Featured Post

380. Antiquity of iDli

The Idli being a steam cooked dish made of ground and fermented paste of rice and black gram can be considered as one of the healthiest ...

Saturday, September 16, 2017

389. ‘Palke booruni’ – a sign of sea subsiding from roughness


Nature plays an important role in traditional occupations or professions of a region.  As we observe, ‘geographical niches’ have conditioned everyday life of inhabitants therein from pre-historic ages.  We observe such conditioning of people living on coastlines too.
Recently, there was a news-item in Kannada vernacular newspaper (Udayavani, 21st July, 2017).  It reported sighting of ‘kadaluda madi’ (wastes of sea in form of woody substances), washed ashore at Malpe beach.  This is a phenomenon observed during July-August.    This is a natural process how the sea cleans itself by throwing out the ‘madi’ to shoreline.  This coincides with the process of calming of the sea after a stormy weather.

Palke booruni
Returning of calmness to sea after the stormy summer monsoon (May end to July-August) is called ‘Palke booruni’ In Tulu.  Ferocious tidal waves subside, yielding place to normal waves.  This is a condition when sea water is placid and calm.  Waves are not so threatening to fisher-folk for venturing into sea by boats.
Heavy rain water washes down all kinds of tid bits  of wood, logs and leaves, fruits and seeds like pallekkayi and akrot,( apricot: with heart-shaped nut with brown-yellow hard outer-cover) from forest areas to rivers through ‘pallas’ (water collected naturally at low lying areas), canals and streams.  These pieces of forest waste are drained into sea when these rivers debauch into sea near the  sea-river mouth  (estuary) known as  aluve or alivey in Tulu.

Factors of Palke
Calmness of sea water occurs for various reasons.  The factors are:
1.Action of under-currents of sea makes erosion at bank and creates ‘barakane’ (sand-walls) at the bank. Normally a shore-parallel depression develops in the sea bed,  quite close to the shore.  This is called a fault in geological parlance or gundi-barakane booruni in Tulu parlance.
These pits or ponds are not found in entire stretch of coastline.  At some place sea bed is flat near shore.This can be understood by the fact that ‘palke booruni’ is not uniform in the entire stretch of shoreline though ‘madi’ is scattered on beachline.

2.In some coastal villages, water-bodies (i.e. canals, streams and rivers) are running parallel to sea coastline.  As observed by the writer during his native high school days, the chance of occurrences of ‘palke booruni’ is more at this stretch than at other places.  In other areas sea is rough at the same time. He observed such palke occurrence in Chitrapur area, i.e. the stretch of coast between Hosabettu and Baikampadi.  Storm water drainage used to flow through  a ‘Bailare’ (a flood zone) and drained to Gurupura River near Kulur-Panambur before implementation of the Projects of Fertilizer Plant and New Mangalore Harbour at Panambur.  This natural canal was bye-passed to sea near Baikampadi thereafter (Read our Post: Debacle of a place called Bailare’).

Reminiscences
Formative years of the writer are spent in a coastal village.  He used to play a game of ‘pallekkayi’, collected from the sea-shore.  One more memory connected with sea is collecting of small coins while there are ‘barakanes’.  Coins, which are thrown into sea as offering on certain religious rituals, surface on such sand-wall.  While returning from school, we children used to take beach route to home. I noticed in later life pallekkayi and akrot are included in ‘Bālaguti’ along with other roots and fruits/seeds like Badām (almond).

Spawning of fish
Monsoon is fish-spawning time.   Fish thrive in such deeper ponds, filled with woody substances.  Hence ‘palke booruni’ is harbinger of fishing season.

Cast-net (Beesana) Fishing
Cast-net fishing is common during this period as sea waves are sober at ‘palke booruni’ places.  So country boats venture into sea to catch fish by throwing round nets (beesanigeda bale).   Boats from neighbouring villages too throng to this stretch of calm sea.  These boats are pushed through shallow shore waters.  Common catch is ‘etti’ (prawns), kuruchi, a thorny fish and nangu, a flat fish.
At times, kai-ramponi type of fishing is also carried on (a smaller version ramponi, which is now extinct).   The catch is called as ‘kare meenu’, which is a common name for group of fish thriving near shore (= kare).

Rituals
On full-moon day of August (Shravan Pournami), fisher-folk worship the sea and throw coconuts to the sea, praying the Sea God to bestow them with bountiful catch of fish.  This ritual is called ‘Samudra Pooje or Poojan’.  Fishing season starts from this day.
This day of ritual is known by many names as Nārikela or Nālikera Pournami (i.e. Coconut Day or Nāriel Pournima in Hindi-speaking Belt), and Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi.  This day sisters tie sacred threads to wrist of their brothers or brotherly friends. This sacred knot of sisterly-brotherly love is believed to protect their brothers. They do ‘arati’ (waving of sacred light) to their brothers,   apply vermilion ‘Tilak’ on their foreheadsand feed them with sweetmeats.   This is a symbolic ritual when brothers vow to protect their sisters.  They give presents to their sisters.

