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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, December 25, 2009

219. PāD-dana

The existing classification of Dravidian languages gives an overall impression that these evolved exclusively from the proto-Dravidian along a specific linear path. However, the origin and evolution of words in a language like Tulu may be more complex than visualized by linguists at present.

The word: PāD-dana
The Tulu word paD-dana appears to have had a complex origin, being possibly borrowed and adapted from the co-existing or pre- existing languages in the Karavali. Though it has been incorporated extensively in the Tulu usage, it does not sound like a original word of Tulu language. Amrita Someshwara in his work ‘Tulu PaDdana Samputa’ has also pondered over the issue.
The word paD-tana apparently is derived from old Kannada sources. The word ‘pāD(u)’ (=song) was commonly used in old Kannada. Later it became ‘hāDu’ in later Kannada, with p.> h transition. Similarly the suffix ‘–tana’ (=state of being; equivalent of English suffix ‘-hood’) is common usage in Kannada.(For, example siritana, baDatana, saNNatana, manetana etc). However, both these usages ‘pāD’ as well as ‘-tana’ are uncommon in Tulu. Therefore, it can be concluded that the word ‘paD-dana’ (or ‘paDtana’) was borrowed from old Kannada into Tulu. This is further supported by the reference in paDdanas that Panjurli came to Tulunadu from the Sahyadri Ghat areas, probably referring to ancient Kadamba Kingdom of Banavasi. Additionally, it may be noted that the name Varāhi (Varaha=Wild boar, Panjurli) has been applied to the River originating from Banavasi region.The old Kannada word pāDdana has been lost in the later versions of Kannada, probably as result of development of script and decrease of importance for the oral literature media.
In Tulu phrase ‘pada panpini’ (= reciting a song), the word ‘pada’ is employed to represent an oral song. On the contrary, the word ‘pāDu’ (=song, as in old Kannada) or ‘pāTT’(=song, as in Tamil) is not in current usage in Tulu. Similarly, the suffix ‘-tana’ is not common in Tulu, except in words borrowed from Kannada. Thus the compound word ‘paD-tana’ (=act of singing) may have been borrowed from old Kannada along with the cult of Panjurli.
It is interesting to note that the word ‘pada’ evolved later to mean the word, especially in languages like Kannada that developed script in the due course. In current Kannada the equivalent of Tulu ‘pada’(=song) is ‘padya’(=poem).

Pārdana, pārteno
However there are some more equivalents of the word ‘paDdana’ in Tulu such as ‘pardana’ and ‘partena’ or ‘parteno’. However, these words were borrowed from ‘Gond’ and ‘Mundala’ languages. In Gondi language now prevalent in Vidarbha region of Maharastra, the word ‘pardan’ or ‘pardhan’ refers to tribal bards among Gonds.
Similarly, Mundala tribes use the word ‘partana’ or ‘partena’ or ‘parteno’ for the oral ballads.
The Gonds and Munda tribes were widespread in West Coastal region in the antiquity, probably before the arrival of tribes who spoke or introduced Tulu language in the Karavali region. Numerous ancient place names in the Karavali remain mute testimonies to the ancient existence of Gond and Munda tribes in the region.
There is an analogous Prakrit and Pali word known as ‘paTThana,’ whose original meaning has almost been lost. Some authors have surmised that it could be derived from the Sanskrit word ‘prārthana’. However, one of the Buddhist religious volumes in Pāli language has been known as ‘paTThana’, suggesting that it probably was in an oral ‘paD-dana’ form to begin with.The derived word 'paTTaN'(=reciting) has subsequently been absorbed in Hindi.
In the line of pardana- partana- paDdanas discussion, the Sanskrit word ‘prarthana’(=prayer) apparently has some relevance. Some authors have even suggested that the Sanskrit word ‘prarthana’ was the source or inspiration for the words partana- pardana- paDdanas. This seems unlikely since these tribal cultures were relatively more ancient and the Sanskrit was introduced in southern India more or less in the beginning of Christian Era.
Thus it seems likely that the coining of the Sanskrit word ‘prarthana’ was inspired from the tribal sequence of words namely : partana, pardana and paDdana.
Primitive cultures invented literature as creative pastimes long before the invention of script or the written word. The oral literature (‘orature’) was popular in Africa and other primitive centers of human evolution and dispersal.
Even the Vedas were a form of orature to begin with (ca.1700-500 BC), which were passed down the subsequent generations through recitation from memory. Contemporaneous Indian tribes like Mundas, Gonds and Others (who spoke Prakrit, Pali etc) had similar orature systems , like paD-dana ( or its regional variants such as partena, pardan or paTThan etc). This mode of folklore was also passed down the generations by sheer memory similar to Vedas. King Ashoka introduced the Brahmi script in India (ca. 300 BC) that revolutionized the documentation of literature. In many of the Indian languages, especially those with major royal patronage, scripts were introduced.
Note that the significance of oratures declined markedly in languages that developed popular scripts in due course like Sanskrit,Prakrit,Tamil,Kannada, etc as seen by the later disuse of the word (paDdana or its variants)in those languages.
Since some of the tribal languages of India may be older than Sanskrit, it may not be correct to consider that the preexisting languages borrowed some of these words from the Sanskrit. In reality, it may be the other way round.
Pardans (Gond bards, who apparently derived their names from singing pardan/paDdana), like Tamil Panans, acted like advisers to Kings, which subsequently introduced a new ministerial word pradhān (<.derived from 'pardan'). Similarly,the word 'pārteno' possibly led to coining of the Sanskrit word prārthana.
Sanskrit words, generally have been coined from word components that inherently carry the essence of meaning expressed in the final compound word. But if you split and analyze the words like 'prarthana' or 'pradhan', you may not get the root meanings tallying with the final meaning conveyed by the compound words.
With passage of time, we are unable to ascertain the original words that inspired formation of new words,and may be because of our inherent bias towards 'primitive' cultures.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

218. Mungo, the rain God

We were discussing in the previous posts about some of the primitive or ancient words that possibly found entry into other regions during the process of migration of human tribes in the antiquity. The ancient words might have inadvertently lost their original identity and meaning with passage of time in the new environment. One such possible African word existing in the present Dravidian socio-cultural setup is the word ‘Mungo’.
‘Mungo’ is the name of an African God of Rain. We can presume that the ancient African word ‘Mung’ is related to rains. Let us analyze the derived or related words in Dravidian languages like Tulu and Kannada.
‘Mungāru’ is a common Tulu and Kannada word for the major annual rainfall of the region, which we have also designated alternately as ’Southwest Monsoon’.
(The word ‘mungār’ has also two other meanings especially in Tulu, namely: (1) the front portion of the leg and (2) a hammer. But presently let us not go to digressing details.)
In the present context, we have presumed that ‘Mungaru’ is derived as follows:
Mun + karu, where ‘mun’= advance or advancing and ‘karu’= clouds and rains.
As a corollary, our people have created an antonym like ‘hingaru’ (hin + karu) in the similar lines to represent the second session of rains in the southern India, namely the ‘Northwest Monsoon’.
But some analysis of the word ‘kār’ or ‘kāru’ suggests that it represents dark (like a dark dense forest or dark clouds) and not the rains. Thus, we realize that ‘kār’=rains is only an assumed meaning.
If we go back to the possible original derivation from the African word ‘mung’ for rain,
Mung + aru= splash of rains. (Tulu word: ‘ār’ as in ‘aral’=splashing of shower, as in the phrase ‘aral beejuni’.)
Another Tulu word that retains the African root ‘mung’ (=rain) is ‘munge’(=sprout). It is common knowledge that rains induce sprouting in seeds kept in the open.
Mung+e. = growth (sprouting) due to rain.
There is another route for confirming the above origin of the word:
In Kannada the word ‘munge’ does not exist (at least presently) but is replaced by another similar word known as ‘moLake’ (=sprout). The word ‘moLake’ must have been a modified version of the original word ‘maLake’(=sprouting induced by rains), because: In the usage male + ke where ‘maLe’ stands for rain.
There is one more related word in Tulu, namely ‘mungā’, ‘mungāv’ or ‘mungo’ which means to submerge or dip in water.

Friday, December 18, 2009

217. Kenya

Migrating tribes in the antiquity, who set out on a long trail from Africa to India, obviously with several periodic stops in between, have brought in many antique words along with them. Tulu, Bantu, Siri, Sira, Kola etc are some of the common words deduced in these blog pages to have been brought from Africa to India.
The place name ‘Manki ‘ appears t have been introduce into Karavali in the similar way, either from Papua New Guinea or from the side of Northwestern region of Indian subcontinent as discussed in the previous post.
One more such place name that is found in Africa as well as in Tulunadu is the word Kenya or Kinya. Kenya is a State in Africa. Kenya means the abode of Gods in African language.
We have similar sounding two places in Tulunadu that bear the name of Kinya and Kenya. In southern part of Mangalore taluk, there is one village called ‘Kinya’. And in northern part of Sullia taluk is another village called ‘Kenya’. Both these place names could be the variants of a single name Kenya. It may be recalled that the region Kenya in Africa is also pronounced as Kinya.
In the Tulu language we can somehow find meanings for both these names, but it would be neither logical nor appropriate. The word ‘Kinya’ means smaller in present Tulu. However, this meaning appears inappropriate and may not be the original meaning of the place name. Similarly, word ‘Kenya’ means ‘listen to me’ in Tulu which again is inappropriate, if not absurd, as a place name. Besides, we have analyzed in previous posts that -ya or –ia are the spatial prefixes/suffixes with (divine connotations) not only in Tulunadu (eg. Aikala, Murulia, Sullia etc) but also in Africa and Asia and Asia Minor (Arabia, Namibia, Kenya, Tunisia, Ethiopia etc).
Therefore since, -ya is a spatial suffix, Kinya and Kenya should be analyzed as
kin +ya and ken +ya.
However, the words kin and ken apparently do not have any logical meanings in present Tulu language. Therefore it is proposed that the mysterious spatial name ‘Kenya’ has been brought to Tulunadu along with immigrants in the historical past.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

