(Last Updated on : 01/01/2009)
The Brahmi script is the parent of several families and sub families of scripts developed in India (North and South India) and in Southeast Asia, Tibet, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In the south, the Brahmi took the Pallava script. The Pallava script was further developed into various forms in different regions of South India on one hand, on the other it was taken to Southeast Asia.
Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada are referred to as the Southern scripts. They have a distinctly different script made up of rounded letters. Among the southern scripts, Tamil differs in its writing system with only eighteen consonants and twelve vowels. In Tamil and other Southern scripts, mantras will be written at the left or right or sometimes both sides of the consonants. The southern languages have a few consonants not seen in the Northern languages as hard `ra`, special `la, and zha`. Telugu among them appears complex in respect of glyphs required to accommodate all the conjuncts in use.
In South India, Sanskrit used to be written in a special script known as the Grantha script (Pallava Grantha). Among the Dravidian language, Tamil is the oldest. It has been in existence at least for the last 2300 years. The first script to be used for writing tamil was the tamil Brahmi script.