There are many antiquarian words of Indian origin, understood even by foreigners. Some such words go defunct due to changed circumstances. Some others still survive in spite of onslaught of modern trends, thanks to their uniqueness in Trade and Travel and communication. We have explained one such antique word ‘Al or Aal’ in our previous Post-315. Another word is Jangal, Jangar or Jangad and its derivatives.
Jangal Wada ( Jangal Oda)
Have anyone in Tulu Nadu seen the ‘jangal wada’ in his/her childhood?
This takes me to my childhood days: My mother’s younger sister Mammubai (Note: Mammu is a shortened form of Mammayi, meaning Mother of Mothers, i.e. Mother Goddess) was a good speaker and story-teller. She is good at telling news and stories in an interesting way. In rainy days, she has the news of havoc done by heavy rains and mishaps at ferry points, capsizing boats and jangal wadas. My childhood idea is that it is a ‘double boat made one’, not knowing that it is a ‘teppa’ (raft). I had seen such a boat at Kulur ferry point on Gurupura River (Phalguni) during my school trip to Mangalore City in 1950-51 (when I was in Sixth Standard). First leg of journey was on foot from Suratkal to Kulur Ferry Point (under the care of our Teacher P.C. Vasudeva Rao, classmate of my brother Cpl. M.H. Sadanand) and the second leg was by bus after crossing the river by boat. The Kulur River over bridge was under construction then.
‘Jangal Wada’ is a two-boat structure with balanced fitting of a raft for ferrying heavy materials, sugar cane and field products, goods laden bullock-carts, cars and motor bikes, logwood, etc. It was commonly seen at ferry points and river navigation.
Jangal, Jangar, Jangad
It is a classic word used since time immemorial. A comprehensive meaning is explained below to give a glimpse of the memories of the Past.
Mercantile Agent: Jangad means goods taken on approval, held by agent on behalf of owner. There are many case laws in Mumbai (Bombay) High Court and other courts during Raj Period onwards to decide about fraud and criminal conspiracy to deceive owners of properties.
Jangad sale is ‘a sale on approval and/or consignment basis’ (that is taken without definite settlement of purchase).
Military Guard: Jangadiyo (Gujarati) was one who delivered products into the treasury. The business tradition of ‘Jangad’ is prevalent even today among diamond merchants/cutters of India. The derivative of ‘Jangadiyo’ is ‘Angadia’, that is a courier who carries goods from point to point, based on ‘trust’. This is well explained in meaning of Jangad as ‘Entrust Receipt’ in Diamond Platform in Mumbai.
One of my colleagues is ‘Jangad’. Rajasthan is also famous for diamond and other jewelry business. The surname Jangar.>Jangad is common among Marwari’s, which was based on profession.
‘Entrustment Note’: It is interesting to note that this traditional trade transaction process known as ‘Jangad’ is traceable to hieroglyphs (secret, symbolic or picture writing = ರಹಸ್ಯ, ಸಂಕೇತ ಅಥವಾ ಚಿತ್ರ ಲಿಪಿ) of Indus Scripts.
Throwing light on Indus Script Corpora & business transactions of Jangad, Dr. S. Kalyanaraman of Saraswati Center (April 12, 2012), says:
“….This monograph posits a function served by the seals of Indus Script Corpora that the hieroglyphs used on such seals were intended to connote ‘entrustment notes’. Jangad for trade transactions from Melhuhha constituted an improvement in documentation and control of guild (Corporation) transactions over earlier system of token, tallies and bullae…” (Note: Bulla, Plural bullae, in Medieval Latin means ‘sealed document’).
A Jangad Note is an acknowledgement of entrustment, which is invariably forwarded with ‘goods sent on approval’ or ‘sale or return’ basis in diamond business, mentioning quantity and value of consignment. Thus the meaning of the term Jangad is well settled in legal system as aforesaid.
Tally of Products: In Marathi, Jangad means ‘a tally of products delivered into warehouse for approval’.
A raft on two boats: The Tulu Lexicon ( page 1274) gives the meaning of Jangal/Jangāl as: (a) A wooden plank fixed across the canoe to serve as seat for passengers, (b) Two canoes joined together with flat planks on them and used for transporting vehicles across the river, a barge.
In Tamil and Malayalam, it is ‘ Channatam’; in Pali/Prakrit, Sanghaata, equivalent to ‘Sangatha of Sanskrit, meaning companion, union, association.
In English, there is a word ‘Joint’ (= combined), might have been fashioned out of ‘jangad’. This word becomes ‘janti’ in vernaculars. It could also be guessed that ‘Jangad’ is derived out of or related to ‘Janga/Janghe (Thigh or joint between hip and leg ?), supporting part of human body. ‘Jang’ also means ‘war’ in Hindi, so ‘Jangada’ is a warrior.
The Hobson-Jobson Glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian Words by Col. Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell, Ph.D., first published in 1903 and Asian Edition in 2012, quotes from books, letters and notes on Travelogues of travelers of 16th to 19th Centuries. The picture of Jangada/Jangar emerging from it (page 450) is as under:
1. The name Jangada (aka Jangai) was given to certain responsible guides in the Nair country who escorted travelers from one inhabited place to another, guaranteeing their security with their own lives, like Bhats (= soldiers) of Gujarat.
C. 1672: “The safest of all journeyings in India are those through the Kingdom of Nairs and the Samorins, if you travel with Giancadas, the perilous if you go alone…. (sic)” (quoted from P. Vincenzo, 127; See also Chengathum in Burtons Goa, 198).
2. Jangar or Jangada is “A raft (a double platform canoe made by placing a floor of boards across two boats, with bamboo railings) (Madras Glossary)”
It is a word of particular interest as being one of the few Dravidian words (but perhaps ultimately of Skt. Origin), preserved in the remains of classical antiquity, occurring in the Periplus as our quotation shows. Bluteau does not call the word an Indian term.
3. Fleet of jangadas kept in readiness (by Portuguese and other European traders) with dry wood, barrels of pitch (= residue of tar) and other combustible stuff, while entering ports.
Rani Abbakka’s Navy
This reminds us how Rani Abbakka’s naval fleet under Mogaveeras of Ullal preempted the attempt of Portuguese from Goa to capture Mangalore Port by their exemplary valour. They ventured into sea in dead of night and rained torches of fire (Toote=ತೂಟೆ)on anchored ships of Portuguese, who ultimately fled the scene of fight.
Today, fleet of small ships or small fleet is called ‘flotilla’.
Though ‘Jangal’ is rarely seen or heard in Tulunadu now, it is still known around ferry jetties in Southern States as ‘Jangad’- in old and new forms - for river transportation of man and material. In tourism, it plays an important role there. In the North, it is surviving in the world of diamond business.
- Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune