The Kathiyavadi Chaadd’ddi

Tensing Rodrigues

As I said last time, I do not have hard evidence for what I have got to say; but, at the same time the connections between the facts seem to be too strong to be ignored. The story that emerges is indeed interesting; it questions what we have believed so far. And what we have believed so far is that the brahman fleeing from the drying Sarasvati settled in Kusasthali and the surrounding villages. Our story says it is the kshatriya who fled from the western coast of the Kathiyavada peninsula consequent to its submergence by the sea, travelled by sea to Goa coast and settled there; later they lost the prized river bank villages to the incoming brahman and migrated to the neighbouring coastal villages. We are in the process of establishing the basis for this hypothesis. Remember it is not about two Kusasthalis, it is about peopling of Konkan.

An important fact that needs to be noted is the pattern of movement of these ‘Kathiyavadi’chaadd’ddi’ vis-a-vis the migration pattern of the other chaadd’ddi; that is, those who reached Konkan via Deccan. In case of the latter, a clear movement from east to west within Goa is discernible. It seems to have been gradual, fording river after river as time passed. However there exist no written textual or inscriptional sources to evidence it. Elders in Salcete villages speak of roots in interior talukas. For instance some families in Chinchinim speak of ‘shared trees’ in Cusmane (Quepem Taluka); and families in Carmona speak of an ancestral home in Assolna (across the river Sal). The ‘shared trees’ – vamtyam ambo or vamtyam ponosa or vamtyam cimca – serve to track the movement of the family. [The Tamarind Country, 12 Mar 17] As against this, the Kathiyavadi’ chaadd’ddi seem to have moved from west to east, from the coastal villages to the interior. One finds a few such families, of not too recent ancestry, in Nagoa (Machado), Orlim (Vaz), Telaulim (Mergulhão), Colmorodd (Gomes) Chinchinim (Cota, Furtado), Assolna(Monteiro) and even Chandor (Menezes) and Cuncolim (Fernandes).  Largely endogamous nature of the community makes it possible to trace the spread of the community from the web of family relations through marriage. For instance, the Cunha of Cuelim are related to Menezes of Chandor; and the latter are related to the Furtado of Chinchinim. The Gonsalves of Cana, Benaulim are related to Amarante of Carmona and Vaz of Orlim. []

Who came first, the Kathiyavadi’ chaadd’ddi or the rest of the chaadd’ddi? That is, did the wave of kshatriya from Kathiyavada reach Goa before the trans-Sahyadri migration? That is a difficult question to answer. But two facts seem to point to answering that question in the affirmative. The end of the ice age came somewhere around 7,500 BCE; the famous trans-Sahyadri migration is supposed to have happened around 1,000 BCE. [Driven By The Drought, 05 Feb 17] These dates cannot be taken to be accurate; moreover what we are dealing with are not events, but processes that could have occurred over a long period of time. Nevertheless, it is sufficiently obvious that the former is likely to have preceded the latter. There is another fact which suggests the same. The Kathiyavadi’ chaadd’ddi have usually been a landed gentry; like their brahman counterparts in the villages they surrendered, they happened to own a large part of the land in the village. This could mean that they occupied the village when it was relatively sparsely populated, and held to the land therein. Most probably, when they settled in these villages, the rest of the population was made up chiefly of vadukar settlers. In his Legends Of The Konkan, Crawford describes the kshatriya-vadukar encounter : “The kshatryas descending from Maharashtra, after long guerilla warfare, conquered and made slaves of the Mhar aborigines.” [Crawford, 1909: Legends Of The Konkan, 31] Of course, Crawford is writing about the trans-Sahyadri chaadd’ddi. Could the encounter between the Kathiyavadi’ chaadd’ddi and the vadukar have been different? We do not know. Today in the coastal villages of Salcete where the former are found, there is a large proportion of the other chaadd’ddi as well. But it may not be wrong to suppose that when the former settled there, these villages were populated largely by kharvi, which is the fishing community, who were most likely the earlier vadukar settlers.

That brings us to one major question. Up to now, we have restricted our hypothesis to just a small sliver of Konkan, the Salcete taluka of Goa. The reason has been simple; in the absence of textual sources or inscriptional records or archaeological evidence, I have had to rely entirely on my personal observations over the last fifty years. And I have no information beyond Salcete. Can this hypothesis be borne out outside this restricted domain? To start with, what is the experience in the Bardez taluka, the immediately possible location for landing of the Kathiyavadi chaadd’ddi. And what about the rest of the Konkani domain? Such families could be identified in Bardez as well; someone familiar with the ground situation in Bardez should be able to arrive at a more or less accurate list. So too for the rest of Konkan. There are, however no documentary sources to explore this web of families, except probably the gamvakari records and personal acquaintance. Here are a few connections I could make thanks to the information provided by Lourdes Fatima Bravo Da Costa on families beyond Salcete. Menezes of Batim are related to Monteiro of Assolna. Santa Cruz has Pinto who are related to again Menezes of Mercurim (the two Menezes could be of the same stock, as the two are adjoining villages). The Proença of Calangute are related to the Avelar Barreto of Betalbatim, who in turn are related to Rodrigues of Colva, who in turn are related to the Mergulhão of Telaulim. Gomes of Navelim are related to Furtado of Chinchinim and Monteiro of Assolna, who are related to Fernandes of Cuncolim. And so on. []

That takes us to another issue, which we have just touched and left earlier. [Who Are Chadd’ddi ?, 01 Jan 17] There we referred to a quotation from Santos Pereira citing the cases of the Proença of Calangute who have a common ancestry with the Ranes of Sanquelim, and of the Mergulhão of Telaulim who have a common ancestry with Timoja who helped Albuquerque in the fight against the Adilshahi forces. [Santos Pereira, 1898 : Chatrias, 43] Could these and other similar families be Kathiyavadi’ chaadd’ddi ? The answer is most likely positive. Apparently the community seems to have been the same as the one which has been linked with martial attributes in the above passage. In a homily preached in the Capela de S Lourenço in Arossim in 1651, Miguel Almeida, the rector of the Seminary of Rachol and author of several texts in Konkani, spoke about a certain Kunvarnaik, the son of Arossa, the local chieftain, who won several lands in Canara. Timoja’s relations, according to Santos Pereira, could also be found in Carmona and Betalbatim. [Santos Pereira, 1898 : 42]