Bunt (community)

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Bunt (/ˈbʌnt/, also known as Nadava[1]) are a community from Karnataka, India. They traditionally inhabit the coastal districts of Karnataka[2] and also the neighbouring areas of Kasaragod[3][4] and Kodagu.[5] Sometimes considered to have been the military class and administrative landed gentry of the cultural region of Tulu Nadu,[6] the Bunts today are a largely urbanised community.

Etymology[edit]

The word Bunt means powerful man or warrior in the Tulu language.[6]

The word Nadava is a synonym for the Bunts used in the northern region of the erstwhile South Canara district.[7]

History[edit]

Kodial Guthu family (circa 1900). This particular Bunt family were landlords in the city of Mangalore, India

American anthropologist Sylvia Vatuk states that the Bunt-Nadava community was a loosely defined social group.[8] The matrilineal kin groups that constituted the caste were linguistically, geographically and economically diverse which were united by their arrogation of aristocratic status and power.[8] The Bunts living in the northern parts of Canara speak the Kannada language [7][9] while the majority living in the south speak Tulu.[7][9] The Bunts follow a matrilineal system of inheritance called Aliyasantana.[5] They have 93 clan names or surnames and are divided into 53 matrilineal septs called Bali.[10] Members of the same bali did not intermarry.[10][a] According to S. D. L. Alagodi, the Bunts "originally belonged to the warrior class. Being the martial race of Tulu Nadu, they served the ruling chiefs which brought them considerable benefits and allowed them to become the landowners and nobles of the region."[6][11]

Some Bunt clans claim descent from the ancient Alupa dynasty (circa 2nd century C.E. - 15th century C.E.) . Historian P. Gururaja Bhat mentions that the Alupa royal family were of local origin possibly belonging to the Bunt-Nadava caste.[12] The title Alupa (Alva) survives till this day among the Bunts according to historian Bhaskar Anand Saletore.[13] Some ruling and feudal clans of North Kerala adjacent to Tulu Nadu were also likely descended from Bunt-Nadavas. Indian anthropologist Ayinapalli Aiyappan states that a powerful and warlike clan of the Bunts was called Kola Bali and the Kolathiri Raja of Kolathunadu was a descendant of this clan.[14]

Norwegian anthropologist Harald Tambs-Lyche, states that the Bunts were warriors of the Jain kingdoms.[15] Jainism gained a foothold in the Canara region during the rule of the Hoysala dynasty who were themselves Jains.[16] The Hoysala Ballal kings are known to have appointed Bunts as military officers[16] A section of Bunts believe that they were originally Jains who later became a caste group.[17] A legend prevalent among the Bunts states that one of the Jain kings of the Bunts abandoned Jainism and took to eating peacock meat to cure a disease.[17] Veerendra Heggade, the hereditary administrator of the Dharmasthala Temple has also publicly spoken about the Jain origin of the Bunts.[18] Heggade is the current head of the Pattada Pergade family of Bunt heritage which continues to practice the Jain religion.[19]

The concept of personal landed property existed in South Canara district from at least the 12th century and also a military tenure not very different from the feudal system of Europe.[20][clarification needed] The Bunts, being a martial caste, were exempt from paying land taxes.[20] Around the 15th century, the Bunts had consolidated themselves as a land-owning feudal caste grouping. Bunt families controlled several villages and lived in a manor house. Several villages were generally united under a single Bunt chiefdom, and the chiefdoms had considerable autonomy despite being vassals to the Jain kings. The Bunt chiefs and petty princes became virtually independent after the rise of the Nayakas of Keladi.[15] The Haleri Rajas, who were likely a cadet branch of the Nayakas of Keladi invited Bunt families to settle in Kodagu district after establishing the Kingdom of Coorg[21][22]

