Monday, October 31, 2016

369. Paradox of Parkala

The modern interpretation of many of the ancient place names may not always be considered as perfect or final, because of the inherent uncertainties involved.  Basically the toponym interpreter should take cognizance of the, environment, language and culture that prevailed during the time period of adopting a particular toponym. The uncertainties arise basically due to the obscure nature of our understanding the history, language and environment and the timeslot of adoption of such a kind of nomenclature.
Let us consider the example of a place name like Parkala. The village of Parkala, as many are aware, is a small rural place near the famed town of Manipal in Udupi. Since there are no major ancient temples in the village there may not be existence of mythological pattern of history (sthala purāna) associated with the village of Parkala.
Tulu Parkala
If you consider the toponym to be a basic Tulu word then the word analysis would be para+kala,  where para usually means the old and the word kala represents a quadrangle, plot or enclosure,  that may be used for meeting, judgment, entertainment, worship or combat.
But note: the toponym is Parkala and not Parakala! It may be difficult immediately to decide whether Parkala means same as Parakala.

Other possible source of meanings
 In case 'par 'in Parkala does not mean 'old' then, some of the  other possible explanations for the originally intended meaning by our ancestors for the place name “Parkala” could be one of the following:

1. Parkala (parapu = to flow; stream).  Tulu word 'parap(p)u'' means bathing ghat in the riverside (cf.Tulu Nighantu). The River Swarna flows by the side of this village located near Manipal. ( Thus, possibly “Parkala”= A  quadrangle by the side of river.). This choice appears valid as the Kannada translation of the place name matches with the interpretation. The Kannada translated name 'Harekala' incidentally contains 'hari' which also means to flow.

2. Para (=respectable; supernatural) + Kala (=place, quadrangle).  A revered place or shrine.

3. Para (= Outside people; immigrant) + Kala (Assembling Place).  It could have been a colony for immigrants, like ‘Agrahara’ for Brahmins. (Compare with another similar place name, like “Parampalli”.) 

4. Par (ಪರ್) + kala (ಕಲ/ಕಳ):  (par = to drink.)  Thus, Parkala could have been an area earmarked for consuming liquor or intoxicant drinks.  Like, an ancient army camping place, where ‘Chakan’ is an indispensable place for food and drinks (See our Post on Chakan).

5. Parkala  ( Bengali/ Munda)= glass, lens, mirror.

6. Parkala ( Hindi) = (i ) staircase ( सीडि ) ; veranda, square or threshold ( चौकट). (ii) piece of glass; (iii) cinder (अंगार/ चिंगारी).

Many Parkalas’
If you go beyond the limits of ancient Tulunadu you shall find there are quite a many Parkala villages other than the one we started with. The census of India data for 2011 will enlighten you on the presence of villages named as Parkala in Telangana as well as in Jharkhand. In Chattisgarh you can find a Parkal kasba. There may be many more hamlets carrying the same name in other parts of India.
Pa to Ha transition
In coastal Tulunadu, the transition of administrative languages from Tulu to Kannada has been evident in place names probably coinciding with the suzerainty of Vijayanagara empire, which extended up to the West Coast.
Thus, we find transition of place names like Perur to Herur, Perga to Herga and so on especially in the region of Udupi and Kundapur that centered on the Barkur State of Vijayanagara administration.
In the same vein, we find Harekala (in southern part of Mangaluru) which probably was the translation of older name Parkala.
But the interesting thing here is that Harekala is not an exclusive Kannada word as we find the toponym Harkala also in West Bengal.
Thus, it should be noted that the pa- to ha- transition is not exclusive to Kannada. The distribution of the word in a wider region beyond the general limits of Dravidian languages renders that the actual meaning of the term par/para/har/hare in the toponym Parkala  remains to be concluded.
One of the famous religious center (Mutt) in Mysore is known as Parakala Mutta. It is not clear whether the Parkala and Parakala are related and mutually relevant words. Similarly a high grade calico cloth produced at Sonargaon, West Bengal during 17th Century was also known as Parkala.

Meaning of Parkala?

If we think that Parkala has been translated into Harekala, then it may be noted that the meaning assigned to para (=old) in Parkala has not been translated to hale (=old) in Kannada. Again, we are led into confusion of accepting hare as alternate form of hale or a word of unknown or uncertain meaning. (Some may even argue that hare is a version of arey which means rock).
However, choosing from the list of other possible meanings, it seems the term par or hare/hari which means  'to flow', representing a flowing river appears to be more closer to the originally intended meaningThis seems apt as the the place Parkala is located on the bank of River SwarnaThus the original meaning of the place Parkala would be a quadrangle or enclosure by the riverside.

Beyond limits of Tulunadu
 As we have reported in many older posts in this blog, the Tulunadu and parts of Karnataka, share many of the presently odd sounding place names with Eastern coast especially Andhra, Orissa West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. Therefore one cannot argue that the pattern of toponym analogy as mere coincidence.

Deciphering the ancient tracts of migration as evident in the distribution of toponyms which reflect the   exchange of language, words and culture would be useful links in understanding our roots. Besides it may be hoped that the proper and realistic understanding of our roots and the history would go a long way in forging national integration.

Tailpiece: On Pareeka

‘Pareeka’ is a locale near Parkala, notable for a Naturopathy Hospital. Incidentally, the term   Parik or Pareek also refers to an ethno-linguist group of Brahmins from Rajasthan and Gujarath. ‘Parikh’ in Gujarathi means ‘assayer or examiner’ (of diamonds) from Vanik (= Merchant )class. The people of the community usually profess descent from the legendary sage Parashara.


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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