Apparently, it looks that the words Gadang, Bandasale with its corrupted forms and Bankara Katte give different meanings. Is it so? Emphatically, ‘No’ is the answer. Let us explore.
I have been wondering about the odd-sounding word Gadang (ಗಡಂಗು), both in Tulu and Kannada,during my school days. My knowledge was limited to that ‘it is a toddy selling shop’. I remember the tall and big building with a large hall, which was standing on the north-end of coastal part of Hosabettu, traditionally called ‘Hosabettu Patna’. It was a toddy storing and selling shop, under a Billava contractor. My father, a ‘Shenava’, an Accounts Writer, used to take me there once in a while for giving me a glass of ‘sweet toddy’ (Note: Freshly drawn toddy is always sweet, which is not intoxicating). Once I felt ashamed on seeing near the counter my teacher Babu Master of Vidyadayinee Higher Elementary School.
It is noted from documented records of travelers and geographers that Indian place names are corrupted by foreign traders of early Christian era and by colonial traders of 15th Century and onwards. Readers may do well if they revisit our Posts on Mangalore to recollect the various names of Mangalore. We have touched the topic of ‘Bankara Katte’ in our Post No. 183: Uliyaragoli to Malpe-II. My curiosity is rekindled on seeing an Entry on ‘Bankshall’ in Hobson-Jobson Dictionary.
Gadang specifically means ‘a toddy storage and selling shop’ by a Guttigedar (ಗುತ್ತಿಗೆದಾರ್ ), a contractor holding a monopoly licence of Government for supplying certain goods (Tulu Lexicon, p.1042) within a certain area. Even today, a toddy or arrack selling shop is called a gadang rather than ‘godamu or gudam’, meaning store-house in general. Toddy is stored in big earthen pots (Skt. Ghata, Tulu: Gada/ Gaddavu?). Gadang is attached with a ‘Chakana’, providing spicy curries of fish (Post-179: Chakana).
It could be guessed that it is equated to ‘Godown’ by foreingers on coming across the word ‘Gedang’ in Malaya archipelago. Synonymous words (ibid, p.1042) in other languages are as under:
Tamil: Kitanki = prison, store-house.
Hobson-Jobson (p.381-382) gives studied description of ‘godown’, constantly in use in India and China, by quoting from various quotations from earlier works of 16th to 19th Centuries, as:
1. A warehouse for goods and stores.
2. An outbuilding used for stores.
3. Store Room.
4. It is ‘Gudam’ in Hindi and Bengali, apparently an adoption of the Anglo-Indian word.
5. It says a Malay word ‘gadong’, which appeared to have passed to the sub-continent of India from Eastern Settlement. It means a store house, built of brick or stone.
6. But the Book opines that it may be common Java and Malaya words from Tamil as many settlers from Coromandel Coast settled in Malacca Archipelago.: Telegu ‘gid(d)angi’ and Tamil ‘Kidangu’ signify ‘a place where goods lie, from ‘kidu’, meaning ‘to lie’.
7. Sinhalese: Gudama
8. It is thought to be a construction ‘almost under-ground’ and hence, the coinage of word ‘Godown’ in English.
It is a locale in Kidiyur (near Udupi) on the bank of curvaceous stream originating around Ambalapadi and joining Udyavara River. As we gather, once upon a time it was a market place where boats and sailing ships anchored for unloading and loading (see our Post). It may not be a name, derived from a person named ‘Banka’. Ban (Skt. Van=water) + kara (= Bank) + Katte (Market or Meeting Place). It, however, draws us near to ‘Vanik>Vania>Bania, i.e. a class of (marine) merchants of yore. It is common in phonetics, ‘v’ changing to ‘b’.
Tamils call Tulu as ‘Tamil Tulu’ during Sangam period (q.v. Vishwamurugu’s articles). As we also understand, Tulu is very near to Kannada and Tamil. Applying the meaning of ‘kidu’ (Point-6 in earlier sub-title), we can deduce that there could have been storage facilities (Unfortunately, we see no trace of it now). It may also answer our query for the origin of place name ‘Kidiyur’ as opposed to the one derived in our earlier Post.
Corrupted form of ‘Bhandashale’ is ‘Bankshall’ in Hobson-Jobson (P.61-62). It describes ‘Bankashale as: (a) a warehouse and (b) as the office of the Harbour Master or other Port Authority. In the former sense, the word is still used in South India; in Bengal, the latter is the only sense recognized……..In Sea Hindustani, in the forms ‘bansar’ and ‘bangsal’ for a store House (Roebuck).
‘Bankshall’ is in fact one of the oldest of the words taken up by foreign traders. Portuguese King John (C. 1524) adopted this word very early. Hobson-Jobson reveals many serious etymological analyses:
1. Bangsal: Crawford says that it is “a word defined in Malay dictionary as:
(Java) A Shed; a store-house, a workplace’ a porch; a covered passage.”
2. Bankasala, from Skt. Vanik or vanik, ‘trade’, and sala ‘a hall’ as per Wilson’s etymology.
3. Skt. ‘Bhandasala’, Canarese ‘Bandasale’, Malayals ‘Pandisala’, Tamil ‘Pandasalai’ or ‘Pandakasalai’: a storehouse or magazine.
Editors express difficulty in deciding which one of the two last is the original word; “the prevalence of the second in South India is an argument in its favour; and the substitution of ‘g’ for ‘d’ would be in accordance with a phonetic practice of not uncommon occurrence.”
The term ‘Banksoll’ was a puzzling word to English in India. It is borrowed from the Dutch Dutch’s ‘Soll’ or Danish ‘Zoll’ is equivalent of English ‘Toll’. The Banksoll was then the place on the bank where all tolls or port duties were levied on landing goods (Talboys Wheeler, Early Records of B. India, 196).
In restricted sense, the word Gadang basically means a Toddy House in Tulu Nadu. In nutshell, all the words under discussion are related to ancient marine trade where produces of hinter land, such as rice, fish, spices, coconut, coir and other products of coastal area were brought to ports. They are stored in Bhandasāles (Storage house) of ultimate sellers before export.
This traditional system of export trade is in contradiction to the sophisticated container system of the present day, wherein the designated goods are loaded immediately into ships as pre-arranged.
-Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune