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363. Deciphering Tulu-nadu place names

The readers would observe that many of the Tulu Place names may not convey, on the face of it, any specific meaning or apparent meanings...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

309. In search of Satiyaputo: the Siri Times


The Siri paDdana, possibly the only major remains of the Tulu Sangam literary Era, is one of the important historical accounts useful in tracing antiquity and environs of early Tulunadu. No doubt, the oral genre could naturally have been modified through passage of time as and when transpired from multitudes of ear to mouth deliveries since its first composition. Still the essence of the oral poetry is indispensably useful in establishing several early historical aspects of Tulunadu, especially the extent of coastal lands and cultural centers of those days.
Priyadarshini King Ashoka erected stone epigraphs in borders of his kingdom to spread his benevolent message among his subjects. The text of the epithet is in Prakrit/ Pali language that indirectly suggests that Prakrit and Pali coexisted with early form of Tulu at that time. This also explains the incidence/occurrence of numerous Prakrit words in Tulu.
The epigraph mentions southern Indian city-states of those times among which Satiyaputo has been considered to represent early Tulunadu.

Satiyaputo= Saccherapete
The name of city- state of Satiyaputo mentioned in King Ashokas edict suggests that Pali -Prakrit was the common language in this land at the period ca 300 BC. There are no towns or region in Tulunadu now that is called something like Satiyaputo. However it seems the ‘Satyanapura’ mentioned in Siri paDdana seems to be the modification of the place cited as ‘Satiyaputo’in Ashokas edicts. The Pali word ‘puto’ refers to ‘pura’ in Sanskrit/Prakrit. The common language of the region also might have changed with passage of time and Satiyaputo or Satyapura became Satyanapura.
The Position of  West Coast and the  beach line during the Siri time dating back to about 300 BC

Saccherapete: town of Spirits
In the present day village of Bola there is no evidence of any Satyanapura. However a hamlet on the border of Bola village known as Saccheripete deserves attention. It appears hamlet/town now falling within the limits of Mundkur village is also referred to as Saccherapete or the town of Saccher. The word ‘Saccher’ is plural form of ‘Saccha’. The word Saccha (equivalent of Satya, the truth) is apparently from derived from Prakrit (as we find the usage of ‘saccha’(=truth) in current Hindi also).In Dravidian languages the plural sense (like ‘Saccher’ for ‘Saccha’ is also used as a honorific form or respect to a noble person, soul or divinity. Further, the word 'Eri,' in the place name Saccheri, possibly refers to a ridge, a raised land or a river bank (as in usage 'mogaru'). Thus the overall meaning of the word Saccheri might have been the Ridge of the Dead, like the Sindhi word Mohenjodaro. The Ridge of the Dead probably was named after an incident of calamity where many people could have lost their lives.
It is well known that in Tulu culture the holy Spirits are worshipped devotedly since antiquity and referred to as ‘Satyolu’ (or respectable true beings or everlasting forms) because our ancestors considered that Spirits (or the soul) is indestructible even after death.
2. Alternately, the word Saccheri might have been a corruption of the usage 'chitteri' which refer to ancient Buddhist tombs (Chaitya) from the period of prevalent Buddhism in Tuluandu, where Chitteri housing Bermer and other Spirits/divinities  were worshipped during the period before the evolution of Temple cult.
Some Inferences
In the light of overall discussions, a few significant inferences are feasible:
1. The town of Saccheripete was named after Spirits. The Spirits now commonly designated  as  Satyolu were known as Saccher in earlier parlance..
2. The ancient town of Spirits, Saccheripete was also known as Satiyaputo and Satyanapura at different periods of early history of Tulunadu.
3. In the early history of Tulunadu, Pali and Prakrit words were in prolific use.
4. The earliest version of Siri paDdana folklore could have been a admixture of Pali-Prakrit and early form of Tulu.
5. The original composition of Siri paDdana (ca 200-400 BC) probably marks the transition of culture and language in Tulunadu from the older Munda-Pali-Prakrit milieu to an early form of Tulu-Dravida.
6. The essential meaning of the word Saccheripete has some parallels with the Sindhu cultural place name of ‘Mohenjodaro’ (=the ridge of the dead).
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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 Culture.by 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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