The Tulu identity and civilization as it exists now in Tulunad is a composite culture developed chronologically over not less than the last four thousand years. Like numerous rivers and streams flowing into the sea, several individual cultural streams have merged with the Tulu culture at different periods during the long historical past. One of the recognizable major events in the evolution of Tulu language and culture is the contribution of Tulu tribes that migrated to this Tulunad in the remote historical past dating back to the period 1000 to 600 years BC. [I quote the broad period of 400 years – i.e. 1000 to 600 BC- because I am not able to sharpen it more at present. With availability of more historical data, hopefully, we can narrow down this period.]
Iravattam Mahadevan suggested that the Indus valley civilization was an early form of Dravidian culture. Further after the decline of Indus valley civilization, possibly due to migration of rivers and abrupt floods, ca.1900 BC, Dravidians apparently moved out of the Indus valley region and lived in the north and northwest parts of the Indian subcontinent, before the advent of the Aryans. Brahui, a Dravidian language still spoken in Baluchistan, parts of Iran and adjoining areas is evidence in favour of the existence of Dravidians in those parts.
Among those who lived in the northwestern part of Indian subcontinent around Pirak, Mehrgarh, Multan and surrounding areas (now a part of Pakistan) ca.1900 to 1500 BC are Tulu and other Dravidian tribes. Aryans, migrated from Indo-European homelands also settled in these areas and composed the famous Vedas, initially in the oral tradition prevalent at that time.
That Tulu tribes were one of the groups of settlers in this area during the period cited above can be deduced by Atleast four lines of evidences recapitulated here below:
1. Presence of distinct Tulu words in Rigveda like : okha, aaNi, pala/ pela etc. These cited words have been considered by Michael Witzel as words borrowed into the early Sanskrit, since they do not conform to the linguistic word structure of Indo-European language in which the Vedas were composed. Rigveda, in original oral form, has been dated ca.1700-1500 BC. There may be more such words, for example like the suffix -aaN in braahmaN. [cf: previous posts 20,25,28 ]
2. The absorption of the legend of Abraham, into Tulu tradition as Bermer (Brahma) in the original form as a horse mounted hero.
Abraham, a popular leader of masses (legendary prophet for Jews, Christians and Muslims,) lived approximately 2000 BC in the NW Indian subcontinent-Asia Minor-Central Asia region. After his death in the tradition of spirit worship he became the “Bermer(u)” for Tulu tribes. Vedic Aryans converted the Abraham legend into the Brahman, the supreme cosmic creative power. Gradually with time Brahman evolved into the God Brahma with ten or four heads in different Purana epics, by the time of composition of the Ramayana ca. 800-500 BC. The dominance of Lord Brahma in Ramayana has been analysed in detail by SSN Murthy.
Since Tulu tribes carried their original horse mounted “Bermer” image with them to Tulunad before the evolution of the Brahma concept into ten or four headed God of creation, in northern India, the time of Tulu tribe migration can be fixed as pre 500 BC. [cf: previous posts 4, 5, 26,28 ]
3. The presence of ample Prakrit words in Tulu language, speaks of the heritage from their erstwhile homeland in Northwest Indian subcontinent. Especially the word Pirak is interesting. “Pirak” in Tulu language means ‘anything related to remote past’. Incidentally Pirak was the area of early civilization ca. 1700-800 BC. [cf: previous posts 3,6].
4. The basic “moolasthana”( literally means ‘primary inhabitation’ or ‘original homeland’) concept of Tulu tribes settled in Karavali Tulunad homeland is derived from the original concept of the tribes in their former homeland of northwest Indian subcontinent. Even today, Multan is a town in the Punjab province of Pakistan. [cf: previous posts: 9.18.19 30].There is a temple devoted to Prahlada at Multan.The legend of Prahlada,Hiranyakashipu and Narahari might have originated around this place.Incidentally,as pointed out by Manjunath,Prahlada is the grandfather of King Bali(also known as Baliyendra) who is reverred by Tulu and Malayali people since remote historical times.
Books for Reference
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- 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
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- 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
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