Devaneya Pavanar

Devaneya Pavanar
Devaneya Pavanar

'மொழி ஞாயிறு ஞா. தேவநேயப் பாவாணர்
"Sun of Language, Ña. Tevaneyan Pavanar"
Born February 7, 1902(1902-02-07)
Sankaranayinar Koil, Tamil Nadu, India
Died January 15, 1981(1981-01-15) (aged 78)
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Occupation Author, Tamil Activist, Etymologist

Devaneya Pavanar (ஞா. தேவநேயப் பாவாணர்; Ñānamuttaṉ Tēvanēya Pāvāṇar; also known as G. Devaneyan, Ñanamuttan Tevaneyan; lived 1902–1981), was a prominent Indian Tamil author who wrote over 35 books. Additionally, he was a staunch proponent of the "Pure Tamil movement" and initiated the Etymological Dictionary Project primarily to bring out the roots of Tamil words and their connections and ramifications.

In his 1966 Primary Classical language of the World, he argues that the Tamil language is the "most natural" (iyal-moḻi) and also a proto-world language, being the oldest (tol-moḻi) language of the world, from which all other major languages of the world are derived. He believed that its literature, later called Sangam literature and usually considered to have been written from 200 BCE and 300 CE, spanned a huge period from 10,000 to 5,500 BCE.[1] These datings gain popularity by modern pseudo-historians such as in Graham Hancock's book Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization. His above ideas are fringe ones and mainstream linguists, geologists and historians do not acknowledge them to be true.

Devaneya Pavanar composed many musical pieces (Isaik kalambakam) and many noteworthy poems, including the collection of Venpa. The title Senthamiḻ Selvar was conferred on him by the Tamil Nadu State Government in 1979, and he was also addressed as Moḻi Ñayiru (மொழி ஞாயிறு) "Sun of language".[2]



Gnanamuthu Devaneyan Pavanar was born on 7 February 1902 in Sankaranayinar Koil(sankarankovil), Tamil Nadu to his parents Thiru.Gnanamuthu Devendrar and Paripuranam Ammaiyar. He was educated in the C.M.J. High School, Palayankottai, S.S.L.C. (1916–1918) and trained as a teacher in Madras University. He married in 1930 and had four sons and one daughter, the daughter being the fourth child.

He worked as a Tamil teacher in several High Schools, 1922-1944. During this time, he pursued autodidactic studies of Dravidian philology and comparative linguistics.

He was Tamil professor at Municipal College, Salem, 1944-1956. From 1956-1961, he was the head of Dravidian department at Annamalai University.[3] He was a member of the Tamil Development and Research Council, set up by the Nehru government in 1959, entrusted with producing Tamil school and college textbooks. From 1974, he was director of the Tamil Etymological Project, and he acted as president of the International Tamil League, Tamil Nadu. (U. Tha. Ka.)

Devaneya Pavanar studied his elementary education in Murumbu and worked as a First Teacher also in Murumbu under the control of Young Durai. Devaneya Pavanar’s life size statue, research library, centunary arch, reading room is located in Murumbu, Viruhunagar District, Tamil Nadu.

Views on Tamil versus Sanskrit

"Lemuria" according to Pavanar, connecting Madagascar, South India and Australia (covering most of the Indian Ocean). Mount Meru stretches southwards from Sri Lanka.

Pavanar's Vadamoli Varalaru argues that hundreds of Sanskrit words can be traced to a Tamil origin, and at the same time he insisted that pure Tamil equivalents existed for Sanskrit loan words. He claimed that Tamil is a "superior and more divine" language than Sanskrit. In his view the Tamil language originated in "Lemuria" (இலெமூரியா Ilemūriyā), the cradle of civilization and place of origin of language. He believed that evidence of Tamil's antiquity was being suppressed by Sanskritists.

