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Bilingual discourse and cross-cultural fertilisation: Sanskrit and Tamil in medieval India

Whitney Cox
Vincenzo Vergiani


Dominic Goodall

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  • 1 Assertions made a few decades ago about Dravidian words in what may be the oldest layers of the Ṛg (...)

1With this range of articles, this book addresses several of the different ways in which Sanskrit and Tamil literary cultures are related to one another. There may be persons who naïvely suppose that to identify Sanskrit as the acrolect or hierolect for much of South and South-East Asia is already to have mapped out the main contours of this vast multi-lingual literary area. We hope that this selection of essays will help to demonstrate that such a simple view needs to be very considerably nuanced. A very little reflection makes clear that the nature of linguistic and literary contacts with Sanskrit differed hugely in different places and at different times. The presence, for instance, of Dravidian and Munda loan-words already in pre-classical Sanskrit, though contested on points of detail,1 is widely accepted, and is evidence of very different relations with Sanskrit from those attested to for languages such as Khmer, Javanese and Cham, from which no loans into Sanskrit have been suggested. Evidence of non-Sanskrit literary activity in Dravidian-language-speaking areas also survives from earlier than elsewhere, and it is by no means unambiguously clear that such literature was produced in reaction to the catalyst of contact with Indo-Aryan models: the degree to which the oldest surviving Tamil poetry influenced or was influenced by poetry in Prakrit and Sanskrit is still a subject of debate.

2This volume does not concentrate on the hotly contested prehistorical relations between Indo-Aryan and Dravidian that can be dimly discerned behind details of phonology, syntax or morphology in the Vedic corpus or in tiny onomastic inscriptions in Southern Brahmī, but rather on the relations between “classical” Sanskrit and (mainly) literary Tamil over the course of the first thousand years for which plentiful literary material in both languages survives. The use of the expression “prehistorical” here to describe what we exclude might seem to suggest that our chosen period is, by contrast, one of firm facts that map out a clear framework of political and social history against which to lay observations about linguistic and literary history. This is of course far from being the case. While the abundance of early medieval Sanskrit and Tamil literature obviates the need for some sorts of speculation, nonetheless, all manner of details, not only regarding dating, are unknown and unknowable. Many texts seem to have been transmitted down to us across the centuries with bewilderingly little indisputably contemporary information that might anchor and contextualise them.

3One certainty can be advanced that, although obvious, is perhaps worth spelling out. For much of the history of Sanskrit literature, the authors who composed works in Sanskrit did so in a learned language that was not their own. The languages in which their first thoughts were formed would have been different in every part of the vast territory into which Sanskritic influences reached. For many of those areas there is now scant surviving testimony of literary activity in languages other than Sanskrit for several centuries into the Common Era. But the Dravidian-speaking South is well known to be an exception in this regard, notably because of the survival of a corpus of remarkable evocative poetry, the so-called “Caṅkam” (Sangam) works, in old Tamil, and of a tradition of grammar and poetics. This means that we can be certain that Southern authors who wrote in Sanskrit must consciously have chosen to write in Sanskrit and, conversely, many authors who wrote in Tamil must also consciously have chosen Tamil over Sanskrit. Indeed, the ideas expounded by Tamil grammarians and commentators often make reference to or reveal awareness of Sanskrit śāstra, as is demonstrated in different ways by almost all of the contributions to this volume. One should not therefore imagine this choice as being always or typically one between a high, rule-bound and literary language and a free, living vernacular — both languages had higher and lower registers, after all —, but often a choice between two high literary idioms. For certain authors, the commentators of Vaiṣṇava devotional poetry, for instance, the choice might even have been akin to a choice between two linguistic registers, each with its own flavours and strengths, both giving expression to overlapping regions of the same thought-world.

  • 2 Examples of each of these could be furnished, and sadly not just by delving into online discussion (...)
  • 3 In “Future Philology? The Fate of a Soft Science in a Hard World”, Critical Inquiry, 35 (2009: 931 (...)

