Chenne (or Chenne mane) game was popular in the rural Tulunadu since the time of Siri or even before. It is played on a wooden board with two parallel rows pf pits. The game is played using large seeds of local trees like that of ponge/pongar or coral tree.
However this ancient game is not unique or original to Tulunadu. It is played widely in many parts of the world and there are some two hundred or more versions with as many names for the game! Now, they are generally known as Manqala (also spelt as ‘Mancala’) group of games.
Manqala games have been considered to have originated somewhere in central Africa ca. 5000 BC, according to the evidence gathered by National Geographic sponsored archaeological diggings. The word Manqala is derived from the Arabian root ‘naqala’ that means to move. Some of the names for different variants of the game include Adji-Boto, Adjito, Awale, Awari, Aware, Awele, Bantumi, Bao,Congklak, Dakar, Dao, Dara, Darra, Endovoi, Geshe, Halusa, Jodu, Kalaha, Kalah, Kale, Kalle, Lamlameta Mangala, Mandoli, Omweso,Oware, Ot-Tsjin, Solo, Songo Duala, Vai Lung Thlan, Wari, Warri,Wouri etc.
A variant of the game played in Turkey is known as ‘Mangala’! Also note, for the sake of curiosity, that it is also called Kalah in parts of Africa. The word ‘kalah’ has shades of resemblance to the Tulu word ‘kala’ (=field).
A wealth of data is available on the internet on Manqala group of traditional games. Also a number of modified and modernized versions of the games ahave been evolved to suit the modern tastes.
The game variant ‘Lamlameta’ played in Ethiopia is quite similar to Tulu game of Chenne (Cenne) according to Peter Claus.
The antiquity and distribution of the Manqala group of games and their similarity to the ancient Tulu game of Chenne, clearly suggest that the game concept originally evolved in Africa-Mediterranean region was brought to Tulunadu by early Tulu immigrants, possibly corresponding with the broad period of immigration ca. 750-500BC as discussed in the early posts in this blog.
Books for Reference
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- 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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