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Tuluva Jains
ತುಳುವಾ ಜೈನ್
ಜೈನ್ ಬಂತ್
Karkala jain temple.JPG
A Tulu Jain Temple in karkala
Total population
(approx) 40,387[1]
Regions with significant populations
Tulu Nadu
Languages

Tulu

Religion

Jainism.

Related ethnic groups

Bunts, Nairs, Samanta Kshatriya

Tuluva Jains or Jaina Bunts are a small community of Tulu speaking people who adhere to Jainism and other philosophies associated with it.The community is mainly concentrated in Tulu Nadu region in the Indian states of Karnataka and Kerala. They were traditionally Feudal Lords,who rarely participated in warfare since they adhere to the philosophy of Ahimsa. For Warfare they were mostly dependent on their cousin Bunts.The Tulu Jains trace their lineage through the Nagavanshi order of Kshatriyas. Many erstwhile royalty in the tulu region like Chowta dynasty were jains.

Contents

Origins

The Community Traces it origins to the Landlord Bunts Who embraces Jain Traditions during the rule of the Hoysala Kingdom who propagated Jainism. In spite of accepting Jainism they follow almost all Hindu customs of the Bunts.In fact it is hard to distinguish between Tulu Jains And Bunts. Both communities are Matrilineal.Have great faith in the unique Hindu rituals of Bhuta Kola and Nagaradhane. Worship the same pantheon of Hindu gods and goddesses. The only difference between the two communities is that Tulu Jains believe in the teachings of Teerthankara and Bunts do not.

Traditions

  • Jain Traditions
The Gomateshwara statue at Dharmasthala

Tulu Jains are strictly vegetarian and do not consume anything after sunset.They also abstain from eating vegetables grown below the ground. They adhere to the principles of the Digambara sect of Jainism.The Ascetic Gummataraya Bahubali is greatly revered by the Tulu Jains. Statues in his honour have been erected by them at Dharmasthala and Karkala.Many magnificent Jain Basadi have been built by the Jains especially in Karkala

  • Aliya Katt

The most unique feature of Tulu Jains is that they follow Matrilineal inheritance called Aliya Katt in Tulu. This is in sharp contrast to other jain communities. Jains attribute their matrilineality to Bhutala Pandya, a legendary king of unknown antiquity.

A Ritual Dancer performing Bhuta Kola

Along with Hindu gods and Jain tirthankaras,Tulu Jains worship spirit deities which are of both Puranic and local origins. They spirit deities are seen as protectors. Annual Ritual Dances called Bhuta Kola or Dharma Da Nema is performed in the honour of Them. A spirit deity called Annappa Panjurli who is widely revered in the Tulu region is associated with the jains and the Highly revered Dharmasthala Temple which is managed by a Tulu Jain Family called The Pergades, the members of which use the title of Heggade. The eldest male member of this family inherits the position of Dharmadhikari - the one who dispenses justice on behalf of Lord Manjunatha and Goddess Ammanavaru,the main deities of the temple. The succession to the post of Dharmadikari is according to the Tulu laws of Matrilineality called Aliya Santana Katt.

Tulu Jains greatly revere the cobras. They are considered to be sacred creatures and embodiment of Hindu Serpent deities like Ananta,Vasuki,Takshaka etc. These Snake gods are worshipped in sacred groves called Naga Bana. Rituals of Nagaradhane are performed in honour of them

Surnames

Jainism in South India predates any caste specific divisions. But Tulu Jains are all converts from the elite Community of Bunts. Heggade is one of most common Tulu Jain surnames Other surnames of Jains are Alva, Ariga,Ajila,Arasa Konde, Pergade etc which are also found among Bunts. Even Today marriage alliances between Tulu jains And Bunts is not uncommon. Jainism and Hinduism are in harmonious co-existence in the Tulu Nadu region. Because of their Affinity with the Bunts they are also referred to as Jaina Bunt In Karnataka, Jains formed 0.78% of the population according to 2001 census. However, majority of Jains in Karnataka today are migrants from North India. The natives Tulu Jains, are a minority even among this population. However, their exact numbers is largely unavailable. It is estimated they are less than 50000 in number.

Prominent Tulu Jains

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.dioceseofmangalore.org/statistics.asp
  2. ^ Dharmadhikari Veerendra Heggade of Dharmasthala, in Charisma and Commitment in South Asian History: Essays Presented to Stanley Wolpert, Ed, Roger D. Long2004 Orient Longman
  • William Pais, Land Called South Canara. ISBN 8-175-2514-84
  • U.Padmanabha Upadhyaya, Coastal Karnataka: studies in folkloristic and linguistic traditions of Dakshina Kannada region of the western coast of India ISBN 8-186-6680-63
  • P.Gururaja Bhatt, Studies in Tuluva history and culture, from the pre-historic times up to the modern ISBN
  • Heidrun Brückner, Fürstliche Feste Volume 12 of Neuindische Studien ISBN 3-447-0366-05
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