Pavanar's timeline for the evolution of mankind and Tamil is as follows:

  • ca. 500,000 BC: origin of the human race,
  • ca. 200,000 to 50,000 BC: evolution of "the Tamilian or Homo Dravida[4]",
  • c. 200,000 to 100,000 BC, beginnings of Tamil
  • c. 100,000 to 50,000 BC, growth and development of Tamil,
  • 50,000 BC: Kumari Kandam civilisation
  • 20,000 BC: A lost Tamil culture on Easter Island which had an advanced civilisation
  • 16,000 BC: Lemuria submerged
  • 6087 BC: Second Tamil Sangam established by a Pandya king
  • 3031 BC: A Chera prince wandering in the Solomon Islands saw wild sugarcane and started cultivation in Tamil Nadu.
  • 1780 BC: The Third Tamil Sangam established by a Pandya king
  • 7th century BC: Tolkappiyam, the earliest extant Tamil grammar

In the preface to his 1966 book The Primary Classical Language of the World he wrote:

There is no other language in the whole world as Tamil, that has suffered so much damage by natural and human agencies, and has been done so much injustice by malignant foreigners and native dupes. The general belief that all arts and sciences are progressively advancing with the passage of time, is falsified in the case of philology, owing to the fundamental blunder of locating the original home of the Tamilians in the Mediterranean region, and taking Sanskrit, a post-Vedic semi-artificial composite literary dialect, the Indian Esperanto, so to speak, for the prototype of the Indo-European Form of Speech. Westerners do not know as yet, that Tamil is a highly developed classical language of Lemurian origin, and has been, and is being still, suppressed by a systematic and co-ordinated effort by the Sanskritists both in the public and private sectors, ever since the Vedic mendicants migrated to the South, and taking utmost advantage of their superior complexion and the primitive credulity of the ancient Tamil kings, posed themselves as earthly gods (Bhu-suras) and deluded the Tamilians into the belief, that their ancestral language or literary dialect was divine or celestial in origin.

In a chapter entitled Tamil more divine than Sanskrit, Pavanar gives the reasons why he judges Tamil to be "more divine" than Sanskrit, arguing for "Primary Classicality of Tamil", he enumerates:

Tamil Language Sanskrit Language
Primitive and original. Derivative.
Spoken and living language. Semi-artificial literary dialect.
Of Lemurian Origin. Of Indian Origin.
Scriptural studies exoteric. Scriptural studies esoteric.
Inculcation of cosmopolitanism. Division of society into numerous castes on the basis of birth and parentage.
Admission of all to asceticism. Restriction of asceticism to Brahmins.
Holding higher education common to all. Restriction of higher education to Sanskritists.
Encouragement of gifts to all the poor and needy. Enjoinment on the donorsto give only to the Sans-kritists.
Love of truth. Love of imposture and plagiarism.
Laying of emphasis on love, as means of attaining eternal bliss. Laying of emphasis on knowledge, as means of attaining union with the universal soul.
Having monotheistic Sai-vism and Vaisnavism as religions. Having a system of sacrificesto minor deities as religion.
Literary description natural. Literary description imaginary.

His claims regarding the "Primary Classicality of Tamil":

    • Lemurian origin of Tamil.
    • Phonological simplicity of Tamil.
    • Catholicity of Tamil.
    • Tamulic substratum of the Aryan family of languages.
    • Morphological purity and primitiveness of Tamil.
    • The presence of the words ‘amma’ and ‘appa’Mama and papa in almost all great languages in some form or other.
    • Absence of Nominative case-termination in Tamil.
    • Separability and significance of all affixes in Tamil.
    • Absence of morphological gender in Tamil
    • Absence of arbitrary words in Tamil.
    • Traceability of Tamil to its very origin.
    • Logical and natural order of words in Tamil.
    • Absence of dual number in Tamil.
    • Originality and natural development of Tamil.
    • Highest order of the classicality of Tamil.


Pavanar was considered by his followers to be a groundbreaking scholar in Dravidology with political leanings towards Dravidian nationalism. He does figure in works on language activism and national mysticism (Ramaswamy 1997, 2004) and of Indian nationalism (Kaiwar et al. 2003). In the foreword to the to the 2001 reprint of Primary Classical Language of the World, Pavanar's assistant and disciple R. Madhivanan claims that

Prof. Hakola (Finland), Prof. Levitt, M.B. Emeneau (U.S.A.,) and T. Burrow (UK,) approved Pavaner as an etymologists of great repute. The great Tamil scholar Maraimalai Adigal glorified 'In the study of words Pavanar's work is unique and he is unrivalled unmatched'.

and continues into a eulogy to the effect that

It was a matter of surprise when the scientists came forward to split the atom. Now it has become still a matter of much more surprise when Pavanar came forward to split the root of words till the origin of human speech. [...] His Primary Classical Language of the World is an eyeopener for the linguists regarding the mother tongue of man.

