Wednesday, January 25, 2017

377. Kirodian and Baghe bari s’

The names of ancient bari groups in Tulunadu are often sound strange as they do not have any meaning in the languages currently prevailing in the region. Let us examine the meaning of the bari name “Kirodian” and “Bāghe” - as found in some bari lineages in the communities of Tulunadu.

Ancient tribal bari s’
In the earlier posts we have explained that “bari” lineage groups actually pre-date the formation and recognition of communities (and castes) in Tulunadu. The word “bari“ means a house in Munda languages which were existing in Tulunadu before the domination of Tulu language.
The word bari means side in Tulu. However, this was not the original meaning of the word adopted in the Tulu bari system.
The interpretation that bari (=house) tallis with other similar type of lineage systems prevailing in the surrounding regions. Note that the lineage system similar to Tulu bari system is known as illam (=house) in Malayalam in Kerala. Besides, the similar concept of family house known as “Taravad”   inherited from Buddhist culture also prevails in the West Coast.  As a corollary we can presume that “balli” lineage system prevailing in coastal Kannada areas is a modified form of the word “bari”. (bariballi).
Some of the bari s’ have derived from the names of ancient tribes as and when their members immigrated and settled in Tulunadu: In other words the immigrants who settled in Tulunadu in the antiquity were recognized by the particular name given to their houses. For example: the Bangera bari has been derived from the Banga tribes. (Post  374).

Totem bari s’
In the early days of civilization, the tribes formed a collective colony of huts obviously for the sake of community living as well as for the sake of security against the attack of wild animals and predators.  At the entrance of such colonies, usually a   post   or pillar carrying a specific  animal symbol were placed to identify the totem cult of the colony and distinguish it from other similar colonies. Thus each colony had its own symbol for identification. Such animal symbols were known as “totems”.
It is interesting that when people from specific totem colonies migrated and settled in other areas such as places in Tulunadu their houses were subsequently recognized by the name of their totems. Such bari s’ derived from the names of ancient totems in Tulunadu include Sanil or Chanil (≥Chanilannaya) or Kundachannaya which is named after the ancient totem of rabbit; Talyanna or Salian, which is named after the totem of spider and so on.

Kirodian: totem tiger
The meaning of   the term “Kirodian” as a  bari   can be found in the totems of some of the Munda languages such as Kharia now living in the State of Madhya Pradesh. The word “Kiro(g)“  means  a tiger in Kharia language, a member of Austro-Asiatic Munda group of languages.  There are many evidences for the existence of Munda communities in the ancient Tulunadu which we have discussed in older Posts. Therefore, the Kirodian bari represents the ancient totem of tiger.
Baghe: totem tiger
There are bari surname variants such as Bage, Bagettan, Bagettannaya, Bage setti, etc in some of the present day communities of Tulunadu and these are based on the ancient totem of Baghe.  Bāgh (=tiger) is a totem of Bhaina and Savar tribes, members of ancient Austro- Asiatic Munda tribes.
It is interesting to note that two different ancient words both representing the ancient totem of the wild animal tiger in different but related ancient languages exists in the communities of Tulunadu.  In a way, these fossil words have survived as keys to the enigmatic and mysterious ancient history of the Tulunadu.

Assimilation of cults
Historians have noted that during the evolution of the cults, the ancient   animistic tribal totems have been eventually adopted and absorbed as vehicles of Gods in our culture. It is evident that the totem of tiger (variously named in tribal languages), has been adapted as the vehicle of Goddess of Durga.  

This illustration of assimilation of theological concepts in our land  also serves as an example for understanding the essence of Indian culture which has accommodated itself to embrace the diverse concepts into its fold during the prolonged course of evolution of heritage and culture.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

376. Bay Soppu to Bay leaves

The other day a word caught my imagination.  The word is ‘Bay leaves’, which is printed on the wrapper of an established manufacturer and exporter of Indian snacks., as one of the ingredients of the snack.  I took it as ‘bay-soppu’ (ಬೇ/ಬೇಯ್ ಸೊಪ್ಪು),which has been in use both in Tulu and Kannada. Hence my surprise for the English usage of  'bay’.

