A brief study on the origin of the Malayalam Language

Thread started by virarajendra on 24th May 2014 08:22 AM

Author - Virarajendra

A brief study on the origin of the Malayalam Language

After hundred years of intermittant wiery wars between the (Tamil) Chera kings of Kerala, and the (Tamil) Chola kings of Tamil Nadu - of then India, the Chera king Rama Varma Kulasekara (A.D.1090 - 1102) recaptured the Chera (Kerala) kingdom with his powerful Chaavar forces (suicide squads) defeated the Cholas and regained full power in Kollam, abondoning the Mahodaiyapuram (Kodungallur) of Kudamalainadu which was destroyed by Cholas. It seems Kulothunga Chola - 1 (A.D.1070-1120) of Chola Nadu didnot take any serious attempt to regain the lost territories of the Kerala country.

However the subsequent Tamil Chera Kings after Rama Varma Kulasekara gradually became very weak rulers in their own country, and around early thirteenth century (A.D.1201) lost from their hold the territories of the King of Venadu and other Provincial Kings and Local Chiefs of Kerala. Thus the Chera country went into much disarray thereafter.

It was during this period there had been a heavy migration of Tulu Brahmins known as "Namboothiris" into Chera Nadu (Kerala country) from the Tuluva country north of Kerala - the present Mangalore region. With the continued weakness of the Tamil Chera kings of the subsequent periods, the Namboothiri Brahmins with their Vedic religion as the source of inspiration were able to penetrate into various regions of Kerala over a period of time, and have great influence over the Tamil and other societies of then Chera Nadu. The Namboothiri Brahmins "in addition" to the Brides from their own community, also married (Sambandam) among the native Chera (Kerala) - Tamils, Nayers and other population of that period.

In Tuluva country north of Chera (Kerala) country, people spoke "Tulu" language which had it's own Script. With the migration of the Namboothiri Brahmins into Kerala they used their Tulu language heavily in their religious and daily life.
The Tulu Language with a "heavy mix" of words from "Tamil Language" that was already in existance in Kerala (former Tamil Chera Nadu) from the time as early as Mahabharatha War in B.C.415, and words from "Sanskrit Language" by way of Vedic religion practised heavily in this region with the migration of Namboothiri Brahmins - lead to the birth of the present "Malayalam Language" in Kerala around the 13th century. This is the very reason why the present "Malayalam Language" has almost similer Script as 'Tulu Language', with "very many Tamil words" and considerable amount of - Sanskrit and Tulu words' in it's vocabulary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0R5...layer_embedded The Video rendering is in the "Malayalam Language" (which developed from Tulu Language with a 'very heavy mix of Tamil' and Sanskrit) in Kerala (the former Tamil Chera Nadu), which gradually came into existance in this region from the beginning of 13th century (A.D.1201), replacing the former Tamil Language in Kerala.

"Kannaki story" related song from the Malayalam Film "Kannagi" of the year 2001. A "very heavy mix of Tamil' and Sanskrit in the Malayalam Language could also be seen from the above song

Below are few more of Malayalam Classical & Film songs which further exibits the "very heavy mix of Tamil with Sanskrit and Tulu Language in the newly developed Malayalam Language.












Thus with the Namboothiri Brahmins having much influence over the higher rungs of the people of Kerala, after thirteenth century gradually the "Malayalam language" became the dominant language of "Kerala" over "Tamil language" that existed during this period.

