MLECHA: Most misunderstood word

Mlecha: This is the word used from Indus Valley to the backward castes in India. The simple meaning is someone who is not the son of the soil. But it is not the only meaning. When it is used as a prefix for a language it simply means indistinguishable speech. It can be used as a derogatory term even among its own people.

There are two Greek words which can explain it better. If someone says something indistinguishable, I say it is Greek to me. I don’t mean it is Greek language to me. What I mean is it is not understood by me. This is what exactly conveyed when someone said ‘mlecha basha’.

Varahamihira uses this word for Greeks/Romans. When Vikramaditya defeated Mlechas he meant anyone who was not sons of the soil; in other words foreign invaders. Even the English language was called mlecha basha by the patriotic freedom fighters.

Greeks used the word Barbarians for all the Non-Greeks. This is what the Hindus meant when they said ‘he was a mlecha’.

Baluchistan= Mlechasthan= Meluha in Indus valley

Another interpretation for Mlecha is Baloochi people. Linguists knew M=B=V is interchangeable.

Nigel Lewis observation on Mlecha in his book ‘The Book of Babel’ is very interesting. He says “the Greek equivalent of barbarians was Aglossoi, the speechless, while the Poles  had the same idea about Germans, whom they called ‘niemiec’, the dumb people. The Turks got this word from the Poles and used it for the Austrians. Even Coleridge used it as nimiety with regard to Germans”.

“Commenting on the word vealh, oe wealh, the Barbarian British, or Welsh, Max Muller writes it is supposed to be the same as the Sanskrit mlekkha, and, if so,  it meant originally a person who talks indistinctly. Mlekkah has also been identified with ‘Beluchi’: a strange area of probable common ground between Beluchistan and the principality of Wales, whose very name was an Anglo Saxon insult”.

“Also insulting was the now defunct nickname for the Jamaican Jabbering crow, it was called the Welshman because according to Edward Long ‘with their strange , noisy gabble of guttural sounds’… they are thought to have much  the confused vociferation of a party of Welsh people”

-from ‘ The Book of Babel’

When the Rig Vedic people called some people ‘speechless’, what they meant was ‘those who didn’t speak our language’ (Sanskrit).

Tamils and Telugus also trade insults like this. Telugus called Tamils as aravas. This means ‘snake or noisy’. Another explanation is that the border area is known as Arauva nadu. Those who interpret Tamils as snakes say that the border area people were Nagas=snake worshippers people. Even today the Nellore District is full of snake statues. Another interpretation is Tamils are noisy speakers (like the Welsh mentioned above).

Mlecha in Mullaippattu:

In the Sangam Tamil literature we come across the word Mlecha in Mullaippaattu (line 66). Poet Napputhanar called the Yavanas as Mlechas. He described them as dumb who used only sign language. Lot of Roman or Greek bodyguards were used by the Tamil kings. Tamils called the Yavanas (Romans) ‘mlechas’ because they did not speak Tamil and they were from foreign soil.

Mlecha in Mahabharata: In the Adiparavam and Drona Parvam we come across the word Mlecha referring to an engineer (Purochana) who constructed the lac house and kings who fought in the Great Bharata War. They were all from the North West of India. Vidura was said to have spoken to him in the Mlecha language. (Government officials, traders and people in the transport business quickly learn languages. In Madurai in Tamil Nadu, Jatkawalas and Rikshawalas speak fluent Hindi, Maratti, Telugu etc. Necessity makes the man).

Mlecha and Meluha of Babylonian Literature

Indus Valley researchers are reading too much in the word MELUHA mentioned in Babylonian clay tablets. They think Meluha was Indus area and linked it with Sanskrit Mlecha. I think the tablets meant Beluchistan and not the Indus valley area.

Yavana: Yavana is used in Tamil and Sanskrit literature to mean Romans, Greeks and Arabs. Tamil literature has insulting remarks against Romans/Greeks. They are called dumb, rude and people of indistinct/rude language. I am pretty sure the Romans and Greeks would have made the same comments about Tamil 2000 years ago. Now the Telugus use that insulting word for the Tamils. Cheran Senguutuvan of Sangam period saved off the hair and poured oil on the heads of Romans to punish them.

The word Yavana  (Ionian) is directly mentioned in five places in Sangam Tamil literature.

DRAVID=Brahmins, Pandyas= Brahmins

The Dravidian political parties did a propaganda that the Brahmins came to Dravida country from the North. But the fact of the matter is Dravids in the North means only Brahmins. Non Brahmins from the South were not called Dravids. Pandyas in Gujarat are Brahmins. It is crystal clear this geographical name was used for Brahmins migrated to Andhra, Maharashtra, Gujarat and beyond.

In short, politicians and fake researchers are misleading Indians by misinterpreting many words such as Dravid, Mlecha, Asura etc. So laymen must be careful and discreet.