vedda tribe diet

Vedda tribe diet


01. INTRODUCTION:The mudiraju community is found predominantly in Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, and Karnataka states of South Indian Peninsula. It is one of the major communities in these three states according to the strength of population of the community. They are today village administrative employees, and cultivators but they were in the past independent rulers, feudatories, chieftains and specialized soldiers. The Mudiraj caste people are spread over to other neighboring states such as Maharastra, and Orissa also. They have also spread over to other North Indian States such as Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajastan, Utter Pradesh and Punjab.

Some sections of Mudiraj people in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are also known as Bunts and had very strong common roots during feudal and medeveal times. The people of Mudiraj in Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajastan are known as Kolis. The hidden racial and community bonds between the people of Mudiraj and Kolis can be identified through their common fishy connection in both Maharastra and Andhra Pradesh. The Bhils and Jats of North India too belong to the same block of kolis.

02. ANDHRA PRADESH : : The people of Mudiraju caste are known by different names in different regions of Andhra Pradesh State and they are as given below:

  • Mudiraju
  • Muthrasu
  • Muthracha
  • Mutharasi
  • Muttarasi
  • Mutarasi
  • Mutrasi
  • Mutrasu
  • Bantu
  • Bantlu
  • Ekkatlu
  • Ontari
  • Tenugu

The community titles used by Mudiraj people in Andhra Pradesh are Rao, Raj, Raju, Rajulu, Mudiraj, Mudhiraj, Mudhiraju, Muddhiraju, Mudaraj, Mudaraju, Muddaraju, Muddharaju, Mutraj.

Some sections of “Munnuru Kapu ” caste people claim to belong to Mudraj (Mudiraj) subcaste and vise versa.

Mudiraja => Mudi + Raja
Muthracha => Mutharacha => Mutha + Racha
Mudiraja => Mutharacha
Mutharacha => Muthracha => Muthrasi => Muthrasu

Mudi => Mutha => Muthu
Raja => Racha

In medieval times there was only a very small standing army of any kingdom. Most of the armies mustered belonged to the feudatories and subordinate nobles and Dukes. These soldiers were basically farmers. Then there were the retainers of the many land holders, the “camp followers” who assisted in transport and logistics. But a section of the kingdom’s official army was specialised professional infantry. These groups were exclusively concerned with techniques of warfare, and here too one section were called Ekattalu, or Ontari (individual hand to hand fighters). In a sense they were commando type soldiers. Among the Mudiraju are these sections. They were usually in the service of Velama kingdoms. Today also the Mudiraju farmers are found today in the vicinity of old Velama controlled areas.

Some sections of Mudiraju Caste people, were specialized in martial arts and exclusively concerned with techniques of warfare. The people who got specialized in one-to-one and hand-to-hand fighting (mushti yuddham) were called Ekkatlu, or Ontari. They may be compared to shock troops or modern type commando soldiers. It is understood that the Mudirajas used to spend most of their time in developing martial arts during the times of the kakatiya rule in Andhra Pradesh. It is a well known fact that similar martial arts tradition is found in Orissa, Tamilnadu and Kerala also. The martial art found in Kerala is known to all as Kalaaripayat.

Sri Krishna Deva Raya, the greatest ruler of Vijayanagar empire is known to be a Tulu Bunt in his ancestral origin but he was fluent in Telugu as he was born and brought up in Telugu land. The Mudiraj people are also known as Bunts / Bants. Tulu language was very closely related Telugu than Kannada. One example – number “Eight” is enuma in Tulu and enimidi in Telugu. This clearly indicates that Vanaras of Kishkinda (Bellary districts) were the common ancestors for both Tulu bunts and Telugu Mudiraj bunts.

In some places the Mudirajus acquired large properties and were ” Zamindar s” in Tamil nadu. There is a tradition that Mudirajus were kings under Pallava emperors in Tanjore area of Tamil Nadu, until Vijayalaya Chola took over the area. Even long afterwards, some of them retained large estates. In fact one of them set up a college during early English times. But on the whole Mudirajus today are middle and small farmers.

Another example is communities in this region. Shetty surname belongs to “Banta”. In Telugu region, Bantu was an erstwhile suicide squad(Now, members of this community are called Mudiraju). This suicide squad of bodyguards was a common feature in South Indian region. In Telugu region they were called Bantu, in Kannada region they were called Garuda, in Malayalam region they were called Chaver and in Tamil region they were called Tamizh. They were the last rung support in an army(or for a feudal chieftain).Curiously, this Tulu community name finds an echo in Telugu region.

The history says that Sri Krishnadeva Raya defeated most of the kings in South India and expanded his empire in the North India upto Orissa. When Anakapalli fell under the control of Vijayanagar Empire, the necessary army required by the local governer of Anakapalli was supplied by the then Vijayanagar kings. Since the prominent military commanders of Vijayanagar Empire were mostly Mutthurachas, these people in Anakapalli are known as Muttharacha Naiks even today.

The Mutthuracha Naiks of Anakapalli in those days received hundreds of acres of land in and around Aava as gift for their day-to-day maintenance. Most of the mudiraj poeple in Aava disposed off their lands as they did not know how to cultivate them but for a few mudiraj people, who could cultivate their lands even today, were able to retain their lands.

The Vijayanagar kingdom adopted the same Nayak system of administration which Kakatiya kingdom had adapted. Even the class of people who ruled both Kakatiya Kingdom and Vijayanagar Kingdom were one and the same.

Nayak => Naik => Naick
Nayak => Nyayak => Nyayakudu => Nayakudu
Nayak => Nayakar => Nayakkar
Nayak => Nayakan => Nayakkan

M.A.Stuart says that Mutharasas were employed as watchmen to guard the frontiers under Vijayanagar kings. Others usually consider the caste low; he further says that most of the community members are poor and subsequently they have taken to agriculture. At present mostly they are agricultural labourers and a few of them hold small patches of land.

The feudatory kings of Vijayanagar Kingdom were called пїЅNayakasпїЅ and payed tribute to the emperor ruled the kingdoms. The Golden Era of Telugu Nation was the period of Vijayanagara Empire. This empire consisted of several kingdoms and provinces. The governors who were under the direct control of central government ruled the provinces and feudatory kings. Most of the Nayakas were Telugu speaking warrior people. The Nayaks established independant Nayak rule in Madurai, Tanjavoor (Thanjavur) and other parts of present Tamilnadu & Kerala regions after collapse of Vijayanagar empire. The most outstanding ruler of the Tanjore Nayak dynasty was Vijaya Raghunatha Nayak, the son and successor of Achyutappa. He ruled between 1600 and 1630. Raghunatha was a great poet in Telugu and Sanskrit and composed many Kavyas, prabhandhas and Yakshaganas. Even Sri Krishna Deva Raya was a renowned Telugu poet. Most of these Telugu Nayakas and Rayas were Telugu Mudiraj bants and their variants such as Kapu, Kamma, Velama, Balija, etc. There were also Tulu speaking bunts who worked as Nayaks for Vijayanagar Kingdom.

The people of Mudiraj and Bunts were basically large scale land owners and could never cultivate their lands with their own hands but used to manage to get their lands cultivated by engaging farmers. Most of the farmers were not land owners during feudal and medeveal times and were a kind of agricultural labourers, who were engaged by zamindars. The landless farmers of those feudal times in course of time became the owners of all those lands which they were cultivating for Mudiraj, Bunts, and other zamindars.

Zamindar => Land Owner => Land Lord

Zamindar => Zamin + Dar
Zamin => Land
Dar => Dhar => Owner

The people of mudiraj community offer pooja (kolupu) for swords, daggers and other war fighting weapons preserved in a community temple ( Devarillu Devghar) during marriages and other auspecious occassions. While some sections of Mudiraj perform VEERLA KOLUPU (Puja to Warriors), some other sections perform DEVRA KOLUPU (Pooja to God / Goddess). Exactly the same custom is prevelent with the people of KOLIS of Maharastra, Gujarat and other North Indian States. The section of Kolis who perform puja to VEER (martiyars) are known as Veerkar and those who perform puja to Dev ( God / Goddess) are known as Devkars.

The people of Vishakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts of Andhra Pradesh even today acknowledge the key and courageous role played by mudiraj people in freedom fighting against the British by extending their full support to rebel Alluri Seetharamaraju. The mudiraj youth of Anakapalli and Chodavaram in Vishakhapatnam district even today continue to practice and display their skills in martial arts using swords (katthisaamu) and sticks (karrasaamu).

Katthi => Sword
Karra => Stick
Saamu => Martial Art
Katthi + saamu => Katthisaamu => Martial Art with Swords
Karra + Saamu => Karrasaamu => Martial Art with Sticks

While most of the mudiraj people discarded Jenhevu (Sacred thread of Hindu symbol) when they switched over their faith to Buddhist Religion and never used to wear the same even after their coming back to Hindu fold. But in some regions of Andhra Pradesh, the mudiraj people, who perhaps never changed their Hindu religion, still continue to wear the Jenhevu.

In the regions of South Andhra Pradesh and North Tamilnadu i.e. around Thirupathi hills, the people of Mudiraj caste acquired large properties and were “zamindars” in the past. The Mudirajas today are mostly middle class small farmers. All those Mudiraj people who descended from chieftains and soldiers of feudal times had no caste oriented profession of their own today. It is one of the first communities that lost its age old profession due to change in socio-political order.

In Shamirpet near Hyderabad, the Muttarasi consists of three sections – Muttarasi, Ediga and Besta. The famous Kannada film actor late Rajkumar belongs to Ediga / Idiga community of Taddy tapers. Rajkumar was known as Muthuraj before joining the kannada film industry.

The mudiraj became professionless people as the sword quickly lost its royal shining and importance with changing socio-political order after the arrival of ruthless cunning foreign invaders. All those Mudiraj people whose ancestors ruled the roost during medeveal times were left with no option other than becoming agricultural labourers for the sake of leading an honest living in the society. They switched over to all types of professions according to individual’s skill, liking and regional demand for jobs. The Mudirajas in Telangana and Rayalassema today are largely dependant on agriculture, trade, fishing, and fish business.

Frankly speaking all those people who descended from Royal families and military chiefs became labourers of today. Here also, there is a strong proof of racial and community connection, which can be seen between mudirajas and kolis. The Kolis too belonged to the same race of Royal families and military chiefs and became labourers. The hard working people of KOLIS who accepted all kinds of labour jobs gave birth to the modern and globally recognized term COOLIE, meaning a LABOURER.


An estimated population of more than 1 Crore 32 lakhs of Mudiraj & Allied Caste people form the biggest block in Backward Classes of Andhra Pradesh at present and struggling hard to work for their community in an organized manner. There are some prominent mudiraj political leaders in Andhra Pradesh and were elected as MLAs and MPs. They were also elected as mayor of Hyderabad quite a number of times proving their administative capabilities and caste prominence and dominence in Hyderabad city.

The people of Mudiraj caste are in quite large numbers in Rayalaseema and telangana regions of Andhra Pradesh and these regions are located very close to Bellary districts of Karnataka and Hampi region. They are upto 28% of population in Coastal Andhra belt starting from Nellore to East Godavari districts. They are expected to be slightly more than 2 lakhs in Vishakhapatnam district. Their population is around 58000 in vijayanagaram district and 17000 in Srikakulam district.

Some people who are Mudiraj in Rayalaseema mention that their subsects as Mudiraj-Besta, Mudiraj-Valmiky, Mudiraj-Kabbaliga, Mudiaj-Agnikula Kshatriya. There is a valid reason for considering themselves as Mudiraj, because all these subsects are linked to one common profession – fishing in Rayalaseema including Mudiraj. These subsects which also have identity as separate caste groups are considered slightly lower in their ranking. The superiority of Mudiraj caste over others may be because of RAJ in the caste name and also due to its meaning as “Great Kings”. Otherwise, all the people of these caste groups including Mudiraj had the same Indian Tribal roots such as kolis, bhils, gonds, Naiks, etc.

The Mudiraj community still has practices of caste endogamy, commensality, kinship and caste panchayat that settle disputes within the community. The caste community provides social and psychological support for the families which under distress and crisis.

03. TAMILNADU : The people of Mudiraju (Muthuraja) caste are known by different names in different regions of Tamilnadu state and they are as given below:

  • Muthuraja
  • Muthuracha
  • Mutharaiyar
  • Mutharaiyan
  • Muttiriyar
  • Mudaliyar
  • Mahadev Koli

The following are some uncommon names which are also used to refer to this caste people by some people at some times.

