Dec 26, 2005

Who am I ?...

Today is the first aniversary of the 2004 Tsunami.
I landed in Kabul on the 25th December 2004. The first news I heard from back home the very next day was a catastrophe : The Tsunami ... I was shocked by the visuals that I saw on TV. Giant waves devouring the land sent chills down my spine and at the same time soared my imaginations. The vulnerability of the Indian Ocean plate is surely no myth. The “kadalkol” (sea devouring land) mentioned in ancient Tamil literature is very much a reality...

"The mind grieves when it thinks of Cape Kumari for it brings back memories of the seizure of southern Tamil Nadu by the ocean, and the consequent loss... Both creation and destruction are part of God's play," is a 1955 quote of C. Muthuvirasami that Sumathi Ramaswamy cites in her book, Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories. Her work weaves in poetry, nostalgia and laments, picked up on the trail of the lost land of Lemuria. But there are lines, such as those in the above quote, that seem meaningful in the aftermath of tsunami.

Sumathi cites K.P. Aravaanan's suggestion that 'Tamizh' has 'amizh' (meaning `to submerge')."In his reckoning, 'Tamilar ' are those people who survived submergence by the sea: they were named as such by their ancestors so that they might remember this original catastrophe''

The image that rocked me the most: Mass graves ...Something that was commonly seen in the aftermath of the Tsunami...Not a sight for the light hearted... Nature at times can be quite unforgiving...

Kumari kandam...
One of the subjects of great interest to me is the history of the Origin of Tamils. A quest to know where I came from? 'Who am I?'
My search led me to “kumari nadu” or kumari kandam (also called Lemuria and Gondwanaland) believed to be the original cradle of the Tamils (or Dravidians in general) by many scholars.. and according to ancient litrature, now lying submerged in the Indian Ocean due to repeated tsunamis (kadalkol). artists imagination of the landmass!

Some of the inputs about this land from ancient works are fascinating:
The kumari nadu mainly consisted of the Pandyan Kingdom. Two wild rivers - "Kumari aaru and Prahuli aaru" flowed through the land. The distance between the two rivers was 700 kavatham (about 1000 miles). And the land was divided into Thengu nadu, Madurai nadu, Munpalai nadu, Pinpalai nadu, Kunra nadu, Kunakkarai nadu, and Kurumparai nadu, and each containing seven smaller Nadus, hence 49 in all.
Ruby was mined from the mountain Mani Malai and gold from Meru malai. The kumari mountain range had forty-eight high peaks.
Something even more amazing I read was that the precious stones were mined by Chinese laborers! Iam still searching for more proof of this information.

According to Tamil litrature,the first deluge submerged Ten madurai situated by the kanni river, the seat of the first Tamil sangam and the Pandyan capital was shifted to Kabaadapuram. The Pandyan capital of kabaadapuram finds mention in the Ramayana and Chanakya's Arthasastra.A second deluge submerged Kabaadapuram , the seat of the second Tamil sangam .
Roman writer Pliny, in the second century B.C., refers to the transfer of the capital from Korkai to Madurai. The sea swallowed approximately 1,000 miles of the Pandyan territory known as "Yanainadu".

Despite so much being written about this sunken landmass, it’s a big disappointment that our Indian government has done no full fledged marine scientific research . We still depend on inputs from ancient Tamil, Roman and other scriptures to get an idea about this famed land. The Tsunami of last year is a cruel reminder that should catch the attention of marine archeologists , historians and scholars to our long lost past...I hope someday I will get a better answer to the question i put as the title today....

Also read : Tamil civilisation - is it the oldest?
Catastrophes of the past: poetic exaggeration or scientific facts?
Bridging the Myth and Science of the Flood

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