Historical Novel in Tamil/English or ???
  • Dear All,
    When our common interest is with Ponniyin
    Selvan, and Kalki's great contribution to Tamil and
    making us all love in classical historical novel, I
    begin to think of it in relation to Gandhi's Opinion
    on education in English.
    "I find daily proof of the increasing & continuing
    wrong being done to the millions by our false
    de-Indianizing education."
    More at,
    I wonder, with the same thoughts, had PS been written
    in English,by "KALKI" if it would have generated the
    same interest among us?
    Afterall there are English works by writers like RK
    Narayanan and others,but I doubt if it could match the
    PS "spark" as we see it here.May be we need to accept
    that the "natural flavour" or "sparks" comes only with
    mother tongue.

    May be we need to think on more Tamil Classics and
    popularising the kinds of historical novels as novels
    more specifically,than just historical
    facts.Ofcourse,visits to places mentioned in
    historical novels helps us to know facts from

    I also wonder at the different languages mentioned in
    PS?I am sure there might be more than Tamil?But have
    no idea,what other languages??????
  • Hi,
    I am not sure about what the impact would have been if education was in Tamil or any other indian language instead of English. Probably many of our friends who are now in US, UK, and all other places would not have gone to such places and would be staying in seermigu Tamil Nadu. India as such would be only a tourist destination for foreigners and there would be no Multi National Companies here.
    Also our culture would have been entirely different. There would be no English movies in theatres. And also all the TV presentations would have been in good tamil instead of like enakku tamil avvalavaa varaadu type.
    Negatively, we would not be chatting/discussing here in this group for probably there would have been no ponniyinselvan group or Positively we would be conversing, chatting, typing everything in our mothertoungue Tamil.
    But regarding PS I can definitely say that it would not have created this much interest in the minds of the readers if it had been in English. I read the English version of PS but did not quite enjoy it. I am not criticising the English version. Surely it is a varaprasaadam for those who cannot read Tamil. But it cannot capture the true essence. Also in the English version i found lots of tamil words, it was actually like reading a tanglish version. Surely there are some words in tamil for which there is no equivalent English wrod. As you said the Natural flavor or spark comes only with Tamil.
    Kalkiyoda Nadai, Varnanai all those is very difficult to capture in English.
    Regarding the other languages, there is a mention about prakrutham by Kalki in SS. Most of the jain scriptures are in Prakrutham only and jaina munivargal know this language even now. there are few places where they teach this language.
  • Dear All,
    Thank you,Poonguzhali for some thought provoking
    inputs and additional informations on Prakrithi being
    a language and being learnt today as well.I hope Tamil
    will continue atleast as "Tanglish" in 3003 and no one
    says like,
    "Tamil munivargal know this language even now. there
    are few places where they teach this language."

    But it also raises further question.(Apologies if my
    questions are not interesting to some).Having left the
    shores,it helped me to learn more on what is
    relativism is all about and more importantly history
    of science and technology atleast an introduction.And
    so is my interest in education in different time

    What about Sanskrit as a language getting the place in
    PS????I have heard(Sevi Vazhichhaithi) that
    Suarashtras were very much connected to the Cholas..if
    thats true,how about that language place in PS???

    It also raises,the question, what made Tamil to live
    and continue today,while Prakrithi(assuming it was
    common in those times like Tamil), is not so common
    today????This further puts,what needs to be done to
    pass on the Tamil of Raja Raja Cholan periods of
    1000AD today and to continue further so that some in
    3000AD would still use Tamil atleast as it is today...

    I also feel,the Tamil of Raja Raja Cholan period would
    have been different(difficult for people now),as
    pointed "Enakku Tamil avvalava varathu"....or people
    cann't understand what those period Tamil literature
    would mean to us????

    Is this one way of gaining on English,at Tamil or
    local language???How could we think of Mahakavi's
    developing Tamil and still loving other languages????

    I still think,mother tongue medium of education and
    English as a language study would keep India a hot
    After all,did we have any "English", in 149x(I think
    1492) when the first colonizers in the name of "trade"
    landed on the west coast of India.
    India is a land sure to "attract all"(may be some of
    its own people might have left) whether it has English
    or not.Who knows,may be without English, one could
    also think of Japan,South Korea,Germany,France,any
    country for that matter...Again I am not critising
    English,but to think,why we generally think in normal
    way on English education???

