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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...

Friday, December 25, 2009

219. PāD-dana

The existing classification of Dravidian languages gives an overall impression that these evolved exclusively from the proto-Dravidian along a specific linear path. However, the origin and evolution of words in a language like Tulu may be more complex than visualized by linguists at present.

The word: PāD-dana
The Tulu word paD-dana appears to have had a complex origin, being possibly borrowed and adapted from the co-existing or pre- existing languages in the Karavali. Though it has been incorporated extensively in the Tulu usage, it does not sound like a original word of Tulu language. Amrita Someshwara in his work ‘Tulu PaDdana Samputa’ has also pondered over the issue.
The word paD-tana apparently is derived from old Kannada sources. The word ‘pāD(u)’ (=song) was commonly used in old Kannada. Later it became ‘hāDu’ in later Kannada, with p.> h transition. Similarly the suffix ‘–tana’ (=state of being; equivalent of English suffix ‘-hood’) is common usage in Kannada.(For, example siritana, baDatana, saNNatana, manetana etc). However, both these usages ‘pāD’ as well as ‘-tana’ are uncommon in Tulu. Therefore, it can be concluded that the word ‘paD-dana’ (or ‘paDtana’) was borrowed from old Kannada into Tulu. This is further supported by the reference in paDdanas that Panjurli came to Tulunadu from the Sahyadri Ghat areas, probably referring to ancient Kadamba Kingdom of Banavasi. Additionally, it may be noted that the name Varāhi (Varaha=Wild boar, Panjurli) has been applied to the River originating from Banavasi region.The old Kannada word pāDdana has been lost in the later versions of Kannada, probably as result of development of script and decrease of importance for the oral literature media.
pada
In Tulu phrase ‘pada panpini’ (= reciting a song), the word ‘pada’ is employed to represent an oral song. On the contrary, the word ‘pāDu’ (=song, as in old Kannada) or ‘pāTT’(=song, as in Tamil) is not in current usage in Tulu. Similarly, the suffix ‘-tana’ is not common in Tulu, except in words borrowed from Kannada. Thus the compound word ‘paD-tana’ (=act of singing) may have been borrowed from old Kannada along with the cult of Panjurli.
It is interesting to note that the word ‘pada’ evolved later to mean the word, especially in languages like Kannada that developed script in the due course. In current Kannada the equivalent of Tulu ‘pada’(=song) is ‘padya’(=poem).