  • Mutracha
  • Mutturasa
  • Mutturaja
  • Mutturaj
  • Muthrasi
  • Mutturasi
  • Mutrasi
  • Mutraja
  • MutпїЅRaj
  • Mutrasa
  • Muttaracha
  • Muttarasan
  • Muttirajulu
  • Muthurajulu
  • Muthurajan
  • Muttiriyan
  • Muthiriyar
  • Muthirayar

Below is the list of sub class name for Muthuraja that Mr. Kiruban, Malaysia found out in one of the Tamilnadu government website and sent this website on 28/09/2006:

  • Muthuracha, Muthiriyar,
  • Mutharaiyar (Including
  • Muthuraja, Muttiriyar,
  • Ambalakaran, Servai,
  • Servaikkaran, Valaiyar,
  • Kannappa Kula Valaiyar,
  • Bharatava Valaiyar
  • (Paratava Valayar),
  • Palayakkaran, Kavalgar,
  • Talaiyari, Vazhuvadiyar,
  • Poosari, Muthuraj,
  • Muthiriya Moopar (Shanan),
  • Muthiriya
  • Moopanar (Parkava Kulam),
  • Muthiriya Naidu (Gavara),
  • Muthiriya Naicker,
  • Palayakara
  • Naidu, Palayakara Naicker,
  • Muthuraja Naidu,
  • Vanniyarkula Muthuraj,
  • Muthiriya Urali Gounder,
  • Muthiriya Rao, Vettuva
  • Valaiyar, Arayar,
  • Ambalam, Pillai

The Muthuraja or the Muthrasi people are known as Muttiriyan or Muttiriyar. The name Muthuraja is derived from the word mudi, meaning top most and raja, ruler. Mudiraj also means ancient king or old king. The Muthuraja have several occupational subgroups, which indicate place, professions, ancestors, etc. Some claim to be Kshatriyas, others consider themselves as untouchable Sudras. They are distributed in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala

The Muthrasi speak the Tamil language and use Tamil script. Muthuraja are mainly a land owning community and their traditional occupation is agriculture. Rice, jowar, maize and ragi are their staple cereals.

It is common to have marriages arranged through negotiation. Dowry is given in both cash and kind. Both widowed and divorced persons are allowed to remarry. They live in nuclear families and adhere to male equigeniture for inheritance.

Traditionally the Muthrasi were employed as soldiers and guards. At present cultivation, fishing, masonry, agriculture and industrial labor, daily-wages are their primary occupations. Some of the Muthrasi are professional ballad singers.

They also prepare fishing nets and tramping devices and are experts in making crackers and explosives.

The sacred specialists from their community perform worship, birth, marriage and death rituals. They also practice ancestor worship every year on Pithru Amavasya, while offerings are made to their ancestors. They have both Shaivite and Vaishnavite sections in their community.

Their village deities are Malleswara, Venteswara, Muneswar, Someswara, etc. They celebrate local Hindu festivals like Ugadi, Sankranti, Ekadasi, Diwali, Ram Navami, etc.

Alternate names: Mutrasi, Mutharaja, Mudiraj, Muthrasollu.

In North India they are called in the name kolly. In andhra pradesh they are called as muthiraj. In tamil nadu itself they are with diffrent names ambalam, valayar, naikar etc.

Muthuraja => Muthuraya => Muthurai => Muthuraiyar => Muthariyar => Mudaliyar

Mudiraja => Mudi + raja
Muthuraja => Muthu + Raja

Mudi => Muthu
Raja => Raya => Rai

Mudiraja => Muthuraja => Mutharaiyar

The people of Muthuraja community undoubtedly feel very proud of themselves in their Tamil society and many of them add a variety of community titles at the end of their names to derive the social respect which their community had enjoyed during feudal period on account of their Royal Status.

community titles being used in Tamilnadu:

  • Muthuraja, Muthurajan, Mudhuraja, Mudhiraju, Muthiraja
  • Mutharaiyar, Mutharayar, Muthrayar, Muthiraya, Muthiray
  • Muthuraya, Muthurayan, Muthurayar
  • Muthurasa, Muthurasar
  • Muthuracha
  • Mutharaya, Mutharayan, Mutharayar, Muthrayan, Muthrayar, Mutharasu.

Videlvidugu Kadupatti was a Bana ( Vana ) king who assumed the title of Muttarasan and ruled the regions around Kodunbalur. Please see the page on KINGS in this website to get more details.

They constitute a dominant grouping in Sarakottai and some of the south-central districts of Tamilnadu. The influence and image of Muthuraja community in Tamilnadu can be understood from the fact that the Tamilnadu government has named Tiruchirapalli district as Tiruchirapalli Perumpidugu Mutharaiyar district on account of their move to honor the historical Tamil heroes and respect the sentiments of the people of that region.

Perumpidugu Mutharaiyar was a renowned king (chieftain) who ruled his kingdom making Tanjavur as his capital. The Mutharaiyar chieftains fought with Pandyas and their supporters on behalf Pallavas. The Mutharaiyars were arch the rivals of Cholas in their struggle for supremacy in the South. The Perumbidugu Muttaraiyar ruled over Tanjore and Pudukkotai as the feudatories of the Pallavas from the eighth century to eleventh.

While the word MUTTIRIYAR is used in general to refer to the people of Muthurajas / Muthurachas in Tamilnadu, the word MUTTRI is used to refer to the women of Muthuraja / Muthuracha community to give a famenine sense to the word. The use of these words are some what similar to the usage of REDDIYAR and REDDY for refering to the people with a particular community identity.

GOUNDER : Gounders are a subsect of Muthurajas in Tamilnadu. There are two divisions in Gounder community – the Vettuvar and Vellalar. The Vettuva Gounders are militant and the other group is sophisticated and more amicable.

Kongu Vellala Gounders are one of the earliest inhabitants of South India living in the North Western part of Tamil Nadu with agriculture as their occupation. Among the many other meanings the word “Kongu” has, the most acceptable ones are “honey” and “dense forest”.

The Kongu Velallas are a family oriented and clan oriented people. They are initially nomadics with less number of clans and gradually settled down in plains irrigating them by sheer had work and their clans increased over the years when they occupied more and more areas.

The Vettuvas were their traditional rivals. Hunting is the main occupation of the Vettuvas. It is nothing but natural that the Vellalas had to face the resistance of Vettuvas in making the forest land cultivable. Now Vettuva Gounders are one of the sub-sects of Gounders including Nattu Gounder, Kurumba Gounder and Urali Gounder. Known for protecting self respect, many a Kongu Chiafrain had defied the commands of empires. Even the Cholas could’nt fully bring Kongu under their control.

The word Gounder is believed to have originated from the word Kamindan which is found in insceiption belonging to the Hoysala’s. The Kannada word had found its way to other insceiptions found all over the Kongu region. A Kamindan is a cattle breeder. The sanctity attached to cattle breeding by the Kongu Vellalas even to-day can be seen when they call their chief festival Pongal as “Patti Nombi”. These Kamindans are believed to have migrated from the Kolar region of Karnataka. The Vokkaligas of Karnataka and the Kongu Vellala Gounders of Tamil Nadu have many social and cultural similarities.

Vettuva, Pulaya Vettuva in Kerala are in SC/ST list and there is a move to remove them from the list of Scheduled Caste.

URALI : Urali is a Dravidian tribal speech variety spoken in the Sathyamangalam Taluk of the Periyar district in Tamilnadu. The hamlets occupied by this ethnic community are situated in the hill tracts bordering Karnataka and Tamilnadu at an altitude of 1105 meters above the mean sea level. The dominant language of the area is Tamil. Tamil is extensively used for all purposes, including official communications and education. Hence everyone living in this area need to know Tamil if they want to have any interaction with the outside their ethnic group.

The Urali Kuruba (a dialect branch) traditionally worked as blacksmiths, potters, carpenters, and basket makers. Presently, they have given up all these trades, except for basketry. They now supplement their income by working as agricultural laborers in the estates nearby. The Kuruba inhabit the thickly forested slopes and foothills of the Nilgiri plateau in Tamil Nadu state.

The Kuruba are closely related to the Pallava of the eighth century. As Pallava rule declined, the Kuruba’s forefathers scattered over a wide area of southern India and became culturally distinct. During this time, the Kuruba survived by hunting, gathering forest produce, or small-scale farming. Some even became slaves. In time, the majority of Kuruba settled on the plains as small landowners or herdsmen. The kurubas are also known as bunts in Karnataka and bants in Andhra Pradesh.

ARAYARS : Arayar Natanam Arayar Natanam is enacted in December-January in Shrirangam and other Shri Vaishnava temples by groups of musicians and a dancer who are engaged to recite the sacred hymns called the Thiruvaimozhi. This class of choirists called Arayar or Chanters are on the temple staff receiving allowances and perquisites.

They wear a uniform which includes a Kireetam or special conical cap as their badge during the chanting. While chanting the hymns, they also use a pair of cymbals made of bell-metal. One of them assumes the postures. In between their recitations, they utter the glory of the presiding deity by singing Kondattam. The Araya’s practice a certain esoteric system of dance wherein the postures are conventional and present situations associated with lord Krishna’s Juvenile Pranks.

The Arayar tradition of the Srirangam temple traces its origin to Periyalvar and they sing Andal’s Tiruppavai and Nachiyar Tirumoli in a delightful lilting manner infusing in the rendition, bhakti and a sense of joy.

Some believe that the tamil word пїЅArayarпїЅ turned as Ariyar.The same word turnedRayar in vaduka kannada & Telugu. In Bengal it is as Rai. Ariyan was used in the meaning of king. Arai+ar- Arai means part / pakuthi. Thus the ruling class which ruled that part was called Arayar. Arasar / Arasu are also from this root.

The word arayer itself means king. In Tamil, there are two ways to pronounce the letter ‘r’. Said without stress like ‘arayer’ it means king and with stress like ‘rr’ it means ‘speaker’ or ‘narrator’. In both cases the word fits these temple servants who dedicated their lives towards the worship and glory of Lord Vishnu through song, dance and drama.

04. KERALA : The people of Mudiraju (Muthuraja) caste are known by different names in different regions of Kerala state and they are as given below:

  • Arayars
  • Vedans

The various subsects of Arayars include Arayan/ Araya, Valan, Nulayan, Mukkuvan, Arayavathi, Valanchiyar, Paniyakkal, Mokaya, Bov is-Mogayar, and Mogaveerar

05. KARNATAKA : The people of Mudiraju caste in Karnataka are known with different names in different regions and they are as given below:

  • Mudiraj
  • Muthraj
  • Mudduraju
  • Muttarasa
  • Muddurasa
  • Mudduraja
  • Koli Mudiraj
  • Koli Mahadev
  • Koli(Kabbaliga)
  • Mutharasi
  • Muttarasa
  • Bunt
  • Bedars

The community titles used by Mudiraj people in Karnataka are Mudiraj, Mudhiraj, Muddhiraj, Mudhuraj, Muddhuraj, Mudduraj, Mudduraju, Mudduraja, Mudhuraja. Muddaraj, and Muddaras.

The BUNTs of Karnataka belong to rich farmers and trading class of today. The people of this caste in Karnataka have the fancy to add community titles such as SHETTY, RAI and BALLAL at the end of their names to project their age old rich and high status in the society. While bunts of karnataka use SHETTY as community title, the mudiraj people in Andhra Pradesh use the same SHETTY as surname. The presence of SHETTYS in both mudiraj and bunts prove that they are same people with strong social and political roots during feudal times.

The title RAI used by some of the bunts such as Miss World Aiswaryarai is nothing but a modified name for RAYA, which means RAJA. Shri Krishna Deva Raya, the famous king and gem of Vijayanagar empire was believed to belong BUNT community of Tuluva origin.

The Mudirajas of Rayalaseema and Telangana regions of A.P and the Bunts of Karnataka are very closely connected in their professional jobs and cultural practices and seen be widely associated with agriculture at present.

Raja => Racha => Raya => Rai

Ganga king Sripurusha, who was an alloy of Chalukyas assumed the title MUTTARASA and faught against Pallava, pandya and Rastrakutas on behalf of Chalukyas. They also had matrimonial alliances with Chalukyas and later on with Pandyas. For more details, pleasee KINGS in this website.

Kabbaligas of Karnataka claim that they are Mudiraja people of Andhra Pradesh, who spread into Karnataka. At the same time, it is also a fact that they are the famous kolis of Maharastra, who spread into Karnataka. Kabbaliga caste people can be seen as a coverging point between Mudirajas of Andhra Pradesh and Kolis of Maharastra with fishing as one of the major professions for all these three groups of people in the adjoining areas near the borders of Maharastra, Karnataka & Andhra Pradesh.

In some parts of Maharastra, Kolis were also known as Nayaks. Several Koli uprisings against the tyrannical Moslem rule were recorded around 1327 AD all over Maharashtra. Naga Nayak, the ruler of the Kolis, puts up a heroic resistance against the moslem hordes from the great hill fastness of Kondanna (Sinhagad of later times, conquered by the great Tanaji). The Bhil Rajas and Koli Rajas (Naiks) had a strain of Rajput blood.

