Saturday, December 11, 2010

261. Forgotten words in Tulu language: Omanjur

It is conceivable that ancient languages like Tulu have evolved along with human tribes, embracing and reflecting the nuances, migrations and assimilations, upheavals and downfalls, progenies and extinctions, experienced by the tribes in the course of prolonged human history.
This blogger has suggested here in older posts that the Tulu language has several words of African origin. Some of the basic words used by us today like Tulu, Bant(u), Kola, Siri, Sira, etc appear to have origin in Ethiopia and surrounding region in Africa  which are considered to be the original areas of human evolution. Scientists have mapped patterns of genomes different parts of the world that prove the migration of tribes from Africa to different regions of the globe.
In the light of these theories, the presence of African words in Tulu (and other Dravidian languages) can be construed as evidences for ancient migration of African tribes to India including parts of West Coast, Karavali and Tulunadu.
Forgotten words
As a reflection of downfalls suffered by the immigrant tribes during the course of history some of the words in use earlier in the language may disappear from day to day usage due to vagaries of tides and times. Surprisingly, such presently forgotten words (originally brought by African immigrants) may have survived in ancient place names. We shall explore some of such strange cases of words that are extinct from general usage but preserved for posterity in our enduring toponyms.
Vamanjur (or Omanjur) is a suburb of Mudushedde village, Mangalore city, on the Nantur-Mudabidri Road, now a part of NH 13.
We have discussed this place name before (Post 85, 247) without finding a satisfactory explanation for the toponym. The ‘Vama’ or ‘Oma’ prefix in the said toponym was considered to earlier represent either of these meanings.  (1). Om, the holy mantra.  (2). Oma, a condiment of cumin family. Both these suggestions in reality do not make sense because Omam crops are not commonly known in this region.

There are at least three Vamanjurs (Omanjur, Omzore etc) in the Karavali. Apart from the Omanjur at Mudushedde, Mangalore, there is one more Vamanjur (Omanjur) hamlet near Manjeshwara, Kasargodu district, Kerala, on the west Coast.
Mangalore port town was known as Manjarur during 10th Century CE during the hay days of Natha cult at Kadire, Mangalore. The Omanjur (near Mudushedde) is the outskirt of Mangalore town formerly known as Manjarur.
Similar to this Manjarur-Omanjur pair, we have Manjeshwar-Omanjur pair in Kasargodu district of Kerala. Possibly the Manjeshwara town was formerly known as Manjur earlier.

There is another Omanjur, usually pronounced as 'Omzore', near Merlapadavu and Adyar, Mangalore taluk.The 'Omzore' is a distorted form of the place name Omanjur.

Omo, Ethiopia
Omo is an ancient region of Ethiopia where oldest known human fossils were discovered. Omo is a place as well as name of an African tribe. The African word Omo means child. Possibly the Omo tribes were shorter (rather dwarfs) earning them the epithet of Omo/or younger one.
Further, the word 'manja' in Paisachi-Prakrit languages meant the man or the human being. The word manja evolved into 'manuja' (=human being) with passage of time. Therefore Omo+manja (or the men of Omo tribe or simply 'small men') could have been 'Omanja'. And the term 'Omanjur' (Omo+manja+oor) represents the habitation  of Omanja people.

There are other place names in Tulunadu that carry the prefix of Omo. Oma-da-padavu, in Bantval Taluk (also pronounced as, Vamadapadavu), Omota-kere (Ullal, southern Mangalore), etc. Some of these place names might have been deformed with passage of time. For example, Omo-ta-kere in Ullal is being pronounced now as Ombath-kere.

Forgotten Omo, Omanja
The African word ‘Omo’ or 'Omanja' employed in ancient Tulu place names no longer exists in current Tulu language.It has been a forgotten word , surviving only in the some of the odd sounding place names.

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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