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The Tale of The Twin Warriors (Koti Chennaya)
The Tale of The Twin Warriors (Koti Chennaya)
Description
About the Author

Bannanje Babu Amin He is a prolific writer, columnist, public speaker. Yakshagana artist, folklorist and social activist. He was a member of the Kannada Sahitya Academy. His Major works, apart from Koti chennaya are-Tulu Janapada Acharanegalu (Tulu Folk customs and Practices). Daivagala Madallali-Habaoada /sabjakaba, (on the Lap of Spirits- A folklore Collection), Ugurige Mudiyakk-a book short stores, Pu Poddol and Manechhi-Tulu noveis and Nudikatt-(A collection of tulu Folklore Prayers). His book, Tulu Janapada Acharanegalu won the Ku. Si. Janapada Award and The Tulu Sahitya Academy Award. He and Mohan Kotan authored the monumental research work. Tulunada Garodigala Samskritika Adhayana (A Socio-cultural Study of the Shrines of Koti Chennya). This book was awarded the Best Research Book award by the Karnataka janapada and yakshagana Academy in the year 1990. He Was largely instrumental in founding the now famous. Shree Brhma Baidarkala Samskritika Adhyayana Pratishtana, Adiudupi. He was once editor of Akshaya Pratishtana, adiudupi. He was once editor of Akshaya –a Kannada monthly published from Mumbai. He resides at Kallakanda Mane. Nittur, Udupi-576103

Foreword

It is heartening to note that oral literature, ignored for a long time in India as elsewhere, has been getting serious scholarly attention since the second half of the last century. If we limit ourselves to Tulu oral literature, we have to accept the fact that the first scholars to work in this field (as in other Indian languages) were the missionaries during the colonial period. However, regretfully, the academic activities of the missionaries were always Janus-headed: genuine scholarship coupled with championing the cause of Christianity. The first missionaries to work in the field of Tulu Folklore were A. C. Burnell and A. Manner, attached to the Basel Mission. While Manner collected, translated and published parts ofTulu oral songs and narratives in 1886 (Pad-danolu), Burnell published a series of translations of Tulu oral narratives between 1894- 1897 (The Devil Worship of the Tuluvas). Later, especially in the post-independence period, many Indian and Western scholars have done remarkable work in Indian folklore including Tulu folklore. lust to mention a few, Tulu scholars include B. A. Viveka Rai (Tulu Janapada Sahitya, 1985), Amrita Someshwara (Pad-dana Samputa, 1997; Amara Veeradwaya Koti Channaya, 1999; etc.); Bannanje Babu Amin (Koti Channaya, 1982, rev. 2002, etc.); Chinnappa Gowda (Bhootaradhane, 1990); Damodara Kalmadi ( Koti Channaya Pardana, 2002); A. V. Navada ( Siri Pad-dana, 1999); Vamana Nandavara (Koti Channaya, 2001); and others. The Western scholars who have worked in the field of Tulu folklore include Peter J. Claus (8 articles in English; tr. into Kannada as Tuluva Darshana, 1987), Lauri Honko (The Siri Epic as Performed by Gopala Naika, 2 Vols, and Textualising the Siri Epic, 1998), and others. Recently, Shankar Narayana Poojary has joined this illustrious group; having translated Damodara Kalmady's work as Epic of the Warriors m 2007 (v:ith a foreword by the well-known Amencan anthropologist / Tulu scholar Peter 1. Claus), has now translated Bannanje Babu Amin's prose work as Koti Chennaya, to be shortly published SahityaAkademi.

