Tuesday 28 April 2015

Darwin and his doctor

After his voyage (1831-1836) on the ship HMS Beagle, when he sailed around the world studying and learning about biology and geology, Charles Darwin, settled down in England and wrote the book the Voyage of the Beagle. It was a bestseller, as far as travel narratives went, and inspired later explorers like Alfred Russel Wallace to also travel to South America.

Darwin spent the next twenty years gathering material from across the world, communicating with botanists and zoologists and collectors and experts in various other fields. He had formed the outline for the theory of speciation and his proposal for its mechanism - natural selection; but he kept it secret. But he made a significant reputation as a geologist, writing a major book on coral reefs. His explanation of the slow elevation of the landmass of South America - he had seen fossils of marine creatures high up in the Andes - was enthusiastically welcomed by his mentor and new friend in Geology, Charles Lyell. Darwin had taken Lyell's book Principle of Geology, on his voyage and it had helped him understand biology in a way no one else previously could.

In the meanwhile, in the 1840s, one of his friends asked him to study barnacles, and explain them since there was such confusion about them. Darwin estimated it would take him a month. It took him eight years.

This fascinating side-track to his researches is beautifully narrated in a book, Darwin and the Barnacle, by Rebecca Stott. I have been going to the Anna Centennial Library in Kotturpuram, Madras, for the past few weeks and reading this book. This library is a treasure house of wonderful books on all subjects and one of my great delights has been reading Wallace’s books there, among others. But this time, Darwin.

What fascinated me about this book, were two lateral matters : Darwin’s medical treatment and his fiscal situation. Darwin was a frequently sick person, suffering from several ailments of the stomach. He suffered terribly through his ocean voyages. Land did not improve things. But he was receiving barnacles by email, dissecting barnacles, discussing barnacles, occasionally going to the sea to collect barnacles, discovering new species of barnacles, getting confused by their variety and bizarreness. For a while barnacles were his only pleasure, besides his children.

Darwin's Water Cure

Dr James Gully, who was recommended by the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, an acquaintance of  Darwin, had some severe but effective methods treatment. One was the wet-wrap ; a wet sheet wrapped tightly around his body, almost like an Egyptian mummy.

Another was the douche, a French word meaning shower. But this was no simple shower. A 640 gallon water tank was install on a stage in an outhouse of Darwin’s house – this let out water through a two inch pipe. This may not sound like much to those of us who have been soaked in the waterfalls like Courtallam or Papanasam or Ambasamudram, but Darwin lived in much colder England. One must also remember that modern plumbing system, with piped water, hot and cold, had not been invented yet.

The freakiest treatment Darwin underwent, was lamp baths. We don’t associate lamps with baths! How do you bathe with a lamp? In this system, one sat on a stool wrapped in towels with a lamp under the stool getting warmer and warmer, until suddenly sweat poured down like a torrent. This sounds more like cooking than curing!

To top it all, Dr Gully’s water cure included
1.     Homeopathy
2.     Mesmerism
3.     Hydropathy
Gully’s philosophy was that the body's "natural energies" would cure itself. 

Allopathic (Western medicine) doctors today consider these to be nothing but quackery, with no scientific basis whatsoever. Think about the irony of this : the world’s most famous biologist was treated by a famous London doctor by methods that are laughed at today. Of such episodes is made the history relevant to the common man, more than the wars and wealth and the romances of rulers and armies.

It was only in the next few decades that such standard practices such as sterilization, the importance of clean water, chemical pills etc were discovered. And the invention of antibiotics had to wait until the Second World War.

A later story is illuminating. American President James Garfield was shot by an assassin. The doctors tried to extract a bullet by using their bare fingers! He died two months later, most likely by infection. The shooter was hanged for assassination, even though, it is quite possible that it was the doctors’ unsterilized probing that mostly killed Garfield. Closer home, V Krishnaswamy Iyer of Madras, died of a septic infection when the medal pinned on him in the 1911 Delhi Durbar by King George the Fifth pricked his skin! This would be cured by cheap medicine today.

Coming back to Darwin’s treatment. In addition, Dr Gully issued these orders.

No work
Minimal reading
No writing (except a few minutes a day)
No sugar, salt, rich foods stimulants alcohol or snuff.
Also forbidden : barnacles!

Stott writes that this ban on barnacles was the hardest thing Darwin had to bear. He was equally appalled at the ban on snuff, but his daughter Annie would occasionally smuggle it into his study, it seems!

Darwin used his writing allowance to write letters to collect barnacles from others!

The Curiosity of Englishmen

The sheer variety of collectors and enthusiasts is mind numbing, and gives an insight into the scientific spirit and curiosity of segments of England’s population of those times. If Britannia ruled the waves, it was not merely by military power, naval power or the business skills of its traders – these endeavors played a significant part in England’s significant role in the 19th century, which continues today.

James Bowerbank, London distillery owner and sponge collector sent Darwin barnacles attached to his sponges. Edward Forbes, banker and son of a timber merchant, followed Alexander the great's Asian route and discovered 18 buried cities! He explored sea creatures in Lycian coast, where Aristotle had once walked and wrote books on starfish and jelly fish , became professor of botany at King's college. Such brilliant collectors and the newly established efficient and dependable postal system (more on it later) were the substrate of infrastructure that helped Darwin become such a brilliant biologist. No wonder then, that several thoughtful Indians in the nineteenth century, welcomed British rule as benevolent and beneficent, a magnificent harness pulling India along into a glorious new scientific age.

Related Links

1. Rebecca Stott
2. A brief history of Surgery (video)
3. Alfred Russel Wallace (in Tamil)
4. The Thames and the Cooum
5. Pleasures of a Library 

Sunday 26 April 2015

மண்ணை பிழிந்து எண்ணெய் எடுக்கலாம்

மண்ணை பிழிந்து எண்ணெய் எடுக்கலாம்
கானல் நீரால் தாகம் தீரலாம்
முயன்று தேடின் முயல்கொம்பு கிட்டலாம்
மூர்க்கன் விருப்பம் தீர்ப்பது அரிது    

பர்த்ருஹரி என்ற மன்னனின் நீதிசதகத்திலிருந்து ஒரு பாடல் இது. என் மொழிப்பெயர்ப்பு. ஸமஸ்க்ருத மூலம் கீழே. ஆங்கிலத்தில் இக்கருத்தை சொல்லும் ஒரு பழமொழி உண்டு – “Against stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in vain.” இதன் பொருள் - “முட்டாள்தனத்தோடு, தெய்வங்களும் வீணாகவே மோதுகின்றனர்.” இப்பழமொழியின் ஒரு பகுதியை எடுத்து ஐசக் அசிமோவ்  The Gods Themselves என்று ஒரு நூலை எழுதியுள்ளார்.

நகுபோலியன், பாரதி பாலு, டெல்லி பாலு என்று பல பெயர்களை சூடிய பாலசுப்ரமணியனின் ஸம்ஸ்க்ருத வகுப்பில் ஒரிரு வருடத்திற்கு முன் கற்றது; கற்றதில் பிடித்தது.

लभेत सिकतासु तैलमपि यत्नतः पीडयन्
पिबेच्चमृगतृष्णिकासु सलिलं पिपासार्दितः ।।
कदाचिदपि पर्यटन् शशविषाणम् आसादयेत्
तु प्रतिनिविष्ट मूर्खजनचित्तमाराधयेत् ।।
லபேத ஸிகதாஸு தைலமபி யதனத: பீடயன்
பிபேச்ச ம்ருகத்ருஷ்ணிகாஸு ஸலிலம் பிபாஸார்தித:
கதாசிதபி பர்யடன் ஷஷவிஷாணம் ஆஸாதயேத்
ந து ப்ரதிநிவிஷ்ட மூர்க்கஜனசித்தம் ஆராதயேத்