4Sanskrit and the other languages of India are, in other words, so closely intertwined that their interrelationships cannot be reduced to any one simple model of Sanskrit hegemony, still less seen only in terms of a Brahmin conspiracy to abase and subjugate others, a vision influenced by the wounds of a painful social warfare whose divisions are, by some Tamil-speakers, perceived to be rooted in or inseparably associated with the division between Sanskrit and Dravidian languages. When those wounds one day heal or soften, we will be able to leave behind the totemism that leads to the arid and meaningless debates about the relative superiority or anteriority of one or other language, about wildly implausible etymologies deriving the words of one language from another, or about impossible dating propositions that are based only upon a sort of nationalist pride.2 Worst of all, this totemism encourages what appears to be a growing failure really to study their literatures and keep their memory alive.3 I say “worst of all” not only because this tendency will doubtless foster more of the same intellectual autism or deafness, but also because the extraordinarily rich literature of India is what makes up the bulk of the memories of its past, and to be without memory is to be without identity.

5The mutual imbrication we have described above means that although we often find ourselves speaking of the origin of an idiom or a concept or a nexus of ideas in one linguistic sphere and its subsequent passage into another, sometimes this simple model seems questionable or inadequate. When ideas change shape and expression as they evolve in a conversation between two speakers, can we always be aware of who contributes exactly what? Several articles in this book illustrate this difficulty in differing degrees, perhaps most obviously those of Charlotte Schmid and Leslie Orr, who, speaking of the lexis of those who composed medieval inscriptions, begins her final paragraph with this observation: “It is difficult to know what our medieval accountants thought about Sanskrit — or to know whether they even thought it was Sanskrit”.

  • 4 Passages: Relationships between Tamil and Sanskrit, edited by Kannan M. and Jennifer Clare (Pondic (...)
  • 5 Covering pages 1–74 are Jean Filliozat’s “Tamil and Sanskrit in South India”, Siegfried Lienhard’s (...)

6This is not the first volume of essays devoted primarily to exploring this territory. A recent predecessor was published from the French Institute of Pondicherry entitled Passages: Relationships between Tamil and Sanskrit.4 That collection lightens our task of introduction here, for it begins with no less than three pieces of prolegomena (pp. v–xxxvi) — a preface, an introduction and a foreword —, followed by a section with the happy title “Stepping Stones”, in which are reprinted four landmark articles from recent decades that treat the interrelationship between Sanskrit and Tamil.5 These materials generously provide context for a further seventeen fresh contributions ranging across a period of about twenty centuries. Our subject in this volume can therefore be regarded as having been rather thoroughly introduced. Given the breadth of the theme, however, there need be no fear of overlaps and redundancy, and only two contributors are shared.

  • 6 Obituaries of T.V. Gopal Iyer by Jean-Luc Chevillard and Eva Wilden have appeared in the Bulletin (...)

7While the starting point of the volume mentioned above was a conference held at the Institut Français de Pondichéry, this one contains revised versions of a selection of papers that were presented at a conference held at the University of Cambridge in May 2009 and entitled “Bilingualism and Cross-cultural Fertilisation: Sanskrit and Tamil in Mediaeval India”. This was a stimulating event, and it was gratifying to me to see that it brought together many scholars who have participated in one way or another in the various workshops held over the last decade at the Pondicherry Centre of the École française d’Extrême-Orient, notably the annual “Classical Tamil Summer/Winter Seminar” (CTSS), launched by Charlotte Schmid and Eva Wilden in 2003. This book is therefore, among other things, a sort of tribute to the memory of two brothers who devoted many years of their lives to furthering Tamil scholarship in Pondicherry, namely T.V. Gopal Iyer and T.S. Gangadharan. It was the former’s great learning and infectious enthusiasm that inspired the idea of the CTSS; he had read widely and deeply in an area long neglected by institutions of study and research both in India and abroad, and his erudition was combined with an evident delight in sharing his knowledge with anybody who was keen to learn. After his sad demise,6 his brother T.S. Gangadharan, who had for years been partly hidden in the shadow of his elder sibling, took over this important rôle. Alas, he too passed away in 2010, and an obituary is to appear in the forthcoming number (95) of the Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient.

8Our book is divided into three blocks of articles which are, broadly speaking, devoted to belles lettres, epigraphy and to the pair of grammar and poetics that together form the discipline of Tamil “grammar” (ilakkaṇam).