At the start of the 16th century, the Tuluva dynasty came to control the Vijayanagara Empire with its capital at Hampi in North Karnataka.[23][24] It has been suggested by scholars Mysore Hatti Ramasharma and Mysore Hatti Gopal that the Tuluva rulers were of Bunt Shetty origin.[25] A section of Bunts called Parivara Bunt have also traditionally claimed to be Nayaks (chieftains) of the Vijayanagara Empire.[26]

The feudal life and society of Bunts began to disintegrate in the succeeding colonial British Raj period leading to urbanisation.[2]

Religion[edit]

Cult image of the deity Jumadi at the Badagumane shrine in Belle, Udupi

The Bunts practice Hinduism and a section among them follow Jainism.[4] Nominally all gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon are worshipped by them and festivals like Deepavali and Dusshera are celebrated.[citation needed] Alagodi wrote in 2006 of the Tulu Nadu population that, "Among the Hindus, a little over ten per cent are brahmins, and all the others, though nominally Hindus, are really propitiators or worshippers of tutelary deities and bhutas."[27] Amitav Ghosh describes the Tulu Butas as protective figures, ancestral spirits and heroes who have been assimilated to the ranks of minor deities. The cult worship of the Butas is widely practiced in Tulu Nadu by a large section of the population. The Bunts being the principal landowners of the region were the traditional patrons of the Buta Kola festival which included aspects akin to theatrical forms like Yakshagana.[28]

Butas and daivas (tutelary deities) are not worshiped on a daily basis like mainstream Hindu gods.[29] Their worship is restricted to annual ritual festivals, though daily pujas may be conducted for the ritual objects, ornaments, and other paraphernalia of the būta. Unlike with the better-known Hindu gods of the puraṇic variety, buta worship is congregational and every caste in the Tulu speaking region has it own set of butas and daivas that they worship.[citation needed]

Depending on the significance of the people who worship them, butas or daivas can be family deities (kuṭuṃbada buta), local or village deities (jageda buta, urada buta), or deities associated with administrative units such as manorial estates (Guțțus, Beedus), groups of estates (magane), districts (sime) or even small kingdoms (royal butas or rajandaivas).[30] The deity Jumadi is cited as an example of a Rajandaiva, ie a royal deity who reigns over a former small kingdom or large feudal estate. Jumadi is worshiped mainly by the rich land-owning Bunts who are the chief patrons of his cult. In the myth, as well as in the religious Buta Kola dance, Jumadi is always accompanied by his warrior attendant, called Bante, who appears to be specially related to the patrons of the Bunt caste.[31] Kodamanthaye, Kukkinanthaye, Jaranthaye, Ullaya and Ullalthi are some of the other deities from the royal Buta cult.[32]

Manor houses[edit]

Kowdoor Nayarabettu: A medieval Bunt manor house.

The Bunts historically lived in a joint family set up with families occupying manor houses and mansions.[33] The houses were generally built at the centre of the feudal estate held by the family.[33] Most Bunts followed a matrilineal system of inheritance and the eldest male member in the female line was the head of the family.[34] This head of the family was called Yajmane and he would preside over the manorial court during the feudal era.[34] These houses also served as centers of Bunt trading networks.[33] Agricultural produce from the estate like pepper, cloves, rice and sugar were traded across the Arabian Sea.[33] The elaborate woodwork in the houses were symbols of growing wealth due to trade. Many of these medieval houses survive in the coastal region of Karnataka. However, due to the break up of the joint family system and also loss of property due to land reform in India, many of these houses are being demolished as Bunt families find it onerous to maintain them.[33]

The Nadibettu Aramane house in Shirva was built in the 14th century and has copper plate inscriptions of the Vijayanagara Empire [34] Chavadi Aramane of Nandalike, the manorial house of the Heggade chieftaincy has inscriptions from 16th century.[35] Suralu Aramane of the Tolaha dynasty is another house of chieftains in Udupi district; it dates from the 15th century.[36] The Suralu Mud Palace is currently under the ownership of Sudarshan Shetty, a descendant of the Tolahas who is leading a restoration project.[37] The Suralu Palace is a State protected Monument which was partially restored in 2016 with help from the Government of Karnataka[38]

