Saturday, June 5, 2010

243. Kom tribes in Tulunadu

The word ‘kom’ or ‘komu’ in many of the south Indian languages like Kannada means tribe or caste. Origin of the word is generally traced to the Arabic word ‘quom ‘. It seems the Arabic word ‘quom’ (or kom) was derived from the name of an ancient tribe called Kom.(Besides, consider the possible relation and analogy between the words 'kom' and 'community'.)
The Kom tribes inhabited in parts of southern India in the antiquity.They were farmers, artisans and soldiers.The Koms were known as 'Komme' or 'Komar' in Kannada. There is an area called 'Komarbeedu' in the outskirt of Mysore city.
Similarly,'Komarpanths' form a significant population in present coastal Uttara Kannada and Goa. In British records they were known as 'Comarapeca', the 'peca' (or 'paika') being equivalent word for soldier.Thus Komarpanths of Uttar Kannada consider themselves as Kshatriyas.
The great reformer Basavanna is said to have been from 'Komme' caste. In Andhra Pradesh there is a community known as 'Komma' or 'Kamma'. One of the regions in Andhra is known as 'Khammam'.

However, there are no direct evidences of existence of Kom tribes in present Tulunadu or in other parts of southern India, except recent migrants from Uttara Kannada and Goa region. However, there are a number of village names in Tulunadu that carry the signatures of the ancient Kom tribes and these place names start with the prefix of ‘kom’.

Kompadavu ( d, pronounced mild as in English ‘the’)is a large village, covered with hard outcrops of laterite, near Mucchur and Niddodi. The village name Kompadavu (kom +padavu) means the plateau of Kom tribes.
Komdodi is a hamlet near Yedapadavu and Kuppepadavu. The place name can be split into Kom +da +oDi or the habitation of Koms.
Kombar is a village in Puttur taluk. Kom+bār means the area of Kom tribes.
Kammaje is a hamlet in Karopadi village, Bantval Taluk.
‘Konchādi ‘(pron: kon-chāDi ) forms a large village, now amalgamated into the city in the northern part of Mangalore. Konchadi, the western part, can be accessed partly from Bijai Derebail road and the eastern part from Kadri -Yeyyadi road. The place name Konchadi can be analysed as follows: Kom+cha+aDi. (=Village of the koms).The ‘kom’ is the name of the tribe that inhabited in this area probably in the antiquity (ca 200BC-200 CE?). The suffix ‘-aDi ‘refers to habitation or a village. The modifier ‘cha’ = of, in Prakrit group of languages( Or was it a word from Kom language?).'Koncham' were also recognized as a tribe or caste in south Indian census records.
Kom-jaal guttu. This is the name of a 'guttu' located in Elinje village, East of Mulki, Mangalore Taluk.
Kom-da-Odi. Komdodi is a hamlet east of Yedapadavu on the way to Kuppepadavu, in Mangalore Taluk.

Ancient Kom tribes
The’ kom’ is the name of a tribe (and language) of Northwestern Cameroon, Africa. The Cameroon Kom language is a member of African Bantu language family. According to prevalent legends they came from northern Africa to Cameroon following trails of a python.
Similarly, there are ‘kom’ tribes in northeastern States of India especially Manipur. They also speak Kom language, a member of Tibeto-Burmese language family. Legends among the ‘Kom’ people of Manipur suggest that they came from a large cave located in China. One of their leader ancestor who rescued these tribal people from a tiger was known as ‘Saichepa’. Another legend suggests that these tribes came from Middle East. Probably these two legends suggest dual origin of these tribes. Kom tribes from Africa possibly migrated in segments to Asia and parts of northeastern India.
The Kom tribes that inhabited coastal Tulunadu in the antiquity could have been from North eastern India, as can be deduced from the following possible legendary link.
Sajipa is a large village on the southern bank of River Nethravathy in Bantval Taluk. The exact meaning of the word ‘Sajipa’ is not known now as it has been lost in the wilderness of obscure past history.
It is possible that the word Sajipa is a variant of the word ‘Saichepa’. Saichepa was an ancestor of Kom people, as indicated by the legends of Manipur.
Therefore one of the possibility is that the village name ‘Sajipa’ represents the name of one the ancestor of Kom tribes. Saichepa is also one of the sub-tribes of Koms in Manipur. The Kom tribes who inhabited in Tulunadu once upon a time could have designated the place name 'Sachepa' (later modified to 'Sajipa') in honour of one of their their forefather and a sub-tribe.
Manipur link ?
There are several 'Mani'villages in Tulunadu such as 'Manipur', Manipal(Udupi Taluk), 'Mani-Nalkur' and MaaNi (Bantval Taluk). These village names have been generally unexplainable.
It needs to be explored whether these place names suggest vestigial emotional links introduced by immigrant tribes to Tulunadu from Manipur region in the antiquity.

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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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