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.



  1. Gond bards' actual identity is 'pANal'. These are Dravidian bards found among other Dravidians like - Tamils and Malayalis (pANan). In fact, even in Kannada the word for dancing girl 'pANbe'is a cognate (DED 4068). Pardhan is corrupted from of Sanskrit word Pradhan (prime minister or minister). These bards/genealogists acted as ministers to their Gond kings and hence the title.

    - Tulu/Kannada pada and padya are derived from Sanskrit word 'padya' (poetry) which has a dual word for prose 'gadya'. It appears the Sanskrit/Prakrit word for song has killed the original Dravidian word 'pAD' in Tulu. I suppose, D->r changes are common hence pArdana and pADdana are cognates.

    - In the case of pADdana, I would think it's actually derived from a Prakrit word which is cognate to Sanskrit word 'prArthana'. I came across a Pali word patthana. I am not sure how it is pronounced. From the look of it, it could be 'paT-thanaa'. I suppose very close to pAD-dana.

    In my opinion, Dravidian expansion from Central Indian region to South India was an event that included assimilated Prakrit speakers. The survival of Dravidian languages maybe because Dravidian tribal chieftains still controlled their masses (in contrast to Maharashtra where probably Dravidian tribes were ruled by Indo-Aryan elites). Considering that many Prakrit speakers were assimilated into Dravidian speakers, there could be adstrate and superstrate of IE languages (but not substrate of older languages).

  2. Thank You Manju,for pointing out the Pali/Prakrit word paTThana.It could be a lost cognate of partena/paDdana.(It is evident from the fact that one of the Pali volumes is called patthana.).Tamil Panan is related to Tulu word paN (=to tell, recite)and also to pambada.
    It is difficult without accurate or relative dates to decide on what was substrate and/or what is adstrate.All our present interpretations at present are relative without factual clues regarding the realistic antiquity of various tribes.
    One more possibility,besides your suggestions, is that Prakrit words were brought in by the Dravidian immigrants in the southern peninsula.

  3. About Pardhan:
    _Pardhan, Pathari, Panal._--An inferior branch of the Gond tribe whose
    occupation is to act as the priests and minstrels of the Gonds. In
    1911 the Pardhans numbered nearly 120,000 persons in the Central
    Provinces and Berar. The only other locality where they are found is
    Hyderabad, which returned 8000. The name Pardhan is of Sanskrit origin
    and signifies a minister or agent. It is the regular designation of the
    principal minister of a Rajput State, who often fulfils the functions
    of a Mayor of the Palace. That it was applied to the tribe in this
    sense is shown by the fact that they are also known as Diwan, which
    has the same meaning. There is a tradition that the Gond kings employed
    Pardhans as their ministers, and as the Pardhans acted as genealogists
    they may have been more intelligent than the Gonds, though they are
    in no degree less illiterate. To themselves and their Gond relations
    the Pardhans are frequently not known by that name, which has been
    given to them by the Hindus, but as Panal.

    The Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India By R. V. Russell Vol IV

  4. Thank You.With due respects to subject authorities like Russell, let me present my viewpoint:
    Pardans(like Panals,Panans) were the bards to Kings who also acted like ministers.Because of the seriousness attached to ministries in due course, 'pardan' bards literally evolved into 'pradhan' ministers.
    [Please check some additions to the post.]

  5. Please remove "-with inputs from Manjunat." I hope you respect my opinion that I don't accept the tone of the acknowledgment. No problems in making use of the sources. However, they were certainly not given as additional proof for your thoughts.

    Of course, I don't have any problems with your arguments per se. I just disagree with them.

  6. Minor strings of data have been and are being interpreted diversely by different authors, creating in the process several 'apparent truths'.However,it should be realized that only one set of inferences can be closer or equal to the 'real' historical truth.Only time can tell and distinguish the real from the apparent ones.
    If you disagree with my inferences,fine, that is your right.After all, this is only an exploration and not the final word!

  7. My understanding is that you have total disregard for linguistic methods and genetic studies. I don't question them as I believe they have served very well in many aspects. However, you not only dismiss them but also have not come up with your own methodologies.

    Maybe you are well aware of your own inconsistencies when dealing with the data. I believe your truth is Churchill's truth which you have displayed in this blog. You are not bothered about 'spirit' of 'Satya' of your own culture.

  8. If I take a different path it does not mean disregard other paths. An explorer should be able to search out new paths, if not anything else.It is not necessary for realization that everyone should blindly walk along the same road. And what the genetic data say?Do have any conclusive evidences yet?
    And what do you mean by the 'spirit of Satya'?


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 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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