Sunday, June 28, 2015

ಪುರಾಣಮಿತ್ಯೇವ ಸಾಧು ಕಿಂಚಿತ್ - ೧

There is a very educative book by Dr A V Narasimhamurthy called "ಕನ್ನಡ ಲಿಪಿಯ ಉಗಮ ಮತ್ತು ವಿಕಾಸ" (The origin and development of the Kannada script). It provided some startling (for me) information.  For instance, in the medieval period (and until around the 18th century), the ದೀರ್ಘ symbol was not used and the reader would have to contextually understand that a ದೀರ್ಘ was meant. So this would be a typical sentence in a manuscript:

ನಂಜರಾಜೈಯ್ಯವಡೆರ ತಂಮ ಬಾಳೈಯ್ಯನವರ ಮಗ ವಿರೈಯ್ಯನವರ ಮಕ್ಕಳು ರಾಮರಾಜೈಯ್ಯನವರ...

You would have to make that ವಡೇರ and ವೀರೈಯ್ಯ yourself. The symbol for the ದೀರ್ಘ, although present in some form, was not commonly used. Another noteworthy element is the relative convolutedness of rendering common words, especially if they contained the ಅನುಸ್ವಾರ or some ಸಂಯುಕ್ತಾಕ್ಷರ. These peculiarities presented themselves in a manuscript entitled 'ವಡೆರಪಟ್ಟು', being a genealogy of the Wodeyar/Wadiyar dynasty composed around 1700 A.D. It is available at the British Library in London (Euston road/St. Pancras branch) and the scholarly and knowledgeable should definitely glean more from it than my clumsy amateurish attempts did.

There isn't much of a compelling narrative in this document. It lists possibly every Wodeyar born until the time of its composition and everyone they married or were related to, or even possibly passed by on a typical Mysorean evening walk. The feeling that does envelop the reader is an overwhelming gratitude towards whoever decided to simplify the Kannada script after the 18th century. What used to be a ಬೀChi joke was par for the course back then. ಹೆಂಣು, ಅಂಣ್ಣ, ಪುಂಣ್ಯ, ಮೊಂಮ್ಮಕ್ಕಳು, among others are spread throughout the work. There are also some strange usages like ಕೊಮಾರ್ರು instead of ಕುಮಾರರು and ಯಿವರ/ಯುವರ instead of ಇವರ. Some sample sentences from the book are reproduced below.

Beginning with:
ವಡೆರಪಟ್ಟು ರತಲಲ್ಲೂ ಸಕೊಟಿಸಾಮಾನ್ಯರಗಳು ಬಂಧುತ್ವ ಮಾಡಿದ ಬಗೆ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದು

ಯುವರಾಜರು ಮಕ್ಕಳು ಕುಟುಂಬಕರೆ ಶ್-ಯವಳಿಗೆ ಬರೆಶಿ ಉಂಬಳಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟು ಅದೆ ಬಿಳುತೆರೆಯವರಲ್ಲಿ ಮುನಿಯಪ್ಪ ವಡೇರ ಕೆಂಪಯ್ಯನ ಚಿತ್ತೈಯ್ಯ (?)ಗೆ ಕಾವೆರಿಪಟ್ಟಣದ ಚಿಂನ(?)ರಾಜಯ್ಯನವರ ಬಗೆ ಹೆಂಣು ತಂದ ಬಗೆ.

the book rambles on with repeated iterations of ThisManWhoIsTheSonOfThisManHadAGrandsonWhoMarriedThisWoman. Like this:

ಮಾದೈಯ್ಯನವರ ಕೊಮಾರರು ಚಾಮರಾಜೈಯ್ಯನವರ ಮಗ(?) ಅಂತು ಯಳಂದೂರ ವರ ಮನೆತನಕ್ಕೆ ವಕ್ಕಲ್ಲುತ್ಕೆ(?) ಬಳಿ ಕೊತ್ತಾಗಾಲದ ಮನತನಕ್ಕೆ ವಿಶ್ವಾಮಿತ್ರಗೊತ್ರ ಆದಿ ದೊಡ್ಡಲಿಂಗರಾಜವಡೆರು ಯಾವಂಶಪಾರಂಪರೆಯಲ್ಲು ಕೃಷ್ಣೈಯ್ಯನವರ ಕೊಮಾರರು ಗೊಕುಲೈದೈಯ್ಯನವರ ಮಗ ಯಿವರ ಅಂಣ ಲಿಂಗರಾಜೈಯ್ಯನವರ ಕೊಮಾರ್ರು ಲಕ್ಷ್ಮಿಕಾಂತವಡೆರ...ಕೆಂಪಲಿಂಗರಾಜವಡೆರ...

Until the final paragraph closes with:

ದೊಡ್ಡರೆವೈಯ್ಯ ಅರಶಿನವರ ತಂಮ ಚಿಕ್ಕರೆವೈಯ್ಯನವರಿಗೆ ವಿವಾಹ ಶತ ೧೫೬೬ಕೆ
ತಾರಣಸಂವತ್ಸರದ ಫಾಲ್ಗುಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಸತ್ಯಾಗಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ(?) ಸ್ವರ್ಗಸ್ಥರಾದರ್ರು ದೊಡ್ಡರೆವೈಯ್ಯ ಅರಶಿನವರ ಮಾರಕೆ(?) ತಂಮನವರು ದೆವರಾಜವಡೆರೈಯ್ಯನವರೊಬ(?) ನಾಮಾಂಕಿತ ಕೆಂಪದೆವೈಯ್ಯನವರಿಗೆ ಶತ ೧೫೮೧ಕೆ

Question marks indicate words I could not decipher accurately and which compelled me to adopt the vaunted 'stab in the dark' approach. For instance, the ಮಗ looked very like ಬಗ/ಚಗ.

In other attempts at playing literary detective, I laid my ignorant hands on some letters that Kodagu's Veerarajendra Wodeyar (a.k.a Masti's famous Chikka Veerarajendra) exchanged with the British between 1826 and 1833, and an 18th century manuscript of Nijaguna Shivayogi's 'Viveka Chintamani'. Subsequent posts will contain more about those adventures.