here.)

1. Aryan

Aryans migrated into northern India some three or four millennia ago in small numbers. It was not an Aryan army conquering the natives; it was small groups of migrants entering into the land peacefully. There is some evidence to suggest that the native people there at that time spoke a language close to Tamil (say, proto-Tamil). Since the small number of Aryan migrants were rare amongst the native population, they called them "Arian" (
); the Tamil word "Aria" () means rare. So Arian means rare people. In due course the Tamil word "Arian" () changed to "Aryan" ().

2. Dravidan

Ancient Tamil people living in northern India might have referred to their ancestral land in the south (souther India or today's "Dravidam") as "Thiruvidam". Thiruvidam = Thiru + Idam (إ = + ).  The Tamil words "Thiru" () means sacred or respected. The Tamil word "Idam" ( ) mean place. So "thiruvidam" means respected place or sacred place; it is understandable people remembering ancestral homeland with some reverence. (The Tamil word "thiru" also means wealth. So "thiruvidam" could also mean wealthy land. It is natural for people to think of original homeland as wealthy, irrespective of whether it was in fact wealthy or not). 

"Thiruvidam" changed to "Thiravidam" (̑إ) or "Thravidam"; this is the current usage in Tamil. "Thravidam" mutated to  "Dravidam" in other languages.

A person from Thiravidam is called a "Thiravidan" (̑إ); The Tamil word "Thiravidan" mutated to "Dravidan" in other languages. Some people write it as "Dravidian" in English (similar to some writing "Tamilan" as "Tamilian").

A NOTE: You need Murasu Anjal font to read the few Tamil words written in Tamil script in parentheses.

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