Bunt (community)

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Total population
(approx) 1,500,000[1]
Kannada (Kundagannada dialect)
Om.svg Hinduism
JainismSymbolWhite.PNG Jainism
Related ethnic groups
Jain Bunt
Samantha Kshatriya

Bunt (/ˈbʌnt/, previously spelled Bant) is a community of erstwhile nobility, feudatory and gentry 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 Bunts claim Kshatriya descent from the Nagavanshi lineage[2][3] and are classified as Forward caste[4][page needed][5][page needed] by both the national and state governments of India.


The word Bunt means powerful man or warrior in the Tulu language.[6]


According to S. D. L. Alagodi, the Bunts "... originally belonged to the warrior class. Being the martial race of Tulu Nadu, they served the ruling chiefs which brought them considerable benefits and allowed them to become the landed gentry of the region,"[6][7]

Some notable Bunt clans who were sovereign of these states are the Honneyakambalis of Hosangadi,[8] Samantha Rajas of Mulki,[9] Bhair Arasas of Karkala,[10] Arasas of Kumbla,[11] Ajilas of Venur,[12] Tolaharas of Suralu near Udupi,[13] Heggades of Vitla,[14] Chowtas of Ullal/Moodabidri,[15] and the Bangas of Bangadi.[16] The feudal life and society of Bunts began to disintegrate in the succeeding colonial British Raj period and the Bunts today are a largely urbanized community.[17]


Traditionally the Bunt community was divided into subdivisions. The principal among these are:[citation needed]

  • Masadika Bunt: The single largest subdivision of the community. An overwhelming majority of Bunts belong to this subdivision. The Masadika Bunts speak the native language Tulu and follow the aliya santana system of matrilineal inheritance. They originally hail from, or at least inhabit, the region between Kasaragod town in Kerala and Brahmavar in Udupi district, Karnataka.
  • Nad Bunt: The Nad Bunt, also known as the Nādava, are the second-largest subdivision among the Bunts and form a sizable minority in the community. The Nad Bunts speak the native language Kundagannada, a dialect of the Kannada language, and follow the aliya santana system of matrilineal inheritance. They originally hail from, or at least inhabit, Kundapura taluka in Udupi district, Karnataka (north of Brahmavar).
  • Parivara Bunt: The Parivara Bunt are a minority in the Bunt community, numbering around a few thousand. Their native language is Tulu, and unlike other subdivisions they follow the makkala santana system of patrilineal inheritance. Scattered populations of the Parivara Bunt are mostly found in the taluka of Sullia in Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka, and adjoining parts of Kodagu district, Karnataka and Kasaragod taluka of Kerala. Their customs and traditions are a mixture of Bunt and those of the Shivalli Brahmins.[citation needed]

Apart from the above mentioned principal subdivisions there are about 90 clans that comprise the population of the Bunts.[18][page needed][19][page needed] These clans claim descent either from the Alupas or Perumal kings.[18][19]

Traditional houses[edit]

The Khamb-Wooden pillars in a traditional Bunt house called Guthu Mane
The Kodialguttu joint family of Bunts. Most members are seen in traditional attire though some male members have taken to western attire (circa 1900)

Traditional Bunt houses can still be seen across the Tulu Nadu region. One of the more well-preserved houses, Kodial Guthu, stands at the centre of Mangalore city.[20][21] Other examples can be seen at Badila Guthu[22] in Kannur, Dakshina Kannada and Shirva Nadibettu[23] near Udupi.


There are many organisations that cater to the needs of the community. The oldest among them is the Bunts Mathr Sangha based in Mangalore.[24][25] Since the 20th century when Bunts began to emigrate out of their native Tulu Nadu region various organisations have been formed outside Tulu Nadu, such as in Mumbai,[26] Kuwait,[27] and the United Kingdom.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Aji, Sowmya (16 January 2007). "Abhi could be ghar jamai!". The Times Of India. 
  2. ^ People of India: Maharashtra - Kumar Suresh Singh, B. V. Bhanu, Anthropological Survey of India - Google Books
  3. ^ The origin of Saivism and its history in the Tamil land By K. R. Subramanian, K. R. Subramanian (M.A.) p.21
  4. ^ India votes: Lok Sabha & Vidhan ... - Mahendra Singh Rana - Google Books
  5. ^ 1968 Socio-Economic Survey, Govt. of Kerala
  6. ^ a b Alagodi, S. D. L. (2006). "The Basel Mission in Mangalore: Historical and Social Context". In Wendt, Reinhard. An Indian to the Indians?: on the initial failure and the posthumous success of the missionary Ferdinand Kittel (1832–1903). Studien zur aussereuropäischen Christentumsgeschichte 9. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 143. ISBN 978-3-447-05161-3. Retrieved 2011-12-29. 
  7. ^ Hegde, Krishna (1990). Feudatories of Coastal Karnataka. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. pp. 10 Coastal Karnataka was home to number of feudatory rulers. All of them being Bunts following matrilineal inheritance called Aliya Santana and favouring both the Hindu and Jain Faith. 
  8. ^ Udaya, B (2000). The Honneyakambali Rulers of Hosangadi. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 131–145. 
  9. ^ Vasanta Madhava K.G (2000). The Savant Rulers of Mulky: An Analysis. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 203–221. 
  10. ^ Bhat, Padekal Vishnu (2000). The Bhaira Rulers of Karkala. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 38–66. 
  11. ^ Bhat, Uppangala Rama (2000). Kumble Dynasty. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 96–130. 
  12. ^ Poojary, Tukaram (2000). The Ajilas of Venur. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 222–237. 
  13. ^ Shetty, Jagadish B (2000). The Tolahas of Sural. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 9–19. 
  14. ^ Bhat, Pundikai Ganapayya (2000). The Domba Heggade Chieftains of Vittal. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 189–202. 
  15. ^ Prabhakar, Peter Wilson (2000). The Choutas of Puttige-Moodbidri. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 146–188. 
  16. ^ Shenoy, Y. Umanath (2000). The Bangas of Bangadi. Hampi: Kannada University. pp. 67–95. 
  17. ^ Raghuram, M. "Bunts feel at home wherever they are". Daily News and Analysis. 
  18. ^ a b P.Gururaj BhatAntiquities of South Kanara (1969), Prabhakara Press., 1969
  19. ^ a b P.Gururaj Bhat Studies in Tuluva history and culture: From the pre-historic times upto [sic] the modern (1975)
  20. ^ D A I J I W O R L D
  21. ^ D A I J I W O R L D
  22. ^ Mangalorean.com- Serving Mangaloreans Around The World!
  23. ^ http://nadibettuhouse.com/Aboutus.html
  24. ^ Mangalore Bunts Sangh Felicitates Achievers from Various Fields
  25. ^ Mlore Prof B M Hegde Exhorts Bunt Elders to Walk their Talk
  26. ^ "Bunts Sangha Mumbai". Bunts Sangha Mumbai. Retrieved 2013-05-25. 
  27. ^ http://www.kuwaitbunts.org/
  28. ^ "www.Bunts.org.uk". Bunts.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-25.