Friday, March 18, 2016

357. Tigalāri -Tulu Script.

 The evolution of human beings in the world proceeded with evolution of spoken languages to begin with and subsequently of written forms of expression and communication. Written tablets preserved from the period of Sumerian civilization bloomed in parts of northern Africa and Mediterranean region dating back to some 6000 years suggest the antiquity of script forms. 
Since migration of human beings across the continents for the sake of exploration or better opportunities was a common feature, as is today, it can be argued that educated people in other continents were aware of the writing scripts. In the Indian subcontinent, recovery of pictorial symbols in seals confirmed the existence of scripts in Harappa and Mohenjodaro representing the Sindhu/Indus civilization that dated back to a period of about 2000-3000 BC, even though we are yet unable to understand what those pictograms precisely represented.
The preservation of  composed hymns of Rigveda followed by other Vedas, though commonly attributed to the tradition of mouth to ear transmission across generations, do not  discount the possibility of awareness and existence of  documentable contemporaneous scripts during the Vedic period, estimated to be ensuing from about 1700 BC. The early class of composers of hymns considered their compositions as mystic mantras endowed with occult powers that needed to be kept secretively away from the common populace. Apparently the natives used Prakrit and other allied forms of languages like Munda and early forms of (proto) Dravida before the introduction of Sanskrit in the land.
The Vedic form of Sanskrit evolved substantially with passage of time with generous contribution and involvement of the natives.  Panini around 500 BC was able to codify norms of grammar for the evolved classical form of Sanskrit of the period. By then, at least several common people had access to education especially written forms of language as evidenced by the composition of two all time great epics namely Ramayana and Mahabharata by bards who hailed from rustic backgrounds like Vālmiki (an ex- hunter) and Veda-Vyāsa (son of a fisher woman) respectively. It appears that these bards compiled the epics based on the popular anecdotes oral literature that prevailed in the folklore at that time. Thus obviously, during the evolution of languages in India, Sanskrit and Prakrit mutually influenced each other.

300 BC:  Brāhmi Script
King Asoka  as a part of good governance decided that his message should reach his subjects in the popular and well known common language of the people namely, the Prakrit, even though Sanskrit prevailed as language of the elite at the time. He employed learned sculptors versed in writing chiseling script and ordered that his message should be scripted in hard rocks in the nook and corners of his kingdom. Brāhmi was the script used in most of the edicts, while Kharoshti script was used in Gāndhara, the northwestern segment of the Indian subcontinent.
 The Brāhmi script, popularized by King Asoka through his famous rock edicts distributed in different parts of India representing key points of his kingdom, was the mother script for various Indian scripts evolved during the next two millennia. The individual styles of the sculptors, the hardness or softness of the rock slab and implements used for scripting determined the progressive evolution of various Indian scripts during the last two millennia. From a single original script of Brāhmi script, scores of astonishing and dissimilar looking Indian scripts have evolved over the period.
Devara Konda Reddy (2002) has provided a lucid summary of evolution of south Indian scripts from the Brāhmi script.
The Brahmi script
Evolution of Kannada script
The Kannada script evolved from the original Brāhmi script introduced by Asoka, sequentially in stages through the royal patronage of Sātavāhana, Kadamba, Ganga, Chalukya, Rashtrakoota and Vijayanagara kings, through the ages of 1st to 13th century CE. The individualistic styles adopted by the designated sculptors through the ages and the hardness of the stone/metal material used by them decided the shape of the letters. With the result at the end of 13th Century we have a set of Kannada alphabets astonishingly different from the original Brāhmi alphabets popularized by King Ashoka.
Evolution of Kannada script through the ages (after Devara Konda Reddy,2002)

Ancient Tamil literature
A voluminous set of poetry known as Sangam literature was composed by ancient poets under the patronage of Pallava, Chola and Chera Kings estimated to be mainly between the period of  3rd Century BC and 3rd century CE. (The Tamil word Sangam has been variously pronounced as Shangam, Chankam etc. The Sangam refers to Sangha, a religious association of Buddhist monks and bards)
Shettar (2007) has conducted interesting analysis of the Sangam poetry data in order to understand the nature of socio-political and lingual conditions in adjacent Kannada and Tulu regions during the period. The Tamil poets referred to Kannada, Tulu and Telugu neighbors in general as Vaduga (=northern people). The northern rulers of the time included   Katumba (Kadamba), Konga (Ganga), Punnata and others.