M. Tamil Kudimagan, Ex-Minister for Tamil Development, Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Madurai, in the preface to the same volume, writes that "We are the followers of Pavanar and we are implementing the ideals of Pavanar in all walks of life". V. Perumal compared Pavanar with English scholar Johnson:

The scholarly contribution of Devaneya Pavanar can rightly be compared to that of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

Poet Bharathidasan hails Devaneya Pavanar as the "King of all Tamils" (எந்தமிழர் எல்லார்க்கும் வேந்து).[citation needed]

The Cultural Heritage of India; vol. V: Languages and literature, p. 641 (ed. Chatterji, The Ramakrishna Mission, Institute of Culture, 1978) states that "but for his (Pavanar's) efforts the purity and antiquity of Tamil might have been a myth."

Publishing history

The Central Plan Scheme for Classical Tamil of the Centre of Excellence for Classical Tamil[5] recommends

"To publish the translated but not yet published Sattambi Swamigal's Adhibhasa which seeks to establish that Tamil is the most ancient language. When published, it will provide an impetus to Pavanar's findings"

The literary works and books of Pavanar have been "nationalised" by the Government of Tamil Nadu in the course of the "Golden Jubilee year of National Independence" (2006). This means that the copyright for Pavanar's work is now owned by the state of Tamil Nadu, his legal heirs having been compensated financially.[6][7]

G. Elavazhagan of Tamilman Patippakam has brought out all the works of Pavanar for his centenary celebrations, 2000-2001.

Awards and honours

  • A Silver plate presented to him by the Tamil Peravai, Salem in 1955 in appreciation of his service to Tamil.[8]
  • A Copper Plate presented to his by the Governor of Tamil Nadu 1960 in appreciation of his contribution to the collection of administrative terms in Tamil.[8]
  • A Silver Plate presented to his by the South Indian Saiva Sinddhanta Works Publishing Society, Thirunelveli Ltd., in 1970 in appreciations of his research work in Tamil philology and etymology.[8]
  • Official centenary celebrations of Pavanar were held at Sankarankoil (5 February 2002) and Gomathimuthupuram (6 February) of Tirunelveli district and at Chennai (8. February), attended by the Minister for Education and the Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.[7]
  • In February 2006, a commemorative stamp of Devaneya Pavanar was released by the Postal Department in Chennai.[9]
  • In October 2007, a memorial was installed at Madurai by the Government of Tamil Nadu in honour of Devaneya Pavanar.[2]


