Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna

Mleccha

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_601-1

Introduction

Panini, in the Aashthadhyayi, used a phrase mleccha prayog “code-mixing” for mixing of two dialects or languages in conversation. Patanjali’s Mahabhashya commenting on Panani sutra “formula” indicates that apashabda “the corrupt form of a correct word” is also known as mleccha. It is clear from this reference that the word mleccha was used in the sense of incorrect language use – people’s inability to speak Sanskrit was called mleccha. Sometimes the word mleccha is translated as barbarians and foreigners with its equivalent word milakkha [ 1]. However, the contemporary meaning of mleccha is quite different from the one used in the ancient times. In the present time, something or someone that is dirty, contaminated, or impure is called mleccha. Further, folk etymology indicates that mleccha is a compound word made up of mal “stool” and iccha “desire,” i.e., one who desires to eat impure. The earliest reference of this word is found in the Satapatha Brahmana, and at some...
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References

  1. 1.
    Kalyanaraman S (2008) Indus script encodes mleccha speech. The Author, ChennaiGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Parasher A (1991) Mlecchas in early India: a study in attitudes toward outsiders up to AD 600. Munshiram Manoharial Publishers Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, pp 94–96Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Parasher-Sen A (2004) Subordinate and marginal groups in early India. Oxford University Press, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
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    Rizvi SAA (1987) The wonder that was India, vol II. Sidgwick and Jackson, London, pp 252–253Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Humanities and Social Sciences – Languages and LiteratureShri Mata Vaishno Devi UniversityKatraIndia