How the Great God got his Blue Neck – Dedication to Iravatham Mahadevan – 12 years of Karka Nirka

12 years back this blog originated in my search for differences between Aryan and Dravidian Gods. My first post was on Meenakshi amman of Madurai and followed up with Mururgan as Aryan and Dravidian god. In the same year I worked on a 4 part series called History of Murugan [] which was based on news paper article by Iravatham Mahadevan , who recognized particular symbol from Indus Valley as Muruku.

12 years down the line, on my own research I observed the following

The frequent occurrence of man/diety/warrior with buffalo/bull horns on the head is found in Indus Valley Civilization [as well in later inscriptions in Tamil Nadu]. It is generally called Proto Shiva due to yoga-like pose the deity is sitting. From various Indus signs we can surely associate two things with these symbols one is warrior other being the Bull.
I came across the term Kandarul Kandar in a Pandya inscription. K V Rajan had translated this as ‘Hero among hero’. So I used the Tamil lexicon to search for Kandan but I didn’t get any Kanda word with hero meaning. So I turned to Dravidian Etymology dictionary to understand the root word.
I was very surprised with the findings
1173 Tamil – kaṇṭaṉ : warrior, husband; kaṇṭi buffalo bull; kaṇavaṉ husband;
Kanada – gaṇḍu : strength, manliness, bravery; gaṇḍa a strong, manly male person, a husband; strength, greatness; gaṇḍike prowess; gaṇḍiga a valiant man;
Tulu: gaṇḍu: male, valiant, stout; gaṇḍůkāyi, gaṇḍůstana, gaṇḍastana manliness; garṇḍāḷů a stalwart man, giant;
Telugu: gaṇḍu: bravery, strength, the male of the lower animals; gaṇḍũḍu, gaṇḍãḍu a brave, strong man;
1174 Tamil. kaṇṭāḷam: travelling sack placed on a bullock, pack-saddle.
Telugu. kaṇṭalamu, kaṇṭlamu: bullock-load consisting of two bags filled with goods
Proto Dravidian root for Bull and strong man probably was kandan.

As a response to this post I got a response from reader that similar suggestion has been made by Iravatham Mahadevan in his paper ‘How did the ‘great god’ get a ‘blue neck’? a bilingual clue to the Indus Script’ []

This is a very interesting paper and I have visually translated his paper as dedication to Iravatham mahadevan on 12th anniversary of Karka Nirka. Please do read the full detailed paper. The visual representation is just a teaser to the full paper.

In this 12 year journey I have realized that there is nothing purely called Aryan culture or Dravidian culture. Both the cultures have mingled and exchanged concepts on continuous basis that you cannot keep track of what belongs to whom. Perfect example is in the paper above summarized. Though there is so much animosity in present days, most Sanskrit Purans were written in South mostly in Tamil Nadu. Oldest of Vedas – Rig Veda has no mention of the name Siva. Their primary deities were Indra, Vayu and Agni. Being schooled in Arya Samaj [organization which started first Ghar Wapsi in India during British period] for 12 years, repeatedly I was taught that Vedas were against Idol worship. Ironically, today in Tamil Nadu certain groups claim Hindusim is not a local religion. We can clearly see the transformation of religious ideas from Vedas to Upanishads to Puranas. We can see ideas from Sangam literature in Saiva and Vaisnava literature in South and these ideas influencing philosophy in the North. These clearly show continuous interaction between cultures. Keep aside the power struggle in different phases where various groups keep fighting for supremacy. These struggles take various forms and changes with ages.

To sum it up all Biryani originated from Persia. Biryani means fired rice. Rice fired before being boiled. But by the time it comes into India through Mughals and eventually to South India especially Tamil Nadu, it has completely different flavor. Unlike Mughali or Hyderabadi Biriyani where the rice is partially cooked and then cooked in Dum with the meat, in Tamil Nadu the meat and rice are cooked together. Why this drastic change? Because in Tamil Nadu right from Sangam Age (2000 years ago) there are references of Un Sooru (Meat rice) where meat and rice are cooked together. Two cooking styles one of Tamil Nadu and one of Mughals had marriage in Tamil Nadu resulting in Ambur Biryinai, Dindukal Biryani and Chettinad Biryani. So is today’s Tamil Nadu biryani a product of Tamils or Mughals or Persians? We never ask the question. We just eat it and feel happy. We should enjoy the culture in same way, but at the same time understand the the origins and history!

Potato came from Portugal, Chilles from South America, yet Masala Dosai is ours!


For those who don’t know Iravatham Mahadevan was civil servant serving both Central and State governments in his Career. he was the first person to crack Tamil Brahmi script and hence one of the most prominent Tamil epigraphist. For past few decades he researched on Indus scripts and proposed many hypothesis suggesting Indus Valley script is Proto Dravidian. To know more about his career please visit

Roja Muthiah Library hosts all his papers on Indus Scripts and are available for free download in the link below


I confess that I have been a lazy writer for the past few years. But still I would love to hear from all my readers. please share your comments on what can be done with this blog for this year.

Thank you to all readers who are keeping this blog alive.


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