Oral epics (called Pad-dana in Tulu), in Tulu or in any other Indian language, are generally associated with certain specific communities, defined by their traditional occupations; and, the present oral epic, Koti Channaya, belongs to the Billava community (traditionally toddy- tappers) of coastal Karnataka. This poetic narrative which recordthe life and adventures of the two cultural heroes of the Billava comminity, their yearning for cultivable land, their brave opposition to the established powerful classes, and their tragic end, is sung by the members of particular (marginalized) communities called 'Pambada' and 'Parava' of coastal Karnataka, during the annual worship of the twin heroes. The place where the cultural heroes are worshipped is called 'Garody' (literally meaning 'Gymnasium'); and there are about 230 Garodies spread throughout coastal Karnataka. The elaborate, ritualistic worship, called 'Nema' or 'Bhootaradhane' ('Spirit Worship'), involves priests, Spirit- . impersonators, and the singers of the pad-dana.

Oral epics are characterized by a fluid structure and multi-functionality. By 'fluid structure' I mean that within a traditionally fixed framework, the narrative differs in minor details and episodes from singer to singer, and from one act of narration to another. The epics are multi-functional in the sense that they are ethnic chronicles of a community, they legitimize the beliefs and practices of the concerned community, and, of course, they are highly imaginative works of literature

Most of the oral epics begin with a 'Creation Myth,' which begins with the creation of the entire universe step by step, then focuses on the (legendary) first parents / ancestors of the community, and ends with the creation of the particular community concerned. Such a myth, besides glorifying the cultural hero/es of the epic, gives a privileged position to the community by linking it with the rest of the world and thus gives it a socio-cultural identity. Koti-Channaya also begins with a 'Creation Myth.' According to this myth, as it was the wish of Bermer, first seven oceans were created, and then, Suryanarayana in the seventh ocean (the Sun) created two Kenjava birds. The first egg that the female bird laid fell into the ocean. Out of the second egg that fell on earth and broke, rivers and mountains were formed. The first egg that fell to the ocean appeared like a lemon to a Brahmin, bathing in the ocean, and he took it home. The next day the egg/fruit had turned into a girl-child, who was called Kedage. When she reached adulthood and still was unmarried, she was abandoned in a forest. Saayana Baida of Billava community saw her, and out of compassion, brought her home. He called her Deyi Baiditi and got her married to one Kantana Baida. Later, Deyi Baideti gave birth to two extraordinary twins called Koti and Channaya.

The points to be noticed here are two: a) the heroes' mother is not an ordinary woman; she has a divine birth; and b) the cruel practices of the Brahmin community (abandoning an unmarried woman in a forest) are contrasted with the humane behaviour of one belonging to the Billava community. Similarly, the narrative glorifies the twin heroes also: nobody can defeat them in any game when they are children, and when they grow up, they can escape barehanded even from an impregnable prison. They meet a tragic death even when they are victorious against a whole army only because of a treacherous act by the Ballal.

From a sociological point of view, this epic may document a transitional period in the Billava community. Though the traditional occupation of the Billava community is toddy-tapping, perhaps, at some point of time, its members took up agriculture as their major profession; and this could have been resented by the Bunts (the land-owning class of coastal Karnataka). The narrative, viewed thus, documents the conflict between the Billavas and the Bunts, represented by Koti-Channaya on one side and the Ballals on the other. As Stuart Blackburn puts it, " oral epics in India have that special ability to tell a community's own story and thus help to create and maintain that community's self-identity" (Oral Epics in India, p.ll).

Preface

Bannanje Babu Amin's book, Koti - Chennaya, has attained the status of a classic. It was first published in 1982 and a revised, third edition was brought out in 2002. The present English version, The Tale of the Twin Warriors, is the translated and recast version of the third edition of the book. Of course, there are further editions of the book, but the original text remains the same in the subsequent editions except for some additions at the end of the text.

Babu Amin, as he writes in the introduction to the first edition of his book, started his career as a folk play / field drama - yakshagana - artist in 1965. He was one of the artists of a field drama troupe that staged the folk play: Brahma Baider Charitre (The history of the Brahma Baider i.e. Koti Chennaya). As a result, in 1968, he thought of writing a book on Koti Chennaya.

To collect the material for the book, he, with his friends, visited the Enmur Kattabidu; Enmur and Panja shrines ofKoti Chennaya. These are the places where the events mentioned in the oral folk epic are believed to have happened. He also visited some 30 - 35 other shrines in the erstwhile Dakshina Kannada district of the coastal Kamataka.

