Sanskrit is used
Sanskrit, once a lingua franca of kings
By Express News Service – CHENNAI 23rd March 2013
Dr Chitra Madhavan | EPS
The language Sanskrit was once used as a lingua franca all over the
nation during the ancient and medieval era. Most of the inscriptions
of those days were in Sanskrit and those inscriptions were found in
large numbers in Tamil Nadu, said Dr Chitra Madhavan, a noted
historian, here on Thursday.
Delivering the lecture on Sanskrit inscriptions in Tamil Nadu at the
monthly lecture organised by Tamil Valarchi Kazhagam, she said, From
the Pallava dynasty to the Maratha dynasty, which ruled Tamil Nadu
Sanskrit inscriptions were used, since it was widely followed and the
mother tongue of each dynasty was different from others.
Through the inscriptions, one can know about the political geography,
culture, administration, economy, etc., of these periods, she said.
She added that most of the inscriptions were found in temples, which
indicated that the donations were made by the kings. One can find
inscriptions that are centuries old at Thiruparuthikundram near
Interestingly some of the inscriptions found in Gangai Konda
Cholapuram tell us that kings from the Northern parts of India also
made their contributions through these donations, she added.
She said, Most of the temples in Tamil Nadu do not have the names of
the kings. But one of the temples in Thiruvottiyur, which is in the
shape of a gajapirushtam, has an inscription naming the builder of the
temple as Veera Chola Ravi.
Another interesting point she noted was that the Vijayanagara Dynasty
kings did not sign in their own names on the inscriptions. Whenever
they signed on the metal inscriptions, they used the name of Sri
Virupaksha, since the latter was the traditional deity of those
One can get a lot of information from these inscriptions. But people
do not have a conscious sense of history and damage such inscriptions
by abandoning them or pasting posters on them. This must be
prevented, she concluded.
It was not only the language of the kings but of all educated people,
just as English is the link language today. Shankara from Kerala,
moved round the whole country, having discussions with contemporary
scholars. Scholars from south went to Varanasi and such places and
those from north came to Kanchi etc.
Posted by aravinda rao
Glad to read this essay. Happy to note that the ancient Sanskrit
traditions in Tamil Nadu is expressed in a public domain. Kudos to
Posted by Vishvaksenah at 03/24/2013
Dr Chitra Madhavan you are doing a great work for the sake of Sanskrit
and Tamil heritage & culture. Keep it up.
Posted by Rajaraman
Language and Lipi both are different. People normally confuse between
the two. Prehistoric days Sanskrit was written in poorva brahmi, later
in Brahmi Lipi in south India in Grantha lipi later in North India
Devanagari lipi. Temple inscriptions in south in both old Tamil and
Sanskrit were in Grantha lipi. Till 1930s Grantha lipi was widely used
for writing Tamil. Just like Chinese lost touch with old script and
moved to phutongua due to Govt. Intervention to increase literacy!? We
also lost touch with our old script
Posted by krishnamurthi at 03/27/2013