Department of South Asian Studies
Utkal University of Culture
Archaeology of Toponymy: Environment, Identity and Paradigm Shift in the Eezham Tamil Place Names
The unique Tamil literary idea of looking at land, life and people, based on the environment, is very well known. Many of the early Tamil environmental ideas, practices and terminology are reflected in the Sinhala and Tamil place names of Sri Lanka. The place names also reflect how the early layer of environmental identity was replaced, and is being replaced, by social, political, religious and individual identities. The paper attempts to deduce the nature and patterns of the environmental identity, and its shift in Sri Lanka, through the study of place names and their etymology.
Dr. Ragupathy is an an archaeologist, served in the academic institutions of Sri Lanka, India and the Maldives. He was professor of South Asian Studies and head of the postgraduate departments at the Utgal university of Culture, Bupaneswar. More recently, he was a visiting professor in the faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna, Presently, he is academic consultant to the Alternative News Agency Network, Oslo, Norway. Since 1973, he has authored, edited and published 15 books and journals in English and Tamil, including Early Settlements in Jaffna: An Archaeological Survey (1987), and more recently with Naseema Mohamed, Inscriptions of Maldives Vol I (2005), and An Etymological Dictionary of the Island Names in the Republic of Maldives (2006).