|Beauty of Temple chariot (Ratha or Teru), Mundkuru.|
Ooru (or Ūru) is a common Dravidian word for village or habitation and it occurs as a suffix in many South Indian place names as a suffix (or last part of the word).
Comparatively, there are also several ancient village names in coastal Tulunadu that end with a suffix of –kūru. For example: Nandikūru, Mundkūru, Balkuru, Barkuru, Saukūru.. etc. Similar –kūru ending place names are common place in the eastern parts of peninsular Andhra Pradesh/Telangana region.
Now, what was the difference between Ūru and Kūru? Or why some village-names were chosen and named with the suffix of –kūru, while simple suffix of Ūru would have been suffice?
Some readers may confuse the suffix: kūru with kuru. The ‘kuru’ (as in Kurukshetra), means a hilly region, whereas kūru (ku+ūru) is an alternate compound form of the common Dravidian word ūr (or oor ). The kuru (and its alternate form, kor) is a part of tribal group names such as Kor, Korava, Koraga etc.
Village names such as Athikur, Bailkur, Balkur, Barkur, Betkur, Bhankur, Chowkur, Halkur, Huskur, Kandakur, Karekura, Tumkur, Nandikūru, Mundkūru, Balkuru, Barkuru, Saukūru.. in Karnataka and Agomothkur, Andukuru, Anukuru, Atmakuru, Bhuthkur, Chillakur, Ikhuru, Kondikur, Modukuru, Nadakuru, Birkoor etc in Andhra Pradesh serve as some of the examples for villages ending with -kūru suffix.
Kūru: an analysis
Thus, the suffix word/component kūru can be analysed as: ku+ūru. Regarding the meaning of the component ku here, there can be two possible answers:
1. The suffix tag of -ka (or -ku or -ki ) was one of the oldest decipherable habitation indicator tag, which was used in those days of early civilization, to refer to a small human colony or habitation of say less than about 100 people. Village names like: Baraka, Bekha, Booka, Dabka, Gokak, Hebbaka, Kabaka, Moka etc in different parts of Karnataka can be offered as examples for ancient village names ending with -ka . Here the suffix –ka or -kha represents a habitation or a tiny ancient village.
2. In some of the ancient Indian languages, a prefix tag of “ku” served to mean good, beautiful, auspicious etc. For example: the ancient word “kumāra” was formed by joining, ku and māra.
Of the two options discussed above, the first one appears realistic as there are many ancient habitation names ending with -ka, -kh, -ke, -ki or -ku. ( For example: Kabaka, Moka, Gokak, Alike,Belke,Barke, Kukke,Jowku etc).
Small ancient habitations
Human evolution grew in the form of small habitations and these colonies were designated with simple suffix tags that ended with ka (or its phonetic variants) or with similarly simpler consonants such as: ta, pa sa, ya ..etc. We shall cover more these aspects in some of our forthcoming posts. Primitive words were simpler consonants which evolved with time to form more complex words.
Antiquity of word Ūr ( Oor)
The word Ūr ( or Oor) has widely accepted as a common word for village in Dravidian languages including Tulu. However, the word does not appear to be the exclusive property of Dravidian languages of India. Sumerian civilization, that flourished some 6000 years ago in Mediterranean region had a town known as Ur!. This confirms that about 6000 years before present the word Ur existed in Mediterranean region also! Whether the ancient Dravidians borrowed the word Ur from the ancient Sumerians or vice versa can only be finalized after intensive research into the available historical data. But the fact remains that Uru was a global word that existed at least since 6000 years.
Evolution of -kuru suffix
The discussion above leads us to conclude that the spatial suffixes like -kuru grew as the human settlements grew in population and size. Words like Uru represented evolved villages that possibly contained hundreds of people. As the size and strength of the human colonies increased new words like –uru (= village) were added to the old habitation names that previously ended with a simple suffix such as -ka.
In other words the original or older village names were Mundaka, Nandika, Baraka etc which later with addition of –uru suffix, became Mundkūru, Nandikūru, Barkūru .. etc.
(Notes: Munda refers to the name of an ancient tribe; Nandi= a bull ; or Nanda = a tribe; Bāra= an estuary; river mouth at sea beach)
Antiquity of spatial suffix -ka
Our proposed model of evolution of habitation/village names based on the sequence of affixation of spatial tags of -uru over –ka, suggests that the suffix -ka might be much more older than -uru , may be about 10,000 years old . Similar to the word Ur, the suffix ka is not only ancient but also global in extent as you can find similar suffix tags in African/Mediterranean ancient country names such as : Iraq , Morocco, etc.
|The josh of temple festivities, Mundkuru, Udupi district, Karnataka.|