Songs through the ages in the names of Tulu heroes

Tulu Nadu’s folk practices nurture a sense of belonging and togetherness in the community
Last Updated 25 February 2022, 19:04 IST

Like any other part of Tulu Nadu, the cultural treasure of Mulki in Dakshina Kannada district is rich and diverse. Local oral epics like pardanas or beeras and verbal literary expressions like the sthala puranas celebrate legendary characters from Tulu Nadu’s folk history.

Tulu Nadu’s folk practices nurture a sense of belonging and togetherness in the community. In recent years, modern historians, anthropologists and folklorists are studying and documenting the intricacies and significance of these rituals.

As a result, a large number of important historical places, and the great social deeds of male and female folk heroes are getting attention.

Twin heroes

Kaanthabare and Boodabare were legendary twin heroes of Mulki Seeme of Tulu Nadu during the medieval period. Their character, discipline, valour, peasantry and work for the economic prosperity of the throne and common people made them worthy of worship by the folk of the region after their demise. Ballads called ‘beera’ were composed on their life and are sung even now.

Kaanthabare and Boodabare were great warriors and the supreme commanding saviours of the Mulki kingdom ruled by the Savantha dynasty from 14th century to 17th century. They fought many wars safeguarding their kingdom.

On the agricultural front, they dug wells, made canals and culverts, and created paddy fields. They also constructed a manor at Padu Panambur dedicated to their master Savantha. The twins succumbed to injuries after winning the final battle against the Chowta ruler. People in and around Mulki worship them as cultural heroes.

Their gigantic bows and arrows, weapons, ‘suriyas’ or swords and war attire are preserved and protected at Ulepady Gudde Saana (a place of worship) and their place of birth at Kollur Thirthagudde, Barkemane.

Apart from military and agricultural contributions the twins also concentrated on the economical and social development of the Mulki region.

They created four ‘Guthu-Bawas’ to collect revenue. The brothers continued developing the cultivable lands and organised Kambalas in the Mulki region.

Even now, the people of Mulki remember the words attributed to the twins, “We will not go away. Do good deeds generously; we will be there protecting this land forever.”

The region remembers the noble deeds and bravery of Kaanthabare and Boodabare by singing songs about them and organising kambalas (buffalo races) in their name. They are worshipped in garodis (places of exercise) and saanas.

Every year in January or February, spiritual rituals, kola and nema, are organised in their name. A large number of devotees in and out of Karnataka participate in this week-long event.

On the second day of the kola, the ballad beera, dedicated to Kanthabare and Boodabare are sung by performing pambada artists.

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(Published 25 February 2022, 13:12 IST)

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