In Tamilnadu, three variants of scripts, derived from the Brahmi script, were known to have prevailed in the history, namely: (1) Vatteluttu (2) Grantha lipi and (3) Tamil script. The modern (current) Tamil is written in Tamil script.
The Vatteluttu script
The term Vattelettu ( Vatte <Vada/Bada=northern) script (=eluttu) suggests that it was a script of northern origin implying derivation from the Brāhmi script. The Vatteluttu originated as early as 4th Century CE and was in usage subsequently in southern India consisting of present Tamilnadu, Kerala and parts of Karnataka.
The Grantha script

Grantha Script
A evolved and modified form of Brāhmi known as the grantha (=book; scripture) lipi (=script) was used by educated class (mainly Brahmins) of South India since 7th Century CE  for writing down Sanskrit compositions, especially in the Pallava regime. The Grantha script was preferred to express the expansive word structures of the Sanskrit instead of the simplistic Vatteluttu script with limited alphabets.
After 11th Century Chola kings who dominated political history of the medieval Tamilnadu encouraged the use of Grantha script and abandoned the Vatteluttu.

The fusion of Vatteluttu and Grantha scripts during 8th century CE led to the development of Tamil script in the Pallava regime which evolved further during 10 and 11th centuries under the Chola rule. The Tamil script was ultimately adapted to the Tamil pattern and style of words and pronunciation.

The Vatteluttu continued to flourish in parts of Kerala even after it was abandoned in Tamil country. However, the increasing number of Sanskrit words in routine usage of local languages necessitated the adoption of a variant of Grantha script known as “Arya eluttu” (=script of the elite).

Further during the history, when Hoysala and Vijayanagaar kings conquered parts of Tamil areas the Nagari script was used for epigraphs and the utility of Grantha script was limited for writing down in the palmyra manuscripts.

Saraju Rath (2012) recognized five stages of evolution in Grantha script in South India.

Grantha script/language
Origin-Time period
Grantha with Telugu/ Kannada
4th to 7th Century CE
Grantha with Vatteluttu
6th Century CE
Grantha with Tamil
7th Century CE
Grantha with Malayalam (Arya-eluttu)
11th C-14th C
Grantha with Tulu Malayalam(Koleluttu)
10th -14th C.

Tigalari script

A form of Western Grantha script used  especially in southern India around Pallava Tamil regimes was known as Tigulāri (or Tigalāri) script. The script was in vogue in Kerala, Western Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra. The usage Tigula referred to Tamil people. (However, presently there is also a community known as Tigulas). The Tigula-Arya script was known as Tigulāri script.
The Tigalari script was employed by literate Brahmins of Sahyādri (Malenādu) and Karāvali region to write down Sanskrit mantras (apart from Tulu and Malayalam). The Tigalāri script contains all the 50 characters found in Devanagari/Sanskrit alphabet hence was used to write Sanskrit works conveniently.
 Devara Konda Reddy (2002) notes that Tigalāri is quite similar to the Tulu script. The Tigalāri script was found convenient and hence adopted by Tulu Brahmins to record Sanskrit slokas while they were serving in the temples of Kerala. Possibly they found it convenient since Tigalari was akin to the scripts (Arya-elettu, Koleluttu) already in usage in Kerala.

The Tulu-Tigalari script
Tulu script
About three generations of Brahmin priests from Tulunadu and Uttara Kannada were serving in the temples of Kerala during the history. Priests from Shivalli and Kokkada were serving in Tiruvanthapura Padmanābha temple under the titles of ‘ikkardeshi’ and ‘akkardeshi’ respectively. These priests employed variants of Grantha script such as Arya-elettu, Koleluttu and Tigalari  which were in vogue in Kerala for routinely recording Sanskrit slokas.   During 13th Century another batch of  Brahmin priests from the villages Idugunji, Balkuru , Gunavanthe (Uttara Kannada) and Shivalli (Udupi) were invited to perform in the temples of Kerala. (Venkataraja Punimchattaya, 2007).  It is said that Madhvacharya of Udupi (12th Century) used to employ the Tulu Tigalari script for compiling his woks. It is reported that Madhvacharya used to sign in Tulu script.
The Tigalari script was also popular among the Brahmins of Uttar Kannada.
Ramesh (2007) reported a historical Tulu inscription from Ananthadi in Kasaragodu district. Recently, it has been reported that Prof Murugesh unraveled a Tulu –Kannada inscription from the premises of Kota temple in Udupi district.

