By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Dravidian, DraviDian, Dravidian
Query regarding the origin of the ancient people of the country, whether they were the original inhabitants or immigrants, has always received a great attention by the historians, indologists, anthropologists and philologists. Several hypotheses and theories have been advanced over the last two centuries though no particular school of thought has been universally acclaimed or gained a majority of adherents.
One such vexatious question is regarding the Aryans and the Draviḍians. Some has the view that the Draviḍians were the original inhabitants of the country driven to the southern peninsula by the invading Aryans. Some opine that they were immigrants who came from the Mediterranean region much earlier than the Aryans.
However, there is also another view that the Harappa-Mohenjo Dāro culture is the advanced stage of Vedic culture. Hence it has nothing to do with the Draviḍian culture. The Draviḍian languages like Tamil, Telugu and Kannada are gradual evolutions from the Prākṛt and Paiśācī languages, which were the derivatives of the Sanskrit language.
There has been much of racial commingling and complicated evolutions of languages over the millennia that no single theory can be accepted as unquestioningly authentic. Since Agastya, the great Vedic sage, had been universally acclaimed as the originator of the religion, language and culture of South India (which later spread to the South East Asian countries also), suffice it to say that the Āryan-Draviḍian division is more of a conjecture than a well-established fact.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore