Monday, December 1, 2014

345. Mysterious History of Mangaluru

The Karnataka Government has finally resolved to officially modify the place name Mangalore to Mangaluru. However, there are voices of dissent as usual, with some preferring the ancient name Kudla. Some even may prefer the exact spelling of Mangalooru to match the appropriate pronunciation in the native languages.  
            The history of the city of Mangaluru has several shades of mystery attached to it. The place was known by different names in the past. Part of the Mangaluru city was under the Arabian Sea until probably 200 CE and the subsequent regression of the Sea,  coupled with recovery of land has been attributed to the mystic powers of Lord Parashurama in our legends. It is interesting to note that the two rivers of Mangaluru, Netravati and Phalguni have mysteriously drifted in the opposite directions across the plains of   Mangaluru though the  ages.The changes in the position of rivers with attendant seismic activities in the form of earth movements with passage of time have played major role in shaping the history and destiny of the city in the past.
           In retrospection, let us glance through the available and the reconstructed data on the history of the city.

Topography of Mangaluru at present

Megalithic and later tribes
The Mangaluru area known by different names was the home for numerous tribes in the past. Megalithic stone burial structures or dolmens, known locally as Kodakkal (=umbrella stone) existed as we find place names of Kodakkal near Padil-Kannur and (modified name of) Kodikkal near Urwa. Similarly, a number of locality names such as  Konchadi (Kom tribes), Yeyyadi, Iddya (Yey or Yedia or Idiya tribe), Maroli, Marakada, Maravur (Marava tribes), Bijai (Bija tribes), Bolar, Bolur, Belma (“Boll” or Bella: white/fair skinned tribes), Derebail, Derlakatte (Dera tribes), Eliyar padavu (Eli tribes), Kannur (Kanna tribes), Panambur (Pani tribes), Maladi, Malemar (Male tribes), Kordel (Kor or Koraga tribes), Kudumbi bittil(Kudubi tribes), Kenjar (Kench or reddish tribes), Nagori(Naga tribes), Kankanadi (Kanka tribes), Gujjarkere (Gujjars), Baikampadi, Baithurli (Bai tribes), Mangar, Mangala (Mang tribes) etc. remind us of the tribes that lived in these habitations in the past.
We can probably classify the settlers into (a) tribes of North Indian origin (b) tribes of African origin, (c) tribes of European origin and (d) tribes of austro Aisatic (Munda) origin.

Early Immigrants    of   African origin
Some of the local place names in Mangaluru are suggestive of settlements of tribals of African origin. Omanjur (Vamanjur) for example, is reminiscent of Om valley of Ethiopia which is considered to be the cradle of civilization and the deduced site of Early Man, Homo Sapien. Similarly Kinya village in the Southern part of Mangaluru Taluk is reminiscent of the region Kenya in Africa. (There is also another Kenya Village in Sullia Taluk). The Kaprigudda (or Keprigudda) near Attavar in Mangaluru reminds devotees of the ancient Egyptian Spirit God Kepri. Inccidentally, the Spirit Kepri is still worshipped in Karwar and parts of coastal Uttar Kannada.Besides, there are placenames suggestive of habitations of immigrant tribes like Derebail, Derlakatte (Dere tribes); Konchadi, Komdodi, Komapadavu (Kom tribes); Koikude (Koi tribes) etc.

Immigrants with fair skin
 Biologists have inferred that the human race initiated with black skin color and the fair or the white skin evolved in due course of time. Early tribes settled in Indian subcontinent were endowed with black colored skin. It seems along the history there was a distinct period when fair skinned tribes arrived into what was a dominion of early settled blacks. This can be surmised based on the existence of words/place names referring to fair skinned tribes/colonies of fair skinned tribes in most of the Indian languages.Thus, when tribes with fair skins arrived on the scene, they were distinguished by their distinct skin color. Bola, Bolla (or Bella in Kannada; Vella in Tamil; Gore in Hindi etc) suggest white skinned people and the settlements inhabited by these whites were termed as Bola, Bolar, Bollur, Bellur, Belman, Belgaum, Goregaon etc. Tribes with white skin were referred to Bellal (later modified to>Ballal ) or in other areas ( Vellal , Vellar). Similarly people with reddish skins (“kencha”) gave terms like Kenjar, Kemral, Kenchanakatte, Kemthur, Kemmannu, Kemminje etc.

Settlers of Austro-Asiatic Orign
Settlements of tribes of Austro-Asiatic origin, generally known as Munda tribes, are known by place names with prefix of Munda. Settlements of other tribes like Mang (Mangar, Mangala, Mangalapadi, Mangalpete), Bai (Baikampadi, Bendur [<.Bayndur], Baithurli, Bekal) etc are also known.

Settlers   of   North Indian origin
Movement of tribes within India are well documented by ethnic place names such as Gujjarkere (Gujjars), Panambur (Pani, Panab), Kannarapadi, Kannur (Kanna), Kankanadi (Kanka), Yeyyadi, Yedapadavu (Yedava, Yeyy, Idava, Yadava) etc.

Mahabharata & Ramayana
Even though several unverified obscure (now obsolete) names for a number of  places in the West Coast have been cited in the ancient Indian epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, we are not sure what exactly was the  oldest name for  the place now we know as Mangaluru.

