Monday, April 4, 2011

272. Kosar Warrior tribes

Warrior tribe of Kosars have been cited in ancient Tamil Sangam literatures. Kosars are described as a honest warrior tribe who were known as ‘one word kosars’(“Onrumoli Kosar” in Tamil) because they always kept their words (promises).
Many of these refer to Kosar heroes of   ancient Tulunadu, whereas others suggest that they were nomadic tribes that lived in different parts of south India, for example Nalkur Kosars who lived in four different villages or divergent places. 
Wayfarer in his blog has made a decent documentation of distribution of known Khosa tribes. The ancient tribe were variously known as Khosa or Kosar, Kossar or Khasa.
Sangam literature
In Tamil literature, Kosars were mentioned as west Vadukas with their origin as Kolhapur near Goa. ‘Erattar’ were supposedly a branch of Kosars who became Maha Rattirar (Prakrit) or Maharashtras (Sanskrit).
Kongu army consisted of Kosars according to Silappadikkaram. The Akananooru (15, 2-7 )records: “Thokai Kavin Thulu nattu anna Varunkai Vampalaith Thankum panpin Cherintha Seri Chemmal Moothur”. Meaning, they then captured Kudaku Nadu and Erumai Nadu and settled in Tulu Nadu with Moothur as their capital. Krishnasami Aiyangar opines that the ‘Nalur Kosar ‘(meaning Kosars who settled in four places) as foreigners to the Tamil country.
 In some Tamil accounts, Kosars belonged to the Tulu country and lived to the south of the Vindhya and near the shores of western Arabian Sea. They were also referred to as ‘Ariyar’ in Tamil literature.
Kosars have been recorded as tribal people who lived near the rivers Malprabha, Gatprabha and upper the border area between Kadamba and Mauryan empire. They attacked Paazhi and captured the whole of Kadamba and its many fort cities. Then the Mauryans and their Kosar affliates entered Tamil Nadu through the kaviri-kudhirai malai pass (the present anthiyur-nallur path).
The Boar (Varaha?) was the emblem of Kosar tribes and the later Chalukyas of the Pallava time. Varaha was also the logo of the Vijayanagar empire.
Kosars were called Nar kosar or Nanmozhi Kosar in the third Sangam literature. Nannul or Tholkappiam notes them as Kannadam, Vaduku (Tulu), Kalingam (Oriya) and Telugu people. Kambaramayanam Payiram says Kosars were Vadakalai (Prakrit), Thenkalai (Tamil), Vaduku and Kannada people. Kosars were truthful to their kings, either Tamil kings or Mauryan kings and were called ‘Vai-mozhi Kosar’ (truthful in keeping their words).
The Mathurai Kanchi 508-09 & 771-74 records them as “Poyya Nallisai Niruththa punaithar, Perum peyar Maaran Thalaivan Aka, Kadanthadu vai val Elampal Kosar, Eyaneri Marabin Vai mozhi ketpa” and “Pazhayan Mokoor Avayakam vilanka Nanmozhi Kosar Thontri yanna”. Meaning, Chera dynasty’s Nedunchezhian’s army head was ‘Mohoor Pazhayan Maaran’ and in his army, Kosars were present. They followed Maran’s words in battle and were honoured for their job in his court. ‘Elampal Kosar’ (young Kosars) were present in the armies of the Cheras.
The District Gazetteer of South Kanara (1973) enlists Koosa as a Scheduled Caste tribe. This Koosa tribe is being speculated by as the Kosar tribes of Karavali described in the Tamil Sangam literature.
Koosa, Kusha
The Twin sons of Rama (in Ramayan, composed by Valmiki ca 500 BC) were named Lava and ‘Kusha’.This shows the antiquity of the proper name Kusha in India. ‘Koosa’ tribes still exist in northern parts of Udupi districts. Kosanna, Koosakka etc are common names among Tulu people in the yester-years.
Kosala, Kushala
‘Kosala’ an ancient Kingdom of Ramayan fame has been suggested as land of Kosa by Joseph Thangarajah Xavier.  Rama’s mother ‘Kausalya’ hailed from the kingdom of Kosala.
In the same way Kushalnagar (Kodagu) may be one of the ancient towns originally named after Kosa tribes. Kushalappa is a common proper name in Kodagu region. Kossar warrior  tribes were reported from Nepal.

Kochanna is common personal name among older generation of Tulu people, rather irrespective of castes. The name ‘Kocha’ or ‘Kochanna’ (‘anna’=brother) appears to be a derivative of Kosha or Koshar. There are faint evidences in Karavali place names to sugest that Koshars were known as Kochars in Tulunadu. For example a hamlet in Badaga Kajekar village, Belthangadi taluk is known as 'Kocharla-palke' which literally means the valley of Kochar tribes in Tulu language.

The name 'Kochati' also appears to be related  to the words 'Kocha'(singular) or 'Kochar'(plural). Incidentally, Kochati is a place name in Nicosia, Cyprus. Similarly, there is a Kochati (also known as Kochadai) in Madurai. These could be ancient ethnonyms.
Kochati is also an lineage (Bari/bali) among Bunts suggesting admixture a group of Kochar/Kochats with Bunts in the antiquity.
Similarly, Kochi is an important town in Kerala; this place name is possibly related to these tribes.

Migrant tribes
Kush tribes (or Kushites) were ancient tribes from Ethiopia.Khazars were Scythians from southern Russia. Khazars were a tribe of Scythian stock, who established a powerful kingdom in southern Russia. According to the legends they descended from Togarmah through his son Khozar.

Khazars and Gujars are related to Huns.There is an opinion that Kosars are related to Gujars. Kosars or Kozhars were also said to be known as Khujars. And Khujars were later known as Gujars.

There is a widespread view that Bunts were of Scythian origin. Kush tribes were Ethiopians, whereas, Khasa tribes were reported from Kazhakstan, a Central Asian Republic.
 In “A History of Pakistan and its Origins” by Christophe Jaffrelot, Kosar is mentioned Kosars as a tribe in Afghanistan. Similarly, Khosa is also recorded as tribe in the Pashtun territory around Quetta.

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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