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380. Antiquity of iDli

The Idli being a steam cooked dish made of ground and fermented paste of rice and black gram can be considered as one of the healthiest ...

Friday, November 2, 2007

53. More on Munda influence on Tulu.

The substratum of Munda language and culture that prevailed in the Karavali region has been amalgamated with the overall Tulu culture during passage of some past 2500 or more years of recent history. Yet the present Tulu language and culture has still hidden vestiges of Munda words and culture that can be deciphered. I have compiled some of the Munda words and cultural characteristics from online sources.
The Munda words cited here below are adopted from Munda Kharia lexicon compiled by Patricia J.Donegan and David Stampe (2004) base on field studies in present day Chotanagapur region in North-Central India. Apart from the chance of missing many original ancient words in the cited dictionary, it should be remembered that Munda words also have evolved regional variations like Dravidian or other languages. Some of the actual original, ancient proto-Munda words of south India may have been more nearer to present Tulu and other Dravidian words. And there could be many more words missing in this list that were eventually absorbed by Tulu language.

Tulu words adopted from older Munda language
Ajja ( aja=grandfather), aeri (aer =ridge), ajao (ajo’D =dry up), appa(apa=father), anDu (anDu =testicle), arka(arkhi=liquor), baar(ba), bala (bha=come on), batti (bati=wick), bave (bav=brother-in-law), churi (churi=knife), aena (ena=what,for), anjov (anDia=male), kanile (karil=bamboo shoot), sapura (sakura=thin), saal(sa:l=year), muDi (muDhi=puffed rice), pura (pura=complete), punnime (puni=fullmoon), Samudra (Samudra=sea), purku (purkha=generation), satyo(sat=truth), suru (suru=begin), Taari (ta:R,taaRi=palm), ter(=temple car)<(ter=to prepare, apply)>tayar., theriya( =round, necklace like)( theriya =plate, round necklace), tiga (tiG=to weave (hive?),toppi (Topi=cap), tuj / duj (tuj(=arrow), umma (um=no), ulTa,(ulTa =topsy turvey, upside down), urdu (urid=black gram), tude (tuDa=to float, water)


Munda based Tulunad place names!
Tulunadu has several villages with odd sounding or unintelligible place names whose meanings cannot be ascertained in present Tulu language! Meanings of many of these puzzling names can be solved by tracing their Munda roots.
Sirwa (=red thread), Parkala (=mirror), Parengi (= a variant of Munda tribe/language, meaning unknown presently), Nagori (= a variant of Munda tribe/language, means Naga settlement), Ubar (=two) For two-rivers? Uphe (=three) > Uppinangadi?. Bold words above indicate Munda words.
Some village names of Tulunadu are similar to Telugu words and earlier were considered to have been derived from the latter. For example: Rayi and Manchakal. It has to be verified whether these words came from Telugu or from proto-Munda, that gave words to both Tulu and Telugu.

Munda inspired Tulu month names!
In traditional Tulu calendar, the year start with the month ‘paggu’, beginning someday in January or February. The word ‘paggu’, apparently, does not have any understandable meaning in the current Tulu. ‘Phagu’ is an annual Munda festival celebrated at the beginning of Munda New Year, during Jan-Feb every year! So, some of the unusual or seemingly odd sounding month-names in the Tulu calendar may have been borrowed from the precursor language of Munda!

Munda inspired Tulu festivals
Origin of some of the traditional Tulu (also Malayali and Kodava) festivals may have roots in the ancient Munda culture. The Munda ‘Karam’ festival may have influenced the ‘Koral parba’/’Posatt’, ‘Onam’ and ‘Huttari’ festivals! The Munda word ‘Karam’ also known as ‘kaim’ or ‘kaddam’ refers to Kadamba tree. The Munda Karam festival begins with bringing flowers from the Kadamba tree. (Mitragyne parvifolia).The festival has similarity with ‘Kural’(=‘posatt’) festival of Tulu people that starts with bringing home new ‘Kural’ (fresh ear of paddy grains).
The Kadamba tree was considered auspicious during the earlier historical days. The Kannada dynasty founded (5th Century AD) by Mayura Sharma/Varma was known as Kadamba dynasty. It is said there was a Kadamba tree in front of Mayura Sharma’s residence at Banvasi.

Direction names in Tulu and Kannada?
The roots of two direction indicators in Tulu, Kannada and other Dravidian languages are derived from Munda language. muDu and paDu. Mudu =east .< (mu=come out), paDu (=west) .<(puD=jump, sink?).
The data relating to the origin of other two directional words: ‘baDa’(=north) and ‘tenka’(=south) is not available at present.

Munda words in Kannada
Early Kannada and early Tulu languages during and before Kadamba period were very similar to each other except for local variations and local influence of proto Munda words in Tulu and Kannada areas.
Note that the following Kannada words are of Proto-Munda origin.
Ajja (aja), aeri(aer=ridge), anDu (anDu),Hege (ighay=how?) enu (ena=what?), banda (banDa=castrated), churi (churi), bava (bav), baa (bha=come), baDagi (baDhi=carpenter), appa (apa), bhaga(bhag=share), bati (bati=wick), dhoti (dhoti), iswi (iswi=year), joru (joar, johar=greet), kamba (=pillar), kumbar(=potter), kaRba (karba=plough handle), mudhaliar (mudha=village head), suru(suru=begin), suley(suley=hot), ter (ter=to prepare, apply)>tayar, toppi(Topi=cap), turtu (turte=quick), ele(ula=leaf),Ri,re (re,ri =form of address).

Debatable origin of few Sanskrit words?
Some of the words are currently commonly used in Sanskrit and we generally assume them to be original Sanskrit words. However, there is need to verify whether these could be the words borrowed into Sanskrit from earlier Munda roots. For example:
Puja (=sacrifice), balidaan (=sacrifice), dharama (=supreme spirit), sa:t (=truth, seven). The word ‘Puja’ has previously been suggested to of non-Sanskrit origin. ‘Balidaan’ is a special word. Bali is a common Munda name. It is also the name of a righteous legendary Munda king, who sacrificed all of his territories in favour of a dwarf (Vamana) only to ensure his promise of Gift. It may not be surprising if this word ‘balidaan’ (=gift of Bali) has originated from that legendary/historical event.
The Tulu word ‘parba’ is generally assumed to be derivative of Sanskrit word ‘parva’. Could the Munda parab (=festival) be the original word from which Tulu ‘parba’ and Sanskrit ‘parva’ were evolved?
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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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