Dravidian Civilizations

The term Dravidian civilization refers to the civilization of the ancient speakers of the proto-Dravidian languages. Due to the obscure history of the proto-Dravidian speakers, and prevalence of several theories about their origin, the term "Dravidian civilization" is used to describe many concepts:

  • Many scholars believe that before the arrival of the Indo-Aryans in the Indian subcontinent, the speakers of the proto-Dravidian languages (Proto-North Dravidian, Proto-Central Dravidian, Proto-South Dravidian) were widespread throughout the subcontinent, including Gangetic valley. This pre-Vedic civilization is often referred to as "Dravidian civilization".
  • A section of scholars believes that the people of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization were proto-Dravidian speakers, and hence refer to it as "Dravidian civilization". The hypothesized family of Elamo-Dravidian languages is also believed to be connected with the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • The proponents of the now-obsolete theory identifying Kumari Kandam with Lemuria used the term "Dravidian civilization" to describe the civilization of the hypothetical "Lemuria" continent. According to them, Kumari Kandam was a landmass that became submerged by the successive floods. Some Tamil writers, such as Devaneya Pavanar and T. R. Sesha Iyengar, identified Kumari Kandam with the hypothetical Lemuria continent, and claimed that in ancient times, there was a highly developed Tamil civilization in Lemuria, which was the cradle of civilization.

A few scholars, such as Kamil Zvelebil and Clarence Maloney, believe that there is no tangible archaeological or literary evidence of any early purely Dravidian or Aryan civilization, and Aryan or Dravidian elements cannot be sought out in the Indian culture.