Ancient Malayalam inscriptions discovered in Edakkal caves
Edakkal caves, one of the prime tourist attractions in Wayanad, Kerala has unveiled some interesting findings that every Malayalee will cherish. In a study of the computer-enhanced photograph of Edakal-5 undertaken by M. V. Bhaskar, Project Coordinator, Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT) Photographic Survey, it has become clear that he language of the inscriptions in Edakal-5 is Malayalam. There are inscriptions of words like pazhama, which literally means ‘that which is ancient or old.’ In the earlier discoveries, Tamil Brahmi inscriptions and the early Vatteluttu script were found in some caves.
This landmark discovery of Malayalam inscriptions on Edakal-5 conclusively proves that the common people of Kerala were expressing themselves in Malayalam from as early as 4th century C.E. While Tamil was used more by the elite class as the literary idiom in which great works like Silappadikaram were composed, Malayalam was used as the common man’s language. It is interesting to note that Malayalam was used as the medium of communication for all purposes from as early as the Kollam Era (the early 9th century C.E.), which sheds light on the history and evolution of the language of Kerala.
However, it is disheartening to note that most of the tourists are ignorant about the legacy of these priceless inscriptions. Visitors often take pleasure in vandalizing these ancient inscriptions, which can annihilate these imprints forever. We in Karma Kerala had the opportunity to visit these historical caves during our corporate weekend trip to Wayand and we were spell bound by the finesse and the artistic brilliance of these etchings made thousands of years back!