Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The footprints of Kota tribes in the Karavali has been discussed. Another related tribe is Toda (tōDa).Toda tribes at present live in the Niligiri hill area. The now famous hill station Ooty (Udagamandala) was once occupied by Todas. There is an interesting story that a British officer John Sullivan, Collector of Coimbatore, during 1823, purchased the lands that make up the present Ooty from Toda people for mere one Rupee.
Toda people speak Toda language.
Toda tribes are well known for cattle breeding and diary farming, employing especially the buffaloes. Todas believe that the goddess ‘Teikirshy’ and her brother first created the sacred buffalo and then the first Toda man. The first Toda woman was considered to have been created from the right rib of the first Toda man.
Todar (pronounced tōDār) is the signature village of Toda people in the Karavali during the early history of Tulunadu. The Todar village is located near Mijar on the Mangalore-Mūdabidri road, a part of NH 13. At present there are no vestiges of Toda tribes in the Todar except in the name of the village.
However, fossil footprints of a buffalo-oriented culture and lifestyle of the ancient Toda community has been absorbed by the people of Tulunadu.
Apart from Todar there are several villages in Tulunad that were known for buffalo breeding. Village names like Yermal (yeru +māL =buffalo ground), Yerlapadi (yerla + paDi= habitation of buffaloes) and Kātipalla (pond of buffaloes) refer to buffalo dominated ancient societies of Tulunadu.
The Toda hamlets are known as munds. As studied in present Niligiri area, they usually consist of five huts three of which are used for dwelling, one for buffaloes and the fifth one for common dairy activities. It is also possible that most of the villages bearing ‘mund’- prefix in Tulunad were initially the settlements of Toda dairy communities.
Toda tribes depended on buffaloes for dairy activity. Possibly these Toda tribes introduced male buffaloes (Kona, Yeru) for agricultural activity in Tulunadu. They had the practice of sacrificing male buffalo calf during an annual celebration called ‘kona shastra’.
We can predict that the buffalo-race pastime of Tulunadu the ‘Kambala’ was conceived and fostered during the Toda civilization in Tulunadu.
The raw back-ground data for some of our Puranas involving buffalo-villains (Mahishāsura), Mundāsura etc may have been conceived based on Toda lifestyles by their rivals.
Hosabettu Viswanath adds:
'Masoba' spirit God (Maise/Mahisha) popular in Maharashtra may be equivalent of or derived from the Toda culture. Similarly,the well known city Mysore (= Mahisha + Ur ) must have been a habitat of Todas. It is said, Toda language is more near to Kannada than Tamil. In old History books of British time, Coimbatore, Arcot and Salem areas are called 'Carnatic' states. 'Mahishi', mother of 'Mahisaasura', was killed by Lord Ayyappa, according to lores. This shows that Todas prospered in Kerala also.
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