Monday, January 13, 2014

326. Nāravi and Nāra villages

The Village Nāravi (in Belthangadi Taluk, Dakshina Kannada), known for an ancient Suryanarayana temple (Post 301), is located on the bank of a stream tributary to River Gurpur (or Phalguni).  It is said that the older name of the village Naravi was Narol.
The term nāra (in Sanskrit), means water; The best explanation for the relatively less known term ‘nāra’ is the divine name of Nārayana, which is explained as one resides in water (nāra + ayana). (Wiki page on ‘Narayana’). 
In 'Satyārtha Prakāsha', Swami Dayananda Saraswati expounds the meaning of  ' nāra ', which means water and also the soul of living bodies. According to him the 'Nārāyana' means, the one whose abode (ayana) is  nāra and thus he is considered as the all pervading God. One more meaning of  nāra  is knowledge.  Thus,  Nārada  means the one who spreads knowledge. Similarly, Narial or Narikela means coconut which contains water. 
 Some attribute the term nāra to white birds frequenting the water bodies.  In Uttar Kannada nyari (or neri) in local Kannada means grassy weeds growing in water. In Dravidian languages like Tulu and Kannada nār also means fiber or fibrous weed. An variant of the nāra, the  nāla also means stream or rivulet. Thus connection of nāra to water is clear. In Dravidian languages neer means water. Thus the parallelism between the words nāra and neer is quite interesting.
A similar sounding word nara (short na) represents man or human being and similarly nāri means a woman. In poetic lines we can see nār for nāri. (As in Hindi film Padosan: Ek chatur naar ..). Thus some believe that nāra also means living beings in general.

One more striking word in usage based on the word 'nāra' and commonly used in Tulu, Kannada and Sanskrit languages is  kināra which means the sea coast or river bank (wherein the possible word origin  was ki [= place, area] + nāra [=water]) . 

Nara villages
There are numerous villages in Tulunadu having names like Narla, Narsha, Narya, Narve, Naravi etc. Of these Nārla appears to be one of the most common village names not only in Karavali/Tulunadu but also in other regions of India. Thus Nārla or similar Nāra place names are not exclusive to Tulu or Dravidian language and culture but part of the pan-Indian evolutionary scenery.

There are villages named Nārla in different parts of the country like Karnataka,Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Maharastra, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Besides, we can also find Narlakantiguda, Narlapuram and Narlavaram In Andhra Pradesh, Narlavalas, in Andhra and Orissa, Narla-halli in Karnataka and Narlad in Maharastra, Narlai and Narlay in Madhya Pradesh. Etc.

Similarly, villages named Nārya can be found in other States of India like Haryana (Naryana), Madhya Pradesh (Naryaval), Himachal Pradesh (Naryaval), Uttar Pradesh (Naryanpur), West Bengal (Naryanpur), Rajasthan (Narya ka bas) etc.

Forgotten Episodes
Present generation of Tulu people have almost forgotten the word nāra, which means water, since it has been completely replaced by the Tulu-Dravidian equivalent word neer. However, the Nāra place names have remained immortally all over India since ages as in Karavali/ Tulunadu also. This paradox can only be explained by the existence of undercurrent layers of forgotten episodes in our past history.

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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 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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