9The first block, on literary sources, begins with an analysis of the evolution of Kṛṣṇa-related mythology that can be traced through the course of a sort of conversation between works of religious poetry in Tamil and in Sanskrit. In this paper Charlotte Schmid builds, in a manner that is both inventive and convincing, on the work of the late Friedhelm Hardy, whose remarkable book Viraha-Bhakti demonstrated, among other things, that the Sanskrit Bhāgavatapurāṇa must be a Southern composition inspired in part by the Tamil poetry of the Āḻvārs. Here the focus is upon demonic trees and the evolution of the legend of the demonass Dhenuka, apparently “translated” into Tamil as kaṉṟu (“calf”) and then back again as vatsa in Sanskrit works; but this narrow focus has large implications for our understanding of the development of Kṛṣṇa mythology generally, which we can expect Charlotte Schmid to continue to expound in subsequent articles, drawing, as here, not only on Sanskrit and Tamil literature, but also upon the evidence of visual representations of Kṛṣṇa.

10In the second paper of that section, Takahashi explores the semantic field of the verbal root kol, “to kill”, and its derivatives in the earliest Caṅkam poetry, noting particularly the use of this word to speak of the cutting of trees and speculating about the possible implications of such usage, which he tentatively links, in particular, to the spread of Jainism in Tamilnadu around the beginning of the Common Era.

11Herman Tieken returns to his controversial project of challenging the conventional vision of Caṅkam poetry as being of such great antiquity as to predate most surviving classical kāvya in Sanskrit. As elsewhere, he underlines the absence of “falsifiable evidence” to underpin early dates and argues that there are points of comparison between Caṅkam conventions and those found in other genres of Sanskrit literature, in this case in the realm of music. Whether or not such arguments will convince all readers, their presence serves to remind readers of the very great uncertainty over chronology — both relative and absolute — of much pre-modern South Indian literature.

12The second and largest block of articles in this anthology is devoted, appropriately, to the nexus of subjects that is represented by the Tolkāppiyam and that has generated the largest body of pre-modern technical literature in Tamil. As we have remarked above, that discipline, ilakkaṇam, is characterised as “grammar”, but it is rather a box that holds a somewhat larger collection of what might be called “philological” tools for the analysis and idealised description of Tamil belles lettres, including accounts of metrics and of poetic conventions.

13Jean-Luc Chevillard’s paper is one of a series of articles devoted to grappling with what the “grammatical” tradition has to say about metre in Tamil. Although a cursory skimming read might leave the impression that the article does not engage much with the relationship between Sanskrit and Tamil, this is certainly not the case. What Chevillard demonstrates in painstaking detail is that the complex permutations that metricians allow for can be assumed to be largely theoretical, in part the result of combining information about Tamil metrical conventions with accounts of Sanskrit metrics. This is of course interesting in various ways, and will certainly surprise those who may pick up the paper with the assumption that they are about to be shown simply how metricians writing in Tamil demonstrate the workings of Tamil metrical conventions, since this seems not to have been their only goal: as in so many branches of Indian learning, the endeavour has been not simply to describe but to show at the same time how the accounts of earlier authorities — in this case authorities in both Sanskrit and in Tamil — are in harmony with that description. This might be supposed to be a phenomenon confined to the Indian world, but parallels could be drawn with the analysis of European literatures being often as much clouded as illuminated by the use of grammatical and metrical notions developed to describe Latin.

14With “Ten stages of passion… Eight types of marriage…”, Eva Wilden offers a further contribution to the analysis of the Tolkāppiyam as a composite, layered work that has been revised in several phases, and it therefore builds upon earlier work by Takahashi and herself, among others. The analysis focusses here on the treatment of kaḷavu, “stolen love”, and the manner in which it has been on the one hand framed, because it has been equated with gāndharva marriage, in the Sanskritic scheme of the eight types of marriage recognised by treatises of dharmaśāstra and, on the other, subdivided into successive phases by being viewed through the lens furnished by another Sanskritic scheme, that of the “stages of love” (kāmāvasthā), which is known in differing versions from, for example, the Nāṭyaśāstra and the Kāmasūtra. There is also discussion of the topos of a lover’s doubt (aiyam) as to whether a girl is human or immortal and how such doubt is removed. This is a curious case in that the supposed topos, though well known from Sanskrit poetry from at least Mahābhārata 3.54:23–4 (in which Damayantī perceives the signs that distinguish the mortal Nala from the immortals who have disguised themselves as Nala), seems not to be a topos in the corpus of Tamil poetry which the Tolkāppiyam purports to describe.

