Introducing the Koti-Chennayya and the The Shri Brahma Baidarkala Samskritika Adhyayana Pratishtana by S.A. Krishnaiah

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Author:S.A.Krishnaiah Chief-Researcher/Co-ordinator (E-mail: Regional Resources Centre UDUPI-576 102 (Karnataka)India

Introduction :

It is believed that the twins, `Koti' -'Chennaya' lived four century ago, (Circa 1556 A.D to 1591 A.D.) and fought for truth and justice during the feudal era. They are worshiped annually in a special shrine called 'garooDi' maintained by two of the major communities of Coastal Karnataka - the 'Billavas' and 'Bunts'. Today 230 'GaroDis’ or shrines have been identified in and around Coastal Karnataka. (See Babu Ameen & Mohan Kotyan, 1990 PP 25-38) .The twins are worshipped annually in a ceremony called a 'neema', where the 'Billava' 'paatry' (or the priest) and the 'Parava' dancers get possessed during the ritual. 'Parava 'men play the 'tembere' (drum). 'Koti' & 'Chennaya' epic or songs are called 'biira' in this tradition. During the previous night there is a food (vegetarian food) offering called 'ageelu'. The 'parava' men also sing a portion of the twin's epic. (For detail See: Babu Ameen & Mohan Kotyan 1990:)

The twins are believed to have been turned into spirits after a battle against 'Perumale Ballala’. Elder brother 'Koti' died in the battle field younger brother while bumped his head at 'Panja’ temple (It is believed that this was a case of self immolation). After death these two heroes are given importance as the great spirits of the religion to protect those who have faith in them. One can see what is believed to be the 'samadhi' (mausoleum) of 'Koti'-'Chennaya' brothers at 'Enmuru ' village of 'Sullya' Taluk, 'Dakshina Kannada' District. (D.K.) (For Details see B.A.Saletore, 1936 pp 525-542)


Long ago, King 'Perumale Ballala' went hunting into the forest. He stepped on a poisonous thorn and immediately his foot swelled, gradually becoming septic and incurable. A pregnant woman of 'Billava' Community, 'Deyi Beaded', who knew a herbal cure, came on invitation and offered treatment after treatment. After the treatment she returned home. On the way she gave birth to male twins and died. The king brought up the infant twins and named them 'Koti' (Sun) and ‘Chennaya’ (Moon). The king employed a step-mother to look after twins.

The King handed over the twins to 'Saayena Baidya'. The children grew-up in 'Saayana Beidya's house under the benevolence of the king. One day while playing foot-ball (chenDu) in the paddy field, the twins defeated the children of 'Buddivanta', the minister of King 'Ballala'. Seeing this the minister snatched the ball from 'Koti & Chenneyya', thrashed them and drove them out of his house. The twins swore: 'Keep the ball safely in house, when we grow up, we will return and recover it with our strong hands'. After this quarrel enmity grew between the two houses'. {it is believed that the twins and 'Buddivanta' lived adjacent houses}.

It is customary in 'Tulunadu' to fix an auspicious day for ploughing the fields. 'Buddivanta' consulted the priest and fixed an auspicious day for cultivation. He then lied to 'Koti' & 'Chennaya' saying that ploughing for them was to be in the following week after 'Buddivants's' field was plowed. But while ploughing the land, 'Koti' & 'Chennaya' quarreled with 'Buddivanta' and they stabbed him in the chest with the sword named 'raame anpi surya' and 'Kengude anpi surya' and the minister died. They buried his body in a stream and then went to his house, to retrieve the ball and returned to their house.

Their foster mother learned about the killing and feared that the 'Ballala' might punish the children. The 'Ballala' sent his men to bring them to his palace. He threatened to punish both. 'Koti' & 'Chennaya' reminded the king about the promise he had made to their mother before she died. The king asked what they wanted. 'Chennaya' demanded a field. 'Koti' demanded the king's flower garden. The King said; "Ask for something else". 'Chennaya' asked for the royal sword. This irritated the king, who feared that these children might next ask his own throne. He ordered them to be imprisoned. But no one dared to touch the twins. They left the court saying that their wishes would be fulfilled within six years.

Later they took shelter in the 'Panja' territory. The 'Ballala' set fire to the house of their foster father. At 'Panja' 'Koti' & Chennaya' sought the help of 'Keemara Ballala', King of that region. 'Koti' & 'Chennaya's brother-in-law 'Payya Baidya' was a close of minister Chendugidi' regarding the command of the army. Chendugudi’ minister treacherously imprisoned the twins. When they were in prison, at night, with mystic power, the twins escaped from the prison and went to ‘Enmuru’. 'Deva Ballala' was ruling the ‘Enmuru’ territory. In this region the 'Bhillavas' were in majority.

By this time the twins were 16-years old. The region of the king 'Deva Ballala' was in the midst of forest. Animals troubled 'Chennaya' who went to hunt the wild animals. 'Chenneyya' chased a wild boar and it entered 'Panja' territory. Chennaya' chased the animal and killed it. 'Chendugidi', who was nearby, claimed the boar (Some of the versions don't have this episode). Further battle takes place between 'Enmuru' rulers and 'Panja' feudal lords. 'Koti' & 'Chennaya' led the forces of 'Yenmuru' army. As the battle raged on, an arrow from somewhere pierces ‘Koti’s chest. 'Chennaya' rushes to 'Koti's side. Then Chendugidi' attacks 'Chennaya'. Immediately 'Cheneayya' jumps and slays 'Chendugidi'. 'Koti' dies and 'Chennaya' is so sad and that he kills himself by banging his head against a rock. 'Koti' & 'Chennaya's foster father, 'Saayana Baidya' sets fire to the palace of 'Perumula Ballala'. (Version differs from region to region).