Greek historians in the beginning of Common Era appear to have referred to the place as Olokhoira. Since the Greek travellers concentrated their attention on coastal ports of the day we can assume that Olokhoira was a marine port in those times. ( Some believe that Olokhoira may refer to ancient Udyavara).  Manjeshwara Govinda Pai has suggested that the term Greek term Olokhoira refers to Aluvakheda.
 The Aluva kheda or the Alupa kheda appears to be the present day Alupe valley (kheDa=valley, moat, depression) on the eastern part of Mangaluru city.(However, perceptions differ among the historians and a few tend to believe that Aluva kheda may refer to entire Tulunadu).

Artists impression map of submerged Mangaluru area ca 100 CE.

Legend of Parashurama
Former Alupe estuary is now a dried up river course of a deep valley between Maroli and Alupe. It was right on the West coast earlier and apparently the Greek historians referred to it as Olokhoira during the beginning years of the Common Era.  There was no mention of Mangalūru or even Kudla for the place at the beginning of Common Era! The possible reason for this is that the Arabian Sea transgressed and engulfed parts of the West Coast approximately during ca. 800 BC- 500 BC and receded only during ca. 200-300 CE. The regression of the Arabian Sea (ca. 200-300 CE) has been documented in legendary anecdotes  as a magical feat performed by a superhuman Parashurama, who was able to drive back the Sea by throwing his axe towards the Sea. The Bhargava clan ruled ancient Goa and parts of West Coast during the beginning of the Common Era and it seems that Parashurama apparently was a renowned charismatic sage among the Bhargavas. Later in the history,the  folk legends of the Parashurama appears to have been incorporated in the Sahyadri Khanda of Skanda Purana possibly during the regime of Kadamba King Mayura (ca. 400-500 CE).

Kudala- Kudla-Kodialbail
Now a days native people employ the term Kudla as an alternate local name in Tulu language for the Mangaluru city. However, it seems that originally  the term referred to a specific agricultural habitation located on the bank of a river during the pre-Dravidian days. Probably it dates back to the early agricultural phase in southern India corresponding to the period ca. 1500 BCE to 2800 BCE when horse gram ('kuDu') was one the earliest known  staple cereal grown in this region as well as other parts of the southern India.
The Kudla (Kudala) is normally pronounced with short u which probably decides the nature of the originally intended meaning of the word. The term Kudla appears to have originated as kuD+ala, wherein kuD means an agricultural or farm land and ala means a settlement by the side of river/ surface water body. The related words are Kudupu, Kudpadi, Kudthadka, etc. By analogy, the earliest pulse known to have been grown in South India happens to be known as “kuDu” (=horse gram) in Tulu language. The term "kuDu" (Macrotyloma uniflorum) appears unique to Tulu as the horse gram is known as Huruli (Kannada),Ulava (Telugu),Muthira (Malayalam), Kollu or Kaanam (Tamil), Kulith (Konkani) etc in other sister languages.[Incidentally, it has been reported that the horse gram seeds consists of polyphenols and flavonoids and proteins. Traditionally it was used in the treatment of patients suffering from jaundice and other ailments and recently it has found to contain anti-diabetic and anti-oxidant properties].
Earlier, there was an argument that the place name Kudala is actually Kūdla (or Koodla) which generally means confluence of two rivers. (The earlier proponents of this theme included this blogger also). For example, the Kannada place names Koodala, Koodali and Koodala-Sangama and so on refer to the confluence of rivers. However, Kudla (with short u) apparently has a distinct meaning different from Koodala as discussed in earlier paragraph.
           The term Kudla is at present used as a Tulu equivalent of Mangaluru. However, the exact location of the original Kudla within Mangaluru is difficult to decipher. However, it seems that  Kodial bail and the surroundings were known as Kudla to begin with.
            Regression of Arabian Sea  (ca 200-300 CE) eventually exposed and retrieved a five to six km wide tract of coastal land   buried under the sea till then. At the time of regression, the twin rivers of Mangaluru, namely the (southern) Netravati and the (northern) Phalguni (Gurupur) were flowing westward on the either sides of the (present day)  light house hill. The northern River Phalguni then flowed through the Kudala bail.
Kudala (Kud+ala) was an Ala (=habitation on the river bank) characterized of kuD (=good earth; agricultural field). The Kudala became Kudla and eventually the Kodial or the Kodial-bail, with successive settlements of new invaders with passage of time. Then the Kudla River (presently known as Phalguni) joined the Arabian Sea near Alike, south of   Kudroli temple.

The River Netravati flowed in the valley of Attavar and Pandeshwar and joined the Sea near Hoigebazar, Nireshivalaya. The estuary near Nireshivalaya served as old port known as Pandela. (The term Pandela (Pandi+ala) used to mean a boat harbor. Pandi was an old term for the sailing boat).
These evidences suggest that the Shiva temple established near the said Pandela (=Port) by Alupa rulers was designated as Pandeshwara.   The name of the God was extended as a place name that represented the area around the temple.

Mangara -Mangaruth
The area to the South of the river Netravati,the Yemmekere area, around third century onwards,  was known as Mangara. The place name Mangār has also been described in Tulu PaDdanas such as a region where the rule of the King of Mangār ("Mangarda Arasu") has been described. The ancient name Mangār within Mangaluru city still exists in the Western part of Mangaladevi area close to Yemmekere, where a premise with a group of Spirit (bhoota) shrines  continues to carry the name of Mangār compound.
The name Mangār (Mang= a tribe; ār= open field) possibly originated from the Mang tribes that inhabited the area. The Mangs are also known as Matanga in Maharastra, or as Minimadigs in Gujarat-Rajastan Region. .  It appears that whole area around Mangaladevi was earlier known as Mangār prior to the worship of Mangaladevi was introduced.
Similarly we find reference to ‘Mangarda parvata’ (Mountain of Mangar) in the Tulu paDdana (folklores) which probably refers to the present day light house hill located in the heart of the city. Thus it is possible that the light house hill was earlier known as Mangar hills.

