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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...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

343. Jāra Villages

Jāra is a peaceful hamlet located on a river valley that you encounter while you travel in the northeastern sector of Mangalore city from Bondel Padushedde to Mudushedde along the sylvan and circuitous interior route. You will not the see the name of this hamlet in the list of villages of Mangalore Taluk. However, the hamlet must have been quite famous once upon a time in the past history.

Jārandāya
The Kingly Spirit (‘Rajan daiva’) of Tulunadu Jārandāya was said to be from the hamlet of Jāra. The term ‘Jārandāya’ means a man from the Jara. Note that the actual name of the Spirit is not mentioned but the place from which hailed has been affirmed in the name of Jārandāya. Thus the name of the place Jāra was quite known to the rural people of that time, even though decidely could not recollect his actual proper name!

Jāra
Jāra is an interesting place name, more so because it no longer has remained in our current vocabulary. Origin of unusual sounding ancient place names surviving around us like fossils of the past history continue to haunt, as vestigial reminders of bygone words from the languages that once dominated these lands we have inherited. Jāra is one such ancient place name surviving in Tulunadu, but surprisingly it is not an exclusive Tulu word as we find similar analogous place names all over India and abroad.

 Villages named Jāra exist not only in Tulunadu but also in the States of Gujarath, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. There are about 1000 villages in India having the name of Jara and its variants. Among variants commonly we find are: Jar, (Jhar, Jarh) or Jaru or Jari or Jarai. Also find modifications (with spatial suffixes) such as : Jaram, Jariya, Jarga, Jarige, Jar(a)ka, Jaraki (as in Jarakihole), Jargi, Jargipara, Jarwa, Jarapa, Jarad, Jarada, Jarasa, Jario, Jarkala, Jaroli, Jharwara, Jarara, Jaruha, Jaraila, Jarkheda, Jaronda, Jaranga, Jarigada, Jaripada, Jariput, Jaripal, etc. The State of Jharkhand carries the name ” Jhara” and besides a   large number of Jāra named villages exist in Jharkhand!

Jāra meaning
One possible way to understand the word is to search for the known meaning of this word in languages around us. Jara was a masculine name among Tulu tribes such as Jārappa. (Similarly in the Western countries we find that Jára is a short name for JarmilaJaromir and Jaroslav.). In some countries, Jara is a first feminine   name.

Besides, some of the possible related shades of usages in current Tulu, Kannada and Tamil languages are:
 Jaripu ,  jariyu,jāru(Tulu)= 1.slide, slip, 2.insult;
 Jāru, Jaragu (Tulu, Kannada)=1.slip,slide,move;
 Jaragu 2.happen; occur.
 JaraDi (Kannada )=sieve.
Ojjara (Tamil), ~Osar, uje, Uti (Tulu); Osaru, jzari (Kannada)=Spring, fountain,oozing water;

In other languages the term   Jāra means:
Jāra (Sanskrit) = 1.mistress; whore, 2. waterfall.
Jara (Pali) = aging; decay.
Jara (Rajastani) =rust.
Jara (Odisi/Oriya) =old, decrepit; fever
Jara (Slavic languages) = spring.
Jara (Turkish ) = strong, spring.
Jara (Sindhi) =water.
Jara (Bulgarian) = air, glow, mirage.
Jara (Hebrew) = he enlightens, he shines.
Zāra (Arabic) = flower; shining, bright. 
Jara (Australian/ aboriginal ) = seagull.

Jara names worldwide

Jara   is the name of a  Nigerian language.
Jara River, is a tributary of the Şuşiţa River, Romania.
Jara, Ethiopia , is a  mountain near Wallaga.

La Jara, New Mexico, census-designated place in Sandoval County, United States.
La Jara, Colorado, a   town in Conejos County, United States
La Jara, comarca in western Spain.

Coincidence vs. inheritance
While some of you may like to dismiss off the existence of analogous words in different parts of the world as mere coincidence, the general logical explanation for such similarities is that the primitive cultures inherited many of the basic words across the barriers of language and cultures on account of migration and interactions.
Also there is a possibility that there were several analogous words from diverse origins having different meanings.  Some of the basic meanings we can attribute to the word based on analysis as above are:

Jāra = 1.Spring, oozing source of water;waterfall.
Jāra =2.Sloping land; Sliding.
Jāra= 3. Sloppy morals,  fallen man or woman.
Jāra =4.Shining, bright object etc.
Jarā =5.Aging, sickness.

