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.

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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

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