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Exclusive News Opinion

What is Facebook in Tamil?

The Facebook is translated as ” Muha Nool” in Tamil and is widely used among netizens. But, in the recently launched Tamil Version of THE HINDU newspaper a word ” Vadhanaputhagam” has been used for Facebook.

The Tamil version of THE HINDU itself is named in Tamil as ” THE INDHU”. Previously it was speculated that the daily was to be named as Kamadhenu. But, somewhat the present name holds a business tactic of using an established name.

The launching of The Indhu shows there is enough space unfilled in the crowded Tamil newspaper industry. The content of the paper is so far satisfactory and it is run like a daily journal. Already the Indian Express group is publishing Dinamani, a Tamil newspaper. This paper apart from publishing original articles also publishes articles translated from English. Such bilingual advantage is an addition to the readers and scholars.

Dinamani in its formative years and for a long time used highly Sanskritised Tamil. The Pure Tamil movement by Maraimalai Adigal and easy prose introduced by Thiru. Vi.Ka  could not change the style of the language followed in Dinamani. But, later Dinamani was drawn into Tamil mainstream. Dinamani was feeding the readers with intellectual articles while the rest were more populist giving importance to politics, cinema and crimes.

The Indhu is now competing with Dinamani. More prominent writers are participating in The Indhu. However, we have to express our concern on the translation.

It is easy to say Muha Nool rather than Vadhanaputhagam.

In the olden period, (1940s -50s) from the golden voice of M.K Thiagaraja Bagavadhar there was a song “ Vadhaname chandra bimbamo“. Vadhanam is Face.  Even immediately after that period a song ” Muhathil muham paarkalam” was popular. The word ‘vadhanam’ has already been in disuse and Muham has been restored. But, reviving ‘Vadhanam’ serves what purpose?

Even Muham has been claimed as Sanskrit word. That is due to the assumption that the words found in both Sanskrit and Tamil can have only Sanskrit root.

In Tamil, we have  words in uniform rhyming patterns. Muham & Aham, Veeram & Eeram” are examples of such patterns. While Aham is mind or heart which is internal, Muham is external. Veeram is valour and Eeram is love. The word Nool for “book” is used from classical Tamil period.

Some Tamil scholars claim that even Puthagam is a Tamil word meaning ‘something new in content” , while many feel that the word Puthagam has been adopted from Sanskrit.

Nowadays, Tamil is widely used in internet, mobile phones and computer applications. It is very important to introduce classical Tamil root words for new technical concepts. Already the names of Tamil people are Sanskritised. Even in our Bhakthi Literature of medieval period, Vedaranyam was known as Thirumaraikkaadu, Kumbakonam was known as Kudamookku, Virudhachalam was known as Thirumudhu Kundram. The Sanskritisation of names of towns happened later when those in maintaining land records were of Sanskrit origin.

Now, revival of  Sanskritisation  is unnecessary. Let Facebook be Muha Nool. Vadhanaputhagam is sweet but not appropriate.

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