Which Is Older Kannada Or Tamil

When one tries to trace the real history of India, one has to tread carefully and doubly careful in the use of terms about the various ancient Kingdoms and languages of India.

Unlike the other countries of the world our history goes back to Millions of years.

Sathavahanas Dynasty.jpg Sathavahana Dynasty LLocation. Image credit. “SatavahanaMap”. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SatavahanaMap.jpg#/media/File:SatavahanaMap.jpg

While unravelling them,based on Archeology, references in the Indian Epics,Puranas and Indian literature, one finds it nearly impossible to determine which preced the other, say for instance Tami or Kannada.

I have, in my article, Karnataka 2 Million years Old Rama’s Brother in law in Karnataka, I had inadvertently slipped a word that,

‘before the advent of the Sathavahanas, Karnataka was ruled by North Indian Kings and Tamil Kings”

I received a comment,, which I am reproducing below.

“Well Mr. Ramanan, with due regards to your article, there is no history to suggest that Karnataka was ruled by Tamil rulers, before Satavahanas. Although the two languages owe a lot to Brahmi script and according to latest findings, Kannada speaking population was widely spread in south, central, and deccan India. Professor Iravatham mahadevan’s recent findings show that Tamil borrowed from old Kannada and not the other way round.
The impact of kingdoms of Karnataka origin have been felt over other parts of India also. The Chindaka Nagas of central India, Gangas of Kalinga (Odisha),[1] Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta,[2] Chalukyas of Vengi,[3] Yadava Dynasty of Devagiri were all of Kannada origin[4] who later took to encouraging local languages. The Senas of Bengal, the Solankis of Gujarat etc.’

In such a situation, I should have simple left saying nothing at all.

For the atmosphere in India has been so vitiated on the basis of langauge and territories that even a slight mention, raises one’s hackles.

The Divide and Rule Policy started by the British about 300 years ago still lingers , currently being fueled by the politicians who have no idea of our Past History and our traditions.

Having written about the early histories of Tamil in detail and a couple of Posts on the antiquity of Kannada,I would like to tread carefully, though evidence is available on these subjects.

When I take up the ancient history of the other areas, bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Central India, there might me surprises in store.

I will be refrained in my choice of description as my site might be used to wrangle over which langauge or Kings were  more ancient.

The purpose of my Blog is to bring out the history and achievements of Sanatana Dharma, which has been distorted and misinformation had been spread about it.

By writing on the subjects I have mentioned here, I might be sidetracked.

One thing is certain.

We have a hoary past with Sanskrit and Sanatana Dharma as the Pillars.

Other languages like Tamil, Kannada have a hand in it, not to forget Telugu,the Godavari Valley has a rich ,ancient History.

While much evidence has been found on Tamil, about its antiquity relatively it is less in the other languages.

Another point is that the Tamil Kingdom was located in Lemuria.

They seem to have developed a culture on their own, they were also followers of Sanatana Dharma.

History of Karanataka and Tamil are gleaned only from respective literaray works of these languages.

For Karnataka, the past before Chandra Gupta Maurya is hazy, while Tamil has literary references in the form of Sangam literature.

Karnataka was not called as such, thanks to linguistic division of states, and it was under the Mauryan Empire.

And Chanra Gupra Mauraya breathed his last near Sravanabelagola in 230 BC.

However after the death of Chandra Gupta, Karnataka resisted the Mauryan domination.

The Tamils were allies of Chandra Gupta .

The Sathavahanas , the first recorded Dynasty,rose after Chandra Gupta.

Interesting point is that the Sathavahanas were ruling from Amravathi, , AP, now Capital of Andhra!

‘The Sātavāhana Empire was an Indian dynasty based from Dharanikota and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh as well as Junnar(Pune) and Prathisthan (Paithan) in Maharashtra.The territory of the empire covered much of India from 230 BCE onward. Although there is some controversy about when the dynasty came to an end, the most liberal estimates suggest that it lasted about 450 years, until around 220 CE. The Satavahanas are credited for establishing peace in the country, resisting the onslaught of foreigners after the decline of the Mauryan Empire.’