Jāra Villages

Based on the above discussions we may infer that Jāra actually meant a valley zone endowed with water or simply a village located on the banks of a river or stream. Thus in a sense the term Jāra was an alternate word for the ancient word Ala which also means a land on the bank of a river or stream.
In Tulunadu we also find compound place names that contain Jāra with additional adjectives such as:  Kenjār, Mijār, Kanajār, Kilinjar, etc.
For the time being, using the explanations given in previous posts, we can understand the meaning of these villages as follows:
Kenjar= Ancient Riverside Village of  ‘Red’ skinned (‘Kench’)  immigrant tribes.
Mijar= Ancient riverside village on an elevated plateau area.
Kanajar= Riverside village of Kanna tribes.
Kilinjar= Riverside village on the lower bank.


Chāra
Chāra is a village located on the bank of River Seetha in Karkal Taluk, Udupi District. The place name Chāra appears to be an alternate version of the term   Jara. There are several Chara village is located in different parts of India. The   Ja>Cha lingual variations may the source of these changes.
There are several Chāra based villages in Karavali such as Kolchar, Paichar, Kodichar, etc  

Ancient place names remain mute spectators to the drastic topographic changes in the land with the result we find some of these Jāra villages currently located on the banks of dried up river channels.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

342. The Jambu-dweepa !

My blog partner Vishwanath guided me to an interesting, illustrated and colorful post entitled “Jambudweep-the global island” by Dr Vineet Aggaraval in his blog Decode Hindu Mythology. After perusal, the Post tempted me to express and share this bloggers notion of Jambudweepa with our readers. This is just an intellectual excercize for discerning readers to ponder how different inferences can be arrived at on the same subject especially in the case of   rather hazy and   poorly understood historical aspects.
 Vineet Aggarwal in his popular Post cited, reviews and considers description of Jambudweep (Jambu-dwipa) in our epics and scriptures and comes to the conclusion that the traditional Indian concept of Jambudweep essentially referred to the entire world (as a global island) rather than mere the region of India. Further, he explains and equates the global island to Pangea, a hundred to two hundred million years old past state of the world, when the continents of the world were huddled together over the globe as a single continental mass.

Geological History: Pangea
Vineet incidentally goes beyond the realms of human history and treads into past geological history of the Earth. Infact there is no harm in collating human history with geological history, especially when the time scales match with each other. However, most of the geological mega events are measured in terms of millions of years while the documented human history lasts merely for a few thousand years!
The theory Plate Tectonics envisages that the continents on the surface of the globe were united to form a single supercontinent some 300 million years ago.It was designated as Pangea.Further around 100  million years ago the supercontinent Pangea broke into two continents namely the northern Laurasia and the southern Gondwana.
However, the species of human beings evolved on the Earth only about 2 million years ago and they evolved into sensible cultured beings only about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Therefore, unfortunately none of our forefathers were able to witness the status of Pangea or Gondwana that occurred long before their arrival into this Earth!

Reinterpretation of Scriptural data
The Mahabharat and the Puranas were considered to have been composed during the period 500 BC to 500 CE. The oft quoted sloka describes Jambu-dweepa as alternate name for the Bharatha Khanda as in: “  jaambu dweepe bharath khande ..”. Similarly, the scriptural references cited by Vineet can be reinterpreted as below:

1.“The entire landmass of Jambu-dvipa is described as a continuous stretch of land subdivided into different continents by means of various mountain ranges with each of these divisions being governed by the 9 sons of Emperor Agnidhra, the grandson of Adam/Manu.”

-In the above quotation if you replace the word ‘continent’ with ‘region’ and interprete the ‘various mountain ranges’ as Vindhya, Satpura, Aravali, Kadapa,Sahyadri, Siwalik, Himalaya etc then again  the term Jambudweepa  would mean the Indian subcontinent.