English-English-Kannada dictionary gives the meaning of ‘bay’ as a kind of tree, besides other meanings.  Bay leaves, therefore, means leaves of that tree. There are variety of trees under ‘bay’ category. It leads to confusion.
There is an Entry in Webster’s Dictionary for ‘bay leaf’.  It means ‘an aromatic leaf of the laurel tree, dried and used as a spice in cooking.’   There is also a word ‘bay-berry’, commonly used (1) for any of several shrubs, as the wax myrtle, with wax coated berries or (2) for a tropical tree, yielding an oil used in ‘bay rum’.

Bay Soppu
‘Bay/Bey’ (ಬೇ/ಬೇಯ್) means ‘to boil, fry or cook’ in both Tulu and Kannada.  Soppu (ಸೊಪ್ಪು) means leaves. The bay - soppu is same as ‘kari- bevu’ (ಕರಿ ಬೇವು), i.e. leaves used in cooking for flavor. It is commonly  known as ‘curry leaves’ in English.

Spice Trade
Trading in spices was the profitable marine trade, engaged  firstly by Arabs and afterwards by Europeans, in Indian coasts, especially with merchant-producers and middlemen in West Coast of South India.The word ‘bay soppu’ voyaged to Arabia and thence spread to Europe.

So, we deduce that loaning of word must have happened during medieval marine trade. Hence the English version of ‘Bay leaves’ or ‘Curry leaves’.  Our averment should not be taken as ‘it is all a joke’. The bay soppu speaks for itself.

Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune

Monday, January 16, 2017

375. Katte & Padma katte

Certain words become ubiquitous, mainly because of their utility or usage in social, cultural and economic activities. ‘Kaţtţe’ is one such word which is seen in many Indian languages.  Word ‘mārukaţţe’, used in Tulu or Kannada, has entered English language as ‘market’ because of marine trade in western coast of South India in the past.
Besides the kaţţe, there is also a word ‘padma-kaţţe’ in Tulu, which is used for specific purpose. This purpose-specific word may engage a young mind, away from his root, for a while to ponder over its significance.

It means a high place or platform, erected or constructed for any specific purpose.  So, we come across many compound words with kaţţe as suffix or rarely as prefix. These kaţţes’   may be permanent or temporary structures suiting to seasons.
In general, the kaţţe means tied, surrounded structures of earth or stones to sit upon, embankment, dam across a river, causeway, bund of tank or platform built under tree on village green. (See DED entry #1147on page 108 and also entries in Tulu Lexicon).
There are shaded shelters under a tree for travellers on road sides.  In olden days, kings, local chieftains, religious-minded or righteous persons used to construct such structure for free use for resting.  Ashoka’s inscriptions give names of places where such ‘Dharma Chhatras’ are built for the convenience of travelers and   passers-by during his reign.  
We shall discuss some of the kaţţe examples around us:

Vasanta Pooja kaţţe, Nāga kaţţe & kaţţe Nema:
Besides kaţţes alongside roads, there are Vasanta-kaţţes (Platforms built around a peepal or banian tree) at different squares and lanes around a temple. The idol of particular deity is taken in procession as a part of seasonal Temple Festivals.  It is kept on such a kaţţe for worship by devotees. 
At some kaţţes,   snake figures carved on stones,  are kept for worship. They are known as ‘Nāga or Nāgara kaţţe’.
Annual celebrations, called as ‘kaţţe nema’, are held at some kaţţe s for Divine Spirits. These deities are believed by a local village or group of villages (māganes).

Sante kaţţe / Māru kaţţe   (ಸಂತೆಕಟ್ಟೆ/ಮಾರುಕಟ್ಟೆ)
This is a fixed trading or market place for a variety of items in a village, town or city at regular intervals.

Sunkada kaţţe /Sāyira kaţţe  (ಸುಂಕದಕಟ್ಟೆ/ಸಾಯಿರಕಟ್ಟೆ):
A toll/ custom/ Tax collecting place. (Post-358 of 2nd April 2016 on ‘Sayer or Sayir’ gives further insight into the topic).