பதம் பிரிப்பு

லபேத - கிடைக்கலாம் [லாபமாகலாம்]
ஸிகதாஸு - மணலில் [ஸிகதா - மணல்; ஸு - இல் எனும் விகுதி]
தைலமபி - எண்ணெயும் [தைலம் - எண்ணெய் ; அபி - கூட]
யத்னத: - முயற்சியால் [யத்ன - முயற்சி; த: - இதிலிருந்து எனும் விகுதி]
பீடயன் - பிழிந்து
பிபேச்ச - குடிக்கலாம் [ பிபேத்த + ச] 
ம்ருகத்ருஷ்ணிகாஸு  - கானலில் [ ஸு - எனும் விகுதி]
ஸலிலம் - நீர்
பிபாஸார்தித: - தாகத்தால் [த: - இதிலிருந்து எனும் விகுதி]
கதாசிதபி = கதா + சித் + அபி
கதா - எங்கோ
சித் - அசைச்சொல்
அபி - கூட
பர்யடன் - தேடி
ஷஷ - முயல்
விஷாணம் - கொம்பு
ஆஸாதயேத் - கிடைக்கலாம்
ந - இல்லை
து - அசைச்சொல்
ப்ரதிநிவிஷ்ட - அசைக்கமுடியாமல் நிற்கும்
மூர்க்கஜனசித்தம் - மூர்க்கரின் விருப்பம்
ஆராதயேத் - நிரைவேற்றலாம்

சில ஸம்ஸ்க்ருத கவிதைகள் - தமிழாக்கம்

1. வராஹமிஹிரரின் அகத்தியர் கவிதை 
2. மஹாவீரரின் கணித சார சங்கரஹம்

என் தமிழ் கவிதைகள்

நகுபோலியனின் சிறுகதை - மழநாட்டு மகுடம்

Friday 24 April 2015

In a Library - LMS

Watching slow sparse traffic. The sea in the distance, the Adyar winding slowly towards it. A train snaking into a station. Blue sky. Concrete jungle interspersed with patches of Guindy forest. A vast cloud throws the whole landscape into shadow, like a celestial photoshop took. Books in an ac room. A studied studious silence of. . . . studying. And some reading too. A streaking pigeon, a chirping thrush. Where thoughts may gently wander, a battered soul may heal, breathing slow to whispered rhythm, ideas may spring, an aesthete may admire, and a thumb may compose an essay....

An LMS is a long SMS. I used to send these to select friends on my Nokia cellphone, before smart phones became common and you could do this on Facebook. Capturing an experience, with some literary flavour. I dont think SMS has to be just cryptic TLAs and emoticons.

The above LMS was composed a couple of years back.

Other LMS

1. Kerala
2. Kumbakonam
3. Traffic

Sunday 19 April 2015

Macaulay - Sanskrit and English

A classmate asked me, if the above comment by Macaulay was true.

No, that's a false quotation. This is a frequently circulated paragraph, which exploits the eagerness of some Indians to believe that English rule was very destructive, especially of India's "ancient education."

Why Macaulay, not Clive or Hastings or Cornwallis or Dalhousie, the different powerful Viceroys of India? Because this purports to be a quotation from his famous essay, Minute on Education. I first saw this about ten years ago, which simply made me curious about this essay, and thanks to internet, I saw the full text on Columbia University's website. There are several refutations of this quotation also, among which the best arguments are by Michel Danino, and quoted in Quora. I urge readers to read both Macaulay's Minute and Danino's response.

An obvious clue should be the phrase "not one person who is a beggar, who is a thief." There is no country in the world with neither beggars not thieves, and India is and was no exception.

Macaulay was an English supremacist and had contempt for Indian and Sanskrit literature. He made the most dramatic changes in Indian governance - but we have kept most of them.

The East India Company gave subsidies for Vedic patashalas and madrasas for teaching Quran, continuing practices of the kings they defeated. He ended those subsidies and introduced Science, Maths and English into Indian schools and colleges. Personally, I believe Macaulay did India a great favour on this aspect. Those who read Macaulay's Minute would realize that his intentions were noble, though his ignorance of Indian heritage was lamentable.

Sanskrit scholars of English descent (members of Asiatic Society) like Horace Wilson and James Prinsep, opposed Macaulay's plan to introduce English as language of education in Bengal Madras and Bombay provinces, warning that Indians will lose all sense of pride of their native languages and culture. That these people, whose services to India and its culture should be in every history textbook, at least in India, are not acknowledged, speaks volumes of the prejudices of the Indian Government and its textbook writers.

