Do we know 'The Story or History of writing'?


How did writing begin? The favoured explanation, until the Enlightenment in the 18th century, was divine origin. All ancient societies whether they are in east or west, generally believe that the Divine Gift Writing to them. So,the gods were responsible for teaching humans how to write. Without their divine involvement, it would have been impossible to develop such a valuable and powerful skill. This, and other similar explanations, was the way that most ancient societies accounted for the existence of writing. Sumerian myths indicate that Nisaba invented writing .Similarly, Itzamná, the Mayan god and ruler of heaven, was the inventor of writing in Mesoamerica, just like Odin in Norse mythology was the god who invented the runes.Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom and scribe of the gods, was responsible for the invention of Egyptian hieroglyphs.The Greek god Hermes (the Roman Mercury), related to the Egyptian Thoth by some Greeks, was the creator of the Greek alphabet. The Devanagari script used in India has some traces of the divine in its name. In Sanskrit, deva means ‘heavenly’ and nagari means ‘script of the city’. Ganesha, the Indian elephant-headed god, was the protector of writers. It is said that the Mahabharata, the famous Indian epic, was written by Ganesha, while the poet-sage Vyasa dictated to him the long poem.  Also Hindu believes that  Brahma brought knowledge of letters to human race, as well as some extent, goddess Saraswati .The Chinese also connected the creation of writing or alphabet  with the divine Liu Xie or  Fu-Xi .

Undoubtedly, one of the most important developments of humankind has been writing, but often people are unaware of how long and complicated this path has been. At school teachers do not explain to students the way writing began. Instead, they present writing as something which has always existed. In this way, teachers lose the opportunity to describe a charming history which could enchant children and increase their desire to learn this ancient and refined technique of expression and communication. Not only children, but also many adults take writing for granted and they do not think about the complex process that brought it into existence. But they happily belief that all was given by or created by god including writing? For example, literary evidences from dharma śāstra , Nārada smṛti  gives an important note on writing as:

' नाकरिष्यद्यदि ब्रह्मा लिखितं चक्षुरुत्तमम्। तत्रेयमस्य लोकस्य नाभविष्यच्छुभा गतिः।। नारदस्मृतिः,' 4.70. 'nākariṣyadyadi brahmā likhitaṁ cakṣuruttamam|. tatreyamasya lokasya nābhaviṣyacchubhā gatiḥ|| nāradasmṛtiḥ,' 4.70.

If Brahmā weren't create the beautiful letters, then the working style of the world would not be smooth .Thus the smrti claims that the letters were created by Brahmā .Vyavahāra prakasika , too gives the same reference . It says :Since in six months, men got confused, Dhāta – Brahmā, created the script and the same was written on leaves.So,most of the teachers teach students these kind of stories and put full stop for searching the real history of writing?

The first western scholar known to have proposed a theory in which writing has a human origin was the French scholar Diderot in 1755. Based on an earlier suggestion by William Warburton, the bishop of Gloucester, Diderot suggested that early phonetic symbols developed out of pictographs

Whether consciously or not, most people today understand how important writing is. We distinguish people as literate or illiterate, and when trying to better others' lives, one of the first things we do is teach them to read and write.Some scholars believe that a conscious search for a solution to record transactions in an indisputable, permanent form by an unknown Sumerian individual in the city of Uruk (biblical Erech), c .3300 BC, produced writing.So ,truly, Writing evolved from accounting or counting system, But any race recognised this truth other than Tamil? Tamils called their alphabet a "Nedung kanakku". Nedung kanakku [நெடுங்கணக்கு] , means long Arithmetic. They are the only ethnic group,correctly understand this process and named the  'alphabet' , formal Tamil letter-sequence, as Nedung kanakku!!. Not now,long long before! So,We decided to write an article on 'Story or History of writing' to understand and analyse the below with you,soon. 

• When was writing invented?
• Where was writing invented?
• Why was writing invented? 
•How was writing invented?
•How was writing developed?     

With love,

Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam 

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