The Armenian Church in Chennai was built in the year 1712. Contrary to what historians would like us to believe, the Church is not the only umbilical cord that connects Tamil Nadu to Armenia. The relationship is far more ancient. In fact, there is now linguistic evidence to back the claim that Tamil blood used to flow in the veins of Armenians around 140 BC.
Before I unveil a few exhibits to bolster my arguments, let’s see what the genes say. The Armenian DNA has 35% R1b and 8% R1a – two of the most typical genetic groups in South India. What that means is: we may share the same forefathers!
Let me muddle your mind further by bringing Yerevan into the equation. Yerevan, the capital and largest city of Armenia, is said to have been named after King Yervand IV. Many early manuscripts pronounce Yerevan as Erevan, Iravan and Erivan. Now just utter the name aloud. Doesn’t Yerevan sound like the Tamil word Iraivan (meaning god)?
And where was the Yerevan kingdom located? In Urartu. The Ur in Urartu bears a striking resemblance to the Tamil Oor (meaning city). If that felt like a bit of a stretch, how about examining Lake Sevan?
Sevan, Urmia and Van are the three great lakes in Armenia. Most strangely so, Vanam in Tamil cues forest; Sev-vanam translates to red forest (may be the allusion is to Lake Sevan being the breeding ground for the red-crested duck); and Urumi means curled sword. Considering, Urmia lake derives its roots from Urmia, the warrior kingdom, that fits perfectly.
The coincidences get more predictable as we study Armenian surnames. Let’s try and interpret the Kardashian in Kim Kardashian. Karkal in our mozhi means ‘stones’ and dasan means ‘one who is dedicated to’, so Kardasan must be a stone craftsman. You’d be amazed to know that Kardashian means a ‘stone sculptor’ in Armenian!
The sense of déjà vu grows when you notice that a large chunk of Armenian surnames end with either –ian or –yan. Coming from a state that’s full of Vijayans, Narayans and Subramanians, we don’t need a better cultural connect, do we?