Mangalore, Aug 11, 2013:A first of it’s kind Beary dictionary in Malayalam script, painstakingly compiled by Malayalam department Head of Kannur University, Dr A M Sreedharan, is all set to release soon. The dictionary has 351 pages, containing 16,000 words of the script-less language and is published by Kerala State Folklore Academy. The work was completed under the major research fellowship of University Grant Commission (UGC).
Beary is a script-less language spoken by a section of Muslims in the area from Kasargod to Udupi. The language is made of Malayalam idioms with Tulu phonology and grammar. Dr Sreedharan says that at present around 25,000 Beary speaking people are there in the region.
“It was in 1997, I came to know about Beary people and their culture. It’s interesting and it threw the scope of dwelling into their lives,” he told Deccan Herald. Dr Sreedharan was of the opinion that Beary origin dates back to 16th century, when traders from Arabian countries descended on South Canara coast for commerce.
“Their paternal link belongs to Arabs and maternal connection, goes to that of local women, mainly Hindus. Thus Bearys bear the blood relation of both Hindus and Muslims,” he opines. According to him, the word Beary coined from the Malayalam word ‘Vyapari’ which means trader.
The language and the people shot into national fame when the first feature film made in that language ‘Byari,’ directed by Suveeran, bagged national award for the best feature film in 2011.
In 1997, while pursuing research for his PhD thesis, ‘Life and culture of Mokayas in Kasargod district,’ Dr Sreedaran first time encountered the language Beary and met the people. He started peeping into their culture and applied for an UGC research fellowship for the same. During 2009-11, the research became full time and Prof Amrith Someshwara of Talapady, former Assistant Educational Officer (Kerala) Vittal Ayil and historian C Raghavan Master provided invaluable inputs to the cause.
Dr Sreedaran says that Beary language has found more commonalities in Tulu as well as in Malayalam languages.
Dr Sreedaran has intended to release the dictionary at a national seminar to be held at Kannur University Campus in Neelashwaram in this month.
However, the reports on the dictionary got wide attention and Kerala Folkore Academy is now contemplating to launch the book in a bigger platform, jointly organised by Karnataka and Kerala state governments.