Dravidians


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Dravidians

(drəvĭd`ēəns), name sometimes given to the peoples of S and central India and N Sri Lanka who speak Dravidian languagesDravidian languages
, family of about 23 languages that appears to be unrelated to any other known language family. The Dravidian languages are spoken by more than 200 million people, living chiefly in S and central India and N Sri Lanka.
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. They are so called for purely linguistic reasons; the peoples are of varying racial types. It is thought that Dravidian-speaking peoples may have been spread throughout the Indian subcontinent before the invasions of the AryansAryan
, [Sanskrit,=noble], term formerly used to designate the Indo-European race or language family or its Indo-Iranian subgroup. Originally a group of nomadic tribes, the Aryans were part of a great migratory movement that spread in successive waves from S Russia and Turkistan
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.

Dravidians

 

peoples inhabiting for the most part southern India and speaking Dravidian languages. The Dravidian peoples include the Telugu, or Andhra (44 million, 1967 estimate), the Tamils (40 million, some of whom also live on Ceylon and in Malaysia, Burma, and other countries of Southeast Asia), the Malayalam (19.5 million), the Kanarese, or Kannada (21 million), the Tulu (about 1 million), and a number of minority groups which have to a large extent preserved their tribal structure and which live mainly in the mountain and forest regions, such as the Toda, Kota, Kurumba, and Badaga. Several Dravidian peoples live in central India: the Oraons, or Kurukhs (1.3 million), and the Kandhs and Gonds (together about 3 million). The Brahui (0.6 million), who live in Pakistan and the neighboring regions of Afghanistan, also speak a Dravidian language. The religion of most Dravidians is Hinduism, although some are Christians and Muslims; many elements of tribal religions have been preserved in the mountain and forest regions. The Dravidians are believed to have constituted the ancient (pre-Aryan) population of India. According to many scholars, the Harappa civilization was created by the ancestors of the Dravidians between 3000 and 2000 B.C. As early as the first millennium B.C. the Dravidians had their own states in southern India (Andhras, Pandya, Chola, and Chera). In the course of their development the Dravidians created a highly advanced culture (literature, art, theater). In the 17th and 18th centuries the British colonialists seized the areas settled by the Dravidians and began to repartition their lands, destroying the ethnic territory of the Dravidian peoples. During the struggle for national self-determination the Dravidians, like other major Indian peoples, demanded that states be formed out of their ethnic territory. The borders of these states were finally established in 1956: the Tamils live primarily in the state of Tamil Nadu (Madras), the Teluga in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the Kanarese in the state of Mysore, and the Malayalams in the state of Kerala.

REFERENCE

Narody Iuzhnoi Azii. Moscow, 1963. (Bibliography, pages 893-94.)

N. R. GUSEVA

References in periodicals archive ?
This weekend magnum opus also marks the debut of TanujaMukerji on television as Hahuma, the spiritual leader of Dravidians, who is beyond time and is seen prophesying the future of Dravidians as well as Aryans.
On the Dravidian side we see Devsena, born in a matriarchal society and is groomed to be a queen.
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The basic topic that this show highlights is the matriarchal society during Dravidian clans.
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Although in 1962, Annadurai said in the Rajya Sabha that Dravidians want the right of self-determination and we want a separate country for southern India.
Sweden, April 2 -- The Sri Lankan Tamil political issue has many parallels with the history of the Tamil or Dravidian nationalist issue in Tamil Nadu, and political leaders in Sri Lankan should be well advised to be cognizant with these parallels if they are to find ways and means of treading the political minefield this issue is, without harming the future well-being of all Sri Lankans.
Anbazhagan said Dravidians were once treated like cattle meant for slaughter but they would no longer tolerate such treatment.
As usual, the hypothesis is well grounded in hard data, including geographical and linguistic patterns based on the distribution of the Dravidian languages and related areal characteristics (see esp.