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How Malayalam Slang Words developed through Foreign Invasions

Words from foreign languages made their way into the local dialect through trade and colonial rule

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  • Life in India has been influenced by European superpowers ever since the British Rule
  • Indian Leaders, understanding the importance of western education, helped in spreading western influence
  • Malayalam as a language has been greatly influenced by historical events revolving around foreign rule

Life in India has been highly influenced by the arrival and stay of foreign powers in every possible facet, and this is true with regard to India’s traditionally rich languages as well. Western culture and education was first adopted by great Indian leaders like Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda and Ram Mohan Roy, who learnt to understand the base of western culture. The spread of western influence was facilitated by these Indian leaders themselves. While these leaders went on foreign voyages to teach the tenets of Hinduism, they happened to imbibe the spiritual values of the West as well. ”

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Mahatma Gandhi’s statement serves as a perennial source of inspiration. He writes, “I do not want my house to be walled on either side and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all lands to blow about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown away.”

220px-Malayalam.svg
The first letter in Malayalam

Malayalam, a language native to Kerala, was one of the last languages to evolve in South India. This fact made it vulnerable to changes from external situations.

“Malayalam has a history of assimilating loanwords from various foreign tongues”, writes Anoop Sarkar at scroll.in. Kerala, the southern state of India, is thought to be the most influenced by western culture, as is evident in today’s local life being dwelt in that state. A few words that were coined this way in Malayalam only serve as an example of how the language was deeply impacted by foreigners.

OC (ഓസ്സി/ഓസ്സ്)

verb. to get something for free at someone’s else expense

This word is believed to be originated from the East India Company times, when there was a facility of sending out official parcels and letters without paying postage. These parcels would be stamped as ‘OCS’, which stood for ‘On Company Service’. The word must have descended into the local language and modified to OC. It is also prevalent in Tamil, and probably made its way into Malayalam through Tamil.

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Knappan (ക്ണാപ്പൻ)

noun. a good-for-nothing guy

Sir Arthur Rowland Knapp was a British officer of the Indian Civil Services, who served as the collector of the Malabar district of the Madras presidency. His inexperience and lack of knowledge about local customs resulted in most of his administrative reforms being unpopular and fruitless.

It is believed that even after he left from Malabar, Arthur Knapp’s name became synonymous with incompetence, consequently being adopted into Malayalam as Knappan. Though there are no officially documented records of this fact, it is widely believed to be true by literary experts.

Yemandan (യമണ്ടൻ)

adj. unusually huge and/or powerful

This Malayali word originated from from a German battleship named SMS Emden. Because of its military prowess, this ship proved to be a major contributor for the German Navy during World War I. During its war operations in the Bay of Bengal and later, in the Arabian Sea (close to the coast of Kerala), it was responsible for the destruction of many European military and merchant ships.

The main goal of this ship’s operation was to belittle the respect that Indians held for the British. The infamous bombardment of Madras was one of its worst attacks on the British colony. This event, which literally lit up the night sky with the sheer magnitude of the attack, was etched in the minds of the local people for years to come.

The word Yamandan, an adoption of the ship’s name, thus came into the local folklore as a superlative for something large and powerful.

KD (കേഡി)

noun. a bully or trouble maker

A minor criminal that has been caught with frequent offences is called as ‘Known Depradator’, or KD, in the Indian Penal code. Even to this date, most police stations are required to keep an account of all the KDs in their district.

-written by Saurabh Bodas. Saurabh is an intern at NewsGram.

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Cepheid to Establish Manufacturing Unit for TB Diagnostics in India

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment

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The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.
The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach. (IANS)

Expanding its footprint in India, US-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid Inc on Thursday announced its plans to establish a manufacturing unit in the country to improve Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics.

Cepheid’s GeneXpert MTB/RIF test is a closed-cartridge-based system that is easy to operate by minimally trained staff and gives results in approximately two hours, speeding the conventional backlog that used to exist in traditional diagnostic methods.

The new manufacturing unit would produce MTB/RIF test cartridges, contribute to the government’s “Make in India” initiative and thus bringing the company’s global expertise in TB diagnostics to India, the company said in a statement.

As part of the plan, Cepheid also unveiled its latest portable, easy-to-use TB-testing system — the GeneXpert Edge — which is expected to be available in India later this year, the company said.

The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.

“Cepheid recognises the need for technological advancement and is committed to contributing significantly to India’s goal of TB eradication,” said Peter Farrell, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Operations, Cepheid.

Cepheid's Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB)
Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB).

“We are hopeful that GeneXpert Edge will help eliminate delays in TB diagnostics by providing definitive results within hours and facilitating fast and easy last-mile delivery even in the remote villages of India,” he added.

India has nearly one-fourth of the global TB patients and an estimated 4.8 lakh lives are lost every year due to delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment and there are above 2.5 million new cases of TB every year. The country aims to eradicate TB by 2025.

Approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010, more than 1,200 Cepheid’s GeneXpert Systems have been installed in the last two years at various Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) sites in the country and more than 2.5 million cartridges were supplied last year at various centres of Central TB Division (CTD).

Also Read: Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kerala

Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB) and rifampicin-resistance mutations, which are markers for MDR-TB strains in under two hours.

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment.

Xpert MTB/RIF tests also have excellent negative predictive value, which allows clinicians to manage TB-negative patients more effectively to prevent unnecessary and costly respiratory isolations. (IANS)