A similar debate happened later between Gandhi and Tagore - Gandhi wanted the abolition of English language, abandonment of democracy, abolition of railways and western medicine. His most strident clarion call was for Indian citizens to boycott English courts, especially their law practices, and the most patriotic lawyers of the Congress Party, indeed did exactly that, giving up very lucrative careers. These include Gandhi himself, Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhai Patel, Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), Rajendra Prasad and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Two major historical non-Congress politicians who did not boycott courts were Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Bhimrao Ambedkar.

Tagore hotly criticized Gandhi for being parochial.   "The winds of all national cultures must blow into the house of India which should not become a closed prison" he warned. 

After 1947 Nehru followed Tagore rather than Gandhi in this aspect.

During the writing of constitution of India there was another debate whether Hindi or Sanskrit should be India's national language. The loudest voices in favor of Sanskrit were that of Ambedkar and a Muslim we have mostly forgotten, who argued that Sanskrit was the language of scholarship and learning for several thousand years where as Hindi was merely the language of the bazaar and had no scientific of legal literature. Also Hindi speakers should not make others second class citizens, whereas Sanskrit was equally difficult for all being no one's mother tongue.

Hindi won the contest by one vote - the casting vote of Rajendra Prasad, the president of the Constituent Assembly

My friend Balaji Dhandapani sent me this message :

Dear Gopu. The Muslim member of constituent assembly who fought for Sanskrit as the National language is Mr. Naziruddin Ahmad of West Bengal. This is what he said in the assembly when the debate came on :

If you have to adopt any language, why should you not have the world's greatest language? It is today a matter of great regret that we do not know how with what veneration Sanskrit is held in outside world. I shall only quote a few brief remarks made about Sanskrit to show how this language is held in the civilised world. Mr. W. C. Taylor says, "Sanskrit is the language of unrivalled richness and purity."

Dr.P.Subbarayan from Madras presidency fought for Hindi with Roman script. !!!

It is the pattern of ruling dispensations to glorify themselves and shower those whom they have overthrown with contempt and calumny.

It is sheer irony that most Indians criticize British for most of the problems and flaws of independent India, while generally ignoring all the best that they have done for us, except for passing remarks that English or cricket was their best gift. It is sheer hypocrisy, considering that most of the political financial military administrative educational institutions today are English or European in origin or inspiration.

Fortunately, we have no copyright on such hypocrisy.

Related Essays

1. Madras - India's first modern city
2. An Englishman's Tamil inscription
3. Trautmann on FW Ellis (Chennai pattanathu Elleesan)
4. The Thames and the Cooum
5. Margaret Thatcher
6. அடையாறு போர்

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Ode to a Transformer

Oh my lovely copper
Prettier than Grace Hopper
I see in your coil
Silent unsung toil
Soaked in cooling oil
Watt ho! You splendid topper!

Ohm Shanthi Ohm!

Monday 13 April 2015


If there is a Heaven

When the Sakya prince Siddhartha renounced his family, palace, kingdom and duty to search for the Truth, he left Kapilavastu and wandered to several places, before his great epiphany at Gaya. One of the cities he visited was Vaishali, a city-state governed by a guild of businessmen. “If there is a Heaven, it must be at least as rich and at beautiful as Vaishali,” he remarked. Siddhartha may be best known for his renunciation, but he knew a thing or two about wealth and beauty.

On his further wanderings, he met the most powerful, ambitious, feared man of his times – Bimbisara, ruler of Magadha, with his capital at Rajagriha, the Abode of Kings. A puzzled Bimbisara asked Siddhartha why he would leave queen and kingdom, wealth and power, to wander around as a monk. When Siddhartha explained about his search, Bimbisara merely said, “If you find, please come and share your enlightenment with me.”

