Indian Culture-Sumerian Beginnings

Sumerian Beginnings of Indian Cultural History


Dr K.Loganathan 2002



Dear John and Bala

You have some important questions and I will try to say something related to some of the questions raised. Overall I want to say that Sumerian IS Archaic Tamil and probably the prehistory of it is to be located in SEAsian countries including ancient India.  Dr Winters claims Subsaharan origins and which cannot be ruled out. The Sumerotamil is directly relatable to the CaGkam culture of the Tamils in the S.India ( 800 B.C - 200 A.D) and that there must have been  trade relationships between the Sumerian and some natives of S. India . When the Sumerians were sacked by the Gutians and other Semites  around 2000 B.C or so, it may be possible that there was a large scale migration of SumeroTamils to S.India and who then composed the Rig Veda and  so forth and finally  a substantial number of them settled down in the South establishing the CaGkam Culture there.  I suspect that they migrated into into both by land route and sea route.

Let me give some substance to these  notions

Sumerian as Tamil from at least 3000 B.C.

One of the oldest Sumerian texts available is The Instructions of Suruppak ( Suruppak's NeRi) and a well preserved archaic text from the Abuu Salaabiikh and hence from about 2500 B.C. is known. Even at that  early  period the text was considered ancient and hence something that existed in oral form for several centuries at least. Thus we can assign a date somewhere close to 3000 B.C as the time the actual texts was composed This text with about 282 lines,  is now being published online with Tamil commentary both in English and tamil  and I give the following line to show its Tamil character.

61 . uru.tus lu-ka na-ab-ta-bal-e-de ( Do not transgress people's dwelling places)

62. si-du-un si-du-un si-me-si-ib-be-e-ne ( Go away! Go away! -- they will say to you

*Ta. uurutunjcu uLu-aka  naa aabta paalyidee (" )

*celiduun celiuduu siimmee ceppiyinee (")

ஊருதுஞ்சு உளு.அக நா ஆப்த பால்யிடே
செலிடூஉன் செலிடூஉன் சீம்மே செப்பினே

The words uru ( Ta. uuru: town, city ) tus ( Ta. tunjcu: to sleep) bal ( Ta. paal ; to cross over) e-de ( Ta. idu: todo, an auxilliary verb), si (Ta. cel: to go away) si-ib-be ( Ta. ceppu : to tell) ene ( Ta. inam: a collectivity, here plural marker)

Another sample from about 2200B.C.

These lines are taken from the famous philosopher-poet Enhudu Anna, said to be the eldest daughter of Sargon the Great.

From Kes Temple Hymns

14. e-kes mus-kalam-ma gu-hus-aratta ( Kes temple, foundation of the country, fierce ox of Aratta)

15. hur-sag-da-mu-a an-da gu-la-a ( growing up like a mountain, embracing the sky)

*Ta. il-kes mutu-kaLamma koo ushNa Arattaa (")

*Ta. kuRsen-odu muuu-a vaan-odu kulaa-a  (" )

இல்கேசி முதுகளம்ம கோ உஷ்ண அரத்தா

குற்/.உசென்னிஒடு மூஉ-அ வான்.ஒடு குலாவ்-அ


e (Ta. il: house, koo-il: temple) kes ( Ta. keeci: a name for Siva), mus ( Ta. mutal : the foundation) kalam (Ta. kaLam: country, land) gu ( Ta. koo: bull,  cow);  hus ( Ta. ushNa, ukkira: intense heat, fierce); hur-sag ( Ta. kunRu-senni: the peak) mu (Ta. muuu. muuL, muLai : to sprout, move forward) an ( vaan:sky) du ( Ta.odu: committative case marker), gu-la  (Ta. kulaavu: to jostle and interact) . The -a here is the cuddu Ta. a that also functions as the genitive case marker.

From Exaltations of Inanna ( Siirbiyam)

 44. ka-gal-a-be de mu-ni-in-dal ( Its grand entrance you have reduced to ashes)

*Ta. kaakaLLabee tii munnin taL ( Its grand gate (you) have thrown into fire)

காய்கள்ளப்பே தீ முன்னின் தள்

ka ( Ta. katavu: entrance) . Also kaay> vaay: mouth, vaayil: entrance. gal-a ( Ta kaLLa: grand , great) The -a here is the adjectival formant even as it is now.   de  (Ta. tii: fire) mu-ni-in (Ta. munnin: infront); dal (Ta. taL: to push)

Sample from 2000 B.C.

