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!
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 Jarmila, Jaromir 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.
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.