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Thursday, July 08, 2010

History of Bunts


The Bunts are a usually Tulu or Kannada speaking community mostly found in Udupi, Mangalore and Bombay. They are originally from region of Tulu Nadu in which includes the districts of Udupi and Mangalore in the Indian state of Karnataka, they are also found in Kasaragod of Kerala. According to the system of Varna Bunts belong to the Serpent Lineage (Nagavanshi) of Kshatriyas. Bunts traditionally follow the matrilineal system of descent and kinship like their related communities of Samanta Kshatriya, Tulu Jains and Nairs.

The word Bunt is derived from the San-skrit word 'Bhata' meaning powerful man or a soldier, the Tulu equivalent is 'Bunte' or 'Bunter' (plural) which means protector. Bunts are also referred to as 'Nayaka', 'Shetray' and 'Nādava' which means leader, nobility and landlord respectively in Tulu. The word 'Shetray' anglicised as Shetty is the most common of all Bunt surnames followed by Rai. In fact in certain parts where the community has migrated like Mumbai, the community is simply referred to as the Shettys.

Historian Edgar Thurston in his book “Caste and tribes of south India” described the Bunts as follows “Men and women of the Bunt community belong to a beautiful race of Asia. Men have a broad forehead and a parrot nose. Mostly they are of fair complexion. Even today they are of independent nature, short tempered, self respecting and have a muscular body, which tells about the history of belonging to warrior families”

Krishna Devaraya (1509-1529)
There are different studies done regarding the origin of Bunts, Prof S. Shivaram Shetty’s research shows that a tribe called ‘Kosars’ wandered into Tulu Nadu after the Aryan invasion. Mercenaries by nature, they first settled in Deccan and established the Shatavahana kingdom in Andhra Pradesh. In Tulu Nadu they founded the Alupa kingdom. According to one of the various theories regarding the origin of Kadamba Kings, they are connected to the Bunts since one inscription states the kadambas belonging to the Nāga or the serpent lineage to which Bunts also belong and many Bunt families hold the surnames of Kadamba and Varma which were the titles of the Kadambas

As a warrior class, the Bunts attained their greatest glory during the rule of Vijayanagara Emperors belonging to the Tuluva Dynasty which was founded by a chieftain Bunt called Tuluva Narasa Nayaka. The glory was further enhanced by Krishnadevaraya by extending the kingdom to whole south India. During the rule of Vijayanagara Tulu Nadu was administered in two parts – Mangalore State and Barkur State. We can still see the glory of Vijayanagar kingdom in Barkur by the beautiful temples they built during that period. After the fall of the dynasty the Bunts again concentrated themselves in Tulu Nadu where they took to large scale agriculture in the vast area of land they still possessed and also served as ad-ministrators and warriors in the various minor Hindu and Jain kingdoms that controlled various parts of the region from time to time.

The people of the community to the north of River Kalyanapur (closer to Barakuru) speak Kannada and people south of the river (closer to Mangaluru) speak tulu. There seems to have been a close relationship between the Bunts and Jains in Tulu Nadu. Not only are their last names similar in many instances (Ajila, Ballala, Hegde, Banga, Chowta etc.) but they also have similar customs. Aliya santana is followed by both Bunts and Jains in Tulu Nadu, perhaps the only Jain community in India to follow this matriarchal system of inheritance. Bunts of higher social staus were said to have converted to Jainism, though it is not clear when this conversion predominantly occurred.

The Jains of Tulu Nadu suffered a cultural recession. The glory of Jain period was abruptly curbed during the confusion of the takeover of Tulu Nadu by the Nayaks of Ikkeri. It is evidenced also by the lack of building great monuments and the bastis (like in Mudubidri).

Another group of people with similar cul-ture was the Nairs in Kerala. They have disappeared as an entity from Tulu Nadu, but the inscriptions found in Barkur from the medieval period as well as the Grama Paddathi, which gives the history of Brahmin families in Tulu Nadu, have made several references to the Nairs. They acted as their protectors of Brahmins, brought to Tulu Nadu by the Kadamba kings in the 8th century. Kadamba king Mayuravarma, who is credited with bringing Brahmins from Ahichatra (from the North), also settled Nairs in Tulu Nadu. Yet, there is no written proof for this occurrence and the only mention of the Nairs in the inscriptions comes after the Alupa period (early part of 14th century.) It is postulated that the Nairs were later absorbed into the social stratum of the Nadava community.

It is also postulated that the Nairs of Malabar originally migrated from the Tulu Nadu as noted here: Manual of Madras Administration Vol II (printed in 1885) notes that the Nadavas are the same people as the Nairs of Malabar and the Bunts of Southern Tulu Nadu. “They appear to have entered Malabar from the North rather than the South and to have peopled first the Tulu, and then the Malayalam country. They were probably the off-shoot of some colony in the Konkan or the Deccan.” There are different social status among Nairs, and the people came from Tulu Nadu are identified as Uarli Nairs

References:

3. Nairs Classification
4. Pictures [1]

33 comments:

sunaath said...

Prasad,
You have given a lot of good information. Actually the word `Banta' in Kannada means a valorous
man. We find many Banta men in history who have founded kingdoms or are in the armies of the Empires.

I wonder where did you get the picture of Krishnadevaraya. Is it the picture published by the Karnataka Govt during the recent celebrations of his 500th year of crowning?
Well, the Govt has done a blunder in publishing such imagianry picture. There is a statue of Krishnadevaraya in Tirupati(along with the staues of his two wives.)
You can see that Krishnadevaraya was a lean man with oblong facecut.
The Govt pic is an injustice to Krishnadevaraya.

Prasad Shetty said...

@ Sunath,

This picture is available in the internet all over, and it is released by Karnataka Govt during the recent 500th year of his crowning.

I have seen the picture in Tirupati with his two wives, in that picture both of his wives. I will also post that picture. Hope it will help people get a better idea as how Krishadevaraya looked like.

shruthi said...

Good one...

Vibha Hegde said...

How do you know so much...
I always had a doubt in my mind how did the surnames begin to stick..i mean who or how was it decided that this family will be called shettys, that family hegde's another rai.. and so on

Prasad Shetty said...

@ Shruthi, Thanks
@ Vibha,
:) ... u still have the doubt? or is it clear now?

Vibha Hegde said...

I mean you did clarify it to an extent but how was it decided...words like ' hegde' make no sense..literally..

Prasad Shetty said...

meaning of shetty, hegde etc right?... good question, let me check if I can get some clue on this...

dabu said...

The word "Hegde" is derived from the words "hegg" ("head") and "gad" ("fort"); thus, it means "head of the fort". During the period of the Vijayanagara Empire, the warriors who used to protect a fort were called Hegdes. It was also a title used by Bunt chieftains and other village heads. In modern times, Hegde is used as a surname mainly by the Bunts (both Hindu and Jain) and the Havyaka Brahmin. The surname also occurs among some Vokkaligas (in Shimoga) and Goud Saraswat Brahmins.

Hegde is also the name of a village in Kumta, Karnataka.

Prasad Shetty said...

@Dabu, Thanks for the information, could you also provide the source of information?

sanjay said...

Hey prasad shetty,

In Andhra Pradesh our community (balija caste especially concentrated in rayalseema region adjacent to karnataka) history books say Sri Krishna Devaraya belongs to our caste....We celebrate every year his birthday very grandly...In our caste also most of us have shetty as surname...Some historians say that when vijayanagara empire ended, some muslim rules specifically picked sri krishna devaraya's caste people and killed them in a big scale so our caste name is changed to balija...but no one specified what was the earlier caste name...may be earlier name is bunt donno exactly...do you have any information about this?????

sanjay said...

Hey prasad shetty,

In Andhra Pradesh our community (balija caste especially concentrated in rayalseema region adjacent to karnataka) history books say Sri Krishna Devaraya belongs to our caste....We celebrate every year his birthday very grandly...In our caste also most of us have shetty as surname...Some historians say that when vijayanagara empire ended, some muslim rules specifically picked sri krishna devaraya's caste people and killed them in a big scale so our caste name is changed to balija...but no one specified what was the earlier caste name...may be earlier name is bunt donno exactly...do you have any information about this?????

NGUGIE said...

VIJAYANAGARA emperors are not of BUNT.They,in their inscriptions,said that they were of chandhravamsi kshatriyas(yaduvamsi kshatriya).They did not say they were of BUNT caste.How can you say so?

NGUGIE said...

srikrishnadevaraya is not a BUNT or a BALIJA.HE Is a yadav kshatriya.HE said it in his book AMUKTAMALYADA.It was in PARIJATAPAHARANA .

NGUGIE said...

srikrishnadevaraya is not a BUNT or a BALIJA.HE Is a yadav kshatriya.HE said it in his book AMUKTAMALYADA.It was in PARIJATAPAHARANA .

mansa shetty said...

Thanks for the Info..
I luv to read history bout our tulunad, customs and traditions followed der.. history bout temples and Daivas..
Proud to be a SHETTY

shiv sankar said...

Sri Krishnadevaraya Father name is Tuluva Narasa Nayaka and Grand Fathers Name is Tuluva Eashwara Nayaka , both are Bunt Caste army Chieftains. These Bunts gradually became Kannda Speaking Banijagas and Telugu Speaking Balijas.

Venkateswarlu Chennuboina said...

shiv sankarji.show evidence for you claim that Tuluva narasanayaka and Eswara nayaka are bunts.

Abhi Ram said...

Thanx boss... so sri krishna is our bantu and also sunil shetty aishwarya rai anushka shetty prakash rajsadhu shetty shilpa shetty they all are from our bantu :-) thanx

Anonymous said...

so nice .....thanks for info

Anonymous said...

so nice .....thanks for info..please say clearly and correctlyyyyy..i want 2 know about ussss

Anonymous said...

I luv to read history bout our tulunad, customs and traditions followed der.. history bout temples and Daivas..really great and guddd

Gopalakrishna Rai said...

Thanks a lot brother for the information......

Venkateswarlu Chennuboina said...

page 179

No 38.

Nanjangud Taluk

1. Svasti sri vijayabhyudaya Salivahana saka 5 varusha
2.1434 sandu ......srimukha samvatsarada Phalguna ba svasti jitam
3.bhagavata gata ghana gaganabhena sthira simhasanarudha sri nahaajadhiraja ra
4.ja parameswara sriman mahamedini ,miseyaraganda kathari saluva sriman dekshina samu
5.dradhipati Narasimha varma maharajadhiraja tut putra pituranvagata YADAVA kulamba
6.ra dyumani samyuktva chudamini sakala vanahi brind sandoha (santarpana)paranarisahodara
7.sauchavira(sarvavira) parakramadhara sakala desadhisvara mani makuta charanaravinda kathari
8.trinetra srimat krishnavarma maharajadhiraja prudhvirajyam geyinottiralu dakshina de
9.sadhi vijayavagi dittayisida vira Krishnarayara nyupadim srimanu mahapradhanam Ya
10.ju sakheya khandava gotrada Apastambha sutrada srimanu Saluva Timmarasaru dakshina
11.varanesi Gajaranyakshetra Rajaraja purvada Talakadali sri mahadevadevo
12. ttama kirti Narayana devarige thayurasthalada kavahaliyolaganegado ........



Translation -----------

Be it well.In the victorious and prospering Salivahan era 1434 year s having expired while the year srimukha was current, on the 5th lunar day of the dark half of Phalghuna.Be it well.Victory to the Adorable(padmanabha)who resembles the sky free from clouds.While illustrious Krishnavarma maharajadhiraja seated on the stable throne, the prosperous king of kings, lord of kings, champion over those who wear mustaches in the great earth, kathari saluva(dagger and kite ) , eruler over the southern sea,Narasimha mahadhiraja's son ; asun to the fragment that is the Yadava race of which he is a lineal descendant: :..............................Under the orders of vira Krishnaraya, whole he was pleased to go on a victorious expedition to the to the south:the illustrious mahapradhana(chief minister) Saluva Timmarasa of yaju sakha khandava gotra and apastambha sutra made agift to the best of the gods kirtinarayana devaru of Talakadu which is Rajarajpuram...............



Note ----


-It belongs to the reign of Vijayanara king Krishnaraya and is dated S.1434srimuka sam.phal.ba.5. This data correspond to March 15, A.D. 1514; .........The pecular feature in the historical portion of this record the king Krishnaraya is here styled krishnavarma maharajadhiraj as is also the case in two other inscriptions of th same Talu.(E.C.-III Nanjanguda 190 and 195 of 1512 and 1513 A.D)............


Annual Report of the Mysore Archaeological Department for the 1930
University of Mysore
Banglore
1934.

Marutheeraja said...

This page says that Historian Edgar Thurston in his book “Caste and tribes of south India” described the Bunts as follows “Men and women of the Bunt community belong to a beautiful race of Asia. Men have a broad forehead and a parrot nose. Mostly they are of fair complexion. Even today they are of independent nature, short tempered, self respecting and have a muscular body, which tells about the history of belonging to warrior families”

Similar comment on RAZUS ( Rajus/ Telugu speaking Kshatriyas) by a British gentleman
" As a class they are the handsomest and best developed men in the country, and differ so much in feature and build from other Hindus that they may usually be distinguished at a glance"
-------
" Of the Rāzus, Mr. H. A. Stuart writes that "this is a Telugu caste, though represented by small bodies in some of the Tamil districts............. In religion they are mostly Vaishnavites, and their priests are Brāhmans..... The Rāzus, Mr. Stuart writes further, are "the most numerous class of those who claim to be Kshatriyas in North Arcot. They are found almost entirely in the Karvetnagar estate, the zemindar being the head of the caste. As a class they are the handsomest and best developed men in the country, and differ so much in feature and build from other Hindus that they may usually be distinguished at a glance"

Anegondi Royal family ( Araveedu dynasty lineage, who were associated with the Vijayanagar empire) members say that they belong to Telugu Kshatria ( Raju) caste only.

IS THERE ANY RAJU CONNECTION/RELATION/LINK TO BUNT COMMUNITY?

Dr.R.Senthilkumar said...

We are proud of all communities in India. The diversity of culture make us so strong and so unique.

VILMEEN KODI said...

NADAVAS might descend from the Bana Kingdoms, ie Alupas Pandyan Kingdom, Nurumbada Pandyan Kingdom and Kadamba kingdom and are of Bana Dravidian descent.

BUNT or Buntaru means bonded slaves warriors brought from Ahichatra in Uttarkhand by Kadamba King Mayuravarma in 435 AD.

Kannada speaking Nadava, Nadavara are indigenous aristocracy while other Bunts might have migrated from Ahichatra Uttarkhand Nepal border.

Balija Naicker is the title of Bana descendents in Andhrapradesh. Krishnadevarayar was a Balija Naicker.


BANAS THE NORTHERN COUSINS OF VILLAVAR
Banas are the Northern cousins of Villavar dynasties of Tamil Nadu. While the Villavar dynasties ruled ancient Tamilakam Banas ruled Karnataka Andhra and North India. Banas share the Pandya and Kulasekhara titles with their Villavar cousins.
SUBGROUPS OF VILLAVARS
1) Villavar
2) Vanavar
3) Malayar
And their seagoing cousins
4) Meenavar
The Villavar aristocracy called Nadazhwar are derived from all the four subgroups of Villavars. Madurai Kanchi described the splendour of the palaces of Perumbanar (Villavar). Madurai Kanchi also mentions Santor, the Villavar aristocrats.
The ancient Tamil coins displayed the Hill, Bow and Arrow and Fish insignia of various subgroups of Villavars.
VILLAVAR KINGDOMS
1) Chera (Villavar Vanavar)
2) Chola (Vanavar Villavar Thirayar)
3) Pandya (Maran Vanathirayar Perumbanar Maveli Enathy)

The Villavar Aristocracy had the titles Villavar, Nadalvar(Nadavar Nadar), Santor ( Santar) Panickan or Nadappanickan

BANA DYNASTIES OF KARNATAKA
1) BANA PANDYAS of KADAMBA KINGDOM of Banavasi in Uttara Kannada and its subgroups
a) NURUMBADA PANDYAS of Rattepalli (Rattihalli)
b) SANTARA PANDYAS of Humcha-Hosagunda, Kalasa and Karkala (Pandya Nagari)
c) UCHANGI PANDYAS
d) NOLAMBAVADI PANDYAS

2)ALUPAS (Alupa + Arasu) PANDYAN KINGDOM of Takshina Kannada


BANAS OF ANDHRAPRADESH
Banas of Andhrapradesh and Northern Tamilnadu formed the Bana Kingdom. In Tamil literature they were called as either Banas or Vanar. Sannamur, Kolar and Perumbanappadi were their centres.
The Bana titles were Mahabali, Banajiga and Balija

NORTHERN INDIA
In the North India each state has Banpur (Bhanpur Banandavghar) from where Banas ruled. Banas could be of Dravidian stock.
PANDYAS OF MATHURA
Megasthenes around 260 BC wrote about a Pandyan Kingdom at Mathura (Vada Mathurai) at the banks of Yamuna and they were relatives of PANDION OF MODURA (Madura).
PANDYAS OF TIKAMGARH
Tikamgarh was ruled by Bana kings in the ancient times. Bana kings of Tikamgarh ruled with the title Pandyas of Tikamgarh. Kundeshwar was the captial of the Bana Pandyas.
Bagwar Rajputs emerge from the Pandyas of Tikamgarh.

Venkateswarlu Chennuboina said...

vilmeen kodiji, your lengthy narration is absolutely wrong. if you think you are right please show historical evidence.

Unknown said...

How do Balija Shetty got their name
Can you people explain me in brief
Because we belong to same caste from penukonda

Marutheeraja said...