216. Permanki

Some of the village names sound funny and do not have ready meanings even among the natives of those villages. One such hamlet name is Per(a)manki, located in Ulaibettu village on the banks of River Gurupur, near Neermarga and Mallur, in Mangalore Taluk.
The word ‘Permanki’ can be analyzed as follows:
In this place name, the Dravidian prefix ‘peru’ has been combined with ‘manki’. Peru or peri =large, big. Periya> hiriya= larger, bigger or elder. (There are several villages in Tulunadu carrying the prefix 'peru', like Pervaaje, Perankila, Perara, Perdur, Peramoger, Periadka, Peramannur etc.)
And we can attribute a meaning for the word ‘manki’ based on the line of analyses followed in earlier posts.
Manki= ma+anki= an elevated place.
Therefore, 'Permanki' stands for a large village located on a elevated ground or plateau.
The second word unit, namely Manki is an independent village name. We have a Manki village near Honnavar, Uttar Kannada district. The word ‘manki’  is a large settlement or a village in Munda cultural scenario and Munda language.
Suffix -ki
The word ‘manki’ emphasizes the existence of an ancient suffix -ki as a spatial attribute. It must be ancient one and discontinued later because it is not found in later or current Dravidian place names. However, it exists in some of the older place names like Neranki,Haleneranki,Parenki, Karenki(Dakshina Kannada),Karki, Valki (Uttara Kannada ), Bhalki (Bidar) etc.
Suffix –gi and –angi
Besides, we find another variant of suffix-ki in the form of –gi (or –angi) in Shimoga and surrounding regions. Ucchangi, Bhadrangi, Devangi, etc.Examples for places with suffix-'gi', are mostly found in Uttara Kannada and Uttar Karnataka: Balgi,Bargi,Biligi, Divgi, Byadagi, Nimbergi, Nesargi, Kalghatgi,Kushtagi, etc
Antiquity of words
The Karavali and contiguous parts of southern India have preserved many fossil words in the form of place names bearing testimony to numerous ancient tribes that sauntered and lived across this vast land. Although we find numerous fossil words as well as regional variants of some of these words, it is difficult task at this stage to pinpoint and classify the tribes and the words (languages) used by them.
Another possible way of establishing the antiquity of the words is to search for similar words (place names) in other parts of the world especially along known routes of human migration.
We find that  Manki as a place name exists even in Swat region (North West Frontier Province), Pakistan, in the islands of Papua New Guinea and in Poland. The Gandhar region (present Pakistan and Afghanistan) have been known as one of the ancient routes of immigration into India. Similarly the Papua New Guinea has been described as one of the early centers of human civilization outside Africa.
The strings of data discussed above establish that ancient words such as ‘manki’ have been carried to different places by the migrating human tribes.
Manki stand
There is one 'Manki' stand near Mangaladevi Temple, Mangalore.In the absence Of proper explanation, some people might have thought of this as 'monkey stand'! Now, the name 'Manki'(=elevated area) tallies with the other alternate names existing for the Old Mangalore area such as 'Mangaar'(ma+ang+ar=elevated open field). The old name 'Mangar' for the area, later became 'Mangal' and 'Mangala'probably between 6th to 8th Century CE. Yet it is interesting to note that both the ancient place names, 'Mangaar' (near Yemmekere)and 'Manki'(near Mangaladevi temple) have survived.

-With Hosabettu Vishwanath

Monday, December 14, 2009

215. Manchakall

Do you remember a place called ‘Manchale’?
Manchale was the former name of the holy place later known as Mantralaya, located on the bank of River Tungabhadra in Raichur district, Karnataka. Guru Raghavendra, a Swami or sage of Madhwa cult became famous in the river side village of Manchale. The township and the religious institutions built around the brindavana (cemetery) of Raghavendra Swamy deserved a magical name and the old Manchale village was renamed as Mantralaya a few centuries ago. In the old village of Manchale, rural  Goddess Manchalamma was a popular deity, a form of mother Goddess the local people believed in. The increasing influence of Raghavendra Swami overshadowed the popularity of the native Goddess Manchalamma, which was resented by many.
This year several Rivers of northern Karnataka were in spate owing to unprecedented heavy rainfall in the catchment area. River Tungabhadra was also flooded leading to submergence and severe damages to the properties of the religious institutions built in the name of Guru Raghavendra.
As the legend goes, Manchalamma was instrumental in Shri Raghavendra Swami locating his Ashram at Manchale. It is with the grace of Manchalamma he established the institutions. When he went to 'samadhi' state by interning himself in a Tulasi Vrindavana, he assured devotees that he would fullfil the wishes of 'Bhaktas' (devotees) by remaining invisible for 700 years (or so) thereafter. His power ,as experienced by devotees, is vibrant still today, though Manchalamma is the reigning deity of Manchale .>. Mantralaya.

However, the laymen connect the recent flooding at Mantralaya to the wrath or curse of Manchalamma for neglecting Her!
The place name Manchale= Mancha+ala. The suffix ‘ -ala ‘or ’- ale’ refers to the river. Then, what is the ‘mancha’?
Manchakall(u) is a hamlet adjoining Shirva town in Udupi district. Manchakall area is strewn with abundant rocky exposures. Manchakall sounds strange, but makes sense when you analyze the meanings of the place name Palli.
Palli also means ‘rock -bed’ structures used formerly by Buddhist and/or Jain monks during the early centuries of CE. Therefore, Manchakall is an alternate word for the Palli.
Mancha (=cot or bed) + kall (=rock).
Mancha in modern Kannada means a wooden cot. In Tulu, it also means pedestals or modified seats reserved for the installation of spirits. This application also indicates the possible heritage of the word. The rocky seat or pedestal preferred by monks was also known as ‘mancha’ or ‘manchavu’. Detailed archeological studies in the rocky region of Manchakall may throw special light on early historical rock structures frequented by Buddhist and or Jain monks. It is also possible that destruction of rocks in the name of development may have damaged any of the archeological structures.
Ma + anchav= elevated structure.
(Compare with:
‘manja’ . (ma +anja) =elevated land,
‘manga’ . (ma +anga) =animal on the tree.
'manji' . (ma +anji) = big sailing ship.)
There is another similar sounding village in the southern part of Bantval Taluk that sports the name Manchi. The word ‘Manchi ‘was an early variant of the name ‘mancha’ or ‘manchav’. Several place names have such ‘–i ’ variants, such as nādu-nādi, pāda-pādi, vāda-vādi, bāda-bādi , uru- uri etc.
Besides there are many places all over Karnataka having the prefix of ‘mancha-’. The word mancha is a gift of Dravidian languages to Sanskrit. It is a widely used word in all languages, including Tulu. Vishwanath's Kannada Pandit in Vidyadayinee High School, Suratkal,late Shri Padmanabha Somayaji, who learnt Sanskrit for twelve years in Mysore, used to say that 'Mancha' is a Kannada word, gifted to Sanskrit.( For that matter, Tamils would say, that it is a gift from Tamil). Sanskrit has a definite rule for explaining etymology of a word from the root word. 'Mancha' is an exception to that rule.
Manchil: A palanquin used for carrying important persons in the past years. The Kula Gurus and religious pontiffs, were used to be carried around in such 'manchil's.

There are also Manchar in Tulunadu, Maharashtra, and Pakistan.
'Manchad' Manchad is a Tibeto-Burman language, also known as Pattani, Lahuli or Swangla, spoken in Hiamachal Pradesh
(Indo-Tibetan border) means a lower valley in local Tibetan dialect.
Manchar in Pune district is a town on Pune- Nashik road alongside Sahyadri Range. Manchar and Manchad are most probably cognates.
Rangamancha= A stage or (raised) platform for performing arts, like Yakshagana.
North Indians use the word ‘Manch’ to represent a platform, a stage or a forum.

-With Hosabettu Vishwanath.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Vishwa Tulu Sammelano 2009

The festivities and the celebrations of the first World Tulu Conference (Vishwa Tulu Sammelano, 2009) comes to an end today 13th December 2009 at Ujire, Belthangadi taluk, Dakshina Kannada district.We have captured some of the scenes of the festivity brimming with enthusiasm and moods of the people.It is estimated that about 0.5 million people visited the conference.

