Sunday, May 30, 2010

242. Sharing the bounty

Archeo-botanical evidences suggest the existence of agricultural practices in the major river basins of southern India since ca.3000 BC. Before the well developed farming cultures, early tribes resorted to hunting operations on a community scale as a means of earning food for the tribes.
After the hunting expeditions involving the able bodied hunters from the community, the ancient tribes apparently devised procedures of sharing the bounties among the beneficiaries to overcome unwarranted disputes and hassles.
Apparently, the Divine forces were invoked to oversee such arbitrations of sharing the bounties collected during hunting or fishing expeditions.
Panjikall is a village in Bantval Taluk on Bantval- Mudabidri   road. There several are other hamlets in the Karavali carrying this place name besides this village. Writer Ravi Anchan describes in one of his essays the significance of Panjikall. The Panji-kall (=boar+stone), according to him, is a large stone named after Panjurli, the Boar Spirit, where the ancient tribes shared their bounties collectively after an hunting or fishing expedition. The Boar Spirit of Panjurli is one of the oldest Spirit deities believed by the ancient tribes of Karavali.
It seems the original significance of the Panjikall or the boar stone has been forgotten in some areas and replaced by an alternate legend conceived later .in many areas. In some areas for example near Vitla, Bantval Taluk, there is another hamlet known by the same name of Panjikall. Here the local people ascribe the said ‘boar stone’ as vestige of the site where the Boar Spirit vanished.
Another place- name and word known as ‘Ajakall’ is also associated with the above described custom of sharing the hunting/ fishing bounties. Tulu Lexicon states that the origin and meaning of the word ‘aja’ in ‘Ajakal’ is not clearly known. However under the word entry in the same lexicon ‘aja’ we find that Aja=Brahma. Brahma or the Bermer is one of the earliest Gods worshipped by Tulu and other Dravidians. Evidences of Brahma worship may have been lost in other parts of southern India, but is still live in the Tulunadu. Even today the main deity in Garodies (ancient Gymnasia) of Tulunadu is the God Bermer  or the ancient form of Brahma I, a warrior seated on horse.
(Brahma I, represents the original concept of Brahma (Bermer) prevalent among ancient Indians. It was derived from the legend of Abraham that prevailed in the northwestern India during ca. 2000 BC. The Indian ‘Brahma’ was modeled after the legendary hero ‘Abraham’. Abraham was also considered or revered as forefather of Jews and Moslems in Arab countries. Later in the history probably after 500 BC the concept of Brahma II was evolved to represent four headed creator God seated on giant lotus emanating from the navel of Lord Vishnu.)
Thus we can conclude that in southern India ‘Ajakal’s devoted to Lord Brahma. The hunting or fishing bounties were shared among the members of the community invoking the name of popular God of that time period.
Ajakal concept was not exclusive to Tulunadu or Karavali. It was prevailing in other parts of southern India also. For example, Azhikkal is a coastal port and fishing harbor near Kannur in Kerala. The name Ajakal has been slightly modified to ‘Azhikkal’ in Malayalam.
There may be similar place-names all over India, whose original meaning and significance has been long forgotten!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

241. Mysterious mountain of Meru

The migration of human tribes from Africa to Asia, India ( and other countries ) since ca. 50,000 years ago and later have been confirmed by genetic studies. Along with the migrating tribes many primitive words have migrated to different countries. We have shown in some of the past posts, the existence of several African words remaining as obscure and strange remnants in the place names in Tulunadu.
Yet, the concept of migration of words from African to Dravidian and other Indian languages during the historical period appear strange and unbelievable to many. The skeptics point out that the languages of Africa and India are distinctly different. It is true that the languages were different. However, the fact is that the words, only the words, have been absorbed by the recipient land and not the language. The languages have grown in the land according to a destined pattern determined by the dominant majority of the population. The migrating people being in smaller number have not been able to impose their language patterns on the recipient land, but strange foreign words introduced by them have been seamlessly absorbed, in some cases temporarily, by the recipient language. Strangely, our place names have faithfully preserved some of the temporarily accepted foreign words. These words can be considered ‘temporary’ absorption because we have lost the meaning of those words due to disuse.
For the benefit of skeptics, we shall give a glowing example that has been entrenched in many of the Indian languages and epics.
Mt. Meru
The mountain of Meru (or ‘Sumeru’) has been a prominent geographic feature in several Hindu, Buddhist and Jain mythologies. The ‘Meru Parvat’ is considered to be the centre of ‘Jambu dwipa’(peninsula) and abode of Brahma and other Gods. Ancient Indian texts described to be about 84,000 ‘yojana’ high or so.
Mt. Meru, is a conical shaped volcanic mountain, 4,566 m high, located in Tanzania at the border of Kenya, Africa. It is located on the equator, which compares well with the Indian descriptions of ‘centre of the Jambu-dwipa’!. Even though now it is considered as the fourth highest mountain in Africa geological studies have shown that it was about 6000m during the ice ages (period of glaciation) and the height was reduced subsequently on account of erosion. Volcanic mountains are generally conical in shape being wide at base with a narrow summit. Indian texts describe the Meru mountain precisely as wide at base and narrow at top.