Pārdana, pārteno
However there are some more equivalents of the word ‘paDdana’ in Tulu such as ‘pardana’ and ‘partena’ or ‘parteno’. However, these words were borrowed from ‘Gond’ and ‘Mundala’ languages. In Gondi language now prevalent in Vidarbha region of Maharastra, the word ‘pardan’ or ‘pardhan’ refers to tribal bards among Gonds.
Similarly, Mundala tribes use the word ‘partana’ or ‘partena’ or ‘parteno’ for the oral ballads.
The Gonds and Munda tribes were widespread in West Coastal region in the antiquity, probably before the arrival of tribes who spoke or introduced Tulu language in the Karavali region. Numerous ancient place names in the Karavali remain mute testimonies to the ancient existence of Gond and Munda tribes in the region.
PaTThana
There is an analogous Prakrit and Pali word known as ‘paTThana,’ whose original meaning has almost been lost. Some authors have surmised that it could be derived from the Sanskrit word ‘prārthana’. However, one of the Buddhist religious volumes in Pāli language has been known as ‘paTThana’, suggesting that it probably was in an oral ‘paD-dana’ form to begin with.The derived word 'paTTaN'(=reciting) has subsequently been absorbed in Hindi.
Prarthana
In the line of pardana- partana- paDdanas discussion, the Sanskrit word ‘prarthana’(=prayer) apparently has some relevance. Some authors have even suggested that the Sanskrit word ‘prarthana’ was the source or inspiration for the words partana- pardana- paDdanas. This seems unlikely since these tribal cultures were relatively more ancient and the Sanskrit was introduced in southern India more or less in the beginning of Christian Era.
Thus it seems likely that the coining of the Sanskrit word ‘prarthana’ was inspired from the tribal sequence of words namely : partana, pardana and paDdana.
Orature
Primitive cultures invented literature as creative pastimes long before the invention of script or the written word. The oral literature (‘orature’) was popular in Africa and other primitive centers of human evolution and dispersal.
Even the Vedas were a form of orature to begin with (ca.1700-500 BC), which were passed down the subsequent generations through recitation from memory. Contemporaneous Indian tribes like Mundas, Gonds and Others (who spoke Prakrit, Pali etc) had similar orature systems , like paD-dana ( or its regional variants such as partena, pardan or paTThan etc). This mode of folklore was also passed down the generations by sheer memory similar to Vedas. King Ashoka introduced the Brahmi script in India (ca. 300 BC) that revolutionized the documentation of literature. In many of the Indian languages, especially those with major royal patronage, scripts were introduced.
Note that the significance of oratures declined markedly in languages that developed popular scripts in due course like Sanskrit,Prakrit,Tamil,Kannada, etc as seen by the later disuse of the word (paDdana or its variants)in those languages.
Since some of the tribal languages of India may be older than Sanskrit, it may not be correct to consider that the preexisting languages borrowed some of these words from the Sanskrit. In reality, it may be the other way round.
Pardans (Gond bards, who apparently derived their names from singing pardan/paDdana), like Tamil Panans, acted like advisers to Kings, which subsequently introduced a new ministerial word pradhān (<.derived from 'pardan'). Similarly,the word 'pārteno' possibly led to coining of the Sanskrit word prārthana.
Sanskrit words, generally have been coined from word components that inherently carry the essence of meaning expressed in the final compound word. But if you split and analyze the words like 'prarthana' or 'pradhan', you may not get the root meanings tallying with the final meaning conveyed by the compound words.
With passage of time, we are unable to ascertain the original words that inspired formation of new words,and may be because of our inherent bias towards 'primitive' cultures.


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Saturday, December 19, 2009

218. Mungo, the rain God

We were discussing in the previous posts about some of the primitive or ancient words that possibly found entry into other regions during the process of migration of human tribes in the antiquity. The ancient words might have inadvertently lost their original identity and meaning with passage of time in the new environment. One such possible African word existing in the present Dravidian socio-cultural setup is the word ‘Mungo’.
Mungo
‘Mungo’ is the name of an African God of Rain. We can presume that the ancient African word ‘Mung’ is related to rains. Let us analyze the derived or related words in Dravidian languages like Tulu and Kannada.
Mungaru
‘Mungāru’ is a common Tulu and Kannada word for the major annual rainfall of the region, which we have also designated alternately as ’Southwest Monsoon’.
(The word ‘mungār’ has also two other meanings especially in Tulu, namely: (1) the front portion of the leg and (2) a hammer. But presently let us not go to digressing details.)
In the present context, we have presumed that ‘Mungaru’ is derived as follows:
Mun + karu, where ‘mun’= advance or advancing and ‘karu’= clouds and rains.
As a corollary, our people have created an antonym like ‘hingaru’ (hin + karu) in the similar lines to represent the second session of rains in the southern India, namely the ‘Northwest Monsoon’.
But some analysis of the word ‘kār’ or ‘kāru’ suggests that it represents dark (like a dark dense forest or dark clouds) and not the rains. Thus, we realize that ‘kār’=rains is only an assumed meaning.
If we go back to the possible original derivation from the African word ‘mung’ for rain,
Mung + aru= splash of rains. (Tulu word: ‘ār’ as in ‘aral’=splashing of shower, as in the phrase ‘aral beejuni’.)
Munge
Another Tulu word that retains the African root ‘mung’ (=rain) is ‘munge’(=sprout). It is common knowledge that rains induce sprouting in seeds kept in the open.
Mung+e. = growth (sprouting) due to rain.
There is another route for confirming the above origin of the word:
In Kannada the word ‘munge’ does not exist (at least presently) but is replaced by another similar word known as ‘moLake’ (=sprout). The word ‘moLake’ must have been a modified version of the original word ‘maLake’(=sprouting induced by rains), because: In the usage male + ke where ‘maLe’ stands for rain.
Mungāv
There is one more related word in Tulu, namely ‘mungā’, ‘mungāv’ or ‘mungo’ which means to submerge or dip in water.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