2.Markandeya Puraan describes Jambu-dvip as being depressed above and below and broad in the middle just like a Globe.”
-If you happen to stand up on the ridge of any linear mountain range like Vindhyas of Sahyadris and look towards  opposite  (‘above’ and  ‘below’) directions you shall feel that the land is depressed on either directions.

3. “Srimad Bhagavatam points out that on Jambu-dvipa, night prevails diametrically opposite to a point where it is day and Sun sets at a point opposite to where it rises.”
- Theoritical deduction of persons who travelled rapidly from West to   East .

4. “Mahabharat describes the Universe as a series of shells divided in two by an earth plane called the Bhu-mandala; Jambu-dwip is the central landmark on this plane.”
- It reflects the concept of distribution of continents and oceans on the globe as understood during that time.
5. “Jain and Buddhist cosmologies indicate Jambū-dweep at the centre of Madhyaloka or the middle part of the universe, the place where Human-beings reside.”
-Again it reflects the distribution of continents, as seen from Indian eyes   as understood at that time.
6.” Various assorted texts describe Bharat Varsha or India as just one of the nine divisions of Jambu-dweep.”
-The citation envisages that the Jambudweepa, Indian subcontinent had nine divisions and one of these was known as Bharatvarsha. It can be interpreted that the “Bharatvarsha” region   at that point of time probably did not cover the whole of present India but represented a regional State, a geographic part of present India, governed by  or attributed to the famed King Bharata.

The Jambu fruit

The most common meaning of the term ‘Jambu’ is a light yellowish green or reddish, watery, succulent, bell shaped fruit common to India and Southeast Asia and variously known as Wax Apple, Water apple, Rose Apple, Bell Apple, Malaya guava (Syzygium sp.) and so on. It can be seen that the bell shape of the Jambu fruit in inverted form resembles the shape of the peninsular India. Since, the Jambu was a poppular and commonly known fruit in ancient India the term peninsular island in the shape of inverted Jambu fruit, appears to have known and envisaged as “Jambu dweepa”.
Peninsular India more or less resembles the shape of a Jambu fruit.

Mount Meru
Markandeya Purana and Brahmanda Purana describe that Meru Parvata forms the central part of the Jambudweepa. Surya Siddanta declares that the Sumeru ( Su+ Meru) mountain is located in the centre of the Earth. It is possible that the composers of the cited Puranas had described the position of Mt. Meru based on the observations of global travallers. In ancient times, people were travelleing between Africa and India and between India and South East Asia through land and sea routes. The 4565m high volcanic mountain of Meru is actually located in Tanzania, Africa, but most of the ancient Indian texts have described the magnificient esoteric qualities of the mountain, which is considered to be the abode of Lord Brahma. Some texts also mention mountains of Sumeru and Kumeru.
The confusion is evident not only the imaginary sizes attributed in various ancient texts but also in the declaration in the astrological text of Narpatijayacharyā (ca. 9th-century CE), that mentions "Sumeruh Prithvī-madhye shrūyate drishyate na tu" (=Su-meru is heard to be in the middle of the Earth, but is not seen there). However, the same text also mentions that India is located to the East of the Meru Mountain.

Dweepa
The term Dweepa (or dwipa) is normally translated as an island. However, the word as such suggests a land bounded by water on either sides (dwi =two; pa=water) whereas the term island basically refers to land area surrounded   on all sides by water.

The term Jambu
Apart from the watery Jambu fruit, the term Jambu has other shades of meaning especially in Tulu language such as: (1) swollen material such as mud, clay or laterite (as in Jambittige (Kannada); or swollen baggage as in Jambuli); (2) a water course (Jambāl); (3) a marsh or stagnant water (4) sky, etc.
There are places like Jamagodu Jamakhandi etc in parts of Karnataka. Jamadagni was the father of sage Parasurama. Jambava or Jambavanta was a bear during the period of epic Ramayana. Jambha is said to be the name of of Rakshas who fought with Lord Indra and was destroyed by  thunderbolt. There are caves named Jambu in Tulunadu, Maharastra and Tamilnadu, besides in Indonesia. The word 'Jamba' also means ego, pride or vanity in Kannada and Tulu.

Conclusion
The heritage term "Jambu dweepa" appears to have been attributed to the Jambu fruit shaped (or inverted bell shaped), peninsular India surrounded by water on three sides.

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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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