15The focus of Whitney Cox’s presentation is an analysis of the adoption and adaptation in twelfth-century Southern India — both in works in Tamil and in Southern works written in Sanskrit — of Abhinavagupta’s rasa-related theoretical model of literary reception, notably in the Ceyiṟṟiyam, a work much quoted by the Tolkāppiyam-commentator Iḷampūraṇar, and in Śāradātanaya’s Bhāvaprakāśana. But in order to cover this rather narrow topic, the article ranges widely over many different issues — the dating of Iḷampūraṇar, for instance, is touched upon, as is literary forgery, in particular pseudepigraphy, the practice of inventing spurious works to whose authority one can then appeal by “quoting” from them, since Śāradātanaya “cites” dramaturgical literature that seems unlikely ever to have existed, and there are methodological reflections on writing the intellectual history of “the long twelfth century”. Furthermore, the ground must first be laid by presenting the earliest surviving account of literary theory in Tamil, that of the Tolkāppiyam. There the meyppāṭus reflect the Sanskritic category of the sthāyibhāvas (the raw emotions from which their literary counterparts, the rasas, are distilled), but the term cuvai (the standard Tamil calque of rasa) appears nowhere, revealing that the redactors of the Tolkāppiyam appear not to have been interested in presenting a theory of the aesthetic reception of poetry. What emerges from these various strands is a picture of complex interactions that cross the boundaries of genre and language. For the graphically-minded, the lines of influence that can be traced among the sources now extant are schematically represented in a “diagram of textual relations” on p. 147.

16The only article that is entirely devoted to grammar in the strictest sense is that of Vincenzo Vergiani, who begins by attempting a comparison of the models adopted by Pāṇini and by the Tolkāppiyam for treating nominal inflections. In one of its sūtras, the Tolkāppiyam contains what seems to be a reflection of Sanskritic kāraka-theory, according to which nominal inflections are arrived at on the basis of the kārakas (“causal factors”) of an action that the nouns in a given sentence embody; but this generative kāraka-model is not really put into action to generate inflected forms. The Tolkāppiyam instead gives a descriptive analysis of words that directly employs individual case-morphemes. In other words, although it is clear, for example, from the order in which the case-morphemes are presented that the Pāṇinian tradition has influenced the Tolkāppiyam, that influence has not entailed a wholesale adoption of Pāṇini’s generative model. What Vergiani next suggests is that Cēṉāvaraiyar, one of the most significant commentators on the Tolkāppiyam, has adopted a subdivision of the trickiest of the kārakas, namely karman, from Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya. He then traces the reflection or modification of this subdivision of karman in other grammatical systems in Sanskrit, in other works in Tamil and in two grammars of Pāli. With this he incidentally demonstrates how complex the multilingual nexus of related traditions undoubtedly was. Pāṇinian grammar may have “fertilised” other Indian languages, beginning with Tamil, in such a way as to stimulate grammatical thinking, but to view Tamil grammar exclusively or primarily in terms of the influence of the Aṣṭadhyāyī upon the Tolkāppiyam would be simplistic: the contact between traditions of grammar in Sanskrit and Tamil continued over many centuries and the dialogue may well have involved many lost intermediaries.

17Rich Freeman’s contribution deals with a very different traditional “grammar”, the Līlātilaka, a fourteenth-century treatise that purports to describe and regulate a particular form of Tamil, namely a Sanskritised literary variety of the “Tamil” spoken in Kerala (keraḷabhāṣā) that subsequently evolved into what is today known as Malayalam. Freeman’s approach is one of anthropological linguistics, which he uses to examine the ideological motivations of the Līlātilaka in ratifying this form of Maṇipravāḷam (“gems and coral”) in which both the vocabulary and the nominal and verbal morphology may be in Sanskrit or in Tamil. He offers here a taste of the Līlātilaka’s “cultural project” as applied to phonology, grammar and aesthetic conventions by presenting, by way of example, its treatment of internal sandhi (in which Dravidian consonant-doubling affects even words whose phonology is Sanskrit), its treatment of the kārakas (echoing some of the observations offered in this volume by Vincenzo Vergiani), and its treatment of distinctively Dravidian alliterative patterns used to highlight metrical units (mōṉai, etukai) and topoi (the trope of comparing girls’shoulders to bamboo sprouts). The article demonstrates how this work of “grammar” is rooted in the political and social history of medieval Keralans living under the towering shadows of the classical literatures of Sanskrit and Tamil.

18The third and last block of essays in this book is devoted to epigraphical evidence.

