Billadi is a village in Udupi taluk near Yadthadi that carries the relic signature of ancient Bill or Bhil tribes in the Karavali.
The Bhils are now a predominant tribe in the forests of Madhya Pradesh and adjoining sylvan region. Once upon a time they were widespread in the peninsular region also. They were also employed historically in the regional armies of Marata and Rajput Kings for their expertise in guerilla warfare.
Bhils of Karavali
Basically, they were archers ('bhil' or 'bill'=bow) which was a part of the hunter stage of early human evolution. The word 'bill '(the bow) has been a common word in several southern languages including Kannada. Thus the Bhils of Karavali were later known as 'Billava' probably during Vijayanagara and subsequent period of 'Kannadization' of Karavali. However, the equivalent word for Bhil in Tulu is 'biru' and the 'Billava' are popularly known as 'Biruver'.
Even today the native doctor among the tribes are called 'Baida'. The word 'Baida' forms the basis for the later evolved word 'Vaidya'. The mother of legendary heroes Koti-Chennaya was known as 'Deyi Baidethi' and she was proficient in the native system of herbal medicine. The Tulu word 'Baider' has been evolved from the tribal word 'Baida'. The ancient 'Baida' were the pioneers of Ayurveda system of medicine in India.
Bhils of central India assert that Valmiki the composer of Ramayana was a Bhil. The simplicity of the core story of Ramayana thus leads us to infer that the base of Ramayana was a tribal story that was fashioned into an immortal epic by the gifted poet-composer Valmiki.
Books for Reference
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- Male kudiyaru. Dr B. A.Viveka Rai and D.Yadupathi Gowda, Mangalore University,1996.
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- Puttubalakeya Pad-danagalu. Ed: Dr B.A.Viveka Rai,Yadupati Gowda and Rajashri, Sri Dharmasthala Manjunatheswara Tulu Peeta. Mangalore University.2004
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- 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
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- 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
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