Some other houses of the Bunts that preserve medieval architecture include the Kodial Guthu house of Mangalore.[39][40] Badila Guthu[41] in Kannur , Shetty Bettu,[33] Puthige Guthu, Markada Guthu[33] and Kodethur Guthu[42][43]

Organisation[edit]

The traditonal caste council of the Bunt-Nadavas has been replaced by a body of elected members called the Buntara Yane Nadavara Mathr Sangha (Bunt or Nadava Association). It was established in 1908 in Mangalore.[44] The Buntara Yane Nadavara Mathr Sangha has been called the apex body of the Bunt community by The Hindu newspaper.[45] This organisation holds an Annual General meeting, felicitates achievers and distributes scholarships to students from the community.[46][47] Similar regional organisations operate in areas where the Bunts have migrated, such as Maharashtra,[citation needed] the United Arab Emirates and neighbouring Arab countries.[48]

The Bunt association, including its regional bodies, also runs schools, colleges, hostels and dispensaries.[49][50]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ S. Anees Siraj quotes Ganapathi Rao Aigal, one of the earliest historians to document the history of the Kanara region

Citations

  1. ^ Kāmat, Sūryanātha (1973). Karnataka State Gazetteer: South Canara. Director of Print, Stationery and Publications at the Government Press. p. 108. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b M Raghuram (19 April 2010). "Bunts feel at home wherever they are - DNA". DNA. Retrieved 23 July 2016. 
  3. ^ International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, Volume 14. Department of Linguistics, University of Kerala. 1985. p. 92. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b S. Jayashanker (2001). Temples of Kasaragod District. Controller of Publications,Directorate of Census Operations, Kerala. p. 7. Bants of Kasaragod are a military class. They are mostly Hindus except for few Jains and they include four divisions, Masadika Bants, Nadava Bants, Parivara Bants and Jaina Bants 
  5. ^ a b Iyer, L. A. Krishna (1969). The Coorg tribes and castes (reprint ed.). Gordon Press Madras and Johnson. pp. 67–70. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Alagodi, S. D. L. (2006). "The Basel Mission in Mangalore: Historical and Social Context". In Wendt, Reinhard. An Indian to the Indians?: on the initial failure and the posthumous success of the missionary Ferdinand Kittel (1832–1903). Studien zur aussereuropäischen Christentumsgeschichte. 9. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 143. ISBN 978-3-447-05161-3. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  7. ^ a b c J. Sreenath, S. H. Ahmad (1989). All India anthropometric survey: analysis of data. South Zone. Anthropological Survey of India. p. 41. ISBN 9788185579054. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Vatuk, Sylvia (1978). American Studies in the Anthropology of India. Manohar. pp. 236–239. Retrieved 16 February 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Sri Sathyan, B. N. Karnataka State Gazetteer: South Kanara. Director of Print., Stationery and Publications at the Government Press. p. 108. Retrieved 16 February 2018. 
  10. ^ a b Siraj, S. Anees (2012). Karnataka State: Udupi District. Government of Karnataka, Karnataka Gazetteer Department. p. 179. Retrieved 16 February 2018. 
  11. ^ Hegde, Krishna (1990). Feudatories of Coastal Karnataka. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. p. 10. Coastal Karnataka was home to number of feudatory rulers. All of them being Bunts following matrilineal inheritance called Aliya Santana and favouring both the Hindu and Jain Faith 
  12. ^ Bhatt, P. Gururaja (1969). Antiquities of South Kanara. Prabhakara Press. p. iii. Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  13. ^ Saletore, Bhaskar Anand (1936). Ancient Karnāṭaka, Volume 1. Oriental Book Agency. p. 154. 