    May be one has to think on the above link,where
    present President talk on
    Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign
    Is it a legacy of our colonial years? We want foreign
    television sets. We
    want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology. Why
    this obsession with
    everything imported? Do we not realise that self
    comes with self reliance?
  • Madhav
    I share your veiws on how Indians are foreign crazy both when I was in India nad now in UK...But it is the curse of the land.
    Coming to Tamil...Kalthonri man thonra kaalathe mun thonriya mootha mozhi....is thamil.There are enough and more literary treasures in thamil which people cannot accurately date.and we havent had the same resources going into our olaisuvadis as the egyptian papyrus or the sumerian tablets......
    As for Sanskrit in PS there is no clear mention of that in PS though there are some references to that the story.
    Prathakirutham may have evolved into present days marathi or kannada
    Yes thamil would be threatened to extinction but its a language which has sustained more than 2200 years as we know so I think it would sustain itself.But there comes the reole of e groups and networks to promote the language and heritage.
    The need for English I think its quite useful...its like needing hindi to survive in India you can be a foolish like me nad not learn it but the wise thing would be to learn hindi in india thats were the keralites,andras and kanadigas score over thamil....the other side of the arguement is tamil is the mother of malayalam,kannada anf telugu and thulu so should it be forced to the same status as them????
    The need of english is the need of the hour..atleast as far the western world is concerned Latinand greek were replaced by german in the mediaval times and then french was the supreme language of scholars and academicians that the language. english replaced it in the 18th and 19th centuray and was the prime language and was called 'Lingua franca'(explaining the importnace french had before)
    The examples of germans,japaneses ,french and italians isnt apt...because apart from french everybody else learns english alongside their mother tongue...
    It helps you to propagate your language and heritage better imagine our egroup as a tahmil website..how many members we would havew lost.
    I agree with Pavithra that PS in english will be a no no no one can match kalkis flair.

    Tamil from the sangam period and PS period is different to the sopoken tamil.

    Is this one way of gaining on English,at Tamil or
    local language???How could we think of Mahakavi's
    developing Tamil and still loving other languages????
  • Dear All,
    Thank you Sridhar for sharing thoughts and
    mentioning,the time immortality of Tamil language as
    Kalthonri man thonra kaalathe mun thonriya mootha

    It definitely makes one feel proud.

    As for feeling on "foregin crazy" attitude. I don't
    think its a curse or it applies to everyone.Some are
    upholding the land's
    traditions,cultures,langues,etc...thats one reason as
    pointed for the growth of Tamil to internet from
    Olaisuvadi...But my point is there are many,who do
    have this "foreign crazy" attitude...still...the sad
    part is they represent the "elites" or "imitators".
    Which I wanted to think from,

    Gandhi's,(before 1950s)
    Hundreds of youth believe that without the Knowledge
    of English. freedom of India is practically
    Education through a foreign Language entails a certain
    degree of strain, and our boys have to pay dearly for
    it. To a large extent, they lose the capacity of
    shouldering any other burden afterwards., for they
    become a useless lot who are weak of body, without any
    zest for work and imitators of the West. They have
    little interest in original research or deep
    thinking, and the qualities of courage, perseverance.
    bravery and fearlessness are lacking. That is why we
    are unable to make new plans or carry our projects to
    meet our problems.

    If Mahatma's words spoken more than 50 years is
    difficult and may be even painful to accept.
    But what about,the questions of the President as a
    Scientist in 1998,just few years before...

    Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign
    Is it a legacy of our colonial years? We want foreign
    television sets. We
    want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology. Why
    this obsession with
    everything imported? Do we not realise that self
    comes with self reliance?

