Why didn't Tamil Language spread in Rajarajan's conquered lands ?
  • Respected members,

    Wherever the British went, English became a popular language in these countries and has survived to this day. Similarly, where ever the French went, French is stil spoken. It is the same case with the Spanish.

    Rajarajan conquered many countries in the Far East, but Tamil Language has not been spread in these countries. It must have been there but it has not suvived. Only religion has survived, although with various changes.

    Could you shed some thought as to why this is the case?
    Could it be because the Tamil reign was not long enough?

  • language is a different process altogether.

    In that time ( Just 200 years after Cheraman perumal and Kulasekara alwar) - tamil in west coast was becoming - malai nattuk kodun tamizh then malai - alam and by the end of chola rule malayalam.

    fast change in a short period.
  • Who says it didn't spread - most South Indian languages have loanwords from
    each other, including Tamil from Sanskrit and Sanskrit from Tamil, Telugu,
    Kannada and others from Tamil and Sanskrit and back and forth.

    Remember, unlike the British, the Chola empire (and most other empires for
    that matter), didn't exercise such an insane amount of local control over
    the conquered lands. Often enough, they settled for the surrender and
    subjugation of the local king, and "ruled the world under one umbrella" as
    they were so fond of claiming.

    This is similar to how, during the Vijayanagar era, we didn't all become
    Telugu, Kannada or Tulu speakers, though those languages were definitely
    important (witness so many Carnatic compositions). Wiping out, or replacing,
    local languages was never in their agenda.

    For the British, it was different; they removed the local rulers in many
    places, and by the time they came in (or because they came in - I'm
    personally unclear on this, personally) the local infrastructure had been
    ruined by repeated wars and raids. This includes the education
    infrastructure in many parts, and they simply grafted their own on top of

    At least, in India, we had the advantage of a pre-existing system, allowing
    a large portion of our heritage to survive colonization. The Americas,
    Africa and the Philippines for example, didn't have that advantage; though
    the Incas were contemporary to the Cholas, their monuments are dead, not
    alive like ours. Their script is dead, and nobody can read it without
    reconstruction. At least, we can make out our own script from those times
    after a fashion.

    But if you're talking about South East Asia, remember that many of those
    languages show immense influence from Sanskrit and (possibly) Tamil: The
    very name "Singapore" (Singa + Pura) is a pointer to that. And the Thai
    language is very much influenced by Sanskrit. They've also had about the
    same amount of influence from China, and their own cross-pollination of
    words, so it's still difficult to figure out.

    Suffice it to say, there was considerable influence, and possibly in both
    directions. I leave it to the experts to tell us exactly what the influence
  • Sir,

    I am interested in this subject. Can you give referebces supporting your views.

    There is view held by few that it was more of trade relationsip.

  • Hmm... Off the top of my mind, I can give you examples of Sanskrit, though
    not Tamil.

    1. As I mentioned earlier, "Singa Puram" = Singapore
    2. The Malay word for religion is Agama
    3. Malay and Indonesian words for language is Bahasa (Sanskrit Basha)
    4. Malay for a native Malay person is Bhumiputra
    5. The full name of Bangkok is "Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin
    Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom
    Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya
    Witsanukam Prasit". This is a Thai corruption of "Krung-dēvamahānagara
    amararatanakosindra mahindrāyudhyā mahātilakabhava navaratanarājadhānī
    purīramya uttamarājanivēsana mahāsthāna amaravimāna avatārasthitya
    shakrasdattiya vishnukarmaprasiddhi", which is all Sanskrit and Pali.

    Leaving language aside, remember that after Mahendravarman's line died out
    in India, another descendant of Simhavishnu was brought back from Kamboja to
    become Nandivarman II. If I recall correctly, from the family tree that
    Saurabh posted on this group some time ago, Nandivarman II was from the male
    Pallava line also. This would indicate a prince from Tamizhakkam who went
    over to Kamboja (which would be Cambodia/Vietnam today?) to not merely
    trade, but to rule, according to the story.

    My general feeling on this is that for such large Hindu and Buddhist
    cultures to exist in South East Asia solely on the basis of trade with India
    is extremely unlikely. People don't abandon their own culture for a foreign
    one, or adopt so much of a foreign culture into their own, without something
    else. Either a massive migration, or an invasion and occupation is what I
    would suspect. Besides, Rajendra couldn't have built up that navy of his
    from nothing, after all. The technology, skill-set and tradition had to have
    existed from at least the early Chola, if not Pallava times. And the
    Nandivarman II incident points to something having happened around
    Simhavishnu's time itself.

    Of course, all this is speculation. I'm no expert, and my logic may be
    completely wrong because of a hundred things. But I haven't found anything
    that would negate this theory of mine.
  • To add to Sash’s comment, you will find a fair amount of detail in the following scholarly article:


    The influence of Indian culture in SEA has been well studied. Recently I finished reading:

    “The Indianization of China and South-East Asia” by H. G. Quaritch Wales. Available in major libraries.

    It is a scholarly work published in 1967. A snippet to interest you folks: The major route to China was via the Silk route as early as 2nd Century BC, and the rulers in China built Stupas pretty much as they were in India. Apparently some have survived. Chinese rulers in early times sent their scholars to learn in India. They translated many books on medicine into Chinese, but most have been lost.

    Raj Mutharasan
  • English and the French looked down upon people who they conquered. They considered the native/indigenous religions and practices inferior, hence sought to enforce their culture on the conquered lands. The Spanish conquered vast lands in the Americas, destroying local population and culture.

    So this subject is of academic interest, but not worthy of copying. There are better things to copy from the West.

  • Agreed, but this wasn't about whether to copy the west, or anybody else.

    We're merely discussing the possibilities of events that happened a
    millennium and more back.
  • Dear Members,

    Yes, our Tamil hadn't spread that much in the lands conquered by our Kings. But here are some links that show words borrowed from Tamil is
    lesser than words borrowed from other South Indian languages.

    Here are some links of the etymology of words:

    The Spaniards conquered the South American countries and made Spanish as their language. The people of South America still speak Spanish among other native languages. for ex: Quechua.

    English words derived from Quechua: coca, condor, guano, gaucho, guanaco, Inca, jerky, lagniappe, lima [bean], llama, pampa, puma, quipu, quinine, quinoa, and vicuña.

    Here you can see English has no connection with these Latin American countries but the words have been borrowed from Spanish and then came to English.

    The Latin Americans still have in mind that Spanish has been imposed on them by eradicating their own culture.
  • Many thanks to everyone for all your responses. As you say, unlike the Europeans, the Tamil rulers did not impose their administration on other countries they ruled. Therefore, people did not have to learn a different administrative language.

    I agree there are a lot of Tamil/Sanskrit words in the labuages of the countries ruled by Tamils. However, I was wonderng why people didn't speek Tamil. I see the reason now.

    Also, I note the period of colonisation by the Europeans lasted 150 to 300 years. However, Rajarajan/Rajenthiran and any other Tamil rule overseas, I presume, did not last more than about 50-60 years? If so, this may have been a reason too, I guess.

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