After his field study, he prepared the first draft of the book in 1969. However, he could not publish it. Therefore, a committee was formed to publish this work. Finally, it was published in 1982 under the title, Koti Chennaya.

After the book was published, he thought of writing a comprehensive book on the shrines of Koti Chennaya. To realize this goal, he toiled day in and day out, and succeeded in establishing a study centre - the Shree Brahma Baiderkala Samkritika Adhyayana Pratisthana (A Centre for the Socio- Cuturlal study of Brahma Baiderlu).' Under the aegis of this institution, he and the co-author, Mohan Kotian produced a monumental work in 1990, entitled: Tulunada Garodigala Samskritika Adhyayana (A Socio - Cultural Study of the Garodis ofTulunadu).

While working on this project, the authors collected lot of information on Koti Chennaya' and their achievements. In the light of the fresh information, Amin developed new insight into the Koti Chennaya legend. Therefore, he decided to revise thoroughly his earlier book. Consequently, a revised edition was published in 2002.

Writing on the need for a revised addition, Mohan Kotian, the then, managing trustee of the Centre that published the revised edition, explains the rationale behind the revised edition. I have translated and reproduced what Mohan Kotian wrote in 2002 under, A Wordfrom the Publisher.

'Late Panje Mangesh Rao (1935) was the first person to write a story on Koti Chennaya with the title, Koti Chennaya Kathe. His story was based on the oral epic ofKoti Chennaya. In the introduction to his work, Mangesh Rao stated that some parts ofthe story were his own creation.

Following him, around 29 writers wrote stories, dramas, poems and field plays on Koti Chennaya. In other 24 major literary works, there are passing references to Koti Chennaya. Apart from these, many articles have been published since then. When we carefully examine these works, we find almost 14 variations between the story line of the oral epic of Koti Chennaya and the story line described in these works. These variations are regarding:

1. Birth of Deyi; 2. Deyi's childbirth; 3. Death of Deyi; 4. Death of Kantana Baida; 5. The game that Koti Chennaya played; 6. Meeting between Koti Chennaya and the Ballal as they reached adulthood; 7. The water dispute over the kambala field; 8. Asking certain favours from the Ballal; 9. The first meeting between Koti Chennaya and Payya Baida; 10. The way Koti Chennaya escaped from the Panja prison; 11. Offering of fistful of coins to their family Deity; 12. Death of Koti Chennaya; 13. The caste and clan ofChandugidi and 14. The details of the Ballal of their time.

The recent writers have given different versions of these 14 events and each one has given his own interpretation. However, when we carefully study the oral epic of Koti Chennaya compiled by Burnell and Manner, and the ones that are collected now from the elderly Parava singers - the professional bhuta performers and the pardana singers of oral epics - and the members of the Billava community, there is uniformity in the storyline. If so, why did variations arise between the oral versions of the pardana and the recent written works on Koti Chennaya?

Presently, there is a propensity to change the storyline on Koti Chennaya without any material evidence; the changes are affected purely on guesswork.

In future, when the writers write stories on Koti Chennaya, let their stories have some basis in the oral epic of Koti Chennaya and also let these writings be in conformity with the field studies, so that there is some degree of uniformity in the story line. With these objectives in view, the revised book has been brough out….’

Contents

ForewordV
PrefaceIX
Key To TransliterationXXIII
Chapter One1
The Background
Chapter Two3
Padumale Ballal and His Dream
Chapter Three22
Deyi Baideti
Chapter Four38
Birth of Koti chennaya
Chapter Five57
End of Buddhivanta
Chapter Six77
Journey of Koti Chennaya
Chapter Seven98
In the Dindumale Prison
Chapter Eight115
Koti Chennaya in Enmur
Chapter Nine129
The Battle of Enmur
Chapter Ten141
The Legacy of koti Chennaya
Glossary145
Name Index148
Reference152

