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Tamil Steganography

December 3rd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

A nice discussion on Tamil steganography that is worth sharing.. 🙂

Udayasankar said:

Came via shakty’s blog, interesting note on tamil and cryptography.  would like to know of any specific instances where a cryptic text and associated decipher key is available in Tamil. Are there known historical incidents in Tamil History where a use of cryptographic keys and texts are available, say similar to English Queen Mary’s use of cipher text which indirectly led to her execution. Or the Caesar cipher for instance. Any incidents you can point out.

Sudarshan, as in your comments on the blog, I am aware that the siddhas and mystics used indirect language and metaphors to express themselves to their select cliques, but then that does not amount to more than children making up their own dialects to bypass their elders.  could you point out any place where a real mathematical technique is used? for instance are there kalvettukkal or temple inscriptions which are in code?

I was wondering if the tamil language did indeed have a crypto concept that has mathematical backing as sakthy seemed to imply on his blog.  From what he wrote I took it to mean that this was a possibility rather than an established practice. However, the need to hide data is a universal impulse and i wondered if indian science and math did have some background in this. as to why specifically tamil, I will explain in a later mail. i am already aware that the mystics both Tamil and others, (much like the scientists of the eighteenth and earlier centuries.  Leornado, Newton, Leibnitz) coded their discoveries in cryptic text.

My response is:

i am not of an opinion that tamil were doing mathematical modeling on things that they practiced naturally like breathing.  the concept of mathematical modeling and theoretical proofs are the ideas of the west. if i am correct, our forefathers were men of practice, primarily based on observation sciences.   people observed the neighborhood carefully and identified interesting patterns. and these patterns are then connected to suitable inferences that were derived based on more observation and tuning..  if i have equate that to the current technology, the word is “statistical machine learning” without the approximations and model fitting.

i strongly believe that our men had insights which are passed on to their students as experiences on insights instead of mathematically explaining their insight like the west did.  our men had methods to conceive and transmit ideas without words (ex: bhagavath geetha 800 stanzas transmitted from the krishna “character” to the arjunan “character”).  our men understood non-linear time that exists, unlike the linear time definition of the west.  our men believed and practiced thought process instead of scripts.

ofcourse encryption was used heavily in the past, just in term of metaphors, symbols.  our guys did not work at the character by character level, instead at the context and semantics level.  anything that is semantic is difficult to model because of the heavy polysemous tamil language.

  1. Siva
    June 4th, 2013 at 17:34 | #1

    Very interesting article. Do you have any insights or pointers to Text mining tamil content.

  2. sudarsun
    June 5th, 2013 at 11:27 | #2

    Anna university and AU-KBC are research centres who are working heavily on Tamil computing and Tamil text processing. I think there is a lab in IIT Madras CSE dept, which works on Indian languages. At IIIT-Hyd, there is a lab called LTRC which works extensively on language processing. You may also find some interesting work done at C-DAC and IITB.

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