The 'Enmuru' king built a 'samadi' (mausoleum) at the site where the brothers were cremated. The twins have become legendary heroes of 'Tulunad' by virtue of their valor and their life-long battle against tyranny and injustice.


Bannanje Babu Ameen & Mohan Kotyan 1990 "Tulunaada Garodigala Samskritika Adhyyana" (Kannada) (A Folkloristic & Cultural Study of 'Garodi' shrines, an outstanding Place of worship, peculiar to Tuluva culture) Pub: Sri Brahma Baiderkala Sasnkritika Adhyayana Pratishtana (R) Adi Udupi-Udupi: 576 103 . Karnataka. Krishnaiah,S.A. 'Koti-Chennaya' epic (Un-published)

Patnayak.D.P. & Peter J.Claus (Ed). 1981.'Indian Folklore-I’ (Report of Discussion from the Indo-American seminar on Indian Folklore, Mysore-570 006 C.I.I.L Mysore.

Saletore B.A. 1936 "Ancient Karnatak History of Tuluva" (Vol-I) Pub: Oriental Book Agency

Shiva Billava 1998 "Legendary Twins Koti-Chennaya" Pub: Gurubharati Adhyayana Kendra, Mumbai-23

Introducing The Shri Brahma Baidarkala Samskritika Adhyayana Pratishtana. Adi Udupi

Tulunadu has been the cradle of the distinctive Tulu culture and tradition. This culture is preserved in the form of Tulu folklore. This folklore is the storehouse of the rich historical legacy of the Tulu speaking people. The folkloristic compositions of the region narrate the stories of the cultural heroes and heroines of the Tululvas-their sacrifices and tribulations, hence, scholars from India and abroad have shown keen intrest in studying the Tulu folk culture

Shri Brahma Baidarkala Samskritika Adhyayana Pratishtana(SBBSAP) has been established to promote research study and reflection on Tulu folklore. Although the study of folk culture is the domain of the anthropologists, and other experts, it has been expanding sphere of the folklore study. The Introducing the Koti-Chennayya and the The Shri Brahma Baidarkala Samskritika Adhyayana Pratishtana (SBBSAP) was founded and registered in 1988, with this expressive objectives.

The goals of the SBBSAP

1-To throw light on the historical background of Koti-Chennaya through the field studies of the surrounding areas of Panja, Enmuru and Padumale (Hilloc station). For this purpose, establishing liasion with the HRD (Human Resources Development) Ministry, Department of Museum, Government of India.

2-Compliling a complete text of the Koti-Chennaya 'paaddana'. With the help of experts, analyizing and interpreting this folk epic and preparing a comprehensive volume.

3-To provide financial support to researcj studies that throw new light on the historical foundations of the folklore of Tululunadu. 4-Providing a common platform for the scholars and researchers in the field, to meet and discuss about their work.

5-To undertake a research study on the 'Brahma Baidera Garodi's' that are spread all over Tulunadu.

6-On teh basis of this study, bring out a volume that could be a handbook, for the future researchers/ scholars working this area.

7-The 'Garodis', as village temples, have been the centers of education and culture for all Tuluvas, irrespective of caste and creed. Through these village shrines, the Pratishtana (SBBSAP) proposes to work towards forging amity among all the communities.

8-To establish a museum to house the artifacts found in various 'Garodis'.

9-Setting up of a research library on folklore, archive, and costructing a reading hall.

The SBBSAP (Prathisthana) came into existance because of the intrest shown by the youth in the study of folk culture, and also due to the support extended by the general public and well eishers.

To realize the above goals the BSBBSAP has been able to set up a two-storey complex, 'Baida shree', at Adi Udupi, in the Udupi District of Karnataka.

Activities undertaken so far:


(a) 'Tulunada garodigala Sanskritika Adhyyana', (1990)-Kannada Book-received best Book award from the Academy of Janapdada and Yakshagana, Governament of Karnataka. b) Koti-Chennaya Moukhika Sahityada Antarahna (1995)-Kannada Book c) 'janamanasdalli Koti-Chennaya' (1998) d) An anthology, 'Koti-Chennaya paaddana Samputa' (2002). It also got best book award from the Academy of Janapdada and Yakshagana, Governament of Karnataka. e) 'Baidya Darshana Sachitra katha Kosha'(2003)-Kannada 2-Commissioning a portrait of Koti-Chennaya 4-Holding a conference in 2002, on 'Thulunada Garodigalu'. It was attended by the then, Hon Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri S.M.Krishna. In the conference, it was decided to extend the pension benefits to the artists and the supportive personnel of the 'Garodis'.

Our Future Plans

1-Rendering the story of Koti Chennayya Samputa into English

2-Rendering Koti-Chennaya 'paaddana Samputa' into English.

3-Undertaking a complete research study on the life, achivements and legacy of Koti-Chennaya.

4-Protecting the historical remains pertaining to the to the period to the of Koti-Chennaya, found in Panja, Padumale and Enmoor.

5-Setting up of a Tulunadu Janapada Museum.

6-Preparing reading material on Koti-Chennaya to be used as a text book/story book in schools.

7-An extensive research study on the Billawa Community.

8-Making efforts to extend Group Insurance/Accident Insurance to the artists and other personanel associated with 'Garodis'.

9-Making a comparative study of Koti-Chennaya and Kanatabare-Budabare.