The Tale of The Twin Warriors (Koti Chennaya)

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NAE698
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Edition:
2009
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About the Author

Bannanje Babu Amin He is a prolific writer, columnist, public speaker. Yakshagana artist, folklorist and social activist. He was a member of the Kannada Sahitya Academy. His Major works, apart from Koti chennaya are-Tulu Janapada Acharanegalu (Tulu Folk customs and Practices). Daivagala Madallali-Habaoada /sabjakaba, (on the Lap of Spirits- A folklore Collection), Ugurige Mudiyakk-a book short stores, Pu Poddol and Manechhi-Tulu noveis and Nudikatt-(A collection of tulu Folklore Prayers). His book, Tulu Janapada Acharanegalu won the Ku. Si. Janapada Award and The Tulu Sahitya Academy Award. He and Mohan Kotan authored the monumental research work. Tulunada Garodigala Samskritika Adhayana (A Socio-cultural Study of the Shrines of Koti Chennya). This book was awarded the Best Research Book award by the Karnataka janapada and yakshagana Academy in the year 1990. He Was largely instrumental in founding the now famous. Shree Brhma Baidarkala Samskritika Adhyayana Pratishtana, Adiudupi. He was once editor of Akshaya Pratishtana, adiudupi. He was once editor of Akshaya –a Kannada monthly published from Mumbai. He resides at Kallakanda Mane. Nittur, Udupi-576103

Foreword

It is heartening to note that oral literature, ignored for a long time in India as elsewhere, has been getting serious scholarly attention since the second half of the last century. If we limit ourselves to Tulu oral literature, we have to accept the fact that the first scholars to work in this field (as in other Indian languages) were the missionaries during the colonial period. However, regretfully, the academic activities of the missionaries were always Janus-headed: genuine scholarship coupled with championing the cause of Christianity. The first missionaries to work in the field of Tulu Folklore were A. C. Burnell and A. Manner, attached to the Basel Mission. While Manner collected, translated and published parts ofTulu oral songs and narratives in 1886 (Pad-danolu), Burnell published a series of translations of Tulu oral narratives between 1894- 1897 (The Devil Worship of the Tuluvas). Later, especially in the post-independence period, many Indian and Western scholars have done remarkable work in Indian folklore including Tulu folklore. lust to mention a few, Tulu scholars include B. A. Viveka Rai (Tulu Janapada Sahitya, 1985), Amrita Someshwara (Pad-dana Samputa, 1997; Amara Veeradwaya Koti Channaya, 1999; etc.); Bannanje Babu Amin (Koti Channaya, 1982, rev. 2002, etc.); Chinnappa Gowda (Bhootaradhane, 1990); Damodara Kalmadi ( Koti Channaya Pardana, 2002); A. V. Navada ( Siri Pad-dana, 1999); Vamana Nandavara (Koti Channaya, 2001); and others. The Western scholars who have worked in the field of Tulu folklore include Peter J. Claus (8 articles in English; tr. into Kannada as Tuluva Darshana, 1987), Lauri Honko (The Siri Epic as Performed by Gopala Naika, 2 Vols, and Textualising the Siri Epic, 1998), and others. Recently, Shankar Narayana Poojary has joined this illustrious group; having translated Damodara Kalmady's work as Epic of the Warriors m 2007 (v:ith a foreword by the well-known Amencan anthropologist / Tulu scholar Peter 1. Claus), has now translated Bannanje Babu Amin's prose work as Koti Chennaya, to be shortly published SahityaAkademi.

Oral epics (called Pad-dana in Tulu), in Tulu or in any other Indian language, are generally associated with certain specific communities, defined by their traditional occupations; and, the present oral epic, Koti Channaya, belongs to the Billava community (traditionally toddy- tappers) of coastal Karnataka. This poetic narrative which recordthe life and adventures of the two cultural heroes of the Billava comminity, their yearning for cultivable land, their brave opposition to the established powerful classes, and their tragic end, is sung by the members of particular (marginalized) communities called 'Pambada' and 'Parava' of coastal Karnataka, during the annual worship of the twin heroes. The place where the cultural heroes are worshipped is called 'Garody' (literally meaning 'Gymnasium'); and there are about 230 Garodies spread throughout coastal Karnataka. The elaborate, ritualistic worship, called 'Nema' or 'Bhootaradhane' ('Spirit Worship'), involves priests, Spirit- . impersonators, and the singers of the pad-dana.

Oral epics are characterized by a fluid structure and multi-functionality. By 'fluid structure' I mean that within a traditionally fixed framework, the narrative differs in minor details and episodes from singer to singer, and from one act of narration to another. The epics are multi-functional in the sense that they are ethnic chronicles of a community, they legitimize the beliefs and practices of the concerned community, and, of course, they are highly imaginative works of literature

Most of the oral epics begin with a 'Creation Myth,' which begins with the creation of the entire universe step by step, then focuses on the (legendary) first parents / ancestors of the community, and ends with the creation of the particular community concerned. Such a myth, besides glorifying the cultural hero/es of the epic, gives a privileged position to the community by linking it with the rest of the world and thus gives it a socio-cultural identity. Koti-Channaya also begins with a 'Creation Myth.' According to this myth, as it was the wish of Bermer, first seven oceans were created, and then, Suryanarayana in the seventh ocean (the Sun) created two Kenjava birds. The first egg that the female bird laid fell into the ocean. Out of the second egg that fell on earth and broke, rivers and mountains were formed. The first egg that fell to the ocean appeared like a lemon to a Brahmin, bathing in the ocean, and he took it home. The next day the egg/fruit had turned into a girl-child, who was called Kedage. When she reached adulthood and still was unmarried, she was abandoned in a forest. Saayana Baida of Billava community saw her, and out of compassion, brought her home. He called her Deyi Baiditi and got her married to one Kantana Baida. Later, Deyi Baideti gave birth to two extraordinary twins called Koti and Channaya.

The points to be noticed here are two: a) the heroes' mother is not an ordinary woman; she has a divine birth; and b) the cruel practices of the Brahmin community (abandoning an unmarried woman in a forest) are contrasted with the humane behaviour of one belonging to the Billava community. Similarly, the narrative glorifies the twin heroes also: nobody can defeat them in any game when they are children, and when they grow up, they can escape barehanded even from an impregnable prison. They meet a tragic death even when they are victorious against a whole army only because of a treacherous act by the Ballal.

From a sociological point of view, this epic may document a transitional period in the Billava community. Though the traditional occupation of the Billava community is toddy-tapping, perhaps, at some point of time, its members took up agriculture as their major profession; and this could have been resented by the Bunts (the land-owning class of coastal Karnataka). The narrative, viewed thus, documents the conflict between the Billavas and the Bunts, represented by Koti-Channaya on one side and the Ballals on the other. As Stuart Blackburn puts it, " oral epics in India have that special ability to tell a community's own story and thus help to create and maintain that community's self-identity" (Oral Epics in India, p.ll).

Preface

Bannanje Babu Amin's book, Koti - Chennaya, has attained the status of a classic. It was first published in 1982 and a revised, third edition was brought out in 2002. The present English version, The Tale of the Twin Warriors, is the translated and recast version of the third edition of the book. Of course, there are further editions of the book, but the original text remains the same in the subsequent editions except for some additions at the end of the text.

Babu Amin, as he writes in the introduction to the first edition of his book, started his career as a folk play / field drama - yakshagana - artist in 1965. He was one of the artists of a field drama troupe that staged the folk play: Brahma Baider Charitre (The history of the Brahma Baider i.e. Koti Chennaya). As a result, in 1968, he thought of writing a book on Koti Chennaya.

To collect the material for the book, he, with his friends, visited the Enmur Kattabidu; Enmur and Panja shrines ofKoti Chennaya. These are the places where the events mentioned in the oral folk epic are believed to have happened. He also visited some 30 - 35 other shrines in the erstwhile Dakshina Kannada district of the coastal Kamataka.

