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.
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 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.
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