  • 7 Her most recent writing on the subject is in her 2009 article “Tamil and Sanskrit in the medieval (...)
  • 8 As suggested in the third volume of the Tāntrikābhidhānakośa (edited by Dominic Goodall and Marion (...)
  • 9 This point has been made by several scholars, among them Hélène Brunner-Lachaux on pp. iv–v of the (...)
  • 10 This refers, of course, to the Kāmikāgama that has been published from Madras (without accrediting (...)

19In “Words for Worship…”, Leslie C. Orr revisits a subject she has touched on briefly in earlier publications:7 the overlaps and discrepancies between two large but very different bodies of texts that describe or refer to religious activities, namely the corpus of āgamic literature in Sanskrit and that of the Tamil inscriptions that cover the walls of temples throughout the Tamil-speaking South. In both cases, although there remains a very large quantity of still unpublished material, we now have many shelves of published primary matter at our disposal, and what this reveals is a noteworthy lack of overlap, particularly in the earliest centuries of inscriptional evidence, both in the vocabulary used for practices to which both corpora attest and in the range of practices referred to as well. This is perhaps not always a cause for great surprise: that the varied ways of referring to the physical temple used in the inscriptions do not accord with the equally varied expressions employed in the āgamas is perhaps to be expected. But why does a practice as ubiquitous in the inscriptional record as the offering of an “undying lamp” (nontā viḷakku) receive so little mention in the scriptures that one would expect to describe the religious life of the temple?8 A partial answer is that the earliest scriptures of the Mantramārga are not in fact about “public” worship (parārthapūjā) in temples;9 but from around the twelfth century onwards, some, such as the Kāmikāgama,10 certainly are devoted almost exclusively to that subject.

  • 11 Sheldon Pollock, The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in pre (...)
  • 12 Emmanuel Francis and Charlotte Schmid, pp. v–xlviii of Pondicherry Inscriptions, Part II, Texts wi (...)
  • 13 Emmanuel Francis, Le discours royal. Monuments et inscriptions pallava (IVème–IXème siècles), 2 vo (...)

20Concentrating on the more poetic parts of Tamil inscriptions, Emmanuel Francis responds to and offers important qualifications of Sheldon Pollock’s characterisation, expressed more than once in his now famous book of 2006,11 of Tamil as a non-literary vehicle of administrative information in royal inscriptions. He shows that a distinctively Tamil poetic idiom, that inherited from the puṟam tradition, is in fact indeed employed in some epigraphs of the Pallavas, and he draws attention to parallels between these and a martial Tamil poem called the Nantikkalampakam. He further suggests that the tendencies that were to involve into the meykkīrtti, the formulaic genre of royal eulogy in Tamil that developed under the Cōḻa kings, emerged in this period (the ninth century), and points out that that genre is in fact very different, both in rhetorical flavour and in substance, from the Sanskrit praśasti. This article therefore expands upon themes presented in the illuminating piece about the emergence and uses of the meykkīrtti that was published as a preface to the second volume of Pondicherry Inscriptions12 and is a foretaste of a major work of scholarship on the Pallavas and their manner of presenting themselves, both through literary and visual arts, as kings.13

21Finally, still concentrating on the same sort of evidence, inscriptions in Tamil, Timothy Lubin’s ‘Legal Diglossia’ addresses the use of Sanskrit legal notions, speech-habits and terminology in administrative epigraphs written in Tamil. After a rapid overview of other forms of what might be called “legal diglossia” in other parts of the world, Timothy Lubin reminds readers of the use of Sanskrit legal language in records in Khmer and in Old Javanese, where the relationship between Sanskrit (acrolect) and the local languages (chthonolects) is in certain respects parallel to the relationship between Sanskit and Tamil. One of the several respects in which the relationship differs is that tatsama Sanskrit words embedded in a Tamil text stand out because they require a different script, the script now referred to as “Grantha”, and Lubin uses this criterion, among others, for determining instances of conscious switching between Tamil and Sanskrit. As in Leslie Orr’s article, the texts of six Tamil inscriptions ranging from the ninth to the fifteenth century are given in transcription and translated to serve as examples of the phenomena described by the author, who, conscious of the tens of thousands of still-unpublished pre-modern Tamil inscriptions, insists that his article is a first venture “in the spirit of a scouting expedition” into an area that requires considerable further exploration.


1 Assertions made a few decades ago about Dravidian words in what may be the oldest layers of the Ṛgveda, for instance, have been called into question, for example in Michael Witzel’s “Substrate Languages in Old Indo-Aryan (Ṛgvedic, Middle and Late Vedic)”, Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies 5–1 (1999: 1–67).