Similar to Mangarada Parvata, the ancient Port (‘Pandela’) of Mangar located near Pandeshwara (ca. 7th Century CE) appears to have been known as Mangarda or Mangarta Pandela. The pronunciation of the word was apparently corrupted in the usage of foreign travelers (Cosmas ca.650 CE) who apparently employed the word Mangarouth to refer to the Port of Mangar.
Incidentally, an area near Mangaladevi Temple is known as Manki. The “Manki stand” was a station used for parking   horse drawn jataka (Tonga) during the British period onwards. The ‘Manki’ is said to be a Munda word signifying the leader of a group of Munda tribal habitations.Thus the ancient name Manki has survived from the settlement of Munda tribes in the area.

The Beary people residing in the Karavali (West Coast) even now refer to the city of Mangaluru as Maikala. The word has been explained variously, some considering that the term Maikala originated from the charcoal market in the ancient town.
However it seems the word dates back to the days of prevalence of  Buddhism  in the West Coast before the rennaisance and ascent of the Hindu cult of Shakti or the Mother Goddess.  Under the spell of prevalent Buddhism, the cult of worshiping Mayi, the mother of Gautama Buddha, in specific divine plots ( kaLa or primitive form of a Temple) was introduced in several places. One of such Mayi-kala (ie Temple of Mother) dedicated to the worship of Māyi, probably existed in the ancient port town of Mangaluru. Thus it seems that the Mayi temple area was referred to as Mayikala by the Arab merchants visiting the ancient Port for trade.

The word Mangala has several shades of meaning attached to it. Nowadays the word generally stands for the auspicious aspects of life. The term Mangala also means (1) Goddess Durga, or (2) a fort, or (3) camping ground. Incidentally, the term Durga also stands for a fort. 
However, the term Mangala (like Mangāra) initially could have evolved as Mang+ala ie, ala (=riverside habitation) of Mang tribes. It is interesting to note that Mangara and Mangala coexisted in the proximal area in the past when River Netravati flowed along the ancient path of Attavara-Pandeshwara valley, north of Mangara and Mangala.
The term Mangala also means an end or death. The ‘Mangala’  stands for culminating part (end) of a devotional chanting (bhajane) or even a traditional Yakshagana folk drama play. In the Natha tradition, the ‘Mangala’ is also said to be associated with the ceremony of death.


Basically, the term Mangaluru stands for mangala+ ooru which simply means auspicious village in the current regional parlance, even though the origin of the name might have been different. The name Mangaluru has been considered to have derived from the temple of Mangaladevi in southern Mangalore. However, according to the available historical sources Shankara Acharya consecrated the pre-existing Bhagavati temple in the area as mother Goddess Mangaladevi.

Pingala shrine at Mangala 
Mangaluru, especially the Kadri, was a well known ancient center of Natha cult especially between 10th and 14th centuries CE. The Natha cult represented the transition of Buddhism to revival of Hinduism in the Southern India. According to historical sources, Queen Pingala of Kerala region was a staunch disciple of Macchendra Nath, the founder of Natha cult. She travelled to Mangaluru along with Goraksha Nath, the principal disciple of Macchendra Nath for taking part in certain celebrations associated with the Natha cult. However, unfortunately she fell ill on the way and eventually died at Mangala. According to the traditions prevalent during those days,after her death she was deified and worshiped as a Spirit or Bhagavati (in the tradition of Buddhist cult) .  Later under the waves of revival of Hinduism, sage Shankaracharya is reported to have transformed many of the former Bhagavati shrines into Temples of Shakti (the Mother Goddess) worship. Thus, the Bhagavati of Pingala was subsequently known  as Devi of Mangala  or the Mangala Devi.
These reconstructed sequence of   historical   events imply that possibly the term"Mangala" was the initial name of place.

One of the unusual names recorded by travelers like Rashiduddin (ca.1300 CE) and Ibn  Batuta (ca 1343 CE) for the ancient Mangaluru is Manjarur. At first it seems that the ancient usage Manjarur was a corrupt form of Mangaluru. On second thoughts, it appears that the city especially the northern part was probably known as Manjaruru under the spell of Natha cult in the city during 10th to 14th Centuries CE. However, now apparently there are no places in Mangaluru that carry relicts of the past place name Manjaruru, except Manjanakatte near Kulur and Manjalapade near Padushedde, both in the northern sector of present Mangaluru. An analysis of the Natha history evolved around Kadri temple suggests that the consecration of Manju -Natha worship was initiated at Kadri under the spell of Natha cult propogated by Macchendra Natha. Macchendra Natha, a sage of Nepal origin is said to have came to Mangaluru from West Bengal and settled in Kadri, Mangaluru. Thus it seems that during the Natha period of the history of Mangaluru, the place was   renamed as Manjaruru in honour of Manju Natha.

The Mangalūru was named as Manjarun in the records of   traveler Ibn Batuta (ca. 1342 CE). The term Manjarun appears to be a corrupt pronunciation of the place name Manjarur.

Obviously, the prevalent term Mangalore is an anglicized and stylized version of the place name originally  known as Mangala, Mangalapura or Mangalūru probably since 4th Century CE onwards. The name Mangalūru was popularized by Kings and administrators of   Vijaynagara who ruled over the coastal region from their capital located at Hampi in Bellary District, since 13th Century CE.

Bokkapatna: Vijayanagara Port
The Mangaluru Port during the time of Vijayanagara appears to have been located at Bokkapatna, obviously named after Bokka, one of Kings of Vijayanagara. The term Patna is a common word to represent colony or township of  Mogaveera fishermen. The name Bokkapatna has survived even till today, even though the estuary/port has migrated further south due to a natural disaster and altered its location during the year 1887.
The Port of Bokkapatna was at the ancient estuary of the River Phalguni (= River Gurpur). The Bokkapatna Port and the estuary survived up to 1887 till the river took an abrupt turn and flew  towards south and joined River Netravati, between Bengre and Ullal. It can be seen that the Battery to store war explosives (hence the name: Sultan Battery) was built near Bokkapatna by Tippu Sultan during 1769.The battery was located to counter enemies entering through the Bokkapatna, Mangaluru Port.

Mangaluru vs. Kudla
In fact the name Mangaluru comes from the southern part of present Mangalore especially the area aroud Mangaladevi. The northern part (at present central part of Mangalore) especially the area round Kodialbail was historically known as Kudla. Kudla means

Mangalur & Barkur States/Provinces
Incidentally, the Vijayanagar rulers had two coastal provinces in the Tulunadu sector, namely the (1) Mangalūru and (2) Bārkūru. In traditional ceremonies in Tulunadu until recently the gurikars (community leaders) used to welcome and call out invitees from the Mangalur seeme and Barkur seeme (seeme=territory). Even robbers were traditionally designated as Mangalur Takke   and   Barkur Takke (Takka= cheat) in   Tulu folk tales.

The Vijayanagar rulers selected Mangaluru and Barkur as these were the popular port towns in those days that specialized in exporting the goods  grown in the hinter land.

**   **

Other   Mangalūrus’, outside the Mangalūru.
The place name Mangalūru is not unique in India as there are several other  villages/towns named after Mangaluru especially in different parts of Karnataka and Maharastra. Besides, there is also an airport named "Mangalore" in Australia.
There is also a Chikkamagalur which is sometimes confused as Chikka Mangaluru. The place name Chikka-magala-ur (Chikmagalur) means younger daughters village and there is a matching Hiremagalur or the elder daughter’s   village.
Further, there are villages called “Mangalore”   in Mysore (Nanjangud Taluk), Koppal (Yelburga) and Shimoga (Sorab Taluk) Districts of Karnataka. There is a Mangalore in Cuddalore District (Tuttakudi Taluk)   of   Tamilnadu.  Besides,  Mangalore, there are two Mangaluru villages in Bijapur District (one each in Bijapur and Sindagi Taluks) and One Mangaluru in Bagalkot district (Badami taluk).
Further, there are not less than 27 places known as Mangalapur (~+a/~+am) in   Andhra Pradesh (5), Karnataka (4) Maharastra (2), Orissa (13), Tamilnadu (1), and West  Bengal (2).


Monday, September 29, 2014

344. Panoli and Tāri Palm trees

An announcement, on the back side of a Kannada Newspaper clipping (brought during my visit to native place in January-February 2009) drew my attention. It is about Panolibailu Shri Kallurti Daivasthana (Sajipa Mooda, Bantwal Taluk,and Dakshina Kannada) not holding the periodical ‘Agelu and Kola’ as the day is intervening with the Nandavara Jatra Mahotsava, to be held between 9th and 14th February 2009. The word ‘Panolibailu’has been preying on my mind. It is inciting me to knowhow a name of a tree (in Tulu) is instrumental in giving a name to the village linguistically and culturally.Seized with a desire to educate myself and others, this article is written as a compendium on ‘Panoli’ vis-a-vis Taari/Taali Tree, another palm tree variety.

Popular Palms in Tulunadu
Coconut Palm is the most popular and commonly found palm tree in Karavali followed by Palmyra (Tāri in Tulu; TāLe in Kannada) or Toddy Palm. The latter is traditionally used for the manufacture of toddy, neera, and a special variety of flat, round, pan-cake shaped jaggery which is acclaimed for its alleged medicinal values.

Tāri/Tāli (Borassus flabellifer; Palmyra; Palmyra ತಾರಿ/ತಾಳಿ) Tree is a plant of the Palmae family, having   an unbranched trunk, crowned by large pinnacle or palmate leaves, resembling a fan. Webster English Dictionary defines a Palm tree as “any of tropical and sub-tropical trees with tall branchless trunk and bunch of large (hand-like) leaves.” Palmetto is a small palm tree with fan shaped leaves.
The genus of  Palmyra Palm has  six species, native to tropical regions of Asia, Africa and New Guinea, capable growing up to 30 m height.  Leaves are fan-shaped, 2-3 m in length.  Densely clustered spikes bear small flowers, which grow into large brown roundish fruits.
 Similar to Coconut palm tree, the palmyra palm tree is considered as another ‘Kalpavriksha’, mainly for its economic uses.  It is also called a ‘Trinaraja’ ( King of grass).
They are also cultivated for its economical uses. Borassus flabellifer is an Indian species of Palmyra as against the African species: Borassus aettiopum. So it is a native tree of India and not Africa as is inferred by editors of Hobson-Jobson Dictionary (p.664) based on their references available at that time.
On seeing the cultivated Palm trees from Ganga Valley to Delta in Bengal, the Portuguese exclaimed: ‘par excellence, palmeira’ (quoted in Hobson-Jobson Dictionary).
   In ancient India, Palmyra leaf blades were traditionally used as paper, like papyrus in Egypt. Matured leaves were selected according size, shape and texture and then preserved by boiling in salt water mixed with turmeric powder.  These leaves are then dried, polished with pumice stone and cut to proper size.  A hole is cut in one corner.  The writing is done with stylus and then leaves are tied up as sheaves (bundles).  Old manuscripts of scriptures and literature are written in such Talegari/Taada Patra (Olai chuvadi in Tamil). Besides, these leaves are used for thatching and weaving (mats, baskets, brooms, fans, hats, umbrellas, and capes, i.e. short cloaks, used as rain ware by farmers during monsoon cultivation).
    Panini, the Sanskrit Grammarian (ca.400 BC), wrote his book using Taala Patra (Palm tree leaves).  Likewise, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain scriptures are written on Taala Patra.  The Greek too knew about Palm tree leaf writing through Megasthanese.
The black timber of Palmyra is hard, heavy and durable.  It is highly valuable for construction, such as roof rafters and laths for houses, pilings for wharf.  In Cambodia, it is used for making canoes. Leaf-stalks are used for fencing and for basket making when split.