Purandara dasa (1484 – 1564 AD), who is often referred to as the father of Carnatic Music at one point of time said that he belonged to Kabbaliga caste. Purandara Daasa was born in 1484 in Pandarpur, an obscure village near Purandargarh near Poona. He was originally named Shreenivaasa (or Krishnappa) Naayaka. His father’s name was Varada Naik. Nayaks of Maharastra belong to koli community. Purandara Daasa was considered an avatar of Sage Narada. In course of time Purandaradasa came to Hampi and settled down with his wife and children. He composed many Kritis to express his religious devotion. In 1525, Purandara Daasa became a disciple of the great Vyaasa Raayaa, who titled him “Purandara ViTThala,” which became his signature, which he uses in all his compositions.Vyaasa Raaya praised him, saying “Among the devotees of Hari, Purandara Daasa is the greatest.” Purandara Daasa expressed his gratitude by singing “My only refuge is the feet of Vyaasaraja. I was able to understand Purandara Vittala by his grace.”

(As Sri Puranadara daasa says. пїЅ Daasara nimdhisabeda Manujaa- haridhaasaranu Nimdhisale beda.пїЅand further he says that he belonged to Kabbaliga caste and an Avathara of пїЅThumaruпїЅ. He may belong to any caste, but is considered as пїЅShreshta HaradaasaпїЅ by all people and is held in high esteem and respect). go TOP

06. MAHARASTRA : The people of Mudiraju caste in Maharastra are known with different names in different regions of Maharastra and they are as given below: BR>

  • Mudiraj
  • Koli Mudiraj
  • Koli Mahadev
  • Koli
  • Malahar Koli
  • Nayak
  • Bedar-Ramoshi
  • Koli-Ramoshi

The kolis are also known as Kohlis, kolhis and even kohaley. The kolis are a well known fishing community in Bombay and Goa, and konkan region on West Coast of India. Fishing and fishing business are the major activities of kolis of Maharastra. The Mudirajas of Telangana region in A.P and kolis of Maharastra are one and the same people and this can be seen very clearly through their fishy connection in Telangana as well as Maharatra.

koli => kohli => kolhi => kholi => kohaley

The kolis are also well known as farmers and agricultural labourers in Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra and Gujarat. All these groups of people were once professional soldiers, warriors and kings of great valor.

It is necessary to know here that the people of Mudiraj community in Maharastra are known primarily as kolis. They are also known as Koli Mahadev, Koli Malahar and Koli Mudiraj. The people of Mudiraj in Telangana region of A.P are just extension of the same Koli Mudiraj in the nighbouring districts of Maharastra. The kolis of Maharastra are well known as fishing community. The Mudiraj in Telangana are also quite widely dependant on fishing profession even today. This argument gains its strength from the fact that many historians believe that the people who founded and ruled Kakatiya Kingdom were fishermen folk. There can not be any large scale traditional fishermen folk (Besta) in Telangana region as there is no Sea Coast nearby. Hence, if it is believed by historians that the kings of Kakatiya were fishermen folk, they must be the people with their ancestrial roots to the present day Mudiraj / koli Mudiraj of A.P and Maharastra who took to fishing profession since unknown times. Some people may try to rub it off as a matter of imagination but the fact remains as a fact. The family diety of a large number of Mudiraj in South A.P is Ankamma Devi, that of Kakatiyas was Kakati Devi and that of kolis is Mumba Devi. Shakti puja and worship of Goddess is one of the prime identifying factor to the people of Mudiraj and Kolis who were basically the descendants of Kalabhra warriors South Indian Peninsula.
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07. MADHYA PRADESH : : The people of Mudiraju caste in Madhya Pradesh are known with different names in different regions and they are as given below:

  • Mudiraj
  • Muthracha
  • Muthrasa
  • Muthrasi
  • Koli

The Bhils of Madhya Pradesh also belong to the larger block of kolis. They were primarily a gathering and hunting community lived in their own way in jugles unmixed with modern society in high seclusion till recently.

08. OTHER STATES : The variants of Mudiraj people living in Rajastan, Gujarat, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are mostly known as kolis, kohlis and kolhis. They are mostly farmers, agricultural labors and water tenders in these states. There are kohlis in Pakistan also. They are very staunch hindus even today and kohlis who converted to Islam were much less than 8%.

The people relating to mudiraj in Orissa are known as kolis and in West Bengal they are known as ugra kshatriya and aghouri.


Kannappa Kula is a subcaste of Muthurajas in Tamilnadu and the tribal people of Boya Kannappa of Srikalahasti region of Andhra Pradesh. These people are also known as Vettuva Goundan or Vettuva Gounder in Tamilnadu.

Vettuva Goundan or Vettuva Gounder is an endogamous social group or caste of indigenous tribal origin and are a Tamil speaking people in the Erode area of West Tamil Nadu state.

Vettuva Gounders are from agricultural family backround like other gounders. Vettuva gounder’s ancestors from the devotional legend of Siva bhakta Kannappan. They are from Khalhasti and moved from there to south. The most pocket of people are located in Erode, Madurai, Coimbatore, Bhavanishakar and also near Thirunelveli.

In Tamil language the word Vettuvan or Vetan means a hunter. The word is derived from the noun Vettu or to cut. Many hunter gatherer tribes across Tamil nadu and neighboring Kerala are still referred to as Vetan or Vetar. Vettuva Pulayar is a name of a significant caste in Kerala. This term is etymologically related to Sinhalese Vedda and Telugu Bedda for primitive tribes.

Vettuvas are of Telugu origin from Srikalahasti region of Andhra Pradesh. In Telugu Veta means hunting. The word Vetan and Vetar in Tamil are derived from Veta.

Veta = Hunting
Veta => Veta Gaadu = Hunter (singular)
Veta => Veta Vaaru => Veta Vaandru = Hunters (Plural)
Veta => Vetan => Vedan = Hunter
Veta => Vetar => Vedar => Bedar = Hunter
Veta Vaandru => Vetavaanru => Vetavaan => Vettuvan = Hunter
Veta Vaandru => Vetavaanru => Vetavaar => Vettuvar = Hunter
Vettuvan => Vettuvar => Vettuva = Hunter

Although they are historically considered to be native to the region some consider them to be Vadugans or northerners meaning immigrants from further north in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Today they are found in all walks of life and rarely engaged in hunter gatherer activities.

Apparently the clan divisions between a settled group commonly known as Vellala Gounder and Vettuva Gounder show similarities showing an assimilation of hunting groups into settled agricultural groups[citation needed]. The historical war between Vellala Gounder and Vettuvas is mentioned in the mythical local Annamar-Appachimar story where the latter were defeated.

Karnataka : The Bedars of Karnataka and Maharastra are an extended branch of Valmikis ( Kannappa kula = Vettuvas) of Andhra Pradesh. The word Bedar is derived from telugu word Veta.

Veta (Telugu) = Hunting
Veta => Vetan => Vedan => Vedar => Bedar => Bedara = Hunter

Boya Kannapa is known as Bedara Kannappa in Karnataka. The Bedars were mostly Boya poligars who looked after village / palayam administration under Vijayanager empire in South India. This system of village level administration was a well established one deep rooted Rayalaseema, parts of Karnataka,and Tamilnadu which formed a major part of Vijayanagar kingdom.

Palayam was a group of villages which was under administrative control of Palayakar / palayakarar / poligar. Palayam administration is just parallel to that of Mutha system of administration.

Muthas were administered by Mutharachas who inherit their rights of administration by hirarchy of the family tree. In case of Palayam system of administration, the palayakars were appointed by the king at his sweet will but generally they too continue on hirachy basis as long as king was pleased with them.

Palayakars bedars mutharachas

The Nayakas were also called Bedars. The bedars were also known as Beydurs. Some times they are also known as Berads.

The bedars might be a gradual corrupted form for пїЅBoya DorasпїЅ. The Bhills of North India are known as Boyas in Telugu speaking areas Andhra Pradesh. It is widely accepted that Bhils are of Telugu origin due to the fact bhil means villu and villu means bow used by archers.

Dora = Lord = Chief (singular)
Doras = Lords = Chiefs (plural)
Boya Doras=> Boydoras => Beydoras => Beydurs => bedars

The fall of Vijayanagara empire caused the emergence of splinter states in South India and Deccan. These states were collectively known as Poligars (Palegars). They dominated the political scenario of the South India. These Poligar states were founded by the warrior tribes of South India.

One such Poligar state known as Surapura Samsthana was founded by the Bedars and ruled between 1650 and 1858 AD in Sagara-nadu or Shorapur Doab (Gulbarga Dist. Karnataka).

Raidurga was originally a stronghold of ‘Bedars’ (‘Boya Palegars’) who were very turbulent during the Vijayanagar rule. The emperor deputed an officer driving them out and ruled place himself and the hill was thus called “Bhupatirayakonda”.

After the battle of ‘Rakshasa Tangadi’, the Bedars regained the place, but were again driven out after some time by ‘Koneti Nayak’. His son ‘Venkatapathi Nayak’ who had differences with the ‘Palegar’ of Chittaldurg greatly strengthened the fortifications. Tipu captured the fort and made it a part of his Gooty province.

The Berads of Sagar

The region between between the Krishna and Bhima Rivers is hilly and forested and is called Malnad. From Mysore north through the Malnad region and all the way to Bijapur were lands colonized by the BeradsпїЅa race of aboriginal Kanarese belonging to the lowest Dhed caste on account of their life style.

Many of them were Lingayets or Vaishnavs and they had no dietary restrictions. They eat mutton, beef, pork, and fowl with gusto and drank to excess. Their race name means пїЅhunterпїЅ in Kanarese and they also indulged in cattle-lifting and other crimes. Alternatively called Bedars/Beydurs these people were dark, muscular, and of middle height; with round faces, thin lips, and frizzled hair. A popular story ran that the Mughal historians were so impressed by their fighting qualities that they changed the name Berad to Be-dar, meaning fearless.

Dar = fear
Be-dar = fearless

For the purpose of hunting and war the Bedars had adopted the matchlock and had become adept in the use of firearm. Their tribal organizationпїЅwhere headmen controlled different bands of younger fightersпїЅensured discipline and unity in their ranks. Not surprisingly they had become the steadiest and most accurate musketeers in 17th century South India. Another singular name used for them was kala-piadas or black foot-musketeers. Later on these same Berads formed the bulk of Tipu SultanпїЅs French-led infantry. The Bedar King of Sagar used the title Nayak and is known in Persian histories as Pam Nayak.

Kala = black
Paidal= > pa >
Bedras were known as a thieving caste that assisted in the plundering of Vijayanagar after the battle of Talikota. These Naikdas or Nayakas are to be found not only in the districts of Mysore but also in Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

Today’s Ramoshi was called Boya, Berad and Vedan. In Andhra it was called Boya and in Karnataka and Tamilnadu it was called Berad and Bedar. Ramoshis of Maharashtra have come from mostly Karnataka and their surnames are same as Berad-Ramoshi of Karnataka. Their original language is sothern. They first got settled in Karnataka and later migrated to Maharashtra. Word ‘Bhuyal’ in Berad’s language seems to have originated from Boya. though it is known in Maharashtra as Ramoshi-Berad, the name ‘Ramoshi’ is not older than 100-200 years.

The British declared the Berad-Ramoshis of Maharastra a criminal tribe. Almost every fort of Shivaji had a settlement of Berad-Ramoshi warriors at its foothills? And that 50 Ramoshis captured Fort Purandhar near Pune defeating the Mughals?

The Berad-Ramoshis, who live mostly in south Maharashtra and in Karnataka where they are known as Beydurs.

One of the most interesting stories in the book concerns the disarming of the Berads of Halgali, near Mudhol in Karnataka, in November 1857.

During the first war of Independence, the British made it mandatory for people to surrender their arms. Lt-Col. G.B. Settunkar was entrusted with the task of implementing the order in south Maharashtra and north Karnataka. The Berads from Halgali village in Mudhol refused to surrender their arms.

Settunkar and his colleagues marched to Halgali. For almost two days the entire village fought along with the Berads and stopped the army from entering the village. As a last resort, the army set ablaze the village by throwing in fireballs but the Berads did not give up. In the end, 19 of them were captured by the British and killed.

The Berad-Ramoshi king of Shorapur in Gulburga district of Karnatak – Shorapur kingdom was founded in 1636 by Gaddipida Nayak. The British annexed it in 1858, after king Venkatappa Nayak was found dead in mysterious circumstances. The British said that it was a suicide, but is widely believed that he was shot dead by British.

The story of the Battle of Wagengere (Wakinkheda), as it is known now in Maharashtra) in February 1705 – It was the last battle of Aurangzeb and it is believed that the families of Maratha generals, who were fighting the Mughals since the death of Shivaji in 1680, were sheltered by the king of Beydur, Venkatappa Naik IV.

The brave Naiks surrendered only after they learnt that the families of the Marathas were given a safe passage out of the Wakinkheda fort. The royal family still preserves a letter written by Aurangzeb to the king of Shorapur in 1658 when he took over the reins of the Mughal empire.

The inhabitants in the South of the River Krishna пїЅwhether Telegus, Berads, or PurbiasпїЅdid impact the evolution of infantry warfare. The leaders were mostly regional landowners and military commanders.