The word ‘Meru’ in Sanskrit means ‘high’, possibly after the Meru mountain.
Why an African mountain finds respectful mention in ancient Indian epics?
It can only mean that people from Africa were frequenting India during the period ca 1700 BC to 500 CE when most of the Indian scriptures and epics were considered to have been composed. Either the composers of these epics had first- hand knowledge about these African places or they envisaged the features based on the descriptions of the immigrants.
Mt. Meru was considered as abode of Gods by African tribes. Even the origin of African God ‘Murunga’ has been traced to the Mt. Meru. The ancient cult of African God Murunga has entered south Indian theology as Muruga!
The word ‘Meru’ has entered Indian languages as an expression of greatness. In Kannada, the phrase ‘meru nata’ means a great actor.
Mt. Kenya
Mt. Kenya is another African mountain. Kenya is also the name of an East African State, bordering Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Tanzania. The African (Kikuyu) word ‘Kenya’ means the abode of Gods. Several districts and regions within Kenya have been named after Meru. In Tulunadu, there are at least two places known as ‘Kenya’ (Sullia Taluk) or ‘Kinya’ (Mangalore Taluk). However, the local people have lost the original meaning and significance of these place names after the passage of time.
And many now unknowingly resort to misinterpretation of these toponyms as ‘small’ (=‘kinya’) or ‘listen’(=‘kenya’)!
Meru Peak in Gharwal Himalayas
An anonymous recent comment has provided information on the Meru Peak in Gharwal Himalayas, Uttar Khand State,India.This information is likely to have disputes with the data discussed in this post.
However we find several African place names repeated in Indian subcontinent.
We shall discuss these things more in the forthcoming blog posts.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Previous Posts

TULU RESEARCH : Serial List of older POSTS
1. Tulu language: Origin & Evolution
2. Traces of Tulu-Kannada-Dravida words in Early Sumerian languages
3. Pirak, Prak and Prakrit
4. Brahma worship: Brahma and Bermer
5. Mundkur, Munder
6. Bermer II
* Language and Culture
7. Banta, Bantu
8. Bantu,Bant’ II
9. The Moolasthana concept
* Random ruminations
10. Evolution of Culinary habits
11. Boiled grains to Steam cooked idlis.
12. Rotis: Early oil-free roasted vegetarian food
13. The Tulu script: Origin and revival
14. Evolution of the Kannada script.
15. A charming Tulu word ‘naDeer’
16. Mangalore: Kudla and Nitria
17. Historic Mangalore: Port of Bukkapatna
18. Location of Moolasthanas in Dakshina Kannada
19. Moolasthana
20. Earliest popular fruit in Indian subcontinent
21. The Taste of Tulunadu
22. The Taste of Tulunadu II
23. Boiled grains to.. Idlis.II. An Update
24. Chakku Palam > Jack Fruit
25. Pala and antiquity of Tulu words
26. The origin of the concept of Brahma
27. The Sweet Potato
28. Significance of the Brahma
29. The Rice: Vrihi and Arih
30. Multan and Moolasthana
31. Tulu tribes Migration from Pirak:1000-600 BC
32. Origin of Animal and Spirit worship
33. Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh
34. Ten incarnations of Vishnu
35. Ancient Spirit worship: Horse mounted heroes
36. Planets as Tulu proper names
37. Early Human migrations.
38. Earliest Indian Tribes
39. One human family with many variations
40. Early evolution of words and languages
* A Tulu stage play: Kariajjerna Kathekulu
41. Origin of the word Tulu I
42. Origin of the word Tulu II
43. Evolution of Tulu language
44. The scale of human migration
45. Origin of the word Bant.
46. Proto Tulu migration Stage I
47. Mundevu (Pandanus)
48. Early Tulu: Stage II 2000-800 BC
49. Early human settlements in South India
50. The legend of Rama
51. Stage III: Migration from Pirak 800-500 BC
52. Munda aborigines of Karavali
53. More on Munda influence on Tulu
54. The legend of Bali
55. Identity of Neolithic South Indians
* Nature-scape of Tulunadu 1
56. Assimilation of Indo-Aryans
57. A word that traveled: Ayana
* Nature-scape of Tulunadu 2
58. Evolution of Early Communities
59. The less evolved ancient tribes
60. The Original Rama
* Nature-scape of Tulunadu 3
61. Native Tubers
62. Characterization of Spirits of Tulunadu
63. Baikampadi
64. Puraal and Polali
65. Mayi Kala at Mangalore
66. Tharavada
67. Bunts and Nairs
68. Pandavara kallu: A burial structure
* Nature-scapes … 5
69. Kaipunjal and Kapu
70. Mayi-Kala in Ancient Mangalore II
71. Barakur
72. Tiruvail
73 Satiaputo
74. Alupa kings
75. Nitria
* Abstracts
76. Bhagavathi
* Nature-scapes … 5
77. Natha cult at Mangalore
78. A special word: ‘MuTTukaDi’
79. The name –Kadri
80. Macchendra, Goraka and Pingala
81. Barakur II
82. Buddhism in Karnataka
83. Buddhism vs. mainstream Hinduism
84. The Mogaveera community
* Nature-scapes … 6
85. Kadire Manjunatha
87. Mangaruth, the ancient Mangalore
88. The Mystery of Manjunatha
89. Keddasa
90. Mangala
91. Govinda Pai on Alupe
92. Avalokitesvara @ Kadire
93. Pedestrian journeys
94. Antiquity of Siri
95. Chenne or Mangala games
97.Siri paDdana : A Tulu Sangham Epic
98.Changes in Gurupur River mouth, 1887
100.Kadamba Dynasty
101.Early dormant Jainism
102.Legends of Parashurama
103.Rituals that remind the religious transitions
104. Formation of Barrier Spits
* Let the Studies..
105. Mārigudis of Kapu
106.Mārigudi II
107.Nagara at Panambur
108.Koraga language: A primer
109.Odipu- the Udupi
111.Swirling waves of Surathkal
* Nature-scapes…7
112.The Temples of Karavali: Early phase
113.Maravoor, Maroli
115.Extradition of Maari
116.The Saliana lineage
117.Panambur II
118.Iddya to Yedapadavu
119.Kadaba to Kalavar
121.Kota and Kotian
122.Irvattur, Iruvail Iraa
123.Strange words!
124.Disecting strange words
126. Totems in our antiquity
127.Ancient proper names
128.Bairas and Mundas
131.Belman to Bellarapadi
132.Sooda to Surinje
Debacle of verdant a land:Bailare at Posodi
136.Kukkian lineage
139.Cluster villages
141.Village name suffixes
142.Pandeswara, Manjeswara
146.Kudroli to Katapadi Enagudde
147.Kodanjikall to Konaje
151.Paduvare to Parivara Bunts
154.Sin to Chennaitodi
158.Pandyas & cargo boats
160.The Pandi culture
161.Antiquity of Shira
162.Evolution of Tulu language
163.Tulu prefixes & words
164.Belthangadi, Uppinangadi
165.Pangala and Bangla
166.Tulu Onamastics
167.Padubidri: A relict river
168.Baindur, Bayandar
169.Aroor:A cluster village
172.Andhra and Dravida
Green flowers
On history and historians
178.Pithrodi in Udyavara
181.Vanished port of Udyavara
182.Uliyargoli to Malpe I
183. Uliyargoli to Malpe II
184.The Magic of Malpe
185.The spatial suffix:ānu: Muddanu
186.Traces of common regional lingual history in Tulu place-names
187.Immigrant red tribes: ‘Kemm’s!
188.Kudupu: layers of history
190.Neria: on the brink
191.Udupi: An additional note
192.Eri and Neria
193.Ku: A root word
194.Jambal: an archaic Tulu word.
197.Dravidian spatial suffix -va
198.Bridge on mud crack.
199.Mane: An earthen podium
200.Kakke tribes: Totem crow
201.Aya: the space.
202.Madhva Vijaya: places and names
204.Agricultural sttlements
205.Harvesting sites
206.Poli Poli
207.Tottam remors
209.Dravidian place name cognates
211.Gotra, Bari: Genetic tags
216. Permanki
217. Kenya.
218. Mungo,the rain God.
219. PaDdana
220. Vasudeva Laila
222. Nadava Evolution : An outline
223. Okku in Tulu
224. Mitta bagilu
225. Mura, the laterite
226.Ter, the idol car
227. Tondru adde: another Iddli
228. Beeri, Kotekar
229. MUNDKŪR: Obscure pages of history
230. Fossil words
232.Evolution of word Structure
234.Padavu and PaDavu
235.Maroon leaves of Chakote
236.Large Villages
237.Madhu and Maddu
238.Dark,forest and bay
239.Kar and bar in place names.
240.Kabaka: Imported word?

