Quote for the day!


(According to legend, the very first couplet in
മഞ്ജരി inspired by which കൃഷ്ണഗാഥ was written.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy Onam

As you know, ഓണം is the mallu festival. The word ഓണം, interestingly, is of Sanskrit origin. It comes from ശ്രാവണം, the month. ഓണം is celebrated on the full-moon day in the month of ശ്രാവണം. Apparently, the derivation is ശ്രാവണ -> ശ്രോണ -> ഓണം


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy New Year

Today is the mallu New Year. The first of ചിങ്ങം. 

Most people may know this, but still sometimes reviews can refresh things :-)

ചിങ്ങം is the തത്ഭവം of സിംഹം, lion, or leo according to zodiac. The സ in Sanskrit gets converted into ച. (It seems to be the case that all the words with ശ, ഷ, സ and ഹ came from Sanskrit and are not Tamil origin, though I am not quite sure.)

The names of the other months closely follow the names of the western counterparts:
Leo - സിംഹം - ചിങ്ങം 
Virgo - കന്യ - കന്നി
Libra - തുലാം 
Scorpio - വൃശ്ചികം 
Sagittarius - ധനു 
Capricon - മകരം 
Aquarius - കുംഭം 
Pisces - മീനം 
Aries - മേഷം - മേടം 
Taurus -ഋഷഭം -  ഇടവം 
Gemini - മിഥുനം 
Cancer - കര്‍ക്കടകം 

Of these the, word for Taurus is a bit complex in etymology. There seems to be a series of letter transformations, ഋ -> ഇ, ഷ -> ട and ഭ -> വ, but these are kind of not atypical.

Thus, it is obvious that the mallu calendar we now follow came with the Sanskrit sub-culture. 

It will be interesting to see what kind of calendar we had when malayalam was in its infancy - as a branch of Tamil.  Even the Tamil calendar was based on the Hindu solar calendar. 

Does any one know if there were any other calendars in use in ancient times?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Indus Script and Tamil

(Sorry for the long hiatus.)

The other day I came across this interesting work by Dr. Asko Parpola linking the Indus Script to ancient Tamil. The details can be accessed here.

He makes some interesting connections with old tamil - how the fish shaped symbol in ancient inscriptions read as 'meen' and how that symbol with various combinations read different things.

There is a cute 'dictionary' too.