Some of the newcomers to the Karavali coast, used to express that there are a large number of odd sounding place names in Tulunadu. The Place names sound odd when we find it difficult to understand their meaning in the currently prevalent language in usage in that area. Odd sounding place names are not exclusive to Karavali; you can find them all over India.
The Bangalore city, the capital of Karnataka, contains several such place names. Peenya is one such place name, of which most of have to struggle to understand the meaning of the word.
Peenya is a industrial hub in the NW part of Bangalore city, now under burgeoning under fast paced flyovers and metro developmental works.
The place name’ Peenya’ (peeN+iya) is interesting. The global suffix ‘–iya’ represents a land or region as we see in diverse place names such as Asia, Libya, Arabia, Tunisia, Australia on one hand and Sullia, Iddya, Sampya, Murulia; Purulia, etc.
Then what is ‘piN’ or ‘peeN’? The word Peen was a tribal name. Persons were named Peena, Peenanna etc in the past. One Ajila jain chieftain who ruled Venur region in the Karavali in the pre-British era was known as Pinnāna Ajila (1490-1515). The personal name Pinnāna could have been a modification of Pinnanna (the Pinna brother), the suffix ‘anna’ being an honorific south Indian appendage meaning an elder brother. Or as per the pronunciation it could be Pinna +aaN, ( a male named Pinna). The ‘Pinna’ or Peena could be a regional variant of the name of Puna(r) or Pnar tribes.
Punar, Pnar tribes
Punar tribes were widespread in southern India and their domain was known as Punnata in ancient Karnataka.
Equivalents of southern Punars known as Pnar tribes live in Khasia-Jaintia hills region Meghalaya in NE India. The Pnars are also known as Jaintia or Synteng tribes and are matrilineal. In Jaintia hill district Meghalaya, (NE region of India) they traditionally speak Pnar dialect and their religion is known as ‘Niamtre’. The Pnars are considered to be of Austro-Asiatic ( Munda)in origin.
Place names such as Peenya remind us about some of the forgotten pages in the history and the natural spread of ancient tribes in different parts of India in the antiquity.