The term Dravida has been found in many contexts across language, people, architecture, politics, culture etc. While I find various material in various contexts, I am not able to find out the answer as when the word itself was first used and in what context.

Kindly help with scholarly citations.

When was the term "Dravida" first used and what is the context with which it was presented?

[edit] my current effort on the topic is to locate/collate translations by different scholarly authors of the book "Tantravarttika".

Any answers/pointers answering/help answering the question [or] Soundarya Lahari sloka [or] other texts including the term, Preferably on varietal subjects is welcome.

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    What are the sources you have seen? Have you seen this? Especially the etymology section which clearly states that Shankaracharya coined the term? Also see the etymology of the English term. – Rajib Oct 27 '14 at 12:20
  • @Rajib thank you for pointing me towards Soundarya Lahari. Though I initially dismissed the citation in the wiki, I am now trying to locate a scholarly interpretation of the the Sloka. Kindly point me to some if there is any in that area which you think I can refer to. – Rajkumar Oct 27 '14 at 12:52
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    1. You should edit the question entirely, including the heading, if you are specifically referring to 2 particular works. 2. It might be even better to have 2 questions for the 2 works. 3. I'm not sure but asking for translations or scholarly works on treatises may fall outside the scope of H:SE. But please do edit your question because it might turn out to be a far better question. – Rajib Oct 27 '14 at 13:13

Despite what is claimed in wikipedia (see Rajib's comment), actually, drāviḍa – occurs already in the Mahabharata, as is mentioned by Turner:

6632 *drāmiḍa - , dramiḍa -- , drāviḍa -- MBh., draviḍa -- m. Mn. ʻ name of a people, Dravidian ʼ. [EWA ii 73] Pk. damila -- , daviḍa -- , davila -- m.; OSi. demeḷ ʻ Tamil ʼ, Si. demaḷā.


  • Is this dictionary purely from the Mahabharata? And which version? Any idea which "parva"? – Rajib Oct 27 '14 at 13:53
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    Turner's "Etymological dictionary of the Indo-Aryan languages" is a standard Indological resource. As he notes in this entry, it also occurs in Prakrit (Pk).The exact reference to MBh can be found in the big Sanskrit dictionaries (unfortunately not on my desk at the moment). – fdb Oct 27 '14 at 13:58

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