A very widespread conspiracy was attempted in the Southern Mahratta districts of the Bombay presidency. The young Rajah of Shorapoor was deeply implicated in this treason and Captain Campbell’s life being threatened. A portion of the contingent force stationed at Lingsoogoor, under Captain Wyndham , went to his assistance. This was treacherously attacked on February 7, 1858, by the rajah’s tribe of Beydurs, with some Arabs and Rohillas.

History of Ramoshis

In 1871 the British Government declared some tribes as “Criminal”. The established society did ot oppose this, contrararily they seem to have liked it. Some clauses were:

  • 1 Permission should be obtained from police while shifting from one location to other.
  • 2 Govt. could send the group of people outside the bounds of a certain area.
  • 3 Govt. got the right to form a ‘settlement’ and keep the groups of people there.

1. Maharashtra — Ramoshis are Berads or Boyas. Ramoshi did not originate from ‘Ram vamshi’. It is in use only for hundred to hundred and fifty years. Before that, they were called Berad or Bedar, as mentioned during rule of Peshavas.

Narveer Umaji Naik, in a letter of 1828, mentions as Ranvasi addressed to Ramoshis. Those days they were staying in hills and doing the job of protection of villages and crops in fields.

Ramoshi might be a gradual corrupted form of the word Ram Vasi.
Ram = Sri Rama of Valmiky Ramayana
Vasi = controlled
Rama + vasi => Ramvasi => Ramosi => Ramoshi = Vanara warriors controlled Sri Rama

Boyas or Bedars were non other than Vanaras of Kishkinda kingdom of Ramayana times in South India. These were the vanara warriors who were controlled by Sri Rama in the war against Demon Ravana of Srilanka to recue Sita

2. Andhra Pradesh — Boya, Dorabiddu and Valmiki are the names in vogue. Dorabiddu means sons of sardars. Boya consider themselves as sons of sardars and descendents of Valmiki.

Dorab > Dora = Lord = Chief =head of tribe
B > Biddadu => Bidda => B > Dorab >
Valmiki was a bhill. Bhills are known as Boyas in Andhra Pradesh. Bhill stans for Villu. Villu meand Bow. The bhill means great archer. Ekalavya who proved to be superior in the skills of archery was also a bhill . Sri Krishna killed Ekalavya when the later attacked Dwaraka.

3. Tamilnadu — Name in vogue is ‘Vedan’.

4. Karnataka — Names Berad and Bedar are in vogue. Bedar was word used by Muslims either to show the dauntless quality or may be inability to pronounce properly. Muslim books use word Bedar.

The names are Berad, Bedar, Nayak, Talwar, Nayavadi, Naykar, Valmiki, Palegar etc. each having distinctive meaning.

1. Nayak and Nayakar — During Kakatiya and Vijayanagar rules in Andhra, a head of a region was called Nayak, and traditional ‘vatandars’ were called Naykar. Akin to Deshmukh and Desais in Maharashtra, were Palegar and Naykars. Many Berads became Palegar on their own bravery. Nayak in Teugu means Ownner or Head or leader. May be this is origin of word.

2. Naykvadi was the title of Killedar. Those protecting outer walls of fortes were called Nayakvadi.

3. Talwar was name one doing work of village watchman or revenue work. For villege policing, carrying the land revenue to treasury headquarters, the workers had to bear arms, so called Talwar meaning sword.

Religious customs of Berad-Ramoshis

1. Devata and kulswami — Ramoshis of Maharashtra worship Khandoba as ‘kulswami’. Also worship Mariaai, kalubai, janaai, firanjaai, tukaai, bhairoba etc., and also Yellamma.

Berads of Karnataka worship Mallikarjuna, Mauti, Vekatesh as main deities and also worship Yellamma.

Boyas worship Tirupati Venkat Ramana, Mariamma, Kanathrathan etc. Most of Berads are Shaivaites. They worship Shiva and engage Jangam or Lingayat Swami for religious functions.

2. Devak (Totems) — Every kula has separate totem. No marriages take place within same totem though surnames may be different. They include pan-kanis, vasan-vel, surya-ful, umbar, jambhul etc.

3. Caste Panchayat of Berad Ramoshis — The head is called Naik in Maharashtra and well respected. Previously they dealt with all disputes. In Karnataka he is called Nayak or Kahimani and Head of Boyas is called Naidu, Doraa or Sinhasan Boya. Their word is final and punishments differed, fine, feast to excommunication.

4. Wedding / Barase / Marmik — Lingayat or Jangam is required. Sometimes Brahmin does it. Remarriages and widow marriages are allowed. Groom pays to bride’s father some teej/dej/tyaj. There WAS no dowry system.

5. Barase and pachavi — Child is named on 13th day. ‘ghugarya’ are distributed. On 5th day ‘pachava chi puja’ is performed. This time ‘satwai’ is worshiped. Child is named on twelth or twentyfirst day.

6. Funeral rites — Burial was in vogue. Somewhere they cremate. On 3rd or 7th or 12th day they do ‘mati lotne’. ‘uttar karya vidhi’ is performed that time.

At the burial place, the stones are aranged, gulal is sprinkled. On 3rd day flowers and ‘naivadya’ is offered.

History of Berads

The original man was Guh. According to Rajguru of Shorapur princely state, Berads come from Tamilnadu migrating to Karnatake during Vijaynagar rule. Names of 14 ancestors are known to him but not whereabouts. The last was ‘goshti pid nayaka’, a contemporary of Shivaji Maharaj. This means the history dates back to 800 years from Shivaji’s known date of 1630. Epigraphs of 8th to 11th century mention ‘Bed-Beda’, are they for the community?

During Vijaynagar rule, these Nayak kings were assigned duty of protecting province of Tungabhadra. After of fall of Vijaynagar, the kings of Shorpur became independant. They only came under Bijapur court for name sake. But the Bijapur court was always afraid of Berad Nayak Kings.

Later, during Maratha – Moghul conflict, Nayak kings played important role. After fall of Sambhaji and migration of Rajaram to Jinji, Moghu-Maratha conflict spread from Narmada to Tamilnadu and from east to west coast. Moghul Emperors realized they were fighting with a hurt identity in 1695. But it was not possible to turn back. During this conflict, Berad Nayaks played a delicate and important role. The families of all important Maratha sardars and their treasury was in Vagana-gera (or Wakin-kheda), the capital of these Nayak kings. Therefore, Aurangjeb had to fight his last battle of his life against Berad Nayaks of Vagana-gera during 1705 – 06.

Struggle against the British

Inumerable Berads sacrificed their lives in uprisings against the British. History knows very few names. The important are:

  • 1820 -1831 — Umaji Naik, Bhulaji, Pandu Naik — they rovolted in Pune, Nagar, Nasik, Satara, Solapur, Kokan. Most of participants in these rebelions were Ramoshis.
  • 1817 — Gokak, Pachapur regions in Karnataka, Nayaks organized and rebelled. They were mostly Berads.
  • Revolt of Kittur Channamma and Sangoli Rayanna in Karnataka had mostly Berads,
  • 1817 — Trimbak Dengale’s revolt in Pune by sardars in Peshaai – mostly had Ramoshi, Bhil, Koli etc.
  • 1857 – Uprising of Rango Bapuji in Satara, rebelled in name of Chatrapati of Satara. Centres established for recruitment where Ramoshi Koli and Mangs were in majority. Two Madane Brothers of Ramoshi wadi (Koregaon Satara) and Nana Ramoshi of Kundal were blown by cannon. Many Ramoshis from Tasgaon in Bijapur Taluka participated.
  • 1844-50 — Tukaram and Mahankal, two sons of Umaji Naik revolted.
  • 1857 – Berads of Village Halgali Dist. Bijapur Karnataka revolted against disarming act. 19 Berads were hanged at Mudhol.
  • 1857 — Raja Venkappa Nayak of Shurpur Dist Gulbarga rebelled. He died in struggle,
  • 1870 — 1880 Rebellion of Vasudev Balwant Phadake was participated by most of Ramoshis. Head was Daulati Naik, who died in fight against Capt. Daniel in Tisubai Hills. Hari Ramoshi was hanged at Jejuri and Berads at Mudhol.
  • 1910 — Veer Sindhur Laxman rebelled against Sansthanik at Jat ant British, was killed by treachery.
  • Vajya – Baijya – fought against Saranjamdar at Kukudwad Dist Satara.
  • 1942 – ‘Quit India’ movement and formed ‘prati sarkar’ – parellel Government. Most Ramoshis of Satara Sangali Pune Districts participated.

In olden days the boya chiefs were known as Bedars and hence Kannappa was also known as BEDARA KANNAPPA in kannada as bedara is a well known terminlogy in Kannada due to Vijayanagar empire in Hampi.


Servai is one of the surnames of Muthurajas and land owning community in Tamilnadu. Servai is also known as Agamudayar.

Servai = Agamudayar = Ahamudayar.

Agamudayar, Thevar(Marvar) and Kallar together are known as Mukkulathor. Agamudayars often classify themselves as Rajakula-Agamudayars and Thevar-Agamudayars.

Servai = Thevar (Marvar) = Agamudayar.
Marvar = Thevar = Thevan = Devar

The close relation of servai of Ramnad with Kattabommans indicate that Kattabommans also belong to the same block of kshatriya castes having close professional and matrimonial relations. This point is also well proved in the article on Kattabomman published in this website.

Devar community: It is a Kshatriya community very closely related to Muthurajas professionally in Tamilnadu and also have matrimonial relations. MARAVA means KILL and Maravas were professional killers / commandos in fuedal systemm who used to work for chieftains.

Brief Notes about Marudhu Pandiar

Maruthu Pandiar Elder was born on 15.12.1748 in a small village Narikkudi near Aruppukkottai of Ramnad principal state. His father was Udayar Servai alias Mokka Palaniappan Servai and mother was Ponnathal. Udayar Servai then served as a General in Ramnad state military, so he shifted his family to Ramnad from Narikkudi. There, after five years Marudhu Pandiar younger was born.

The brothers both learned all martial arts at Surankottai, a then training centre for Ramnad military. By that time they were awarded with the titles of пїЅPandiasпїЅ by the then Raja of Ramnad MuthuVijaya Raghunadha Sedhupathy. They participated many competitions of martial arts and won all of those.

Hearing their fame, Raja of Sivaganga principal state near Ramnad, Muthuvadughanadhar requested Ramnad king to send them for Sivaganga military service. After their arrival they were appointed as Generals of Sivaganga military and the brothers got an unremovable place in the history of Sivaganga. In the year 1772, English military of East India Company, under the command of Lt.Col.Bon jour attacked the state at kalayarkoil. As the war worsened, Raja Muthuvadughanadhar lost his life on the spot. But Marudhu Pandiar brothers managed to escape along with Rani Velu Nachiar, wife of Raja Muthu Vadughanadhar arrived Dhindukkal which was ruled by Hyder Ali пїЅ Sultan of Mysore as refugees. Hyder Ali supported them with all respects.

Arcot Nawal, the alliance partner of East India Company did not able to collect any taxes from the people of Sivaganga state for eight years, arranged to the rule of Rani Velu Nachiar after collected his dues from her. The amount was collected from many sources including Hyder Ali by Marudhu pandiar.

So, Rani Velu Nachiar made a Will and paved way for Marudhu Pandiar Elder to rule. Marudhu Pandiar younger was made as Dewan of the state.

But, this created chaos within and outside of the state by RaniпїЅs relatives.

Marudhu Pandiar accepted Omaidurai, brother of Veerapandia Kattabomman as refugee. But, took this reason to invade, English attacked Sivaganga in 1801 with powerful army.

Marudhu Pandiar brothers and many of his family members were caught by the English army and ended their life by hanging.

The brothers were the last heroes from Devar community who did armed rebellion against the East India Company of English people.


Araiyars are a subcaste of Muthurajas in Tamilnadu. The use of Arya term by people of a South Indian community triggered a debate on the origins Aryans who were believed to be Invaders and entered into Sindhu Region of Indian subcontinent. Some people have gone to an extent that Aryans were not aliens but they were South Indian / dravidians who spread into North India.

A detailed study of ARAIYARS reveals that the Arayars were Non-Tamilian people who came into Tamil speaking lands from North of Tamil country. Further it can be proved that they are the people having Indo Aryan descendancy and their roots can be traced to Kalabhras / Kalchuris / Kolis. It appears that the ancestors of these people with Indo-Aryan blood came through Kalinga (Orissa) with a special purpose for spreading Buddhism.

Arya (singular) => Aryas (plural)
Aryas = > Aryars => Arayars = Araiyars = Ariyars

The Buddhists referred to any respectable member of the Buddist Sangha as Arya, and it appears that usage of Arya was common throughout the Buddhist world. The usage of Araiyar in Tamil Buddhist texts was perhaps a reference to the people of Buddist following. The Dravidians were also accustomed to refer to non-Dravidians as Aryans.

The term ARYA means “noble” or “spiritual”, and has been so used by Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians as well as Hindus. Religions that have called themselves Aryan, like all of these, have had members of many different races. Race was never a bar for anyone joining some form of the Arya Dharma or teaching of noble people.