With the Namboothiri domination of Kerala society from the thirteenth century, they also introduced the "mythological story" of "Kerala being the God's own country and was created by Parasurama" as against the "true historical origin of Kerala (the Chera country)" "being entirely of Tamil origin" with "Tamil Chera Kings" ruling this region from time immemorial. This mythological story relating to "Parasurama Sheththiram" was the traditional story relating to the Tulu country (present Mangalore) brought in to Kerala by the Namboothiiri Brahmins, which eventually formed a mis-conception among the Kerala people that Kerala too was the "Parasurama Sheththiram"

The Mangalore city on the western coast of India adjoining the Arabian Sea and north of present Kerala is almost an island between the converging Netravati and Gurupura rivers. This is why the Tamil "Meikeerththi" (the True Glory) of the medieval period Chola Emperor Rajendra Chola - 1 (A.D.1011-1044) of Tamil Nadu, has referred to the Mangalore region as an Island named "Saanthima Thivu", and that the "Parasurama's fortress" was there in this island much earlier. The reference to same in his Tamil Meikeerththi is as follows:

"......செருவில் சினவி இருபத்து ஒரு கால்
அரைசுகளை கட்ட பரசுராமன் (Parasuraman)
மேவரும் சாந்திமத் தீவரண் (Fortress of the Saanthima Island) கருதி (resided)
இருத்திய செம்பொன் திருத்தகு முடியும்......"

Important Historical Notes:

(1) - The history of the present Kerala State - South India could be divided into two eras, one ranging from ancient times to the end of the twelveth century (A.D.1200) and classified as the Tamil Period of it's History and the other ranging from the beginning of the thirteenth century (A.D.1201) to this date and classified as the Malayalam Period of it's History.

To know of the "True" Early History of Kerala - especially the "Tamil Period", please read through my Research Article with many Literary, Epigraphical, Archaeological and other evidences titled "The great Significance of Kodungallur of Kerala in the History of Kerala and Tamil Nadu" - in four parts appearing in this same Website (Front Page). Also I encourage the Readers to study through my other two Research Articles all with evidences from sources as mentioned above titled (1) The Origin and Spread of the Cult of Kannaki (Pattini) - in three parts (2) A study on the Tamil Kings of Kerala (Chera country) from B.C.100 – AD.1200 (Under further construction) also in this Website (Front Page)



Sangam period Thiruvanjikkulam Mahadeva (Siva) temple worshiped deeply by Tamil Chera king "Cheramaan Perumaal" later included as one of the 63 - Tamil Saiva Saints of Tamil Nadu & Kerala and was known as "Cheramaan Perumaal Naayanaar" - Part 1

https://youtu.be/so0Z7BqvSYg Sangam period Thiruvanjikkulam Mahadeva (Siva) temple worshiped deeply by Tamil Chera king "Cheramaan Perumaal" later included as one of the 63 - Tamil Saiva Saints of Tamil Nadu & Kerala and was known as "Cheramaan Perumaal Naayanaar" - Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0L5...layer_embedded Sangam period Thiruvanjikkulam Mahadeva (Siva) temple worshiped deeply by Tamil Chera king "Cheramaan Perumaal" later included as one of the 63 - Tamil Saiva Saints of Tamil Nadu & Kerala and was known as "Cheramaan Perumaal Naayanaar" - Part 3

Thirukulasekarapuram Krishnan temple built by Tamil Chera king "Kulasekara Perumaal" later included as one of the 12 - Tamil Vainava Saints of Tamil Nadu & Kerala and was known as "Kulasekara Aalvaar" - Part 1

Thirukulasekarapuram Krishnan temple built by Tamil Chera king "Kulasekara Perumaal" later included as one of the 12 - Tamil Vainava Saints of Tamil Nadu & Kerala and was known as "Kulasekara Aalvaar" - Part 2

Thirukulasekarapuram Krishnan temple built by Tamil Chera king "Kulasekara Perumaal" later included as one of the 12 - Tamil Vainava Saints of Tamil Nadu & Kerala and was known as "Kulasekara Aalvaar" - Part 3

(2) - The only two original sources of Kerala history in 'Sanskrit' & 'Malayalam Language' namely the "Kerala Mahathmiyam" and "Keralopathi" are of the 16th & 17th centuries A.D. They too have not been accepted by the modern Historical Scholars of Kerala as important historical sources of Kerala History, as they have many claims which are in contradiction and confusion with the findings of these Scholars, in the light of evidences available to them from the other sources. It is in these two sources we find the 'first reference' to the Namboothiri Brahmins, and not from any Inscriptions, Copper Plate Grants, Historical or Literary sources - earlier than this period both from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The extracts from the relevent Website throws some light on these facts as follows:

