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Devadigas is initially from Tulu Nadu, the land of Lord Parashurama stretching between Karwar in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala in west-coast of India as much as the Chandragiri River. Northern Malabar was a part of South Kanara till the State Reorganization of 1956. Like all communities, as a result of the introduction of Industrialisation, the Devadigas has scattered throughout India. primarily has concentrated in Udupi,  Dakshina Kannada & Uttara Kannada Districts of Karnataka moreover cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, and Mangalore.

Devadiga is an ethnic identity for a gaggle of individuals from South Kanara (now D.K.), Udupi, and northern Malabar. Devadiga is break up as Deva + Adiga. Dev means deity and divine spirits of a temple. Adiga means a participant or servant (within the temple).

Historically, they’re spirit gamers and drummers within the historical Hindu temples. The essential work assigned to Devadiga (Moilees) within the temples is enjoying the function of official temple Spirit (holding a sword accompanied by shivering and dancing) dancing in entrance of the chief deity of the temple, whereas the deity is within the course of of creating divine rounds (often known as Bali or Bali barpini) across the temple precincts.

They’re additionally doing quite a lot of further jobs, reminiscent of cleansing, lighting arrays of earthen oil-lamps, and beating the kettle-drum (Nagāri), Barrel Drum (Chende), or double drums (Mourri ?) and generally additionally enjoying musical devices within the temples.

A. Stuart writes as follows. “It is a class of servants, mainly musicians in Hindu temples. Within the reign of Mayūra Varma, who constructed quite a lot of new temples, it was discovered that Brāhmans couldn’t carry out all of the providers. It was, due to this fact, ordained by him that the pūja or worship alone ought to be carried out by the Brāhmans and that the Stanikas and Dēvādigas ought to carry out the opposite providers within the temples.

They’re additionally referred to as Moili (or Moyili), however, there’s a caste referred to as Kannada Moili which is kind of distinct. The Devadigas have contributed to a classical folk artwork custom referred to as Yakshagana that’s well-liked in South India.

Devadigas regionally are identified by names reminiscent of Muyile, Moyili or Moyli, S(h)erigar, Sani, Servegara, Ambalavasi, Bogunvale (?), Devadasi, Devadiger, Dewale, Devadig, Ganikula, Kavalnath, Konkan Valegar, and many others. They communicate in Tulu, Kannada, and Malayalam. In some Authorities’ classifications, the Sappalaga or Sapilaga has included within the listing of Devadigas.

Devadigas of the Kasargod area consider that they had been initially Tamilians.   When a Tamil Pandya Raja invaded Tulu Nadu, they had been one among the many retinues who got here with him. The Pandya Raja conquered areas as much as Nandavara and constructed many temples.

Earlier than going again, he appointed his chieftains as directors and left behind Devadigas to serve in these temples as musicians and do different cleansing jobs. At Kumble, Pandya Raja appointed Jayasimha as his consultant. They assimilated into the Tulu tradition and adopted Tulu, Kannada, and Malayalam languages, considered one of them being their mom’s tongue.  So, they’re polyglot, i.e. multi-lingual.

The opposite story is that Kadamba King Mayur Sharma (later he assumed Varma, a Kshatriya identify) inspired the development of Hindu temples in Banavasi. Comparable practices got here up in Tulunadu. The Stanika Brahmins, Devadigas, and Sapaligas had been ordained by the rulers to work in temples to help the temple monks Brahmins in sustaining the daily enterprise of the temple.

Shri Vadiraja Tirtha (C. 1480-C.1600), who has lived for 120 years was an awesome Dvaita Thinker, poet, and mystic.  He was a polymath.  There’s a perception in foreign money that he ordained Carpenters, Goldsmiths, and Devadigas to be handled as Brahmins throughout their interval of keep within the temple for doing temple duties by performing a sanctifying ritual.

Every Devadiga clan has its personal ‘Moolāsthana’ the place snakes have worshipped. They’re additionally followers of animism, i.e. the assumption that pure objects, pure phenomena, and the universe itself possess souls.  So, additionally, they imagine in Religious beings or businesses. At some temples, they’re mediums for spirit-possession (Pātris).

They comply with the matriarchal system like different Tuluva communities.  Marriage between lady and boy of similar ‘bari’(ಬರಿ) is forbidden.  Historically, the inheritance of property rights strikes alongside the feminine line by way of the male as the custodian.

They too have comparable clan (bari-ಬರಿ) names, like Mogaveeras, Billavas, Kulalas, i.e. Kunder, Salian, Suvarna, Shriyan, Karkera, Maindan, Mendon, Bangera, Gujaran, Uppian, Kukkiyan and so forth. Moreover, we have now come through different baris, viz. Bundhan, Bageeyatan, Adayran (Adyaranna?), Shettiyan, Kayaran, Guliyechan, Vadeyaran, Pergadan, Karmaran, Puthian, Odrenna, Malayanna, Huttaryan, Chandiyan, and Katkane.

The incidence of Adayran and different baris among the many Devadigas is fascinating from the genetic viewpoint. For instance, Adi is a historical tribal neighborhood, and about 192 villages named after Adi reminiscent of Adia, Adyar, Adiyur, Adivala, Adve, Adigon, Adihaletc are present in Tulunadu in addition to in different components of India.

Comparable deductions could be made about a few of the much less frequent baris prevalent among the many Devadigas enlisted above. Thus admixture of frequent and fewer frequent baris among the many Devadigas counsel infusion of a number of tribal streams through the preliminary phases of the creation of communities from the tribes. The caste is a combined one, and right here and there Dēvādigas are seen to have the everyday distinguished cheek-bones and sq. face of the Jains.

Palthady Ramakrishna Achar, a famed scholar and President of the Tulu Sahitya Academy is of the opinion that Bhoota Aradhane in its current type shouldn’t be native to Tulu Nadu. “It has launched right here across the 14th century from Sri Lanka the place it’s nonetheless alive within the type of Yaksha Aradhana. As ancestral worship was already part of Tulu tradition, this type of spirit worship was readily adopted by the Tuluvas, he noticed.

Together with contributing to the sturdy familial and neighborhood bonds among the many individuals of Tulu Nadu, the spirit worship additionally serves to bridge the spiritual divide as spirits with Muslim origins like Ali Bhoota and Bobbarya are additionally commemorated by the trustworthy.

The vast majority of the inhabitants of Devadigas reside within the undivided Dakshina Kannada, Udupi & Uttara Kannada districts of Karnataka. Presently they’re scattered throughout India with a serious focus in Mumbai, Maharashtra, and Overseas.

Devadigas are nonetheless enjoying a serious function in Temple upkeep as supervisors (Devadiga/Moily) and often known as TempleMusicians(Sherigar). The mom tongue of Devadigas is Tulu within the southern area and Kannada within the northern area of coastal Karnataka.