Why in News:
- A paper titled “Ancestral Dravidian Languages in Indus Civilization: Ultraconserved Dravidian Tooth-word Reveals Deep Linguistic Ancestry and Supports Genetics in the Nature Group of journal – Humanities and Social Sciences Communications provided crucial evidence that Ancestral Dravidian languages were possibly spoken by a significant population in the Indus Valley civilisation.
Significance of this study
- The study seeks to resolve a crucial part of this perennial puzzle of South Asian prehistory, through establishing the certain existence of ancestral Dravidian language(s) in the Indus Valley civilization.
- In the absence of any deciphered written documents of Indus Valley civilization, there are no direct ways of identifying Harappan languages.
- Thus, the only feasible starting point is to find certain proto-words whose likely origin in Indus Valley civilisation gets confirmed through historical and linguistic evidence, whereas archaeological evidence indicates that the objects signified by those proto-words were prevalently produced and used in the Indian Valley civilisation.
Other important mentions in the paper
- Even today, people across the greater Indus Valley speak several tongues including Indo-Aryan, Dardic, Iranian, along with the isolated Dravidian language Brahui and the language isolate Burushaski.
- Brahui: Brahui is a northern Dravidian language spoken mostly by the Brahui people in Balochistan Province, Pakistan, and in isolated areas of Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan.
- Burushaski: Burushaski is a language isolate spoken mostly by Burusho people in northern Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan, with a few hundred speakers in northern India’s Jammu and Kashmir.
- During the Indus Valley civilisation era, this region could have been even more multilingual, with some languages that are now extinct.
- But it is very much possible that ancestral Dravidian was one of the most popular tongues spoken in the Indus Valley