An Ethnological Book - a redaction in Kannada of its predecessor in English - on Mogaveera Community of Tulu Nadu was released on 12th October, 2014 at Uchila Mahalaxmi Temple.
Book: Mogaveera Samaja – Ondu Adhyana
Author: Sadananda K. Uchila, A-304, Dheeraj Basera CHS Ltd, Chincholi Bunder Road, Malad(W), Mumbai-400 064 .Cell: +91 9820774912. e.mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Honorary Publishers: D.K. Mogaveera Mahajana Sangha, Uchila & Mogaveera Seva Sangha (Bagwadi Hobli 1941), Mumbai; Size: Demy with 329 pages + Front & Back matters. Price: Rs.250/- (Delivery charges not mentioned).
Genre of such ethnological books are available mostly in the form of economic surveys by respective Governments of all States where fishing is a major occupation. This book, however, is a first of its kind in Karnataka written by a Mogaveera with first-hand knowledge about the community. The book gives an introduction to prehistory of fisher-folk, though without an exhaustive study. A scholastic approach is needed for such a study. So the author leaves it to the future researchers. Nevertheless, book captures exhaustive pictures of recent times on the life and culture of Mogaveeras. Kudos to the author for this yeoman’s service. Despite many Reviews in media and periodicals, this one is mainly meant for readers of this Blog.
The object of the author is to mirror the history of the community, known for their co-operative way of living – socially and professionally –from hoary past to the present day. He gives the glimpses of skilled artisanal fishing based on co-operative principle and to the modern day technologically advanced way of labour-intensive fishing with joint or individual ownership of mechanized fishing boats with Statistics.Mechanized fishing has rung a death-knell to traditional fishing, such as Ramponi, which was based on co-operation. Transformation is phenomenal of toilers of river and sea, traversing hazy past to the present. They were a mere poverty-stricken fishers providing fish-food to others with low income then and are now highly compensated, commensurate with their catch of fish.Present generation has forayed into various professional fields and trade and commerce with modern education. Authentic details given by the author prove this fact.Thanks to the foresight of community elders, who left the shores of the district (undivided South Kanara) in search of new pastures, for giving importance to education and providing financial help to primary and elementary school students through their individual village-sabhas!
Profile of Study
Profile of the Study is planned in thirteen sections. Chapters 1 to 9 deal with topics, viz. Origin of Mogaveeras, their habitats, customs, festivities, occupations, Organizations taking care of the community from village level to federations, leading to addressing problems – social and economical, and lastly, some gems of Mogaveera community. Remaining Chapters pertain to analytical documentation of socio-religious and economic data from community annals of past and present to Government Studies and back matter (i.e. acknowledgements, References to further reading and feed-backs).
There is no repository of data readily available about Mogaveeras, except in legends, oral literature and caste census done during colonial era in 19thand 20th Centuries and in some other books on the erstwhile District, known as Tulu Nadu. Legends may not be taken fully on its face value but it definitely hints at some historical truth.Extra-ordinary patience and pains taken by the author for collection of data is emulative.
Different caste names of fishing-folks in India do not make them a homogenous group. So the estimation of time of origin of Mogaveera, based on generally accepted migration theory, is debatable.
Matrilineal system, based on Goddess-mother cult, is still followed in many parts of the world. I may point out a confusion in citing a belief about Babbarya (p.173), identifying him to Babruvahana and also as son of Arjuna and Pramila, Kerala Queen (as against Arjuna and Chitrangada, the Princess of Manipur in Mahabharat). Matrilineal system is generally followed in Western Coast and also in East India.This consideration might have tempted the author to include this piece of information.
‘Mogaveera’ is an honorific appellation now adopted by fishing community of Dakshina Kannada. As an exigency, fishing classes in Karnataka known by different names,forged an alliance. So the Government applies this single nomenclature to all fishing communities of Karnataka enabling them to take advantage of Government-sponsored schemes.
The Book is valuable in that it brings out many facets of the community hitherto unknown. The Book may generally help both budding ethnologists and scholars in Anthropology as source book in future.
Design & Style
‘What we see when we read’ is a motto of Peter Mendelsund, who is a much sought after Designer of Book Covers. The suggestive Title Cover design of this Book proves this fact.
The style is simple, straight and informal. Topics are systematically classified and explained as a conspectus. The effectiveness of the book is enhanced by the informative picture-plates throughout the pages.
The author has achieved a fair measure of success in giving essential facts in a condensed form with the help of primary and secondary sources of information from coast to inland. The Book is a welcome addition to one’s library.
About the Author
The author, known to the reviewer, was a Taxation Executive in Government and Corporate Offices. He is engaged in social work and indulges himself in activities of community organizations. Beamish photo of the author on front cover corner, reminds me a stanza in Someshwara Shataka:
ಕೆಲವಂ ಬಲ್ಲವರಿಂದೆ ಕಲ್ತು ಕೆಲವಂ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಗಳಂ ಕೇಳುತಂ
ಕೆಲವಂ ಮಾಳ್ಪವರಿಂದ ಕಂಡು ಕೆಲವಂ ಸುಜ್ಞಾನದಿಂ ನೋಡುತ್ತ
ಕೆಲವಂ ಸಜ್ಜನರ ಸಂಗದಿಂದಲರಿಯಲ್ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞನಪ್ಪ ನರಂ
ಪಲವುಂಪಳ್ಳ ಸಮುದ್ರವೈ ಹರಹರಾ ಶ್ರೀ ಚೆನ್ನ ಸೋಮೇಶ್ವರ.
This description of a learned fits aptly to S.K. Uchila.
- Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune