Thursday, 16 June 2011

Bunts of Tulu Nadu

The word Bunta in Tulu language implies a powerful man or a soldier.  The community of Bunts (anglicized from Buntas), also referred to as Nadavas, form an important and integral part of the socio economic culture of Tulu nadu, in coastal Karnataka.  They share Tulu nadu with other prominent ethnic groups like the Billavas, Mogeras, Brahmins, Konkanis, Catholics and Jains.  As a community, Bunts are next in number only to the Billavas of Tulu nadu.  They are reputed to be agriculturists par excellence.  Bunts are part of a group called Nadavas, who mainly reside in the northern part of Tulu nadu.  They are thought to have had a common origin and culture as the Nayars of Malabar and Nattars of Tamil Nadu.  As the name Nadava implies, originating from the word nadu or territory, the Bunts are owners of land.  The Bunts of southern Tulu nadu speak Tulu language, a form of language that is used in commerce in the region, called Common Tulu. 
E. Thurston wrote in his Castes and Tribes of Southern India (1955-56), “This is a caste of Kanarese farmers found only in South Kanara.  The Nadavas have retained four sub-divisions*, one of the most important being Masadi.  I have no information regarding the caste but they seem to be closely allied to the Bunt caste of which Nadava is one of the sub-divisions.  The name Nadava or Nadavaru means people of the nadu or country….  They still retain their independence or character, their strong well developed physique, and still carry their heads with some haughty toss as their fore-fathers did, in the stirring fighting days, when as an old proverb had it ‘the slain rested in the yard of the slayer’, and when every warrior constantly carried his sword and shield.  Both men and women of the Bunt community are among the comeliest of Asiatic races.”
 *Masadi (masadika) is the most common Tulu speaking sub-division of Bunts in Southern Tulu nadu.  Nadavas are Kannada speaking people that live in Northern Tulu nadu from Brahmavar to Baindoor.  Parivara Bunts also live in the northern parts and follow some of the Brahmin customs.  Jain Bunts are those who converted to Jainism during the reign of various Jain rulers, especially Hoysalas.

1 comment:

  1. I suggest due credit for all this information be given to Neria Harish Hebbar who's article refers to all this and some more from your other blog ..... unless of course you ARE Neria Harish Hebbar