Conclusion
As I observe, ‘palke or palike’ is nothing but pieces of woody substances drained to sea through rivers.  So ‘palke’ is same as ‘madi’.  While ‘madi’ has a narrow meaning ‘palke’ has a wider connotation as is explained in foregoing paragraphs.  Another meaning of palke(palike) is ‘a valley, slope or low lying area on mountainous or hilly area’.  Depth on sea-shore, created by slippage action as aforesaid, can be compared to the other meaning of  palke(palike).
Action of Nature is instrumental in undisturbed fish spawning, thereby balancing the fish production against the rigorous fish harvesting of previous year.  This ensures a steady flow of catch to fishermen. Intensive or excessive fishing is detrimental to fisher-folk as well as the Nation.

-Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune

September 15, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

388. Kundar bari- lineage

Kundar d pronounced as in the) is one of the ‘bari’ genetic lineages existing in Tulunadu since times immemorial. The surname Kundar or Kundaran was popularized several decades ago by an Indian cricketer Budhi Kundaran who originally hailed from a Mogaveera (Marakala) family of Udupi region of coastal Tulunadu. Incidentally, the term “Kundaran” in Old Tulu and Old Kannada meant a person from Kundar tribe. The bari lineage surname also exist among Bunts, in the form of “Kunda” or “Kundade”, (Indira Hegde, 2009) though it might be less common or has been eventually obliterated in other Tulu communities.

Kundra
However it is interesting to note that bari lineage Kundar (or its variants) is not just exclusive to Tulunadu or coastal Karnataka. A popular bollywood actress hailing from Tulunadu, Shilpa Shetty is married to a Rajastani gentleman known as Raj Kundra. The surname “Kundra” in his name apparently is a  regional variant of the surname “Kundar”.

Ancient Kunda tribe
In the past posts, I have explained that our surnames are mostly derived from our or genetic lineages, known regionally as bari (bali or gotra ). And that the bari or lineage system in India existed before the invention and adoption of castes and communities that disunited and separated even peoples of   same lineage!  In other words, the people eventually absorbed into different communities (and also different  languages and religions) have faithfully  retained their (known) original genetic tags as surnames, wherever possible.
Thus the pan Indian presence of Kunda, Kundar, Kundra etc related surnames lead us to deduct that there existed an ancient tribe, widespread in ancient India, by the name of Kunda or Kundar. But, how is it possible to arrive at such a deduction?

Kunda villages in India
Like most of the ancient tribes the Kunda tribes have left a large number of villages (and hamlets) named after them. The data gathered by the census of India gives us a glimpse of the spread of ethnonyms of village names in different parts of  India. The census data for 2011 reveals that there are some 897 villages spread in different States of India carrying the tags of the assimilated ancient tribe of Kunda. (The number does not include hamlets which have not been considered in the census). The State-wise distribution of Kunda village names are as follows: Andhra Pradesh (27), Arunachala Pradesh (8), Assam (17), Bihar (27), Chattisgarh (22), Gujarat (39), Haryana (4), Himachal Pradesh (27), Jammu & Kashmir (6), Jharkhand (64), Karnataka (47), Kerala(1),, Madhya Pradesh (139), Maharashtra(46), Orissa (96),Punjab(4), Rajasthan (100), Tamilnadu (17), Uttar Pradesh (135), Uttara Khand (34), and West Bengal (37).
Some of the ethnonym styles of the Kunda villages in above regions are like these:
Kunduru, Kundar, Kundol, Kundchar, Kundulia, Kundrol, Kundru,Kundi, Kunda, Kund, Kundhal, Kundala, Kundal, Kundawada, Kundeli, Kundia, Kundari, Kundum, Kundral, Kundahalli, Kundli, Kundo, Kundpani, Kundiya, Kundgol, Kundla, Kunduni, Kundarsi, Kundada, Kundil, Kunding, Kundan, Kundaram, Kundrudi,  Kundanpalle,…Kundapur... etc.

Gold : Prospecting and Smelting
The expansive spread of the Kunda tribes as evident from the ethnonyms prevailing  in different States of India suggests their proliferation all over the land in ancient days.

And what could have been the nature of work profession engaged by these tribes?  The ancient   term “kunda” refers to (1) gold and  to (2) smelting.  The metal gold being one of the fond objects of possession as well as transaction throughout the history, it appears that these tribes were involved in the discovery and smelting of the metal gold.  Probably, a large number of people in ancient India were interested in and made themselves proficient in discovering and gathering native gold nuggets from the lodes of gold ores. Placer deposits of gold possibly enticed these prospectors to unravel more varieties of small to substantially large gold occurrences and deposits. The art of smelting gold rich ores was also developed in the due course. Subsequently the art of panning for gold particles in flowing streams and rivers could also have been associated with these tribes. After gold, the metal copper also attracted people because of its utility in vessel and weapon making. Thus art of smelting the copper rich ores was also developed.

A statistical relationship (correlation) between the existence of number of Kunda villages to gold and copper ore deposit bearing regions in India can be noticed if you review the list of Kunda villages cited above.