Several years later, the beggarly monk Siddhartha believed he had attained enlightenment, and after preaching his message to those who would listen, mostly others in search of the same, he returned to Rajagriha to keep his promise to Bimbisara, now far more powerful, the conqueror of several kingdoms. And on the mountain of Grihakuta, Gautama Buddha held sermons for Bimbisara, his first royal disciple. On top of this hill, Buddha convened and conducted his first Council of the new religion he had founded.

Of Buddha and Rajagriha, later. For now, Vaishali.

It is not the world famous Buddha, but the mighty Bimbisara with whom the city of Vaishali is most closely associated. And more than with Bimbisara, a dancer, a courtesan, a woman of unparalleled beauty – Amrapali. 


Briefly, the story is that when Amrapali, an extraordinarily beautiful woman entered the streets of Vaishali, the richest men in the city fought each other, vying to possess her as a wife. Seeing that no man had an advantage over another, they held council and declared her a public woman. Any man could have her for the evening for her price. She learnt the various arts and excelled any woman they knew in dancing. One day, while she was dancing, there was an alarm over an invasion, a call to arms and the announcement that a king was invading their beautiful city – none other than Bimbisara.  For the next several days, while the men prepared for Bimbisara’s siege and eventually, war, Amrapali had no visitors. Until one day, a handsome young man visited her, and returned every day for several days, and finally proposed to her. She then explained to him that her loyalty was to the city itself, that she could marry no man, as that would incite jealousy in every rival and bring strife to Vishali.  The heartbreak in her suitor’s expression must have been visibly moving. Curious only now, she asked him who he really was, as she had never seen him in the city before, and all the able men in the city were too worried about an impending invasion to spare time even for Amrapali.

He told her who he was – Bimbisara. How he managed to enter the city undetected and unaccompanied is a detail best left to unromantic fact fanatics, but whatever his disappointment was, it paled in comparison to the spectrum of emotions that Amrapali suffered. Horrified that she had spent weeks delighting the very scourge of the city to whom she felt unshakeable loyalty, fearing the consequences of her unknowing betrayal, torn with longing that she could simply leave the city and spend her life as the beloved of a man, so obviously enchanted with her, she sent him away to spend time alone. Madly in love with Amrapali, heart rent, with  no further interest in the city she lived, and seeing not the earthly paradise that Siddhartha had seen earlier, Bimbisara merely withdrew his siege, and went back to Rajagriha, to console himself in the arms of other gorgeous women and mere royal delights, but still, no Amrapali.

The citizens of Vaishali, though, found out that their favorite woman had entertained their most feared enemy while they spent the same time in abject fear of annihilation. Outraged, betrayed, disgusted, they chased her out of Vaishali into the forests tossing curses and stones and cries of contempt upon her fleeing form, ignoring all pleas of guileless innocence. Time passed, not healing her at all, as she lived in  a hut with her most loyal attendants, heart broken, beauty shattered, her soul leaking life every day, until one day she had another visitor. A man who radiated peace and wisdom, kindness and compassion, and whose ambition far surpassed that of Bimbisara or any royal conqueror. For this man wanted nothing less than to conquer all humanity and with his newfound wisdom. Gautama Buddha.

To Amrapali, now, as to Bimbisara earlier, he brought a healing touch to a soul torn asunder by the cruelty of circumstances and human cruelty. Amrapali finally found a place in his Order, his Sangha, as a nun.


The Buddha then wandered to several places and finally his soul underwent the final extinguishing – the Maha Pari Nirvana, in Kushinagara. His body was given to his family at Kapilavastu to be cremated, but with some parts distribued to the other seven of his Eight Great Events, one of which is Vaishali. Mud stupas were erected over his relics, buried in caskets at these places by his followers.

Buddha's Mud Stupa in Vaishali, under the dome

Mud stupa - what remains

Sri Lankan Buddhists near Mud Stupa

Vishala's lake near mud stupa

In later times, an even more famous and powerful king, Samrat Asoka of the Maurya dynasty, ruling from Pataliputra, decided to rebury these famous relics. In Vaishali he built a stupa of stone, some distance away from the original, convened a Council of Buddhists and granted land and resources for establishing a monastery. Several monks of this monastery were then later buried and stupas of various sizes and shapes erected for them, in order of their accomplishment and services to Buddhism in the esteem of their fellow monks.

