Mundas - a fused culture of Tamil and Sanskrit speaking Vedic society (Mundas -10)
One of the common views held by many scholars is that ‘Aryans’ or Hindus influenced the Mundari people such that these people had started worshiping “Aryan” Gods. The same explanation is given to justify the presence of Sanskrit words in their language. However a closer examination of their festivals and practices give rise to a view that such ‘Aryan’ practices are running basically in their culture. Another important observation is that they all have had some connection with peninsular India and ancient Tamil or proto-Tamil.
The basic problem is in thinking that Mundas are different from Hindus. All the features and ideas of their culture are seen in rural India even today. They are found in Tamil Sangam texts too that describe the culture that existed 2000 years ago. Texts like “Malai padu kadaam” and “Maduraik kaanchi” describe the life style of different types people living in forests and hills and we do find them similar to the life style and beliefs of Mundas. The Mundari speaking people show a close semblance to the life style in Peninsular India. We will discuss them in this article.
The Vedic or “Aryan” festivals of Mundas.
This Goddess is found in many regions of Tamilnadu where some valorous women in the deed of protecting a child had been deified as Isakki. There is mention of Isakki as Iyakki in the 1st century AD text of Silappadhikaram, thereby establishing this deity as an olden concept. By the name Iyakki, it means that she is one who ‘drives’ the world / souls. She is Iccha shakthi of Creator God. That is identified as Manasa Devi. Thus a similar meaning with a similar iconography had existed throughout India. The original idea must have been Monsa Devi worshiped by Mundas. The idea of Monsa with serpent related to progeny could have been converted into forms of Manasa and Isakki, perhaps after Parashurama ushered in Devi worship through his Kalpasutra.
Plough – festival, Akshay Tritiya and Rohini
Today this date had been commercially exploited by gold merchants calling people to buy gold. Originally this date was used as an ideal time for starting the agricultural practices to get a ‘golden’ harvest.
Cholistan in present-day Pakistan might perhaps be the place of Chola origin. The presence of Brahui language with similarities with Tamil could be related to the emergence of Cholavarma from this part of the country. It must be noted that the similar front-side tuft is found in people of the olden days in the stretch starting from Pakistan to Russia. A genetic study on the traditional front-tuft people of Eurasia and Cholia titled castes of Tamilnadu such as Cholia Brahmins and Cholia Vellalas needs to be done to look for connections.
The islands off Konkan coast that Pandavas visited are no longer there. A marine exploration of this region would reveal many clues to Parashurama’s historicity.
The following illustration shows the probable movement of inhabitants - Vaivaswata Manu and his subjects and sages who lived in the coastal extensions at the beginning of Holocene.
River saraswati was flowing mightily at that time. The estuary of that river formed the entry point of Manu pushed by the currents (or pulled by the Mathsya, the mythical Fish) which came to be called as Dwaraka. Every time this entry was swallowed by the sea, another Dwaraka was built in remembrance of that early entry that facilitated the growth of new civilisation of Vaivaswatha Manu.