Kunda- kundavuni
An interesting word retained in Tulu language apparently throws light on the   ancient art of smelting for metals like gold copper and iron. The usage in Tulu is the verb form of the word kunda: The Tulu term “kundavuni” ( d pronounced as in the) refers to boiling a liquid till it solidifies. The same word also existed in Kannada as we find the sweetmeat kunda popular in Belgaum region. The kunda  in Belgaum is a sweetened, boiled and desiccated form of milk solids.Delicate works the gold artisans like fixing precious stones on gold ornaments is called 'kundana'.  
 The artisans are called as 'kundanagāra'. The word kundu in Kannada also means to decrease and related to the process of evaporation and desiccation as also found in the prevailing  Tulu word kundavuni.

Reference

Indira Hegde, Dr. (2009) Bantaru-Ondu Samajo Sanskritika Adhyayana. (in Kannada). Revised edition,  Kannada Pustaka Pradhikara  Bengaluru-560002, p. xviii+480.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

PLAGIARISM

This note is only for plagiarists !
We find that some persons have developed the ugly habit of "copying and pasting" posts originally published in this blog, as if their own contributions, without any  acknowledgment of the original source. In our opinion this amounts to height of indecency if not insult to the original contributors. We believe that the knowledge  is an universal property and every one is entitled to seek knowledge. We opine that there is no possible harm in reproducing any good write-ups under creative commons in the interest of dissemination of knowledge, provided that some due respect is given to the original contributor by simply acknowledging the actual source  in the de facto reproduced article.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

387. Dr. B Vasantha Shetty and the Barakuru


Recently the Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy, Mangaluru, has published an important thesis on the history of Tulunadu compiled by (1984)  Late Dr. B. Vasantha Shetty (1950-1997) entitled “ Barakuru: A Metropolitan city of antiquity-its history and culture.”

Dr. B. Vasantha Shetty
Dr. B. Vasantha Shetty was the Vice Principal and the Head of the Department of History and Archeology at St Marys Syrian College, Brahmavara, Udupi at the time of compiling and submitting the thesis (1984) under the guidance of Prof. Dr A.Y. Narasimha Murthy, Prof & Head, Department of Postgraduate studies and research in Ancient History and Archeology, University of Mysore at Mysore. It is sad to note that the promising historian Dr. Vasantha Shetty expired (1997) in his young age. With his rather premature death, the field of Tulu studies has lost an important researcher.

Barakanuru
Vasantha Shetty reports that the earliest documented form of name as found in the inscription (dated ca  11th Century CE) located in the Hosala Durga /Mahalakshmi temple for the town was Barakanuru. In support of this conclusion he cites two epigraphs located in areas outside the district,  dated 1122 and 1135 CE relating to the period of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana, which also refer  to this place as  Barakanuru. Arab historian Rashi-ud-Din in his compiled work (1310) referred to this port as Fakanur, which appears to be a corrupt form of Barakanuru.  Near Barakuru there is deep pit in the river known as Barakana-gundi (or Barakana-baligundi).

Bāraha kanyāpura
The application of the name Bāraha kanyāpura  for the place appears around 1155 CE as found in an inscription of the period during the reign of Alupa King Kavi Alupendra. The Sanskritized place name Bāraha kanyāpura apparently has been associated with the legends of Bhutala Pandya. The legendary Bhutala Pandya is said to have married 12 Jaina maidens; the incident appear to have modified the name of the city to Bāraha kanyāpura.
 The data presented by Vasantha Shetty in the book leads us to infer that the legend of Bhutala Pandya was created by certain Alupa Kings with the help of royal poets of the period. However, the legends apparently do not have the support of corroborative historical evidences. Though some of the royal records and Alupa inscriptions of ca 1254-1261 CE,  period express the place name  as Bāraha kanyāpura, the foreign historians descriptions (like Fakanur or Bacanur) as well as the coins minted during the period appear to have continued to mention the place as  Barakanura gadhyana. Similarly,  contemporaries of Alupas like  the Ballala rulers who occupied Barakuru did not accepted the use of  the name of Baraha Kanyapura suggesting that the legends of Bhutala Pandya were not appealing to other rulers of the period.

