Monday, 29 June 2015

Koti & Chennaya – the legendary heroes of Tulu land (Part 1)





Mangalorean's young and old must have heard about the heroics of Koti-Chennaya through folklore, ballads and Tulu epic of the same name. But most of the present generation of Mangaloreans born or brought up outside and abroad may not be aware about the stories of these legendary twins. Koti and Chennaya are legendary twin brothers who are still revered in this land. The story of these heroes dates back to around 500 years; somewhere in the 1556 - 1591 AD. The valiant twin brothers were also known as Karnika Purushas.

As per the legend, Koti and Chennaya were born to Deye Baidethi from the Billawa community of Tulu nadu, South Kanara in Karnataka. Due to their heroic deeds and fight for social equality, they are revered and remembered as protectors of the land. They died fighting near Enmoor. Their Samadhi is still there. Temples in their memory, called Garodi which doubles up as gymnasiums have been built in their name all over Tulu land. Once every year, festival called Nema is celebrated in the Garodis where the villagers assemble to pray for their well-being………..

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As per the legend, King Perumal Ballal ruled Padumale. The king had an ambition to build a big palace which would exhibit his glory even after his death. A long search began and the king selected Mallaya, known for his intelligence and wisdom. Mallaya, as promised, built a magnificent palace as per the desire of the king. Impressed by his work the king, Perumal Ballal conferred on him a title of Budiyanta, which means, intelligent and a man of wisdom. He also made him a minister, and slowly Budiyanta took over complete charge of the kingdom. The king withdrew himself from day-to-day affairs and delegated power to Budhiyanta. He misused his power and, was a dreaded and an arrogant minister, oppressing the subjects of the land. His influence was clearly visible all over the kingdom.

One afternoon, while relaxing Perumal Ballal had a bad dream. He sought for an explanation of this dream. Bira Balyaya, the soothsayer explained that if he did not perform the rituals performed by his ancestors, it would be a bad omen for his land. The king after performing the rituals went on a hunt. While returning from the hunt, a thorn pierced his foot and nothing would stop the bleeding. On reaching the palace, his foot was swollen with intense pain. No treatment or medicine could heal the wound or the pain. The king knowing about her reputation in herbal cure, ordered for Deye Baideti to be summoned. Deye specialized in Ayurveda and was Vaidya by family tradition. As she was pregnant, the king arranged to bring her in a royal palanquin.


The story of Deye Baideti – Pijinar, an issue-less Brahmin would go to the seashore every day to offer prayers to the almighty. One day to his surprise, a gold-colour egg-shaped large object floated towards him. He carried it home. He and his wife opened the egg-shaped object to find a female child with glowing skin. Pijinar named the girl Suvarna Kedage. She grew up to be a beautiful young girl. She attained puberty at an early age of seven. According to ancient tradition and social custom prevailing in those days; if a girl attained puberty before her marriage, she was abandoned by the family and society.

 Adhering to the pressure of this custom, the sad Pijinar took Suvarna Kedage to Sankamale forest. While they rested and as she fell asleep, he removed her gold ornaments and clothes, left her alone in the forest. Sayana Baida, a Vaidya by profession was walking through the forest in search of medicinal herbs. On hearing the cries of this abandoned girl, he rushed towards her, she was shocked and terrified. Overwhelmed with compassion for the poor girl, he treated her as his sister and took her home. Sayana Baida named the girl, as Deye in memory of his late sister. His sister had married to Kantana Baida, and had a daughter named Kinnidaru. Suvarna Kedage, now known as Deye Baideti, under the guidance of Sayana Baida, became an expert in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicine. She was married to Kantana Baida, but they did not have marital relations as he looked at her in adoration. As per the legend, she prayed to Kemmalaje Nagabrahma and she was blessed. She became pregnant by divine grace while bathing in the lake.)

As Deye reached the palace of king Perumal Ballal; the king promised her that he would give her anything she asked for if she could cure him of the wound and pain. Deye commenced the herbal treatment. The king recovered and was back to normal good health. Deye asked the king permission to leave and reminded him politely about his promise. The ungrateful king denied having made any such promise. Deye quietly left the palace wondering about the ungrateful behavior of the king. As she proceeded to depart, the king’s wound opened up. Immediately he ordered his queen to bring back Deye. The queen requested and pleaded with Deye to save her husband’s life. Deye returned to treat the king once again. The king felt ashamed at his ungrateful behavior and requested her to forgive. The wound healed and there was rejoicing in the palace on hearing about the king’s good health.


Later Deye delivered twins, two boys and the king named the siblings Koti (Sun) and Chennaya (Moon). Their horoscopes predicted the twins would bring name and fame to their land. Just after the naming ceremony, Deye died and left for the heavenly abode. Perumal Ballal was overcome with grief at the sudden demise of Deye who came to him as a god in disguise to cure his life-threatening wound. He arranged for a state funeral. The king asked Kantana Baida and Sayana Baida to leave Devi’s children in the palace as it would be difficult for both of them to take care of the new born twins. They acceded to the king’s request and returned home.  Over the years, they anxiously waited for the day Koti and Chennaya would be big enough to be taken home.