The kings of south India, like the Chola and Pandya dynsties, relate their lineages back to Manu. The Matsya Purana moreover makes Manu, the progenitor of all the Aryas, originally a south Indian king, Satyavrata.

The Kings of the Kingdom of Jaffna are known by the name of Arya Chakravartis. According to some, the descendants of Arya Chakravarti, a chieftain from the Pandya kingdom who became ruler of the northern part of the Island towards the end of the thirteenth century, came to be known as Arya Chakravartis. According to others, Jayabahu,who ruled the North while Magha ruled from Polonnaruwa, was probably the founder of the Arya rulers of the North. These rulers were originally a branch of the Ganga dynasty from KALINGA who had immigrated to Rameshvaram, South India, and had intermingled with the Brahmins of the area. It was to highlight their connection with the highest caste that they called themselves Aryas. Another school holds that Singhai Aryan, also known as Kulankaic Chakravarti, was the founder of the line of Arya Chakravartis. He was none other than Magha, alias Kalinga Magha, alias Kalinga Vijayabahu, who conquered Polonnaruwa in 1215.

SANGAM LITERATURE : There is a ion of the word пїЅAriyarпїЅ in the ancient Tamil literature, popularly known as Tamil Sangam literature. This literature was related to Buddhist religion which was promoted by Kalabhras, who were themselves the jain & Buddhist kings. The Kalabhras were believed to be the ancestors of MUTHURAJAS. We must carefully note one fact that ARAIYAR word was used widely during the period of Kalabhras in Sangam Literatur and not earlier.

In the ancient Tamil literature, the word пїЅAriyarпїЅ, пїЅAriyanпїЅ, пїЅAriyaпїЅ etc., found in various places withy their other forms and have been used both as nouns and adjectives.

From the description of Paditruppattu, it can be seen that пїЅAriyarпїЅ are пїЅ

  • the Kings of the north,
  • Rishis of the “Himalayas ,
  • the Kings between the boundaries of ‘Himalayas’ and KumariпїЅ and
  • the people of the north or northern direction of Tamilagam.

According to Agananuru, пїЅAriyarпїЅ were пїЅ

  • the people who captured and trained elephants,
  • who got defeated by the Cholas at Vallam,
  • who were the Kings

From the foregoing discussion about the word Ariyar and its forms mentioned in the ancient Tamil literature, it is evident that they would come under the following categories:

  • the people who were living immediately north of Tamizhagam (tamil country) or Vengadam (Thirupathi).
  • the kings who were ruling immediately north of Tamizhagam or Vengadam.
  • the jugglers, tumblers, rope-dancers or acrobats of Tamizhagam.
  • the Rishis or saints of northern mountain of Tamizhagam or ‘Himalayas’.
  • the elephant captors and / or trainers.
  • the groups or kings who waged wars against Tamil kings or chiefs coming from north.
  • the honorific title пїЅAriyaпїЅ was used to respect certain professionals like wresrtlers, poets or king-cum-poets of Tamizhagam.

All the above mentioned information clearly points to Kalabhras who were the descendants of Kalchuri kings of Central India and who came to South India with Jain & Buddhism. They were also directly connected to Buddha. Both BuddhaпїЅs mother and wife were from Koli warrior & fishing community. Buddha was also referred as Ariiyar in Tamil Literature.

It can be understood that these Indo-Aryan kolis / Kalchuris used to call themselves as Aryas because of their inter marriages with Aryans and Aryan blood in them. This word was also perhaps used to refer them as people who came from North of Tamilnadu. The Ariyars of Tamilnadu & Kerala are fishermen with highly evolved civilization.

The Kurubas / Kalabhras were people of warrior king race and also known to tame elephants on the hills of Thirupathi. The Tirupathi hills are located North of Tamil speaking lands.

Arayas (Arayars) are hereditary Hindu fishermen of the seas; they inhabit the sea coasts. Fishermen of the rivers are a different caste, called Vaala (valayars); they live in a hinterland near lakes.

Vala = Vala (Telugu)
Vala = Jaal (Hindi)
Vala = Net (English)
Valayar = Jaalary = Fishermen who catch fish with nets

Arayas are hindu fishermen in Tamilnadu and Kerala regions of South India. Traditional Hindu fisherfolk are divided into 12 sub-castes on the southwestern coast, prominent among them being the moka-aryas, mukkuvas, valers, nulayars, arayas and mokaveeras. They are the dominant castes in the coastal villages, and they worship Kurumba Bhagavathy, a Dravidian deity. For administrative purposes, the groups were clubbed as one — the dheevaras — through a 1961 government order giving them Other Backward Community (OBC) status because of their social and educational backwardness.

Alappad in Kerala, a narrow stretch of land in between the sea and lake has always been awe-inspiring for visitors to the Vallikavu, Amruthanandamayi Math. The fisher people mostly belong to one community called the Arayas, they are culturally rich. This place has a history of its own, unique and diverse from the rest of the fishing communityпїЅs habitats. They are a homogenous community and their livelihood has been fishing with men going into the sea while their women tend to the needs of the house.

Arayan or Aravan or Dheevaran is a Malayali caste of Kerala, India. They inhabit the coastal regions of the state. The main source of income of this community is fishing. Many legends of historical and mythical importance is associated with this community.

The various subsects of Arayars include Arayan/ Araya, Valan, Nulayan, Mukkuvan, Arayavathi, Valanchiyar, Paniyakkal, Mokaya, Bov is-Mogayar, and Mogaveerar

AMRITANANDAMAYI : The well known spiritual and saintly lady, who is loved by most Indians and known all over the world for her selfless social work belongs to Arayar community of Kerala

She also known by her followers as ‘Amma’, ‘Ammachi’ or ‘Mother’ (born September 27, 1953), was born Sudhamani in the small village of Parayakadavu (now partially known as Amritapuri), near Kollam, Kerala. She is widely respected as a humanitarian and revered by some as a Mahatma (Great soul) and a living Saint.

Sudhamani (Amritanandamayee) was born to a family of fishermen (ARAYAN). Her schooling ended when she was nine, and she began to take care of her younger siblings and the family domestic work full-time. From these humble beginnings she began her journey on the path to “universal motherhood”, which took her to the United Nations General Assembly, where she addressed the world.

CHEMPIL ARAYAN : Chempil Anantha Padmanabhan Valiya Arayan Kankumaran, commonly known as Chempil Arayan, was the chief of the Velu Thampi Dalawa. He is credited with having started one of the first uprisings against the Imperial British Raj. He is well known for his naval exploits using the traditional Kerala boat known as the “Odi Vallam”. Chempil Arayan belongs to the Arayan caste of keral.

Why Arayars are vishnavites ?

Though the Arayars belong to fishing community of Muthurajas in Tamilnadu and Kerala , they are culturally highly civilized community. They are artists associated with Alwars in their devotional expressions towards Vishnu.

This seems to be an unusal practice of Vishnava Brahmins to move hand in hand with the people Muthuraja Aryar fishing community. This unusal phenomena is to be understood from the fact that Arayars came from Kalinga (North) where Buddhism practically eliminated Hinduism under the patronage of powerful kings like Ashoka. These Arayars came to South India, particularly to Tamil speaking lands and Srilanka with singular purpose of spreading Buddhism and they were mostly the artists attached to Buddhist Monasteries / temples.

When Adi Shankaracharya cleverly declared that Buddha was an incarnation of Vishnu, the Buddhist people started seeing Vishnu in Buddha staues. In the process of seeing Vishnu in Buddha, the people ultimately forgot Buddha and became complete Hindus. The Arayar artists attached to Buddhist temples too started singing Vishnava keertanas in place of Buddha hymes and thus transformed themselves into vishnava devotees, totally forgetting the origins of their Buddhist ancestors.

Kokolu Anka Rao

Mr. Shivakumar from Kerala further adds :


Aryans were neither Germans nor Iranians. They were the descendants of Koli / Kalchuris/ Kalabhra kings who came from Kalinga (Orissa) with a special purpose for spreading Buddism. They had matrimonial alliance with the orthodox Brahmins of that area and thus a new race was formed known as Aryans. Lord Budda was born in this new race. Budda’s mother Maha maya and wife yesodhara were from Koli warrior and fishing community.

The word Aryan is a pure Sanskrit word which means ‘noble or spiritual’. Budda was also referred as Arayar in Tamil literature. The word Arayan, Arayar, Araya etc; are found in various places with their other forms and have been used both as nouns and adjectives. From the description of Pathittrupath, it can be seen that Arayar are the kings of the north Rishis of Himalayas. The castes Araiyar, Arayan, Arayars, Mutharayars in Tamilnadu and Kerala are the sub castes of Muthurajas/Mudirajas who are the descendants of Koli/ Kalchuris/Kalabhra kings. Arayar of kerala have been claiming that they are “Araya Brahmins” since time immemorial.

The king Chenkuttuva who constructed a temple in memory of Kannaki in Chengannur was an Arayan because he was a buddist ruler. The world famous epic “Chilappathikaram was written by Ilango Adi Arayan who was the younger brother of the king Chenkuttuva. Kannaki, the heroin of the Chilappathikaram was an Araya woman from kaveryppattanam of Chola kingdom. Arya (singular),Aryas (plural)

The buddist referred to any respectable member of the Buddist Sangha as Arya and it appears that usage of Arya was common throughout the Buddist world. Buddism was growing up during that time. But, the Dravida Brahmins who were separated from this newly formed religion began to destroy Arayan culture. Budda was also suffered too much bitter things by this Brahmins. These orthodox Brahmins also declared that the Aryans were aliens.

The kings of south India like the Chola and Pandya dynasties relate their lineages back to Manu. The Matsya purana more over makes Manu, the progenitor of all the Aryas, originally a south Indian King Sathyavrita. The kings of the kingdom of Jaffna are known by the name of Arya chakravartis. According to others, Jayabahu who ruled the North while Magha ruled from Polonnaruwa was probably the founder of the Arya rulers of the North. These rulers were originally a branch of the Ganga dynasty from KALINGA who had immigrated to Rameswaram, south India who had intermingled with the Brahmins of the area. It was to highlight their connection with the highest caste that they had called themselves Aryas.


Saluva Thimmarusu was an able chief minister of Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar empire. THIMMARUSU belonged to a community of MUTHARASU people of Andhra / Kannada speaking regions. He might be a telugu / Tuluva speaking bunt /bant. We know that Elugu Rayudu was the last ruler of Saluva dynasty and a mudiraj who ruled his kingdom with podili (AP) as his catital town.

Mutha + Arasu = Mutharasu
Mutha = The smallest administrative unit.
Arasu = Chief
Mutharasu = Chief of a Mutha

Mutharacha = Mutha +Racha
Mutharasu = Mutha + Arasu
Mutharasa = Mutha + Arasa
Mutharasi = Mutha + Arasi

Mutha = An administrative unit consisting of a group / Cluster of villages.

Arasu = Arasi = Arasa = Rasa = Raya = king
Rasa = Raya = Racha = Raja = Chief = king
Arasa => Arasar
Raya => Rayar => Rayan
Rasa => Rasar => Rasan
Mutharacha = Mutharasu = Mutharasa = Mutharasi

Mutha + Arasu = Mutharasu
Timma + Arasu = Timmarasu => Timmarusu.

Krishnadevaraya ruled the Vijayanagar empire in the early part of sixteenth century. The Vijayanagar empire in his time comprised the whole of Southern India. Timma Arasu was the great commander and minister of Krishnadevaraya. The people of Southern India know King Krishnadeva and his minister Timma Arasu by the names of Rayar and Appagi-Rayar.

Arasars were Brave kings :

In that fierce Maha Bharatha Yuddham, brave kings (arasar)from all parts of the country were assembled at Kuru KshEthram (Kurukhetra). The many kings with powerful weapons assembled on that battle field with fierce weapons in their hands. These “arasars” were known for their expertise in handling manifold missiles and were very skilled in the conductance of war. Arasars were the mightiest kings of the worlds

Arasars were the kshatriyas or rulers. The tamil word пїЅArayarпїЅ turned as Ariyar. The same word turned пїЅRayarпїЅ in vaduka пїЅkannada & Telugu. In Bengal it is as пїЅRaiпїЅ. Ariyan was used in the meaning of king. Arai+ar- Arai means part / pakuthi. Thus the ruling class which ruled that part was called Arayar. Arasar / Arasu are also from this root.

Arasu mostly belong to fishing community :

K. Arasu, a 52-year-old fisherman was mending his net on the beach when the tsunami struck. Catamaran logs, tied together with ropes, were ripped apart. He was out in the sea when the earthquake jolted the coast around 6-35 a.m. “There was no sign of the quake in the sea. We were about 3 km inside. The sea was peaceful,” he said. He returned to the coast before 9 a.m. He and other fishermen had tied the catamaran on the shore to a small post. When he looked back after crossing the beach, he saw the tsunami rush in in a flash and recede as quickly. Five women were bidding for fish. Three of them went cartwheeling in the waves and died, said Arasu. Two were fighting for their lives in a local hospital. Arasu’s own catamaran was lifted up and thrown more than 150 metres away. He lost his catch.

