Origin of Bunt Community
The origin of this agricultural community is still obscure but it is known that the Bunts belong to a fighting race. The Bunts of Tulu Nad and the Nadavas are considered Sudras. The Nadavas were agriculturists and traders and are now called Bunts.
Another theory, based on the different surnames of Bunts, such as, Shetty (Sethi), Rai and Bhandari, is that the origin of the Bunts may have been in North India. The language spoken by the Bunts is Tulu - one of the five Dravidian languages but it does not have a script.
History of Bunt Community
The Bunts are today considered Sudras although they played the role of Kshatriyas early in the Christian era when they and the Nadavas were the military chieftains of the area. Their lands were given to them as gifts by the rulers for the services rendered in wars and they gradually became agriculturists. When the Vijayanagar dynasty came to power in South Kannada in 1336 AD, a number of minor Bunt and Jain feudatory chieftains were already well established.
Society of Bunt Community
The striking feature of the Bunt community is that the property rights are vested in the females of the society. The marriage ceremonies are simple too. Presently, Mumbai has the largest number of Bunt residents outside the district. Some of the Bunts who have migrated to Mumbai and other places have shown initiative and enterprise. Several Bunts have become poets, doctors, journalists and politicians.
Religion of Bunt Community
It is said that there were no temples in Karnataka before the Brahmins were imported by an invading king. But when they were built their lands remained with the Bunts.
Along with the other non-Brahmin communities of South Kannada, Bunts are noted for their ‘bhuta’ (ghost) worship. There is no Bunt house without a place meant exclusively for a ghost. Unlike other Hindu communities, Bunts have no guru or swami of their own. Since the ghost or the demon is their main deity, there is no compulsion about visiting temples although this practice has come into being in recent times. Bunts are neither tied to any religious custom nor bound by any Vedic ritual.