Tuesday, June 9, 2009

193. Ku: A root word

The Post-189 (Kuduma) was written to drive home the mutual relations of certain words in Tulu (and also Kannada) and the ingenuity of our ancestors in the remote history in coining words, related to day to day activities. Many of the Tulu words carry roots of old diction. Let us delve into the ancient root word ‘Ku’ and some of its dilations:

Ku = Earth/soil in Tulu, Kannada and other Dravidian languages and also Sanskrit. There are many words with this root word ‘Ku’.Possibly it also means auspicious, raised and encircled with water etc as studied in different contexts..

Kumbâr= (kum=auspicious/divine +bâr=to come, to manifest, bâ : pronounced as short ba as in December), to shiver. Physical shivering traditionally attributed to Spiritual manifestation. Compare ‘kumbar’ with ‘kudth barpini’.

Kud =(pron: d= as in dog). To sting. Kudolu or kundelu means a hornet or big black honey bee (‘pilikundolu’).

Kuda , Koda: (pron: d= as in dog). An early divinity. Serpent God,Naga (See, Post 189.Kudupu). The ancient Tulu expression ‘kudth barpini’ also refers to bodily shivering with trance,theologically attributed to divine or spiritual manifestation.
Many Dravidian and other allied language groups share similar etymology across the country and in neighbouring countries. Therefore, it must be a Proto-Dravidian root word. This amply illustrates the utilization of common substratum in coining terminology of the place-names by our common ancestors.

Kuda: (pron: d= as in dog). Besides meaning a dug up well, it also means hole, burrows and underground or hollow den. Burrows made by rats, ants, etc. in the ground or wall, is also called ‘Kuda’. Also kuDa> guDe. Thus ‘Kudettava’ means cobra and other poisonous snakes, which trespass and belong themselves to holes/burrows made by other creatures.Compare with Kudupa.

Kudār (KuDāl): (pron: d= as in dog). Modern Malpe, a West Coastal Port and Town, in Udupi District of Karnataka was called as ‘Kudaara/Kudaal’ in the remote historical period (See page 824, Tulu Lexicon,1988). It must have been a place around a small bay of the sea, as we see now around Kalmadi and Kodavoor, before bursting of banks of River Udyavara – an unrecorded event at a remote past (See Post on ‘Vanished Port of Udyavara’) and then its joining the sea at the present confluence at Malpe.

Kudhara =(pron: d= as in English the). That which is borne by the Earth (= hill or mountain). Or raised land, kudhara=kuru (‘dara’=’uru’= land or Earth).

Kudtale: (pron: d= as in dog). Means ‘Patta’, i.e. record of ownership of landed property with registered right of paying land revenue. Kudtale tabdeeli means transfer and registration of landed property. The registered owner of landed property is called as ‘Kudtaledaar/Pattadar’.
Kuduru: (pron: d= as in the). =Island within river.Kud+uru.Possibly raised land or land encircled by water.In Kundapur area, Kurve is the equivalent word for Kuduru the island.
Ku+urve.= encircled or raised land.There is an Urva area in Mangalore city.

Ur(u)va: Uruva or Urvi represents Earth (Tulu Lexicon,p.401).Possibly it referred to farming land or tilled soil.The word has affinity to the ancient Sumerian word ‘Uru’ (a town). Uru or Ooru has become a common Dravidian word to represent village. Compare with Kannada place-name Uluvi. Uru.> ulu.The Kannada expression ‘ulu’ is to till the soil.(With these words, we can visualize the stages of evolution of early man from forest dwelling to cultivation of land and consequential urbanization).

Kud(u)va (pron: d= as in dog). is the name of the Konkani community that lived around Goa, and migrated to Tulunadu, stretching from Gokarn to Kasaragodu in historical period, to escape the tyranny of Portuguese in Goa in 15th to 17th CE. Migrated converted Christians were called as ‘Kudumba’ for men and ‘Kudumbetti’ for women in Tulunadu (TL pages 824-825). They were originally agriculturists and hence these nomenclatures. Compare this with ‘Kunubi/Kunbi’ of Maharashtra.

Kudla: (pron: d= as in dog). Kūd+ala.Confluence of rivers. Also known as Kudāla or Koodala or Kodialabailu. It is a place at the confluence of Netravathi and Gurupura (Phalguni) Rivers before joining the Arabian Sea. Among many old names of Mangalore (explored and explained in earlier Posts), Kudla is still alive in the Tuluva tongues.

Kuja = That which grows on soil, i.e. tree.

Kula: Means tank, pond, lake, reservoir or a waterbody. The landed gentry, given to agriculture, are called as ‘Kula’ or ‘Kulawar’, meaning noble people.Also kula.>koLa.

Kulal(e), Kumbare (‘Kumbhakara’ in Sanskrit) = Potter, one who makes earthen pots using soil and water.

Kumara= (ku+māra). A God of the Earth. Young God. ( Ku=auspicious, young? ). ‘Mara’ was the ancient divinity among the early tree worshippers. In the next stage of civilization ‘Kumara’ or ‘Kanda’ (Skanda or Subramanya) was worshipped.

Kuriala: Kuriala is a village in Bantval Taluk.Kuriala means village beside river and hill.Kur(hill)+ala (village on the river bank). Similar cognate place names exist in Maharstra (Kurla), West Bengal(Kuruliya) etc.
Kuru = Raised landscape, mound, hill, mountain.(ku+uru) The man or the community, who lives in High land, is called as Kuruba (kuru = high land + ba = inhabitant).
Kuru: Name of the historical/Vedic State (of Mahabharata) located in present Haryana. The name apart from suggesting its antiquity, apparently was derived from the 'hilly' nature of the terrain.
Similarly, Kuru is a place name in Nigeria and Finland.
Besides, ‘Kuru’ in Tulu language also means a blister or sore developed on the skin. In Papua New Guinea, near Australia, ‘Kuru’ refers to a brain disease among cannibalistic Fore tribes also known as laughing sickness.Kuria in Fore language means to shiver.

Kuruda: Kuruda=blind. The King Drutharastra of Kuru kingdom in Northwestern India depicted in Mahabharata was blind. There is a possibiliy that the Kannada word ‘kuruda’(=blind person) was derived from the story of blind Kuru king Dhrutharastra.
Kuvel , Guvel = Encircled,embanked; Or pit (‘guv, kuv’) dug for water. A dug well for water.Compare ‘guv’ with ‘guhe’ (=cave).


Kuda: In ‘tamilnet’, we bumped against an explanation to Tamil word ‘Kuda/Kudaa’, which we reproduce below, with due apology. Since it is a proprietary text, readers are cautioned not to mutilate it if they quote the material.

“Kudaa is a geographical term used to describe a cove, bay, or gulf. In the context of Naachchikkuda, it is a cove.
Kuda means curvature in the Urichchol (a class of words that had come from remote past), denoting curvature in the Changkam diction.”

With the help of these root words, we may be able to elucidate convincingly the Place-names from Udyavara to Udupi, including Malpe Kodavoor (>.Sanskritised to ‘Krodashram’).

The present generation may or may not be knowing exact meaning of the words coming down from our ancestors of past. Seldom we hear some of our old generation speaking such archaic words that carry rich meanings.

-Hosabettu Vishwanath & Ravi

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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