Saturday, May 14, 2011

279. Sorake, Sornadu, Swarga

  While travelling from Vitla to Punacha in Bantval Taluk, Dakshina Kannada, you may find an interesting place name usually written as ‘Swarga’ in the descriptive plate of most of the buses. Swarga means heaven, so a village with such an unusual name is bound to create certain amount of curiosity.
However, analysis of related place names like Sorake (Puttur Taluk), Sornadu (Bantval Taluk) is likely to solve this confusion.The village name Swarga apparently was Soraga to begin with, that was transformed in the due course to Swarga due to enthuasism of Sanskrit word lovers.
Sorake, Soraga
Infact both the place names ‘Sorake’ and ‘Soraga’ mean settlement of an ancient Austro-Asiatic tribe called ‘Sora’ people that inhabited parts of ancient Tulunadu. The suffix ke is suffix of Singapur origin and means a settlement in Austro-Asiatic languages. The suffix, ‘–ga’ common in south Indian place namesd, appears to be an evolved form of suffix ‘ke’.
Thus, Sorake means Sora+ke, the village or settlement (ke) of Sora tribes.
Soraga, the village (‘ga’ ) of Sora tribes.
Sornadu or Soranadu: the nāDu (area) of Sora tribes.
Sora, Sabara tribes
Sora tribe is a subgroup of Austro-Asiatic Munda tribes of India, now predominantly found in parts of Orissa,Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra  and Chattisgarh. Sora tribes are also alternately known as Savara or Sabara tribes.In present day Orissa they usually converse in a dialect known as Kui.
 There are also places in Tulunadu connected with Sabara tribes like Sabara-bail (Bantval taluk). The village Sarapadi in Bantval Taluk could have originally been Sorapadi.Similarly, in Shimoga district ‘Soraba’ is name of a Taluk place.,wherein suffix ‘–ba’ (as in place names Kadaba, Perabe,etc) is a spatial indicator. The Shoranur (or Soranur) town in Palakkad district of Kerala is another place bearing the signature of Sora tribes in Southern India.
The presence of ancient place names like Sorandu, Sorake, Soraga ( Swarga) and Sabara-bail in Tulunadu reveal that these tribes inhabited parts of Tulunadu in the antiquity.

Friday, May 6, 2011

278. ‘Pula’ and ‘Pola’ & their Derivatives

Meanings of words evolve over a period of time from their initial usage to current usage.  Original meanings may eventually become dim and hidden and hence, create confusion. This observation is applicable specifically to South Indian Dravidian words. 

