Saturday, January 8, 2011

267. Forgotten words 3: Kairangala

Among the list of ancient place names of Tulunadu, we find several names (or words) whose meaning is unknown at present. Such a condition can happen because of the drastic changes our language has undergone during the course of evolution. Words that existed once upon a time in this land as evidenced by their immortalization in the form of prolonged, surviving topo-nyms, have been forgotten by dis-usage that resulted rom drastic changes in cultural-lingual fabric of the ancient society.
Kairangala is a village located close to Mudipu and Konaje in southern part of Mangalore Taluk.The place-name Kair+angala is quite perplexing as there are no words like ‘kair’ in usage in the present Tulu parlance.
The word ‘angala’ [=ang+ala] means an open area .Probably to begin with open field areas by the side of rivers were known as ‘angala’, because suffix ‘ala’ is suggestive of river or river bank.
Interestingly, there is another similar sounding Tulu place name, usually confused with Kairangala.That is Karinagala. Kariangala is a village located on the bank of River Phalguni (Gurupur) and close to Polali, the reknowned seat of diety Rajarajeswari. The atribution of the meaning of an open area close to river or river bank,to the word ‘angala’ suits this place very well. However, the prefix ‘kari’ (=black) seems out of place, since there is nothing black or dark here, no black soils, as anyone can generally presume.There may be argument that ‘kari’ means elephant here, which again seems inappropriate.
I suggest that this place ‘Kariangala’ was also originally known as ‘Kairangala’, like the one near Mudipu discussed above, but inadvertently modified by people later to ‘Kariangala’.
In Tulunadu, we find many of the place names repeating themselves in different areas. (Some of the repeating place names include: Uchila, Someswara, Vamanjur, Pandeswara, Alike, etc.).
Kairo, Cairo
What is the meaning of this apparently strange word Kairo?  As you know, ‘Cairo’ is the name of the capital of Egypt (United Arab Republic).
The word Kair or Kairo shall make sense if you accept the theory of migration of human tribes during the early history and transfer of ‘words’ along with them! Genetic scientists are finding increasing evidences   in favour of migration of tribes out of Africa in several phases.
The word ‘Cairo’ means victory or victorious jubilation. The ancient word ‘kairos’ is also found in Greek where it means specific time event, season or celebration.
If we extend this meaning of the word ’kair’ or ‘kairo’ into our place name ‘Kairangala’, it represents an open area related with celebration of victory.
Apparently in olden days, among the rival tribes after waging fierce war in an open field, it was a practice of the victorious side to celebrate the event, by renaming the war field as ‘Kairangala’.

Kayar, kair trees
An alternate explanation for the place name would be Kayar+angala, where ‘kāyar’ is one of the divine cult trees associated with ancient royal families of Tulunadu. Kāyar trees are common in Tulunadu and place names containg Kayar trees like Kayartadka, Murukaveri (Mujikayeri in Tulu) exist in the coastal area. (Botanists may kindly help me to ascertain the binominal nomenclature of native kāyar trees of Tulunadu.)
However, the tree known as ‘khair’ in northern India is a semi-xerophytic one and is not common in precipitation rich (rainy) Tulunadu.
Thus the Kāyar trees (also known as kāyer, kāveri etc) of Tulunadu are different from the ‘khair’ (Acacia catechu or Acacia chundra) trees popular in other parts of India. The kair or khair tree is botanically known as Acacia catechu or Acacia chundra. Khair trees are also said to be referred to as Karangali. Incidentally, there is a place known as Karangalpadi in Mangalore.
All these data, add an aura of mystery to the place name Kairangala. Kair is also a place name in Delhi and similarly Kayar in Senegal.
What is interesting here is the association of kayar or khair trees with royal rites (even though different tree species represent similar sounding tree names). Kayar tree is associated with some of the royal families of Tulunadu. Parts of hard wood of Acacia catechu (Khair) were said to have been used for fashioning handles of knives swords etc since ages apart from other utilitarian items.

Kayyāra, Kaivāra
The place name ‘Kayyara’ (kai+ara) associated with one of the reverent heroes of modern Tulunadu, Kayyara Kinhanna Rai may also be mentioned here, though may not be directly related to the topic of kair. There is a similar place name ‘Kaivara’ in Kolar district.
Kayyara (kai+ara) and Kaivara (kai+vara) may be words unconnected to Kairangala as Kai+ara  possibly represents an open field ('ara' or 'vara') beside a 'kai'(stream tributary).

Kaira lineage
There is a possibility that the ‘Kair’ was the name of an ancient tribe that emigrated from Africa. It is interesting to note that the name ‘Kaira’ has also remained in Tulunadu as a lineage (bari) name among Bunt Nadava communities.

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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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