Indian Names of Palmyra
Tulu: Taarimara, Pongu (Kernel found inside the seed when sprouted).
Kannada: Taalimara, Taatinungumara. Malayalam: Karimpana, Nongu (Kernel), Pana, Talam.  Marathi: Tad, Talat-mad, Tamar.
Hindi: Tar, Tad, Tar-ka-jhar.  Gujarathi: Tad. Oriya: talo, Tando, Trinorajo.  Bengali: Tal, Talgach.  Tamil: Panai, Karumpanei. Nonku (Kernel).  Telugu:  Taadi-chettu, Taati-chettu, Tooti.  Assam: Tal.

Foreign Names of Palmyra
English: Palmyra Palm, Brab tree, toddy palm. French: Roenier. German: Palmyra-Palmira. Dutch: Jagerboom.Portuguese: Palmeira brava, panguera. Italian: Palma di Palmira. Burmese: Tan-bin. Khmer: Thnaot. Lao (Vietnam): Tan. Indonesia: Lontar, Tal (Java), Siwalan (Sumatra), Tala (Sulawesi). Malaysia: Lontar, Tah, Tai. Sinhalese: Tal Gaha, Kelengu (kernel of seedling).

 Diffusion of Palm tree to South East Asian countries is due to Indian Trade routes.When Buddhism spread to Burma, Thailand, Combodia (Angkor) and Viet Nam, Palm tree reached these places from South India and Ceylon.In Cambodia, it is a national symbol.  Angkor Temple is surrounded by palm trees. It is also a cultural symbol in South Sulavesi Province of Indonesia. Thailand landscape is enriched by palm trees as national prestige.
In some civilizations, a leaf of this tree was carried as a symbol of victory.

There are place names having a bearing on Taal and Tad/Tadi, For example: Taalipadi, Talipat (Remember this place where Ramaraya of Vijayanagara Empire fought a ruinous battle with Bahamani kings), Tadiwala Lane (in Pune City), and so on. (We expect that readers would give feedback about such names in their areas).

There is one more species of palm tree less common in occurrence but similar in looks to the Palmyra but with larger fronds: It is known as ‘Panoli’ in Tulu language and Fan Palm in English. (Corypha umbraculifera in botanical nomenclature). The place name ‘Panoli-bail’ in rural Bantwal Taluk, is named after this particular variety of Palm. It is called as ಶ್ರೀತಾಳಿ (Shritāli), ಪನೆ/ಹನೆಮರ (Pane/Hane tree) or ಪಣೆಳು (Brahmin Tulu), Tāliput/Tālipot or Pān (Tamil), Pāna (Malayalam), Pane (Kodava), Hane (Kannada), Shirtal (Konkani).
  These trees are planted in gardens as landscaping. In coastal belts (plains, hills and fields), we see them majestically standing to ones delight.  Even a lonely tree, standing stately on a hill, is also a wonderful sight.
It is a monocarpic flowering tree. It flowers only once in its life time (of around 70 to 80 years) in contrast to other annually flowering trees of the family, having longer life span. Cluster of flowers, on top of tree, are the longest of all plants in the world. It dies gradually after flowers ripen to yield thousands of (round yellow-green)seeds (3-4 cm dia.), say within three months to one year. One has to be lucky to see this rare and spectacular sight of flowered Panoli. A rare event of sighting the flowered species was reported from an area just behind the City Sub-Jail, Mangalore, by Fr. Leo D’ Souza, former Principal and Rector of St. Aloysius College, Mangalore (Deccan Herald, 16th October, 2008.)
   Panolibailu is famous for Kalkuda and Kallurti (the sculptor &his sister) Divine Spirits. The Deities, having legendary powers, are worshipped devotedly in Panolibailu Daivasthanaand in other villages of Tulu Nadu. Devotees do Sevas (votive offerings)of ‘agelu’ (Rice food offered with chicken curry) and Kola (periodical ceremony of invocation of deities through priest-mediums /impersonators) by paying prescribed fees.
  In Tamil Nadu, the tree is an official tree, respected as ‘Karpaha Veruksham’ (Celestial Tree).  Panaiveriamman (named after ‘Panai’, the Palm tree) is related to fertility.  The Deity is called ‘Taalavasini’ (The Goddess having Taala, i.e. Palm Tree, as her abode).
Taal Gach ek paye daariye’ is a nursery rhyme in Sahaja Path, written by Rabindranath Tagore in Bengali. During Laxmi Pooja, white kernel of ripe palm is offered.  Similarly, brooms made of palm leaves are considered auspicious things during Laxmi Poojan in Deepavali festival (Writer’s observation in Maharashtra).

