Malayalam is a language derived from two words, ‘Malay,’ meaning hillock, and ‘Alam,’ meaning a vast ocean. The mainland between the gigantic Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea in Kerala.
So the language of Kerala is known as Malayalam. The Malayalam language finds its earliest mention in a book of the scared mark. In 1841, references were made about the language in the name ‘Malayalim.’
It’s also interesting to note that in the above-referred era, the works that were originally in Sanskrit but later got converted to Malayalam were referred to as ‘Tamil Books’ and not Malayalam works, though the reason for this dilemma is still not very clear among linguists. Just like how Kannada and Telugu share a striking resemblance with each other, Tamil and Malayalam also share similarities with each other.
UPSC Mains Malayalam Syllabus Paper – I
Answers must be written in Malayalam
Section – A
Unit 1-Early phase of Malayalam Language
1.1 Various theories: origin from proto Dravidian, Tamil, Sanskrit.
1.2 Relation between Tamil and Malayalam: Six nayas of A.R. Rajarajavarma.
1.3 Pattu school-definition, Ramacharitam, later pattu works-Niranam works and Krishnagatha.
Unit 2-Linguistic features of
2.1 Manipravalam-definition. Language of early manipravala works-Champu, Sandesakavya, Chandrotsava, minor works. Later Manipravala works-medieval Champu and Attakkatha.
2.2 Folklore-Southern and Northern ballads, Mappila songs.
2.3 Early Malayalam prose-Bhashakautaliyam, Brahmandapuranam, Attaprakaram, Kramadipika and Nambiantamil.
Unit 3-Satandardisation of Malayalam
3.1 Peculairities of the language of Pana, Kilippattu and Tullal.
3.2 Contributions of indigenous and European missionaries to Malayalam.
3.3 Characteristics of contemporary Malayalam : Malayalam as administravie language. Language of scientific and technical literature-media language.
Section – B
Unit-4 Ancient and Medieval Literature:
4.1 Pattu-Ramacharitam, Niranam works and Krishnagatha.
4.2 Manipravalam-early and medieval manipravala works including attakkatha and champu.
4.3 Folk literature.
4.4 Kilippattu, Tullal and Mahakavya.
Unit 5- Modern Literature-Poerty
5.1 Venmani poets and contemporaries.
5.2 The advent of Romanticism-Poerty of Kavitraya i.e., Asan, Ulloor and Vallathol
5.3 Poetry after Kavitraya.
5.4 Modernism in Malayalam poetry.
Unit 6- Modern Literature-Prose
6.3 Short story
6.4 Biography, travelogue, essay and criticism.
IAS aspirants who are targeting UPSC Exam, may check the linked article
UPSC Mains Malayalam Syllabus Paper – II
Answers must be written in Malayalam.
This paper will require first hand reading of the texts prescribed and is designed to test the candidate’s critical ability.
Section – A
1.1 Ramacharitam-Patalam 1.
1.2 Kannassaramayanam-Balakandam first 25 stanzas.
1.3 Unnunilisandesam-Purvabhagam 25 slokas including Prastavana
1.4 Mahabharatham Kilippattu-Bhishmaparvam.,
2.1 Kumaran Asan-Chintavisthayaya Sita.
2.3 G. Sankara Kurup-Perunthachan.
2.4 N.V. Krishna Variar-Tivandiyile Pattu.
3.1 ONV -Bhumikkoru Charamagitam
3.2 Ayyappa Panicker-Kurukshetram.
3.3 Akkittam-Paudatha Messanthi
3.4 Attur Ravivarma-Megharupan.
Section – B
4.1 O. Chanthu Menon-Indulekha
4.3 O V Vijayan-Khasakkinte Ithihasam.
5.1 MT Vasudevan Nair-Vanaprastham (Collection).
5.2 N S Madhavan-Higvitta (Collection).
5.3 C J. Thomas-1128-il Crime 27.
6.1 Kuttikrishna Marar-Bharataparyatanam
6.2 M. K Sanu-Nakshatrangalute snehabhajanam
6.3 V.T. Bhattathirippad-Kannirum Kinavum.
More about the language
The origin of Malayalam language is not very clear in the pages of history. Some trace it down to Sanskrit derived Prakrit. Others claim the language to be an originally spoken language formed from a tribal dialect which became well developed over the ages. Malayalam is mainly a Dravidian language and has many resemblances with the Tamil language, hence many consider it an extended version or branch of the Tamil language itself. In modern day linguistic research, experts believe that Malayalam is from the group of South Dravidian languages, which includes Tamil, Malayalam and Kannada languages.