Barakuru
In spite of entry of Baraha Kanyapura in contemporary official Alupa records, many common people as well as other rulers stuck to the old name of Barakanur. An inscription of Virapandyadeva-Alupendradeva dated 1257 mentioned the town “Bakur” probably due to engravers confusion or mistake. Later inscriptions of the same ruler mentions the name of the capital as Baraha-Kanyapura. However, Hoysala ruler Ballala III who married Chikkayi Tayi of Alupa lineage and  shared authority over the Alupa capital issued inscriptions in 1334 CE  carried the place name as Barakuru. Inscriptions issued by Chikkayi Tayi  in 1334 CE also carried the name of Barakuru. Other Alupa rulers like Kulashekaradeva continued the name of Baraha Kanyapura in his inscriptions of 1339 and 1345 CE.
Further the capital was acquired by Vijayanagara rulers who also preferentially adopted the name of Barakuru only. Similarly further rulers like Nayakas of Keladi also continued with the name of Barakuru, derived from the old name of Barakanuru.
  Alupas in Barakuru
Vasantha Shetty reports that the first record of Alupa ruling in Barakuru dates back to 1139 CE (Saka 1062), in the inscription attributed to Kavi Alupendra and found at Panchalingeshwara  temple, Kotekeri, Barakuru.  The said inscription mentions Tolahas of Suralu. Also mentioned in the record is the Gadyana, the Alupa coin in vogue in that period.    The  Barakuru became the capital city of Alupas with effect from the year 1155 CE during the reign of  King Kavi  Alupendra, who ruled from the  palace of Bāraha-kanyāpura, as recorded in another inscription in the area. Kavi Alupendras queen was known as Pandya-Mahādevi.

Hoysalas in Barakuru
One of the surprising historical data we find as evident in an undated inscription of Kotekeri, Barakur is regarding the joint rule of Vira Jagadevarasa (of Hoysala/Santara descent)  and Pattamāhadevi (and her son Pandya-Devarasa of  Alupa descent) in Barakuru.
During the reign of Alupa ruler Soyideva, Hoysala King Ballala III married Alupa princess Chikkayi Tāyi, and exercised  Hoysala authority over the Barakuru. An inscription dated 1336 CE at Mudukeri, Barakuru suggests that Chikkayi Tāyi, Senior queen of Vira Ballala Devarasa ruled over Barakuru at that time.

Vijayanagara rule
The Vijayanagara Kings based in Hampi deputed Governors to rule the Barakuru province. Inscriptions of the period  found at Barakuru, represent the reign of Vijayanagara Kings from Bukka I and there on wards.

Reference

Vasantha Shetty, B, Dr (2006). Barakuru: A Metropolitan city of antiquity its history and culture. (Thesis  submitted for doctoral degree in 1984).  Published by Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy, Tulu Bhavana, Urva Stores, Mangaluru-575006  p.xvi+ 296. (Price:  Rs.800.)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

386 . ‘Amba pāđuni’ – A catchword of action in Tulu

Folkways!  It denotes the ways of living, thinking and acting in a human group, built up without conscious design but serving as compelling guides of conduct.  So, it is descriptive of a unique characteristic of a social group.

Aamba/Ambe Paaduni
When I came across the term mentioned in the introductory para, I remembered the phrase ‘Amba/Ambe Pāđuni’(ಅಂಬ/ಅಂಬೆ ಪಾಡುನಿ) in Tulu.  Even a half century or so after its near extinction, the Ramponi and its high-spirited cry of action ‘Amba/Ambe’ in Ambe Pāđuni’ has been haunting my mind. It is more so because of the inscrutable sound of concord for moving and lowering the Ramponi  boat, called Pađavu' (ಪಡಾವು), to sea and pulling it up from sea.
A ‘kontala (ಕೊಂತಲ = small boat) is sent to the sea, manned by two or three skilled and experienced  persons, with keen eyes, to look out for shoals of fish, moving towards break-water area.  On discovering the shoals, the headman signals to men waiting on shore, gesturing the length and breadth of shoals and showing the direction for covering the nets.  Normally, it is a secret signal so as not to be understood by rival Ramponi’s kontala.  The call of ‘amba’ stirs the members resting in shades of groves on the shore. Commotion and enthusiasm ensue on the discovery.  Ethically, as an unwritten law of the community, rival ramponi is not allowed to snatch these shoals detected by the first one but sometimes small skirmishes arise due to misunderstanding.

History of Ramponi
The coastal fishing method of ‘Ramponi’ style was more powerful, vigorous and popular. It was giving livelihood to all, besides the community people. It was successful up to the last leg of 20th Century.  It is documented that this method of catching fish was introduced in the first decade of 20th Century in Goa by Ramponi, a Portuguese missionary and hence the name ‘Ramponi’ for this fishing method. It may be true that such type of catching shoals of fish was originated in Goa but we deduce that the random fishing (without waiting for shoals of fish) must have been there even earlier in western coastal belt. We see that small version, named ‘Kairamponi’, is still extant.
The introduction of mechanized boats for fishing proved a death-knell for traditional shoreline fishing.  This is mainly because of fall in shoals of fish coming shore-ward because of disturbance.
‘Ramponi Fund’ is an organization, created on unique co-operative principle (when no co-operative laws were in place then). It is for coastal fishing and managing its moneys for the benefit of its members, including Hamgamies (temporary workers without contributing to stock of the Fund).
We do not wish to burden the article with descriptive sketch as our purpose is to explain the meaning of ‘amba or ambe paaduni’.  How the system works can be visualized by reading the Book: ಮೊಗವೀರ ಸಮಾಜ – ಒಂದು ಅಧ್ಯಯನ (Mogaveera Community – A Study)’.  It is also available on Internet, both in Kannada and English.