The logo of 'Vishwa Tulu Sammelano 2009'.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

214. PATNA

The word ‘patna’ represents a town in many of the Indian languages. The city in Jharkhand (and former capital of Bihar) is known as ‘Patna’. Besides, there are towns called ‘patna’ in Gujarat. In southern India, the word appears to have been applied to ancient port towns: Machalipatna, Nagapatna, Visakapatna etc. In Tulunadu context, the word is mostly applied to coastal colonies of Mogavir fishermen. In the olden days the fishing colonies were generally associated with port towns. Thus the word ‘patna’ was interchangeably used for port towns and the associated fishery colonies. People from the Tulu fishing community were used to be addressed as 'patnadakulu' (=fishermen) or 'pattaldi' (=fisher woman) by other communities.
On the other hand, the ancient towns and capitals were initially built around the port towns, as the ports were the major centers of trade and revenue.
Moolara patna
However, the word is not exclusively used for port towns or fishery colonies even in Tulu context. Moolara-patna on the bank of River Palghuni (Gurupur) is an example. Moolara patna as the name reveals is a colony of ‘Moola’ or ‘Moolya’ people. The word ‘moola’ represents origin and thus the word ‘moolya’ stands for aborigine.
Bokka patna
Bokka-patna is an example for an ancient port town associated with fishery colony. Bokkapatna is presently a lesser known civic extension in western part of Mangalore city. However, only few can visualize and realize that once it was a major port town representing Mangalore, especially during 12th to 15th Centuries CE. Reconstruction of geological history of the area reveals that the River Phalguni (Gurupur) was joining the Arabian Sea between Kudroli and Bolar. And the Kings of Vijayanagar who occupied Mangalore during 14th Century CE, developed port on the bank of river estuary and named it as “Bokkapatna” in honour of the Vijayanagar King Bukka (or Bokka).Therefore the Bokkapatna was the official Mangalore port during that historical period.
Patna: Let us analyze the word ‘patna’ ( pron: paTNa ) to gain some insights into the evolution of our words and languages. The origin of the word appears to be:
paTT + Na. (‘paTT’=colony or nest, aNa, aNe=area.)
There are at least four similar sounding roots related to the word patna: (1) patt 1(2) patt 2(3) pat, or pata and (4) pada and (5)padu.
1. Patt 1= a nest, a group or a colony.
2. Patt 2= to distribute among people.
3. Pata= a cloth, a curtain or a flag or a stretch of land. Also pictures, portraits or maps (drawn on a canvas, cloth piece or a paper) or a kite.. Examples: bhupata (=Map), chitrapata, galipata etc.
The Sanskrit word ‘path’(=linear path, road) appears to be related and /or derived from the old word ‘pata’
4. Pada=(pron: paDa) The word ‘paDa’ (pron: short pa+Da. Pa=low lying; Da=area) represents (1) a beach area demarcated for drying fish along the coast, or (2) a mat knitted from coconut fibers and used for drying fish. The word ‘paDa’ also means (3) to take a turn or (4) a large boat (‘paDavu’).
5. Padu =(pron: paDu) = West. (pa=(1).Sea margin, beach, (2) low lying; Du=area, possibly refers to the direction of Arabian Sea or coastal low lying area).
** **
There are some more related words for comparison in Tulu language:
Padil : PaDil represents a barren or waste land.
Patla: Patla (pron: paTla) means a low-lying marshy land alongside a river. [Origin: pa+T+la. ‘paT’=low lying +strip of land+ covered by ‘ala’(=water) ]. A ‘paTla kanDa’ means a wet, water-logged rice field, near a river, yielding only one crop per year In ‘patla kanda’, flooding is a common feature in rainy season rendering it unfit for rainy season's paddy cultivation of 'yenel' crop. ['Yenel' (yene+al) as ‘water from the sky’ (=rains)]. In these days of building constructions, these marshy lands are reclaimed and made habitable with modern type of buildings. Hence the Tulu idiomatic expression/usage: “Patla pOdu uru aanD” (=The marshy land has become village).
Patti: Patti (pron: paTTi) is a strip of cloth, metal or wood. It also developed into a linear strip like colony of houses or a village habitation.. The word ‘patti’(=habitation) became ‘hatti’ in medieval Kannada, with transformation of p> h.
Patti2 was a strip of cloth wherein records were written in the historical past, before the invention of paper.
Patta: The word ‘patta’ (pron: paTTa) means authority, throne or royal power. In other words it is power over a stretch of land.
Men of high positions (masters or authorities), landed gentry living in palatial buildings are called 'pattadakulu' in Tulu parlance.
Thus a ‘Patel’ represents a village chairman or head. The word ‘Patel’ has become ‘Pātil’ in northern Karnataka and Maharastra areas. Patel is also current in Gujarat as surname and profession. Possibly the word ‘Patel’ was brought to Tulu and Kannada region by the immigrants from north.
In interior Karnataka and Maharashtra, the word Patel has transformed to 'Patil or Pateela', meaning landlord, hence a man of high position.
Patte: The word ‘patte’ originally means a silken cloth. It was customary to preserve land records in a 'patte' (invariably in red colour). Hence, the word ‘patte’ it came to mean a 'registered land record', showing rightful entitlement. 'Patte kudtale' also means a record of ownership of land or landed property with registered right of paying land revenue tax. So the word: 'pattedār or pattadāre' (land-owner, possessing valid record of rights). 'Pattevaali' also means a striped silk cloth.
Patawari: Note this nomenclature current in Hindi-spaking belts. Meaning is similar to 'Patele, Patel, Pattedare, Pattadaare' (Tulu), Pātil (Maharashtra, Karnataka), Patel (Gujarat) and so on in other areas.
Patavardhan: This surname or title common in Maharashtra and Karnataka also relates to root word 'Pata'.
Pata Parivartan: meaning 'Change of flag,curtain', refers to change of circumstances in different points of time. In History, it means stages of different events, rise and fall of monarchies, governments, social and religious upheavals and new schools of thoughts.
Patasale (Padasale): Padsale means 'main living room of a house'. The word 'paDasale' possibly meant originally a west side living room.Kawdoor Narayana Shetty has pointed out that the word "saala" means a living room in Italian language.
Note: Pata and Pada are interchangeable words in Tulu.

-with Hosabettu Vishwanath.

Friday, December 4, 2009

213. Kotrupādi

Village names like 'Kotrupadi'(pron:koTrupādi) open up windows into forgotten early chapters of the human evolution in the Tulunad. The Kotrupadi is a hamlet within Kallamundkur village, located on the Mulki-Mudabidri road in Mangalore taluk. There is one more ‘Kutrupadi’ near Bantra village in Puttur Taluk.
There may be many more such hamlets known by similar sounding names. What is the ‘Kotru’ or ‘Kutru‘ stand for in such place names? My casual enquiries with random people near such villages do not elicit any meanings worth pondering. There are some more such words: ‘Kottigehara’ near Charmadi, bordering Chikmagalur district, on the Western Ghats (Sahyadri ranges). ‘Kottur’ in Bellary district. ‘Kottara’, inside Mangalore city.etc.

Gond tribes now residents of Vidarbha region in Maharastra are known as ‘ Koytoor’ or ‘Koitur’ or simply ‘Koi’. Gonds are a hilly tribe (‘gond’ or ‘kond’=hill) who are cultivators or depend on forest products for their livelihood. Gonds are said to be Dravidian tribes. Some sociologists also include these tribes among pre-Dravidian Munda Group. These dual classification of Gonds suggest that these tribes could be representatives of the stages of evolutionary trends from the early Munda to Dravidian tribes. Sham.Baa. Joshi refers to Goddess “Kotturi” in some of his works. ‘Kotturi’ Goddess is probably related to Koitur or Gond tribes.

Books like “Socio-cultural study of scheduled tribes: the pardhans of Maharashtra” by Shashidhar Ramchandra Murkute and “Gonds of Vidarbha “by S.G. Deogaonkar throw better light on these tribes.
The presence of abundant place names with prefix ‘Koi’ or ‘Koitru’ or ‘Kotru’ in Karavali Tulunadu and other parts of Karnataka reveals that these tribes lived in these regions once upon a time. And due to various adverse reasons these tribes might have migrated north towards Vidarbha in Maharastra. Many of the ancient socio-religious customs of early Gond tribes have been assimilated into the cultural practices of subsequent Tulu and other Dravidian generations.

Ancient Gonds of Tulunadu
The existence of place names beginning with ‘Koi’- (Koikude, Koila etc) and ‘Kotru’-(Kotrupadi, Kottara, Kottigehar etc) in Tulunadu are the remnant signatures of ancient Koitur Gond settlements. The agricultural implement ‘Kottu’(hand showel) may be having origins with ‘Kotru’ tribes. The earlier Koi and Kotru tribes were possibly partly absorbed into later Dravidian communities as seen by the undercurrents of ancient Gond customs among us. Assimilation of tribes suggest that they were evolved enough to gain respectability by the immigrants.
Further, ‘Gondarannaya’ has remained as a ‘Bari’ (septa) and ‘Konde’(<.Gonde), ‘Kotari’, ‘Kotriyal’ etc have remained as surnames especially among Tulu Nadava people.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