217. Kenya

Migrating tribes in the antiquity, who set out on a long trail from Africa to India, obviously with several periodic stops in between, have brought in many antique words along with them. Tulu, Bantu, Siri, Sira, Kola etc are some of the common words deduced in these blog pages to have been brought from Africa to India.
The place name ‘Manki ‘ appears t have been introduce into Karavali in the similar way, either from Papua New Guinea or from the side of Northwestern region of Indian subcontinent as discussed in the previous post.
Kenya-Kinya
One more such place name that is found in Africa as well as in Tulunadu is the word Kenya or Kinya. Kenya is a State in Africa. Kenya means the abode of Gods in African language.
We have similar sounding two places in Tulunadu that bear the name of Kinya and Kenya. In southern part of Mangalore taluk, there is one village called ‘Kinya’. And in northern part of Sullia taluk is another village called ‘Kenya’. Both these place names could be the variants of a single name Kenya. It may be recalled that the region Kenya in Africa is also pronounced as Kinya.
In the Tulu language we can somehow find meanings for both these names, but it would be neither logical nor appropriate. The word ‘Kinya’ means smaller in present Tulu. However, this meaning appears inappropriate and may not be the original meaning of the place name. Similarly, word ‘Kenya’ means ‘listen to me’ in Tulu which again is inappropriate, if not absurd, as a place name. Besides, we have analyzed in previous posts that -ya or –ia are the spatial prefixes/suffixes with (divine connotations) not only in Tulunadu (eg. Aikala, Murulia, Sullia etc) but also in Africa and Asia and Asia Minor (Arabia, Namibia, Kenya, Tunisia, Ethiopia etc).
Therefore since, -ya is a spatial suffix, Kinya and Kenya should be analyzed as
kin +ya and ken +ya.
However, the words kin and ken apparently do not have any logical meanings in present Tulu language. Therefore it is proposed that the mysterious spatial name ‘Kenya’ has been brought to Tulunadu along with immigrants in the historical past.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