The following lines are taken from Sulgi's  Hymn B (mutarIbiyam), the last great King of the Ur III dynasty

3. Sul-gi lugal Uri-ma-ke ( Sulgi's , the King of Ur)

4. a-na za-mi-bi-im kalag-ga-na sir-bi-im ( This is the song of his power, this is the hymn of his valour)

5. gal-an-zu nig sag-bi-se e-a-na  mu-da-ri-bi-im (Of the wise , in all things foremeost, this is the lasting record.

*Ta. Sulgi uLukaL uurimmakee (")

*Ta. aal-aana saamipiyam kalaGkanna siirbiyam (")

*Ta. kalan cuuz mika senbiceey eeyanna mutariibiyam  (")

சூல்கி உளுகள் ஊரிம்மக்கே

ஆல்-ஆன்ன சாமீபியம் காளங்கன்ன சீர்பியம்

கலன்சூழ் மிக செம்பிசேய் ஏயன்ன முதரீபியம்

 The Tamil character is so obvious that a detailed consideration may not be necessary ( already provided and available in the SumeroTamil Campus). I can also from sample from the Old Babylonian Period ( ~ 1800 B.C.) and even later from the Incantations such as Udug Hul , Er Semma and so forth

What we have here is a thousand year old history , sample of sentences very very Tamil in lexicon grammar and semantics but of course Archaic where we see the beginnings of features that became well established later.

The Language of Rig Veda and Purusha Suktam.

From about 2000 B.C large scale migration of the SumeroTamils to different parts of the world and especially to India must have begun. The SumeroTamil evolved into the Rigkrit, the language of Rig Veda , Purusha Suktam and so forth. While one line of development led to the  evolution of Sanskrit perhaps from among the Prakrit varieties the Tamil of Cagkam must have evolved directly as a linear development just like Modern Tamil is a linear development of CaGkam Tamil. 

I provide below the analysis of Rig Veda Hymn 1-1 where I draw similarities with the SumeroTamil


Hymn 1.1

Agnim iile purohitam yajjnasya devam ritvijam / hotaram ratnadhaatamam

We worship the adorable God, the high priest of cosmic activities, the divine , the one who works through the eternal laws, and who feeds and sustains all that is divine and luminous.

agnim: the foremost leader, makes everything part of himself, drying agent; (Day) : Supreme Lord who is venerable adorable , is available everywhere etc. Also master of tejas, brilliance etc.; (aro)  fiery light , mystic fire; God-will

iile : to worship,  to adore, to love, to embrace, to praise , and even to desire and yearn for

I shall take this phrase as " agnim ellee " meaning " that  Brilliant Light which makes everything"

From the Sumerian sources we have some parallel phrases:

ugnim : warriors , army where 'ug" is to kill , dry up as in Ta. ukku , to decay, dry up , die etc.  The Ta. ukra meaning extremely hot as well as very aggressive  seems to be also a derivative of this. The Sk. agnim appears to be a variant of this same concept.


99. sir-ku-ga-ke-es i-ug-ge-de-es ( At( the sound of ) my sacred song they are ready to die

* Ta. ciir kokakee-isu ii ukkidu-isu ( ")

46. ugnim-bi ni-bi-a ma-ra- ab-si-il-e ( It disbands its regiments before you of its own accord)

* Ta. ukkunam-bi niibiya  maa(nRa) ab  cillee  ( The band of warriors disband themselves on your behave on their own accord)

Sk iilee Ta. ellu

This term 'ellu"  is given as the Akkadian equivalent to Su. ku : meaning light but certainly a borrowing from Sumerian as it can be taken as a variant of Su. ri and Ta. eri: fire light  etc. eri> eli> ellu : day , day light. The Ta. koo as in kooL means the same . This may be a variant of Su. su Ta. cuu, coo as in cudar, cooti etc.

Collectively then 'agnim illee" can mean " the brilliant  light that dries up and kills"

Su. ag , Ta. aaku, aakku and Sk ag

Another possibility is to take 'agnim' as it is and equate 'ag' with Su. ag and Ta. aaku, aakku with 'nim' as  an ancient variant of Ta. nam that exists in Su. as nii , corresponding Ta. nii: you, the person. In such usage as Su. nin (sister, lady ) nin-a ( the Great Woman, the Mother Goddess) we have 'nii" simply as tall, lofty, high standing etc. We have also 'nim-se" meaning the higher grounds, the hilly area where the 'nim' here corresponds to Ta. nim, nivar and perhaps also nil: to stand erect and tall.

Thus with this sense we will have "agnim iile" as meaning" the Brilliant Light  that is productive of all"

Purohitam  and Ta. puroocu, pruootayam etc.