212. PāDi

‘PāDi ‘is a familiar Tulu word representing an area with trees. The word ‘pāDi’ also occurs as suffix in place names like Gopādi, Bopādi, Katapādi, Bellarapādi, Kannarapadi, Bettamapadi, Talapadi, Talipadi, Baikampādi etc. Presence of place-names like Katpadi in Tamilanadu suggests that it is a common Dravida word. However, available data suggests that the word ‘pāDi’ was borrowed from pre-Dravidian Munda group of languages and culture.
For example, the bari or gotra (sept or clan) system is known as ‘pāDi’ among Gond tribes of Vidarbha. Gonds are members of Munda group of Austro-Asiatic tribes that were widespread in the peninsula in the antiquity.
Vanajaputta Manjunatta pointed out that the Gotra or Bari (sept or clan) system prevails among the Gond tribes and is known as ‘padi’ (pronounced ‘pāDi’). ‘Gonds of Vidarbha ‘ by S. G Deogaonkar gives outlines of the pādi system among Gond tribes.
Gonds are a group of ancient Austro- Asiatics or Munda tribes, who have evolved with passage of time and have assimilated socio-cultural features and customs from various immigrant communities and groups.
The word ‘padi’ at present means a group of houses in the Gond language.
Further, tThe old word pāDi has become hāDi in later Kannada after 10th Century CE, with transition of pa> ha.
ADi & pāDi
Compare the word ‘pādi’ with another related word namely ‘āDi’. Adi is also a suffix in place-names such as Nelyadi, Kalyadi, Kanyadi, Amtadi, Nekkiladi, Bannadi, Hemmadi, Hejmadi, etc.
As discussed in a previous post, it appears that the word ‘āDi’ originally represented shade of a tree. To begin with, in the primitive days of early civilization, the shade of a tree in sunny, tropical countries apparently constituted the comfortable habitation of early man. Hence the suffix –aDi was used to designate early habitation names. The root word ‘aD’ meant a tree as we notice in the derived words ‘aDar’ (=twig) and ‘aDavi’(=forest). In the early days of civilization, parts of dried tree (twigs etc) were used to ignite fire and to cook. Hence the root ‘aD’ also stood for the verb ‘ (to) cook’, from which words like ‘aDpini’(=cooking), ‘aDpil’(=kitchen), ‘aDDe’(=coked food), aDve(=forest) etc were derived.
paDi = pa+aDi
If ‘aDi’=shade of a tree, then ‘pāDi’= shade of group of trees or shady grove.
Thus in the due course of time, the word pāDi developed in scope to represent a comfortable residential area that consisted of a group of habitation of related people.
Prefix pa- occurs in a number of spatial names such as panja (pa+anja), pangala (pa+angala), pāndi (pa+anDi) etc. Usage of pa- as prefix in these words suggests that it carries shades of meanings such as water body,greenish area,or even good or comfortable.
Similarly there are two more suffixes namely ‘nāDi ‘(Pachanadi, Manjanadi) and ‘māDi’ (Hemmadi, Hejamadi,) that can be analysed as follows:
Na+aDi= =cultivated tree or na+aD+i= cultivated area.
Ma+aDi= elevated area.
There is another suffix similar or equivalent to pāDi , namely pāDa.
Da= locality or area in Munda languages.
pa+Da. PāDa= Comfortable area or greenish ( sylvan) area.
There are several localities in Maharastra having a prefix of –pāDa, such as
AgripāDa (Mumbai), Dandpada etc.
The word 'pata'appears to be related to or derived from pada.
PaTa (=cloth piece),possibly >PaTan>PaTTana>PaTna. Variant of Pata is paDa (short vowel 'a'), a carpet of coir or cloth. PaDa, made of coir, is used for drying the cured fish.

Another related word is spatial suffix -vada.
Va+Da. Both the words -va and- Da are spatial suffixes. Suffix -va (as in Shirva, Urva, Kolva, etc) has been extensively discussed in an earlier post.
There are several place names having suffix of vada in southern India, such as Vijayavada, Kolivada, etc. There are numerous –vada places near Karawar. KaDvaD, ZarivaDa, HarvaDa, DharvaDa,etc. The original name of the Karawar town is known to be ‘KaDvaDa’ (=village beside a river ferry; kaD= river bank or ferry, vaDa= habitation area).
Like the pāDa and pāDi spatial word pair, we also have vāDi for vāDa!
Vādi occurs as an independent place-name (for example, VāDi , a Railway junction in Gulbarga district) [va+aDi = habitation area] or as a suffix in toponyms such as Belavadi, Tilakvadi, etc.
PāDa-pāDi, vāDa-vāDi, bāDa-bāDi
Apart from these there is one more related suffix, namely -bāDi ( as in Kodimbadi,Kedambadi, Kannambadi etc).Pairing with bāDi is another suffix bāDa which forms several place names especially in Uttara Kannada.
The analyses of these related spatial suffixes hint at the possibility of -aDi and -Da being regional variants of the same word from Munda languages. It appears that Dravidian languages picked up and assimilated some of the pre-existing Munda words in the region.

-With Hosabettu Vishwanath.

Friday, October 30, 2009

211. Gotra , Bari: Genetic tags

A comment from Purushotham Puthran rather innocently enquires: “May I also Know what to say when the Temple priest ask us for the GOTRA.”
Many of us who piously follow Hindu traditional worship patterns and customs, like Purushotham , may have encountered certain degree of embarrassment, especially if you are from non-brahmin lineages , when the temple priest asks you the name of your Gotra,.
Gotra system
The ‘Gotra’ is an ancient system (origin ca. 1700 BC or older) of identifying and classifying the individual. Then there were no genome studies. The individual hymns in the Vedas were said to have been composed by a set of (twelve or so) sages independently and then collated together as a consensus after presenting them in a like- minded group discussion forum or seminar.
Yadava : cow lineage
It seems the Vedic sages adopted a scheme of identification of families earlier used and adopted by pre-Vedic Yadava group (Idiya, Yedava etc equivalents) that specialized in cattle-herding. Or it could be that Yadava cattle camps in the due course adopted a Vedic sage or Guru for guiding them in various physical and metaphysical aspects of life. In other words ancient families were attached to specific cowsheds, since dairy products were one of the primary source of wealth in those days. It was designated Gotra system (go=cow, tra=line), since the classification was based on the name of the cowshed to which joint families were attached at that time.
One of the possibility is that the ‘tra’ (tra=thread; tara,dhara=flow) or lineage system was in vogue among civilized people and the Yadava tribes specially formulated a ’go-tra’ (cow- lineage) system to identify and distinguish persons from their community. The Vedic poet-sages were associated with or sponsored by camps of cattle-herders (Yadava) who depended on dairy products for their livelihood. With passage of time, when families in each camp grew in size, persons were identified by the cow-pen which was named after the priest (Guru) of the camp.
Thus then it was a convenient general practice to identify individuals based on the name of their camps. Subsequently, post-Vedic people of dominant communities (brahmin, kshatriya and vaishya groups) had also the option of joining or adopting any of the pre-existing set of ‘ gotra’ camps, and the opted ‘gotra’ tag was continued in their progeny from father to son.
Thus the gotra tag during the timeline was either innate or acquired. Some of the common ancient gotra were named after sages Agashtya, Angirasa, Athri, Brighu, Bharadwaja, Kashyapa, Vasishta, Vishwamitra etc. (The gotra system obviously evolved over a period of long time. For example Bhardwaja was said to be a descendant of Angirasa. Jamadagni was said to be a descendant of Bhrighu and so on).These sages were scholars of that time and it should be remembered that many of the sages like Valmiki, Vyasa and Markandeya during the history originated from so called backward classes.
Since the ‘gotra’ system was like an identity tag for individual that was perpetuated over the years for the purpose of matrimonial alliances etc, there are inheritors of this ‘gotra’ system even today. The temple priest who asks the name of your ‘gotra’ is only trying to identify you in terms of the original Vedic camps your forefathers possibly belonged to!
However, it should be remembered that were also other people in the antiquity who did not belong to any of these gotra camps or subscribed to their theories.
Bari system
However, there were similar wise systems of identifying persons from different groups was in vogue at that time in the subcontinent. Tulu-Dravida ancestors, for example, had adopted the ‘Bari’ system or the ‘Bali ‘system.
The word ‘bari’ specifically means a side or a flank. In an early civilized human settlement, there were several families residing in a colony and each house was designated specifically based on the origin of the senior persons/parents in the house.
The word ‘bali’ is said to be a variant of the word ‘bari’. However the word ‘bali’ specifically means a forest creeper that was used as thread or rope in the olden days. Therefore the word ‘bali’ means lineage, like the suffix ‘tra’ in gotra. Obviously in the later system there is no mention of 'gow' or the cow, which leads us to surmise that in the beginning this system probably was originally designed by non- Yadava sects and subsequently adopted by Yadavas as gotra system.
Therefore we can conclude that lineage (bali) or side (bari) system was probably prevalent in (at least) north-western India during pre-Vedic (ca. 1700 BC) and ensuing periods. The concept spread to other regions later along with migrating people.
Gotra or Bari
Now back to the dilemma posed by Purushottam Puthran. What to say when your priest asks the name of your Gotra? The answer basically depends on your convictions and beliefs. If you feel that following a ‘gotra’ of Vedic to post Vedic period elevates you, please select (adopt as many have done traditionally) a ’gotra’ name and utter it. Many priests spontaneously classify you as ‘Kashyapa’, ‘Viswamitra’ or ‘Markandeya’, when you are unable to tell your gotra.
Or if you are scientific in your temper, tell the Priest your actual ‘bari ‘. Note that Brahmin families in Tulunadu have adopted surnames based on the names of their family houses such as Kakkilaya, Pejathaya, Kalluraya etc. If the ancient ‘gotra’ system was ever enduring and satisfactory this kind of subsequent adoption of family names was not required.