216. Permanki


Some of the village names sound funny and do not have ready meanings even among the natives of those villages. One such hamlet name is Per(a)manki, located in Ulaibettu village on the banks of River Gurupur, near Neermarga and Mallur, in Mangalore Taluk.
The word ‘Permanki’ can be analyzed as follows:
In this place name, the Dravidian prefix ‘peru’ has been combined with ‘manki’. Peru or peri =large, big. Periya> hiriya= larger, bigger or elder. (There are several villages in Tulunadu carrying the prefix 'peru', like Pervaaje, Perankila, Perara, Perdur, Peramoger, Periadka, Peramannur etc.)
And we can attribute a meaning for the word ‘manki’ based on the line of analyses followed in earlier posts.
Manki= ma+anki= an elevated place.
Therefore, 'Permanki' stands for a large village located on a elevated ground or plateau.
Manki
The second word unit, namely Manki is an independent village name. We have a Manki village near Honnavar, Uttar Kannada district. The word ‘manki’  is a large settlement or a village in Munda cultural scenario and Munda language.
Suffix -ki
The word ‘manki’ emphasizes the existence of an ancient suffix -ki as a spatial attribute. It must be ancient one and discontinued later because it is not found in later or current Dravidian place names. However, it exists in some of the older place names like Neranki,Haleneranki,Parenki, Karenki(Dakshina Kannada),Karki, Valki (Uttara Kannada ), Bhalki (Bidar) etc.
Suffix –gi and –angi
Besides, we find another variant of suffix-ki in the form of –gi (or –angi) in Shimoga and surrounding regions. Ucchangi, Bhadrangi, Devangi, etc.Examples for places with suffix-'gi', are mostly found in Uttara Kannada and Uttar Karnataka: Balgi,Bargi,Biligi, Divgi, Byadagi, Nimbergi, Nesargi, Kalghatgi,Kushtagi, etc
Antiquity of words
The Karavali and contiguous parts of southern India have preserved many fossil words in the form of place names bearing testimony to numerous ancient tribes that sauntered and lived across this vast land. Although we find numerous fossil words as well as regional variants of some of these words, it is difficult task at this stage to pinpoint and classify the tribes and the words (languages) used by them.
Another possible way of establishing the antiquity of the words is to search for similar words (place names) in other parts of the world especially along known routes of human migration.
We find that  Manki as a place name exists even in Swat region (North West Frontier Province), Pakistan, in the islands of Papua New Guinea and in Poland. The Gandhar region (present Pakistan and Afghanistan) have been known as one of the ancient routes of immigration into India. Similarly the Papua New Guinea has been described as one of the early centers of human civilization outside Africa.
The strings of data discussed above establish that ancient words such as ‘manki’ have been carried to different places by the migrating human tribes.
Manki stand
There is one 'Manki' stand near Mangaladevi Temple, Mangalore.In the absence Of proper explanation, some people might have thought of this as 'monkey stand'! Now, the name 'Manki'(=elevated area) tallies with the other alternate names existing for the Old Mangalore area such as 'Mangaar'(ma+ang+ar=elevated open field). The old name 'Mangar' for the area, later became 'Mangal' and 'Mangala'probably between 6th to 8th Century CE. Yet it is interesting to note that both the ancient place names, 'Mangaar' (near Yemmekere)and 'Manki'(near Mangaladevi temple) have survived.

-With Hosabettu Vishwanath
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Monday, December 14, 2009

215. Manchakall


Do you remember a place called ‘Manchale’?
Manchale was the former name of the holy place later known as Mantralaya, located on the bank of River Tungabhadra in Raichur district, Karnataka. Guru Raghavendra, a Swami or sage of Madhwa cult became famous in the river side village of Manchale. The township and the religious institutions built around the brindavana (cemetery) of Raghavendra Swamy deserved a magical name and the old Manchale village was renamed as Mantralaya a few centuries ago. In the old village of Manchale, rural  Goddess Manchalamma was a popular deity, a form of mother Goddess the local people believed in. The increasing influence of Raghavendra Swami overshadowed the popularity of the native Goddess Manchalamma, which was resented by many.
This year several Rivers of northern Karnataka were in spate owing to unprecedented heavy rainfall in the catchment area. River Tungabhadra was also flooded leading to submergence and severe damages to the properties of the religious institutions built in the name of Guru Raghavendra.
As the legend goes, Manchalamma was instrumental in Shri Raghavendra Swami locating his Ashram at Manchale. It is with the grace of Manchalamma he established the institutions. When he went to 'samadhi' state by interning himself in a Tulasi Vrindavana, he assured devotees that he would fullfil the wishes of 'Bhaktas' (devotees) by remaining invisible for 700 years (or so) thereafter. His power ,as experienced by devotees, is vibrant still today, though Manchalamma is the reigning deity of Manchale .>. Mantralaya.

