Many of us are curious to know what our lineage (Bari or Bali) names mean or how they were derived. We can coordinate the available data to understand the origin and antiquity of some of the lineage names.
Some of the Baris like Bangera and Suvarna are derived from the names of Moolastanas (or the sites of original inhabitation of the immigrant colonies). The Bangera word may be a variant of Bangare,or Bengare, the sand spit beach that formed an initial Bangera settlement or Moolasthana from the immigrants from the north. The Bengare Moolastana near Hoode is located on the beach spit developed at the confluence point of Rivers Swarna and Seetha in Udupi taluk. Similarly the Suvarna is derived from the settlement on the banks of Suvarna or Swarna River, Udupi Taluk.
However, at least a few Bari names apparently are derived from older genetic generations and later merged with the Moolastana system in Karavali/Tulunadu.
Tulu communities have adopted characteristic ‘Bari’ or ‘Bali’ (lineage) names derived from mothers (matrilineal) and fathers (patrilineal) hereditary successions since ages. Persons from the same matrilineal lineage are routinely prohibited from marrying each other. Since the persons from the same lineage are considered as brothers or sisters and thus marriage was taboo among them. Modern geneticists also discourage marriages among close relatives as it may lead to genetic disorders or abnormalities.
Bari vs. Castes
The Tulu Bari system is basically older than the Tulu Caste system. In other words, Moolastana concept existed before creation of the castes.The Baris have been later shared into different castes.For example, some of the primary Baris like Bangera, Saalian etc.,can be recognised in Mogavira, Billava and Bunt communities.
Sham.Baa. Joshi (1967) has made some interesting analysis of the early tribes in the peninsular India. One of the earliest tribes were tree worshippers known as ‘Marava(ru’).In other parts of India they were known as ‘JaaDi ‘or ‘Zaadi’, the word being Prakrit equivalent of the word ‘Mara’ or the tree. Early tribes had intimate dependency on the trees. They found many of the fruits, leaves and roots were edible. Trees also protected them from rains and from the wild creatures. Gradually they believed that trees contain special spirits that were worshipped for the safety and well being of the tribes.
They depended on leaves of trees for covering their nakedness. In the next stage they used thin sheets made out of barks of the trees as primitive cloths. Further innovations led to separation of fibers from the bark and other parts of the trees that were woven into cloths. These refined people who could weave and wear cloths were called Saalis. At that stage of early evolution and culture, weaving a cloth should have been a special refined art.
The word Saala and Saali could have been derived from name Sala or the Salmala (Shalmala), the silk cotton tree or vice versa. The word Saali is usually pronounced as Taali in Tulu. Taaliye in Tulu refers to the spider that magically weaves astonishing webs.
However, it needs to be emphasized that the people of Saaliana or Taaliana lineage are not related to the Shettigars, the community traditionally connected with weaving. The Shettigars, incidentally have distinct set of Bari names that are not common to other Tulu communities.
The word Sali also represented a refined artisan as it is further used in words like Akkasaali (goldsmith), Padmasaali (weaver), Bhanushaali, Chakrashaali(potter) etc. It would not be surprising if the word Saala and Saali (art, artisan) led to the derivation of another respectable word Shaala, the school that taught arts.
The word Saale is also used to represent refined rice (as in Gandha saale, Jeera saale etc). Similarly the related word Salai represents pulses (as in ‘togari salai’ for dhal).
It is also possible that since Saala represented refined art it was further applied to refined varieties of food grains like special rice breeds and pulses.
Thus it is concluded that the word Sali in the Tulu lineage names Saalian or the equivalent Taaliana could have been derived from the words:
(a) Saali the refined weaver or artisan, and/or
(b) The Farmer who grew refined, special rice varieties and pulses.
(c) Saali, the expert or the refined artist.
The above suggestions are open for debate and learned readers may pose their opinions for or against the proposal.
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.