Apr 19, 2010

Chaturths: Migrations and Settlements

-Mahavir Sanglikar

The oldest known migration was from north India to Karnataka, when the Dravidians were migrated towards South India, due to invasion of Vedic Aryans. As the Gowdas and Chaturths are from the same stock, the ancient migration history of Gowdas is applicable to Chaturths also.

A migration of this community to North Karnataka from Moodbidri took place when Jainism declined in Moodbidri region. In this migration, some Jains of this region went to Kostal Karnataka while many others wend to Northern part of Karnataka. They settled on the banks of river Krishna and her tributaries like Varana, Panchganga, Malprabha, Doodhganga, Vedganga etc.

An inscription of Kolhapur Shilahar General Nimbras (13th Century) states that he colonized many villages nearby Kolhapur by inviting staunch Jains to this area. That also was an important migration of Chaturth community.

There was another migration when Basava, a Brahmin Prime Minister of Kaluchiri king Bijjal killed the King. Bijjal was a Jain king ruling from Kalyan in Bidar district of North Karnataka. Basava was founder of Veershaivism. After the assassination of Bijjal, there was a civil war between Jains and Veershaiv Lingayats. At this time many Chaturth families migrated to South Maharashtra (Sangli, Kolhapur) and North Karnataka (Belgavi).

Genealogical records of Chaturth families show that they came in present area from Salbidri, Talikota etc.of Bijapur District. The Helavis (genealogy tellers) say that these families migrated due to conflicts with Adil Shah of Bijapur.I

t is a question, that why these people migrated to south Maharashtra and North Karnataka from Salbidri/ Talikot araea. The most probable reason is that there were prior settlements of Jains in this area and the migrants found this area safer to settle. It is notable that Shilahars of Kolhapur, who were follower of Jainism, ruled this area (10th to 13th Century C.E.). The earliest migrations to this area we know are in 13th century when conflicts between Jains and Veershaiv Lingayats took place in Bijapur and Koppal region.

After settling in South Maharashtra and Belgavi district of Karnataka, there were a lot of local migrations when some Chaturth families eventually settled in nearby villages of the same region. Such families adopted the names of their prior villages as surnames.

The latest migrations of Chaturth families are towards Pune, Thane, Mumbai, Nashik, Aurangabad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra, to Panji and Madgaon of Goa and to Bangaluru city of Karnataka. There are migrations also towards district headquarters like Sangli, Kolhapur, Belgaum, Hubli etc. from nearby villages. This is due to less scope in cultivation and availability of more opportunities in various fields in the cities. As there is a high literacy rate in Chaturth community, having professional and technical skills, they are getting more and more opportunities outside their region. A considerable number of Chaturths have migrated even towards United States, Canada, North America, Europe, Australia and other countries of the Globe.

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