Source: http://knowmykerala.in/keralolpathiintroduction

Even the greatest of truths has its time and place. The origin of Kerala is inextricably linked with the legend of Parasurama. "Up till almost a century ago", even educated scholars had taken the history in this work for granted, and the legends in "Keralolpathi" became an integral part of every work of history written on Kerala. 'Malabar Manual' written by William Logan also refers to this work in detail. However, he "does not accept the historical content in Keralolpathi". Talking about Kerala Mahatmyam and Keralolpathi, he comments as:-

"....The (Kerala) Mahatmyam is full of the usual inflated Brahmin legends, and is not so worthy of serious analysis as it's more popular form, the Keralolpathi. The Keralolpathi too is full of Brahmin legends, but historically there is something to be learnt from it - William Logan, Malabar Manual......"


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keralolpathi

The Keralolpathi (Malayalam: കേരളോല്പത്തി kēraḷōlpatti; literally 'Kerala's Origin') is a Malayalam work that deals with the origin of the land of Kerala. Shungunny Menon ascribes the authorship of this work to Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan, a 17th-century scholar of the Malabar region of India. The Keralolpathi is mostly an expansion from an earlier Sanskrit work known as the Kerala Mahatmayam. That work is classed among the Hindu Puranas as an Upa Purana (or sub Purana) of the Bhoogola Purana.

The Keralolpathi covers the ancestry of the Namboodiri Brahmins and other castes of Kerala and is sometimes called the "Kerala Ulpathy". While the "Kerala Mahatmayam" deals with the origin of Kerala and its people alone, the Keralolpathi gives a history of Kerala down to the modern age, including reference to the British in Kerala.


".....Historians doubt the reliability of this collection of legends as it contains many discrepancies. For instance it states that a certain Viceroy of Kerala went to Mecca and met the Islamic prophet Mohammed there. However the corresponding date mentioned is such that the prophet was not even born till more than a century later. ("....The year of his departure mentioned in the work as 332 A.D. is not correct, since the preaching of Islam by prophet Muhammad started only after 600 A.D…..”). It also mentions that the King Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara empire appointed a Viceroy over Kerala in 428 AD. However the said king reigned (only) between 1509 and 1529 A.D.

Likewise even the origins of most of the castes and clans of Kerala varies from the ancient Sanskrit Kerala Mahatmayam. Besides, by the 18th century modified versions of the work started appearing, varying from kingdom to kingdom and region to region in Kerala. Therefore, according to Shungunny Menon (a native historian of Travancore, Kerala) "one cannot place, in the Keralolpathi, the value of a historical source....."

Shungunny Menon, (further) stated that:
“.....numerous discrepancies and glaring mistakes are visible for we find the authors in their anxiety to prove the correctness of their accounts confusing occurrences of the modern age with those of the ancient...it is obvious that on a work such as the Kerala Ulpathy little reliance can be placed...."

William Logan, who was the author of the Malabar Manual also refutes the validity of the Keralolpathi and describes it as:
“.....a farrago of legendary nonsense having for its definite aim the securing of the Brahmin caste of unbounded power and influence in the country......'

K.P.Padmanabha Menon, another native historian calls the Keralolpathi:
“...an ill digested and uncollated collection of different versions huddled together in inextricable confusion...”


It is further noted the first ever reference to the "Namboothiri Brahmins" are to be found only in the "Kerala Mahathmiyam" (in Sanskrit) and "Keralopathi" (in Malayalam) of the 16th & 17th centuries, and not in any other Literature, Historical Documents, Copper Plate Grants or Temple Inscriptions (of granite stone) both of Kerala and Tamil Nadu earlier than this period.