Near the brick stupa is a tall majestic pillar, of polished sandstone, that is most symbolic of Asoka. Unlike the three-lion capital of the Sarnath pillar, which is now the emblem of the Wovernment of India, the Vaishali pillar has a one lion capital. The pillar made of sandstone, is smoothened by the technique of Mauryan polish, and glints like metal by the light of the evening, evoking awe in such admirers of India as Sir William Jones, the founder of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, James Prinsep, who rediscovered Ashoka and decoded the Brahmi script, and Sir Alexander Cunningham, who established the Archaeological Survery of India, which preserves these monuments.

Brick Stupa and Pillar built by Samrat Asoka

Tombs of other monks

Single Lion capital
Vaishali today

I visited Vaishali in 2011 November as a guest of my friend RajaGanesh, who was working for the Patna branch of IndianOil. His friend Rahul loaned me a car and his driver Valmiki, who knew only Hindi, whereas my Hindi was scattered and flawed, tenseless, caseless and with few pretensions of cogent expression. With me was my friend Karuna from Madras, who had accompanied me the previous eight days with me in Orissa and Calcutta, and with whom I have travelled to other places 
too, like Ajanta and Kanchi.

Vaishali’s history goes back much earlier than the time of Amrapali, Bimbisara and Buddha. It is named after its founder Raja Vishala. Not far from the mud stupa, are the remnants of Vishala’s palace, a low level of bricks designating walls, similar to the ruins of Harappan cities.

Raja Vishala's "palace"

What I saw of Vaishali in 2011 was a small farming village – similar to GangaiKonda Cholapuram or Vijayanagar. In one segment, there were some farmers houses in concrete, with cement poles for electric or telephone lines, but no actual wires. The route to the mud stupa was lined with Indian mud huts, where farmers live; and in stark contrast, concrete three storey Buddhist hospitality centers all run by trusts of Buddhist nations – Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Thailand etc.

Vietnamese center on the road to mud stupa

Farmer's houses on road to mud stupa

Farmer's house - poles for electriciy, but no wires 
Vaishali was recently in the news, globally, for all the wrong reasons - friends of students writing board exams, climbing windows to pass cheat sheets to the examinees. The brick building of the exam center shows several things – some modernity during Nitish Kumar’s reign, but the relative poverty of Bihar compared to most of India, the ambition of its students and the lawlessness of the society. On my return to Patna from Vaishali after sunset, I saw not a single electric light anywhere, except one small town halfway back. Nor a single bus for public transport. Even oil lamps lit only a few households.

The poverty of Bihar, especially Vaishali, was in stark contrast to Siddhartha’s bedazzlement.

But there is more to Vaishali’s history and heritage than Buddhism. I shall write about it soon.

Friends helping students cheat at board exams, in Vaishali, Bihar, 2015
Other Travel Essays

1. Kerala - LMS
2. A Pallava temple in a river island
3. Kundavai Jinalayam (in Tamil)
4. Dholavira
5. Bus stop index
6. Kumbakonam - LMS

Wednesday 8 April 2015

ளகர ரகளை - மராட்டி குஜராதி ல ள

புசாவள் ரயில் நிலையம்

குஜரத் செல்லும் போது நவஜீவன் எக்ஸ்பிரஸ் ரயில்வண்டி புசாவள் என்ற ஊரில் நின்றது. அப்பொழுது, ரயில் நிலையத்தில் மேலுள்ள படம் எடுத்துக்கொண்டேன்.

ரயில் பலகையில் ஊர் பெயர் ஹிந்தி மொழியில் இருமுறை எழுதியுள்ளது போல் தெரியும். ஆனால் கடைசி எழுத்தில் வித்தியாசம் காணலாம். மேலே பெரிய எழுத்தில் புசாவள் भुसाव என்றும், கீழே சின்ன எழுத்தில் புசாவல் भुसाव என்றும் ஊள்ளன. மேலே இருப்பது மராட்டி, கீழே இருப்பதுதான் ஹிந்தி மொழி. இரண்டு மொழிகளுக்கும் தேவநாகரியே லிபி.
மராட்டி (மராத்தி அல்ல) மொழியில் ல, ள இரண்டும் உள்ளன. பொதுவாக ஸமஸ்கிருதம் வழி வந்த ஆரிய மொழிகளில் ல என்ற மட்டுமே உள்ளது. திராவிட மொழிகளில் ல, ள இரண்டும், தமிழிலும் மலையாளத்திலும் ழகரமும் உள்ளன.