Corresponding names of Panoli in other languages are: Bajarbattu (Hindi), Shritala (Telugu), Talipot (Marathi), Kudaippana (Tamil), Kudaappana (Kuda = Umbrella + pana = palm in Malayalam), Talipot (Sri Lanka), Pe-Pen (Burmese), Talipot (Malay), San Xing Xing Ye Ye Zi (Chinese), Palmier Talipot (French), Talipot palm (German), Talipot (English), Grote waaier Palm(Dutch), Palmeira Das Bermudas (Portuguese), Palma Talipot, Talipote (Spanish), and Palma Corifa (Italian).

Origin of the term Panoli

‘Pane’ in Tulu means ‘raised and levelled platform, or lofty place’. It appears that the term Panoli (pan + oli) represents a tree with lofty, large fronds (leaves). The ‘panoli’ also means an umbrella or parasol made out of fronds of the palm tree. (Tulu Lexicon,  p. 2904 / 1924).
   Besides Panoli-bailu in Tulu Nadu, we have come across similar place names in other places in India:
Panoli in Taluk Parnar,   Dist.  Ahmednagar,  Maharashtra.
Panoli   Village and Railway Station, Bharuch District,   Gujarat.

Palms in Water Management: 
   In South India, these trees were traditionally played important role in water management.  Traditionally, people thought that being tall, roots go vertically deep into the ground, thereby raising the water-table all along its path, even though scientists may not agree with the hypothesis.  Since the process is natural and balance of    consumption is well maintained, rivers remained perennial. One could find all the traditional ponds or lakes our ancestors dug had palmyra all around like a hedge or fence.    The writer witnessed several ponds in coastal line, dug for manually watering the coconut and casuarina trees (in the absence water pumps then), are surrounded by palmyra palm.  Alas, such ponds and palm trees are dwindling!
    The traditional farmers in Tulu Nadu employed split tree trunk pipes (Taari Dambe) as canal for irrigating or draining out excess water. A Paper by V.S. Ramachandran, K. Swarupanandan and C. Renuka describe the water pipes made of palmyra tree trunk is being used in Palakkad District of Kerala for irrigation, a traditional water engineering system.  (Ref: Propel Steps: Eco Preservation: Palmyra Palm Trees – The Paper is hidden in it).

Palmyra based Foods & Beverages: 
·         Sugar sap removed from the tree is called toddy and is used for drinking, making jaggery and alcohol.
·         Toddy has medicinal value as laxative.  All other parts have also medicinal values.
·         Kernel of nursery trees ('Pongu' in Tulu; 'Thavanai' in Tamil) is eaten raw as a delicious food.  Somewhere it is cooked as a vegetable or roasted.
·         Raw or tender palm fruit (Tulu: Taari Bonda or 'Irolu') is jelly-like and is eaten after drinking the water inside it. When summer comes, it is a cool and good refresher.
·         Ripe fruit (Taari Parundu) is eaten raw or roasted.  During scarcity of food (as we have faced in our childhood), it was a main eatable to children.  Present generation, especially urban, is not aware of this fact as the trend is forgotten. Girls eat fleshy pulp scraping by teeth so hard that fibres become white as hair of an old woman. They braid the fibres and cut jokes with their youngsters by calling and saying them to go after the old woman (i.e. eaten fruit).

Paddy fields and ponds/lakes, which are lined with palm trees, are disappearing rapidly with industrialization and urbanization.  We have noticed palm trees abounding in city suburbs but now the place is taken over by high rise modern buildings. Farmer and eco-friendly palm family trees need protection and preservation, considering their many uses. This article is intended for creating an  environmental awareness.  “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”- Aristotle

- Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune

Saturday, August 16, 2014

343. Jāra Villages

Jāra is a peaceful hamlet located on a river valley that you encounter while you travel in the northeastern sector of Mangalore city from Bondel Padushedde to Mudushedde along the sylvan and circuitous interior route. You will not the see the name of this hamlet in the list of villages of Mangalore Taluk. However, the hamlet must have been quite famous once upon a time in the past history.

The Kingly Spirit (‘Rajan daiva’) of Tulunadu Jārandāya was said to be from the hamlet of Jāra. The term ‘Jārandāya’ means a man from the Jara. Note that the actual name of the Spirit is not mentioned but the place from which hailed has been affirmed in the name of Jārandāya. Thus the name of the place Jāra was quite known to the rural people of that time, even though decidely could not recollect his actual proper name!

Jāra is an interesting place name, more so because it no longer has remained in our current vocabulary. Origin of unusual sounding ancient place names surviving around us like fossils of the past history continue to haunt, as vestigial reminders of bygone words from the languages that once dominated these lands we have inherited. Jāra is one such ancient place name surviving in Tulunadu, but surprisingly it is not an exclusive Tulu word as we find similar analogous place names all over India and abroad.

