Glancing through the descriptions of foreign travelers to west Coast of India during the historical period, in Hobson Jobson dictionary, I chanced to stumble upon the word ‘Samani’ used by Rashidudeen during the end of thirteenth century CE.
The entry on Rashiduddeen’s report on the West Coast of India during ca.1300CE is cited below:
c. 1300. -- "Beyond Guzerat are Konkan and Tána; beyond them the country of Malibár. . . The people are all Samanís (Buddhists), and worship idols. Of the cities on the shore the first is Sindabūr, then Faknūr, then the country of Manjarūr.
In the above passage, replace and read Gujarat (for Guzerat), Thana (for Tana), Malabar (for Malibar), Goa ( for Sindbur), Barakur (for Fakanur) and of course Mangalore (for Manjarur).The explanation for the word ‘Samanis’(=Buddhists) is presumably given by the editor of the dictionary.
The origin of the word ‘Samani’ is rather obscure with a random opinion that it is possibly of Polynesian origin. However, the Pali dictionary of proper names describes Samani as a princess. In Cambodia, neophytes to Buddhism were called Samanis or nens where as senior monks were designated as ‘bhikkus’. In Srilanka, the word Samani was applied to Buddhist nuns, specifically wandering female monks. Now the word Samani is also used by Jain nuns.
It appears that Rashiduddeen employed the word Samani to Buddhist monks in general.
A Surname: Samani
The significance of the word Samani lies in the fact that it is one of the surnames of a Tulu community, specifically the present day Bunts. Some surnames help us to trace episodes of historical evolution. It has been opined that during the course of time, the Buddhists of Karavali were not driven out but eventually assimilated with the local population.
The historical Jain-Bunt and vice-versa conversions in Tulunadu are rather well known so far. The present string of data adds to our knowledge that Tulu people also have vestiges of Buddhism in their historical heritage.
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
Copy? Right - but kindly remember to acknowledge!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.