Saturday, September 30, 2017

390. Valencia in Mangaluru

One of the localities in Kankanādi area in the southern part of Mangaluru city (formerly: Mangalore) is known as Valencia. Very few of our readers may be aware of the history relating to how the place name was derived.
In fact, the Valencia happens to be   the name of a famous metropolitan city located in the east coast of Spain in Europe.

A website of the Valencia Church of  Mangaluru throws light on the history of this place and the origin of the interesting place name. The hilly area surrounded by dense vegetation was also known as Beary-palke or Gorigudda. The old name  Gorigudda reveals that   it was used for burial of the dead bodies.

In the beginning of the 20th century, there was no church for the villagers of Kankanādi and Jeppu region. People had to depend on   Milagres   or Rosario churches for their religious needs. The Madras Government of the period sanctioned 5.73 Acres of land in an area used for burial ground in Beary - palke   or Gorigudda   in the Kankanādi village. Accordingly, the Muncipal  council  handed over the  land to Bishop of  Mangaluru.  Initially, Rosario cathedral erected boundary walls around the burial ground and later the Milagres parish authorities renovated the cemetery in the year 1923 followed by erection of a wooden cross in the premises by the  Rosario administration in the year 1928.

Later in the year 1935, Bishop  V.R.  Fernandes approved the proposal for building a church in  the  Beary palke   cemetery plot. He decreed that the new church be named in honour of St. Vincent Ferrar, a European Saint, who hailed from the city of Valencia in Spain. The foundation of the church was laid on September 24, 1942 and the construction was completed and religious ceremonies were begun since January 1944.

The rest is part of the history. Along with growth of the Mangaluru city, the name of the church spread to the entire surrounding area which is now  known as Valencia. Along with Valencia the old name Gorigudda also survives even to date.


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’).

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).

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.

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.

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.


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

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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