For teaching purposes: quote cited references only
[References for this review may be found at <Nyland>]
[Note: All Basque words are in Italics and Bold-faced Green]
DRAVIDIAN / BASQUE ASSOCIATION *
An ancient language form that originated in the North African area of our most ancient civilizations has been studied by Nyland (2001). He found that many words used to describe names of places and things on the Indian Subcontinent seem to be closely related to the ancient language, which is being called Saharan. It appears that the Basque language is a close relative to the original Saharan. Following is a discussion of this relationship:
Nearly one quarter of India's population speaks Dravidian, a language family usually considered to have four branches (Nyland (2001):
There are four major languages, each having its own independent script and literature dating from pre-Christian times: The number of people speaking each in 2004 is noted as follows:
Francis Ellis, a British civil servant who recognized the relationship between the four literary languages as well as Tulu, Kodagu and Malto, first described the Dravidian language family in 1816. In 1856 Robert Caldwell added several more languages, Kota, Toda, Gondi, Kui, Kurukh and Brahui. He then took the Sanskrit word dravida, supposedly meaning "Tamil," and used it to name the family. We may assume that Dravidian was the language of all of India before ca.1,500 bce. This language must have been identical, or almost so, with the Saharan language, at the time that large migrations from the North African area took place. The latter were stimulated by a rapid drying-out of the region (see Climate). This was a more primitive form of modern Basque but the Basque dictionary could still be used to translate the Dravidian names and words in this article.
BASQUE WORDS WIDESPREAD IN INDIA
We don't have to look far in India to recognize Basque-related names and words, such as:
Himalaya, ima-alaia, imajina (image, scenery) alaia (pleasing): "Pleasing scenery."
A group of comparative linguists in the United States developed a system that they called the "Lexico-Statistical Method" and attempted to put a percentage figure on the degree to which languages are related (M.Swadesh, Linguistics Today, 1954). It is based on the percentage of resemblances between 200 words considered to be essential in a language:
The well-known Basque linguist A. Tovar followed this method to measure the degree of kinship of Basque with other languages of non-Indo-European origin. The closest relationship he found was with Berber (11%) followed by Circaskian/Kirrukaskan (7.5%), Coptic (6.5%), Arabic (3.25%). Then he asked Dr. Lahovary to try this method on Dravidian, with the astounding result of 50+%. This meant that, of all the languages tested so far, the Dravidian language was closest to Basque by far. However, the ease with which Edo Nyland assembled the long list of related Basque-Ainu words, makes it likely that Ainu could even be closer to early Basque than Dravidian. A student of Lexico-Statistical Method should test this possibility.
This method is of no use with invented languages such as Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, Hebrew, English, German etc. because all of these are made up almost 100% by formulaic manipulation and mutilation of the Basque/Saharan language.
REASON FOR THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN DRAVIDIAN AND BASQUE
A calamity of unprecedented scale must have driven large numbers of people from the once well-populated North African area, starting about 10,000 bce. (see Climate). Some of the tribes living along the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian ocean shores had developed advanced skills in boat building, sailing techniques and star navigation, which specialized knowledge was carefully guarded by the families involved. They became later known to the Egyptians as the Sea Peoples. Other tribes in the interior had no relationship to salt water and were dependent upon the Sea Peoples for ocean transport when the time came to seek a new homeland. All of these people had the same Goddess religion, a universal language called Saharan and strong oral traditions. It is likely that their Saharan language was the only highly developed language in the entire world at that time, the product of a marvelous oral educational tradition. History proved that they were well equipped for pioneering anywhere in the wide world. As Lahovary noted: "One of the most common linguistic phenomena is the ease with which a new language can impose itself on vast masses, even if spoken only by a relatively small minority, should this minority have political power or the prestige of a superior civilization" (p371). To political power and civilization, we might add the vibrant Goddess religion of the North Africans. The present evidence of significant remnants of the Saharan language in distant parts of the world shows that their language took hold wherever they settled.
All of these people believed absolutely in reincarnation, which meant that a person, with all his/her knowledge and experiences, would live on in a newborn when the body died. Risk taking was part of the joy of living, even if lives of productive people were frequently lost. Reincarnation would then restore the deceased person to active life. It was all part of living. As a result, these people were timeless and they totally believed that it was their duty to continue with the tasks and ideals of their previous lives. They had no idea of what we call history because they were history themselves. A son would always follow in the footsteps of his incarnation, whether farmer, ocean navigator, herdsman or fisherman, a system which created enormous stability in their civilization, and which was also at the root of the caste system. The women were responsible for the home front, the men for the out-service which included long distance exploration, ocean travel and trading, whaling, fishing etc.
Several writers have speculated about the origin of the Dravidian people and how they acquired their language and religion. There are two main theories. Most of the North Africans were white-skinned, but in or near Ethiopia there lived a population of dark-skinned and black people (and they are still there) who did not have the usual Negro features. This may have been the population that gave rise to the Dravidians. They may have been one of the last tribes to be forced to migrate when the extreme drought finally settled in their area. Another theory is that the refugees from North Africa were Caucasian, who then entered the land of the indigenous people of India and introduced their language and religion. As has happened elsewhere, this probably quite small population of immigrants mixed with the dark skinned local population and in time the white characteristic were totally submerged. Edo Nyland favors this theory. Sailing east around 3-4,000 bce. they had found Mesopotamia already fully occupied so they settled in the fertile Indus valley, where they built their villages, which around 2,500 bce. developed into major cities like Mohenjo-Daro and "Harappa". The Goddess religion was retained by them and further developed into the characteristic and artistic religion of today. The Saharan language was mixed with the indigenous languages of the people and over time these evolved into a number of related languages.
It should be noted that the Basques and the Dravidians had never been in physical contact with each other, living in widely separated areas. Therefore, the language they shared with the Dravidians must have been acquired from a common, North African source. The Basques and Berbers have a special characteristic that the Dravidians do not have: Rh-negative blood. If these tribes had ever been in close contact, that characteristic would have been evident today.
MALE DOMINATION IN INDIA
Around 1,800 bce., the thriving land of the Indus civilization attracted a large land-migration of tall, Caucasian herdsmen, coming from the Near East or North Africa (see Nyland (2001). They brought with them a new religion that they had created by turning the Goddess religion inside out. Where the old society was a gentle and matrilineal organized, yet egalitarian society, the newcomers were patriarchal warriors and extremely dictatorial; they promoted writing and forbade the maintenance of the ancient oral traditions. A start was made with the creation of a new language, later called Samskrta (Sanskrit), and eventually the speaking of the Universal language was forbidden. Under this new order the formerly highly respected and independent women became the property of fathers and husbands, to be given away, used, punished or disposed of at will, never to be without supervision of a man. They no longer had any say in the running of the tribe. For the resident Dravidians the choice was either to adopt the newcomers' way or slavery. The Dravidian peoples chose not to submit and decided to flee from the Indus valley. The newcomers, being herdsmen, had no knowledge of city management or desire to live in this manner and the ancient cities were plundered and abandoned. Those who stayed, mixed in with the new population and in time altered the character of the Caucasian herdsmen to create the distinctive race of people we see today in northern India and Pakistan. The majority of the Dravidians fled south and entered the area of other tribes which move created a domino effect of new and sometimes bloody conflicts, one of which, the Tamil fight for Sri Lanka, is still making headlines in our newspapers today.