If you are a ‘Puthran’ in terms of ’bari’ system, I suggest that you should adopt ‘Puthran’ tag as your both ‘bari’ and ‘gotra’.It would be more meaningful than adopting some unknown or unrelated genetic tags.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

210. Palli

Some of the words have multiple meanings that introduce a degree of uncertainity and indecisiveness as to their originally intended exact meaning when encountered in the form of place names. The multiple meanings inherited by some of these words may have originated from divergent proto-language sources during the course of evolution, leading to perpetuation of dissimilar meanings for similar sounding words. Let us look into the word ‘palli’ for an illustration of this observation.
Palli (pronounced as paLLi or palli in different regions) is a common place name indicator in southern India. Madanapalli, Tiruchirapalli, Bellampalli, etc places suggest the prevalence of this word among Dravidian ancestors. However, the word is not geographically exclusive to southern India. We find place names ending with palli Sindhi and Baluchistan village names in Pakistan (Palli-Mas, Goth-Palli etc), Afghanistan and also in northern Africa and Mediterranean region. Palli is also the name of a settlement in Voru, Estonia. Palli an Israeli male surname. Palli is also name of a Sindhi tribe in Pakistan.Data from Vanniyars suggest that the South Indian royal group of Pallavas were also formerly referred to as Pallis.In mideval Kannada ‘palli’ became ‘halli’, while ‘palle’ and ‘palliya’ variants also exists in Andhra Pradesh.. In Maharastra and Gujarat, modified -valli suffix also exists.
It is suggestive of flow of the ancient words along with human migrants and possibly that traces the relics of history of past settlement and migration paths of Dravidian language speakers in the antiquity. The word could have been originated in ancient Sumerian environs and passed on to other regions along with ancient human migrants.
Palli in Karavali
Palli is a rocky village in Karkal Taluk, Udupi district. It is a continuation of the granite rock belt extending in the surrounding villages of Sooda, Nitte, Kalya, Kukkundur and Kawdoor. There are no major water bodies (palla=water pond) in this Palli village. Therefore this Palli is derived from Palla or water body. On the other hand, the abundant granitic, rocky outcrops in the village remind us of the word Palli (3) as also explained in Tamilnet and derived from the ancient rock-cut beds of Jain period. However, detailed historical studies may be required to confirm existence of any ancient Jain rock cut bed structures in the granites of Palli village, Karkal taluk. Now, since the granites of the region being quarried extensively for winning building material, chances of finding ancient archeological structures are also quite remote.

There are some more 'Palli's in Udupi region. Perampalli near Manipal, Parampalli near Kota,Varamballi near Brahmavara, Nayampalli near Udupi, Bairampalli and Nellampalli near Herga and so on.
Perampalli ( peram+palli) =A large village.There are villages called Perampalli in Tamilanadu also suggesting that it is an old Dravidian place name.
Parampalli (Param+palli) = An old ('para' or 'pala') village. Possibly, Parampalli, possibly, is a later modification of original place name Peramapalli. And it appears that the place name Varamballi is possibly a Sanskritized version of the word Peramaplli or the Parampalli.
Most of these Pallis in Udupi district could be of Buddhist or Jain heritage as most of these are located beside rivers and there are no large Palla (ponds) in any of these villages.
Comparatively, the villages having a suffix of 'palli' are rare in Dakshina Kannada district. Kandathapalli near Bolur in Mangalore city is suggestive of a Mosque ('Palli') located in an agricultural field ('kanDa'). Nidpalli ('niD' or 'neD'=to plant) in Puttur Taluk is suggestive of an ancient agriculture based village.
Palimar, Pallimar
Palimar village located to the southeast of Padubidri town is sometimes pronounced as 'Phalimar' or ‘Pallimar’ also. The word Pali-mār would mean sisters (‘pali’) agricultural field(‘mār’). However, there are no known legends in the village that connect to any of sister’s agricultural property. Therefore we can conclude that the original name possibly was ‘Pallimar’ instead of Palimar as usually pronounced at present.
Palli-mār means agricultural field(mār) located beside a Palli, where the word ‘palli’ possibly represented an ancient Buddhist (or even Jain) temple.

Palli 1, Pallava
The word ‘palli’ possibly originated as a human settlement by the side of a ‘palla’ (natural lake or pond). In inland regions away from natural streams the water ponds were the exclusive source of water for irrigation and domestic consumption. Thus villages, towns and temples were built by the side of large perennial water bodies. The word ‘Pallava’ also means the same: palla+va =an area or settlement by the side of a palla (pond). The word ‘Pallava’ was the name of a famous south Indian dynasty.
Palla, an unit
In inland regions away from the rivers and streams, in the earlier days of civilization, the ‘palla’ (water pond) was the exclusive source of irrigation. Like the ‘pola’(=agricultural field) that represented ‘poli’(=prosperity),in those days, the ‘palla’(water pond) eventually stood for the quantity or measure of grains produced. Thus the ‘palla’ became a volumetric measuring unit (made of wooden or metal vessel) for 100 seers of rice. In some areas (especially Kannada) the word was modified into ‘balla’.
The relevant word ‘palla’ also meant a heap of cooked rice during ceremonial mass feedings. The traditional Tulu words ‘pallada kotya’(=a room or cubicle where cooked rice for serving is stored) and ‘palla puje’(=the worship of ceremonial cooked rice) were customarily derived in these lines.
Pali, Palli 2
Palli2 or the second source of meaning for the word palli probably came as variant of the word pāli.
Pāli is also a place name in Western Rajasthan. The word Pāli apparently holds the key to the origin of the word Palli2.
The word Palli2 was used to designate ancient Buddhist shrines in southern India and Srilanka. Later the name was also extended to Jain temples and Christian churches. Further in Kerala and southern parts of Tulunadu, it represents Muslim shrines. The application of the word Palli2 for shrines appears to have changed during the passage of time.
Tamilnet records that the word Palli was adapted to represent Buddhist and subsequently Muslim shrines. Tamilnet explains that the word Palli was derived from the word ‘palla’ (depression) which was used to bury the dead bodies in the past. The word Pali was said to have been applied to Buddhist shrines these were repositories of dead bodies or relicts thereof.
However we feel that the origin of the Palli as a shrine was derived from another route.
Pali 2 =Older
Pāli was the ancient Indian language adopted by Buddhists to communicate and preach. The usage of the word Palli for Buddhist Chaitya might have been actually a modification of the word Pāli used by Buddhists. The meaning of the word Pāli is said to be line or text.

However it also should be considered that the word is related to another ancient Prakrit word pala/ para/ pali that is also preserved in Tulu till today. The word ‘pala’ (or its variant para) means old, mature or senior. Note the related and derived words for comparison: The word pali means elder sister. ‘Palaye’ (or ‘paraye’) represents elder brother. ‘Paratt’ (or ‘palatt’ ) means the old. ‘Parabe’ and ‘parabu’ represent an old man and an old woman respectively. ’ParakaTT ‘means old and torn (cloth).
A variant of the word ‘Pala’ was ‘Pela’ or Jack-fruit (and tree), the oldest fruit known in the subcontinent. It has been suggested in earlier posts that the word Pala was adapted into Sanskrit to represent fruits in general.
Thus the word Pāli could have been adapted to represent an older language and tradition. Similarly it appears that the word Pāli was also applied to represent older generation of shrines of Buddhist origin. Historical data suggests that the Buddhist temples and Chaityas were the forerunners of Hindu temples and architecture.
The name of the Southeast Asian island Bali is a simple variant of the word Pāli..
Tamilnet explains that the word ‘palli’ also means a rock-cut bed used by early Jain monks. It also suggests that the word ‘palli’ meant a sleeping area, before being adopted as a village.
Apparently the word palla meant a sleeping or resting place in the older Prakrit/ Pali languages. The derived word ‘pallanga’ means a bed. Similarly, ‘pallenki’(Tulu) or ‘pallaki’ means a mane where a person can relax comfortably while being carried by two to four servants during early days. These words suggest that ‘palli’ derived from Prakrit source was a relaxing or sleeping area to begin with.
The word ‘palli’ (pronounced with soft ‘l’) also means common household lizard.
Thus the ancient word ‘palli’ preserved in the Dravidian languages at present carries several meanings, such as: 1. Habitation beside a pond or water source. 2. A relaxing area or comfort zone (in contrast with zone of wilderness or business) and 3. A Shrine: Buddhist, Jain, Islamic or Christian.4. A common lizard.
Of these meanings, the word Palli as a habitation indicator can be considered as an very ancient root word that originated in the early civilizations of Mediterranean-Sumerian environs. Kawdoor Narayana Shetty (see comment section below),for example, rightly points out that the affinity between the Dravidian word 'palli'(village) and the Greek word 'polis'(city). It seems that both these words originated from a common root word (ancient Sumerian?) that meant civilized area.

In reality, the multiple senses the word palli conveys essentially reflect the interesting facets of socio-cultural interaction and evolution the people and the languages have undergone.

With -Hosabettu Vishwanath

Monday, October 12, 2009

209. Dravidian place-name cognates

In Post-186 (Traces of common regional lingual history in Tulu Place Names), we have just illustrated the affinities between Place- names in Tulunadu and other near and far States and far away countries. In the materialistic world, a layman is lukewarm about understanding the origin and meaning of Place-names. In the first place, affinities are not noticed in hurly-burly of one’s routine life. Secondly, relevance of these similarities is ignored as coincidence. Revelation of such similarities is misunderstood by parochial feelings and is construed as offensive.

Cognate place-names
Cognate place-names, spread all over India and neighbouring countries, do not neccessarily mean that one area was occupied by a later arrived other tribes. As the behavioural pattern of early mankind, each group/tribe lived in isolation side by side but they mingled at appointed days in a barter-economy society. Each group maintained their uniqueness, at the same time having some commonality with regard to languages and customs. This is because of some base language of a tribe, which branched off into different tribes in gradual evolution.

Dravidian languages
Dravidian languages are geographically distributed in and around India. There are around 26 to 27 languages in the family of Dravidian languages in India, out of which five languages, known as ‘Panch Dravida Bhasa’, have emerged prominent in South India, having more or less similar Brahmi Script in the beginning. They are Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Tulu. Former four languages have rich literary tradition, which Tulu fails to measure up. Though Tulu is having a script of its own and some written literature, it fell into disuse on the political influence of Kannada overlords. Tulu is considered as a dialect of Kannada but it is not so. All the languages have branched out of the Proto-Dravidian language, which has a bearing on all the languages spoken in India. Tulu is still vibrant in Tulunadu in Tulu Folklores and PaDdanas. PaDdanas are oral poems about heroic deeds of the Tulu ancestors, who are later on deitified and are worshipped. These lengthy ballads have trickled down orally through ages.

