An ancient Dravidian language link with the Indus Valley civilisation

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Source: Indian Express

What is the News?

A new research paper published in the journal ‘Nature’ has provided some interesting new insight into the linguistic culture of the Indus Valley Civilization.

About Indus Valley Civilization:
  1. Indus Valley civilization is the oldest urban civilization discovered to date. It flourished in the basins of the Indus River spreading across large parts of modern Pakistan, northwest and western India, and Afghanistan. 
  2. The civilisation is noted for its urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, large and new techniques in handicraft.
  3. Moreover, the archaeological sites of the civilization have always been a topic of interest for the scholar since its discovery in 1926.
  4. However, the language that the people spoke is yet to be deciphered.
What does the research paper have found?
  1. The research paper has taken clues from the few words shared between the Indus Valley people and the cultures they came in contact with, such as the Persian Gulf as well as Mesopotamia,
  2. Based on this evidence found, it has been said that Ancestral Dravidian languages were possibly spoken by a significant population in the Indus Valley civilization.
What is the evidence the researchers have found?
  1. The researchers have analyzed linguistic, and historical evidence to learn how some words in ancient Persian records match with proto-Dravidian language. 
  2. For example, words used for elephant -pri, pru -and for ivory -pirus in the ancient Persian records were originally derived from ‘plu’, a proto-Dravidian term for the mammal.
  3. Similarly, several Indic words refer to the ‘Salvadora persica’ as pilu.
    • Salvadora Persica is better known as the toothbrush tree in the western world and as ‘Miswak’ in Arabic-speaking countries, since its branches are used as natural toothbrushes).
    • This suggests that just like the elephant word- pilu, the name used for the tree too is rooted in the proto-Dravidian word for tooth.
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