- Kumari Kandam
Kumari Kandam ( _ta. குமரிக்கண்டம் "Kumarikkaṇṭam") is the name of a legendary sunken landmass said to have been located to the south of present-day Kanyakumari District at the southern tip of
Indiain the Indian Ocean. The legend assigns the continent and its final submergence an antiquity ranging in tens of thousands of years. [ [http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=13862 TamilNet: 07.01.05 Catastrophes of the past: poetic exaggeration or scientific facts? ] ] [ [http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/reviews/atlantis.html An Atlantis in the Indian Ocean ] ] [ [http://www.madurai.com/sangam.htm Tamil Sangams - Madurai ] ] [http://acharya.iitm.ac.in/mirrors/vv/literature/tlang.html]
The Legend in Tamil Literature
There are scattered references in
Sangam literature, such as Kalittokai104, to how the sea took the land of the Pandiyan kings, upon which they conquered new lands to replace those they had lost. [Harvnb|Ramaswamy|2004|p=143] There are also references to the rivers Pahruli and Kumari, that are said to have flowed in a now-submerged land.Harvnb|Ramaswamy|2000|p=584] The Silappadhikaram, a 5th century epic, stating that the the "cruel sea" took the Panidyan land that lay between the rivers Pahruli and the many-mountained banks of the Kumari, to replace which the Pandiyan king conquered lands belonging to the Chola and Chera kings (Maturaikkandam, verses 17-22). Adiyarkkunallar, a 12th century commentator on the epic, explains this reference by saying that there was once a land to the south of the present-day Kanyakumari , which stretched for 700 kavatams from the Pahruli river in the north to the Kumari river in the south.
This land was divided into 49 nadu, or territories, which he names as seven coconut territories ("elutenga natu"), seven Madurai territories ("elumaturai natu"), seven old sandy territories ("elumunpalai natu"), seven new sandy territories ("elupinpalai natu"), seven mountain territories ("elukunra natu"), seven eastern coastal territories ("elukunakarai natu") and seven dwarf-palm territories ("elukurumpanai natu"). All these lands, he says, together with the many-mountained land that began with Kumarikollam, with forests and habitations, were submerged by the sea.. Two these Nadus or territories were supposedly parts of present-day
None of these texts name the land "Kumarikkandam" or "Kumarinadu", as is common today. The only similar pre-modern reference is to a "Kumarikandam" (written குமரிகண்டம், rather than குமரிக்கண்டம் as the legendary land is called in modern Tamil), which is named in the mediaeval Tamil text "Kantapuranam" either as being one of the nine continents, [Madras Tamil lexicon, [http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.3:1:3074.tamillex குமரிகண்டம்] ] , or one of the nine divisions of India and the only region not to be inhabited by barbarians. [Harvnb|Ramaswamy|2000|p=582] 19th and 20th Tamil revivalist movements, however, came to apply the name to the legendary territories described in Adiyarkkunallar's commentary to the Silappadhikaram. [Harvnb|Ramaswamy|1999|p97] They also associated this territory with the legend of the
Tamil Sangams, and said that the fabled cities of southern Madurai and Kapatapuram where the first two Sangams were said to be held were located on Kumarikkandam.
In Tamil national mysticism
In modern Dravidian ethnic nationalist literature, Kumari Kandam or "Lemuria" (a name made up in the 19th century to account for discontinuities in
biogeography) was the " cradle of civilization", the origin of human languages in general and the Tamil languagein particular. These ideas gained notability in Tamil academic literature over the first decades of the 20th century, and were popularized by the Tanittamil Iyakkam, notably by self-taught Dravidologist Devaneya Pavanar, who held that all languages on earth were merely corrupted Tamil dialects.
R. Mathivanan, then Chief Editor of the Tamil Etymological Dictionary Project of the Government of Tamilnadu, in 1991 claimed to have deciphered the
Indus scriptas Tamil, following the methodology recommended by his teacher Devaneya Pavanar, presenting the following timeline (cited after Mahadevan 2002)::ca. 200,000 to 50,000 BC: evolution of "the Tamilian or "Homo Dravida",:ca. 200,000 to 100,000 BC: beginnings of the Tamil language:50,000 BC: Kumari Kandam civilisation:20,000 BC: A lost Tamil culture of the Easter Islandwhich had an advanced civilisation:16,000 BC: Lemuria submerged:6087 BC: Second Tamil Sangam established by a Pandya king:3031 BC: A Chera prince in his wanderings in the Solomon Island saw wild sugarcane and started cultivation in Tamilnadu.: 1780 BC: The Third Tamil Sangam established by a Pandya king: 7th century BC: Tolkappiyam(the earliest extant Tamil grammar)
Mathivanan uses "Aryan Invasion" rhetoric to account for the fall of this civilization::"After imbibing the mania of the Aryan culture of destroying the enemy and their habitats, the Dravidians developed a new avenging and destructive war approach. This induced them to ruin the forts and cities of their own brethren out of enmity".
Mathivanan claims his interpretation of history is validated by the discovery of the "Jaffna seal", a seal bearing a
Tamil-Brahmiinscription assigned by its excavators to the 3rd century BC (but claimed by Mathivanan to date to 1600 BC).
A [http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=13862 supposed map] is available which shows a large land mass in the Indian Ocean stretching from Madagascar and East Africa in the West to Southeast Asia and Malaysia in the East. [ [http://thule.org/lemuria.html Lemuria ] ] [www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/004456.html]
Iravatham Mahadevan, "Aryan or Dravidian or Neither? A Study of Recent Attempts to Decipher the Indus Script (1995-2000)" EJVS (ISSN 1084-7561) vol. 8 (2002) issue 1 (March 8). [http://www.ejvs.laurasianacademy.com/ejvs0801/ejvs0801.txt]
*Citation | last=Ramaswamy | first=Sumathi | title=Catastrophic Cartographies: Mapping the Lost Continent of Lemuria | journal=Representations | year=1999 | number=67 | pages=92-129
*Citation | last=Ramaswamy | first=Sumathi | title=History at Land's End: Lemuria in Tamil Spatial Fables | journal=The Journal of Asian Studies | year=2000 | volume=59 | issue=3 | pages=575-602
*Citation | last=Ramaswamy | first=Sumathi | title=The Lost Land of Lemuria: Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories | year=2004 | publisher=University of California Press | place=Berkeley | isbn=0520244400
* [http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=13862 Map of Kumari Kandam as per folklore]
* [http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/reviews/atlantis.html An Atlantis in the Indian Ocean]
* [http://www.madurai.com/sangam.htm Tamil Sangams]
* [http://acharya.iitm.ac.in/mirrors/vv/literature/tlang.html A short account on Tamil and (Tamil literary) history by C. V. Narasimhan]
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