The journey of Malayalam as an independent strong language can be traced back to the 9th century. Till then, Malayalam and Tamil were always considered going together on the same tracks. In the journey of Malayalam, the time frame between 9th and 13th century hold prominent place as it was during this period that Malayalam literally became a truly independent language, taking its legacy away from the backbone and frame of Tamil in its entirety.
History of Dravidian languages has revealed Tamil to be amongst the oldest spoken languages of the world. So in that case it becomes natural for Malayalam to be put under the same grouping. But this notion is entirely false. Malayalam actually is the last among the four Dravidian languages to develop an exclusive literature framework and build a legacy on this structure.
Till the time Tamil left its influence on Malayalam, Tamil was the language of literature and renowned scholars of the time. When Malayalam became a language of influence on the masses, leaving behind its parent support Tamil in the lurch, Malayalam became more preferable in kings courts and amongst scholars and poets.
They say, Malayalam is one of the rare Dravidian languages with an imprint of Aryan influence in its grammatical themes. Earlier it was the Brahmins who were well versed with Sanskrit literature and all its forms. This trend was quite applicable to Malayalam as well and earlier records suggest Brahminical influence in all its cultural legacies. Through the course of development of the Malayalam language, various factors have equally contributed to the rise of language in various directions.
Religion and caste based influences have a wide role to play on the language in the state of Kerala. So it’s no wonder that we see the Brahmin communities speaking a different kind of Malayalam, the Christians a different course of the language and the Muslims, a different kind again. These influences can be seen differing among the Hindu religious community itself.
The Nayars have a different cult in their language, something different from the Brahmins. So various kinds of national and foreign languages have cast their spell on the language in its journey and made it what it is today. In literature forms, the reflection of Sanskrit words cannot be ruled out in most cases.
Malayalam script in the pages of history was recorded from the 9th century onward in pure written forms. But it was only in the 16th century that Malayalam script as is seen today came to be known. Experts believe the Malayalam script came mainly from the ‘Grandha’ script.
It is famously believed that during the reign of the Pallavas, the ‘Grandha’ script became popular. Pallavas basically used the Tamil language to record their works from the Sanskrit. In due course of time, the Tamil language alone came to be known as insufficient and lacking in many orders to capture higher forms of literature classes and thus a new form called the ‘Grandha’ took its origin.
The later rulers like Pandyans and the ever magnificent vijayanagara kingdoms branched the Grandha script into its eastern and western forms. The eastern form is what we see as Tamil literature and the western form became more developed and sophisticated into the Malayalam language.
Ezluthachan is known as the pioneer and father of Malayalam language. He developed the grammar and the alphabetical masses for the language and the work he rendered to the language is incredible. In fact the script of Malayalam as on today is known to resemble Tulu forms and hence Malayalam shares a close bonding with the Tulu language script as well.
Malayalam is an enriched language, in that, the classical status of the language has been given to it after much wait. It was Tamil, Kannada and Telugu that received the status before Malayalam. The reason behind this theory is the criterion that questions the existence and ancient feel of the literature.
Malayalam literature is also rich in its works and rendition, but the time scale and the order of existence matter the most. Malayalam apart from Kannada and Bengali literature are some of the amazing and striking legacies in India that have contributed enormously in terms of quantity, quality of rendition, vocabulary, variety and extensivity/depth. The Edakkal caves in Kerala exemplify the presence of Malayalam inscriptions almost about 1500 years ago.
Ancient India is well versed with Kautilya’s creation- Arthashastra. It is a magnificent piece of work dating back to the pages of golden history of our country. The work was written for the very first time in the language of Malayalam. Between 1300 and 1600 CE, the Malayalam language saw a rise in the trend of its literature in the form of emerging prose and poetry forms.
In the year 2012, the government established classical status to the language giving it equal importance on par with other classical languages. Not just in the state boundary, but Malayalam received a golden opportunity, thanks to its classical status to outgrow its periphery and become part of the central stronghold.
Malayalam started receiving grants from the government and the state was directed to work for the welfare of the language. Many departments in central universities are reserved for the study of the language. The language rose to prominence in theatre, cinema, books, magazines, journals, scientific studies and many other domains.
Unlike any other language, Kerala considers Malayalam as its strong foothold for the language. Malayalam became the mother tongue for more than 90% of the population of Kerala and this is a trend that is uniquely watched in other parts of India. Malayalam has contributed in every form of literature – drama, prose, poetry, ballads, novels, short stories, epilogues, biographies, children’s’ literature etc.