Beluur and Belgaum

jayabarathi barathi at PC.JARING.MY
Sat May 2 05:15:42 UTC 1998

At 06:35 PM 5/1/98 PDT, you wrote:
>In addition to the point made by Robert,I would like to express my
>skepticism about "Belagaum" being related to Tamil "vEL".What I am not
>questioning is the etymology;  my skepticism( as has happened earlier)
>stems more from a historical angle.
>  BEfore considering the derivation,it is neccessary to remember that
>places in WEstern Karnataka were never part of the traditional Tamil
>sphere of influence. While it MAY be true that there was a relationship
>between the Tamils and the cAlukyas( questionable to some)
>kannaDa/marAThI were always the spoken languages in this areas, never
>Tamil. The traditional "tamizhakam" ended at tiruveGkaTam  as the
>northern point and is bounded in the west by the Arabian sea i.e. modern

                Whoa there! Hold your horses!

        Dear Sir,

                I am on your side. I never said that the Chalukya land
        or Karnataka were parts of Tamil land. Neither do I claim that
        the Chalukyas and the Hoysalas are of Tamil origin.
                On the contrary, it is beleived that at least
        some of the Tamil VEL chieftains migrated from North India.
                There is a poem in PuRanAnURu - a Sangam work-
        sung by Kapilar. This Kapilar was a bossom friend of the vEL PAri.
        After the demise of PAri, Kapilar takes the two daughters of
        Pari into his custody, and takes them to IrungO VEL, the Lord
        of Thuvarai in Erumai NAdu.
                IrungO VEL belongs to one of the eighteen clans/septs?
        of the VEL community. His Erumai WAdu is identified with
        Mahisha Mandalam or Mysore. Thuvarai might be a fore-runner
        of Dvara Samudram, the later namesake. Thuvarai is
        said to have existed during the time of the SAta vAhanas.
                In this poem, Kapilar addresses thus:

                "If you enquire who these girls are, they are the
        daughters of PAri, the Great Philanthropist, of adorned
        elephants, the Lord of PaRambu.
                I am their father's friend; and these are my
        (adopted)children. I am a Brahmin; a poet.
                I have brought them to you.
                The VELir were born in the sacrificial pit of
        the Northern Rishi; they ruled over the invincible
        City of Thuvarai(Dwaraka) which was protected by long,
        huge walls inforced with copper; they were of unlimited
        philanthropy. You are "the" VEL among the VELir of the
        forty-ninth generation."
                NachchinArkkiniyar, in his commentary, several
        centuries later, mentions about a legend which says that
        the VELir were brought to South India by the Sage Agastya
        from Dwaraka, which was ruled by the "Great One of the tall
        crown, who covered the (entire) land", i.e., KrishNa, the
        incarnation of VishNu.(Nilam kadandha nedu mudi aNNal).
                Since there are supposed to be eighteen septs or
        clans or branches of the VELir, it is possible they might
        have settled along the way.
                If you draw an itinary line from the Kathiawar
        Peninsula and proceed along the Western Ghats towards
        Tamil Nadu, you  will see it passes through the Chalukyan
        territory, the Thuvarai of IrungOVEL of Sangam age, the
        territory of the Hoysalas, the Tiruchi/KodumbaLur terrotory
        of the Irukku VEL of Medieval times, the territory
        of PAri and the other VeLirs of the Pandiya country,
        including the ThuvarApathi VEL of KaNNamangalam.
                Worth the while, if some learned scholars would
        make some research with sufficient, concrete archeological
        and inscriptional evidence.
                Sir! I don't have any territorial claims to make
        on VELpulam, the land of the Karnataka/Telengana/Maratha:-)
                By the way, sorry about the cowboy expression.
                (Otherwise might get monotonous).



 The only time that there may have been possible Tamil rule in
>that area was when vAtApi was sacked and the idol of gaNEza brought down
>to taJjAvUr.(Even here, vAtApi was far removed from where beLgaum is
>located now). I therefore find it difficult to believe that the place
>names could have been derived from a Tamil root when there is little
>evidence to show Tamil influence in that area.
>I realise that this area was called "vEL pulam" in tamil, but the very
>fact that they called it "vEL pulam" and not a part of tamizhakam makes
>me think that the area was outside the sphere of Tamil influence
>( as a parallel, most of the northern languages could be described as
>"vaTamozhi" thus indicating their non-locality w.r.t the Tamil country).
>  I also find it strange to think that a Tamil root "vEL" would have
>been added to a samskrt root like "grAma" to yield "vEL-
>grAma". My experience has been that place names are in general derived
>from just one language as opposed to alloying; in tamil nATu itself
>there a no of places whose names use tamil words {i.e. tiruvArUr as
>opposed to alloyed "zrIvArUr"( though zrI= tiru)} or in an odd case,
>completely consists of samskrt words ( e.g. vEdAraNyam as opposed to
>"vEda maRaikATu" or "tirumaRaiyAraNyam", the later two being alloyed
>from Tamil and Samskrt). While there may be exceptions to the rule, I
>believe that bELgaum is not one.
>  I believe that the derivation may more historically inconsistent if
>the kannaDa equivalent of "vEL" were used. I have been told( I'm not
>sure) that the name "bELagAum" comes from the fact that the local
>jasmines( marAThI  "bELA") were famous in that area and the name of the
>village( i.e. marATHI "gAum")therefore became "bELAgAum".
>While this may seem a case of "folk-etymology", I must point out that
>from a history point of view, this derivation makes sense because
>1. The town is next door to MahArASTra, the local population is more
>maRATHI than kannaDa; infact the "mAhArASTra ekIkaraNa samiti" has been
>trying to get "bELagaum" to join mahArASTra.
>2. bELagaum seems to have come into prominence only after the 15th-16th
>century when there was a lot of marATHI influence here, but
>no tamil influence.
> While place-name derivations may be correct from an etymology point of
>view, I believe that it is important to verify a given derivation
>against history and sociology and then determine the validity of a given
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