In North India, Dravidian languages were lost through absorption of Prakrita and Sanskrit. In South India, in Marhatti (Marathi) area, Sanskrit engulfed the Dravidian language (B.M.Shri– ‘Poorvada Halegannada mattu Tamil’, p.168. Earlier Old Kannada & Tamil). Respected B.M.Shri opines in this article that Telugu was spilt first from Proto Dravidian language and then Tamil and Kannada.

Olden literary works are indicators of linguistic interactions. In ‘Puranaarooru’ (a literary work in Tamil of circa 2nd C), there are two poems describing Hoysala Dynasty (Source: Anthology of B.M. Shri’s writings p.302). I have read somewhere that Karnataka Bharata Kathamanjari, popularly known as Gadugina Bharata of Naranappa (Kumaravyasa), was translated into Marathi in those days itself.

There are many scholars and researchers conversant with many languages of the world who do research on comparative history of Dravidian languages. Robert Caldwell is the forerunner in the academic field of Dravidian linguistics. There are around 75 languages all over the world (including 27 languages spoken in India) with or without scripts.
The word ‘Dravidian’ refers to a peninsular region, surrounded by seas (Arabian and Indian Seas and Bay of Bengal) and is based on Sanskrit word: Dramila > Dramida > Dravida. It is a designation for the entire people, living in South India below the Vindhya ranges, and not a description of race.

Recent international genetic research has ruled out the postulations of Aryan and Dravidian races. The European imperialists perpetuated racial theories of European intellectuals of 18th -19th Century. In his article ‘The Aryan-Dravidian Controversy’, David Frawley writes: “The Nineteenth Century was the era of Europeans’ imperialism. Many Europeans did, in fact, believe that they belonged to a superior race and that their religion, Christianity, was a superior religion and all other religions were barbaric, particularly a religion like Hinduism, which uses many idols………..European thinkers of the era were dominated by a racial theory of man, which was interpreted primarily in terms of the colour. They saw themselves as belonging to superior ‘White’ or Caucasian Race. They had enslaved the Negroid or ‘Black’ race. As Hindus were also dark in or coloured, they were similarly deemed inferior. The British thus, not surprisingly, looked upon the culture of India in a similar way as having been a land of a light-skinned or Aryan Race (the North Indians), ruling a dark or Dravidian race (the South Indians).”

All traditional thoughts are based on powerful under-current of reality and its reflection in land and nature. Our remotest ancestors were emotionally integrated with nature with respect to their beliefs about Universe and their relationship with places, animals, plants and other people. (Source: Australian Aboriginal Personal & Place Names – John S. Ryan). So these people, as is evident in many place names, like to be called as ‘a man from……..’ (as reflected in ethnonyms, eponyms, euonyms and toponyms).

Legends give some input about historicity of place names but pure legends may not decide the origin of a place name. Archaeological findings help solving ‘mysteries of antiquity’. It is advocated that probes of linguists can give clues only when it is ‘relied on linguistic substrata, linguistic paleontology, dialectical geography and loan words’.

Tribes and migration
The recent researches talk of wandering tribes. The Nature’s fury displaces land mass – sometimes, devouring the entire civilisations, eg. Mayans, Atlantis, Lemuria, etc. Geographical and political upheavals and escapades of inhabitants with their lifestyle and languages are interesting, though pathetic.

Amitabh Sinha writes in The Indian Express (dated 6th October 2009, p. 1): ‘1 in 3 Indians a migrant, 1 in 7 wordwide’, based on Human Development Report of UNDP.” Further, “… Migration process, globally, has today become much bigger than that, though it has been mostly silent and spontaneous and largely beneficial to people, unlike the one that was forced by Partition.” Migration was a continuing process in bygone days as is the trend even today; HDR Report calls it a healthy trend.

In his Epilogue to his Book: ‘Search for Vedic India’, Devamrita Swami says, “Everything that has come down to us from heathendom is wrapped up in a thick fog. It belongs to a space of time we cannot measure. We know it is older than Christiandom, but whether by a couple of years or even by more than a millennium we can do no more than guess.” He tells about the surprises – both on the land and skies – in the year 2001, viz. (1) Discovery of two more planetary systems, not resembling each other nor anything else in the solar system, (2) Mystery of consciousness, i.e. medical research (at Caltech) that points to consciousness surviving after the brain ceases and a person is clinically dead, (3) New Discoveries by Russian and American Archaeologists of more than 4000 years old ancient civilization during the biggest quake of 2001 in Republics of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, in Central Asia. He writes, “The newfound civilization comprises settlements that cover an area of in Central Asia 300 to 400 miles long and 50 miles wide. Who the people were or what they called themselves is a mystery. Lacking a name for the culture, archaeologists call it the Bactria Margiana archaeology Complex (Bmac). Dr. Victor H. Mair, a specialist in ancient Asian languages and culture, stated that these ruins of an unknown advanced culture had emerged in a region where there was thought to be just space and emptiness. The discovery indicated that more than 4,000 years ago Asians were not as isolated as scholars thought, he said, but probably had continent-wide connections.”

When we glean lot of information for comparison, we observe a frenzied hanker for proving superiority. This is seen in some of the comments to Blogs/Articles. Unsubstantiated carping leaves ‘Q’ mark on toadyism, i.e. a servile sycophancy. Controversies in history are always there. However it should be realized that the history is written and rewritten based on surfacing of new facts.

Kol tribes
When available data is analysed, through insight, in an objective manner, it is naturally away from the trodden path. Our attempt is only to unravel the mystery of place names, made of archaic compound words, with comparable prefixes and suffixes. For example, mark these word parts: Koli/Karava (= fisherman), Kola/Kolli/Kula(m)/ Kolam(b)e (= Pond/tank/water body/bay/low land/marshy land). Some examples of place names are in Post-186), Kola/Kolla/Kolle (= man engaged in mining and smelting, i.e. blacksmith/ coppersmith/goldsmith – both kola/kole works with liquids or water, i.e. drava or rasa), kol (= iron/metal. So kolame means furnace > kolamekotya). Mark place names: Kolara, Kolluru, Kolnadu, Kolya, Kolchar, Kollamogaru, Kolivada, Kollam, and Kollegal.

Race and fossil words
What are we – a single race with intermingling but at the same time trying to maintain an identity? Vedanta teaches a Philosophy of ‘Samanya’ and ‘Asamanya’. It is a classification and is the secret of progress. In Vedanta, pre-state of Universe before creation is known as ‘Unknown or Unexpressed’. That nameless one-mass is ‘formless’ and hence ‘endless and limitless’. What has remained ‘unknown’ is Samanya (common) and what is known is Asamanya (not common and hence with special qualities or attributes). It is called ‘Prakriti’ , the Nature. It has an end and so limited and changeable. Changed part of ‘expressed whole’ (Asamanya) again becomes ‘special with epithets’ and that which remained unchanged is ‘Samanya’, e.g. Srishti , the Nature, expressed as Movable & Unmovable, Life & Lifeless. Lifeless is expressed as Earth & Water. Earth, in turn, is classified as ‘stones, soil, iron’. Life - in trees, animals, insects, mankind. These epithets again become common and we can understand their uniqueness by differentiation. One class but many people. This gives rise to origin, caste (based on profession), group, habitats, village, province, country, language – all traceable in ‘equal’ and ‘unequal’. By comparison, we can identify strings of commonalities. Intemperate expression of ‘inequality’ creates a tense situation, disturbing peaceful co-existence.

In nutshell, place names with fossils of old words, are indicators of our ancestors’ itinerary. Prof. Arysio Nunes dos Santos , a Nuclear Physicist, Geologist and Climatologist, and a linguist, writes in Introduction to ‘The Mysterious Origin of the Guanches’: “Ethnologists generally admit that languages afford the strongest evidence of close affinity – not necessarily ethnic, between different civilizations. The a-priori probabilities of random coincidences between several words in the two languages under comparison are essentially nil.”

-Hosabettu Vishwanath


Sunday, September 27, 2009

208. Murudeshwara

MuruDeshwara is a well known temple town near Honnavar in the Karavali Coast of Karnataka. RN Shetty group has invested special interest to develop Murudeshwara temple town into an interesting tourist attraction.
The original geomorphic feature of the Murudeshwara is a tombolo structure. A tombolo is a littoral rocky island connected to the coastal mainland through a strip of sand bar. Due to civil modifications in the area it is difficult to distinguish the original tombolo structure.However the tombolo features can be recognised if we watch the profile of the area at a distance from the beach north of Murudeshwara ( as can seen in the photo below)

The place name Murudeshwara has special historical significance as it unravels a hidden layer of theological history of the region. It reveals that the place renowned for the worship of Lord Shiva in the form of Murudeshwara, probably since 5th Century CE (or the Kadamba period) was earlier a site of Muruda (or Muruga) worship. Apart from documenting the cult of Kanda in the Karavali during the early centuries of CE, the toponym has also preserved the lesser known word ‘Muruda’.
Now the place name Murudeshwara is popular as a center of Shiva worship. However it can be deduced that the place was originally known as ‘Muruda’ during early history before the onset of Shaiva cult in the area.There are similar places known as Muruda in other parts of India. One such Muruda village still exists in Orissa in the east Coast of India.Another Murud is in coastal Raighad District of Maharashtra known for its famous beach.There is one more Murude village in Maharastra.
This specific place name ‘Muruda’ apparently was transformed into ‘Murudeshwara’ possibly ca. 5th to 6th Century CE. We have discussed earlier the significance of place names that end with the suffix of ‘eshwara’ as ‘eesh+vara’ or divine habitations ( see Post on suffix -va).

