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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...

Monday, February 17, 2014

331. Munder, Mundkur, Munda Villages.


The people of Mund(u)kur Village in Udupi District in the coastal Karnataka are currently in festive mood as the annual season of Rathotsava (the chariot festival) celebrations connected with the Village Goddess Durga Parameshwari is scheduled to be culminating on 18th February 2014. We have discussed several historical aspects of  Mundkur (Mundukuru) village in some of the earlier posts in this blog in tidbit fashion (Posts: 5, 216, 219, 305, 309 etc). In this Post  we shall discuss some of the Munda village names that are distributed and found in different parts of  India such that some strings of historical data that many of us are not explicitly aware of (or do not want to believe because of inherent prejudices) can be appreciated.
The Mundkur Village presently has two alternate names used commonly: (1) Mundkur (Mundukuru) and (2) Munder.

Munder Village
While in Kannada the Village is usually referred to as Mundukur or Mundkur, (d pronounced as D in daughter), in Tulu language people call this village as Munder (pronounced as munDeir; with D pronounced as in Daughter).  Consequently, there is a tendency to believe that Munder is a Tulu word for the equivalent Kannada place name of  Mundkur (or Mundukuru).

However, it is quite interesting to note that the term Munder is not an original or exclusive Tulu word since similar place names are distributed all over India. Now there are villages called Munder (and also Mundera or Munderi) in Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Rajastan and other States of India. Hence it can be deduced that the term Munder is an antique word borrowed from an earlier language and culture associated with Munda group of Austro-Asiatic languages which was widespread in various parts of India.

Thus the presence of Munder place names spread widely in different parts of India suggests that the word hails from the antiquity and not a word restricted to users of Tulu language.
It seems that Munder was the original name of the village since cultural antiquity which was modified to Mundaka and Mundakur with passage of time and introduction of Kannada  by the rulers.

Mundkur Village
In Kannada usage, the village is generally known as Mundkur. The word Mundkur or Mundukuru can be analysed as Mundaka+oor.  It seems that the place name Mundukur evolved in two stages. It could have been Mundaka to begin with and subsequently the suffix -oor (or –ur) was attached.
There are several similar village names ending with suffix -kur ,  like: Nandikur, Barakur , Pilikur etc in Karavali. Probably, these villages were originally known as Mundaka, Nandika, Baraka, Pilika etc (as in place name Kabaka, etc) to which the suffix –ooru was affixed later along the historical timeline.

Munda, the term
The term Munda basically referred to a hamlet level leader of tribal people. Several hamlets or a confederation of habitations had a leader known as Manki among the Austro-Asiatic tribes living in different parts of India. Somehow the term Munda was extended later to represent the Austro-Asiatic tribes and the term Manki was referred to their villages as a place name. The term Munda was adapted into some of the Indian languages and for a example it means a young man in Punjabi language.  
Places having Munda affixation in the name are quite common in Dakshina Kannada & Udupi Districts as well as in other parts of Karnataka and India. There are some 801 officially notified villages with ‘Munda’ as a prefix enlisted in Census of India list for 2011. There may be many more similar sub-villages and hamlets unlisted in the Census list. Besides, there are also numerous additional villages having the suffix of ‘Munda’ in their place names (for example, Permunde). It seems some place names like Permunde were modified with passage of time to Permude.

Munda Villages in India

Andaman & Nicobar Islands: Munda Pahar
Andhra Pradesh: Mundrai, Mundladinna, Mundla Pahar, Mundala, Mundur, Mundlapadu, Mundlamuru, Mundla palle, Mundlavaripalle, Mundlapudi, Munda basti,

Bihar: Mundamla, Mundiari, Mundipur, Mundaramchhapra, Mundwa, Mundichak, Mundisarae,

Chattisgarh: Mundadih,, Mundagaon, ,Mundadeori,,Mundadadar, MundaTola, Mundeli, Mundera, Mundara, Mundapal, Mundagarh, Mundenar, Mundaplli, Munderm, Mundwal,

Gujarat: Mundha, Mundamer, Mundhvay, Mundra, Mundi,

Haryana: Mundheta, Mundarka, Munda Majra, Munda khera, Mundhri, Mundh, Mundi Garhi, Mundlana, Mundhlian, Mundhal Kalan, MundhalKhurd, Mundakhera, Mundakera, Mundra, Mundia khera, Mundain, Mundra, Mundawa, Mundi, Mundhalia, Mundiakhera,

Himachal Pradesh: Mundah, Mundla, Mundha, Mundhal, Mundwin, Mundkher Genda, Mundkher Tulsi, Mund kher, Mundru, Mundi khurd, Mundi kalan, Mundar, Mundu,  Mundli,

Jammu & Kashmir: Mundli Gaon, Mundak Pal, Mundah, Mund dhar, Mund,

Jharkhand: Mundatanr, Mundradih, Mundhari, Mundro, Munda, Mundli, Mundih, Mundomala, Mundo, Mundudih, Mundar, Mundatoli, Mundari, Mundiedal, Mundul, Munduam, Mundadeo, Mundatand, Mundakati,

Karnataka: Mundwad, Mundaganur, Mundargi, Mundki, Mundaganamane, Mundagesara, Munduvalli, Mundkuru, Mundanahalli, Mundre, Mundagadore, Mundaghatta, Mundagodu, Mundanahalli, Mundur, Mundaje, Munderga, Mundodi.

Kerala: Munderi, Mundur, Mundathikode, Mundakayam, Mundothuruth,

Madhya Pradesh: Mundla, Mundrawaja, Mundhari, Munda, Mundia,Mundli, Mundedi, Mundla Parval, Mundiaram, Mundlakhurd, Mundlakalan, Mundri, Mundlasondhya, Mundlibhoj, Mundlidotru, Mundlasuleman, Mundat, Mundpura, Mundla Maina, Mundladev, Mundlana, Mundipur, Mundaheda, Mundana, Mundis Kalma, Mundla Husain, Mundlabag, Mundla Nayata,

Madhya Pradesh: Mundla Dordar, Mundal Jotkaran, Mundi, Mundia, Mundia Kheda, Mundiya, Mundla lodha, Mundra, Mundari, Mundala, Mundrai, Munditola, Mundhol, Mundol, Mundwada, Mundalwad, Mundalgaon.

Maharastra: Mundipar, Mund, Mundhari, Mundikota, Mundala, Mundhal, Mundra, Mundwadi, Mundagaon, Mundwali, Mundhani, Mundewadi, Mundhe, Mundhar, Mundka, Mundhela, Mundkati, Mundabele, Mundhwa (near Pune).

Orissa: Mundaghat, Munder, Mundagohira, Mundala, Mundajohire, Mundatopa, Mundasahi, Mundali, Mundakati, Mundali, Mundalo, Mundida, Mundabeda, Mundakeri, Mundaguda, Mundikia, Mundagan, Mundikia, Mundati, Mundabadi, Mundakuri, Mundadaka, Mundapada, Mundapadua, Mundakani, Mundagaon, Mundar, Mundapadar, Mundagad, Mundaguda,

Punjab: Mundi Karal, Mundi, Mundkhera,

Rajastan: Mundital, Mundana, Mundpuri Kalan, Mundraheri, Mundiya, Mundota, Mundwara, Mundoti, Mundeti, Mundata, Mundol, Mundele, Mundri, Mundli, Mundiya, Munderi,  Mundawali, Mundol, Mundwara,  Mundle,

Tamilnadu: Mundiyur, Mundachedu, Mundamalai,

Uttar Pradesh: Mundikheri, Mundet, Mundhol, Mundi,Mundali, Mundre, Mundhera, Mundia, Mundele, Munder, Mundera, Mund, Mundadeo, Mundala, Munder, Munderwa, Mundbara, Mundori,

West Bengal: Mundira, Mundamari, Mundakti, Mundukhola.

Antiquity of Munda tribes
The widespread distribution of Munda place names in India suggests that in the antiquity the Munda tribes were distributed all over India   even though they were marginalized later and presently restricted largely to under-developed tribal pockets especially in the States of  Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.
The Munda tribes presently remaining in Tulunadu are usually referred to as Mundala tribes. Similar tribes and their languages  elsewhere in India are  referred to as Mundari in general.
The ancient Munda tribes of Tulunadu have been partially assimilated into the mainstream Tulu/ Dravida tribes during the passage of historical time. 
The existence of several Tulu surnames ( bari) such as Munda, Mundavarna, Mundittaya, Mundadittaya etc among various Tulu castes of present day, reveal the past assimilation of Munda tribes into Tulu communities. 
It is said that the Spirit Arasu Mundattaya represents the King Veera Pandya, a nephew of Bhutala Pandya according to some legends.

The word Munda in Tulu
In Tulu language, the word Munda has  been retained and is being is used in different contexts. In normal usage, the word munda in Tulu means forehead part of (human) body; similarly, mundu has several meanings, such as (a) an unit of measurement (1 mundu=2.5 ft), (b) knee, (c) a sheet of cloth wrapped around waist as an apparel (usually worn by South Indian men),  (d) calf (of cattle) (e) short and stout (physical feature) etc. Contrastingly in the neighboring Kannada the munda refers to the body part below head (as in usage runda- munda).
A munda also means a raised platform in coastal areas, for example, used by fishermen to display their fish catches.
 Mundappa is a masculine proper name as well as a coastal breed of mangoes.

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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.
  • 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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