Know the Etymology: 101
Place Name of the Day: Sunday, 03 September 2017

Paṇṭat-teruppu/ Paṇṭat-tarippu, Paṇṭa-vil

பண்டத்தெருப்பு/ பண்டத்தரிப்பு, பண்டவில்
Paṇṭat-teruppu/ Paṇṭat-tarippu, Paṇṭa-vil

Paṇṭar+teruppu/ Paṇṭar+tarippu

The street or lodgings of the Paṇṭar community

The pond of the Paṇṭar community

Paṇṭar a forgotten, lower echelon community of bards and theatre performers (Eezham Tamil place names and folk references); bards, singers of a low caste (Tamil, MTL, DED 4068); singers of a lower echelon, "Pāṭaṟ kīḻ makkaḷ" (Tamil, Tivākaram, 2: 54); people lower in rank among Pāṇar, people lower in rank in the profession of Pāṇ, "Pāṇ toḻil kīḻ makkaḷ" (Piṅkalam, 5: 91); equated to Pāṇar (Tamil, Cūṭāmaṇi, 2: 34); Paṇṭak-kūttu: name of a kind of folk theatre that was existing in Jaffna (Eezham Tamil, Saba Jeyarajah, Āṭaṟkalai, 1976, p. 76); Paṇ: music (Tamil, DED 4068, Puṟanāṉūṟu, 65: 1); service, work, decoration (Tamil, DED 3884); Paṇṇu: (verb) to do anything with consideration and skill (Tamil, DED 3884); (verb) to sing in an instrument as a tune, to tune musical instruments (Tamil, DED 4068); Pāṇ: song, melody (Tamil, DED 4068); Pāṇar: an ancient class of Tamil bards and minstrels (Tamil, DED 4068); cognates in 8 Dravidian languages. See column 104
Teruppua suffix seen as in the place name Paṇṭat-teruppu; heard in local speech; spelling seen as Pandatteruppu in British maps of 19th century, and as Panditeripo in the records of American Mission that had established a centre at this place in 1820; 1. Probably a variation of Teruvu, Teru: street (Tamil, DED 3422, see column 135); 2. Probably from Tarippu: lodging, staying (Tamil, MTL, DED 3094, see box on Tarippu)
Tarippu seems to mean an improvised settlement or camping site of the wandering tribe of Paṇṭar in the context of the place name; related to the meanings, lodging, resting place (Tamil, MTL); staying, abiding, remaining (Tamil, MTL, DED 3094); Tari: (verb) to stop, stand still, rest (Tamil, DED 3094, Tirumūlar, 881); cognates in Kannada and Tulu
Vil natural pond (Eezham Tamil, see column 10)

As seen in lexical references, Paṇṭar were a community of the same profession of Pāṇar, but lower in hierarchy than them.

The connections between Pāṇar and Jaffna are well known (see column 104). Place names and some other surviving evidences would show that Paṇṭar were also present in the Peninsula. Both the identities, Pāṇar and Paṇṭar are not seen in Jaffna today. They were probably absorbed into other communities.

On the place name Paṇṭat-teruppu/ Paṇṭat-tarippu, a historical construct has been made in early 20th century that the name means a halting place (Tarippu) for commodities (Paṇṭam) carried by carts coming from the Jambukoḷa Paṭṭiṉa harbour. However, a pond name Paṇṭa-vil, seen in Paṇṭatteruppu would show that the adjective Paṇṭa doesn't mean trade commodity in this context.

The suffix Teruppu is not seen in other place names. It is seen in marking the place as Paṇṭat-teruppu in colonial time maps and is also locally heard in speech. It may be a variation of Teru/ Teruvu, meaning a street; or it could be a colonial rendering of Tarippu, meaning lodging. See boxes above.

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Lexical references on Paṇṭar:

"பண்டரும் ஓவரும் பாடற் கீழ் மக்கள்" (திவாகரம், 2: 54)

"Paṇṭarum ōvarum pāṭaṟ kīḻ makkaḷ" (Tivākaram, 2: 54)

Paṇṭar and Ōvar are musicians of a lower echelon

"பண்டர் ஓவர் பாண் தொழில் கீழ் மக்கள்" (பிங்கலம், 5: 91)

"Paṇṭar ōvar pāṇ toḻil kīḻ makkaḷ" (Piṅkalam, 5: 91)

Paṇṭar and Ōvar are lower-echelon peoples of the Pāṇ profession (i.e., lower among Pāṇar)

"உலவு சென்னியரே பண்டர் ஓவர் வந்தித்து நிற்போர் பலர் புகழ் மதங்கர் சூதர் பண்ணவர் பாணர் ஆமே" (சூடாமணி, 2: 34)

"Ulavu ceṉṉiyarē paṇṭar ōvar vantittu niṟpōr palar pukaḻ mataṅkar cūtar paṇṇavar pāṇar āmē" (Cūṭāmaṇi, 2: 34)

Wandering Ceṉṉiyar, Paṇṭar, Ōvar, Vantittu-niṟpōr, Mataṅkar who praise many, Cūtar, Paṇṇavar - all are Pāṇar

* * *

Reference on Paṇṭak-kūttu in Jaffna:

"பண்டார வெளியிலே பண்டக் கூத்தும்
குண்டாளச் சட்டியிலே கொதி நெல்லும்"

"Paṇṭāra veḷiyilē paṇṭak kūttum
Kuṇṭāḷac caṭṭiyilē koti nellum" (Saba Jeyarajah, "Āṭaṟkalai", 1976, p. 76)

The Paṇṭak-kūttu performance in the public grounds and paddy boiling in the deep cauldron

* * *

Paṇṭat-teruppu/ Paṇṭat-tarippu is a place in Valikamam Southwest division of Jaffna district. It was the headquarters of a parish (Kōyiṟ-paṟṟu) of its own name in colonial times.

Paṇṭa-vil is the name of a small pond amidst paddy fields, located roughly a km away from Paṇṭat-teruppu Junction, on the northern side of the Paṇṭatteruppu - Viḷāṉ Road.

* * *

Some related place names:


Paṇṭat-tanaik-kuḷam: name of a pond, located amidst paddy field on the southeast part of Puṅkuṭutīvu, Kayts, Jaffna (Delft OIS). Taṉai: place; Kuḷam: pond. See column 55

Paṇṭap-paṉai: a locality, northeast of Cittiramēḻi in Iḷavālai, Valikamam North, Jaffna (Rajaratnam, Iḷavālai). Paṉai: open place, related to Pāṉal in Tamil and Pana in Sinhala (DED 4071). See column 220

Paṇṭak-kai: also Paṇṭāk-kai, Paṇṭakai: a locality in Uṭuppiṭṭi, Vadamaradchi Southwest, Jaffna (V. Almanac, 2013-14, p. 97). See column 112

Paṇṭattarippāṉ-pulam: Karainagar, Jaffna (V. Almanac, 2013-14 p.91). Pulam: field. This locality name could have come from a person who had come from Paṇṭattarippu and had settled in this place

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Pāṇar: See column 104 for related place names

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Revised: Sunday, 03 September 2017, 18:30

First published: Sunday, 06 July 2008, 19:55

Previous columns:


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