2 Examples of each of these could be furnished, and sadly not just by delving into online discussion boards, but to do so would be invidious.

3 In “Future Philology? The Fate of a Soft Science in a Hard World”, Critical Inquiry, 35 (2009: 931–61), Sheldon Pollock laments that the loss of interest in engaging with the literatures of the past appears now to be a world-wide phenomenon, but his remarks about philology in and about Indian languages over many centuries reveal how much its decline in India, the home of “the most philologized of any language on earth” (p. 931), is to be regretted.

4 Passages: Relationships between Tamil and Sanskrit, edited by Kannan M. and Jennifer Clare (Pondicherry: Institut Français de Pondichéry/Tamil Chair, University of California, Berkeley, 2009).

5 Covering pages 1–74 are Jean Filliozat’s “Tamil and Sanskrit in South India”, Siegfried Lienhard’s “Akapporuḷ and Sanskrit Muktaka poetry”, George L. Hart’s “The relation between Tamil and classical Sanskrit literature”, and Donald Nelson’s “Bṛhatkathā studies: the Tamil version of the Bṛhatkathā”.

6 Obituaries of T.V. Gopal Iyer by Jean-Luc Chevillard and Eva Wilden have appeared in the Bulletin de l’École française d’Extrême-Orient, 94 (2007: 9–12; appeared in 2010), and in the Rivista di Studi Sudasiatici, 2 (2008: 271–5) respectively. A bibliography of his œuvre appears on pp. 23–34 of a volume of essays dedicated to his memory: Between Preservation and Recreation: Tamil Traditions of Commentary. Proceedings of a Workshop in Honour of T.V. Gopal Iyer, edited by Eva Wilden (Collection Indologie 109, Pondicherry: IFP/EFEO, 2009).

7 Her most recent writing on the subject is in her 2009 article “Tamil and Sanskrit in the medieval epigraphical context” in the above-mentioned anthology Passages: Relationships between Tamil and Sanskrit (pp. 97–114, particularly pp. 109–110).

8 As suggested in the third volume of the Tāntrikābhidhānakośa (edited by Dominic Goodall and Marion Rastelli, Vienna, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2012, s. v. dīpa), the relatively late (twelfth century or later) and rarely attested expression anirvāṇadīpa is probably a Sanskrit calque of nontā viḷakku.

9 This point has been made by several scholars, among them Hélène Brunner-Lachaux on pp. iv–v of the introduction to the fourth volume of her best-known work: Somaśambhupaddhati. Rituels dans la tradition sivaïte selon Somaśambhu. Quatrième partie. Rituels optionnels: pratiṣṭhā. Texte, traduction et notes (Publications du département d’indologie 25.4. Pondicherry: IFP/EFEO, 1998).

10 This refers, of course, to the Kāmikāgama that has been published from Madras (without accrediting an editor) by the South Indian Archaka Association in 1975 and 1988, and not to the various other lost, spurious or unpublished works that bear this name.

11 Sheldon Pollock, The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in premodern India, Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press, 2006.

12 Emmanuel Francis and Charlotte Schmid, pp. v–xlviii of Pondicherry Inscriptions, Part II, Texts with Transliteration, Translation and Appendices, Glossary and Phrases, compiled by Bahour S. Kuppusamy, edited and translated by G. Vijayavenugopal. Collection Indologie 83.2. Pondicherry: IFP/EFEO, 2010.

13 Emmanuel Francis, Le discours royal. Monuments et inscriptions pallava (IVème–IXème siècles), 2 volumes. Louvain: Peeters (Publications de l’Institut Orientaliste de Louvain; 63), 2012 [forthcoming].


Studied Greek and Latin, then Sanskrit at Pembroke College, Oxford. After studies in Hamburg, he returned to Oxford where he produced a critical edition of the opening chapters of Bhaṭṭa Rāmakaṇṭha’s tenth-century commentary on the Kiraṇatantra, which he submitted as a doctoral thesis in 1995 and subsequently published from Pondicherry in 1998. Since 2000, he has been a member of the École française d’Extrême-Orient, becoming Head of the Pondicherry Centre of the EFEO in 2002, where he remained until April 2011. He is currently a professor (directeur d’études) at the EFEO posted in Paris, where he gives lectures at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, and he is co-editor with Dr. Marion Rastelli of the Tāntrikābhidhānakośa.

© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 2013

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