Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Tulu Tribes - V(a)

In my previous post on Pandyas, I had speculated about matriarchal Pandyas of Megasthenes. I tried to reason why Pandya(believing it to be derived from Pandava) was chosen as part of Hinduization. In my opinion, the Mahabharata story of Arjuna, one of the Pandavas, meeting a matriarchal kingdom probably was inspiration behind one of the matrilineal families of Tulu tribes to adopt it.

I find an amazing proof for this speculation in the kingdom that ruled Tulu region in the past, Alupas. Though Alupa or Aluva is a native Dravidian word (literally, ruler)* they claimed to belong to "Pandayvamsa"(Pandya Dynasty). And according to Wikipedia:
Their coins carried the dynastic title "Sri Pandya Dhananjaya" which means "Arjuna among the Pandyas".

It appears one branch of matrilineal dynasty of Alupas(The dynasty also ruled Kodava region too...and was speculated to be matrilineal there too...or Kodavas were also believed to be matrilineal initially, M N Srinivas) became patrilineal Pandyas in Tamil region.

In my opinion, by 350-300BCE, based on Megasthenes description, a matrilineal dynasty of Tulu women was created in Tulu region.

*Plausibly wrong. It is pronounced as alUpa and not ALupa, where "ALu" means 'rule' in Tulu/Kannada. No idea about etymolgoy of "alUpa".


Maju said...

This does make sense.

Interesting to read about the Alupas. They were unknown to me till now.

Ravi Mundkur said...

Alupas can simply be traced to a village called Alupe, at the outskirt of Mangalore. And Pandyas to the Pandi boat-owners/merchants turned rulers called Pandia.

Manjunat said...

Well, too many things don't make much sense. The first among them is Megasthenes description of matriarchal Pandyas.

I'm afraid I've to disagree with many of your derivations. But I do agree with some of them like Pondycherry has always been Pandicherry and never Puducherry. Incorrigible Tamil Propagandists!

Maju said...

Megasthenes was gathering his info not directly but from some distance (NW India/Pakistan). Greeks were also prone to imagine "matriarchal" societies, like the famous (but mythical) Amazons - generally thought not to have existed as such at all. This kind of concept rather than an anthropological/sociological one seems to be rather a product of Patriarchal imagination: when they found peoples that were not as strongly patriarchal as themselves, maybe even matrilineal, with women being socially prominent and titular of rights, they tended to exaggerate the differences and, if possible because of relative ignorance, create such a mirror image of Patriarchy, more a psycho-cultural protective shroud than any scientific-like consideration. Even the Romans had some of these exaggerated ideas about their very neighbours the Etruscans, tough in this case they considered them "libertines" precisely because of the freedom and nearly equal status women enjoyed.

There is more subtle moralistic judgement in such ethnic myths than proper unprejudiced anthro or sociological analysis, analysis they could surely not really make easily.