ANOTHER VERSION ON VIJAYANAGARA EMPIRE
Link : http://kanakaraju.hpage.com/history-of-kshatriyas_52565456.html
Vijayanagara Period
Out of the four clans that ruled the Vijayanagara empire, two clans Saluva Dynasty and Aravidu Dynasty claimed to be of the Kshatriya Varna. [65] Raja Achutya Deva Raya was extensively interviewed by Robert Sewell in order to help him in research for his book,[66] and is acknowledged by the Government of Karnataka as the direct descendant of this line. In his royal biography he takes on the title of Zamindar of Anegundi, Senior Representative of the Royal House of Vijayanagar, born 4 August 1936, adoptive son of Rani Lal Kumari, Guru (Religious Head) of the Hindu Kshatriya Community, enjoys the customary privileges and honors at Hampi Temple and at Anegondi Temple, during all religious functions as well as Muslim festivals.[67]His family states they are of the Kshatriya Raju caste and marry among Telugu speaking Kshatriya Rajus settled in this area.
Raju families such as the Chodarajus, Nandyalas, Madirajus, Tirumalarajus, Gobburis, Saluvas (Bommarajus) of Karvetinagar, the Rajas of Owk and Matla Chiefs were all at one time or other, relatives of the Aravidu dynasty. All of these families still live in and around the Hampi area.
• The founding brothers of the Aravidu dynasty were the son-in-laws of Krishna Deva Raya of the Tuluva Dynasty and were also related previously through marriage with the Saluva Dynasty. Gobburi Narasaraju was the nephew of Aliya Ramaraju and[68] Emperor Venkatapthi Raju was married to Gobburi Kondama,[69]the sister of the Raja of Srisailam, Gobburi Giriappa.[70] After the death of Venkatapathi Raju, from 1614-1616 there was a great war of succession. Amongst the claimants to the throne was Gobburi Jaga Deva Raju, the brother-in-law of the emperor and also a relative of the Raja of Karvetinagar, Saluva Makaraju.[71][72] The Matla Chiefs fought against the Gobburis.[73]
• The Matli-Matla chiefs were Ellamrajus who gained the territory after defeating the Tirupatirajus in battle in 1604 AD.[74]
• The Chodaraju's gotra was given as Kasyapa and the Nandyala's gotra was given as atreya and were described as belonging to Chandravanshi, both were related through marriage and both were appointed Mahamandaleswars during the start of the 16th century.[75][76][77][78]
• The Madiraju's gotra was given as Kasyapa and Suryavanshi and related to the Thirumalarajus, both appointed Mahamandeleswars of Guntur area and happened to be the grandchildren of Aravidu Rama Raya.[79][80][81]
• Madhava Varma Bejawada was mentioned in 1509 AD. as of the Vasishtha gotra and Suryavansi.[82]
• Krishna Deva Raya defeated among others Rachi Raju Pusapati, Srinatha Raju and Lakshmipati Raju on his way to defeating Pratapa Rudra Gajapati Raju of the Gajapathi Dynasty. He immediately reinstated these rulers as his vassals and married the daughter of Pratapa Rudra as a truce offering. All this occurred between 1514-1517 AD.[83][84]
• Ganapathirajus were described as of the Suryavanshi and Kasyapa gotra and were Mahamandaleswars in 1555 AD.[85]
• Karvetinagar
The current Bommaraju family of Karvetinagar are of Kshatriya Raju caste and trace their origins back to an ancestor who migrated from the Pithapuram area of the Godavari Deltaabout the 8th or 9th century. One ancestor obtained the favor of the Eastern Chalukya King, Vimala Aditya and Saluva Narasa was appointed the Chief of the region around Tirupati, where he founded a town called Narasapuram. The founder of the family Narasa was granted permission by his patron, the Chalukyas, to use the royal seal and boar-signet of the Chalukyas, a proud distinction still kept up. The family became feudatories of Vijayanagar, and had marriage alliances with the Saluva and loyalties to the Aravidu dynasties over the next two hundred years. Around the 16th century the family changed their name to the current Bommaraju, retaining Saluva as a title.[86]

Bhavana V said...

Where it is wrotten. Tell me the book please.

Bhavana V said...

People like to write crap in the internet when truth is that bunts and nairs are shudras. Bunt is not a sanskrit word it is kannada word which means bonded slave or enslaved. Sanskrit or pakrit dictionary does not have a meaning for bunt. It is Bhatt or Bhat which has words both kept by Brahmins.nairs r Subsect of bunts this what I have read.

Rohan Shetty said...

Hi can you please tell me something about Thalianna Bari or Bali. If possible can you tell me are there books Gotra Namavali which are in North India as we can trace family tree.

ERODI MOYA said...

Erodimoya says
" HISTORY IS ALWAYS WRITTEN BY WINNERS"

So please take all this discussions with a Pinch of salt & gandheri Munchi, please.
Live & let live as Good Human beings.