Pejawar seer and his Tulu signature

The signature of Pejawar seer Vishweshwaratheertha Swamiji in Tulu.

While there are analysts who can talk in length about people looking at their signatures, looking at Pejawar seer Vishweshwaratheertha Swamiji’s signature, the analysts will only be left mazed and bewildered.

It is said that Tulu does not have a script and even if it did, it has died with the time. Proving both of this belief wrong is Pejawara Mutt seer Vishweshwaratheertha Swamiji’s signature in Tulu. Though not an exponent in Tulu script, the pontiff even today signs using Tulu script.

Speaking about this practice that he has sustained from his childhood, 81-year Swamiji says that he does not even remember who exactly taught him to sign his name in Tulu.

“I am not well-versed in the script. I just know to write my name ‘Sri Vishweshwara Theertha Swamiji’ in Tulu. It is the ‘Guruparampare’ (a culture passed down from the teacher to his disciples) that I am following,” said the Seer adding that when he took initiation from his teacher in Pejawar Mutt, his ‘hasthakshara’ (sign) in Tulu was taught.

He did learn few alphabets of Tulu but since it was not of much use, he could not learn more or use it.

However, he recalls that since time immemorial, in the Ashtamutt knowledge of ‘Taulava’ script (that pertaining to Taulava land) was a must because though the ‘vatus’ (young brahmin disciples) were taught Sanskrit hymns, the scripts on the manuscripts were all in Tulu.

“If one goes back to the documents of the ‘Ashtamutt,’ we can find all important verdicts, declarations and accounts pertaining to the Mutts written in Taulava script,” says the Swamiji.

He says that with the advent of Kannada, the inclination must have shifted, thereby leaving Tulu script unused. “Since Tulu had already taken a backseat, when I took initiation, the introduction of Taulava script may not have been so important and hence I must have been taught to write the script just symbollically,” he said adding that signing in Tulu was a culture in the Ashtamutt. He has kept the culture alive but is not sure how many others Mathadishas in the Ashtamutt still do so.

Dakshina Kannada District Kannada Sahithya Parishat President Pradeep Kumar Kalkura, a close aide of the Swamiji says that Swamiji has never signed or even made an attempt to sign in any other script other than the Taulava script.

He says that much against the popular belief that Tulu never had a script, Ashtamutts are the treasure house of rich, ancient Tulu manuscripts, preserved for eternity.

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