Mangaluru: A popular Tulu folk holy spirit, ” Siri,” is now being studied from a historical and archaeological perspective by the history and archaeology department of MSRS College, Shirva .
Although Siri, worshipped in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, has been studied by several scholars as part of the folklore of the region, the MSRS college department plans to do an archaeological study spread over a year of this divine figure, which finds mention in the epic Tulu poem , ‘Siri Sandhi. ‘ Its lines describe the divinity of Siri, her son Kumara, daughter Sonne and grand- daughters, Abbage and Darage.
“Indian and Finland folklorists and scholars have done extensive studies of ‘Siri,’ from the folk angle. But till date the historical and archaeological material related to her has not been studied properly. Our aim is to study Siri as a historical figure and to find the probable time when she lived,” explained head of the project , Prof T Murugeshi of the MSRS college.
Pointing out that the epic poem narrates Siri’s story and various places related to her, he says those involved in the study will visit about 25 locations associated with her to collect as much documentary evidence as possible to establish her presence in the region’s history.
“We want to see if these places can be archaeologically related to Siri and study her as a historical figure. Though she is popular, historians have not been able to establish when exactly she lived. We have already visited Kotrapadi, which is where Siri’s husband reportedly came from and where she is said to have lived after marriage and given birth to their daughter. There is a hero stone in the village, an unwritten inscription, a well and a stone associated with them going by local lore,” the professor said, adding, “Just like our historians have studied the Mahabharata and Ramayana from the archaeological and historical perspectives and established that both were historical facts and not just mythology, we too want to study Siri as a real figure.”