After his field study, he prepared the first draft of the book in 1969. However, he could not publish it. Therefore, a committee was formed to publish this work. Finally, it was published in 1982 under the title, Koti Chennaya.

After the book was published, he thought of writing a comprehensive book on the shrines of Koti Chennaya. To realize this goal, he toiled day in and day out, and succeeded in establishing a study centre - the Shree Brahma Baiderkala Samkritika Adhyayana Pratisthana (A Centre for the Socio- Cuturlal study of Brahma Baiderlu).' Under the aegis of this institution, he and the co-author, Mohan Kotian produced a monumental work in 1990, entitled: Tulunada Garodigala Samskritika Adhyayana (A Socio - Cultural Study of the Garodis ofTulunadu).

While working on this project, the authors collected lot of information on Koti Chennaya' and their achievements. In the light of the fresh information, Amin developed new insight into the Koti Chennaya legend. Therefore, he decided to revise thoroughly his earlier book. Consequently, a revised edition was published in 2002.

Writing on the need for a revised addition, Mohan Kotian, the then, managing trustee of the Centre that published the revised edition, explains the rationale behind the revised edition. I have translated and reproduced what Mohan Kotian wrote in 2002 under, A Wordfrom the Publisher.

'Late Panje Mangesh Rao (1935) was the first person to write a story on Koti Chennaya with the title, Koti Chennaya Kathe. His story was based on the oral epic ofKoti Chennaya. In the introduction to his work, Mangesh Rao stated that some parts ofthe story were his own creation.

Following him, around 29 writers wrote stories, dramas, poems and field plays on Koti Chennaya. In other 24 major literary works, there are passing references to Koti Chennaya. Apart from these, many articles have been published since then. When we carefully examine these works, we find almost 14 variations between the story line of the oral epic of Koti Chennaya and the story line described in these works. These variations are regarding:

1. Birth of Deyi; 2. Deyi's childbirth; 3. Death of Deyi; 4. Death of Kantana Baida; 5. The game that Koti Chennaya played; 6. Meeting between Koti Chennaya and the Ballal as they reached adulthood; 7. The water dispute over the kambala field; 8. Asking certain favours from the Ballal; 9. The first meeting between Koti Chennaya and Payya Baida; 10. The way Koti Chennaya escaped from the Panja prison; 11. Offering of fistful of coins to their family Deity; 12. Death of Koti Chennaya; 13. The caste and clan ofChandugidi and 14. The details of the Ballal of their time.

The recent writers have given different versions of these 14 events and each one has given his own interpretation. However, when we carefully study the oral epic of Koti Chennaya compiled by Burnell and Manner, and the ones that are collected now from the elderly Parava singers - the professional bhuta performers and the pardana singers of oral epics - and the members of the Billava community, there is uniformity in the storyline. If so, why did variations arise between the oral versions of the pardana and the recent written works on Koti Chennaya?

Presently, there is a propensity to change the storyline on Koti Chennaya without any material evidence; the changes are affected purely on guesswork.

In future, when the writers write stories on Koti Chennaya, let their stories have some basis in the oral epic of Koti Chennaya and also let these writings be in conformity with the field studies, so that there is some degree of uniformity in the story line. With these objectives in view, the revised book has been brough out….’

Contents

ForewordV
PrefaceIX
Key To TransliterationXXIII
Chapter One1
The Background
Chapter Two3
Padumale Ballal and His Dream
Chapter Three22
Deyi Baideti
Chapter Four38
Birth of Koti chennaya
Chapter Five57
End of Buddhivanta
Chapter Six77
Journey of Koti Chennaya
Chapter Seven98
In the Dindumale Prison
Chapter Eight115
Koti Chennaya in Enmur
Chapter Nine129
The Battle of Enmur
Chapter Ten141
The Legacy of koti Chennaya
Glossary145
Name Index148
Reference152
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