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(Vatteluttu) was not borrowed from the Brahmi or any other Upper Indian alphabet, but had been introduced directly from Western Asia by Tamil merchants during the eighth or seventh century B.C., who developed it independently of the northern alphabets until it was partially supplanted by the Grantha characters in or about the tenth century.

But for the mighty influence of the Aryan Brahmans, such an ancient and original alphabet might have survived among the Tamils as amongst the Musalman Moplahs of Malabar. Before the introduction of the Grantha-Tamil characters, the influx of Sanskrit words in the Tamil language was extremely limited; and even those words appeared in the Tamil garb or in the form of tadbhavas. Thus, we find in the Tiruvoymoli of Nammalvar tamilized Sanskrit words like பற்பநாபன், சிறீதரன், இருடீகேசன், விகிருதம், இராக்கதன், விடமம், ஆணை, மனிசர், சிட்டன், உருத்திரன், &c. But with the large influx of Sanskrit words and phrases—tadbhavas and tatsamas—in consequence of the importation of the Aryan religion and philosophy among the Tamils, the introduction of the Grantha-Tamil characters in the Pandya and Kerala countries became a matter of necessity. And new rules for the adoption and naturalisation of Sanskrit words in Tamil, not given by Tolkapyar, were added in the grammars of Buddha Mitra and Pavanandi, the former of whom flourished in the eleventh and the latter at the beginning of the thirteenth century.

Of the thirty-one Tamil letters of the Grantha-