'Story or History of writing'/Part:02

Writing is a medium of human communication that represents language and emotion with signs and symbols. In most languages, writing is a complement to speech or spoken language and It is one of the great achievements of humankind, for at least three reasons. 

First, it represents a revolution in communication across space and time. That is, the ability to write allows our words to move far beyond the normal range of the voice and thus extends the expression of our thoughts geographically and chronologically. On this ability rests every sort of human inquiry, including history. 

Second, writing enables record-keeping, allowing us to study a prophet's words, engrave a
tombstone or collect taxes. Crossing this threshold where the voice cannot go, the written word endures, recording the past for later review and consideration. 

Third, writing give us a means for scrutinizing and editing our ideas which permits us to rewrite our thoughts. As such, it opens the way to revision and greater rigor of thought, essential in logical processes of every sort, including historical investigation. 

Thus, the introduction of writing marks an important crux in the history of any civilization, not only because it marks a shift in mentality toward extending communication, keeping records and re-assessing thought but also because it allows a people to live on beyond their own lives and speak to a distant future. However,writing also laid the foundations for millennia of inter-religious and intra-religious conflict.

For example,The first religious belief system which was formed as an oral tradition during the Upper Palaeolithic Revolution, was disseminated among the members of the tribe and was taught to each new generation. Much later,after writing was developed,the beliefs were generally recorded in written form. A major loss of flexibility resulted.Oral traditions can evolve over time; written documents tend to be more permanent. Unfortunately, because these belief systems were based on hunches, the various religions that developed in different areas of the world were, and remain,all different.Their teachings were in conflict with each other. Because the followers of most religions considered their beliefs to be derived directly from God, they cannot be easily changed. Thus, inter-religious compromise is difficult or impossible.Also, because religious texts are often ambiguous, divisions developed within religions. Different denominations, schools, or traditions have derived different meanings from the same religious texts too?

There have been only a few occasions in history when people invented writing entirely on their own. Probably all other peoples who have developed writing since then have borrowed, adapted, or at least been inspired by existing systems. It is believed that Only five independent writing systems have been produced in the entire human history. Sumerian, Egyptian, Harappan, Mayan, and Chinese. Out of these five,three have many connections [or links] with Dravidian peoples,their languages [Mainly Tamil] and their cultures.

Sumerian, the oldest known written language in human history, was spoken in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq and peripheral regions) throughout the third millennium. BC and survived as an esoteric written language until the death of the cuneiform tradition around the time of Christ. The Sumerian language was only properly deciphered this century.  A considerable literature in Sumerian is currently being reconstructed from fragmentary clay tablets housed in the museums of the world.

The Harappan civilization existed from 2600-1700 BC. The Harappan civilization was twice the size the Old Kingdom of Egypt.In addition to trade relations with Mesopotamia and Iran, the Harappan city states also had active trade relations with the Central Asian peoples. Archaeological and linguistic evidence indicates that the Dravidians were the founders of the Harappan culture which extended from the Indus Valley through northeastern Afghanistan, on into Turkestan. 

The Mayans evolved the only true written system native to the Americas and were masters of mathematics. The Maya writing system (often called hieroglyphics from a vague superficial resemblance to the Egyptian writing, to which it is not related) was a combination of phonetic symbols and ideograms. With the decipherment of the Maya script it was discovered that the Maya were one of the few civilizations where artists attached their name to their work. The Maya developed a highly complex system of writing, using pictographs and phonetic or syllabic elements. Their writing was highly sophisticated. Most likely only members of the higher classes were able to read their symbols. Maya writing was composed of recorded inscriptions on stone and wood and used within architecture. Unfortunately, many of these books did not survive the humidity of the tropics or the invasion of the Spanish, who regarded the symbolic writing as the work of the devil !

If you want to destroy a racial group ,destroy their language.Similarly If you want to destroy the their language,destroy their books It is a indirect form of Genocide!! This is what Spanish done to mayans.This cruelty was done by Spanish Bishop  "Diego de Landa" ,whose initial  assignment was to convert the Mayas to Catholicism after the Spanish conquest. We too encountered such situation in the name of Jaffna public library on the night of May 31,1981.Over 95,000 unique and irreplaceable Tamil palm leaves (ola), manuscripts, parchments, books, magazines and newspapers, housed within an impressive building inspired by ancient Dravidian architecture,went up in flames like Mayan literature! & were destroyed during the burning that continued unchecked for two nights. The library was one of the largest in Asia.This event was one of the worst book burning events in the 20th century! Mayans and Tamils, both lost their rare ancient hand-written documents!!

[Kandiah Thillaivinayagalingam]

Part:03 will follow


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