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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...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

19. Moolasthana..

The bootha (spirit deity) shrines worshipped by Tulu people consist of small single room structures called ‘sana’ or ‘saNa’. The Tulu word ‘sana’ carries same meaning as the Sanskrit word ‘sthana’. The ‘moolasthana’ or ‘moolasana’ is actually the primary or the original (‘moola’) ‘sana’ for the particular family which became a lineage during the course of time Tulu people do not marry within the same lineage. For example, A boy from bangera ‘bari’ (=lineage) is not permitted to marry a girl of the bangera lineage. They are supposed to be brother and sister in relationship, being derived from the same bloodline or lineage.

The bari (lineage) concept is similar to the ‘gotra’ in Brahmin communities. The bari system exists among Malayalis or Kerala and Halakki gowda tribes of Uttara Kannada district also. The latter call it ‘baLi’in Uttara Kannada. I do not have information on lineage systems in Goa Maharastra and northern areas of India, at present.

Thus the bari/bali lineage system is common to people of West coast irrespective of the regional languages, Kannada Tulu or Malayalam.

Many of the bari names may have come from the place of their early settlement. The Bangera bari appears to have been named after ‘bangare’ or ‘bengare’ (= the sandy barrier spit along the coast), near Hoode, the estuary of Swarna and Sita rivers north of Udupi town. Similarly, the bari Suvarna might have been named after the river Swarna. Both these names indicate geographical locations where the tribes settled initially. The ‘kunda’ in ‘Kundar’ refers to an earthen or stone pillar or a place like the present Kundapur. ‘Suvarna’ means gold and similarly ‘Kanchan’ also refers to gold. The adjective gold may signify the gold extractor (gold panning expert) or simply may indicate the golden skin colour of the founder person of the lineage. Incidentally, the Tamil Sangam literature describe an unspecified ‘Koshar’ tribe from the west coast, who preferred to decorate themselves with golden ornaments. The Sanskrit surname ‘Shriyan’ refers to ‘shri’ or wealth. ‘Kotian’ refers to one who maintained the ‘koti’ (= the storehouse), if not the ‘kote’ (=the fort). ‘Kukkian’ may denote someone from a mango orchard, (kukku=mango). ‘Salian’ stands for the annual whereas ‘Tingalaya’ means the monthly.

All the lineage surnames may not be of single generation. There could be several generation of lineages as result of resettling of people.

Manjunath reports that Tulu baris have equivalent but different maternal lineage or ‘tavazhi’(bari is ‘Vadiari’ and Tulu bari ‘Suvarna’ is ‘Konkani’ in Kerala region. The term ‘Konkani’ refers to those who came from Konkan coastal region. The northern west coast mainly Goa coast is having a nonlinear, crooked coastline. The term Konkan (‘konk’=curved) probably refers to the curved, beak-like beach morphology. Therefore, the Konkani bari refers to those resettled lineages migrated from Konkan region.

Thus overall it appears that these coastal tribes Halakkis, Tulus and Malayalis came from north before settling in the west coast. They share similar lineage characters, the lineage names mostly being derived from the place of their settlement. Besides lineage, they also share the concept of ancient Brahma worship. Halakkis and others in Uttara Kannada call it ‘Bommaya devaru’, Tulu people call it ‘Bermer’ or ‘Bermeru’. The Bommaya devaru is an image of horse mounted soldier like Bermer of the Tulu people.

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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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