Culture of Haalakki Vokkaligas - A Special Reference in Uttar Kannada District
International Journal of History and Cultural Studies
Cultural history combines the approaches of anthropology and history to look at popular cultural traditions and cultural interpretations of historical experience. It examines the records and narrative descriptions of past matter, encompassing the continuum of events (occurring in succession and leading from the past to the present and even into the future) pertaining to a culture. As to how they got their name Haalakki is yet to be decided. According to one of their legends -Shiva was ploughing
... Shiva was ploughing the field. Once, Parvathi tripped and fell down while she was carrying food for Shiva. Rice and milk fell on the mud. She made one male and one female doll out of that mud and returned home. Shiva left ploughing and was coming back searching for Parvathi. He saw the dolls. When he touched them, they came to life. The dolls said, we came to life because you touched us, now what we should do for a living. Shiva said you were born when I was ploughing the field so you continue my work. Therefore, agriculture became the main work for Haalakkis. As they were born out of a mixture of rice and milk, they got the name Haalakki. According to the Mumbai Gazeteer, they got the name Haalakki because they grew rice as white as milk. There are many stories available in the harvest songs suggi haadu and Gumate padas regarding their name and birth. The upper part of Karnataka ghats existed before Konkan belt. Parashurama, who owned the land that came to existence due to sea corrosion, gave this ancient Haiga country to Nagara(Naga) and Muchchi tribes to rule. Later, this was taken by Mogeras and Holeyas.(untouchables)Hence, there were only non-brahmins such as holeyas and bedas living..later Brahmins, Budhdhist and Jains came and settled in this land. There are evidences and folk legends to claim this fact. As Uttara Kannada district is a part of land that was formed as a result of sea corrosion, it supports the fact that Haalakkis came and settled from some other place.In the Suggi songs and Gumte padas of Haalakkis, according to Madevaraya's song, "There was a pariah(holati) woman ruling the seashore lands. This was the reason why the land obtained by Madevaraya was not strong. Hence, Madevaraya killed the pariah woman and obtained a caste each from her flesh/body parts". (Dr.N.R.Nayak, 1989. p.54) Further, according to this song, Madevaraya forgot to create male and female of Haalakki tribe. When they appealed to him regarding their woes, Madevaraya, who was eating milk and rice during that time, made a male and female doll out of it and gave them life. He said there was no need for them to observe "madi-mailige"(cleanliness rituals) as they were born from milk and rice. According to this legend, all other tribes originate from the pariah woman whereas the origin of Haalakkis is portrayed to be different. However, strong evidence regarding the origins of Haalakkis is yet to be obtained.