However, the laymen connect the recent flooding at Mantralaya to the wrath or curse of Manchalamma for neglecting Her!
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The place name Manchale= Mancha+ala. The suffix ‘ -ala ‘or ’- ale’ refers to the river. Then, what is the ‘mancha’?
Manchakall
Manchakall(u) is a hamlet adjoining Shirva town in Udupi district. Manchakall area is strewn with abundant rocky exposures. Manchakall sounds strange, but makes sense when you analyze the meanings of the place name Palli.
Palli also means ‘rock -bed’ structures used formerly by Buddhist and/or Jain monks during the early centuries of CE. Therefore, Manchakall is an alternate word for the Palli.
Mancha (=cot or bed) + kall (=rock).
Mancha in modern Kannada means a wooden cot. In Tulu, it also means pedestals or modified seats reserved for the installation of spirits. This application also indicates the possible heritage of the word. The rocky seat or pedestal preferred by monks was also known as ‘mancha’ or ‘manchavu’. Detailed archeological studies in the rocky region of Manchakall may throw special light on early historical rock structures frequented by Buddhist and or Jain monks. It is also possible that destruction of rocks in the name of development may have damaged any of the archeological structures.
Ma + anchav= elevated structure.
(Compare with:
‘manja’ . (ma +anja) =elevated land,
‘manga’ . (ma +anga) =animal on the tree.
'manji' . (ma +anji) = big sailing ship.)
Manchi
There is another similar sounding village in the southern part of Bantval Taluk that sports the name Manchi. The word ‘Manchi ‘was an early variant of the name ‘mancha’ or ‘manchav’. Several place names have such ‘–i ’ variants, such as nādu-nādi, pāda-pādi, vāda-vādi, bāda-bādi , uru- uri etc.
Besides there are many places all over Karnataka having the prefix of ‘mancha-’. The word mancha is a gift of Dravidian languages to Sanskrit. It is a widely used word in all languages, including Tulu. Vishwanath's Kannada Pandit in Vidyadayinee High School, Suratkal,late Shri Padmanabha Somayaji, who learnt Sanskrit for twelve years in Mysore, used to say that 'Mancha' is a Kannada word, gifted to Sanskrit.( For that matter, Tamils would say, that it is a gift from Tamil). Sanskrit has a definite rule for explaining etymology of a word from the root word. 'Mancha' is an exception to that rule.
Manchil: A palanquin used for carrying important persons in the past years. The Kula Gurus and religious pontiffs, were used to be carried around in such 'manchil's.

There are also Manchar in Tulunadu, Maharashtra, and Pakistan.
'Manchad' Manchad is a Tibeto-Burman language, also known as Pattani, Lahuli or Swangla, spoken in Hiamachal Pradesh
(Indo-Tibetan border) means a lower valley in local Tibetan dialect.
Manchar in Pune district is a town on Pune- Nashik road alongside Sahyadri Range. Manchar and Manchad are most probably cognates.
Rangamancha= A stage or (raised) platform for performing arts, like Yakshagana.
North Indians use the word ‘Manch’ to represent a platform, a stage or a forum.

-With Hosabettu Vishwanath.
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Vishwa Tulu Sammelano 2009



The festivities and the celebrations of the first World Tulu Conference (Vishwa Tulu Sammelano, 2009) comes to an end today 13th December 2009 at Ujire, Belthangadi taluk, Dakshina Kannada district.We have captured some of the scenes of the festivity brimming with enthusiasm and moods of the people.It is estimated that about 0.5 million people visited the conference.







The logo of 'Vishwa Tulu Sammelano 2009'.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