  14. ^ Ayinapalli, Aiyappan (1982). The Personality of Kerala. Department of Publications, University of Kerala. p. 162. Retrieved 27 July 2018. A very powerful and warlike section of the Bants of Tulunad was known as Kola bali. It is reasonable to suggest that the Kola dynasty was part of the Kola lineages of Tulunad. 
  15. ^ a b Tambs-Lyche, Harald (2017). Transaction and Hierarchy: Elements for a Theory of Caste(Feudal Fiefs and Mosaic Patterns in South Kanara). Routledge. p. 376. ISBN 9781351393966. Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  16. ^ a b Hānūru, Kr̥ṣṇamūrti (1991). Encyclopaedia of the Folk Culture of Karnataka. Institute of Asian Studies (Madras, India). p. 555. Retrieved 22 June 2018. 
  17. ^ a b Sabharwal, Gopa (2006). Ethnicity and Class: Social Divisions in an Indian City. Oxford University Press. pp. 138–139. ISBN 9780195678307. Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  18. ^ Bantwal, Rons (11 October 2011). "Mumbai: Dharmadhikari Dr Veerendra Heggade Lauds Social Welfare of Bunts Sangh". Daijiworld Media Network Mumbai (RD. Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  19. ^ R. Krishnamurthy (21 May 2015). "In the lap of the Western Ghats". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  20. ^ a b Perspectives on Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu. Mangalore University. 1991. p. 145. Retrieved 22 June 2018. 
  21. ^ Cariappa, Ponnamma (1981). The Coorgs and their origins. Geetha Book House. p. 31. Retrieved 22 June 2018. 
  22. ^ Kāmat, Sūryanātha (1993). Karnataka State gazetteers, Volume 1. Office of the Chief Editor, Karnataka Gazetteer. p. 147. Retrieved 22 June 2018. The Bants migrated from Dakshina Kannada and Kasargod to Kodagu. It is said that Haleri kings sent for these people from Manjeshwara, Kumble, Bantwala and Puttur to come and inhabit in Kodagu region. 
  23. ^ Pollock, Sheldon (2011). Forms of Knowledge in Early Modern Asia: Explorations in the Intellectual History of India and Tibet, 1500–1800. Duke University Press. p. 74-81. ISBN 9780822349044. Retrieved 16 June 2018. 
  24. ^ Peter Fibiger Bang, Dariusz Kolodziejczyk (2012). Universal Empire: A Comparative Approach to Imperial Culture and Representation in Eurasian History. Cambridge University Press. pp. 222–223. ISBN 9781107022676. Retrieved 16 June 2018. 
  25. ^ Mysore Hatti Gopal, Mysore Hatti Rama Sharma (1978). The history of the Vijayanagar Empire, Volume 1. Popular Prakashan,. p. 101. Retrieved 22 June 2018. The word Tuluva includes all the natives of the Tulu region. In a restricted sense, however, this word has been confined to the Bunts who form the majority of the cultivating class of the districts of North and South Kanara. Some of these Bunts prospering in trade have called themselves shetties or shresties and tried to raise themselves in the social scale. Although the later kings of Tuluva dynasty have called themselves Yadavas of the Lunar line and as having descended from Turvasu, there is little doubt that they were related by blood to this class of shetties. 
  26. ^ Singh, Kumar Suresh (1998). India's communities, Volume 1; Volume 5. Oxford University Press. p. 575-577. Retrieved 22 June 2018. 
  27. ^ Alagodi, S. D. L. (2006). "The Basel Mission in Mangalore: Historical and Social Context". In Wendt, Reinhard. An Indian to the Indians?: on the initial failure and the posthumous success of the missionary Ferdinand Kittel (1832–1903). Studien zur aussereuropäischen Christentumsgeschichte. 9. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 142. ISBN 978-3-447-05161-3. Retrieved 2018-03-15. 
  28. ^ Ghosh, Amitav (2002). The Imam and the Indian: Prose Pieces. Orient Blackswan. pp. 192–200. ISBN 9788175300477. Retrieved 15 March 2018. 
  29. ^ Suzuki, Masataka (2008). "Bhūta and Daiva: Changing Cosmology of Rituals and Narratives in Karnataka". Senri Ethnological Studies. 71: 51–85. 
