Wednesday, March 21, 2007

8. Bantu, bant′ II

Manjunath has disagreed with me on bantu > bant′ derivation. I wrote an explanation to him on the comment box but due to my distraction with a phone call, I could not properly save it in time in the blog. Instead of rewriting the whole response again, on second thoughts, I decided to post additional explanation on the aspect.

Bant′ (Tulu), banta (Kannada) and bantu (Telugu) all these words basically imply the same meaning that is a reliable assistant and/or bodyguard. The Telugu meaning of Bantu, a suicide squad, is only expansion of the basic meaning. In early days, Bantu meant a professional bodyguard who can be relied upon. Possibly, this profession was practiced by some Bantu persons who migrated from their original homeland due to adverse living conditions. Subsequently, the word Bantu meant any reliable bodyguard. Thus the word Bantu became an indicator of a profession.(This is something like our practice to call any Jeep- like rugged field vehicle as jeep , often forgetting that Jeep is a specific brand name and not a type of vehicle.)

Manjunath feels that the Tulu/Kannada word banta came through Prakrit from the Sanskrit term bhata. We have tacitly assumed since school days that many of our words are derived from Sanskrit, the tatbhavas. However, my inferences suggest that Prakrit was one of the languages of the people of Pirak during early Vedic times of ca. 1700 BC. The words Prak and Prakrit appear to have been derived from the place name Pirak (cf. my posting 3.Pirak). Pirak was a multicultural, polylingual society where proto-Tulu, proto-Dravida and early Vedic societies coexisted. The term Sanskrit itself means refined and cultured language; it was refined from the preexisting prakrit and related languages.

So the Sanskrit word bhata could have been derived from the word bantu/ bant. The Sanskrit bhata means a soldier or guard; without connotation of any of the reliability, bodyguard tags implied in the said South Indian languages.

Presence of random African tribes in India is not a new discovery. Siddi tribes of African origin in the Western Ghats area of Karnataka may be relatively recent additions to our diversity. Manjunath opines that population genetics do not support any African genetic affinity for south Indian groups. I am not sure if any detailed genetic studies have been carried out in India. But a recent heterozygosity study confessed that they were unable to get adequate Indian samples.

It is said that the Nadava are mentioned in a 13th century inscription for the first time in Tulunad area. It was the period when Tulunad was under the suzerainty of Vijayanagar kingdom. Possibly, Vijayanagar administrators referred to local cultivating community as as nadava to distinguish from the soldiers brought along with them from Vijayanagar mainland. Presently, Nadava are a Kannada speaking community widespread in Uttara Kannada. According to the Nadava sources, about five centuries ago, five Nadava families migrated from Kundapur area and settled around Ankola and Gokarna in Uttara Kannada district. This probably serves as an example for the number of population/tribes that migrated in the history.

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 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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