The Boya / Bovi are fishermen :

The Festival of Arasu Manjishnaar Temple of Udyavara is also known as Udyaavara Bandi or Maadada Aayana. The Bovi community (fishermen) in Udyavara and Someswara are being hired for driving the chariots.

Arasu => Arasar = chief = king

Arasars or Ariyans were Kalabhras :

In the later tradition, it was stated that Parasurama came down to the south. In addition, it was mentioned that Parasurama killed the kings of Cola, Cera and Paundra. This may indicate the invasion of South India by the North Indians or people of Narmada region since it was said that Jamadagni was living on the banks of River Narmada. In South India, we have found the tradition of invasion by the North Indian kings. There are references of the annihilation of South Indian polity and culture by the Kali arasar or Kalabhras or kings from northern region. It is suggested that the invasion of Kalabhras led to destruction of some dynasties of South.

ARASU is a community name in Karnataka. Traditionally, the word ARASU or ARASA was used to designate royalty. The word ARASI is its feminine equivalent. The Arasus of Kalale popularly known as Maharajas of Mysore, the Alupa dynasty Arasus of South Canara and the Saluva Arasus of Uttara Kannada regions of Karnataka, the great Kannada poet Chamarasa in the Vijayanagar court are some examples of royalty who carried this title. Some of the early kings with this title were Aluvarasa I and Aluvarasa II of the Alupa dynasty (7th century). D. Devaraj Urs, a chief minister of Karnataka belonged to the Arasu community.

The Wodeyars belong to the Arasu community of Karnataka, which includes many of the noble clans of the region. The dynasty was established by Vijaya, a yadav who by some accounts came to Mysore from Dwaraka. Vijaya took on the name Yaduraya and ruled Mysore, then a small town, from 1399 to 1423.

Mutha + Arasa => Mutharasa
Mutha + Arasu => Mutharasu
Mutha = Arasi => Mutharasi

Arayan connection : Arasi, Arasu, Arasa, Arasar, Araya, Arayar, Arya, Aryar, Ariya, Ariyar, Araiyar, Aryan, Ariyan – all these are royal community titles of South India and points to their descendacy to ARYANS / INO-ARYANS of North India.

As we know that some sections of Telugu Mudiraj people inn Andhra Pradesh are known as BANTs and the Tulu speaking Kurubas in Karnataka are known as BUNTS. These Bunts / Bants of Andhra and Karnataka mostly use the royal titles ARASU, ARASA & ARASI. The Mudiraj bants of Andhra Pradesh and the Kuruba bunts of Karnataka are most probably had the same professional background of sheep rearing and similar to yadavas.

The kings who ruled Kodagu were ARASU and Mudiraj. Kodagu was not absorbed into Mysore and a prince of the Ikkeri or Bednur family (perhaps related to the Changalvas) succeeded in bringing the whole country under his sway, his descendants continuing to be Rajas of Kodagu till 1834. The capital was removed in 1681 by Muddu Raja to Madikeri (Mercara).

The problem of Narasimha’s relationship to the old royal line has never yet been satisfactorily solved. He belonged to a family called SALUVA, and we constantly hear, in the inscriptions and literary works of the time, of powerful lords who were relations or descendants of his. There was one more Saluva/ Salva who was well known by name Saluva Timma, whom Nuniz calls “Salvatinea,” who was minister to King Krishna Deva Raya. An inscription of the Saka year 1395, which corresponds to A.D. 1472 — 73, speaks of Narasimha as a great lord, but a great lord ONLY, and so does another of A.D. 1482 — 83. In one of A.D. 1495 — 96, however, he is called “MAHA-RAYA,” or the “king.” But although the exact date of the usurpation and the exact relationship of the usurper to the deposed king may be difficult to ascertain, the fact remains that Narasimha actually became sovereign about this time, that Muhammadan aggression was stayed by his power and the force of his arms, and that the empire of Vijayanagar was under him once more consolidated.

Saluva => Salva
Maharaya => Mudiraya => Mudiraja => Mudiraj
Maharaya => Muthiraya => Muthuraya => Muthuraja = Muthuraj

The saluva and Tuluva most probably represent two different regions and also warrior clans in the ancient vanara kingdom that existed in the present day Telugu-Tulu-Kannada regions with Bellary as its center. They were all known as Raya clans. Hanuman was also known as Hanumantha Raya.

One thing is a fact and crystal clear that Saluvas were a part of Maha raya clans who ruled Vijayanagar kingdom and many other parts in Maharastra & North India. They were most probably Indo-Aryans (Arayars = Arasars = Arasus ) who invaded South India under different political circumstances at different times and could be the kalchuris and their variants. The bunt kurubas and bant Mudiraj were also the part of Maharaya warrior community which made Vijayanagar empire a great Telugu nation of those times. From the founder rulers to the last rulers were all Maharayas ( Muthurajas = Mudirajas) and were all Telugu speaking Rayars. Arayars, Arasars, Arasus are one and the same people and they are known to be a subcaste of Muthuraja in Tamilnadu today. Saluva Narasimha and Saluva Thimma were well known, prominent and powerful political lumanaries in Vijayanagar empire. Elugu Rayudu who ruled his kingdom with podili in AP as capital was known to be the last ruler of Saluva dynasty. Elugu surname belongs to Mudiraj and this surname got modified as Alagan in Tamil. The Alagans were one of the clans who ruled one of the Tamilikams in Tamil speaking lands.


Miss Krishna Veni, 23 years old Hindu Telugu female from Mumbai writes in her matrimonial personal profile no. YZY9232 that she is from Mudiraj caste and belongs to subcaste : Bukka. There are some sections of Mudiraj people who write their sub caste as BUKKA.

There are Donga Dasaris in Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Chennai, Salem and Namakkal Districts of Tamilnadu. Gudu Dasaris are another group of people who belong to Tamilnadu.

In India, at the present day, there are several wandering tribes known variously by the names Dasaris (Tamil), Guduguduppandy (Tamil), Budubudukalavadu / Budubukkalavadu (Telugu), Langaris (Hindustani).

They are also known as Krishnabalija (Dasari, Bukka, Bukka Ayavar). The Bukka has its origin from Bukka Raya, one of the treasurers in the court of Kakatiya kingdom, Warangal, Andhra Pradesh and also one of the founder brothers of Vijayanagar Kingdom at Hampi, once Telugu speaking Bellary districts in the belt of Rayalaseema and presently located in Karnataka.

Bukkarayalu was a Telugu Bant: Gangadevi (14th Century) was the daughter of Kakatiyas and the daghter-in-law of the Vijayanagara Dynasty founded by Bukkarayalu and Harihara Rayalu. She was the wife of Kamaparayalu, the third son of Bukkarayalu. The rulers of both Kaktiya and Vijayanagar dynasties are indigenous Telugu communities. She wrote the true story of her husband’s victory over Muslims in Madhura, entitled “Madhura Vijayamu” in Telugu. This Kavyamu (poem) is also known as “Veerakamparaya Charitramu,” and contains 8 chapters.

Yakshaganams are an ancient form of staged and costumed dramatic performance, put on in the Telugu-speaking region in the past by hereditary specialists such as Chindus, Dasaris and Kuchipudi Brahmins. In the twentieth century, their performance spread amongst other castes who had previously only been audiences for the specialists.

The origin of Vijayanagar empire in southern India in the 14th century CE has been a controversial topic and has been debated over the past decades by various historians. The differing opinions balance on the question of whether the founders of the empire Harihara I and Bukka I were of Telugu or Kannada origin.

Many theories have been propounded about the genesis of the empire. Well known historians from Archeological Survey of India hold their own opinions about the origin of the empire. Prof. K.A. Nilakanta Sastry, Dr. N. Ventakaramanayya and B. Surya Narayana Rao claim a Telugu origin of Harihara and Bukka Raya. However, historians such as Dr. P.B. Desai, Dr. Henry Heras and Prof. Dr. B.A. Saletore attest to the empire’s Kannada origin.

The fact is that Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya worked in the court of Kakatiyaya Kingdom as treasurers. This proves that they knew Telugu and they were of Telugu origin. They were known to come from from Kampili near Bellary districts to Kakatiyas. It is also believed that their father Sangama Raya migrated from Warangal to Kampili to work in the court of Sangama Raya of Kampili. The people of Bellary districts of pressent Karnataka were all Telugu speaking in those days of Bukka Raya due to simple fact that these districts were made a part of Andhra State when states were reorganised for the first time in the independant India based on languages on the demand of Potti Sreeramulu who sacrifised his life by going on hunger strike.

The people belonging to Bukka subcaste of Mudiraj may most probably fall under Telugu Bunts / Bants subgroup.

One of theories on “Origin of Vijayanagar empire” states that while Vidyaranya was living his ascetic life amongst the mountains he was supported by meals brought to him by a shepherd of Kuruba caste called Bukka, “and one day the Brahmin said to him, ‘You shall be king and emperor of all Bharata.’ The other shepherds learned this, and began to treat this shepherd with veneration and made him their head; and he acquired the name of ‘king,’ and began to conquer his neighbours. Bukka established a city “and called it Vijaya Nagar пїЅ the city of victory . As Muhammud Tughlaq’s rule ended amidst revolts against him by his Muslim subjects in the Deccan, the area ruled by Harihara expanded greatly and quickly. The city of Vijayanagara was established by about 1340 on the bank of the Tungabhadra opposite Anegondi.

Harihara was succeeded, probably around 1343, by his brother, Bukka Raya, who ruled till about 1379. By the end of Bukka’s reign, most of southern India to the south of the Tungabhadra had accepted his suzerainity.

Harihara was succeeded by Bukka (I; reigned 1356пїЅ77), who during his first decade as king engaged in a number of costly wars against the Bahmani sultans over control of strategic forts in the Krishna-Tungabhadra doab, as well as over the trading emporia of the east and west coasts. The major accomplishments of Bukka’s reign were the conquest of the short-lived sultanate of Ma’bar (Madurai; 1370) and the maintenance of his kingdom against the threat of decentralization. By 1357 some of Bukka’s nephews had succeeded their fathers as governors of these provinces, and there was a possibility that the state would become less and less centralized as the various branches of the family became more firmly ensconced in their particular domains. Bukka, therefore, removed his nephews and replaced them with his sons and favourite generals so that centralized authority (and his own line of succession) could be maintained. However, the succession of Bukka’s son Harihara II (reigned 1377пїЅ1404) precipitated a repetition of the same action. A rebellion in the Tamil country at the beginning of his reign probably was aided by the disaffected sons and officers of Bukka’s deceased eldest son, Kumara Kampana, who were not ready to acknowledge Harihara’s authority. Harihara-II was able to put down the rebellion and subsequently to replace his cousins with his own sons as governors of the provinces. Thus, the circle of power was narrowed once again. The question of succession to the throne had not been settled, however. On many occasions, the conflict resumed between the king and his lineal descendant, who tried to centralize the state, and the collateral relatives (cousins and brothers), who tried to establish ruling rights over some portion of the kingdom.

Kanaka Dasa also belonged to Kuruba (Bukka) caste, the same as Vijayanagar Emperors. Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya of the same Kuruba caste were responsible for the survival of Hinduism in the whole of south India, when they established the great Vijaynagar empire to protect Hindus and Hinduism from the onslaught of Islam. The Vijaynagar Emperors were great patrons of Hindu culture and heritage and built many great temples in south India which stand to this day as a testimony of the contribution of Kuruba people to Hinduism.

Budu-Bukkala : People popularly known as ‘Ramjogis’, ‘Saayila Vallu’, ‘Buda Budakkala Vallu’ are common in remote villages of Srikakulam, East Godavari, Guntur, Prakasam and Nalgonda districts. These people carry a small drum called Bud-Budaka. The “Bud-Budaka” is the sound, which emanates from this drum. They move from village to village and awake the people with a special prayer to goddess “Amba” followed by an invocation to the village deities.

Significance Of An Instrument : The small drum is made of “sandra” wood covered on either side by deer or goat’s skin, and a thick twined thread with iron beads fixed at the middle of the drum. As the drum is moved from left to right by hand these threads with beads strikes the two ends and produce different sounds.

Costumes : They not only sing and beg for alms, they also foretell predictions that are considered beneficial to the villagers. They are seen in villages during the harvest festival of Sankranti. They are dressed in white dhoti, a white shirt with a black coat, a red coloured turban. While a prominent black mark adorns his forehead along with marks of sandal wood paste, large rings hang from his ears.

Castes like Veeramushti, Katipapala, Valkmiki, Dasari, Chattadi Srivaishnava, Krishna Balija, Mudiraj, Tenugu, Bhatraju, Pamula, Kalinga, Pitchiguntla, etc, whose members were mostly wanderers and, therefore, could not be identifiable by any occupation. Krishna Balija women still go out with headload bundles of clothes for earning day’s bread.


