Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Havyaka Kannada - Origin and details

Havyaka Brahmins are a Brahmin subsect primarily from the Indian state of Karnataka and Northern Kerala. Havyakas mostly profess the advaita philosophy propounded by Shankaracharya. Most Havyakas can trace their immediate ancestry to either Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada or Shimoga districts of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala.
1 Etymology
2 Origin of Havyakas
3 Havyakas Today
3.1 Geographic Distribution
3.2 Population
3.3 Language
3.4 Caste
4 Havyaka Festivals
5 Art, Literature and Culture
6 Havyaka Food
7 Havyaka Gotra
8 Prominent Members
9 Further Readings/Books
10 See Also
11 External Links

The word Havyaka was transcended from words Havyaga or Haveega which means the one who performs Havana(Havya) and Homa(Gavya), since the very purpose of Havyaka Brahmins was to perform the royal rituals and the related functions of the empirical government. In fact, the name "Haiga" persists in Havyaka lexicon.
The word Havyaka might also be derived from the place named Haigunda. That region of Karnataka which has been inhabited by Havyakas from ancient times is also called Parashuramakshethra, Gorastradesha, Gokarnamandala.[1]

Origin of Havyakas
Exact facts about Havyaka's origin are hard to come by since there are very little research available. Historically, it is believed that Havyakas are the first of the Brahmin kind to descend to the present day Karnataka around 3rd century ACE, followed by other sects like Shivalli, Smartha etc., who arrived much later, around 7th century ACE. [2] However, the scientific school of thought places the date of Havyaka's immigration back to about 1300 years ago. The Brahmin king Mayooravarma was instrumental in bringing the first Havyaka families. It is believed that Kadambas brought many Havyakas in to perform the royal rituals and the related functions of the empirical government from a place called Ahichchathra in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Thus the first few families were settled in Banavasi, the capital of the Kadambas and the place adored by Pampa.[3] King Mayooravarma's act of inviting Havyakas to Banavasi has been inscribed on a stone stab(Shilashasana) from the period of the Kadambas, which now lies near the village of Varadahalli in Sagar Taluk of Shimoga district.
The descendants and associates of Parshuram are called Bhumihar Brahmins in Eastern U.P. and Bihar, Goud Brahmins in U.P. and Rajasthan, Chitpawan Brahmins in Maharashtra, Anavil Brahmins in Gujarat, Havyak Brahmins in Karnataka, Namboothiri Brahmins in Kerela and Mohyals in the Punjab region. Their variants are found with different names all across the Indian sub-continent. They have same Aryan looks, customs and practices.

Havyakas Today
Havyakas today are the followers of either Ramachandrapura Math or Swarnavalli Mutt nd are guided by advaita philosophy of Shankaracharya. Havyakas derive their last names from the jobs that they perform rather than by their origin. Till recently Havyakas were primarily engaged in vedic professions like priests or they were in agriculture especially growing betel nut, paddy, banana, coconut etc. A few decades back they also started entering into all other vocations like business, education, employment etc.

Geographic Distribution
Havyakas are mainly concentrated in the state of Karnataka. Dakshina Kannada, Uttar Kannada, Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Kodagu,Manglore Districts in Karnataka and Kasarogod in Kerala are the districts where Havyakas live for centuries. They are now spread all over India, especially in metropolitan cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and other Industrial and business centres. Havyakas are also in large numbers in countries like United States of America, United Kingdom and other places outside India. [4]

Population of Havyakas all around the world is estimated to be around 2 million.

The Havyakas are united by their unique language. They speak a dialect of Kannada known as Havyaka Kannada. It is similar to mainstream Kannada but draws more words from ancient Kannada. However, most mainstream Kannada speakers find it difficult to understand Havyaka Kannada. The Havyaka dialect is supposed to be quite old. Its origins, like many other things in India, are shrouded in mystery. Notably certain Havigannada(Havyaka Kannada) speakers use neuter gender in place of feminine gender while addressing females.

Havyakas are the subsect of Brahmin caste of Hinduism.

Havyaka Festivals
Havyakas celebrate almost all festivals celebrated in Hinduism. [5]

Art, Literature and Culture

Havyaka Food
Havyaka recipe consists of some unique food items like "Tellevu" "Todedevu", "Odape","kocheegayi gojju","Holige","AppehuLi(tambLi)", Halasinakayi huli (very famous in kalache-yellapur region of Uttarakannada district) etc. [6] hagalkai hashi,kai gojju,kai rasaa,kargli

Havyaka Gotra

Prominent Members
K.V. Subbanna - Playwright and writer. Recipient of Ramon Magsaysay Award.[7]
Ramakrishna Hegde - Former chief minister of Karnataka.
K.V. Akshara - Playwright and writer.
Jagannath Rao Hegde - Former Sheriff of Mumbai.
Bharatisutha-Novelist. His works include children's literature, short stories and novels.Edakallu guddada mEle, BayaludAri, Hulya hAlina mEvu to name a few
Ganapathi Bhat, HasaNagi- Hindustani vocalist
Parameshwara Hegde- Hindustani vocalist
ChittaNi Ramachandra Hegde-Yakshagana
Keremane Shambhu Hegde-Yakshagana

Further Readings/Books
Havyakara Ithihasa - 1992, One can find most information on Havyaka roots, culture and heritage.