Dubai: Shettygars of Mangalore Form 'Padmashali UAE'
by Shodhan Prasad
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Dubai, Jun 18: Padmashali Sangha UAE came into existence this day when the enthusiastic members of the community met on 18th June, 2010 at the residence of their dynamic leader Ravi Shettigar Karkala with large numbers to form a union. The main objective is to keep a close knit of the community in this part of the world so as to be meeting, helping and promoting the rich culture of the community, sharing and caring at all times.
As shared by Ravi Shettigar, since 3 to 4 years they were having discussions and were always wanted to build up a community forum but one or the other thing delayed the process. However their recent meet at his residence on 10th of June, 2010 was a fruitful one since every one gathered there took it seriously and strongly thought of going ahead. This lead to the creation of forming a ‘Padmashali Community UAE’ sangha with the able guidance of the veteran Ganesh Rai, Ex-President of Karnataka Sangha Sharjah who came forward to assist Shettigars to form an association. He is also a well known community leader himself serving in UAE Bunts from long time.
At around 10.30 AM all those interested members starting flocking into the venue and around 11 AM the inaugural programme started with auspices lighting the lamp. Young Anusha Padmashali beautifully recited the Ganapathi & Gayathri Slokas/Mantras so fluently which not only gave a religious touch to the opening ceremony but made the gathered community members stunned. Rarely you will find youngsters taking interest in these religious recitations.
Ravi Shettigar opened up the programme and briefed on the so called interest in forming of an association from long time which did not materialize till today. But the recent dialogues have made them think seriously and thus the gathering has happened with good spirits. Ganesh Rai who was the invited Chief Guest of the event was called upon to speak on the event. He gave an applauding speech in favour of the organization with all his great experience, guiding and directing the members on how to have a successful association in this part of the world. His detailed speech gave the members a great deal of knowledge on how to go ahead, the pros and cons, the way to success, the need of hour, what to do and what not, the secret recipe of a successful organization etc. He shared some of the living examples of various other organizations, mainly the Bunts and Billawas on their formation and how they still lead to successful events year after year. His golden words were whole heartedly accepted by the audience who unanimously agreed with their leader Ravi Shettigar to go ahead in forming an association for themselves. This clear encouraging moment by the fellow community members with their raising hand in support was a proof to that extent and soon emerged the ‘Padmashali Community UAE Sangha’ standing tall and ready to go ahead with the future agenda.
Immediately there was a formation of Committee and the following were unanimously elected and selected as a ‘Temporary Working Committee’ Office Bearers until it will get registered with the authorities at a later date:
President : Ravi Shettigar Karkala, Dubai
Vice President : Madhava Shettigar, Abu Dhabi
General Secretaries : Ashok Padmashali
Joint Secretaries : Mohan Shettigar,
Tanuja A. Padmashali
Treasurers : Raghuram Shettigar
P.R.O. : Muralidhar Krishna
Cultural Secretaries : Shekar Shettigar
Sports Secretary : Yashwanth Shettigar
All the ‘temporary working committee’ members joined together for a photo session and agreed to work shoulder to shoulder in taking the committee’s activity forward. They have agreed to meet soon to decide the future course of action.
Shubhakar Shettigar read out the Sangha’s objectives while Dinesh Shettigar ably concluded the programme with vote of thanks very beautifully in his own style.
The organizers arranged a sumptuous vegetarian lunch which really gave a authentic everlasting taste of Mangalore.
There are two interpretations for the origin of the word "Padmashali", one from Vaishnava and the other from Shaiva. Some anthropologists believe it is derived from the Sanskrit.
However, linguistic construction of Dravidian languages traces its root to Proto-South-Dravidian word saal. In Tulu, Saalye or Taalye means "spider". In Kannada, it is Shaaliga or Shaaliya. The word Padmashali has a very deep meaning in Hindu mythology. The Vaishnava group interpret in essence the word Padmashali is a conflation of two words, padma and shali. The word "Padma" is sahasradala padma, meaning the highest order of human intelligence. In body chakras "Padma" refers to sahasrara. The word "Shali" in Sanskrit is 'be holder'. Thus "Padmashali" literally means holder of sahasrara. In physical term it means intelligence. It is believed that Padmavathi of Mangapura/tiruchanur of Tirupati, the shasanam of the temple, declares that Padmavathi, as daughter of Padmashali. Hence, the name Padmashali. There exists writing in Tirupati to evidence the statement of Padmavathi as daughter of Padmashali's. Another aspect of Padmashali, Padma also refers to Lotus. The Lotus also refers to the intelligence or awakening of sahasrara. The word padma also means lotus thread.