Bajpe air crash

The tragic air crash at Bajpe airport, Mangalore on the ill fated morning of 22nd May 2010, has taken a number of innocent lives.
We sympathise with the bereaved families and offer our heartfelt condolences. Pray the Almighty, may the departed Souls rest in peace.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

240. Kabaka : Imported word?

Someone had commented hilariously on one my abstracts in these posts: “Are you sure that Tulu tribes came from Africa and not Mars?”
You can appreciate naked sarcasm in the comment veiling over a crazy sense of fake authority!
Well, apart from the transparent colors in the comment, my intention is here to show in general how our minds unknowingly work in a parochial manner.
Several decades ago, Paleontologists discovered fossil remains of early human beings and proposed a theory that human tribes evolved in Africa and migrated to various continents. Many people were skeptic of the theory for different reasons. However as the research in human genetics progressed and the scientists were able to identify distribution of different types of haplogroups in Y chromosomes in different continents that suggested evolution and migration of human tribes, most of the rational people were convinced about the general course of evolution and migration of human beings in the past history.

Imported words!
In some of the earlier posts I have suggested that several words commonly used amongst us in Tulu and other Dravidian languages were brought from Africa by the migrant tribes in the past. Tulu, Bantu, Siri Sira, Kola, Mande, Kol, Kenya etc are some of the words I suggested in earlier posts to have arrived here along with tribes in the past from Africa.(Besides, there are other strange words in Tulu, like ‘Inna’, that possibly came from Kurgan- Russian side).
I wonder how is that people who believe in the theory of genetic haplogroups and their journey through diverse continents, fail to get convinced of the similar journey of words through the past history!
(Is it the way of our minds that tend to work along selective parochial channels?)
Analysis of originally intended meanings in place names is definitely not a easy job, especially if you are looking for objectivity! For example, check this place name called ‘Kabaka’:

Kabaka, Puttur
Kabaka village is on the outskirt of Puttur town in the eastern part of Dakshina Kannada. Locals of town consider Puttur as a place of pearls (‘putturda muttu’) or flowers ( ‘pootta oor’), but we have dared to explain in earlier posts here that the Tulu/ Dravidian word ‘Puttur’ ( <.pudu+oor) means ‘a new village’. The place name ‘Kabaka’ sounds strange in Tulu. If you analyse the word probably you may feel -kaba+ka, where in ‘kaba’ probably means ‘divided’ (‘kava’ or ‘kaba’ as in place name ‘Kavattar’;+ ‘ka’=area) village. However there is nothing in the said hilly granitic area logically to suggest that it is a divided village. The other possibility is that word ‘Kabaka’ might have been brought by the immigrants from Africa in the past history. The word ‘Kabaka’ refers to royal family in Africa. However, it is to be found out, whether ‘Kabaka’ near Puttur, was a seat of ancient royalty in the tribal days? .. Kichaka

Mahābhārat is a great epic composed by sage Veda Vyāsa, probably around 500 BC. The epic has several odd sounding names and characters. The name and character of ‘Kichaka’ is an odd sounding character created by Veda Vyāsa in the epic.
Did the poet Vyāsa picked up an African name (‘Kichaka’) available around him at that time to designate one of the villainous character in the epic of Mahābhārat?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