However there is a reference in the "Keralopathi" of the 17th century that "some members of the Namboodiri community have been converted into Christianity with the arrival of St Thomas at Kodungallur in A.D.52". This reference doesnot carry any authentic value in the light of the findings of the Kerala Historians namely Shungunny Menon, K.P.Padmanabha Menon and William Logan, especially from the statement of Shungunny Menon (a native historian of Travancore, Kerala) which states ".....one cannot place in the 'Keralolpathi' the value of a historical source.....".

The two great 'Kerala Tamil Epics' - namely the "Silappathikarem" and "Manimekalai" were both composed around the year A.D.175 (the second century) - the former by "Ilango Adikal" a Tamil Poet the younger brother of one of the two great Tamil Chera Emperors of the first and second century Chera country (Kerala) the "Cheran Senguttuvan" from the capital city the Vanchi Maa-nagar (present Kodungallur), and the latter by a Tamil Poet Seeththalai Saaththanaar of this same period also from Vanchi Maa-nagar of Kerala.

We have another Tamil Literary composition called the "Paththuppaattu" a collection of ten Poetic Works by ten different contemporary Tamil Poets on ten different Chera kings of Chera Nadu (Kerala) of the period first century B.C. upto end second century A.D. speaking on their glory, and complied into one single work as Paththuppaattu. Unfortunately the first Paattu and last Paattu of the Paththupaattu is missing and now left only with eight Paattus. Each work was called as a Paattu, as the glory of each of the ten kings were summed up in ten poetic compositions.

There is another work called the "Muththolaayiram" which has three sections. Each section deals with the kings and the three Tamil kingdoms (Muth Thamil Naadu) namely Chera, Chola and Pandiya of that period. This work belongs to the period first century A.D. and composed by Poet Thollaasiriyar of then Pandiya Nadu.

From the two Tamil Epics - Silappathikaaram and Manimekalai and, the Literary Compositions - Pathirtruppaththu and Muththolaayiram of first and second century A.D. we note that there are 'no references whatsoever' to the presence of "Namboothiri Brahmins" in Kerala of that period, and of their conversion into Christianity with the coming of St Thomas to Kodungallur Kerala during this period.

Hence this reference in the Malayalam work "Keralopathi" of (17th century) cannot be accepted as correct from the foregoing, and 'also' in the light of the findings of the present day native Kerala Historians that ".....much credentials cannot be placed on the Malayalam work "Keralopathi" on it's historical authenticity......"

There is also a misconception that it was with the coming of Namboothiri Brahmins to Kerala in A.D.825 that the "Kollam Era" (Kolla Varusham) of Kerala commenced. Here too there is no validity in this inferance as the "Kollam Era" was introduced into Kerala from the time the Nestorian (Syrian Christian) Monks and Traders built the city of Kollam for themselves at this seaport of Kerala, on the approval granted to them by the ruling Tamil Chera king Kulasekara Perumal of Kodungallur where they settled in the year A.D.825. The Nestorian (Syrian Christian) Monks and Traders came to this Sea Port region of Kerala from the Middle East, escaping their prosecution in their own country.

Further historically it was during the period of the Tamil Chera king Rama Varma Kulasekara (A.D.1090 – 1102) with his powerful Chavar forces defeated the Cholas and regained complete authority over Chera Kingdom with his new capital city at Kollam. Thus this was the end of the 100 years of intermittant wars between the (Tamil) Cholas and the (Tamils) Cheras.

It was long after this incidence during the rule of a subsequent Chera king who remained a weak Ruler, the "Namboothiri Brahmins" gradually migrated from the Tuluva country in the north of Kerala over a period of time. Hence from all the foregoing it could be concluded tentatively that the "Malayalam Language" which developed from the time of the migration of the Namboothiri Brahmins into Kerala, came into much developed form in around the year A.D.1200 tentatively.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQJQ...layer_embedded Courtesy - Sneka .....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXSS...yer_detailpage Courtesy: IStream.In

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