214. PATNA

The word ‘patna’ represents a town in many of the Indian languages. The city in Jharkhand (and former capital of Bihar) is known as ‘Patna’. Besides, there are towns called ‘patna’ in Gujarat. In southern India, the word appears to have been applied to ancient port towns: Machalipatna, Nagapatna, Visakapatna etc. In Tulunadu context, the word is mostly applied to coastal colonies of Mogavir fishermen. In the olden days the fishing colonies were generally associated with port towns. Thus the word ‘patna’ was interchangeably used for port towns and the associated fishery colonies. People from the Tulu fishing community were used to be addressed as 'patnadakulu' (=fishermen) or 'pattaldi' (=fisher woman) by other communities.
On the other hand, the ancient towns and capitals were initially built around the port towns, as the ports were the major centers of trade and revenue.
Moolara patna
However, the word is not exclusively used for port towns or fishery colonies even in Tulu context. Moolara-patna on the bank of River Palghuni (Gurupur) is an example. Moolara patna as the name reveals is a colony of ‘Moola’ or ‘Moolya’ people. The word ‘moola’ represents origin and thus the word ‘moolya’ stands for aborigine.
Bokka patna
Bokka-patna is an example for an ancient port town associated with fishery colony. Bokkapatna is presently a lesser known civic extension in western part of Mangalore city. However, only few can visualize and realize that once it was a major port town representing Mangalore, especially during 12th to 15th Centuries CE. Reconstruction of geological history of the area reveals that the River Phalguni (Gurupur) was joining the Arabian Sea between Kudroli and Bolar. And the Kings of Vijayanagar who occupied Mangalore during 14th Century CE, developed port on the bank of river estuary and named it as “Bokkapatna” in honour of the Vijayanagar King Bukka (or Bokka).Therefore the Bokkapatna was the official Mangalore port during that historical period.
Patna: Let us analyze the word ‘patna’ ( pron: paTNa ) to gain some insights into the evolution of our words and languages. The origin of the word appears to be:
paTT + Na. (‘paTT’=colony or nest, aNa, aNe=area.)
There are at least four similar sounding roots related to the word patna: (1) patt 1(2) patt 2(3) pat, or pata and (4) pada and (5)padu.
1. Patt 1= a nest, a group or a colony.
2. Patt 2= to distribute among people.
3. Pata= a cloth, a curtain or a flag or a stretch of land. Also pictures, portraits or maps (drawn on a canvas, cloth piece or a paper) or a kite.. Examples: bhupata (=Map), chitrapata, galipata etc.
The Sanskrit word ‘path’(=linear path, road) appears to be related and /or derived from the old word ‘pata’
4. Pada=(pron: paDa) The word ‘paDa’ (pron: short pa+Da. Pa=low lying; Da=area) represents (1) a beach area demarcated for drying fish along the coast, or (2) a mat knitted from coconut fibers and used for drying fish. The word ‘paDa’ also means (3) to take a turn or (4) a large boat (‘paDavu’).
5. Padu =(pron: paDu) = West. (pa=(1).Sea margin, beach, (2) low lying; Du=area, possibly refers to the direction of Arabian Sea or coastal low lying area).
** **
There are some more related words for comparison in Tulu language:
Padil : PaDil represents a barren or waste land.
Patla: Patla (pron: paTla) means a low-lying marshy land alongside a river. [Origin: pa+T+la. ‘paT’=low lying +strip of land+ covered by ‘ala’(=water) ]. A ‘paTla kanDa’ means a wet, water-logged rice field, near a river, yielding only one crop per year In ‘patla kanda’, flooding is a common feature in rainy season rendering it unfit for rainy season's paddy cultivation of 'yenel' crop. ['Yenel' (yene+al) as ‘water from the sky’ (=rains)]. In these days of building constructions, these marshy lands are reclaimed and made habitable with modern type of buildings. Hence the Tulu idiomatic expression/usage: “Patla pOdu uru aanD” (=The marshy land has become village).
Patti: Patti (pron: paTTi) is a strip of cloth, metal or wood. It also developed into a linear strip like colony of houses or a village habitation.. The word ‘patti’(=habitation) became ‘hatti’ in medieval Kannada, with transformation of p> h.
Patti2 was a strip of cloth wherein records were written in the historical past, before the invention of paper.
Patta: The word ‘patta’ (pron: paTTa) means authority, throne or royal power. In other words it is power over a stretch of land.
Men of high positions (masters or authorities), landed gentry living in palatial buildings are called 'pattadakulu' in Tulu parlance.
Thus a ‘Patel’ represents a village chairman or head. The word ‘Patel’ has become ‘Pātil’ in northern Karnataka and Maharastra areas. Patel is also current in Gujarat as surname and profession. Possibly the word ‘Patel’ was brought to Tulu and Kannada region by the immigrants from north.
In interior Karnataka and Maharashtra, the word Patel has transformed to 'Patil or Pateela', meaning landlord, hence a man of high position.
Patte: The word ‘patte’ originally means a silken cloth. It was customary to preserve land records in a 'patte' (invariably in red colour). Hence, the word ‘patte’ it came to mean a 'registered land record', showing rightful entitlement. 'Patte kudtale' also means a record of ownership of land or landed property with registered right of paying land revenue tax. So the word: 'pattedār or pattadāre' (land-owner, possessing valid record of rights). 'Pattevaali' also means a striped silk cloth.
Patawari: Note this nomenclature current in Hindi-spaking belts. Meaning is similar to 'Patele, Patel, Pattedare, Pattadaare' (Tulu), Pātil (Maharashtra, Karnataka), Patel (Gujarat) and so on in other areas.
Patavardhan: This surname or title common in Maharashtra and Karnataka also relates to root word 'Pata'.
Pata Parivartan: meaning 'Change of flag,curtain', refers to change of circumstances in different points of time. In History, it means stages of different events, rise and fall of monarchies, governments, social and religious upheavals and new schools of thoughts.
Patasale (Padasale): Padsale means 'main living room of a house'. The word 'paDasale' possibly meant originally a west side living room.Kawdoor Narayana Shetty has pointed out that the word "saala" means a living room in Italian language.
Note: Pata and Pada are interchangeable words in Tulu.