239. ‘Kar’ & ‘bar’ in place-names

In deciphering etymology of place-names, accuracy plays a vital role, therefore philological and topographical conformities to the places need to be verified. In the absence of any systematic study of Tulu Place-names, local legends are the known documents for reference. The ‘Sthala Puranas’, have been woven around legends as a means of aggrandising the greatness of places of worship, (aptly called ‘Sthala Mahatmye’), and hence may or may not be faithful to the original meaning of the place name.
Our place-names are mostly are made of two or more compound words, that reflect mostly geographical, evolutionary and tribal signatures of the location.
In Post No.186 (dated 25.05.2009), we have provided some cognate place-names distributed all over India such as :
Prefixes (such as Ad/Ade, Adya, Agad/Agal/Agar, Al/Ala, Ar/Are, Bar/Bari, Bel, Er, Kunji (=hill, e.g. Kunjibettu), Mal/Male, Mad/Man, Pa/Pan and
Suffixes (viz. Banja = Barren, Kanja = Reddish, Punja = Rocky, Renja = fragrant; ang/angadi/angar, ar, ooru/ur, od/odi, oli, oni, ade, adka, adiri/adri, anje/anje, Ja/Je/Jar, kodi, kodu/god/godu, goli, ga/gao/gaum, khed/kheta, gal/kal, kala, kona/kone, kudru, kula/kola/kolambe, kuru (=manja) = raised place, valli/pally/hally mād/mādi, mar, mār, man/manner, pad/padi, hat/haad/haadi, Padpu, padavu, pe/pu/pur, se/sar, wal/wadi) etc commonly found in place-names of Tulunadu. This was an attempt to show a layers of past socio-lingual history, common to regions. Attempts were also made to explore and analyse various Tulu place-names. Readers would appreciate if they read Posts, 116-152, 127 (on Proper names), 141 (Village name suffixes), 162 (Evolution of Tulu Language), 192 (Place-names with root of old diction in Tulu), 209 (Dravidian place-name cognates), and No.238 (Dark, Forest and Bay) etc.
One place , more names
Difficulty arises in analysing the etymology when there are many names for a place, Eg. Posodi (Posa+Odi). It is known as Hosabettu (in Kannada) in Government revenue records. Narayan A. Bangera, Mitrapatna (Mumbai) opined (Ref: Mogaveera, October 2009 – p.2) that ‘Posodi’ is a corrupt abbreviation of ‘Posa Kodi’. He is silent about earlier name of Posodi. (Legend: Jarandaya or Jarantaya, the Divine Spirit, follows Nandu Marakala and expresses his wish to stay at his village. Devout villagers construct a temple, wooden chariot and erect a ‘Posa Kodi’ (= New Flag Post), and conduct periodical annual celebration ‘Nema’ thereafter). The word ‘Odi’, though now stands for ‘place of habitation or settlement’, has many shades of meaning, such as Divine place (as in ‘Pitrodi’), Port or sheltering station (as in Airodi = Ayer + Odi). Word ‘Odi’ also refers to agriculture, breach or bursting of ridge or bund, as we can make out in ‘Odikanda‘ and Odipu (Former location of Udupi – so named possibly due to bursting of a Sandbar in a rice field in a remote past).
English Poet Wordsworth has beautifully expressed in verse the changes wrought in British Place-names by the Saxon conquerors. Readers might have read his poem (Monastery of Old Bangor) on naming of places:
Another language spreads from Coast to Coast,
Only perchance some melancholy stream,
And some indignant hills old names preserve,
When laws, and creeds, and people all are lost I