Meanwhile the twins became the centre of attraction and affection of everyone in the palace. The king treated them as his own children and they were happy to be in his company. The king’s growing affection towards the twins made Budhiyanta jealous, and he feared someday the boys would overshadow him, and thereby lose his prominence. He succeeded in inciting the queen against the boys. She pursued the king to send the boys back home. Budiyantha’s plan worked, and finally one day the king beckoned Sayana Baida and handed over the custody of the boys to him as their father Kantana had died. The king told Sayana to admit them to a gymnasium and train them in archery and martial skills; and promised Sayana to take care of all their needs including milk, food and clothing. They left the palace and were warmly welcomed by the Baida community.

The twins loved sports and once when they were around seven, they saw some children playing with a ball. They happened to be Budhiyanta’s children. Koti and Chennya requested them to allow them to participate in the game, but Budhiyanta’s arrogant children refused to allow them to play as they were from a different caste. The twins argued to make them understand that the caste system had nothing to do with children’s play. And Budhiyant’s children relented and agreed to play on a condition that whoever won would keep the ball. The well-built Koti and Chennaya won and gathered the ball as agreed. However Budhiyanta’s children cried aloud. Budhiyanta who was in the field nearby enquired about their reason for crying. Taking his children’s side, Budhiyanta scolded the twins and snatched the ball from them. Furious at his behavior, the twins vowed to take back the ball when they grew up. This incident sowed the seed of hatred for Budhiyanta in the hearts of the twins.

The boys joined the Garodi for extensive training in body building, archery and fencing. Soon they were popular for their bravery and courage in martial skills and combat. The fearless boys became the talk of the town. Now grown-up, Koti and Chennaya yearned to meet the king Perumal Ballal. They visited the king with in large number of followers in a procession with horses and music. The king received them with great love and affection. They presented the king with a gift. As Budhiyanta was not offered a gift, he was annoyed and left in a huff. On the king’s advice, Koti-Chennaya visited Budhiyanta’s home with a gift. Though his ego was satisfied by making the twins come to his house with the gift, he made wait intentionally for hours ignoring their presence. Tired of waiting, the irritated twins left the place and their hatred for him increased.

As Koti-Chennaya’s fame spread across the kingdom. People looked at them with respect. The king was proud of them for their bravery and martial skills. Budhiyanta was upset and jealous about their fame and popularity. Meanwhile the king decided to give them a plot of land for cultivation. Budhiyanta could not imagine sharing the land with the twins. This enhanced his hatred for them. And his mind was occupied with evil thoughts of teaching the twins a lesson and driving them out.
Kambala is a traditional buffalo race in muddy waters run on the fields before the harvesting season. One day as Budhiyanta was on his way to consult the astrologer for the date for the Kambala event, happened to pass the twins’ house. Koti requested him to also get a date for him too, and handed over a coconut to be presented to the astrologer. Budhiyanta agreed to his request, but in disgust broke the coconut on the way to the astrologer’s house.

Some local boys noticed him breaking the coconut and drinking the water. They informed Koti-Chennaya about this incident. On returning, Budhiyanta told Koti-Chennaya about the date which fell on amawasya or new moon day. Realizing Budhiyanta’s evil intentions, Koti-Chennaya quietly planned their Kambala on the same day as Budhiyanta’s. They invited everyone to participate in the event. He informed people having four buffaloes, to send two to them and the other two to Budhiyanta. Those having two buffaloes were given a choice to send it to either the twins or Budhiyanta. On the day of the Kambala, Koti-Chennya received tremendous response from the people and Budhiyanta was left dejected with only his own buffaloes in his field. Koti-Chennaya sent four buffaloes to him and Budhiyanta felt this as a humiliation and beat the buffaloes in anger.

Upset by the humiliation, Budhiyanta, as a revenge; few days later drained the excess water from his field to Koti-Chennaya’s field, destroying their crops. Koti, annoyed, went to Budhiyanta and asked for an explanation for his cowardly act. Budhiyanta arrogantly replied that that he knew more about cultivation than the young twins. He abused Koti for his guts to question him, a minister of the king. On hearing this, Chennaya was furious and confronted him. He ran after him with a sword in his hands. Budhiyanta sensing grave danger ran for his life, but Chennaya pulled him down. The twins attacked and killed him. Recalling their words during childhood, they went to his house and grabbed the ball. The news of Budhiyanta’s death spread like fire. People heaved a sigh of relief as they were free from his tyranny. Koti and Chennaya were hailed by the people for freeing them from Budhiyanta’s oppression.

Also read:     Koti & Chennaya Part 2

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Army Day

In India, Army Day is celebrated on 15 January every year. On January 15, 1949, the command of the Indian army was handed over from Gen Sir Francis Butcher to Lieutenant General KM Cariappa. Army Day marks the transfer of power from the British to Independent India, an important event in Indian history.

The Day is marked by a display of military strength at the Cariappa Parade ground in Delhi cantonment. The parade showcases various routines such as aerial stunts and bike pyramids. Bravery awards such as unit credentials and Sena medals are also presented to deserving personnel.

According to Global Firepower Estimates, India has the second largest military manpower in the world. As of 2019, total available active military manpower is 13,62,500 personnel.

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