”Shri Bhagavato” attributed to poet Vishnu Tunga has been considered as the first available independent creative work in Tulu language, composed ca.1630 CE and recopied around ca.1670.   
Devara Konda Reddy (2002) suggests that the script used in this work (Shri Bhagavato) though popularized as Tulu script is actually is a variant of Arya-eluttu, a type of Grantha script. The Arya-eluttu script was in use in Tamilnadu and Kerala since 14th century CE onwards.

Devara Konda Reddy also suggests that what is popularized as Tulu script now is a variant of Tigalāri script. There are very little differences between the Tigalāri and the Tulu script. He notes that Tigalāri is more roundish than Tulu script. The numeral system in Tigalāri is borrowed from Kannada script. Similarly, the shakatarefa (rha- lha) adopted in Tulu script has been borrowed from the Kannada script.

A standard or widely accepted script may look slightly dissimilar visually in different documents because of the individualistic handwriting style adopted by the writers of the manuscript.

 Modern scripts
The modern printing technologies have favored and facilitated standardization of various Indian scripts. However in the process some of the less known/less used scripts like Tulu- Tigalari have receded to the backdrop or even to anonymity.
Modern Tamil printing script was set up in 1712 by Tranquebar (Tarangambadi) for publishing Christian evangelical literature in Tamil. To counter the religious propaganda Kalvi Vilakkam in 1834 published Hindu religious literature in modern Tamil script. Thus utility of Grantha script for Tamil declined completely thereafter. Benjamin Baileys CMS Press (1821) introduced modern Malayalam printing script derived from Malayanm script. 
Samuel Hebich of Basel Mission Press in Mangaluru standardized the modern Kannada script from the then existing Halegannada script in the year 1841.  Basel Mission Press utilized the modern Kannada script for printing Tulu and Kodava languages also, leading unknowingly to the suppression of Tulu-Tigalari script.
Vavila Sastrilu of Adi Saraswati Nilayam (1854) finalized modern Telugu script for print form from the Eastern Halegannada script existing at that time. Modern Devanagari script was adapted for mass printing of Sanskrit books by printers and publishers like Gita Press of Gorakpur.

Devara konda Reddi,  Dr  (2002,2009) Lipiya Huttu mattu belavanige.(Origin and evolution of script).Kannada Pustaka Pradhikara. 348+xii.p. (Kannada).
Prabhu, Govindaraya, S and Pai, Nithyananda, M. (2006)The Alupa coins: Coinage and History. Sanoor, Karkala, 200p.
Ramesh, K.V. (2007) Anantapurada Tulu shasana. In: In: “Tulu Sahitya Charitre”, .(Kannada). Chief  Editor Dr B. A. Vivek Rai. Kannada University,  Hampi. pp.105-106.
Saraju Rath, Dr. (2012) (Editor). Aspects of  manuscript culture in South India. Indian Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden,Nethrlands.(summary in Google books).
Shettar, S, Dr. (2007) Shangam Tamilgam and Kannada Naadu, NuDi. Arambha kaalada dravida sambhandada chintane (Kannada). Abhinava Bengaluru, 2010, 320 p.
Venkataraja Punimchattaya (2007) Tulu lipiya moola mattu vikaasa.” In: “Tulu Sahitya Charitre”, .(Kannada). Chief  Editor Dr B. A. Vivek Rai. Kannada University,  Hampi. pp.160-162

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

Copy? Right - but kindly remember to acknowledge!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

" tulu-research.blogspot." ತುಳು ರಿಸರ್ಚ್. ಬ್ಲಾಗ್‌ಸ್ಪಾಟ್‌. ಇನ್

" tulu-research.blogspot."  ತುಳು  ರಿಸರ್ಚ್.  ಬ್ಲಾಗ್‌ಸ್ಪಾಟ್‌. ಇನ್
Have a nice day !