The Shaiva group has a different interpretation - to account for their origin it is given out that in order to clothe the nakedness of people in the world, Siva commissioned Markandeya to perform a sacrifice and Bhavana Rishi, later known as bhavanarayana, arose from home kund, holding a lotus flower Padma in his hand. He had two wives, Prasannavati and Bhadravathi, daughters of Surya (The Sun) and chayadevi. who had a hundred and one sons. The homa was conducted by Markandeswara for loka kalyana at the instance of Srimmanaarayana (Vishnu). Bhavana maharshi was commanded by Srimannarayana to weave cloth from the lotus stem given from his nabhimandal. Bhavana took up the task and weaved a cloth and gave to Srimanarayana. Narayana pleased with the lotus cloth blessed him that his progenitors of the one hundred and one Gotras be known as PADMASHALIs. Markandeya gave fifth veda called Padma Veda; fifth petals of lotus flower. Other four petals of lotus are 4 vedas. So family of this caste belong to Padma Sakha and Markandeya Sutra analogous to the Sakhas, Sutras and Gotras of the Brahmans.
The padmashali thus basically are brahmins and even today a group who are qualified agama shastra pandits perform the poojas and vedic rites. They are identified as "PADMA BRAHMINS". Their performances include homa avan poojas marriage performance etc. It should be appreciated that the origin of Padmashalis relates to Brighu Maharshi and Brighu Marharshi gave astrology to the world. Further down in the order of heritage Markandeya who wrote the epic on devi and her shakti. It also means that we were shakti aradhaks.
They profess to have been following all the religious rites prescribed for Brahmans till in the beginning of the Kali age. One of their caste named Padma-saka declined to reveal the virtues of a miraculous gem which Brahma had given to their caste to Ganapathi who sought to learn the secret which they had been enjoined to keep, and who on his wish not being gratified cursed them to fall from their high status. It is said however that one Parabrahmamurti born is Srirama Agrahara pleased Ganapathi by his tapas, and got the curse removed, so that after 5000 years of the Kali-Yuga, they should regain their last position. This Parabrahmamurti otherwise known as Padmabavacharya, it is said redistributed the caste into Ninety-Six gotras arranged in eight groups and established four Mathas with gurus for them.
Thus, Padmashali name as caste carries highest meaning that it is caste of braminical not by birth but by deeds. Like braminical class, the Padmashali's relates their origin to Vrushis, sages as gothras. Each family has separate gothras and like in brahminical following, in marriage sagothras are barred. That apart the families also carry family names, the family name and gothras will be referred at the time of marriage and sagothras and like family name are barred in going in for marriage.
The Padmashali communities involved in the leather and wool-based household industries - which perhaps have an older history than cloth weaving - have developed an integrated process of production of raw material and its conversion into commodities. But unlike them, the Padmashalis developed exclusively cloth-weaving skills. They produce cloth as a marketable commodity, without having any organic links or skills in the production of the raw material. The Padmashali men have no expertise in ploughing and their women lack seeding and crop-cutting skills. Thus, their skill structure, over a period of time, became one-dimensional. By the time the British arrived, the Padmashalis were producing huge quantities of cloth and controlled a leading cottage industry of India.
The Shettigars who are mainly settled in South Canara region generally refer themselves with Padmashalis. However, in Kinnimulki, a taluk near Katil, near Udupi, the Padmashalis are known as Shettigars. In Karnataka, there are nearly 30 groups of castes in weavers and Padmashalis are one of the weavers, independent of other group castes, with their culture practice based on vedic principles.
The introduction of the railways - starting 1853 - by the colonial British government helped penetrate the self sufficient rural economy. With the forced introduction of machine manufactured goods, especially finished cotton goods from the factories of Birmingham (making use of advances from the Industrial Revolution) etc., from imperial Britain, the domestic textile industry suffered losses. Being an important node in the rural economy, the Padmashali community also naturally felt the impact. Today, many urban Padmashalis have abandoned their ancestral profession and have diversified into other activities. One can see an increasing number of Padmashalis become engineers, doctors, politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, advocates professionals etc.
Members in UAE who want to register themselves or for more information can contact the following numbers in UAE:-
Tel: 00 971 - 050 5346240