Etymology
The phrase is not known outside the world of fisherfolk and the people connected with them.  This vocabulary of Tulu language is now included in the Tulu Lexicon; thanks to the Compilers!  But we differ with the Lexicon as it generalized the meaning whereas it has a specific connotation.  Let us explore the distinctive description.

Amba paaduni = Rowers’ song (TL Vol.1, pg. 27)
Amba/Ambe/Ambo = Bellowing, lowing, a cry, noise, cry of a cow.  In children’s vocabulary, ‘amba’ means cow.
Amba also means:  Divine Mother like Goddess Bhavani or Mahalakshmi.
Ambe Kaar Paaduni (Tulu Lexicon, page 31) & Ambgaalikku, Ambalikku Ambegalisu (Kannada) = Child’s crawl on hands and knees.  Eg. ಆನೆ ಮರಿಯವೊಲಂಬೆಗಲಿಸಿ ನಡೆದ ಕೃಷ್ಣಮ್ (Aane mariyavolambegalasi nadeda  Krishnam = Krishna crawled (awkwardly) like a child-elephant).
English equivalent to ‘Amba Pāduni:
Yo-heave-ho = It is a chant shouted by sailors to maintain a steady rhythm when hauling something together.  So, it is a cry in rhythm formerly used by sailors while pulling or lifting together.

Clearly, rhythmic   songs of rowers and sailors are different from Amba-yali utterances in ‘Amba Pāduni’.  These are exhorting utterances for pushing, pulling, raising or lifting of such big boats loaded with nets for lowering it to sea.  It is a speech for action by a skilled leader, showing high spirits. To avoid striking of padāvu (resting on logs of wood called  ’ dade/tade) to sandy ground, he moves around up and down to goad members to start and stop as and when necessary. The boisterous sound is full oflife, vitality or high spirits.
The bending, lifting or raising and pushing, using human body is like a child’s awkward crawl, measuring up in unison to the catchword utterances. The 'Amba' call is met with 'Hi Josh, Hi Josh' by men concentrating their energy by backing the Padaavu on both sides to raise and push. When padaavu starts moving, the echoing sound ‘yaali yaali’ (ಯಾಲಿ, ಯಾಲಿ) continues. Visualize this unified action from the picture, put   elsewhere in this article.

Tulu & Kannada Catchword Chants
O aalambeyaali, Elambe yaali, Aile yaali, Chambon embar yaali, Javanere marji yaali, Bandor baare yaali, Jor javana yaali, Kiniyaan maareyaali,C hiniyaanmaarae yaali, Yaalsolama yaali, Yaalre salama yaali, Deen solama yaali, Kaabanre (Captain) baage yaali, etc.
Reflecting on these utterances, we can infer that they are like an echolalia, i.e. the imitation by a baby of the vocal sounds produced by others.  It is not worthwhile to divine any meanings to such expressions.  Nevertheless, we can deduce some story occurred in the past.  There were instances in coastal history of rubbing shoulders with strangers with fisherfolk by drawing inference from words like, Aile (Mackeral in Byari Bhase), Din, Dinre, or Dinar, Alla, Solom or Salaam (Arabs), Kiniyaan (Kenya), Chin (Cheena), kaabarne or captain (of foreign  ships of marine trade of yore), etc. Later, new ‘Amba’ chants were coined to make fun on idiosyncrasies of people in a village or neighbouring villages.  These are based on dress, appearances and peculiar habits.

Summing up
‘Amba’ is invoking per se the mother’s love.  Readers are best judges to decide whether this statement comports with facts. ‘Amba, amba, amba paadula (ಅಂಬ, ಅಂಬ, ಅಂಬ ಪಾಡುಲ) is just like a call of loving mother, putting food or other attractive things in front of her child.  When she moves her child sitting on lap or legs, she repeats the word: aane, aane (ಆನೆ, ಆನೆ = elephant), bale aane, aane.   Accustomed to this expression, child moves to and fro without the help of mother.   Fisherfolk considers rivers and seas as ‘Gangamāta’ (Mother Ganga) and naturally, some of them regionally have assumed Gangamatastha, Gangakula or Gangaputra as caste names. 
“Every day begins with an act of courage and hope, getting out of bed.”  This is an aphorism by the renowned US Aphorist Mason Cooley (b. 1927).  This aptly applies to these toilers of sea, who are not slugabeds.

References
1. ‘Folkways’: Dictionary.com (based on Random House Dictionary).   It is a term used by W.G. Sumner in his Book of the same Title (1907).
2.  Ambegaalikku: Kannada Champu Nudigannadi by Dr. P.V. Narayana
3.  Mason Cooley: Columbia World of Quotations.

-Hosabettu  Vishwanath (Pune)

July 19, 2017

Sunday, May 21, 2017

385. Kāpri-gudda and Kāpri-deva


The heritage land of Tulunadu has preserved many vestiges of ancient cults in the form of Spirit worships. However, during the course of passage of time it is likely that certain ancient Spirit aspects were forgotten from the mass heritage inadvertently.  Some of these inadvertent omissions are either, rather surprisingly, preserved in ancient place names or preserved in altered or evolved   divine  forms  in regions in the neighborhood.

