Tamil-Brahmi Script Establishing Presence of Jainism discovered in Kerala
Tamil-Brahmi script on a pot rim reading a ma na, meaning a Jaina, was found at Pattanam in Ernakulam district, Kerala.
A Tamil-Brahmi script on a pot rim that reads a ma na, meaning a Jaina, was found at Pattanam in Ernakulam district, Kerala in March 2011. The discovery followed excavations conducted by the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) at Pattanam since 2007 with the approval of the Archaeological Survey of India. The pot-rim with the script at a depth of two metres in trench 29 in the early historical layer was found during the sixth season of the excavation currently under way. The discovery of the pot established that Jainism was prevalent on the west coast at least from second century CE (Common Era). According to the archaeologists the script can be dated to circa second century CE. The three Tamil-Brahmi letters, a ma na are followed by two symbols generally called Megalithic graffiti and these two symbols could not be identified. This is the third Tamil-Brahmi script to be found in the Pattanam excavations.
The discovery is of great significance because of the dearth of evidence so far of the pre-Brahminical past of Kerala, especially in relation to the socio-cultural and religious life of the people.
The Tamil word a ma na meaning a Jaina was derived from Sanskrit Sramana via Prakrit Samana and Tamil Camana. Pattanam is now identified as the thriving port called Muziris by the Romans. Tamil Sangam literature celebrates it as Muciri.