Some places like Bangalore have standard explanations for the origin of place name that is being accepted and believed by people without questioning. This includes the explanation for the worlds’ favorite software city, Bangalore. Some smart one dared to think of the origin of Bengaluru (Bangalore) as a village of boiled beans (benda + kaalu + ooru) and it has been accepted in general.
However, many like me may have their own doubts as to how the Benda-kaalu-ooru can become Bengal-ooru? In formal and/or common dialectical Kannada, benda-kaalu (=boiled beans) is not usually abridged to Bengaalu! Only in poetry such a union or words can be expected. And it is quite unusual that a poetic term should become accepted as a place for Bangalore.
Alternate theory for Origin
How about an alternate explanation for the origin of place name Bengaluru? The name Bengaluru could have been a modification of original Bangalur. The place name of Bangal+ur, the ooru (village) of Bengal or Bangal is similar to the Bengal or Bangal in origin.
Bengāl / Bangal
Surprisingly, the name Bengal in Bengaluru or Bangalore is also shared by Bengal (West Bengal, East Bengal, Bangladesh) region, where there is no widely accepted explanation for the origin of the word Bengal, even though the current wiki page on Bengal suggests that the term Bengal or Bongo may have been derived from the Bang tribes of Dravidian origin. In this blog we have explained that the suffix –al represents an (ancient) habitation located by the side of a river.
Banga being a tribe the Bengal or Bangal (Banga + al) means an ancient habitation located on the bank of a river. In fact even today, the Bangal or the Bengal is located on the banks of river Ganges.
Bangalore is not on the banks of any river at present but the geological and geomorphological evidences suggest that there was a river flowing on the western side of Bangalore once upon a time. The river appears to have dried up during the course of history.
In different parts of India we have hundreds of place names associated with or attributable to ancient Banga tribes (Banga, Bangaria, Bangaon, Banganapalle, Bangarpalle, Bangarpete, Bangadi, .Bangara, Bangaro, Bangatiya, Bangawa, Bangama, Bangai, Banganj, etc ) Some of these places have been modified into prefix of Benga (Benali, Bengahi, Bengabari, Benga male,. Banganur, Baengadi, Bengama, Bengaipatti, Bengabad etc) . The Banga were an African tribe that apparently migrated and settled in different parts of India during ancient period.
As in Bengal, the term Vanga has been a regional modification of the term Banga. Some of the Vanga villages in India are Vangara, Vangapalle, Vangai, Vangarai, Vangala, Vangali, Vangaon, Vangam, Vangad, Vangapalle, etc. Similarly, especially in southern India, the term Banga has become Panga (as in village name Pāngala) in some regions. Some of the Panga- villages in different parts of India are Pangal, Pangali, Pangam, Pangama, Pangar, Pangare, Pangari, Pangadi, Pangan, Pangaon, Pangaiyan, Pangath, Pangarkhed etc.
Surname: Banga and Banger
The term Banga has survived as a surname among the Jains of Tulunadu. Jain kings and chieftains with the surname Banga or Banga-arasa ruled parts of Tulunadu until independence.
Banger or Bangera is a most popular surname in Tulunadu common to many communities irrespective of their socio-communal status. The Banger is a plural or respectable for of the word Banga.
According to African mythology the Banga was a water God of the Ngbandi people. According to the African legends the Banga God created the white races. It is possible that Banga tribes in India were part of the white or fair skinned immigrants who have been documented distinctly as white tribes (Bola and Boller Tulu; Bellar -Kannada; Gore - Marati/Prakrit/Hindi etc) especially in the place names of the Southern India.