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363. Deciphering Tulu-nadu place names

The readers would observe that many of the Tulu Place names may not convey, on the face of it, any specific meaning or apparent meanings...

Friday, October 3, 2008

154. Sin to Chennaitodi

Evolution has been an integral feature of human civilization that can be recognized in the sequential growth of words and concepts in tune with the passage of time. Migration of human beings on continental scale in the historical past has propagated and dispersed some of the basic words and concepts in diverse territories. Ponder over the evolution of the ancient word Sin,(or Suen) the Sumerian-Babylonian Moon God and its evolution into Chen,Chenne,Chinna, China, Chennai and Chandra etc.
The connection between the words Sin and Chandra has been documented earlier by scholars like Prof. Rajawade and Sham Baa Joshi.

Sin, the Moon God
Early Sumerian civilization (2000-4000 BCE) worshipped Sin (=Moon) as a supreme male God. The Sin or Suen has been considered as an word of Akkadian origin. According to Sumerian legends Sin married Shamash (Sun, female)and had son called Ishtar (Venus,the morning star). The Moon God Sin was represented in Sumerian mythology as an old man with flowing beard and crescent as symbol. Moon temples were popular during the time of Abraham (ca.2000 BC) at the towns of Ur and Harran. The crescent symbol was also adopted by later religions like Islam. Sinai region in Arabian peninsula was named after the God Sin.

Moon and Sun
Some of the authors have pointed out that the Moon worship related to early pastoral society whereas Sun worship was characteristic of later agricultural society. Indian races believed that they belonged to the clan of Moon (Chandra Vamsha) or the clan of Sun (Surya Vamsha). The Dravidians were generally considered to belong to the Moon's clan and Aryans asserted that they hailed from the Sun's clan. Interestingly, the crescent symbol was also adapted in India as an ornament in the tied-up hairs of the popular Indian God Lord Shiva, the Ishwar.

Shen, Chen, China
The Sin God was later had name variants like Sinim, Shen or Chen. The word Sinim is considered to be relevant to Chinese people. Similarly the surnames Shen and Chen are very common surnames among the people of Chinese descent. Basically the name of the country China itself appears to have evolved from the word Chen.

Chinna
Possibly the word Shen or Chen was applied people with golden yellow skin. Besides the Moon God was known for beauty. The word Chen also was adapted in Dravidian languages as Chenna (=beautiful) and Chinna (=gold).

Chenne
Chenne was an ancient board-game originated in Africa as discussed in earlier posts. The game of Chenne was considered to have mystic divine powers and was played on specific ocasions.It was popular in Tulunadu since the legendary days of Siri. The Siri paDdana appears to be contemporaneous of the Tamil Sangam literature that possibly dates back to beginning of the Common Era.

Chennai, Chennaitodi
The Taml place name Chennai, now a Metropolitan city, is an offshoot of these words suggesting a beautiful city (initially dedicated to Moon God?). In a sense Chennai is similar in meaning and aspiration to Afro-Arabic land of Sinai. However, the word Chennai is not exclusive to Tamil. A village in Bantval Taluk is known as ChennaitoDi (D pronounced as in dog).

Schendra
Moon has been represented in Rigveda as Schendra. It is a compound of S/Chen+indra, the Indra being leader of early Aryan Gods.(Compare with Sin, the leader of Sumerian pantheon). Rigveda also cites two versions of Moon such as: Raka, the Goddess of Full Moon (Poornima) and Sinivali, the crescent on the eve of New Moon.
The Schendra gradually became Chandra in Indian parlance. Another word Chandrama was also used. Again it has been considered as a combination of Chandra+Maas, the Maas representing Moon or the lunar month.
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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

A Coastal estuary

A Coastal estuary
Holegadde near Honavar,Uttara Kannada dist, Karnataka

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