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”. (bari ≥ balli).
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.