    Cann't we get answers from Mahatma's and President's
    words.(May be this is one reason,why President likes
    to talk to Children who are unspoilt(or before the
    influence) with this "foreign craze")

    Again on Gandhi's words,lays lots of answer..for me to
    not call it a curse,its just our "thinking" from the
    education,media,hald learnt(or articulated)

    The foreign medium has caused brains fag, put an undue
    strain upon the nerves of our children, made them
    crammers and imitators, unfitted them for original
    work and thought, and disabled them for filtrating
    their learning to the family or the masses. The
    foreign medium has made our children practically
    foreigners in their own lands. It is the greatest
    tragedy of the existing system. Among the many evils
    of foreign rule, this blighting imposition of a
    foreign medium upon the youth of the country will be
    counted by history as one of the greatest.

    May be one hasn't "still" come to the period which
    Mahatma is referring as "counted by history".

    Brains have been made to what Mahatma calls as "daily
    proof" for more than 50 years has taken a toll,that
    people find it hard to understand/accept what Mahatma
    is talking about.

    How did,people who constructed Big Temples,dams,ships
    acquired the knowledge?
    India's contribution to the world of science and
    technology is as immeasurable as any other
    contributions.Remember the number systems being taught
    as Arabic was learnt from Indians.Europeans learnt it
    from Arabs.

    Did we know that colonizers had to "engineer" against
    many obstracles during their initial periods of
    149x,not to mention their engieering skills in ship
    building to carry them across the rough seas,but also
    against the "foreign" languages??????

    And more reasons for the introduction of "English"
    among the masses are mentioned in the wonderful(might
    be hard and difficult to accept at different
    pages),book by Michael Adas,"Machines as the measure
    of men".

    I think,PS group could think in terms of finding
    answers to
    How did the transformation that we see today had taken
    place in Chola Nadu???from its great heights???
    What can be learnt????

    If our language from Chola period had changed,why did
    it change?????

    If languages needs to be replaced,why????how its
    done????whats the time period????
    Who gains?????Who loses?????on what???Why???

    It might be easy to accept that the "natural flavour"
    is distinctly seen in reading a classical novel like
    Kalki's PS,but I wonder what makes it difficult to
    learn from those words to our present situations???
    Should we look at PS as mere piece of writing...None
    would say so,afterall its a master piece for knowing
    the social,political,economic,spiritual what many
    conditions of the not so old
    Tamils(afterall,Thirukkural age is as Twice as the
    time period of PS)
    My purpose is to "learn" and "share".I spent time in
    learning some Hindi and French and some "cheap books
    on contents,but paying more money" on those fanssy
    "English" titles like Famous 5s,Secret 7setc..,but was
    stupid not to have spent some time on classics like PS
    or others...

    I hope to hear more from members,if you all had the
    patience to read till now...

    I wonder,when we would have an education,which would
    fulfill the dreams of Mahatma,Mahakavi and
  • Dear all...


    >If our language from Chola period had changed,why did
    >it change?????

    Any country that invades and has been invaded must be subjected to changes
    in languages, right? Language is the first thing that signifies the entry of
    a foreign culture. Any invading culture first spreads its language to
    complete its attack(namely the Mughals, British, etc.). That's why English
    finds so much favour today. If the Thamizh clan had invaded the world-
    Thamizh would have been the global language:-)[aside from what it is today]

    >If languages needs to be replaced,why????how its
    >done????whats the time period????
    >Who gains?????Who loses?????on what???Why???

    There's no question of winning/losing. Its a cycle- rather like waves of an
    ocean washing over the shore repeatedly. An invasion is something that
    happens periodically. Some body invades some country, their culture
    undergoes a sea-change.

    Change is the only thing that can lead to improvement. That which remains
    static will degenerate and gradually die. If Thamizh had not adapted itself
    to the demands of today- if it had remained as it had done in the Chozha
    period, chances are that Thamizh would have died out.

    >My purpose is to "learn" and "share".I spent time in
    >learning some Hindi and French and some "cheap books
    >on contents,but paying more money" on those fanssy
    >"English" titles like Famous 5s,Secret 7setc..,but was
    >stupid not to have spent some time on classics like PS
    >or others...

    Whoa....in my opinion, nothing that we read is exactly 'stupid'. Everything
    we read influences us, moulds our mind in some way. PS is a great work- but
    there are other works equally excellent. I don't think its right to spend
    time only on classics all the time.
  • Dear All,
    Wishing all the participants best
    wishes for the wonderful opportunities to interaction.