Kapri gudda
Let us take example of the place name Kāpri guDDa in Mangaluru. It is a local place located to the east of Attavara, specifically behind (or East of) Casa Grande Apartment Complex or South of Falnir and Highland areas. In an earlier Post 273, I suggested that Kapri or Khapri was an ancient Spirit insect form which  can be traced to some of the ancient African cultures. It is probable that in the antiquity, ancient  migrating human tribes, who  traveled great distances on a prolonged  course of time, on foot, in search of better pastures, carried their belief systems also to the places of their new settlements in Coastal India.

In olden days we had people named after Kapri, Kaprianna, Kapira, Kampara etc. Now a days usage of such tribal proper names have  declined.



Kapri or Khapri deva
 Somehow it appears that there are no remains of physical evidence of worship of Spirit Kapri existing in Kaprigudda, Mangaluru, except for the preserved place name. However, in Karwar in Uttara Kannada district, we can find the absolute evidences for the worship of cult of Kapri or "Khapri-deva" in a shrine exclusively dedicated to him. Once in a year, some specific local communities engage in the worship of this God known as Khapri deva locally. The shrine dedicated to Khapri-deva has been renovated in the recent years as you can see in the pictures enclosed in this Post.



(Acknowledgement: Thanks to Shri Panduranga V. Nayak, Ankola, Uttara Kannada- for providing the photos of the shrine).


R

Monday, May 8, 2017

384. Menda or Mendan Bari - lineage

The Mendan (Mendon) is one of the bari   lineages or surnames commonly found in Tulu communities of the Tulunadu/West Coast. Though the “Mendon” bari lineage is mainly distributed among Mogaveer and Sapaliga communities, other sister communities have allied bari names, such as “Menda” in Bunts. Infact the word Menda+an (≥ Mendon) is equivalent of the word Menda, since suffix –an  is added in Old Tulu /Old Kannada to indicate a male person.
However, the Menda or Mendan surname/subcaste is not exclusive to Tulunadu. We find the Menda subcaste among Telugu speaking Velama Kshatriyas of Andha Pradesh/Telangana.

Menda villages in India
Once upon a time the Menda appear to have been distributed in many parts of the country as we can see in the distribution of some 27 village names that begin with Menda in different state such as Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharshtra, Meghalaya, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Uttara Khand. The Menda village names include Menda, Mendal Mendadi, Mendaki, Mendara, Mendaraka, Mendamal, Mendauli, Mendawali, Mendadi-konda, Mendan-kallur, Mendakwas, Mendarbahar, Menda-kheda, Mendangi,   Mendabeda  and  Mendapalle  etc.

Totem Menda
It appears the Menda was an ancient   tribal totem to begin with. The Menda in Pali/ Prakrit langauge means a ram.
In early cultures the ram appears to be a specially respected animal. As we find that the ram is the symbol of zodiac month of Aries or Mesha. Further the ram is considered an astral symbol of rulership.  Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac, which signifies the ram-like attributes of leadership, authority, and other forefather-type characteristics.
Menda (Pali) =ram (intact male sheep).  Menda/ Mendan:  Totem of ram
Rams are male bighorn sheep, animals that live in the mountains and often settle arguments with fights that include ramming their heads into others. Not to be confused with mountain goats, rams can be identified by their long, curved horns; long fur; and split hooves.
The sheep (Ovis aries) is a quadrupedal, ruminant mammal typically kept and reared as livestock. An adult male sheep is called a ram and an adult female sheep is a ewe. Rams are intact male sheep used to breed ewes. Rams are often bigger, more muscular and have larger horns than ewes.

Genetic significance
It is interesting that two versions of the bari lineage namely the Menda (among Bunts) and Mendan (among Mogaveers) exist in Tulunadu side by side. Since the ancient tribes were known to migrate from place to place in search of better pasture and living conditions, we can presume the two versions suggest two separate episodes of immigration into Tulunadu. There is a distinct possibility that the soldiers (kshatriya) from Tulunadu might have migrated to Telugu areas and settled or vice versa.

The retention of the Prakrit Pali name Menda probably also reflects the period of immigration of these tribes into Tulunadu. In Karnataka and Tulunadu it has been deduced that the Prakrit/Pali was the administraative language of the region in the early centuries of the Common Era   probably upto 300 or 400 CE.  The –an suffix in “Mendan”  is a chacteristic of the Old Tulu/Old Kannada/Dravidian languages prevailing during the early centuries of the Common Era. These inferences may be useful in deducing the period of immigrantion of the tribes which can be fine tuned further based on other corroborative evidences.

African  source of origin?
Geneological studies trace most of the tribes to an origin of   ancient African homeland. It is interesting to note that ethnic groups named as Mende can be found among Mande tribes of African countries like Sierra Leone and Southern Province. One of the reference sources suggest that the African meaning of the term Mende is a warrior. Incidentally, it has certain parallelism with the term Pali term Menda which represents a ram an animal of warrior attitude.

