Friday, July 6, 2018

406. Ancient lake names: ‘Sandra'/‘Samudra’ (Kannada) and 'See' (German)

 What is common between the English word ‘sea’ and Indian word ‘samudra’ or 'sandra' (Kannada), apart from both represent a large body of saline or marine water? In case you are not aware, both of these words have another shade of meaning: a  fresh water body, a lake or pond especially in land locked regions. Similarly, the German word ‘see’ (related to English word 'sea' in origin) also means a  lake or pond, a land locked fresh water body. We shall discuss implications of these ancient analogous words in spatially remote langauges for lakes located in diverse land locked regions of the world.

The ancient declaration “Vasudaiva kutumbakam” (= the world is one family) clearly connotes that our ancestors were in socio-cultural contact with diverse people from different regions of the world. In other words, people of different region were involved in journeys from their native lands to other regions, apparently for the sheer thrill of exploration or various other reasons including search for better havens, besides basic amenities of food, water, environment, shelter and security. The tribal journeys are described as ‘migrations’ in scientific literature.

Our previous post on the words: Bāhn, bāhana and banḍi (Post No. 405) – [bāhn- German; bāhana-Bengali and banḍi-Dravida] - only documents one of the ways the words have travelled to diverse regions along with ancient people in olden days, acquiring in the process, slight modifications subject to ambient socio-cultural and linguistic environments.

 There is another pattern of dispersion of word based analogous concepts among the ancient people living in diverse regions of the world. We can illustrate this concept, using the meaning and scope of a common word like Sea/Samudra in European and Dravidian languages.
Landlocked fresh water bodies connected to Zurichsee, Switzerland

Scope of meaning of the words: Sea and Samudra
The English word ‘sea’ in general represents a considerably large body of saline water. Similarly the Indian word ‘samudra’ also means the same. In coastal Karnataka, Tulu/Kannada areas, samudra exclusively means the sea like the nearby Arabian sea.
Arabian Sea near St Marys island, off Malpe Udupi coast, Karnataka, India.

However, the English word ‘sea’ also has a meaning of a large body of water like lake or pond. Even though this usage is not prevalent in coastal regions, in mainland Karnataka we can find numerous lakes and ponds designated as ‘samudra’ (or simplified to sandra). Examples like Singa Sandra, Vitta Sandra, Channasandra, Banasandra, Bommasandra, Dwarasamudra etc illustrate this point. (One exceptional usage in coastal region can be found in the name of Rāma-samudra lake at Karkala town, probably named by migrants from Karnataka mainland during the past history.
Strangely enough, the application of the equivalent word representing sea or samudra to lakes is also existing quite commonly in regions of Central Europe. The German equivalent word for sea is ‘see’. In Switzerland we can find numerous lakes called 'see' in German language, like  Zurichsee, Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstättersee in German language),  Bodensee, Untersee, Zugersee, Rotsee  etc.

Migration of the lingual/word concepts
Unlike in the case of words Bāhn, bāhana and banḍi (discussed in previous post here), in this case, we can find the original scope and meaning of the word representing the sea or samudra has been transferred over distant lands in the past history. Since the meaning of lake for the word sea is also found in old English, it probably means that in olden days these  equivalent synonymous words in different languages (such as: sea, see, samudra etc) were used in different parts of the world, for describing smaller stretches of  fresh water bodies like lakes or ponds, especially in land locked regions, in the past. The similar lingual word connotations, for the land locked fresh water bodies, as in this case, were appear to have been carried to different regions by the ancient people migrating from one region to another.

There could be equivalent words, synonymous with sea, see or samudra in other languages for representing lakes. If you are aware of such words you may kindly share with us in this blog.

**   **
 Another related word 'Sagara' is equivalent of the English word ocean. In the modern times, however, the term is also being applied to reservoirs connected with major dams and irrigation projects. For example the Kannambadi reservoir ( KRS near Mysore), is named as Krishnaraja-Sagara. Similarly, we have Nagarjuna-Sagara and Hussain Sagar (Hyderabad) in Telangana/Andhra Pradesh. 

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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