தமிழில் நாம ளகரத்தில் சரளமாக சொல்லும் பல ஸமஸ்கிருத மரபு சொற்களை, ஆரிய மொழிகளில் லகரத்தில் தான் சொல்லுவர். “காளி” தேவி ஒரு எடுத்துக்காட்டு. அவளை “காலி” என்றே வடக்கிந்தியாவில் அழைப்பர். லிபியில் கூட ल மட்டுமே உண்டு.

ஆனால் மராட்டி மொழியில் ளகரத்திற்கு லிபியில் தனி எழுத்துள்ளது – ळ. ஹிந்தி மக்கள் லகரமாய் சொல்லும் பல சொற்களை மராட்டியில் இயல்பாக ளகரமாய் உச்சரிப்பதுண்டு. ஒரு சில மராட்டிய சொற்களை பார்த்தால் ளகர ரகளை செய்து ஹிந்திக்காரரை வஞ்சிக்கின்றனரொ மராட்டியர் என்று எண்ணத்தோன்றும். இல்லையேல் கோகுல் गोकु தன் பெயரை கோகுள் गोकु என்று ஏன் எழுதவேண்டும்? இதை பஹூர் பஸ்நிலைய பலகையில் நிதி கொடுத்தோர் பட்டியல் பலகையில் பார்த்தேன்!

கோகுல் गोकु ஏன் கோகுள் गोकु ஆனார்?
அங்குள்ள தமிழருக்கு இது பழகியிருக்கும். 2011இல் அஜந்தா எல்லோரா கலை உலா சென்ற போது புசாவளில் ரயில் இறங்கி, ஔரங்காபாதிற்கு பஸ் ஏறி நால்வர் சென்றோம். பஸ் பலகையில் சிள்ளோட் (சில்லோட் அல்ல) என்ற ஊர் பெயரை பார்த்தேன். அதேபோல் ஜள்காவோன் (ஜல்காவோன் அல்ல) என்று ஒரு ஊர். ஸம்ஸ்கிருதத்தில் ஒரே ஒரு ரிக் வேத ஸ்லோகத்தில் இந்த ளகரம் இருப்பதாகவும் (அக்னிமீளே புரோஹிதம் என்று தொடங்கும் ஸ்லோகம்), மராட்டியில் ள பரவலாக உண்டு என்பதும் ஆசான் நகுபோலியன் பாடம் நடத்தும் நேரம் அடிக்கடி கூறுவார்.
मळवली மளவலீ - லள இரண்டும் பெயரில் உள்ள ஊர்
மராட்டி மொழி இப்படியென்றால், குஜராதி மொழியிலும் ளகரம் உள்ளது. குஜராதி மொழியும் ஆரிய மொழி ஆனால் அதற்கு குஜரதி லிபி இருப்பதால், தேவநாகரியில் எழுதுவதில்லை. குஜராதி மொழியோ லிபியோ எனக்கு தெரியாது ஆனாலும், நான் அங்கிருந்த பத்து நாட்களில் அவ்வப்பொழுது பலகைகளை பார்த்து படிப்பதுண்டு. ஆங்கிலத்தோடும் ஹிந்தியோடும் ஒப்பிட்டால் எளிதாய் புரிந்துவிடும். தேவநாகரி லிபியின் வழித்தோன்றலே குஜராதி லிபி. தோல்கா என்ற நகருக்கு நண்பர் ரவிசங்கருடன் சென்ற போது, ஒரு மசூதி சுவரில் தோல்கா દૉલ્કા என்றும் பஸ்நிலையத்தில் தோள்கா દૉળ્કા என்றும் எழுதியிருந்ததை பார்த்தேன். લ ળ குஜராதியில் ல ள.