R

Friday, April 28, 2017

383. Bobrudeva in Bobruwada


The West Coast of India especially the Uttara Kannada district, shares several aspects of cultural history and evolution with Dakshina Kannada - Udupi ( literally, Tulunadu) though language differs in these region. The features of  worshipping ancient Spirit forms and other tribal deities has been a common phenomenon, though vestiges of ancient cults are gradually undergoing changes or evolution in the course of time.

In the post 381 we discussed about the character of   Babru- vāhana that has appeared in the epic Mahabharata.

Bobru-deva
In the suburb of Ankola town in Uttara Kannada district, we can find a village known as “Bobru-Wāda”. One of the interesting features of this village is a temple dedicated to “Bobru-deva”.  
Bobrudeva, idol at Bobruwada, Ankola.

Entrance to the temple of Bobrudeva, Bobruwada, Ankola


The temple houses a black   idol of Bobru-deva in sitting posture. The people around told that the new idol was installed about six years ago. The earlier image had a ferocious façade like those of rakshas characters; but the present idol has a pleasant face.

It appears that Bobru was a martyred hero, who was worshipped as a spirit after his lifetime. In the rural tribal people of the region, the Bobru, and Babri etc are known to be the common names, though nowadays the trends are changing in favor of modern style personal names.

Bobbarya
In Tulunadu, Bobbarya is a well known Spirit deity. The origin of the name of the Spirit Bobbarya has been obscure and controversial. One gets a feeling whether the name Bobbarya  was derived from or related to the tribal name of Bobru or the Bobba.
R


Thursday, March 30, 2017

382. Gudi Padva

Gudi Padwa was celebrated in Maharashtra on 28th March 2017. It is being celebrated in Karnataka on 29th by those who are following Lunar Calendar (Chandramana Almanac, based on movements of Moon). Our Hearty Greetings on this auspicious day, which is celebrated in different names all over India.

Legendary stories from Puranas are attached to this hoisting of Welcome Flag, to usher in the New Year.  It is called as Brahma Dwaja, raised to  mark the creation of the Universe by Lord Brahma.
Gudi Padva (image courtesy  www.shumee.in)


History about Gudi Padva is clubbed with Karnata-Maratha-Telugu cultures. In Maharashtra, Gudi Padwa means first festival falling on the first day of first  Lunar month of Chaitra Shukla Pratipada according to Hindu Calendar. It is known as Ugadi (Chandramana) in Karnataka.
 Special food offerings are made while worshipping the Gudi.   Gudi = Flag is hoisted by Hindu Householders on this auspicious day. Gudi comprises: a new sari-like cloth with brocades in deep green or yellows colours, decorated with Neem and Mango leaves, garland of sugar crystal (Sakar Gathi) and (red) flowers. It is attached to a Bamboo Pole.  This pole top is covered by inverting a copper or steel Kalash as pinnacle. 

It is raised in commemoration of victory of Vikramaditya over Shakas (Scytians) when a New Era, styled Shalivahana Saka, was started.  There is controversy over the actual King Vikrama or Vikramaditya (Bhoja, Gupta or Chalukya dynasties) or Shalivahana of Satavahana dynasty of Pratisthanapura. 

Every year, mostly all newspapers bring out Special Souvenirs on this day.  Normally, nowadays people know the rituals but not the historical value. At such festival times, people think it is auspicious to buy gold and ornaments.  It has acquired commercial value as these Souvenirs depend on ads from Jewellers. 

-Hosabettu Vishwanath

Saturday, March 25, 2017

381. In search of Babru vāhana

Babru vāhana (or Babhru vāhana) was a son of Arjuna born of Manipur princess Chitrangada in the great epic of Mahabhārata. The heroic character of Babru vāhana has been made ever unforgettable by the superior histrionics of the well known veteran actor Dr Rajkumar in a Kannada movie. In Mahabharata, the valiant son Babru vahana fights against his father Arjuna on the trail of Ashwamedha.

Inspite of popularity of this particular mythological character, the essential meaning of the unusual word “babru” has remained elusive and mysterious. The suffix vāhana in the word Babruvahana represents a vehicle, essentially an animal motif well entrenched in the Indian tradition.
Thus mooshika vāhana means the one riding on a “mooshika” (=rat); mayura vāhana represents the one who travels on a mayura (=peacock), and similarly we have Nandi vāhana (nandi=bull), Simha vāhini (simha= lion)   and so on. Thus the term Babru vāhana   suggests   that the prefix   babru   is an animal. Then what exactly is the animal babru?

Totem Babru,   the mongoose
The Pali-English dictionary throws light on the meaning of the word babru. The entry on “babbu” (in page number 536) explains that babhruka in Sanskrit represent an ichneumon. The ichneomon includes animals such as mangoose, otter or beaver which was considered an enemy of dragons and crocodiles in mythology. 
In Rig Veda the word “babhru” apparently represented   the brown (color). The word “babhru” was also found in Akkadian language but it was without any clear meaning. Liny Srinivasan (2011) has reported that Prof Gordon applied the purported Vedic meaning (brown) to Akkadian word”.  