Muruda literally means the God of the village or the vice versa. (muru=God,spirit. da=area,village). The component word Muru, discussed below, is of ancient African origin. Da is an ancient word from Munda languages.

Apart from the above we can also discuss some of the related words for comparison:
Mu = Three (as in Munneer = ocean)
Mu = Muddy soil, left by receding flood water.
Muru= A 'U' shaped ear ornament with a big precious stone - white or red), worn by men of older generation. A big 'OnTi' opposed to 'Tikki'.( OnTi and Tikki are two popular ear ornaments among Tuluvas of older generation.
Morod (Konkani)= a rough, coarse dry elevated land.
Murul= Punarpuli (Kokam or birinda) a medicinal sour fruit bearing plant.
Muru Meen = a fleshy and tasty fish. It is slightly curved below belly and deeply curved on upper side.

Muruda, the forgotten word preserved only in place names appears to be the equivalent (or regional variant) of the other familiar word Muruga. Muruga represents the ancient south Indian God also known by alternate names such as Kumara, Kanda,Skanda, Subramanya, Shanmuga etc. The suffix –ga, in Muruga, also represents a village or an habitation (as in place- names Herga, Binaga etc, for example). Therefore Muruda= Muruga.Thus both the ancient words Muruda as well as essentially originally meant: the God of the village.
The name Muruga ( Murugan) for Kumara or Kanda has been in usage mainly in Tamilandu. However, there are indications that the word was earlier in vogue in Eastern Karnataka also as evident by the name ‘Murugha Rajendra’ used by religious institutions based in places ranging from Gulbarga to Chitradurga.
The available data on Muruda=Muruga suggests that the equivalent cult was known as ‘Muruda’ in northern Karavali and Orissa Coasts dominated by Munda tribes in the historical past.In the southern Karavali place names like Kandavara provide evidence for the existence of Kanda (.> Skanda) cult.

It has been suggested that several early tribes in southern India had adopted worship of trees. Place names like Maravoor, Maroli, Maroor,Marodi etc in the Tulunadu remind us the heritage and footprints of Marava tribes in the region.In south Indian languges the word mara represents a tree.Early Tamil Sangam literature also documents anecdotes of spirits in trees. The soul of King was considered to have been lodged in a specific tree.The Kadamba tree was held sacred by early Munda tribes. Successive tribes adopted worship of other trees like Banyan, Peepal (Ashwatha or Bodhi), Banni, etc.The cult of Spirit in the tree (‘mara’),possibly evolved into the cult of Māra.The cult of Māra was evident during early centuries of CE, when Buddhism held sway in southern India also as evident from early Buddhist texts.
The cult of Māra subsequently evolved into the cult of Ku-Māra, the youthful God. Kumāra means an unmarried young man. It appears that the cults of youthful God prevalent among different tribes like Kumara, Kanda, Muruga and Muruda were unified and later considered synonymously.The regional cult of Kanda (=child) cult was later sanskritised as Skanda. And apparently the Kumara cult was Sanskritized as Subramanya (Su+brahman+ia).
The cult of Māra as tempter in certain regions later evolved independently into or equated to the cult of Kāma or the cupid.

African roots
There are overwhelming evidences for the suggestion that the word Muru originated in Africa and was distributed to other region probably along with the human migrants. For example, the name of the country ‘Morocco’ is said to have been originated from the Persian word ‘Marrakech’which in turn was derived from the Berber word ‘Mur-Akush’ that means the Land of God.
The word Muru also occurs as a surname in Arab names such as : Abd al-Fattah Muru.
It has been suggested by earlier researchers that the cult of Muruga (Murugan) is derived from the ancient East African concept of spirit God ‘Murungu’. In several African cults, Murungu is a Spirit God, the supreme being, the almighty, all-seer, all-giver, master of life and death, creator of all things and of man.The evolution and transition of spirit worship into Deity worship apparently has origins in Africa. In Meruimenti and Merutig languages, Murungu means God. In Nyaturucha languge it means evil spirit,spirit,ghost or apparition.In Nyaturwil languge it is Spirit or God.In Shona language it means employer.
In Uganda, the God Murungu is also known as Mulungu. Murungu is also a surname among Akamba tribes of Uganda and among speakers of Shona langauge, for example, Solomon Murungu. In Zambabwe,the word Murungu (=God) is also applied to white –skinned persons, mostly in an invective sense. Murungu is also the name of a place in Tanzania,United Republic of Kigoma.

Early tribal people have freely borrowed cults, concepts and above all words, from other civilizations. In other words migration of tribes during different periods in the history have carried cults originated in one region to the other.
The world was a global village long before the internet was invented!

-with Hosabettu Vishwanath

Sunday, September 13, 2009

207. Tottam tremors

Earthquakes of various magnitude are known to our people as judged by reference to such events in our ancient texts including Ramayana.
The peninsular terrain of southern India was generally considered to be a stable zone free from major devastating earthquakes. However it does not rule out the posibility of having minor eathquakes. Minor tremors are usually felt in the monsoon season in the coastal Karavali / Tulunadu due to imbalances (especially the overload and choking of flood waters )in the coastal rivers. Recently a minor tremor occurred at coastal Tottam village near Malpe and Udupi, on 22nd August 2009.
Check a short note on this minor tremor that fortunately lasted for only a few of minutes.
Tottam tremor 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

206. Poli Poli

The emotive chant of “Poli Poli Baliyendra” has been reverberating in Tulunadu during annual Deepavali, festival of lights, since centuries. The word ‘poli’ has been accepted in this environs as representative of the prosperity. Let us explore the origin and evolution of this word.
The word ‘pola’(=agricultural field) is not familiar at present to Tuluvas as it is not employed in current usuage in general. However there are indications that the word (pola) was in frequent usuage in Tulu also in olden days. Pola is the ancient equivalent of ‘hola’ or the agricultural field as used in current Kannada. In Kannada language during evolutionary transition from old to middle Kannada p>h consonant replacement has taken place. Therefore, the word 'pola' existed in Kannada language also during the early centuries of CE.But the widespread occurrence of the word 'pola' suggests that it could be ancient Dravida or Munda word existing in India since early farming days.
Thus it seems the original meaning of poli is the produce from the pola. During early days of civilization the agricultural produce was the measure of wealth and prosperity. Good crops meant prosperity. Thus the word ‘poli’ (agricultural produce from the pola) came to be accepted as prosperity and wealth.
Pola festival
The word pola however is not unique to Tulu and Kannada areas.It was spread widely all over India during ancient days. During Shravan Amavyasa (New-moon) day mostly in the month of August, rural folks celeberate pola festival annually in Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttara Pradesh , Bihar and other surrounding regions. Possibly the original meaning of the word ‘pola’(=agricultural field) has unfortunately been lost even in all these areas, even though the celebration has persisted over the centuries.
During the Pola festival rural folks decorate and worship their cattles. In other words, the Pola festival has remained in these rural societies as token of thanksgiving to the animals that work in the agricultural field and contribute directly to the prosperity of the farmers. Dairy and farming were the major source of revenue during early periods of civilization . Thus cows,oxens and bullocks that are traditionally employed for agricultural field works are worshiped and sweetmeats like poli, kichidi etc are distributed. In other words, the Pola festival of Maharastra and northern India in its present state is equivalent of ‘Gow-puja’ (cattle worship) celebrated in Tulunadu during Deepavali.
Note the name of the important sweetmeat distributed during the festival: Poli.
The sweetmeat name ‘poli’ (or poLi) may also appear unfamiliar to most Tulu and Kannada people, even though it is familiar in most of the other parts of India.However Tulu and Kannada people are aware of the sweet-dish ‘holige’ very well! Infact the ‘poli’ is presently known as ‘holige’ in Tulu and Kannada areas. It is also called as Obbattu or Bobbattu in other areas.
If you again realize that p>h transitions that have taken place in kannada, it becomes clear that present ‘holige’ was known as ‘polige’ in olden days in Kannada areas.
Idli : The addition of suffix ‘–ige’ to edible dishes seems speciality of old Kannada. Even the popular steam-baked rice-black gram dish ‘iDli’ was known as ‘iDDalige’ during the writing period of the first recorded Kannada text “Vaddaradane”( pron. vaDDārādane) of 10th century CE.The addition of suffix -ige could be considered as a feature of regional variance of those times.
It has been suggested in an earlier post herein that Idli in the beginning was possibly invented or designed by or named after the Iddya (= Ediya, Yedia or Yadava) communities. In any case the name Idli has been named after them. Also note that both Iddli and Poli have suffix –li suggesting that the suffix (–li ) was applied to the name of the dishes in those days.
Thus these discussions clarify that the dish holige was known as poLi even in Tulu and parts of Kannada areas during early centuries of CE.
Poli = polige,holige, obbattu, bobbattu etc.
The basic ingredients used for the preparation of poli (holige) are bengal gram, wheat flour and jaggery.These are all products of agriculture or derived from the pola!
A 'poli' is a thin circular roasted pancake of wheat flour (nowadays replaced by maida) that contains within it a soft sweetish mixture (purana) of cooked gram and jaggery.
Northern Indians designate this sweet-dish as ‘purana poli’. The word ‘pūrana’ means the filler and refers to contents present inside the poli or the holige. (The word ‘pūrana’ is not to be confused with ‘purāNa’ =the ancient).
The word ‘pūraNa’(=filler) still exists in Tulu language. It may be vestigial word brought by the immigrant tribes.
Deepavali festival has evolved to encompass several themes such as the return of exiled King Bali, execution of Narakasura,Cattle worship originally from the Pola festival, Worship of the place of business (shop, factory etc) etc apart from the festival of lights.
During the coming Deepavali, if you happen to be in your rural environs where your folks chant ‘Poli poli Baliyendra’ try to recollect the related strings of evolution behind these words.
The difference and the timing of these seasonal festivals 'Poli' (part of Deepavali in Dravidian languages speaking areas) and 'pola' (in Maharashtra and other Northern regions) is apparently governed by regional variations in weather conditions. These are festivals of Nature worship and Thanksgiving for Natures beauty and bounty.In other words Nature and the components of the Nature(like cattle) were considered as the primary divine force.