 Villages named Jāra exist not only in Tulunadu but also in the States of Gujarath, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. There are about 1000 villages in India having the name of Jara and its variants. Among variants commonly we find are: Jar, (Jhar, Jarh) or Jaru or Jari or Jarai. Also find modifications (with spatial suffixes) such as : Jaram, Jariya, Jarga, Jarige, Jar(a)ka, Jaraki (as in Jarakihole), Jargi, Jargipara, Jarwa, Jarapa, Jarad, Jarada, Jarasa, Jario, Jarkala, Jaroli, Jharwara, Jarara, Jaruha, Jaraila, Jarkheda, Jaronda, Jaranga, Jarigada, Jaripada, Jariput, Jaripal, etc. The State of Jharkhand carries the name ” Jhara” and besides a   large number of Jāra named villages exist in Jharkhand!

Jāra meaning
One possible way to understand the word is to search for the known meaning of this word in languages around us. Jara was a masculine name among Tulu tribes such as Jārappa. (Similarly in the Western countries we find that Jára is a short name for JarmilaJaromir and Jaroslav.). In some countries, Jara is a first feminine   name.

Besides, some of the possible related shades of usages in current Tulu, Kannada and Tamil languages are:
 Jaripu ,  jariyu,jāru(Tulu)= 1.slide, slip, 2.insult;
 Jāru, Jaragu (Tulu, Kannada)=1.slip,slide,move;
 Jaragu 2.happen; occur.
 JaraDi (Kannada )=sieve.
Ojjara (Tamil), ~Osar, uje, Uti (Tulu); Osaru, jzari (Kannada)=Spring, fountain,oozing water;

In other languages the term   Jāra means:
Jāra (Sanskrit) = 1.mistress; whore, 2. waterfall.
Jara (Pali) = aging; decay.
Jara (Rajastani) =rust.
Jara (Odisi/Oriya) =old, decrepit; fever
Jara (Slavic languages) = spring.
Jara (Turkish ) = strong, spring.
Jara (Sindhi) =water.
Jara (Bulgarian) = air, glow, mirage.
Jara (Hebrew) = he enlightens, he shines.
Zāra (Arabic) = flower; shining, bright. 
Jara (Australian/ aboriginal ) = seagull.

Jara names worldwide

Jara   is the name of a  Nigerian language.
Jara River, is a tributary of the Şuşiţa River, Romania.
Jara, Ethiopia , is a  mountain near Wallaga.

La Jara, New Mexico, census-designated place in Sandoval County, United States.
La Jara, Colorado, a   town in Conejos County, United States
La Jara, comarca in western Spain.

Coincidence vs. inheritance
While some of you may like to dismiss off the existence of analogous words in different parts of the world as mere coincidence, the general logical explanation for such similarities is that the primitive cultures inherited many of the basic words across the barriers of language and cultures on account of migration and interactions.
Also there is a possibility that there were several analogous words from diverse origins having different meanings.  Some of the basic meanings we can attribute to the word based on analysis as above are:

Jāra = 1.Spring, oozing source of water;waterfall.
Jāra =2.Sloping land; Sliding.
Jāra= 3. Sloppy morals,  fallen man or woman.
Jāra =4.Shining, bright object etc.
Jarā =5.Aging, sickness.

Jāra Villages

Based on the above discussions we may infer that Jāra actually meant a valley zone endowed with water or simply a village located on the banks of a river or stream. Thus in a sense the term Jāra was an alternate word for the ancient word Ala which also means a land on the bank of a river or stream.
In Tulunadu we also find compound place names that contain Jāra with additional adjectives such as:  Kenjār, Mijār, Kanajār, Kilinjar, etc.
For the time being, using the explanations given in previous posts, we can understand the meaning of these villages as follows:
Kenjar= Ancient Riverside Village of  ‘Red’ skinned (‘Kench’)  immigrant tribes.
Mijar= Ancient riverside village on an elevated plateau area.
Kanajar= Riverside village of Kanna tribes.
Kilinjar= Riverside village on the lower bank.

Chāra is a village located on the bank of River Seetha in Karkal Taluk, Udupi District. The place name Chāra appears to be an alternate version of the term   Jara. There are several Chara village is located in different parts of India. The   Ja>Cha lingual variations may the source of these changes.
There are several Chāra based villages in Karavali such as Kolchar, Paichar, Kodichar, etc  

Ancient place names remain mute spectators to the drastic topographic changes in the land with the result we find some of these Jāra villages currently located on the banks of dried up river channels.


Monday, August 4, 2014

342. The Jambu-dweepa !

My blog partner Vishwanath guided me to an interesting, illustrated and colorful post entitled “Jambudweep-the global island” by Dr Vineet Aggaraval in his blog Decode Hindu Mythology. After perusal, the Post tempted me to express and share this bloggers notion of Jambudweepa with our readers. This is just an intellectual excercize for discerning readers to ponder how different inferences can be arrived at on the same subject especially in the case of   rather hazy and   poorly understood historical aspects.
 Vineet Aggarwal in his popular Post cited, reviews and considers description of Jambudweep (Jambu-dwipa) in our epics and scriptures and comes to the conclusion that the traditional Indian concept of Jambudweep essentially referred to the entire world (as a global island) rather than mere the region of India. Further, he explains and equates the global island to Pangea, a hundred to two hundred million years old past state of the world, when the continents of the world were huddled together over the globe as a single continental mass.

Geological History: Pangea
Vineet incidentally goes beyond the realms of human history and treads into past geological history of the Earth. Infact there is no harm in collating human history with geological history, especially when the time scales match with each other. However, most of the geological mega events are measured in terms of millions of years while the documented human history lasts merely for a few thousand years!
The theory Plate Tectonics envisages that the continents on the surface of the globe were united to form a single supercontinent some 300 million years ago.It was designated as Pangea.Further around 100  million years ago the supercontinent Pangea broke into two continents namely the northern Laurasia and the southern Gondwana.
However, the species of human beings evolved on the Earth only about 2 million years ago and they evolved into sensible cultured beings only about 6,000 to 10,000 years ago. Therefore, unfortunately none of our forefathers were able to witness the status of Pangea or Gondwana that occurred long before their arrival into this Earth!