 ‘Pula’ and ‘ Pola’, proto- Dravidian words, used to mean pasturage to cultivation in Dravidian group of languages, bear testimony to development of newer shades of meanings, besides retaining their original meanings to some extent.   In some cases, words are equated to people and their professions.
Comparative meanings are available in the works of linguists, such as Tulu Nighantu (Tulu Lexicon)-1997, Vol. 1 to 6, Rashtrakavi Govind Pai Sanshodhana Kendra, Udupi, Karnataka/India, Dravidian Etymological Dictionary by T. Burrow & M.B. Emeneau and other dictionaries in Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Kodagu, Toda, Badaga, Sri Lanka, etc.  Let us study the meanings given by Tulu Lexicon (TL) and DED:
Pula (ಪುಲ) = 1.Field, pasturage, grazing, grazing land, suitable land. 2.Ground, place where child birth has taken place. Pulavadu (ಪುಲವಾಡ್) = Broad area or pasturage. (TL , p.2073, 2147-48). Pulam (=field, rice field), in Tamil and Malayalam. (Derivatives in Tamil: pulan, pullavu = arable land, pulampan = chief or lord of a maritime tract. Originally, pulampan was chief of a village in the maritime tract.) DED 4303.
Pullel (ಪುಲ್ಲೆಲ್) = Increase, abundance.
Poli (ಪೊಲಿ) = 1.Wealth in the form of crops, corn, etc., granary. 2. Interest given in the form of grains for grains borrowed.( An ancient practice of borrowing and returning food grains)
Polisappu (ಪೊಲಿಸಪ್ಪು) = The ancient custom of bringing home leaves  [of Jack, mango, bamboo and tumbe ] ceremoniously along with the spike of corn annually on the first harvesting occasion.
 (Tumbe is a kind of medicinal plant; white Dead Nettle – Phlomes indica, Linn. Labiatae – used as remedy for indigestion, rheumatism, sore, scabs, fainting, etc.).
Polsudi (ಪೊಲ್ಸುಡಿ) = A folk song sung during the time of bringing first harvested crop into a house ‘Poli, poli ‘ is chanted while bringing in new paddy. (cf: Post 206. Poli Poli. Aug 30, 2009).
Pullu (ಪುಲ್ಲು) = 1. Grass, rush . 2. Skin of a cock between feather & flesh. ‘Pul’ means grass in Tamil, Kannada, Tulu, Malayalam, Kota and Toda languages. In Tamil ‘pul’ also means plants of grass family like bamboo or palms (DED 4300). In Sinhalese, ‘pol’ means coconut palm. (cf: TamilNet).
Tolkapiam classifies plants into ‘pul’ and ‘maram’ : All those plants for which the exterior is harder than core are ‘pul’ and all those for which the core is harder than the exterior are ‘maram’ (Tholkaapiam 27: 86-87).
‘Pol’, meant ‘coconut’, in ancient Tulu also.  Consider this word ‘Palembu’ (ಪಾಳೆಮ್ಬು).  It means a spathe or pod of coconut flower.
( We would cut out the dried ‘palembu’ in the shape of a boat. With sails attached to it, we used play in shallow water of sea or else in ponds during our childhood days at native place.)
In Kannada, ‘pulle’ (>.hulle) represents a deer, an animal feeding on grass.
Pulle, pulya= dawn, early morning. Pulle, pullya, pullyakela, pullayakāla (Tulu).  Equivalents: ‘pular’ (Tamil), ‘pularukka’ (Malayalam), ‘pola’ (Kodagu). DED 4305.
Pulli (ಪುಲ್ಲಿ) = 1.Outer leaf of a plant, filament of stamen (DED 256).  2. A grand-child.
Pille (Pulle):  An offshoot from bulbous plants, like plantain; seedling of a paddy plant. (TL, P.2030-31). Phrase: ‘pulle puDavuni’ means sprouting of buds; in a paddy field, it is a picturesque and pleasing sight.
Pola’ (>.Hola)’ is a common Dravidian word in Tulu, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Kodagu, etc. ‘Poli’ is a derivative, connected to harvesting activities and it is extensively used in various Tulu phrases, such as :
Poli aapuni’ (ಪೊಲಿ ಆಪುನಿ; = attaining prosperity),
 ‘Poli echchi (ಪೊಲಿ ಎಚ್ಚಿ) = It is a style of measuring newly harvested paddy with the wish of one measure more, two measure more, etc. instead of straight counting one, two, three and so on),
 ‘Poli barpuni’ (ಪೊಲಿ ಬರ್ಪುಣಿ ) = Increasing agricultural wealth,
 ‘Poli pāDuni’ (ಪೊಲಿಪಾಡುಣಿ) = A magical cult of heaping and sprinkling ashes for safety from insects and thieves, et
In Tulu 'polampuni' meaning is 'to clean, wash, rinse. The term ‘poladavaru’ is applied to people of Gatti community.
Polanadu’ means a border or the ridges of rice fields in Malayalam.  ‘Polanadu Kalian’ or ‘Mallan’ is a local deity there. (Gundert’s Malayalam Dictionary ,p.80 , quoted by Gustav Soloman Oppert in his book “On the Origin of Inhabitants of Bharatavarsa or India – The Dravidian”.)
Pola festival
 ‘Pola’ is an important festival of Maharashtra, related to starting of harvest operations.  On this day cattle, especially bullocks, are worshipped.  In Maharashtra and parts of southern India , bullocks are used for ploughing as against male water buffaloes in coastal tracts of India. They are bathed, colourfully decorated, and taken out in a procession with much fanfare to accompaniment of drum-beats and ‘lezhim’ (a jingling instrument made of wood, fitted iron chain full of metallic pieces).  This produces a musical sound in the dance of rhythmic movements.    
Naughty: procreation
In south Indian languages like Kannada ‘pőli’ means naughty or sexy. The word may have strange origin in the antiquity, as we find when  comparing with European equivalent word!
In Romania ‘pola’ means procreative organs like ‘penis’ or ‘vagina’ and hence an offensive swear-word.  The procreation leads to increase in population.  Similarly the Dravidian word ‘poli’, means increment, multiplication, thereby auspiciousness and prosperity.  Linguists are finding influence of Dravidian languages in Mediterranean and European countries.  It is curious to see how the wide meaning of ‘pula’. Romanian word ‘pola’ somehow has been narrowed down only to mean subjugation and procreation. Incidentally, there was a comment on our ‘Post-206: Poli, Poli’ from a Romanian or   Russian reader, touching upon the vulgar aspect of the word pola and poli. 
‘Pola’ is a popular proper name in Western countries.  Pula or Pola is a maritime city of Istria (Austria), a littoral region ruled by Roman and Austro-Hungarian monarch and later on Italy and Germany.  It is located in Adriatic Sea. It will be interesting to note that ‘pula’ has the meaning of ‘raft’, ‘to float’ or ‘ship’ (DED-4321).  In Tulu ‘pulavini’ means to float.  Compare this to ‘plava’ of Sanskrit.
Evolution of words
Human migration for trade and communication and flair for travelling through regions and countries around the Globe have contributed towards migration and exchange of words enriching languages.  A loaned and assimilated word from one language to another undergoes change over a long period of time.  So attaching definite or relevant meaning defies all explanations.  We wish that the nationalistic sentiments, or plain chauvinism, which probably were absent in remote past, now should not play a spoil sport.
-Hosabettu Vishwanath .

Sunday, May 1, 2011

277. Pāvur, Pāvanje

Location map of Pavur, Pavanje and Todar

In a multi-lingual society like ours, tracing origin and meaning of ancient place names can be a complex exercise, often misleading to erroneous conclusions. One has to consider historical perspectives that complement with the logical conclusions, in case the aim of the explorer is to genuinely unravel and understand the course of history.
Let us take the example of two Tulu place names: Pavur and Pavanje.
Pavur is a village located on the southern bank of River Netravathi in Mangalore Taluk, Dakshina Kannada. Similarly there is also a village known as 'Pavur' in Kasargod district of Kerala
Most of us, with a  general background knowledge of Kannada, would prefer to conclude that ‘Pavur’ (pāv+ur) is a village of snake, because ‘pāv’ in old Kannada represents a snake. The pāv of old Kannada has become ‘hāv’ or ‘hāvu’ (=snake) in modern Kannada as a consequence of p>h transition. One would normally believe in such an explanation since ancient cult of serpent worship (nāga aradhana) is explicit in Tulunadu.
However, this may not be the real or original meaning of the place designated and meant by our ancestors. First, the word pāv is not generally used in Tulu for snake.

Pāv, the river
The other possible source is the ancient Indiam word ‘pāv’ which means to flow or move.Thus pāv means river in Toda language. There are distinct signatures of existence of Toda tribes in Tulunadu in place names such as Todar.It has been suggested in older posts herein that the water buffaloes in Karvali that became the insignia of Kambala sport of Tulunadu were probably introduced by ancient Toda tribes.

Toda words
It can be inferred from the existence of Toda words that the Toda language was in use in parts of ancient Tulunadu during an unknown but specific time interval in the history of this land.
It can be seen that the root word pāv (=to flow, to move, to change position) has been adapted during the evolutionary history variously into different languages as seen from the following examples:
Pāv= to flow, to move, to creep.
Pāv=river, flowing water. (Toda  language). Compare with pāvana (=to bathe in river; to cleanse, to purify) in Sanskrit. And also ‘pavitra’(Sanskrit) = cleaned.
Pāv= snake , creeping animal. (Kannada language).pāv> hāvu
Pāv=leg or feet, body part used for changing position (Prakrit, Hindi, Konkani languages). Compare with ‘pāda’ (=feet) in Sanskrit.
In present Tulu, the root word ‘pāv’ for river, has not been retained, except in these place names. The equivalent Tulu words, based on flow of water, appear to be ‘par’ (=to drink) and ‘parapu’ (= to flow).
This could serve as an example to show how words preferences and languages change in an area, with socio-cultural evolution and dominance of certain tribes at the expense of others.

Pāvanje & Pāvur
Both of these place names, Pavur and Pavanje are located on the banks of river, justifying the explanation that pāv in these names means river.Thus the logical analysis of these placenames would be:
Pavur= pav+ur: A   village (‘oor’) by the side of river (‘pāv’).
Pavanje=pav+anje: A   land area (‘anje’) beside a river (‘pāv’).
The minor river flowing beside the Pavanje village in northern Mangalore near Surathkal is also known as Pavanje River.

Pavagadh, Pavagad
There are other places in India that carry the fluvial prefix of 'pav', like Pavagadh in Gujarath and Pavagad in Tumkur district of Karnataka.  Gadh, gad= fort. Pavagadh is located close to a river.Similarly Pavagad was on the bank of stream that has dried up in recent years.

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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