The Sātavāhanas were vassals to the Mauryan dynasty until the decline of the latter. They are known for their patronage ofHinduism. The Sātavāhanas were early issuers of Indian state coinage struck with images of their rulers. They formed a cultural bridge and played a vital role in trade and the transfer of ideas and culture to and from the Indo-Gangetic Plain to the southern tip of India.

They had to compete with the Shungas and then the Kanvas of Magadha to establish their rule. Later, they played a crucial role to protect a huge part of India against foreign invaders like the Sakas, Yavanas and Pahlavas. In particular their struggles with theWestern Kshatrapas went on for a long time. The great rulers of the Satavahana Dynasty Gautamiputra Satakarni and Sri Yajna Sātakarni were able to defeat the foreign invaders like the Western Kshatrapas and stop their expansion. In the 3rd century CE the empire was split into smaller states. According to ancient Sangam literature the Satavahana rulers were allied with the Tamilrulers of the Chera dynasty, Chola dynasty and Pandyan Dynasty to defeat the foreign invaders like the Scythians…

‘The name Karnataka is derived from “Karunadu” which means Loftyland (High plateau), derived from the community’s location on the Deccan Plain. The name can also mean “Land of black soil” (Kari – Black; Nadu – Area or Region) in Kannada. The history of Karnataka goes back to epics “Ramayana” and “Mahabharatha”. The capital of “vaali” and “Sugriva” of the epic, Ramayana, is said to be Hampi. Karnataka finds its mention in Mahabharatha in the form of “Karnata Desha”. In olden times the region was also called “Kuntala Rajya”.[1] Karnataka was also part of the Dakshinapatha (southern region) which finds its mention in many Indian epics. Vatapi, associated with sage Agastya is obviously Badami in Bijapur district.[2] Karnataka is situated on the western edge of theDeccan plateau and has for its neighbours Maharashtra and Goa on the north, Andhra Pradesh on east, Tamil Nadu and Kerala on the south. On the west it opens out on the Arabian sea.’

In the case of Tamils, Tamil Kings were referred to during the Damayanthi Swayamvara, Sita and Draupadi Swayamvara apart from the fact that Lord Krishna married  Pandyan Princess, had a daughter Pandiah, Parashuarama, Arjuna and Sahadeva had been visiting Tamil areas.

Lord Krishna was an attendee to the Tamil Sangam.

Please refer my post on these subjects.

‘The Pandyas were one of the three ancient Tamil dynasties (Chola and Chera being the other two) who ruled the Tamil country from pre-historic times until the end of the 15th century. They ruled initially from Korkai, a sea port on the southernmost tip of the Indian peninsula, and in later times moved to Madurai. Pandyas are mentioned inSangam Literature (c. 100 – 200 CE) as well as by Greek and Roman sources during this period.

Archeological finds.

A Million year old site belonging to advanced Tamil Civilization has been found in Chennai.

We also have a ver ancient site belonging to Prehistoric times in Karnataka.

And we have the Tamil Brahmi script found in Harappa. and Indus Valley.


‘Kaar Nadu means…Kaar, in Tamil, means regions rich with rainfall collecting mountains and associated regions and Nadu means country…Tamil word is used to refer a region with a particular geographic location…I have asked to my Kannada friends to find the meaning in Kannada language – they have few explanations which are vague for example, some Kannada language speakers think Kar (black) coloured soil region is referred as Kaarnataka – if that is true Karnataka should be less than 20% of the land it has now, because only 15% of the region has black soil in the pesent day state of Karnataka. In ancient Tamil kingdoms the land and the people were classified based on Geography that relate to their specific rich lifestyle and occupation. There are several ancient Tamil literature referring to Tulu naadu, kodagu nadu and kaaarnadu.
The discovery of a Neolithic stone celt, a hand-held axe, with the Indus script on it at Sembian-Kandiyur in Tamil Nadu is, according to Iravatham Mahadevan, “a major discovery because for the first time a text in the Indus script has been found in the State on a datable artefact, which is a polished neolithic celt.” He added: “This confirms that the Neolithic people of Tamil Nadu shared the same language family of the Harappan group, which can only be Dravidian. The discovery provides the first evidence that the Neolithic people of the Tamil country spoke a Dravidian language.” Mr. Mahadevan, an eminent expert on the subject, estimated the date of the artefact with the Indus script between 2000 B.C. and 1500 B.C’

