Are the words ‘madhu’ (=honey), ‘madira’(=spirit) and ‘maddu’ (medicine) etc are related in origin or derived from a common ancient root?
While travelling from Bantval to Guruvayankere on a routine journey , my mind happened to brood over the place name ‘Maddadka’ ( pron: ‘maddaDka’). The spatial suffix ‘aDka’ refers to a field with trees (aD+ka) used as burial field in ancient days. Then what is ‘madda’?
Maddadka and Maddur
We can see that ‘madd’ prefix has been used in several place-names such as ‘Maddur’ (a town near Mandya on Mysore-Bangalore road). ‘Maddya’ (madd+iya) village near Surathkal, Mangalore, sometimes confused as ‘Madhya’(=central) also carries the prefix ‘madd’. The Madhur or Madavoor towns Kerala also have this prefix.There is a Madh island in Mumbai. Madanoor is a village in Surapur Taluk, Gulabrga district.
But these are not the only ones: The famous ancient towns of ‘Madhurai ‘in Tamilnadu and ‘Mathura’ in Gujarath also belong to this group. Are the ‘madda’ and ‘madhu’ in these place names related? Does the word ‘madda’ represents the ‘maddu’ the medicine or something else?
Madanoor = madana+oor.
Thus we arrive at a point where we compare Dravidian word ‘maddu’(=medicine) with Sanskrit ‘madhu’(=honey). The Tulu word ‘mardu’(=herbal medicine) appears to be an old form of ’maddu’ (=medicine). The origin of ‘mardu’ may be ‘mara+du’ or derived from the tree or plants. The root word ‘mad(du)’ is also apparently shared by the root word ‘med’ in the Latin word ‘medicine’.
Check some of the words connected with ‘matt’ and ‘madd’ (relevant to aspects of mind like intellect, spirit and enthusiasm)cited in Tulu Lexicon:
.mata=1.opinion, doctrine; 2.semen, testicles (of cattle);
.mati=intellect, common sense, consciousness.
.mattu= intoxication, arrogance.
.mMatsara= envy, jealousy.
.mada= pride, arrogance, passion. spirit, enthusiasm, ego
Madana=cupid, God of love and sexuality.
.madey= screen to hide, partition.
.madapu= to forget
.madipu= to think, to reason, to evaluate
.madime= wedding, bondage of marriage .
.madumaye, madumal= bridegroom, bride; persons getting into marital bondage.
.madhu= honey, sugar, sweet, spirit.
.madira= intoxicating liquid, spirit.
.madhura=sweet taste or feeling.
.madya= spirit, intoxicating liquid.
.maddu=medicine. (note: ‘med’ in medicine).
.mardu= herbal medicine (mara+du).
The interconnected relationship among these words suggest possibly borrowing of roots and words between Dravidian and Sanskrit.
A related word is 'maDi'(=clean). The maDDi/maD could represent muddy soil- place or marshy area.
MaDivaala/maDDele = washerman, who cleans soiled cloths or 'maDD(i)' or 'mala' from clothes. MalaD in Mumbai is marshy sea-coastal area and 'Mud Island' is a nearby place. Mal/mala is also means rocky highland. There is a place-name in Sinhala: 'Maddaka'lappu'. Tamilnet analyzes the place name as muddy lagoon: 'madda'(=muddy)+'kaLappu' (=lagoon or backwaters).
Madgaon (Goa) possibly means a village with a pond or marsh.
Thus,in Tulu/Kannada usage:
maDu= a lake or pond.
Madaka or 'madaga'= muddy or marshy lake or pond.
Apparently, more insights on the 'madhu /madd' place names, from the stand point of historical evolution of words, are desirable.If you have any alternate or additional insights please send your inputs.
The ancient towns Mathura and Madurai appear to have been based on the word ‘madhu’(= honey or spirit) while Dravidian place names Maddur, Maddadka etc seem to have been based on ‘maddu’, the medicine. However, the later analysis looks somewhat untenable as such a style of naming places is not in tune with usual Dravidian place names.
Commenter Akhtarali has pointed out possible links to Medes tribes, also known sometimes as Māda. A grandson of Noah was called Madai . That leads us to conclude that ‘Madda’ or ‘Māda’ tribes made their presence in Dravidian lands of southern India. Māda is a common tribal name in Kannada areas even now, often confused as a corrupt form of Mahadeva. And even the ancient words ‘Madha/Madh’ in place names ‘Madhura/Matura’ might be related to the variants of the ethnonym : 'mada',‘madda’ or ‘māda’.
There is another Indian ethnonym connected to ‘Meir Rajputs’ also known as ‘Medes’. Some of the surnames of Meir Rajputs like Bagel, Odar are shared by Munda tribes also. Their surnames Dhuma Gund, Manj(a), etc are some of the common names among tribes of Tulunadu. This makes us ponder if Meir Rajputs and Mera tribes of Dravidian territory were related tribes during ancient days.
- With H.Vishwanath
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