  • The Primary Classical Language of the World, Katpadi Estension, North Arcot Dt., Mukkudal (Nesamani Publishing House), Paari Nilayam, Madras (1966), reprint Chennai : G. Elavazhagan, 2001.
  • The language problem of Tamil Nad & its logical solution, Mani, Katpadi Extension, North Arcot Dt. [1967]
  • An Epitome of the Lemurian Language and its ramifications (cyclostyled booklet, 1980)
  • Kaṭṭurai varaiviyal., Tirucci : Śrī Nilaiyam Accukkūṭam, 1940.
  • Cuṭṭu viḷakkam, allatu, Aṭippaṭai vērccol aintu., Tirucci : Impīriyal Piras, 1943.
  • Tirāviṭattāy = The mother of the Dravidian languages, Cen̲n̲ai : Purōkireciv Accukkūṭam, 1944.
  • Tolkāppiyam el̲uttatikāram, Cen̲n̲ai : Tirunelvēli Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, 1950.
  • Mutal tāymol̲i, allatu, Tamil̲ākka viḷakkam, Cen̲n̲ai : Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, 1953.
  • Mutal tāymol̲i allatu Tamil̲ākka viḷakkam, Tirunelvēli : Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, 1962.
  • Tolkāppiyam : naccin̲ārkkin̲iyar urai., Tirunelvēli : Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, 1962-67 [v.1, 1966]
  • Collārāyccik kaṭṭuraikaḷ, Tirunelvēli : Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, 1964.
  • Tiraviṭat tāy, Tirunelvēli : Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, 1964.
  • Kaṭṭurai varaiviyal, en̲n̲um, Iṭaittarak kaṭṭurai ilakkaṇam, Tirunelvēli :Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, 1965.
  • Icaittamil̲k kalampakam (Printed music), Cen̲n̲ai, Tiru murukan̲ accakam, 1965-
  • Tolkāppiyam : el̲utatikāram, Tirunelvēli : Tirunelvēlit Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, 1966.
  • Paṇṭait Tamil̲a nākarikamum paṇpāṭum, Kāṭṭuppāṭi Virivu, Tamil̲nāṭu, Intiyā : Nēcamaṇi Patippakam, 1966.
  • Vaṭamol̲i varalār̲u, Kāṭṭuppāṭi Virivu : Va. Ā. Māvaṭṭam, Nēcamaṇi Patippakam, 1967.
  • Tamil̲ varalār̲u, Kāṭṭuppāṭivirivu : Va. Ā. Māvaṭṭam, Nēcamaṇi Patippakam : [kiṭaikkum iṭam, Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, Cen̲n̲ai, 1967.
  • Intiyāl Tamil̲ evvār̲u keṭum?, Cen̲n̲ai : Ip Pottakam Kiṭaikkum Iṭam, Caiva Cittānta Nūr̲ Patippuk Kal̲akam, 1968
  • Vaṇṇan̲ai mol̲inūlin̲ val̲uviyal, Cen̲n̲ai : Ip Pottakam Kiṭaikkum Iṭam Caivacittānta Nur̲patippuk Kal̲aka, 1968/9
  • Tirukkur̲aḷ Tamil̲ marapurai, Kāṭṭuppāṭi Virivu : Nēcamaṇi Patippakam, [1969]
  • Vērccor̲ kaṭṭuraikaḷ ("etymological essays"), Cen̲n̲ai :Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, 1973.
  • Maṇṇil viṇ : allatu, Vaḷḷuvar kūṭṭūtamai, Kāṭṭuppāṭi Virivu, Va. Ā. Māvaṭṭam : Nēcamaṇi Patippakam, 1978.


  • Nāṅkaḷ kāṇum Pāvāṇar : Mol̲iñāyir̲u Pāvāṇar avarkaḷin̲ mutalām nin̲aivu nāḷ veḷiyīṭu., Neyvēli, Tamil̲nāṭu : Pāvāṇar Tamil̲k Kuṭumpam, 1982.
  • Pāvāṇar kaṭitaṅkaḷ, Cen̲n̲ai : Tirunelvēli Ten̲n̲intiya Caivacittānta Nūr̲patippuk Kal̲akam, 1985.
  • Centamil̲c cor̲pir̲appiyal pērakaramutali, Cen̲n̲ai : Centamil̲c Cor̲pir̲appiyal Akara Mutalit Tiṭṭa Iyakkaka Veḷīyīṭu, 1985–2005
  • Pal̲antamil̲āṭci, Cen̲n̲ai : Tirunelvēli Saiva Siddantha Kazhagam Publisher, 1991.
  • Pal̲antamil̲ar araciyal koṭpāṭukaḷ, Cen̲n̲ai : Maṇivācakar Patippakam, 1999.
  • Pāvāṇar mukavuraikaḷ, Tañcāvūr : Tamil̲mati Patippakam, 2001.
  • Tamil̲maṇ Patippakam centenary edition:
    • Uyartarak kaṭṭurai ilakkaṇam, 2000.
    • Tamil̲ar matam, 2000.
    • Tamil̲nāṭṭu viḷaiyāṭṭukaḷ, 2000.
    • Centamil̲k kāñci, 2000.
    • Mutar̲r̲āy mol̲i, 2000.
    • Tamil̲ar tirumaṇam, 2000.
    • Iyar̲r̲amil̲ ilakkaṇam, 2000.
    • Tamil̲ilakkiya varalār̲u, 2000.
    • Oppiyan̲ mol̲inūl, Cen̲n̲ai ("comparative linguistics"), 2000-<2001 >
    • Mol̲iyārāyccik kaṭṭuraikaḷ, 2001.
    • Kaṭṭuraik kacaṭar̲ai, en̲n̲um, Viyāca viḷakkam, 2001.
    • Mar̲uppurai māṇpu, 2001.
    • Ilakkaṇak kaṭṭuraikaḷ, 2001.
    • Pāvāṇar nōkkil perumakkaḷ, 2001.
    • Ten̲cor̲ kaṭṭuraikaḷ, 2001.
    • Talaimait Tamil̲ : Tamil̲in̲ talaimaiyay nilaināṭṭum cor̲kaḷ, 2001.
    • Ilakkaṇak kaṭṭuraikaḷ, 2001.
    • Ten̲cor̲ kaṭṭuraikaḷ, 2001.
    • Mar̲uppurai māṇpu, 2001.