    Pavithra,Thank you very much for some
    additional inputs to my learning process...
    on the discussion group especially from people who
    have read PS,as it helps them to compare the
    historical significance to the present.

    I would also like to share some more thoughts as they
    come across my brain which definitely needs some rest

    1. To the idea, that language would be needed to
    spread is great.But think,if language is only for
    spreading???Whats the role of language???Does it has
    any roles with cultural preparations???
    If one has to behave as "English", then the society
    needs to be prepared for "English" tastes??If I
    understand correctly, this is one reason for language
    spread,apart from what you mentioned.So it might be
    that it is to "complete" or even "begin".

    2. Yes, I agree to that some tries to gain on some all
    the time in earth's history.Even if we don't use the
    word "gain" I think, "invasion" implies
    gain/lose????This is what one tries to learn in
    History I suppose....

    3. I am not sure, of the "Change is the only thing
    that can lead to improvement"????I think this is a
    very complicated statement,atleast for my thinking...
    May be bacause I read somewhere,"change is the result
    of instability".
    But in anycase,the term "change" itself has many
    dimensions to look for...
    When we mean,change what change one is talking about?
    I mean in what time-space????What change do we
    need?What for that change???Is it a change for better
    or worse???Change willingly accepted or forced on

    Evolution is also a change process,so is the Erosion
    and so are the results of these two processes????And
    How about growth and development are also change
    processes and whats their results???

    So if we apply this idea,in what category would the
    changed Tamil fall into????May be both,like it did
    develop and yet we are not that expert as those old
    Tamils were once???I wish I know...:)

    4.I agree completely that what we read moulds and
    shapes us,but also wants to add,that
    they(books/readings) are one factor in many others
    which shapes us.Among others are,education one
    receives as a
    medias like TV,films,etc.....

    Just one last thought,since I learnt here(didn't had
    the facility to browse the internet,when I was in
    Chennai,otherwise may be I would have learnt that
    there :), how Galileo Galilie to John of Arc suffered
    in history with different levels of punishment,I
    constantly try to see two sides of a coin.

    A term,I recently came across,is the "social
    construction". To think, English is education or
    knowledge might be a social construction or not??

    If man didn't land in moon,as some believes so,then
    could it be a social construction????or not???

    The wonderful thing on these is one cann't say,how it
    takes in time-space for any social construction to
    embedd in brains...I think I need to shut my thoughts
    as I see stars in the monitor...

    ok time to say bye,
  • Hi Mathav,

    Wonderful views. I share the same thoughts as yours.
    I believe people have a mind block about the language and culture.
    It is always good to learn new languages and know about cultures. And
    it is best to respect/appreciate multiple cultures. But I guess we
    should learn and adopt with a bit more discretion.
    We need to know where it is heading us,What our language and
    culture means to us. Whether it is our identity or not? Once a
    majority answers such questions in the affirmative, then a question
    of whether our language has to be alive in future say 500 or 1000 yrs
    from now. The answer would become very obvious.
    I read the message about "change" and its necessity to progress.
    There can be no doubt about the importance of "adopting". We all know
    the word "late". I've read that we call a person who had passed away
    as "late Mr. someone". What it means is he has been late with the
    times. Or in other words he hasn't arrived to the current times. Or
    it is something very similar to this. No doubt some of you would have
    known this. But I am not here to doubt the importance
    of "chane/adopting" even a little bit. But that need not be at the
    cost of the wonderful language/culture(read liguistic tradition)
    which has come safe across 2000 years.

    I disagree to the view that the language can survive "only when"
    there are changes according to times. I think the people can adopt
    new languages/culure of work,scientific temper for their living
    keeping the language in question as pristine as ever.

    Let me give a simple example of how a language survives.I am from
    India. But I live in Malaysia. Here we have a huge local Indian
    community. People call Indians as Tamils. I mean it is a synonym.
    They ask me "why pakistanis are always troubling tamils." What he
    meant was " why pak is troubling India?" The guys mother toungue is
    supposed to be telugu. He doesn't know telugu. Tamil is his un
    official mother toungue. This is not tamil nadu to pretend that it is
    quite natural.