Global spatial word : ‘Kar’
There are so many place names suffixed ‘kar’ and ‘bar’ in Tulunadu. In the last Post No.238 we have explained the various shades of meaning of ‘kar’ and related place names in context of Tulu culture. In this Post, we are giving examples of place names in Indian as well as global context with regard to ‘kar’.
Stem ‘Kar’
Various meanings, assigned to the word ‘kār’ are : (1) Leg, (2) Exude or seep, (3) Dark coloured or black, (eg, kari=soot; kartale >. kattale=darkness. (4) Forest, (5) Clouds; rain and rainy season, eg. kārtelu – period of June-July, (6) Sea coast/brackish water (‘ubār’ in Tulu), river bank (7) Saline stream, estuary or bay. (Post 238). (8) ‘Kār’ probably was also the older equivalent of ‘kal’(=stone). Kār>.kal. Possibly, the prefix kār in place name Karkala stands for dark rock.
Karnataka: Karu+nata+ka (= black soil cultivated area), poetically expressed as ‘Karunadu’, is fertile land of black soil, immensely suitable for farming since ages. Paleo-botanical evidences and ash mounds suggestive of ancient farming in south India were recovered from this black cotton soil region. However, Adrian Room’s book on ‘Place names of the World’ considers it as ‘karuppa (=black)+natu (=country) as a Tamil word. It is an erroneous interpretation. Kar, kari or karu is a Proto-Dravidian word common to Kannada, Tamil , Tulu etc – so, borrowing, or lending of words need not be visualized. It was a land of turu-karu (=cows and calves) and Turukāras (=farmers), preponderantly from ‘Kanna’ tribes; hence ‘kanna+ da’, i.e. Land of Kanna tribes.
Karyodi (Kariya>Karya+Odi): It is the old name of Kārkala, land of granites with dark exteriors. Geographically located on the lower flanks of the Western Ghats (Sahyadri), it is a Taluk Town in Udupi District. In Tulu, it is called as ‘Karla ( kār+la ), meaning an area of dark rocks by the side of a water-body. Rama-samudra lake is a perennial water supply source here. There is a monolithic Bahubali statue, popularly known as Gometeshwara, besides many granite monuments, that make Karkala a popular Jain pilgrimage centre.
Kārla reminds us another place: ‘Karla’ Caves (also known as Kārli ) near Lonavala in Maharashtra. It is a Theravada Buddhist Monastery. Topography here is similar to that of Karkala.
The word kār can also be found in many place names outside India. Consider the following examples:
Karnak: It is a village in Northern Egypt on the Nile. This name is derived from ‘kar’, meaning ‘stone’. Northern part of France is beset with many megalithic monuments. This place is also called ‘Carnac’, resembling the sound of ‘Karnak’.
Khar: Capital of Bajaur Agency, Pakistan.
Kara Sea: Sea in Northern Russia. The sea, an arm of the Arctic Ocean, takes its name from Kara River that flows into it. The river gets its own name from Mongolian word ‘Khar’ (=black).
Kara-Bogaz Gol: Lake in North-western Turkmenistan. The lake, a former inlet of the Caspian Sea, has a Turkmen name, meaning ‘Lake of black strait’ from ‘Kara’ (=black)+ bojaz (=strait, literally throat) and kol (=lake). The strait was formerly a narrow entrance to the inlet. The black colour is attributed to dried the local salt deposits.
Karacadag: Mountain, South-eastern Turkey. The mountain’s name means: ‘blackish mountain from Turkish Karaca; kara (= black) + dag (= mountain).
Karachi: Karachi is a bay described by Greek historians as ‘Krokola’. The port of Karachi was founded by Kolachi (Buloch tribes), a fishing community. Mai Kolachi put up a family and hence the village takes her name, which is still there. It grew as a trading centre with a fort constructed. Western side gate of it is called ‘Kharra Darwaaja’ (Brackish Gate - Khara+dar) and the other side gate facing Lajari River is known as ‘Meetha Darwaaza’ (Sweet Gate – Mitha+dar).
Karaichichi: Means a bare land along sea coast or lagoon coast, subject to salt water.
Karvi/Kharvi of Karwar and Karaavas of Sri Lanka are coastal people.
Kara-Kul (=Black lake): Frozen Kar-kul structure in Tajikistan is an inaccessible area. It is partly filled by the 25 km dia Kara-kul lake. It is located at 3900 m. above sea level in Pamir Mountain Range, bordering Afghanistan. Kara-kul lake, was formed out of meteorite impact crater around 5 million years ago. It is discovered recently by NASA Space Shuttle imagery. It has no drainage outlet. There are lakes with similar names in China and Uzbec.
Carrara: It is city and commune in the province of Massa-Carrara (Tuscany, Italy), famous for the white and blue-grey marble quarried there. According to a hypothesis, it is pre-Roman term, borrowed from Latin, Carraria (=quarry). ‘Kar’ (=stone) + aria (=place) = Carraria = Place of stones.