See also


  1. ^ Historical Heritage of the Tamils By Ka. Ta. Tirunāvukkaracu, Ca. Vē. Cuppiramaṇiyan̲, International Institute of Tamil Studies (1983), p. 178
  2. ^ a b Tamil Nadu Government press release
  3. ^ PRudrayya Chandrayya Hiremath, Jayavant S. Kulli, "Proceedings of the Third All India Conference of Dravidian Linguists", 1973
  4. ^ a term of Edgar Thurston's: see Ajay Skaria, Shades of Wildness Tribe, Caste, and Gender in Western India, The Journal of Asian Studies (1997), p. 730.
  5. ^ a body of the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Department of Higher Education, Language Bureau, Ministry of Human Resource Development (under Arjun Singh, Government of India; First National Consultative Meeting (November 18 & 19, 2005)
  6. ^ CM presented consideration amounts for the Nationalised books at Secretariat, Tamil Nadu, India
  7. ^ a b Directorate of Tamil Development, Government of Tamil Nadu
  8. ^ a b c Dr.Mozhignayiru Devaneyap Pavanar
  9. ^ The Hindu, 19 February 2006, Indiapost
  • 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).[1]
  • Vasant Kaiwar, Sucheta Mazumdar, Robin Nelson, Antinomies of Modernity: Essays on Race, Orient, Nation (2003), p. 141.
  • P. Ramanathan (trans.), Nostratics - The Light From Tamil According to Devaneyan (1977-80 studies of G. Devaneyan on the spread in different Language families of the world of derivatives from 22 basic Tamil words), Chennai: The Tirunelveli South India Saiva Siddhanta Works Publishing Society Ltd., 2004.
  • Sumathi Ramaswamy, Passions of the Tongue: Language Devotion in Tamil India, 1891-1970, Studies on the History of Society and Culture , No 29, University of California Press (1997), ISBN 978-0520208056.
  • Sumathi Ramaswamy, The Lost Land of Lemuria: Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories University of California Press (2004), ISBN 978-0520244405.
  • Mu Tamilkkutimakan , Pavanarum tanittamilum, Moli ñayiru Tevaneyap Pavanar Arakkattalaic Corpolivu (On linguistics and historical philosophy of Ñā. Tēvanēyaṉ), International Institute of Tamil Studies, Ulakat Tamilaraycci Niruvanam (1985).
  • Sahitya Akademi, Tevaneyap Pavanar, Cakittiya Akkatemi, 2002, ISBN 9788126014996.

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  • Devaneya Pavanar — (Tamil: தேவநேய பாவாணர், Tēvanēya Pāvāṇar, Tevaneya Pavanar bzw. Devaneya Pavanar oder ஞா. தேவநேயன், Ñā. Tēvanēyaṉ, Na. Tevaneyan bzw. G. Devaneyan; * 7. Februar 1902 in Sankaranayinar Koil, Tamil Nadu, Indien; † 15. Januar 1981 in Madurai, Tamil… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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