    There are malayalees aswell who are more fluent in tamil. The
    point I want to convey is the tamils were strict about their language
    in this land. The others are ok to adopt any thing. It is a very good
    nature of theirs. For eg. malayalees can adopt anything on earth. It
    is a great nature that I respect. Very Little resistance to change.
    But the sad side effect is the language will not survive.It is very
    evident from this land. I felt proud at times, when I have time and
    chance to emote, about the fact that tamils, our ancestors, knowingly
    or unknowingly, have stood by their language. That should give the
    wise a great bit of hint. Discretion has to follow.

    Having seen the real world example, I would definitely subscribe to
    this school of thought.

  • Dear All,
    Mani,Thank you for the additional input from
    a view of "identity" tool for a language, which was
    also brought up by Pavithra to mention on the
    invations...and Sridhar's concerns too.
    I was thinking of giving examples,but the Malaysian
    strong example gives more than what I was thinking,but
    I few points anyway :),and avoid my weak example.

    Historical novels, gives us the many dimensions to
    look what was life(again in many different views) in
    the time period of the novel.But I think one should be
    completely be aware and not lost in the words,because
    histories are very senstitive and one is taught to
    read it with cautions.And think,why,how,what,when for
    everything and anything one reads.

    One reason why Tamil readers from India,may not find
    it important may be that unlike readers from Malaysia
    or any other regions,(where Tamils have to constantly
    maintain their identity and also struggle against
    discriminations,if there are any)Tamils of Tamil Nadu
    enjoy a lot more freedom and so people look at the
    "artistic","narratic","styles","romance" etc as the
    mind set of Tamils in Tamil Nadu are not in position
    to think of "protecting the language",Afterall its
    only threat comes from English,which is a universal
    language and its marketed worldwide.And to add further
    was the views of Mahatma and President on the "Foreign
    Love", which has taken its toll for more than nearly
    200 years of Indian history.This("Foreign love") is
    applicable to the language itself.

    But I am sure,people one day(no idea when may be it
    takes another 200 or 500 or ???? or in couple of
    years) to realise, that we need to have our language
    by growing the language instead of "changing" it,every
    historical periods have had a "revival" if one thinks
    the period was "dark".So basically one doesn't have to
    worry, as we see here the growth of Tamil to Inernet
    by the contributions of many great Tamils of our Tamil
    lovers,but one should constantly think,
    on Mahakavi's words of "translating other language
    great literatures to Tamil", and Vise-verse I think
    this is a better way of "adopting" the necessary
    changes.This will only help our future generation,as
    how our past/present generation helped to bring Tamil
    to internet.
    Like what already people's initiative had brought
    Tamil to the internet.Instead if we think,Tamil is not
    suitable for internet,then Tamil will face more
    challenges.But opening Tamil and still preserving and
    growing with more additional words when needed,instead
    of directly borrowing words from other languages is a
    great way as some people are engaged in.
    This PS is one way of maintaining,but we need to be
    aware of those historical moments,their change,their
    survival,their relevance,etc....
    I wish I know what was Kalki's opinions on developing
    Tamil,or his opinion on English as a medium of
    instruction.Afterall he produced a master piece in
    This forum could develop ideas for promoting reading
    of Tamil classics, I think its the NEED OF THE HOUR.

    Children are taken in a big wave and if they don't
    root firmly,they would again add to those,ROOTLESS
    RABBLE ROUSERS and ofcourse they might come back to
    the roots,but why all the long journey?Afterall we are
    talking of our own Children and us.Is it not?
  • Dear All
    We all have concerns about the changes our language has undergone...but look at it this way how many nations and cults have dissappeared in foreign invasions...and colonisation.
    Where is the aborigine heritage in australia , the native american heritage in USA or the Incas and Aztecs....even examples are found in parts of africa...the egyptian heritage has given way to arabic...sane with the persian and mesopotomian...
    But look at tamil still going strong inspite of christian,moslem,english influences it has outlived all other classical languages
    yes it has changed and evolved thats the nature of all languages..even english has evolved with time ...do you know how many tamil and indian words are part of english language
    Thats the norm
    But we have to be proud that we have a heritage and language which is 2500 or maybe 5000 years old

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