We have a similar occurrence below  in Appar Teevaram (naam aarkkung kudiyalloom)  niiraanda purootayam aadap peRRoom where 'purootayam'  is derived as puur-utayam meaning early day break. However "puur" here seems to mean Ta. puurvam , the ancient or very early.  However we have Su. pur, par as in 'gi-par" ( gi=mi pura: dark chamber) where corresponding to it we have Ta. puram,  puri etc. meaning the castle , a shelter .  Thus purohitam may actually be "pur-uu-ki-dam "  literaly  lighting up (uu) the dark chamber of the temple ( pur, gi-par) where 'dam'  as a noun formative is also frequent in Sumerian. Perhaps originally it meant the temple priest who lights up the inner and dark chamber and later in a metaphorical vein extended to BEING as LIGHT who lights up the whole universe.

Yajnasya and Su. ejen

The word  for fire in Su. iji, eji is also rendered as ejen that also means celebrations, festival etc. The grammatical particle 'asya" exists also in such phrases as

Sir 2.

mi-zi me-lam gur-ru ki-aga -an -uras-a (  Righteous woman, beloved of Heaven and Earth).

We can analyze ' an-uras-a" as 'aan uur-asya" or Ta. vaan uurasya , vaan uurattiya where  the infix 'as" has become the sound filler "attu' in Tamil. While Su. ejen is obsolete in Tamil it is retained as yajna in Sk in the sense of a ritual of fire though originally it meant also "festival" in general.

Devam and Su. dinger.

I have already pointed out we have Ta. teyvam and Sk deva from Su. dingir ( > dimmer Ak diwer> Sk deva, Ta. teyvam , teevan etc.)

ritvijam and Ta. uru-bi-jam

The Sk rit can also be related to Su. ri, eri but in the sense of Ta. uru : form shape structure color light etc. As a verb it means 'to make, bring into being'  etc. The "vi-jam" can be equated with Su. bi-ji-am  where 'bi ' corresponds  to Ta. paa, or Ta. piiy : to break forth, to pour  out etc. Thus "ritvijam" can mean "that which brings forth various kinds of things in the world.

hotaram and Ta. uu-taaram

The 'taram' as meaning the Ta. taru: to give,  exists in Su. as well as in  "nam-dug-tar-ra-me-en" ( Sulgi Hymn B, 12) and in many other places  where it occurs just as 'tar-ra" to give " etc. The  'hoo" can be taken as a variant of Ta. uu : to rise up and from  which we have Ta. uuN, uNaa, uNavu etc. originally simply plants but later 'food',  the sense in which 'ho" occurs here. Thus 'hotaram' as Ta. uu-taaram is that which forwards food.

ratnatadhatamam .

This word can be derived from Su. ra (ri-a)  :  to shine forth as Su sud-ra : coming from the high or shining from the high or distance. Thus ratnam (Ta. irattinam) would mean precious stones that sparkle. The word "tamam" may be a variant of Su. dumu : a child  which itself  may be a derivative from dam-u , what a woman brings forth. Thus 'ratna-dhatu-tamam" may mean "that which brings forth brilliant stones that are precious"

We can reconstruct the Tamil version as follows (just as an aid)

*Ta. aaknim ellee yajnasya teyvam urutubiijam/ uu-taaram iratntaatu tamam

Thus collectively we can render the meaning as follows:

Homage to that Brilliant Light that is productive of all, that  Deity which brings joy to all during the festivals of Light and provides food and material riches in the form of precious stones.


The complete analysis of the first two hymns and mahor part  of Purusha Suktam  are available in the VedicTamil Campus . Of course all these go counter to the  established views where Sanskrit is taken Indo European and so forth and thus made to belong to a language  family different from Tamil and this more to establish the Aryan origin of Hindu Culture more than anything else.

Any way we can see that Tamil from its Sumerian beginnings,  has a continuous though torturous history and that it is an archaic form of it that served as the substratum for the evolution of the socalled IndoAryan languages including Sanskrit in India.

You also mention the following:


Your quest will be subject to intellectual harrassment as well by
scholars who will deride the basic assumptions of your theory and hinder your
access to donations by benefactors, foundation and government grands,
unwillingness to allow you to excavate promising sites, take blood samples
for mtDNA testing, use of local facilities, university support and on and on
an on............


How true you are ! I have suffered  a lot of intellectual harassment , even continue to suffer now  and for which reason I do not seek grants from anybody. While I was enjoying a good salary I collected all my basic texts and now retired spend my time polishing my notes and making new studies as well.

