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363. Deciphering Tulu-nadu place names

The readers would observe that many of the Tulu Place names may not convey, on the face of it, any specific meaning or apparent meanings...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

194.Jambāl – an archaic Tulu Word

The word ‘Jambāl’ is another tickler as Chakana (See Post-179), pestering me from childhood. Simply, it means a stream ('todu'). There are many natural streams along the Western coast. Some are narrow and short and some are broad and long and curvaceous. Swollen in monsoon, they empty rainwater from nearby elevated and bushy area (either cultivated and uncultivated) into the Arabian Sea.

Let us dissect the ‘Jambāl’ as ‘Jamb(u)+āl’ to elicit the possible meaning of the word:

Jamb(u):
Though the exact meaning of this word is uncertain the following possibilities can be considered:

= Stagnant water or bad smell of stagnant water (Tulu Lexicon p.1277).
= A peninsula (as in Jambudwipa, i.e. Puranic name of Indian peninsula (ibid p.1277); or its shape.
= Reddish violet colour or pear shape (as in Jambu-nerale, Kempu pannerale (Malaya guava), edible fruits.)
= Jangal (woods)?
= Sky, star, or thunder (ibid p.1276).

A(a)l:
= Water body, river etc.
Aal is an old Tulu word. Since it is found all over India, we can consider it as a Proto-Dravidian word. It has been ensconced in many place-names (toponyms). Eg. Kaipunjāl, Alevoor, Bajāl, Kudala, Uppala(Uppu+ala),Pangala, Kulur (Ku-al-oor?); Kāndla (Gujarat), Bangla(West Bengal/Bangladesh);Bandla(Himachal Pradesh), Shimla (Himachal Pradesh).
Mangrove is called Kandela/Kandel in Tulu also. ( See more place-names in Post-186).

The following three alternative meanings can be deduced to the word ‘Jambāl’:
1. A stagnant stream or tidal stream.
2. A stream originating from elevated woods.
3. A stream generated out of thunder from the sky.

Jambuli
There is a related word in Tulu namely 'Jambuli' which refers to a baggy structure traditionally carried by fisher-women during their door to door sale of fishes in rural areas. Jambuli is a bag that may or may not hold so many items at any moment.
In the similar vein, a coastal tidal stream (Jambala) similarly may contain copious water during high tide and meagre water during the low tide. Thus,it seems the word 'Jambala' may be akin to word 'Jambuli'.
If this proposal is accepted then we can add an additional meaning to the word 'jamb' or 'jambu'.
Jambu= to swell (verb), swollen (adjective).

There is one such ‘Jambaal’ at Doddakopla (Suratkal), alongside my paternal property, to which my childhood memory is attached.This particular jambaal swells in monsoon but holds water through out the year and occasionally high tide water enters the jambaal. Banks of this jambaal is walled by ‘murakallu’ (laterite stone) to guide water and to avoid land erosion. There were/are small fish with black stripes on white background, called ‘kallai’ in Tulu. Such fishes are abundantly found in shallow rocky sea area; hence the fit name ‘kallai’. We children were fond of angling to catch them in the jambaal.

Similar natural watercourses can be observed in Kaup (near Lighthouse) and Guddekopla (Suratkal) and other areas along the coastline.

There are many such forgotten or near-lost words in Tulu. Readers may send their inputs on such words for discussion in this Blog.


-* Hosabettu Vishwanath *

Blog Archive

Books for Reference

  • A Comparative Study of Tulu Dialects By Dr. Padmanabha Kekunnaya. Govinda Pai Reserach Centre, UDupi. 1994
  • Koti Chennaya: Janapadiya Adhyayana. By Dr. Vamana Nandavar. Hemanshu Prakashana ,Mangalore.2001.
  • Male kudiyaru. Dr B. A.Viveka Rai and D.Yadupathi Gowda, Mangalore University,1996.
  • Mogaveera Samskriti By Venkataraja Punimchattaya. Karnataka Sahitya Academy.1993.
  • Mugeraru:Jananga Janapada Adhyayana. By Dr Abhaya Kumar Kaukradi.Kannada & Culture Directorate,Bangalore & Karnataka Tulu Academy, Mangalore,1997.
  • Puttubalakeya Pad-danagalu. Ed: Dr B.A.Viveka Rai,Yadupati Gowda and Rajashri, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Tulu Peeta. Mangalore University.2004
  • Se'erige. Ed:Dr K.Chinnapa Gowda.Madipu Prakashana,Mangalagangotri,2000.
  • Studies in Tuluva History and Culture.by Dr P Gururaja Bhat (1975).Milagres College,Kallinapur,Udupi.
  • Taulava Sanskriti by Dr.B.A.Viveka Rai, Sahyadri Prakashana,Mysore 1977
  • TuLu naaDu-nuDi By Dr.PalthaDi Ramakrishna Achar, Puttur.
  • TuLu NighanTu. (Editor in Chief: Dr U.P.Upadhyaya, Govinda Pai Research Centre,Udupi. Six volumes. 1988 to 1997
  • Tulu Patero-A Philology & Grammar of Tulu Language by Budhananda Shivalli.2004.Mandira Prakashana Mangalore. p.317. (The book is in Tulu Language using Kannada script)
  • TuLunadina ShasanagaLa Sanskritika Adhyayana. By Shaila T. Verma (2002) Jnanodaya Prakashana,Bangalore, p.304.(Kannada)
  • Tuluvala Baliyendre. Compiled by N.A.Sheenappa Hegde,Polali,Sri Devi Prakashana,Parkala,1929/1999

A Coastal estuary

A Coastal estuary
Holegadde near Honavar,Uttara Kannada dist, Karnataka

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