Goddess Valli is said to be the consort of Lord Muruga and the daughter od Vedda king Nambi Raj. Valli Malai is the birth place of Valli Amman and is located in Vellore district of Tamilnadu and very close to the borders of Andhra Pradesh. The devotees believe that the wedding of Valli and Murukan took place at Valli Malai near to Tiruttani (Vellore district), a version of the myth that is widespread amongst South Indians. The ancient Subramanyar temple at Vallimalai is associated with colorful legends and it has been revered by the Tiruppukazh hymns of Arunagiri Nathar. Vallimalai is located near Vellore, 16 km north of the Shivastalam Tiruvallam, on the Chennai Bangalore highway.

Veddas belong to one of the subcastes of Muthuraja in Tamilnadu. Veddas are well known as Vadderas in Andhra Pradesh. They are also known as Valmikis in some part of Andhra Pradesh and North India. These Veddas are known as Vetans, Vetars, Vettuvas, Vettuvans, Vettuvars, Vedans, Veddans, Vedars, Veddars in Tamilnadu and Kerala. The original abode of Vetans is Sri Kalahasti and Tirupati hills located in Andhra Pradesh. In Telugu VETA means HUNTING.

Veta = Hunting
Vetar = Vetan = Vedan = Vedar = Hunter
Vetan => Vettuvan => Vettuvar => Vettuva = Hunter

These are the same Vetars who are known as Bedars or Berads in Karnataka and Maharastra states of India. The Bedars are also spread into other North Indian states. These Bedars were the poligars or Palayakars in Karnataka and Tamilnadu prior to British rule in India. So these Bedars ( hunters) also came to be known as chieftains or chiefs or lords in these states.

Veta => Vetar => Vedar => Bedar = Hunter

Vettuvan. пїЅ The Tamil Vettuvans are described, in the Madras Census Report, 1 901, as “an agricultural and hunting caste, found mainly in Salem, Coimbatore, and Madura. The name means ‘ a hunter.’ They are probably of the same stock as the Vedans, though the exact connection is not clear, but they now consider themselves superior to that caste, and are even taking to calling themselves Vettuva Vcllalas. Tradition says that the Konga kings invited Vettuvans from the Chola and Pandya countries to assist them against the Keralas. Another story says that the caste helped the Chola king Aditya Varma to conquer the Kongu country during the latter part of the ninth century.

Valli and Devayanai are said to be the daughters of Maha Visnu. They wanted to have a husband who will never get angry. They performed penance and Lord Muruga appeared before them. Both of them wanted to get married to him. He said that Devayanai will be married as daughter of Indra and Valli to Veddas and then he will marry them.

After destroying Surapadma, Lord Muruga restored the Indra Loka to Indra. As a gift Indra gave his daughter Devayanai to Lord Murugan in wedlock. Valli was born on Valli Malai and brought up by Vedda king Nambi Raj. Valli and Lord Muruga played a lot of leelas for nearly twelve years and ultimately married. This hillock where Valli was born therefore gets the name Valli Malai.

Mythology has it that Lord Subrahmanya swamy came in various forms such as a hunter and a old man to test the perseverance of Valli, a girl from the hunter community who undertook a penance to attain oneness with Lord Thanigesan. Vinayaka, his big brother helped Skanda in his efforts to marry Valli, by donning the form of a mad elephant, which scared Valli who scurried for refuge to the old man, none other than Subramanyar himself.

Valli Malai is known to be the birth place of Valli Amma according to tradition and it is located in Vellore district near Andhra Pradesh border. The whole of Valli Malai appears designed to please the goddess of Valli Malai, Valli Amma or Pongi (literally ‘bubbling over’, i.e. with joy). Pongi is the spirit of a twelve-year old girl, just as Murugan always remains a kumara or youth. Valli Malai was the birthplace in prehistoric times of Lord Murugan’s sweetheart Valli and to this day her spirit remains here and in the hearts of her devotees.

In front of Valli Amman temple on top of the Valli Malai rock hillock are eight natural waterholes in the rock. One of these is referred to as Caravana Poikai; all are said to have been sunk during the Vanniyar rule. The entire hillock is said to have 32 natural waterholes, from which pilgrims traditionally draw tпїЅrtham water and pour it over themselves to obtain the blessings of goddess Valli who is believed to bath in the same pools, not only in ancient times but to this very day.

Veddas of Sri Lanka : The Vedda community plays a prominent role in all the activities of the temple. The devotees and those associated with the temple accept the Vedda community as the direct descendants of Valli, the sweetheart of Murukan. Thus one can see the continuity of the importance of the Vedda community in Kataragama. This is an indication of the continued acceptance of the Veddas as descendants of Valli, their customs are intricately mingled with all the activities taking place at Kataragama. The research carried out by Parker (1909) and Seligmann (1911) expressed the view that the customs and traditions of the Veddas at Kataragama are identical to those of the Tamils who inhabited Kurinci Nilam. The Sri Lankan vana vedar, the forest dwellers, consider the Gale Yaka, a spirit dwelling in high rocks, as one of their gods and worship him. The Veddas along the North Eastern coast patronize malai pey (spirits of the mountain) Malaiyan (spirit of the mountain), and Malai Cami (mountain god) among their objects of worship. At the same time the Veddas from the central part of the country are associated with Kataragama . The Veddas totally rejected the planned effort by the Government to absorb them into the national stream and they continue to cherish their ancient customs and culture, and maintain their deep-rooted attachment to Kataragama.

Veddar tribal community and Arayar fishing community of Tamilnadu are possibly one and the same. Eastern Sri Lanka is a region wherein various ethnic groups, including the tribal Veddas, have long been living together. Tamil speaking Hindus are the majority group in Batticaloa; their social formation is based on a rigid kuti (matrilineal clan) system. This region is popular for Kannakai (Pattini) mother goddess worship and also for Skanda-Murukan worship. Kannagi was proved to be an Arayan / Valayan in this website (see saints) and these fishing communities fall under the subcaste of Muthuraja in Tamilnadu.

The Veddas, the aborigines of Sri Lanka whose ethnic origin dates back to the very dawn of evolution are considered to descend from the yakkas or are related to the hunting tribe called Vettar (Veddar / Vaddar ) in South India or to the Savaras of India or the Mundari people. It is evident that a group called Veddas have lived in the jungle solitude in Sri Lanka throughout and remained in complete isolation for 2,500 years. These Veddas were also called Pulindas and Sabaras (shabaris ?). The Veddas appear to be basically pre-megalithic people, reaching beyond 1800 B.C. Today they are reduced to a few hundreds verging on extinction. Presently they are being evacuated from their traditional territories to agricultural land and very soon they would be an extinct ethnic group. Today, the identification of Veddas has become quite controversial for most of them have been absorbed into the main communities. They range from fully Sinhalized groups in the South to the fully Tamilized groups in the Eastern coastal belt of Sri Lanka.

In the Vedda hunting community, in almost all their religious rites the arrow (dart, lance, Vel) takes the central role. The arrow or kanai is the predecessor of the lance or Vel. The forms of arrow used by them are of two types, the ordinary hunting arrow and the long bladed, short handled ritual arrow or the Ayudha. These arrows vary greatly in the size of their steelhead, Vedda arrows are wider near the stem. Worship takes the form of dancing and singing resembling that of Kraunci verriattam. It is directed by a priest usually called Kapura it is possible that there is another older name, referring to them which may have been recorded. The dancer becomes often inspired into ecstatic frenzy. The spirit invoked in the arrow is probably identified with Kanta Yaka. An arrow is thrust on the ground and the Vedda dances around it in high frenzy with the ceremonial arrow in hand and hair let down. His offering are coconut, betel leaf, araconut and cooked rice. The arrow dance, the simplest of the Vedda dance is performed imploring good luck in hunting or when a spell of ill luck has attended.

Vedans or Vettuvas are either Bhills or a variant of Bhills : The arrow ( Bhill = Vhill = Villu = Arrow ) is said to exercise protective power. They leave tiny babes upon the sand for hours together with no other guard other than an arrow struck on the ground by the side. Their belief in the efficiency of this has received no shock, they never know such a child to be attacked by wild beasts. The Veddas also believe in the protective power of the пїЅyudha when stuck on the door of a vacant hut. They say that they are the children of their god’s symbol. They believe that they themselves are protected as his children, calling themselves the Iya Vamsa or sons of arrows. The Veddas are never seen without their constant companion, the bow and arrow (Parsons 1907). The tradition of Alakital6, seen among Murukan devotees to this day may have had its gneiss in this belief system of the Veddas.

Kavundar is caste title of Vettuavans
No clearly defined Sub-castes appear to exit among the vettuvans. The following exogamous clans are reported ;(1)ANTHI, (2)MULAI, (3)pattali,(4)Karadi, (5)Vanni,(6)Kattu, (7)Billai, (8)VARAGU, (9) santhappadai, (10) Pandi. Caste disputes are decided by panchayats presided over by an hereditary officer called Kottukkaram, and appeals lie to a Pattakkarm, of whom there are three; once at Irukkur near Kapila-malai(Namakkal Taluk); another, entitled Kalahasti Kavanndar, at pavitram (Karur Taluk); And a third at siva-malai(Dharapuram Taluk). The full title of a Pattakkar runs Immudi – pattam – kumara – allala – rama – pathira – Idumba – Ilavya – Nayakkar, the word Idumba being his personal name. Pattakkars only are known as Nayakkar, a title bestowed upon them it said, by Tirumala Nayaka of Madura, the ordinary caste title being kavundar.Vettuvans employ as purchits a sect of tamil speaking Smarta Brahmans known as sivaji, who are rather looked down upon by other Brahmans. These purchits officiate at the purifactory ceremonies after childbirth, and on the 3rd and 16th days after death, and among the more advanced classes during the performance of sarddhas.Their Guru, as already stated, resides at Nanjai-Edaiyar and bears the title Umpathi-Desikar or UmaMahesvara-Gurukkal; he claims desent from the guru who migrated with the the Vettuvans from Kalasti. At Nanjai-edaiyar is a matam, and a shrine where siva and his consort are still worshipped as kalahasti Isvarar and Gnanambikai.

Further study reveals, many indications which justify the assumption of the common origin of the Veddas of Sri Lanka and the wild tribes of South India. The names Kanta, VпїЅlan, Valli, were common among the Veddas while the names of other gods in Hindu Pantheon were unknown to them. Associated with deities were certain tribal emblems, of totemic significance, such as the cock and the peacock. The Veddas were almost omnivorous except for their abhorrence of eating beef and fowls. The taboo on eating of fowl, peacock and some of the other strong prejudices are the vestiges of their former habits.

The Veddas being, hunters survived by the use of the lance, dart and the bow and arrow. To them these were fundamental to their existence and to their command over the animal kingdom. So legends are woven around these and it is not surprising that the dart or the lance, which became to be represented by as the Vel, became a symbol or emblem of worship.

In some of the remoter areas of this region( Vellassa and BintпїЅnna of Sri Lanka ) informants will volunteer opinions to say that they were Vaddas before they became Sinhala; and they have a plethora of myths that relate to their origins in the Vijaya-Kuveni marriage and many others. The Vadda worship of dead ancestors, known as nпїЅ yakku (yakku having no negative connotation) is articulated with the Sinhala Buddhist belief in selected ancestral heroes who have been subsequently deified in what is sometimes known as the band_ra cult, generally constituting a conglomerate of twelve major gods known as dolaha deviyo. The Vaddas of Sri Lanka were connected to a plethora of myths that relate to their origins in the Vijaya-Kuveni marriage and many others.

Vijaya was the son of Sinhabahu, a parricidal king who killed his father, a lion, and then married his own sister, and lived in Sinhapura in northern India. Owing to his violent and unlawful behavior, Sinhabahu banished his son by putting him in a boat with seven hundred of his followers. Vijaya landed in Sri Lanka on the very day the Buddha passed into final nirvana.

This is one reason why the name Vijaya is given to the founder of the first Buddhist kingdom (in the Mahavamsa and the earlier Dipavamsa history), and not the name “Sinhala” by which he is known in virtually all non-Sri Lankan texts. The Buddha entrusted Sakra (Indra) to protect Vijaya, and Sakra delegated this task to Visnu, who blessed Vijaya when he landed by tying a Buddhist protective charm on his person. Visnu (Upulvan), like Saman before him, became one of the guardian deities of the land and a future Bodhisattva.

Vijaya married a demoness named Kuveni, who helped him to vanquish her own kinfolk, the yakkhas. whom he subsequently betrayed. Vijaya later abandoned her for a legitimate union with a princess from Madurai in the Tamil country. Kuveni herself was killed by her kinfolk; but her two children fled to the hills near the fastnesses of the god Saman and it is from them that the Vaddas were descended From this union sprang the Vaddas the “aboriginal” hunters of Sri Lanka (many of whom to this day claim Vijaya as their ancestor). There were no heirs from this marriage with princess of Madurai, and Vijaya’s brother’s son was brought from Sinhapura to take over the kingship. As for the Sinhalas they are a product of the union between the Vijaya and his followers and the women of the Tamil country which of course means, according to the Mah_Vamsa, that the Sinhalas are a product of a genetic intermixture between a possibly north or eastern Indian group of men who landed in Sri Lanka and Tamil women from Madurai, an interconnection that continued, with ups and downs, right through history.

