copy rights reserved(C)Dr.Lakshmi G Prasad Ajja bolaya One of the most unusual member of the Bhuta pantheon is Ajja Bolaya. Unusual because he was a Male Kudiya tribal. His story in the Bhuta iconography is interesting.
The story goes that Ajja Bolaya and his aunt were returning after attending a family function. They were making their way down the hills of Western Ghats, when Ajja Bolaya sees bamboo grove. Being a tribal hunter, Ajja needs bamboo sticks for arrows and approaches the grove.
The Ullakulu spirits emerge from the grove, place Ajja Bolaya under their spell, and take him away with them. He becomes one of them and attains the status of a deity in Tulunad.
Later, Ajja Bolaya goes on a hunt with them, and comes to know that his aunt is dead. There is nobody to condusct the death rituals for his aunt.copy rights reserved(C)Dr.Lakshmi G Prasad
So, during the bhoota kola, the ‘Maami Sammana’ (a dinner for aunt) is performed. The person who plays Ajja Bolaya utters the words ‘Inda thinnu maami, thinnu (Here aunt, eat this).
And one of the people at the Bhuta kola says ‘Uhuh…bodchi” in refusal. At this ritual, a arecanut leaf base (Pale in Tulu) is kept to represent Bolaya’s aunt. The ritual is called Bolayambila. Ajja Bolaya is a hunter and is worshipped as a hunter spirit.
A similar ritual is conducted in the case of another Bhuta – Kuruva. Tuluvas call it as Kuruva’s maami sammana.
According to me there are similarities between Angara Bakuda, Ajja Bolaya and Kuruva bhutas. There are similarities between the rituals and background stories of these bhutas. There is need more research in this direction.
Article published in Bfirst.in
copy rights reserved(C)Dr.Lakshmi G PrasadAuthor:
Dr Lakshmi G Prasad is a well-known Tulu folklorist. The author holds PG degrees in Kannada, Sanskrit, and Hindi as well as doctorates from Hampi Kannada University and Dravidian University. Currently, she teaches Kannada at Government PU College in Nelamangala.