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Devadiga (also Moily, Sherigar,Seriyan,Gujaran) are Tulu speaking Hindu community of temple musicians and Temple attendants who mainly hail from the region of Tulu Nadu in the south west of India which comprises the districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada in the Indian state of Karnataka and Kasaragod taluk of Kerala.
The name "Devadiga" is derived from archaic Kannada term "Deva Adiga" ('Who entertains God'). Devadiga is a community of Hindu temple musicians, drum beaters hailing from the west coast of Karnataka, India. Devadigas are originally from the land of Lord Parashurama stretching between Karwar in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala in west-coast of India. Some people misunderstand Devadiga for naayee community. They are not. They used to use shahnai and drums only in Temples and not in Death ceremony and all, Its a holy community, once next to Brahmins only Devadigas were allowed inside the sacrum( Gharbhagudi) of temples. ಪಶ್ಚಿಮ ಘಟ್ಟದ ಹಸಿರು ಗಿರಿಶ್ರೇಣಿಯಿಂದ ಅಲೆಗಳಲ್ಲಿ ನೊರೆಹಾಲು ಬಣ್ಣವುಕ್ಕಿಸುವ ತಿಳಿನೀಲ ಕಡಲವರೆಗಿನ ಕರಾವಳಿಗೆ ದೈವ,ದೇವರು ಮತ್ತು ನಾಗಾಧಿ ದೇವತೆಗಳ ರಕ್ಷಣೆಯಿರುವಂತೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ನಂಬಿಕೆಯಿದೆ,ಪ್ರೀತಿಯಿದೆ,ಕಲೆಯಿದೆ,ನ್ರತ್ಯವಿದೆ ಹಾಗೆಯೇ ಸಂಗೀತವೂ ಇದೆ. ಇಂತಹ ಸುಂದರ ಕರಾವಳಿನಲ್ಲಿ ದೈವ ದೇವರುಗಳ ದೈವಿಕ ಶಕ್ತಿಗೆ ಸಂಗೀತ ಶಕ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ತುಂಬಿ ದೇವರ ಆರಾಧನೆಯನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಪೂರ್ಣಗೊಳಿಸಿದ ಒಂದು ಅಪರೂಪದ ಸಮುದಾಯವೆ ದೇವಾಡಿಗ ಸಮುದಾಯ. – Charan Byndoor
Tulu is the main language spoken by Devadigas.Some places in Karnataka Devadigas also speak Kannada and identifies themselves as Kannada Devadigas. Devadigas live in temple surroundings.
Worship of Spirits
Just like Theyyam in Kerala, Tulu regions have Bhoota kola and Nema, a kind of spirit worship. Devadigas were important part of this native worship. Dhoomavathi, Panjurli, Kalkudi, Varthe, Marl jumadi, Kodimanithaya, Maisandaya and Jarandaya are some of the most common Bhutas worshipped by the community.
Nagaaraddhane or snake worship, along with Bhuta Kola, is one of the unique traditions prevalent among Devadigas of coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in Karnataka.
Traditions of Devadigas
(Tulu: ಅಳಿಯ ಕಟ್ಟು) (Nephew lineage) in Kannada/Tulu or Marumakkatayam in Malayalam was, a matrilineal system of property inheritance practised by many communities in coastal Karnataka and Kerala.
Some anthropologists believe matrilineal societies were common among early primitive human societies(See Marija Gimbutas). In India, South Indians were believed to be the last communities to become patriarchal. However, mostly Malabar region of Kerala and Karnataka remained matrilineal even today. But there were people in this region who were patriarchal.
Tuluvas believe Aliya Kattu was adopted at the behest of a king called Bhootala Pandya. The story goes like this. A demon wanted the king to sacrifice his son. However, none of his queens and sons were ready to be sacrificed. Seeing the difficult situation, king's sister offers her son. However, the demon shows mercy and lets him off. On his part, the king declares his nephew as his true inheritor
There are two type of the systems followed 1)ALIYA KATTU: In ALIYA KATTU system the mother's family takes control of the family and property matters. The family functions such as Bhootha Kola will be performed initiated from mother's family. The ALIYAKATTU system is followed by castes like DEVADIGA, SHETTY, KOTTARY, KULAL, GATTI, SHETTIGAR, BILLAVA etc..
2)MAKKALA KATTU: In MAKKALA KATTU father's family controls the family and property matters. After marriage the bride joins husband's family and all the traditions from husband's family takes precedence especially Bhootha Kola. The MAKKALA KATTU system is followed by castes like Brahmins,KONKANI BRAHMINS,KOTA KSHATRIYA etc.
Yakshagana is a Kannada classical folk art form in India mostly popular in Tulu Nadu areas of South India. Devadigas contributed to the development of this folk dance, which was taught in Yakshagana mandalis.
- Veerappa Moily, Union Minister of Corporate Affairs/ Ex- Chief Minister of Karnataka State.
- Sneha Ullal, Film Actress
- Bhuvanesh N Devadiga, Entrepreneur
- Prashantha Devadiga, Entrepreneur ,Dubai UAE
- Singh, edited by Nagendra Kr. (2006). Global encyclopaedia of the South Indian Dalit's ethnography. New Delhi: Global Vision Publishing House. pp. 172, 173. ISBN 9788182201682.