-with Hosabettu Vishwanath.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

213. Kotrupādi

Village names like 'Kotrupadi'(pron:koTrupādi) open up windows into forgotten early chapters of the human evolution in the Tulunad. The Kotrupadi is a hamlet within Kallamundkur village, located on the Mulki-Mudabidri road in Mangalore taluk. There is one more ‘Kutrupadi’ near Bantra village in Puttur Taluk.
There may be many more such hamlets known by similar sounding names. What is the ‘Kotru’ or ‘Kutru‘ stand for in such place names? My casual enquiries with random people near such villages do not elicit any meanings worth pondering. There are some more such words: ‘Kottigehara’ near Charmadi, bordering Chikmagalur district, on the Western Ghats (Sahyadri ranges). ‘Kottur’ in Bellary district. ‘Kottara’, inside Mangalore city.etc.

Koytoors
Gond tribes now residents of Vidarbha region in Maharastra are known as ‘ Koytoor’ or ‘Koitur’ or simply ‘Koi’. Gonds are a hilly tribe (‘gond’ or ‘kond’=hill) who are cultivators or depend on forest products for their livelihood. Gonds are said to be Dravidian tribes. Some sociologists also include these tribes among pre-Dravidian Munda Group. These dual classification of Gonds suggest that these tribes could be representatives of the stages of evolutionary trends from the early Munda to Dravidian tribes. Sham.Baa. Joshi refers to Goddess “Kotturi” in some of his works. ‘Kotturi’ Goddess is probably related to Koitur or Gond tribes.

Books like “Socio-cultural study of scheduled tribes: the pardhans of Maharashtra” by Shashidhar Ramchandra Murkute and “Gonds of Vidarbha “by S.G. Deogaonkar throw better light on these tribes.
The presence of abundant place names with prefix ‘Koi’ or ‘Koitru’ or ‘Kotru’ in Karavali Tulunadu and other parts of Karnataka reveals that these tribes lived in these regions once upon a time. And due to various adverse reasons these tribes might have migrated north towards Vidarbha in Maharastra. Many of the ancient socio-religious customs of early Gond tribes have been assimilated into the cultural practices of subsequent Tulu and other Dravidian generations.

Ancient Gonds of Tulunadu
The existence of place names beginning with ‘Koi’- (Koikude, Koila etc) and ‘Kotru’-(Kotrupadi, Kottara, Kottigehar etc) in Tulunadu are the remnant signatures of ancient Koitur Gond settlements. The agricultural implement ‘Kottu’(hand showel) may be having origins with ‘Kotru’ tribes. The earlier Koi and Kotru tribes were possibly partly absorbed into later Dravidian communities as seen by the undercurrents of ancient Gond customs among us. Assimilation of tribes suggest that they were evolved enough to gain respectability by the immigrants.
Further, ‘Gondarannaya’ has remained as a ‘Bari’ (septa) and ‘Konde’(<.Gonde), ‘Kotari’, ‘Kotriyal’ etc have remained as surnames especially among Tulu Nadava people.
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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.
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A Coastal estuary

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

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