  • A broken storage jar with inscriptions in Tamil Brahmi script in Quseir-al-Qadim, (Leukos Limen) Egypt, 1st century BCE. Two earlier Tamil Brahmi inscription discoveries at the same site, 1st century CE.]The inscriped text is “பானை ஒறி” (paanai oRi) which means ‘pot suspended in a rope net’.
  • An inscribed amphora fragment in Tamil at the ancient PtolemicRoman settlement of Berenice Troglodytica, Egypt, 1st century BCE- 1st century CE.
  • Tamil-Brahmi inscription on pottery found in Phu Khao Thong,Thailand, 2nd century CE. Touchstone (uraikal) engraved in Tamil in the Tamil-Brahmi script at Khuan Luk Pat, 3rd-4th century CE.
  • Potsherds with Tamil Brahmi inscriptions found in Poonagari, Jaffna, 2nd century BCE.
  • Black and red ware potsherd with Tamil Brahmi inscriptions in Ucchapanai, Kandarodai, Jaffna, 3rd century BCE.
  • Tamil Brahmi inscriptions on a pot rim at Pattanam, central Kerala, 2nd century CE.
  • Four Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, 3rd century CE, found on Edakal cave, Ambukuthi hill, Kerala. One contained the word ‘Chera’ (‘kadummipudha chera’), the earliest inscriptional evidence of the dynasty Chera.
  • Potsherd with Tamil-Brahmi script found in Oman. The script reads “nantai kiran” and it can be dated to the 1st century CE.
  • A fragment of black and red ware flat dish inscribed in Tamil in theTamil Brahmi script excavated at the earliest layer in southern eastern town of Tissamaharama in Sri Lanka. It is dated to approximately 200 BC by German scholars who undertook the excavation.
  • Tamil Brahmi script dating to 500 BC found at Kodumanal, Chennimalai near Erode
  • Tamil-Brahmi script dating to 500 BC found at Porunthal site is located 12 km South West of Palani
  • Tamil-Brahmi script found on Tirupparankundram hill, Madurai it read as “Muu-na-ka-ra” and “Muu-ca-ka-ti, 1st century BCE.
  • Fifth ‘hero’ stone found with Tamil Brahmi inscriptions at Porpanakkottai
  • Tamil-Brahmi script dating back to the 3rd century BCE near Thenur, Madurai. Script is written in gold bar.
  • Tamil-Brahmi script dated to the 3rd century AD found preserved in laterite in Karadukka in Kasaragod district, Kerala

Which is Old, Kannada or Tamil

Pre-old Kannada (or Purava HaleGannada) was the language of Banavasi in the early Common Era, theSatavahana and Kadamba periods and hence has a history of over 2000 years.The Ashoka rock edict found at Brahmagiri (dated to 230 BC) has been suggested to contain words in identifiable Kannada.

A possibly more definite reference to Kannada is found in the ‘Charition mime’ of the 1st or 2nd century AD. The farce, written by an unknown author was discovered in the early 20th century at Oxyrynchus in Egypt. The play is concerned with a Greek lady named Charition who has been stranded on the coast of a country bordering the Indian Ocean. The king of this region, and his countrymen, sometimes use their own language, and the sentences they spoke include Koncha madhu patrakke haki (lit having poured a little wine into the cup separately) and paanam beretti katti madhuvam ber ettuvenu (lit having taken up the cup separately and having covered it, I shall take wine separately). The language employed in the papyrus indicates that the play is set in one of the numerous small ports on the western coast of India, between Karwar andMangalore’

