Padagalu (tatvada padagaLu) (ತತ್ವದ
are songs that delineate basic tenets of philosophy.
These songs belong to the oral tradition and they are communicated by musical renderings.
They are often sung by nomadic singers to the accompaniment of native musical instruments.
They are secular and preach human values even though they are contextualized within
the parameters of a religion. Many of them such as Shishunala Shariff and Nabisaab
are Muslims but they constitute the main stream of this tradition. The contribution
of the Sufi tradition to the propagation and popularity of these songs is noteworthy.
These singers are also interested in the basic questions of philosophy although
they are not well versed in Sanskrit texts. Many of these singers are poets.
The origin of
this tradition is traced back to the Veerashaiva saints of the twelfth century who
wrote some songs in addition to the more renowned Vachanas. ‘Annana Padagalu’ by
Ratnakaravarni is another example of a poet having composed songs like this. He
has tried to bring the oral tradition to the main stream. Some philosophical texts
by Veerashaiva seers such as Nijaguna Shivayogi, Muppina Shadakshari, Sarpabhushana
Shivayogi, Balaleela Mahantha Shivayogi, and Chidanandaavadhuta are either in the
form of songs or they are transformed in to songs. Very often these songs are couched
in symbolic images that are submerged in the psyche of their listeners.
These songs acquired
a greater spread during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A subaltern tradition
subverting the rigid and caste based values has grown up around these songs. Kadakola
Madivalappa, Shishunala Shariff, Nagalinga Yogi, Hassan Saab from Raichur, Khajaa
Saaheba from Halasangi belonging to Bijapur district and Kaivara Naranappa from
Many of these
singers belong to the downtrodden communities such as danDigi dAsaru, holidAsaru,
gondaligaru etc. Veerashaivas in rural north Karnataka have their own orchestra
of singers and move around the country side.
Of late, these
songs are published in the written form and have reached the literate, urban audience.
‘Tatvada Padagalu’ published by the Karnataka Sahitya Academy and ‘Halavu
Totada Huugalu’ published by Karnataka Janapada and Yakshagana Academy are
huge compilations of songs belonging to this genre.
Totada Huugalu’, edited by Kalegowda Nagavara and G.V.Anandamurthy, 2000, Janapada
padagalu’, Edited by O.L.Nagabhushanaswamy and others, 2001,
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>‘Barako pada barako’(Songs of Shishunala Shariff) edited by Shivananda Gubbannanavar, Dharawada.