There are some explanations to the origin of the terms 'Andhra' and 'Dravida' that represent major socio-linguistic groups in southern India.It appears that these two were separate tribal groups even though now Andhras are considered a part of the mega Dravida Group.
Now here is an one more attempt at fathoming the origin of these words. The two words represent mega-tribal groups that settled in parts of southern India in the antiquity. Note that these bear certain analogy with a common word component 'dra'. The common component can be employed to unravel the origin of these words.
To begin with, let us see how some of the tribal group names have come into being
Koraga constitute an ancient tribal group in the Karavali probably with analogous or somewhat equivalent tribal groups in other parts of India like Kurukh, Kurub, Kor, etc. It is interesting to note that the word 'Koraga' represents man or husband in Koraga language. The other word Korati represents wife or the woman of this tribe. Similarly 'Bakuda' represents man or husband in their language.
Let me cite this example to show that the equivalent of the word 'man' ('Koraga' in their language) has been employed to refer to the particular tribal community. However, if you analyse a little further you find that the Koraga settlements are known as 'Kor koppa'. Since the word 'koppa' represents a hamlet or settlement, the term kor-koppa means hamlet of 'Kor' people. In other words originally the tribe was known as 'Kor'.
An ancient word that is still preserved in Tulu language-'dara' has been surveyed earlier in this blog. The basic meaning of the word as in Tulu appears to be soil, earthen bund, earth (and the world) Sanskrit word 'dhara' (Kannada: 'dare' with d as in English 'the') apparently evolved from this word dara.
However, the word has evolved widely and has several shades of meaning in the languages of the world, some of which have been enlisted below:
Dara (pre-Sanskrit/ Dravida)=soil, earthen bund/ wall,>earth.>world. > Tara=variety,class.
Dhara (Sanskrit)=Earth.> World.
Dhāra (Sanskrit)=flow,river. > Tāra (Sanskrit, Cambodian)=Star, Virgin,Girl
Dara (Hebrew)=mother of pearl.
Dara (Farsi)=Riches, Class.
Dara (Hebrew) =Angel of rains and rivers [<.Possibly derived from Phoenician 'In-dara']
Dara (Kannada)=Rate, price.
Tara (Kannada)= Variety,Class
Dara= A Biblical male character who symbolized wisdom.
Dāra= A Punjabi male name.
Dāravi=a place name in Mumbai,Maharastra.
Daram(=Path).> Dharma (way of life)
Andhra were a tribal community to begin with in the antiquity. The word Andhra apparently evolved from its early and original form 'an-dara'. The word 'āN' represents male in several Dravidian languages. Further 'andar' represents male species of animals in at least some of the Dravidian languages. The Telugu word 'andaru' means everybody. It is possible that this word 'andar' evolved from āN+dara or 'the men of the world' or simply 'the people'.Compare this word with the application of th words Koraga or Bakuda (=man or husband) for the tribes name. Hints and shades of ancient patri-archial male dominated society can be delineated.
The ancient word 'dara' (=earth, world) has been discussed in earlier posts in relation to the word 'mudara'. Some more points on 'dara' can be added here using the base 'In-dara'.
The name of ancient Phoenician God 'In-dara ', the Storm God, helps us to trace this ancient word 'dara'. The 'Indara' was the original form of the familiar word that was adapted into Indian Vedic God 'Indra'. Conceptually, Indra is considered as the captain or leader of Gods in early Vedic period (ca.2000-1700 BC).Indra was worshiped as Storm God in many of the ancient civilizations in Europe Asia and Africa. The ancient Phoenician God 'Indara' has been considered to be the conceptual forerunner of Indra of Indian Vedas. The word 'In+dara' can be analysed as 'the leader of the world.'
Incidentally, the word 'Indra' in Telugu meant 'idiga' or the toddy tapper. Was there some relation between the word components (in)'dra 'of Andhra and 'Ida' (>ideya,idiga) of Dravida?
Since the Robert Caldwell used this word for representing South Indian language and culture, the origin of the word has remained controversial. He borrowed the word 'Dravida' from 7th Century Sanskrit work by Kumarila Bhatta known as Tantravartika. There is a suggestion that 'Dravida' is connected to 'drava'(=liquid) and that the name derived since Dravidians were great sailors. Others argue that 'Dravida' is not a Tamil word since components like 'dra' are absent in Tamil. However many have argued that the word 'Tamil' is derived from the word Dravida.
Sediyapu Krishna Bhat opined that 'Dravida' is a Sanskrit word having a meaning of 'land full of forests'.(dru=forest,wood; ila= containing).
The sequence Dravida> Damila.> Tamira> Tamila is the most commonly argued line of evolution/transition of the words. There is another rival school of thought that propounds the vice versa that the word 'Dravida' is derived from the term 'Tamil' .Bhadriraju Krishnamurthy believes that the word dravida is later than the word 'damila'. The term 'damila' is said to have been found in early Jain literature dating back to 200 BC.
The third modified viewpoint especially from this blogger is that dravida and tamila/damila were the regional variants of the same word considering the distribution of variants of the related words ida, ideya (iddya), yedeya (Yedapadavu, Yedagonadanhalli, Yediyur), ila/ yela (Ilawal, Ilantila,Yelaniru), and yadava(Yadavagiri) in different parts of southern India.
Thus the words Dravida and damila/tamila could have been the regional variants derived from same origin:
However,the word 'Dravida' can be reviewed in the light of above word analyses Andara (>Andhra) and Indara(> Indra).It appears that the word daravida> dravida represented 'people of the world' if you accept the following word analysis.
The original form of the word Dravida could be Daravida or dara+ida or 'the pastoral tribes of the world'. The Ida or Ideya or Yedeya were a major pastoral tribes in southern India also known as Yadavs. It is also possible that the word 'Ideya' is also related to 'Idiga'?
The tribal tag 'Ida' (
There are distinct evidences in south Indian place names for Ida>Ila transitions, even though it is difficult to conclude whether Ila derived from Ida or the vice versa. Ide village existed during the period of Kadamba reign in Banavasi , Uttara Kannada(4to 6th Cenrtury CE).
One of the interesting observation is that the word dravida was not in use in southern India until probably Robert Caldwell employed this word to denote a special linguistic group. It is possible that the word Dravida was used in Sanskrit literature only in the beginning and in southern India the equivalent term in usage was the 'Ideya'.
Linguistic,socio-cultural and genetic evidences suggest that the ancestors of Dravida tribes migrated from Mediterranean region to India probably during the early Vedic period. A major migrant community was possibly referred to as people of the world!
A similar word that ends with -dra suffix is 'Shudra'. By analogy of foregoing analysis we can propose that the word evolved from the original Su-dara , the inferior or labourer of the land or Earth.
Another significant word in the 'dra' family is Chandra, the moon.
Evolution of words
With the background of foregoing discussions we can summarize the evolution of some of the words with '-dra' suffix/prefix as follows:-
In-dara ( leader of the Earth, Almighty) > Indra.
Mu-dara (wet, fertile soil) > Mudra (An imprint or stamp on the wet soil .> Mark, stamp)
Su-dara (labourer /improved on earth, Sudaar) > Shudra (=Labour class)
An-dara (men of the Earth) > Andhra
Dara-vida ( people/tribes of the Earth) > Dravida
Chen-dira (A beauty in the world).> Chandra.(=Moon)