Here I must mention how important the INTERNET has been and how the unflinching support of Bala Pillai has been in this struggle. Through Tamil.Net meykandar and lately Akandabaratam egroups , I have been able to publish my ideas  and communicate them to the Tamils and others all over the world.

In all these there was and is just one thing that kept me struggling:  the believe that I am in TRUTH and that Satyam Eva Jayate ( The TRUTH will finally triumph)


             [IndianCivilization] Re: [akandabaratam] Re: Sumerian Weapons
             Sat, 15 Jun 2002 07:10:16 EDT

In a message dated 6/15/02 4:03:31 AM Central Daylight Time,
writes:> You mention that the Akkads were Semitic and you are silent on the
> "Semiticness" of the Sumerians? What is the distinguishing criteria
> that historians use to label a group "Semitic" or not?

Dear Bala,

    One of the great unsolved mysteries of the Sumerians and their language
is "Where did it come from?"  There are no proven sister languages or
daughter languages of Sumerian while there are literally
hundreds of Semitic languages in both directions, Arabic and Hebrew are just
two of them still in use today.

     Sumerian is older than Akkadian, evidence goes at least as far back as
the 4th Millenium Ubaid and Uruk Cultures which were also Sumerian.

     My speculation is that Akkadian was spoken by the desert nomads and
developed when there was more rainfall in the desert areas, at least enough
to support a herding economy (not crops). These nomads entered the valley of
the Euphrates some time during a drought in their pasturelands and came under
the rule of one of the Sumerian cities where at least their upper classes
became urbanized and they either came to dominate a Sumerian city or founded
their own which probably much, much later came to become known as Akkad.

    My speculation is based upon my reading of the published histories I have
read, there is no emperical evidence to support it that I know of.

    If you are going to identify a link between Sumeria, this is the kind of
speculation you have to attempt first, then you have a rational scenario to
seek evidence for.  I doubt that you will find it in language texts but your
first questions should be, if you believe them related should be:

1.   Do Sumerian and Tamil or Dravidian show signs of having a
      common root, are they cousins in the time line?

2.   Is Sumerian a mother language,.like Latin, to many other languages,
      of which Tamil and/or Dravidian are the only survivors?

      A.  Did refugees from Ur III's collapse escape to India to found a
            new kingdom?

      B.  Were there trading colonies on the coast of India established by
            Sumerians to serve as client states?

      C.  Did a native Indian kingdom with a port on the coast invite a
            large expatriot community to its shores in an effort to spark the

            growth of its economy by introducing much needed skills in
            agriculture, irrigation, engineering, building, mining, smelting,
            stone carving and lapidary art, metal casting, weaving, pottery
            manufacture etc?

     D.   Is there any evidence of a coastal city appearing suddenly as a
            functioning Bronze Age urban area where it should not be?

3.   Can mtDNA studies isolate Sumerian from Semitic genetic lines in
      the old heartland? If that could be done, then you would have a valid
      theory for research into the genetic makeup of Tamil and Dravidian
      speaking areas to see if you can find evidence of a familial relation-

    I am afraid that I can do little more than provide you with possible
scenarios that may or may not be true.  If you wish to prove your case you
will have to seek evidence in the genetic, archaeological and linguistic
remains.  You will have to be very patient. The clues will alway be very
ambiguous, subject to many interpretations.

     Your quest will be subject to intellectual harrassment as well by
scholars who will deride the basic assumptions of your theory and hinder your
access to donations by benefactors, foundation and government grands,
unwillingness to allow you to excavate promising sites, take blood samples
for mtDNA testing, use of local facilities, university support and on and on
an on............

      If you are still willing to pursue the quest, you will need to assemble
a  basic cadre of persons of similar mind and start building an organization
that will outlast you, you must consider that your project may last a century
or more and you will not be around to see its completion.

     At some point Sadaam Hussein will be gone from Iraq and you will be able
to pursue genetic studies, you should be prepared to do so as soon as that
happens by immediately starting to map different mtDNA strains in India to
develop a genetic map.  Some of this information already exists in the
literature, you will have to assemble it, look for gaps and be prepared with
fully operational facilities when the opportunity arises.

     I have gone on and on but now at least you have the perspective of an
outsider who has no sword to draw or battles to fight in your own quarrels
with each other.  I would appreciate any input on my writings and hope it
proves to be helpful.

    I was hoping that I would find this kind of discussion when I first
signed up for membership in the Indian Civilization discussion group, instead
I have seen too many nationalist hotheads explaining to me why a nuclear war
would be good for India.

Best Regards,  John
PO Box 137
Western Springs, IL 60558