Totem Mongoose
Obviously, this leads us to a   natural confusion whether we should take babru as an animal or a color. However the name of the character Babru vāhana clearly connotes that it is a live vehicle (animal) like other mythical vahanas described in the epics. Therefore, the babhru should have been an animal most probably the common mongoose.
The serpent (Nāga) is being venerated since antiquity by numerous tribes and the traditional practice continues to date. The Nāga was the totem for many of the ancient tribes. It is possible that mongoose was also a traditional tribal totem though there is paucity of historical documented data on this aspect.
Mongoose (Babru) is a daring animal that fights against the serpent valiantly and this feature should have appealed to some of the ancient tribes to adopt it as totem.

Extention of idea with time
It is   reported   that in Rigveda, the word “babhru” refers to color of deep brown or reddish brown. The deep brown incidentally is also the color of the skin of mongoose and allied creatures.  It not clear whether the connotation of brown color was adapted from the skin color   of the animal babhru.

However, with passage of time the term “babhru” has been applied in different ways such that the original Pali/Prakrit meaning of the word has almost been lost.  Hosabettu Vishwanath has gathered a number of additional meanings implied to the word "babhru". Summarizing his data,  the term “babhru”  found to have been applied apparently in post-Mahabharata  Sanskrit  literature as follows:

1.  A   lover of red flowers, like lotus. ( Alludes to 'the Sun'.)
2.  A   reddish yellow, to red rays of dawn. ( The epithet for Sun who rides on Aruna)
3.  A   thunderbolt. (Thus the one who rides over a thunderbolt' is Indra the God of sky.)
4.  A tolerant, merciful sustainer of Universe (Vishnu).
5.  A reddish brown cow (Alludes to Shiva on a bull)
6.  Babhravi  - is a form of Goddess  Durga.
7.  Babhruka - is a constellation of stars.

These extention of the ideas to the term Babhru/Babhru-vahana, variously attribute the implied meanings to Sun, Vishnu or Shiva or even Durga. However we do not get such extended ideas in Mahabharata,   wherein Arjuna confronts his son Babhru Vahana. In other words Mahabharata does not projects the Arjunas' son Babhru-Vahana as an incarnation or form of Sun, Vishnu or Shiva or else.

Therefore, it would be apt to restrict the original meaning of the word Babhru to an animal like mongoose or a mythical dragon as implied in the Pali dictionary. The implication of a dragon appears logical as Manipur the homeland of Babhru Vahana of Mahabharata has had certain geographic affinity   to China.

Babba
The entry of the word “babba” as an accepted synonym for “babru’ (or babhru) in Pali- English Dictionary cited above is quite interesting. Incidentally the term “Babba”   is a common pet name for boys in many regions including the Tulu nadu. Such pet names appear to have been inherited from days of our tribal cultures.

Babruwada
It is interesting to note that one of the habitations (hamlet) within Ankola town near Karwar in Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka, is known as “Babruwada”. Within the colony there is a small shrine devoted to the deity known as Babru!
(I could not verify the exact present form and nature of the deity Babru - especially whether it has been transformed to any of our current Vedic forms).  However, it is clear that the worship of Babru is vestige of an   ancient practice inherited from the history.

Cult of   Akkadian   Origin?
It is possible that the Babru worship cult arrived in the West Coast (such as Ankola) along with ancient tribal immigrants during the ancient history. The existence of the word “Babru” in Akkadian (as cited above) leads me to such a suggestion.
There is another parallel example of ancient worship of exotic deity Kapri near Kadwada near Karwar, Uttara Kannada. The original cult of Kapri can also be traced to the ancient African insect deity Kapri. Traces of the forgotten cult of ancient Kapri worship can also be tracked in the city of Mangaluru, where we find a locality named as Kapri gudda, near Attavara.

Babba, Babra Villages
Coming back to the ancient forgotten totem cult of   Babru/Babba we find villages not less than   18 named as Babra or after Babba (Babrala, Babrana, Babrani, Babrapur, Babbanpur Babbidi, Babbalpur, Babbur Babruliang etc) in various parts of India, such as Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Maharshtra, Rajastan, Uttar Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.

Inferences
Based on the analysis of the available data, it appears that the ancient tribal name Babru    ( ~ Babba)  possibly represented mongoose which was an animal totem for some of the ancient  tribes of India.  The remnants of tribal cult of   Babru worship (similar to the remnant cult of Kapri) existing sporadically in the West Coast  of Karnataka appears to have prevailed among the ancient immigrant tribes from the African countries.


References
Liny Srinivasan, Dr. (2011) Desi words speak of the Past. Indo  Aryans in the ancient Near East.  572  p.  (also in Google  books.)
Rhys Davids, T.H   and William Stede [Editors]: (1921-25). The Pali -English Dictionary. The  Pali   Text   Society. 813p.


R

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 Culture.by 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 !