மசூதி சுவரில் ”தோல்கா” દૉ કા

பஸ்நிலையத்தில் தோள்கா દૉ કા 

ஹிந்தி மராட்டி குஜராதி பெயர் பலகைகளை பற்றி தனியாக எழுதவேண்டும். அவற்றின் எழுத்துவித்தைகளை பாணினி பார்த்தால் புரண்டு புரண்டு அழுவார். அவர் தூதாண்டிகோல் கொடுக்க, தொல்கப்பியர் அகத்தியர் இந்திரர் காத்யாயனர் என்று இலக்கண நூலாசிரியரெல்லாம், வீரமாமுனிவரையும் மதச்சார்பின்மைக்கு சேர்த்துக்கொண்டு, மணிக்கொருவர் அழலாம்.

(இப்படி இந்திய மொழிகளை அவற்றின் தற்கால லிபியில் எழுதும் வசதி செய்து, அற்புதமாக என்.ஹெச்.எம் ரைட்டர் NHM Writer மென்பொருளை தயாரித்த கிழக்கு பதிப்பகத்திற்கும், அவர்களது மென்பொருள் பொறியாளருக்கும், நாத்திக பிரம்மா பத்ரி சேஷாத்ரிக்கும் மனமார்ந்த நன்றி, பாராட்டுக்கள், வாழ்த்து).

பின் குறிப்பு 1

ரீச் நிறுவன பரிசு விழாவில் பரிசு பெற்ற கிரீத் மன்கொடியை, எனக்கு ரவிசங்கர் அறிமுகம் செய்தார். கோபு பல்லவ கிரந்தம் படிப்பார் என்று ஷாஷ்வத்தும் ஷியாமும் அவருக்கு சொன்னார். மன்கொடி என்னை பிராமி படிக்க சொன்னார். பிராமி படித்தால் எல்லா இந்திய லிபியும் எளிது என்றார். கற்கவேண்டும்.

பின் குறிப்பு 2

இன்று செய்தியில் மகாராஷ்டிரத்தில் இனிமேல் எல்லா சினிமா அரங்கிலும் ஒரு மராட்டி படம் நிச்சயம் திரையிடவேண்டும் என்று மாநில அரசு கட்டளை அலசப்பட்டது. எல்லா வடக்கிந்தியரையும் ஹிந்தி பித்தராய் ஹிந்தி அரக்கராய் நினைக்கும் சில தமிழருக்கு இது அதிர்ச்சியாக இருக்கும். சில வருடங்களுக்கு முன் ராஜ் தாக்கரே நடத்தும் மகாராஷ்டிர நவநிர்மண் சேனா கட்சியினர், பிஹாரிலிருந்து உத்திர பிரதேசத்திலிருந்தும் வேலைத்தேடி வந்தவரை, ஒழுக்கமில்லாதவர் என்று குற்றம் சாட்டி அவரவர் சொந்த மாநிலத்திற்கு விரட்ட முயன்றது நினைவிருக்கலாம். “வடக்கிந்தியரே வெளியேறு” என்ற தாக்கரே முழங்கினார். “ஓகோ நீங்கள் வடக்கிந்தியர் இல்லையா? அவர்கள்தான் வடக்கிந்தியாரா?” என்று தொலைகாட்சிகளில் தமிழர் பலர் வியந்ததும் குழம்பியதும் நினைவிருக்கலாம். இதை மும்பைவாழ் தமிழ் நண்பர் கணேஷிடம் சொன்னபோது அவர் தமிழரின் வியப்பை நினைத்து அதிர்ந்து போனார். ஒருகாலத்தில் தென்னிந்தியர் அனைவரையும் மதறாசி என்று வடக்கிந்தியர் அழைப்பதையும், நம்மில் ஹிந்தி தெரியாதவரை தேசதுரோகி போல் சிலர் நினைத்ததும் நடத்தியதும் 1990க்கு முன் பிறந்தவருக்கு நினைவிருக்கலாம்.
பயணம் தெளிவுக்கு ஒரு வழி.

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