  • 150,000-100,000 BCE – Evidence for presence of Hominins with Acheulean technology in north Tamil Nadu.
  • c. 30,000 BCE-Paleolithic industries in north Tamil Nadu
  • c. 80003000 BCE-Pre-pottery microlithic industries
  • c. 30001000 BCE-Neolithic and fine microlithic industries

Pre-Sangam period

  • c. 1000300 BCE-Megalithic age
  • c. 600 BCE-Tamil-Brahmi prevalent as the Tamil script
  • c. 300 BCE- Greek ethnographer Megasthenes visits Pandyan capitol Madurai.,
  • c. 250 BCE-Asoka’s inscription recording the four kingdoms (Chera, Cholas, Pandya and Satyaputra) of the ancient Tamil country
  • c. 200 BCE-Elara, a Tamil prince and contemporary of Dutte Gamini, rules Lanka

Sangam age

  • c. 200 BCE-200 CE-Sangam age during which books of Sangam Literature are created
  • c. 150 BCE-Kharavela of Kalinga records his conquest of a federation of Tamil kings in his Hathigumpha inscription [10]
  • c. 13– Greek historian Nicolaus of Damascus met an ambassador sent by Pandyan King to Caesar Augustus, Strabo XV.1-73.
  • c. 1-100 – The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea gives a detailed description of early Chera and Pandya kingdom and mentions Tamil country as ‘Damirica’
  • c. 77 and 140 Greco-Roman writers Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy mention Madurai ruled by Pandyan.
  • Considering he vast stretches of time involved, it is difficult to determine which influenced the other, Tamil or Kannada,despite fanatics claiming one way or the other.

In my opinion,as I said to Bharathitheertha Swami of Sringeri Peeta, our Father Tongue is Sanskrit mother tongue based of geographical location and it is best we enjoy these languages and follow Sanatana Dharma.

Squabbles are for the Immature.

I am yet to study Telugu and Godavari Valley.

I am sure more surprises will be in store.







7 thoughts on “Which Is Older Kannada Or Tamil

  1. Sir, though different languages are there, a common thread is Sanatana Dharma. In one of earlier post, I read that a group of people migrated from Pudukkottai, Tamil Nadu, to Muttur, Karnataka. They converted the village Muttur, as a Sanskrit Village, with people conversing in Sanskrit. Hindu Dharma connects the people of linguistic divisions. That is the greatness. The Ancient Tamil Kings did a great service to Hinduism-constructed Granite temple monuments in thousands and also recorded those History in Granite Stones. They withstand nature vagaries and now explain Bharath’s ancient culture to world.


  2. Ramani Sir! More than discussing the antiquity of Kannada / Karnataka versus Tamil, I was a hapless victim of this debate. My Mother tongue was Tamil at home but my wise Mother made me take up KANNADA as second language right from school. So I am a little proud and happy to imbibe the greatness of Kannada more than my actual mother tongue Tamil. But I have had numerous occasions when this very subject of Antiquity was debated in a friendly manner by the Gentlemen in my house and My Mother used to finish the debate by singing SOME PURANDARA DASA KIRTANA OR BASAVESHWARA VACHANA. She was learning Kannada even 2-3 months before her death at the age of 77 in 2011. The final word is EVERY INDIAN LANGUAGE IS BEAUTIFUL AND EK SE BADKAR EK!


  3. Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    From:”Ramani’s blog” Date:Sun, Nov 1, 2015 at 9:37 AM Subject:[New post] Which Is Older Kannada Or Tamil

    ramanan50 posted: “When one tries to trace the real history of India, one has to tread carefully and doubly careful in the use of terms about the various ancient Kingdoms and languages of India. Unlike the other countries of the world our history goes back to Millions of”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. BHARAT Origin Source Language is Simple ” Sanskrit ” ( For Ex : Satya Eon : Humans Species communicated with Sanskrit.

    Later on the same legacies of the language continued at Treta Yug : When God Rama & Goddess SiTA times of communication ).

    Chandra V Pakala

    NRI Resident , USA


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