Reinterpretation of Scriptural data
The Mahabharat and the Puranas were considered to have been composed during the period 500 BC to 500 CE. The oft quoted sloka describes Jambu-dweepa as alternate name for the Bharatha Khanda as in: “  jaambu dweepe bharath khande ..”. Similarly, the scriptural references cited by Vineet can be reinterpreted as below:

1.“The entire landmass of Jambu-dvipa is described as a continuous stretch of land subdivided into different continents by means of various mountain ranges with each of these divisions being governed by the 9 sons of Emperor Agnidhra, the grandson of Adam/Manu.”

-In the above quotation if you replace the word ‘continent’ with ‘region’ and interprete the ‘various mountain ranges’ as Vindhya, Satpura, Aravali, Kadapa,Sahyadri, Siwalik, Himalaya etc then again  the term Jambudweepa  would mean the Indian subcontinent.

2.Markandeya Puraan describes Jambu-dvip as being depressed above and below and broad in the middle just like a Globe.”
-If you happen to stand up on the ridge of any linear mountain range like Vindhyas of Sahyadris and look towards  opposite  (‘above’ and  ‘below’) directions you shall feel that the land is depressed on either directions.

3. “Srimad Bhagavatam points out that on Jambu-dvipa, night prevails diametrically opposite to a point where it is day and Sun sets at a point opposite to where it rises.”
- Theoritical deduction of persons who travelled rapidly from West to   East .

4. “Mahabharat describes the Universe as a series of shells divided in two by an earth plane called the Bhu-mandala; Jambu-dwip is the central landmark on this plane.”
- It reflects the concept of distribution of continents and oceans on the globe as understood during that time.
5. “Jain and Buddhist cosmologies indicate Jambū-dweep at the centre of Madhyaloka or the middle part of the universe, the place where Human-beings reside.”
-Again it reflects the distribution of continents, as seen from Indian eyes   as understood at that time.
6.” Various assorted texts describe Bharat Varsha or India as just one of the nine divisions of Jambu-dweep.”
-The citation envisages that the Jambudweepa, Indian subcontinent had nine divisions and one of these was known as Bharatvarsha. It can be interpreted that the “Bharatvarsha” region   at that point of time probably did not cover the whole of present India but represented a regional State, a geographic part of present India, governed by  or attributed to the famed King Bharata.

The Jambu fruit

The most common meaning of the term ‘Jambu’ is a light yellowish green or reddish, watery, succulent, bell shaped fruit common to India and Southeast Asia and variously known as Wax Apple, Water apple, Rose Apple, Bell Apple, Malaya guava (Syzygium sp.) and so on. It can be seen that the bell shape of the Jambu fruit in inverted form resembles the shape of the peninsular India. Since, the Jambu was a poppular and commonly known fruit in ancient India the term peninsular island in the shape of inverted Jambu fruit, appears to have known and envisaged as “Jambu dweepa”.
Peninsular India more or less resembles the shape of a Jambu fruit.

Mount Meru
Markandeya Purana and Brahmanda Purana describe that Meru Parvata forms the central part of the Jambudweepa. Surya Siddanta declares that the Sumeru ( Su+ Meru) mountain is located in the centre of the Earth. It is possible that the composers of the cited Puranas had described the position of Mt. Meru based on the observations of global travallers. In ancient times, people were travelleing between Africa and India and between India and South East Asia through land and sea routes. The 4565m high volcanic mountain of Meru is actually located in Tanzania, Africa, but most of the ancient Indian texts have described the magnificient esoteric qualities of the mountain, which is considered to be the abode of Lord Brahma. Some texts also mention mountains of Sumeru and Kumeru.
The confusion is evident not only the imaginary sizes attributed in various ancient texts but also in the declaration in the astrological text of Narpatijayacharyā (ca. 9th-century CE), that mentions "Sumeruh Prithvī-madhye shrūyate drishyate na tu" (=Su-meru is heard to be in the middle of the Earth, but is not seen there). However, the same text also mentions that India is located to the East of the Meru Mountain.

The term Dweepa (or dwipa) is normally translated as an island. However, the word as such suggests a land bounded by water on either sides (dwi =two; pa=water) whereas the term island basically refers to land area surrounded   on all sides by water.

The term Jambu
Apart from the watery Jambu fruit, the term Jambu has other shades of meaning especially in Tulu language such as: (1) swollen material such as mud, clay or laterite (as in Jambittige (Kannada); or swollen baggage as in Jambuli); (2) a water course (Jambāl); (3) a marsh or stagnant water (4) sky, etc.
There are places like Jamagodu Jamakhandi etc in parts of Karnataka. Jamadagni was the father of sage Parasurama. Jambava or Jambavanta was a bear during the period of epic Ramayana. Jambha is said to be the name of of Rakshas who fought with Lord Indra and was destroyed by  thunderbolt. There are caves named Jambu in Tulunadu, Maharastra and Tamilnadu, besides in Indonesia. The word 'Jamba' also means ego, pride or vanity in Kannada and Tulu.

The heritage term "Jambu dweepa" appears to have been attributed to the Jambu fruit shaped (or inverted bell shaped), peninsular India surrounded by water on three sides.


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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