After reading the ongoing controversy about a region called "Suvarnabhumi" , I couldn't resist myself from indulging in some propaganda. The article in Wikipedia speaks in different tones about the region mentioned in Buddhist literature. So, I am not sure if this name is really part of Ashoka's edicts or just an imagination of Sri Lankan Buddhist monks.
Back to Tulu tribes:
The lineages of Tulu tribes (bari/bali/illam) have unknown origins(means I do not have any idea about their meanings). Let's consider that some might denote the region names. And here I find some material for my propaganda.
One of the major lineages(probably the biggest) of Tulu communities is called "Suvarna". And the reason I think it may denote region name is because Malayalam equivalent of this bali is known as "Konkani"(which is the biggest lineage of Malayalee community/ies in Kasaragod/Mangalore). The region Konkana is arbitrarily defined one. I suppose it's generally considered as the region stretching from West coastal Maharashtra to Karnataka. But it looks like one of the Puranas(mythologies) even include Kerala.
It is here that everything becomes mere propaganda. "Suvarna" has a very clear meaning in Sanskrit( gold). But unfortunately only "folk" etymology exists for Konkana(kum = "mother" earth, kana=dust).
There are Tamil communities identified as "Konga"*. Did they migrate from South-West coastal India to Tamil regions? Another, not-so-known, kingdom was called Konkanam supposedly included the regions of Kannur and Kasaragod and believed to be 2000 years old.
Let's consider that Kongas were the migrants to South-Eastern Karnataka and Tamil Nadu at a later time from the region of Konkana(probably, along Kaveri route). That may show that Konkana has to be divided into Konka + ana (aNa) and not kum + kana.
Now, this division gives it Dravidian form. Unfortunately, my limited knowledge in Dravidian vocabulary(and grammar) is the stumbling block here. I could think of only few examples for this case.
Consider four cardinal directions in Kannada; moodu (east), padu(west), tenku(south) and badagu(north). But I am not sure if "ana" means direction or region. Anyway, the words do exist as moodana (moodu + ana), puduvana (padu + ana) etc... in Kannada. Well, if ana means direction then Konkana means "konka" direction. But if it means region then Konkana means "konka region". And later meaning makes sense.
Now, konka. If there is a Prakrit word konka ( an equivalent for Sanskrit word kanaka meaning gold) meaning gold, I can go further.
But why this region was called "land of gold" when you hardly find any gold mines here. Absolutely, no idea. But this is just a propaganda.
*A derogatory term for all Tamils by Mysore region Kannadigas just as "Pandy", derived from Pandya kingdom of Tamil Nadu, is derogatory term for Tamils by Malayalees. Looks like everybody in the South were pissed off by Tamils from time immemorial. Of course, I do not know Tamil derogatory words for Malayalees and Kannadigas.