Katte for Office or Post on road side:
Near Police stations, there are check posts at specific junctions.
Anche kaţţe (ಅಂಚೆಕಟ್ಟೆ):
 A Post  Office.  In the past, we have seen the cases of one Post-man from a Post Office serving several villages around.  Before the introduction of cycles, he had to walk fast or run to deliver letters, telegrams, parcels, etc.

Solakada kaţţe (Kannada: Harate- kaţţe):
A regular  place for   meeting or   gossiping.  It is also called ‘adda’ in slang/media terminology where wide spectrum  of social figures – big   or small - are interviewed by media people from time to time. It is not to be confused with ‘adda/adde’ (= den) used for illegal activities, such as bootlegging and gambling (betting, matka, playing cards, etc).

Kattes named after people, trees, etc
Tulasi Katte (A platform or pedestal for basil tree in front of houses), Hampana Katte (Mangaluru), Hangara Katte (A port with ship building facilities at the estuary of Seetha river in Kundapur Taluk of Udupi District) and so on.

Pan (=water)+ ga (= gaman, i.e. moving) = Panga>Hanga:  That which is moving on water, i.e.  boat. Pangara>Hangara = One who is working on boat.  Note: Profession itself becomes a class name (Readers may read Post-300 of 30th April, 2012 on our analytical essay on Hangarakatte).

Padma kaţţe
Padma Katte is same as ‘Aravattige’ (ara = room or shelf.  Aravu (= wide and open room/area) + attige (roof-on).  It is a platform or structure made around a tree (mostly around peepal or banian tree) with the intention of providing a shelter or resting place for a way-farer (TL Page153 & Page 1921).  Pure drinking water (with or without jaggery) or butter-milk was being supplied there free of charge to thirsty passersby. 

References in History
The speciality (Brit.) or specialty (USA) of TuluNadu is that such kaţţe s’ are also erected by kings, chieftains and other nobles (Brahmins, landed gentry, local authorities of kings and feudal chieftains).   To show their pomp and pride, these kattes are built nearby ‘Bākimār’ land (bakillda> bakil > baki = in front of house-door or veranda+ mār = agricultural field), invariably near ‘kendali mara’ (Coconut tree yielding red-husked coconuts) on hedge of veranda.  We get references about it in ‘Tulu PaDdanas’ (Oral Verses,  describing heroic-tales - Veera Gatha = ballads of past heroes of Tulu Nadu, who are deified after death).

Bantera Sandhi
We find one such reference in ‘Bantera Sandhi’, i.e. PaDdana on Koti-Chennaya, the twin-brother heroes, who lived in circa 16th C. There was a conversation between Kinnidaru (eldest sister of the heroes) and Koti-Chennaya. She did not see her brothers right from their birth due to disputes between feudal lords. They fled Padumale Palace, after killing insolent Minister Buddyanta of Padumale, and came to Panja for seeking the help of their brother-in-law Payya Baide to get a job in Panja Rajya of Kemara Ballala. She could not recognize the youths, hence did not come out being alone at home.  She requested them to wait outside and sit at assigned place in the veranda, as is vogue in those days, saying:

“If you are:  Brahmins, sit at ‘Padma Katte’ near the ‘Kendali mara (ಕೆಂದಾಳಿಮರ)’; if Bants, sit in the Pandal (ಚಪ್ಪರ) earmarked for Bants (agriculturist class) and   if are members of her community itself, sit on a swing cradle (ತೂಗುಯ್ಯಾಲೆ) at the porch or portico (ಮೊಗಸಾಲೆ).”
At last, she finds that they are her direct brothers.
[Note: There are books on ‘Koti- Chennaya’, based on the paDdana, written by Panje Mangesha Rao, Bannanje Babu Amin, etc. Panje’s translation was in my 6th Standard Kannada Text Book (1950-51).]