Bringing harvested crop to home with devotion and joy is the essence of 'poli' festival. This is modified as 'Puddar'(=new rice) in Tulunadu, 'Huttari'(<. putt+ari =new rice) in Kodagu, 'Onam'(<.soNa or Shravana) in Kerala and celebrated during July-August months. These are the occasion of bringing home first spikes of paddy and having ceremonial special meal of new rice. Kural/Koral paduna/ kattuna parba) and Bali Padya during Deepavali (Oct.-Nov ). These are the occasions of remembering Bali Chakravarti and cattle-worship by farmers (See Post 'Bridge on mud crack').

The 'Pola' festival in Maharashtra and other parts of northern India represents the beginning of ploughing and sowing season whereas,during the Dussera /Deepavali time cattle are worshiped in the Karavali.

The other related harvest festivals are Pongal (in Tamilnadu and Srilanka, when the Sun and cattle are worshipped), Vasantotsava and Baisaki or Vaishakhi.

Rituals and language:
Customs and rituals enrich a language. Poli vindicates this statement of truth. Expressions 'Pola' (=agricultural field) to 'Poli' (=crop) are tangible, but extention of the meaning of 'Poli' into auspiciousness and abundant wealth, is a perception of positive mind. Quoting some usages in Tulu Lexicon (p.2148) may not be irrelevant. Mark the following words and phrases:
Poli = Granary
Poli ODDaavuni = To bring first harvested crop into house.
Poli paaDuni = To pile up paddy crop and sprinkle ashes in the form of lines on it. This gave rise to an idiom: 'Poli paaDandye baar aleppaDa' (Don't measure paddy prior to piling and sprinkling ashes around the pile in a linear form). This is an advice to farmers. This ensures protection of paddy - both from insects and pilferage.
Poli = Interest, i.e. interest paid in the form of grains while returning borrowed grains (in a barter economy).
Poli kanapuni = to borrow grains, promising to give more grains as interest while repaying.

While the word 'poli' stood for auspiciousness and positivity in Tulu culture, the word 'pola' also gave rise to derived words like 'polus' (= soil,mud or dirt) which acquired different shades of meanings in different Dravidian languages in the due course.

The interrelated words 'pola' and 'poli' and their regional distribution remind us the wider spread of the under currents of Dravidian language, culture and heritage in various parts of India in the antiquity.

-with Hosabettu Vishwanath

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

205. Harvesting Sites

We have discussed in the previous post about the Karavali place names in the form of agricultural settlements named after the process of planting seedlings, beginning with prefixes such as Nit-, Nid-, Net- and Ned-. These variants could be suggestive of the trends in the evolution of words during the passage of time.
Apart from the Planting agricultural sites, we also have several place names implying the sites of harvest in the Karavali and also other parts of Southern India. Thus the word 'koi' is not exclusive to Tulu or Kannada but is common for all south Indian Dravidian languages.
Koi tribes
The word “koi” means to cut (the crop)mostly using a sickle. Thus ‘koilu’ means harvest. Check the following place names for suggestion of harvesting sites in the Karavali. However, the word 'Koi' also represents the name of a tribe. Gond tribes were referred to as Koi and Koitur.There is a possibility that the word 'koi' originated from the said tribes.
Koikude: (koi+k+ude). (1)Koi= Gond tribes, ude=place of.Alternately,(2)Koi=to harvest,k=good, ude=place. Koikude is a village with scattered rocky outcrops and agricultural fields in Mangalore Taluk, located between Haleangadi and Kinnigoli.
Viswanath opines that it could be koi+kude, wherein 'kude' possibly represents sickle,used for harvesting.
Koila: (koi+ala). Harvesting (koi) site besides a stream(ala). Koila is a village near Uppinangadi. Another Koila is in Bantval taluk.
There are places with prefix koi- in Kerala and Tamilnadu. For example:
Coimbatore: (koi+ambatta+oor). A divine village of koi tribes or a harvesting village. Amba-tta = divine, (Amba=Mother goddess?). A major industrial city of Tamilnadu.
Koilandi: (Koi+ala+andi). A Taluk headquarters in Kozhikode (Calicut) district of Kerala.
Koyna (Maharastra). koy+na.= A habitation of Koi people.

Reproductive aspects
The 'koyilu' also meant the standing crop ready for harvest. Further 'koyyel' was the extent of crop area (about one tenth of an acre)that can be harvested by a single person in a day.Thus it is clear that even though the verb 'koi' originally means to cut, the derived word 'koyilu' has been applied to the reproductive (harvest) aspects of agricultural crops.This is further evident by the usage of the word 'koyile' for the reproductive parts of women.
It may not be surprising if the word 'kovil'( the temple) current in some of the Dravidian languages,was evolved out of some of these words.

-with Hosabettu Vishwanath

Friday, August 21, 2009

204. Agricultural settlements

Early human progress from forest life to farming and agriculture was considered to have been initiated some 6000 BC in Nile Valley region that hosted Sumerian civilization. Archeo-botanical studies have similarly suggested that agricultural culture was in vogue in southern India since 5000 BC.
The available data suggests that during that period Austro-Asiatics or Munda group of tribes prevailed in southern India and along the Karavali. Let us analyse the origin of place names like Nitte, Nitila, Nittur,Niddodi, Nidiyur,Nidambur, Nidle, Nidpalli,Nidikallu,Nettana,Nettaru, Nettara Padavu, Nettanige, etc.in the context of evolution of farming and agricultural cults in the Karavali.

A number of village names in Karavali suggest distinctly the initiation of agricultural practices in Karavali. ‘neDu is now a popular Dravidian word that means to plant seedling in Tulu, Kannada and other sister languages .
The word ‘neDu’ (ne+Du) originated as ‘ne’=to plant (or to straighten up a plant) in the (‘Da’,’Du’ or its variants ‘Ta’,’Te’ ) earth. ‘Da ‘ or ‘Ta’ has been cited as a word from Munda languages that represented the land, village or the habitation (Southworth, 2005).
The word ‘naT’ was an variant of the agricutural word ‘neD’, as we see ‘naTTi’ represents the act of planting the crops.
naTT= (1) to plant.

nāDu vs. kāDu
Thus it follows that the word ‘nāDu’ (=land,country) was derived from ‘neDu’, or ‘naDu’ to plant. naDu.>nāDu.
nāDu= (1)cultivated land
The word ‘nāDu’ was invented by the early farming community as against the word ‘kāDu’(=forest,wilderness). Thus it is clear that prefix ‘na-‘ represents cultivation whereas ‘ka’- stands for wilderness or wild trees.
The person associated with cultivation (farmer) or the one who lives in the cultivated region (nāDu) became known as ‘naDava’. The suffix va- represents habitation (cf. Post 197)
naDu, naDe
Cultivating crops became important activity of the civilized word. Thus the word ‘naDu’ (middle,central) became representative of the central or middle part of body or any object. Walking straight on two legs on the land was distinctly a progressive trait of civilized tribes, as compared to wild animals, therefore ‘naDe’ also stood for walking,behaviour or even the cattle owned by the civilized tribes.

Nitte & other farming villages
An older variant of the word ‘neDu’ was ‘niDu’ or ‘niTu’ as we see in the village name Nitte. Nitte is a popular educational centre near Karkala that has bloomed into an esteemed University.
Nitte : (niT+Te ). Ni= to collect seeds. niT= to plant seedlings,to straighten up (as in ‘nidpa’) Te=village. During early days of civilization ‘Nitte’ was also a proper name among tribals that obviously meant farmer!
Nitila :The word ‘niT’ repeats in other similar place names like Nitila (niT+ila, ila=village). Nittur(niTT+oor)
Nettila: neT=to cultivate; ila=village
Niddodi: (niD+oDi)niD=to cultivate; oDi=village.
NiDiyur: (niDi+ oor) . niD=to cultivate; oor=village. There are Tenka Nidiyur and Bada Nidiyur near malpe.(tenka=southern, baDa= northern).
Nidpalli: niD=to cultivate; palli=village.
Nidle: niD=to cultivate; le=village by the side of river.
Nettana: neTT+aNa. cultivated area.
Nettara: neTT+ ara. Cultivated open field.
Nettanige: neTT+aN+ige. Cultivated area + plains.
Nadsal: (naD+sa+al). Cultivated habitation beside a stream or river. Nadsal is a coastal village /locality near Padubidri.
Nadpal: (naD+pa+al). Cultivated area beside a river.Nadpal is a village in interior Karavali nearthe Ghats.

Tinges of humour can be delineated in the evolution of parallel words with slightly derisive meanings. For example, agriculture became a new-found passion among the evolving tribes that enterprising ones went on searching for new pastures suitable for cultivating crops. Thus the word nāD ( as in ‘nāDuni’) became equivalent of searching.
nāD=(2) to search.
Further getting the proper seeds for cultivating crops was not easy during those days. It often involved begging another person to part with seeds or seedlings under his custody. Thus we have the word nat( as in ‘naTTuni’)
naTT =(2) to beg!

Blog Archive

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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