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  Poets in India had handled interesting word structures from very early times. Palindromes form interesting word structures. Basically the word reads the same when read either way, from left to right or right to left.

  One sees many palindromes in English and there are groups devoting times to detecting palindromes. Surprisingly many long palindromes have been identified but they do not make sense when read in the context of a word or a sentence. Indian poets have handled palindromes remarkably well in their works and these are amazingly constructed word structures which make perfect sense and convey a meaning as well. Sanskrit and Tamil Literature abound in such creations.

  Unlike the English Language palindromes where the letters of the alphabet forming the word (or sentence) are read  one by one in reckoning the mirror image structure, Palindromes in Sanskrit and Tamil are reckoned by identifying the aksharas (syllables) and not the consonants and vowels. As a result, one cannot simply look at the internal representation of the text and perform a string match by comparing the forward and reverse text string unless of course the representation conforms to a syllabic form. 

  Currently, ISCII, Unicode or other representation which are based on fonts do not directly store syllables in fixed sized storage units and so it will be rather difficult to take a string and check it to see if its a palindrome. The internal representation used by the IITM software does correspond to a syllable level handling of the aksharas and so is well suited for text processing in Sanskrit or other indian languages. Interested readers may visit the page discussing the limitations seen in using ISCII or Unicode for electronic processing of text in indian languages.

  Given below are some examples of interesting palindromes seen in Sanskrit and Tamil Poetry. Considering the fact that the associated poems were composed hundreds of years ago, it goes to establish the fact that linguistics as a science had been perfected in India from the very beginning.

Specific Observations

In Sanskrit, the presence of an Anuswar or visarg in a syllable is ignored. A samyuktakhar is retained as such when reading the string backwards.

In Tamil, some concessions are effected where the long and short forms of a vowel are treated as equivalents for purposes of checking a palindrome.

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