  30. ^ Brückner, Heidrun (1995). Fürstliche Fest: Text und Rituale der Tuḷu-Volksreligion an der Westküste Südindiens. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. pp. 199–201. 
  31. ^ Brückner, Heidrun (2009). On an Auspicious Day, at Dawn -: Studies in Tulu Culture and Oral Literature. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 17. ISBN 9783447059169. Retrieved 2 July 2018. 
  32. ^ K. Sanjiva Prabhu (1977). Special Study Report on Bhuta Cult in South Kanara District. Controller of Publications. p. 39-60. Retrieved 2 July 2018. 
  33. ^ a b c d e f g ARNI, CLARE. "Mansions at Dusk". www.indianquarterly.com. The Indian Quarterly. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  34. ^ a b c Siraj, M. A. (3 March 2012). "You can go back in time here". The Hindu. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  35. ^ P. Gururaja Bhatt (1969). Antiquities of South Kanara. Prabhakara Press. p. 16. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  36. ^ "Suralu Aramane (Mud Palace)". www.udupitourism.com/. Department of Tourism, Government of Karnataka. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  37. ^ Moodubelle, Sheeja. "This 600-year old mud palace desperately needs a face-lift". NewsKarnataka. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  38. ^ Prabhu, Ganesh (20 May 2016). "Udupi's 500-year-old mud palace gleams anew". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  39. ^ Monteiro, John. "Mangalore: Kodial Guthu House Restored to Glory". Daijiworld Media. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  40. ^ Monteiro, John. "Mangalore: Once a Place of Pride, Kodialguttu now under Siege". Daijiworld Media. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  41. ^ Team Mangalorean. "Badila Guthu House - a Century old Heritage". Mangalorean.com. Archived from the original on 8 November 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  42. ^ Kamila, Raviprasad. "Guthu mane: a historical treasure". The Hindu. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  43. ^ Kamila, Raviprasad. "This Guttu Mane is 100 years old" (31 January 2012). The Hindu. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  44. ^ K. Abhishankar, Sūryanātha Kāmat (1973). Karnataka State Gazetteer: South Kanara. Director of Print, Stationery and Publications at the Government Press. p. 697. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  45. ^ "Corridors of power". The Hindu. 6 August 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  46. ^ Rai, Nina. "M'lore: Prof B M Hegde Exhorts Bunt Elders to "Walk their Talk"" (24 Feb 2008). Daijiworld Media. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  47. ^ "Mangalore: Bunts Sangh Felicitates Achievers from Various Fields" (1 October 2009). Daijiworld Media. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  48. ^ Prasad, Shodhan. "Dubai: Glamour blended with tradition at UAE Bunts' 44th anniversary celebration" (16 May 2018). Daijiworld Media. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  49. ^ Bhandary, Shreya (22 September 2016). "Colleges want MU to push first semester exam to December". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 
  50. ^ Monteiro, John B. "Mangalore: Bunts Hostel marks aborted centenary - A brief history" (8 May 2014). Daijiworld Media. Retrieved 5 July 2018. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Claus, Peter J. (1975). Kinship organization of the Bunt-Nadava caste complex. Duke University. 
  • Hegde, Krishananda (2008). History Of Bunts - Medieval Age To Modern Times. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. 
  • Rao, Surendra (2010). Bunts in History and Culture. Rastrakavi Govind Pai Research Institute. ISBN 9788186668603. 
  • Heggaḍe, Indirā (2015). Bunts: (a Socio-cultural Study). Kuvempu Bhasha Bharati Pradhikara. ISBN 9788192627212.