Aravattige in Kannada Literature
There is a beautiful stanza in Poet Lakshmeesha’s Classic Poetry ‘Jaimini Bhārata’, a translation of Sage Jaimini’s Sanskrit work. On the advice of Jaimini and Vyasa, King Yudhishthira decides to perform ‘Ashvamedha Yāga’ to ward off the sins of killing cousin Kauravas in Kurukshetra war.  He sends his brothers to different parts of Bharata to win over the kings.  Bhima goes westward with his army and reaches Bhadravathi (ancient Benki pattana, Benkipura or Venkipura in   present Shimoga District).  The name ‘benki’ must have been given on account of red soil, pregnant with iron ore. Bhima and his warriors are wonder-struck with the beauty of the city, nestled in Male Nadu (Sahyadri Range).  They see the arrangement of Padma Kattes or aravattiges, managed by beautiful damsels. The following stanza gives a lucid explanation of mirthful ladies with lotus-like faces, teasing the thirstywarriors who visit their ‘Aravattiges’:

ಬಟ್ಟೆ  ಬಟ್ಟೆಯೊಲಳೆಲ್ಲಿ ಯುಂ   ಕುಳಿರ್ವೆರೆಸಿದರ
ವಟ್ಟಿಗೆಯ  ಸದನಂಗಳಿಂದೆ  ಬಾಗಿಲ್ಗೆ ಪೊರ
ಮಟ್ಟು ಕಲಶಮನೆತ್ತಿ ನೀರೆರೆವ ಕಾಮಿನಿಯರು ಬಾಹು ಮೂಲದೆಡೆಗೆ |
ದಿಟ್ಟಿವರಿವರಿದು  ಮೊಗ  ಮೊರ್ಗುಡಿಸೆ  ಸರಿಸಕಳ
ವಟ್ಟ  ಜಲಧಾರೆ  ಪೊರಸೂಸೆ   ಬಯಲಿಗೆ  ಬಾಯ
ಬಿಟ್ಟು  ನಗಿಸುವರಲ್ಲಿ  ತೃಷೆಯಿಂದ ಬಂದ  ಪಥಿಕರ್ಕಳಾ  ಬಾಲೆಯರನು  ||ಸಂಧಿ 2,ಪದ್ಯ9 ||

Substance of the stanza:
When the travellers asked for water, these beautiful ladies pour water into their palms.  Though the palms are fulland water is falling on the ground, they goon pouring water but the absent-minded visitors, instead of quenching their thirst, are bent on looking agape the physical beauty of the girls. They lift their faces up again and again to catch sight of the fully blossomed breast right from arm-pit (bāhu moola), forgetting to drink and allowing the water go waste. The girls burst into joyous giggling, seeing the predicament of these way-farers.  This is a mirthful experience to both the beautiful ladies and the thirsty warriors.
Note: Description of nature and beauties may not be an exaggeration, made by the Poet Lakshmeesha (lived around 15th-16th C) from Devanoor/Devapura (in Chikamagalur). Earlier poets had a penchant of describing their place of birth with a sense of belonging.

Mystery behind naming
Why this halting and resting place is termed as ‘Padma katte’ in Tulu Nadu? What is the meaning of ‘Padma’, if it is not ‘Water flower/Lotus’?  Could it be ‘Padumara katte’, where ‘padam’ means ‘foot’?  Thus, Padumara > Padma katte means a shelter for passers -by to cool off their heels and refresh with drinking water.
Alternatively, the seat on such a Katte might have been in the shape of a Lotus (Padma) and hence the name ‘Padma katte’. If not, canopy over such a katte was lotus-shaped.

Padma kattehas been a time-honoured practice, which was witnessed by the author during his school days and up to fag end of last Century. Alas, this system has become a thing of the past!  Construction of wide ‘Golden Quadrangular Highways’ with multi-lanes for rapid transport, has uprooted big trees and destroyed roadside ‘kattes’ and houses. Instead, road-side cafes with many facilities are taking care of travellers but with cost.
  Change!  Let us muse over the following wise sayings:
1)   ಕಾಲೋ ಜಗದ್ಭಕ್ಷಕಃ   (Time gulps everything in the world at its will).
2) “Old order changeth   yielding place to new”      (- Lord Tennyson).
3) “Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change “.    (- Thomas Hardy).


-Hosabettu Vishwanath, Pune

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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