Ayastan > Karastan: It stands for Armenia, the stone country. Located between East and West, it withstood onslaughts of great empires of antiquity such as Rome, Iran, Byzantium, Arabs, Seljuks and Mongols. Ara/Are’ in Tulu language, equivalent to ‘Kara’, has also a meaning, among others, of ‘stone/rock’. Mark the word ‘Karba’ in Tulu, meaning iron ore or iron.
Mangar: Possibly Man + Kar: It is an old area in Mangalore, A spirit shrine still stands as a testimony to this old location name. Old names of Mangalore are discussed in earlier Posts in this Blog. Postulation of chronological occurrence of these place-names is difficult to arrive at. Mangarda Kariya or Mangaarakariya is a ferry point where pedestrians cross Netravathi River from Mangalore to Ullal on the other side. This place is located near Pandeshwara where a spirit shrine .
Kar(a), Ker(a), Khar/Khari, Kher (swampy area): These are notable words. We have designations to place and people, based on these words. Khar (Mumbai), Kherwadi (east of Bandra, Mumbai), Karkera(Kar+kera) and Bangera (Ban+Kera) surnames in coastal Tulunadu. Karkar surname in Maharashtra ought to have connection to coastal side.
We are listing below some of the Indian place-names with the spatial word ‘Kar’ for the readers to guess and analyse.
Andhra Pradesh: Karamchedu, Karavadi, Karanji, Kareyagudem.
Bihar: Karakat, Karba.
West Bengal: Karandighi, Karanjali
Gujarat: Kara Ghogha , Karakhad, Karakthal, Karannagar, Karbatiya.
Haryana: Karanpur
Karnataka: Karje, Karki,Karadi, Karagaon, Karahalli (2 - one in Bangalore), Karajagi, Karakurchi, Karamadai, Karankote, Karapure, Karatagi, Karandalaje, Karamdoor.
Kashmir: Kargil, Karakaoram.
Kerala: Karakkad, Karakonam.
Maharashtra: Karjat, Karad,Karghar, Karadkhed, Karanjagi, Karamba, Karambali, Karamboli (Kalamboli), Karandi, Karamwadi, Karanj Phen, Karanja (2 – one in Wardha), Karanjala, Karanji (2 – One near Pune), Karanji Kaji. (Note: Suffix ‘ad’ in Maharashtra, mostly means forest but, in Karad it is made of: Karhat>Karhad>Karad).
Madhya Pradesh: Karakbel, Karanja Bhilai, Karanjia, Karanwas.
Orissa: Karachuli, Karamal, Karamdihi, Karanjia
Punjab: Karamgarh Sataam.
Rajastan: Karauli.
Tamilnadu: Karachurri, Karadivavi, Karaikal, Karaika Medu, Karatadi Palayam, Karavalur.
Uttaranchal: Karan Prayag.
Stem ‘Bār’
‘Bār’ means a vast open area, beside sea shore or river front. We know maritime trade thrived with good water transport system. ‘Bari or bali’ (lineage surname) as we explained in earlier Post on the subject, was coined for the clans living together in such settlements. These places developed into ‘nakhar > nagar, i.e. city. Today, it stands for an important place or city. Parts of Karkala and Panambur were also called Nakhar in the past.
In Sumerian language, ‘bār’ has the meanings of “open, expose, uncover.”( Euskara Magyar List-6)
In Afro Asiatic languages, ‘barri’ = open (of land), rural; Arabic: barr/burr = open area. A city in Dubai is called ‘Burr Dubai’.
Let us consider a few place-names with ‘bar’:
Barakur: Historical town Barakur has been analysed as ‘bara + kur’ as well as ‘baraka + ur’.
Kudumbara: Country of Kudi or Kuduva, an agricultural tribe of Dravida/Tulunadu.
Malabar: A country or place of mountains, as in Kerala and Mumbai.
Nicobar: It is known as Car Nicobar and described as (1):(in Hindi) 'Nagda' (=naked)+'Varam' (=country). Or the land of the naked tribes. Adrian Room an Arab historian (C.1300) wrote that the men were entirely naked whereas their women wore only a girdle of coconut leaves.
(2) It is corrupted form of 'Narikela dvipa', meaning a land of coconuts trees.

Zanzibar: Two Arabic words – Zing (meaning ‘black’) + al-bar (meaning ‘land of’). So it means the land of Blacks, i.e. Negro Coast.

Baramulla: An area in Kashmir attributed to Varaha Mula.

Traditional tribal thoughts obviously revolved around the Nature. Our ancestors’ complete integration with Nature is reflected in the Place-names. Thus, in many cases the place-names have become identity marker of the ancient tribes.
Lack of inquisitiveness or interest to know the meaning of place-names is apparent by the absence of comments from readers. We want our readers to follow Bacon, who says: “Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, but weigh and consider.”

- H. Vishwanath, 30.04.2010

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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