Mr. Knox has a wonderful picture captioned as “A Vaddah or Wild Man” with his bow and arrow and dagger, smoking a huge pipe and wearing a thick loin cloth. He then goes on to describe the tame Vaddas who owe service obligations to the king, especially tusks, honey and wax and deer’s flesh which they bring to the gabadage or royal store-house. Hence, says Knox, they are also called Ramba-Vaddahs or hairy Vaddas who, as children of nature, “never shew themselves”.

The image of the Vadda as the wild man continued into colonial texts both Portuguese and Dutch, though the former did indicate that while Vaddas were no doubt hunters, if not gatherers, they were also fierce warriors. These colonial texts generally resulted in a narrowing of the Vaddas as primitive peoples. Early anthropology enshrined this view of the Vadda in 1881 in one of the first standard texts by Sir Edward Tylor: “In the forests of Ceylon are found the Veddas or ‘hunters’, shy wild men who build bough huts, and live on game and wild honey.

These physical anthropologists and early colonial historians were the first to define the Vaddas as “aborigines,” though their studies were totally demolished by one of the most discerning of colonial historians, Henry Parker, who wrote sympathetically about Vaddas. Parker says that the wild Vaddas he knew had hair “no more frizzly than that of ordinary Sinhalese. It is tied in a knot at the back of the head, exactly like that of all Sinhalese. Vaddas were never nude. Again it was Parker who showed that when Kandyan Sinhalas and Vanniyars stalked animals they used to disguise themselves by wearing such twigs or branches round their waists, as the Vaddas also probably did.

Vel: the Tamil word for a spear, a lance, a javelin or, arrow. The arrow may be taken as the proto-type of the Vel. It denotes a long handled sharp metal pointed weapon of hunting or war of ancient time. The Vel of Murukan are of two basic types. One is Vel, the leaf shaped lance and the other is Sakti a double or triple headed lance commonly associated with the Goddess. The Vel became inter changeable with the Sakti in the 15th century.

The Cult Of Murugan In Cilappatikaram : ‘Cilappatikaram’ is an encyclopaedia of Tamil arts, cults and traditions. No wonder it contains detailed descriptions of the cult of Murugan in the Second Century A. D. in Tamil Nadu. Elango, the poet, is the first Tamil poet to experiment with forms of poetry. His hymns to Murugan are the earliest devotional songs in Tamil and in India. He lovingly dwells on, in detail, the dance of the hillsmen in praise of Murugan, the Lord of the Hills, adhering to the poetic canons of the Sangam Age. The Sangam poetry refers to the ‘Kuravai’ dance of the hillsmen. But it is only in ‘Silappatikaram’ that we find a detailed description of the ‘Kuravai’ dance and its component songs. The ‘Kunrakuravai’, the 24th canto of ‘Cilappatikaram’ is thematically integrated and woven into the plot of the epic. The hillsmen worship Kannagi, the heroine of the epic, as their Valli, one of the consorts of Murugan.

The epic depicts the cult of Murugan as practiced in the Sangam Age combining both Tamil and Sanskrit legends. It refers to ‘Velan’, the Shaman and his ‘Veriyatal’ the dance of the possessed. It refers to ‘Verkottam’ the temple of the spear, that is, Murugan. It suggests that the temple of Murugan formerly housed the ‘Vel’, the spear, as the object of worship. Even today, in ‘Tiruparankunram’, the spear is the object of worship and the ritual ‘abhishekams’. The modern ritual of ‘archana’ is called ‘Poopali’, the offering of flowers by Elango.

The poet refers to the abodes of Murugan, Senthil (Tiruchendur) , Chengodu (Tiruchengodu) , Venkunram (modern ‘Dhavalagiri’, sanskritised form of Venkunram) , and Eragam (Swamimalai) . He also refers to the ‘Sudarilai Velavan Kunram’, that is ‘Surulimalai’ where Murugan dwells near the falls. It is near this area Kannagi stands under the kino tree before her ascension into heaven and it is here the Kannagi temple, the ‘Mangaladevi Temple’ stands even today though in a dilapidated condition.

Vadderas of Andhra Pradesh : The community is called as vadde, vaddera,vadde raju,Chitti Karanalu(Godavari Distrcits in A.P) and boyi(karnatka). Coming to this community back grounds , the people who used to do hard work like digging wells and canals , doing some other works related to constructions and cultivation are named as vaddera. They are also associated with stone mining, breaking and crushing for temple building in medival times.

Kurnool may have some thing to say about its connection to the Veddar / Vaddera / Vaddara community of A.P. The name Kurnool is said to have been derived from Kandenavolu Regarding Kandanavolu (a Telugu name by which it is referred to in the inscriptions and literature of the past), there is an interesting legend. According to the legend, in the time of the Western Chalukyas of Badami in the 11 Century A.D., the Vadderas who carted stones of the construction of the temples at Alampur (also known as Dakshina Kasi in Mahaboobnagar District) used the site on which the city now stands as a halting place before crossing the Tungabhadra and greased their cart-wheels with oil, locally supplied by some of the oil mongers and called the place Kandenametta. This circumstance led to the formation of a small settlement on the spot which subsequently came to be known as Kandenapalli, Kandenolu and Kandenavolu, the city of Kandena or grease. Kandena means grease in Telugu. It is also interesting to note that the site which was used as a halting place by the Vadderas in those days is still known as Bandla Metta (Bandla means carts; Metta means headquarters or halting place), a street in the Old Kurnool city.

Kandena = Greese
Vooru = Village
Kandena + Vooru = Kandenavooru
Kandenavooru => Kandenavoor => Kandenavoor => Kandenavool
Kadenavool => Karenavool => Karnool => Kurnool

Kurnool is also said to have been derived from Skandanavolu, the city of Skanda or Kumaraswamy. The worship of Skanda in Andhradesha is very ancient. The cities were also named after Skanda, the chief God of war of the devas. We know that Skanda is Murugan (Kumarswamy) and the God who married the daughter of Vedda king Nambi Raj.

Karnataka : A small community of people called the Vaddars has carried the tradition of breaking stones and boulders and shaping them into household utilities to the present day world. And even though the demand for their products has slumped over the years, the community members appear to have no heart to give up a profession that was passed on over several generations.

Such is the professional loyalty amongst these members that a child belonging to this community naturally develops a bond with the stone from the time it is able to walk. And instead of holding a chalk, slate, pen or books, these children learn to wield a hammer, a pickaxe and other such tools used to break the stones.

Today, the life a Vaddar resembles that of a falling leaf caught in the whirlwind, meaningless and futile. There may come a day in future when the very profession becomes obsolete at which time a certain lack of security is sure to confront these poor men.

In this scenario, when earning a square meal is hard for the Vaddars, the very question of education for their children becomes a wild dream. A living example of the Vaddars community, comprising 10 families in all, can be seen near Gokul Road in Hosur, Hubli.

The families have been living here since the last 42 years. There is nothing marked about their colonies. A wall made of broken bricks, a tiled roof and a gunny sack or plastic sheet to use as cover from the exterior and their makeshift palace is ready. Their stove is just a grouped set of three bricks. But come rainy season and their life becomes hell.

Hailing from Mudgal in Raichur, these are people who know of no other profession than of breaking stones. Everyday in the morning, the men, women, children and the elderly, irrespective of age, pick up the hammer and begin working on the stones. By the time the sunsets, they have a set of grinding stones, pounding stones and other such ‘appliances’ used in household chores, ready пїЅ in effect, all the possible varieties of stones are kept shaped and ready.

The next day, the women of the family hoist the stones onto their heads and travel from one place to another hawking their ware, not minding the rain or shine and the weight over their heads.


Moopanars belong to one of the subcastes of Muthuraja in Tamilnadu as per Chola-Mutharayar Research Center, Tanjore. Once upon a time, there was a queen by name Moopi. Her lineal descendents were known as Moopanars. There is a divya desam called Tiru Kavith Thalam under the trusteeship of the Moopanar clan. Long time back, they were poets, scholars and warriors. Hence this place was known as Kavi sthalam. Over a period of time, it got changed to Kapisthalam. They are richest Tanjore farmers now.

Moopanar-Mutharayar community : Five types of roles are played by community leaders during temple celebration.

  • (1) Accounts / Administration
  • (2) Procession – Diety lifting.
  • (3) Watchers – Guardians of temple and properties.
  • (4) Kodangi – Drumabeaters.
  • (5) Poojari – the purohit.

Each type has a number of families and a representative from them is allowed to perform the relevant role.

Preference is given to persons who are honest, knowledgeable and extraverted. These representatives are combined into a committee which is the supreme body executing all assigned work for the general welfare of the community.

In Tamilnadu the five castes – Surithiman, Malayaman, Nathaman, Moopanar and Nainar are together known as Parkava kulam (parkavakulam).

Nainar is a title given to Tamil Jains living Tamil Nadu. Nainar is also a sub caste of Parkavakulam community in Hindu caste system.

Nainar is also another name of Perumal, an idol worshipped by many people who belong to Hindu religion. The idol in Sankaran Koil is made with Siva in one half and Vishnu on the other. This idol is named “Sankara Nainar”. In fact “Sankaran Koil” got its name from this idol’s name.

The Nainar association with Jainism points to a silent fact that they might be the descendants of Jain Kalabhra kings. The Kalabhras were recognised as the ancestors of Muthurajas in Tamilnadu.

All Tamil jains are of Digambara sect. Nainar caste outnumbers others such as Iyer in Kancheepuram, Udayar in Senji, Mudaliar in Tanjavur and Chettiar in Kumbakonam area.

In Tamilnadu, some Tamil jains are known by the title – Nainars and the Tamil Shaivites by name Nayanars. Since the genesis of Jainism was centered in the war between Aryan Brahmins lead by Parasurama and Aryan Kshatriyas lead by Sahasrarjuna, the Jainism was a new religion founded by Aryan Kshatriyas with the support from Indian Dravidian Tribal Warriors to counter the influence of Aryan Brahmins. The Jainism had its roots in Dravidian Shaivism and Shiva was the first JINA. The Dhyaana posture of Mahaveer and that of all other Jain Teerdhankars in meditating Shiva posture is a moot pointer to this fact.

This was the main reason why the Indian Tribal kings who supported the Aryan Kshatriyas in their fight against Aryan Brahmins, accepted and propagated Jainism in India. Since Jainism was based on Shaivism and Shiva was the first Jina, the Jainism received wide support from Shaivites, who were mostly Dravidians. This gives rise to presumption that Saivite Nayanars might have switched over to Jainism in Tamilnadu and later these Tamil Jains came to be known as Nainars. It is quite probable that these Nainars may also be the descendants of Kalabhras who were Jains and came to occupy Tamil speaking lands.

There is also a title – Nainars in Kerala Muslims. These Muslim Nainars could be the Jain Nainars who switched over their religious faith from Jainism to Islam under Muslim ruling pressure. As such Islam has lot of common factors with that of Shaivism. The Crescent Moon and the Star of Islam has some thing to do with Shiva and they are also the symbols of Shaivism. Some Hindus even believe that the stone touched by the Muslims in Mecca is Makkeshwar Shiva Linga as per some references made in Hindu scriptures.

Chakravarti Nainar was a great scholar of Tamil Jainism; Especially his editition of Neelakesi & its old commentary; without it, we would have lost tremendous amount of knowledge about old religions practised in Tamilakam (= TN+Kerala+Tamil Eelam). Possibly, Valluvar has some Jain influence; but he is not 100% Jain, He is more than the ascetism.

Thirukural and religion : Thiruvalluvar’s work portrays a universal outlook and is non-sectarian. However, there has been a significant discussion about his religious affliation. Every major tradition existing in ancient Tamilnadu, Jainism, Saivism, Vaishnavism, and Buddhism have tried to advance arguments that Thiruvalluvar is one who belongs to their own religion. According to P.S. Sundaram, “there are some indications in the Kural of Valluvar having been a Jain, but Parimeelazahar, who seemed to have been a Vaishnavite, didn’t sem to have found anything herectical in the verses”. In any case, Tamil people consider Thiruvalluvar to be a holy saint; and his work is often called poy-mozhi (false-never пїЅ speech or language) and common holy book (pothu maRai ). One of the hallmarks of The Kural is that it was composed in a deftly non-sectarian fashion. Thiruvalluvar upheld universal human virtues which are also embraced and cherished by many religions.

Down south, so-called Bhakti movement uprooted Jainism. We have no trace of native Jains or ancient Jain monuments in Kerala. We all know the ground realities in Tamil Nadu once the leader in South for the glory of Jainism. Andhra, we have nothing in terms of ancient continuum. We lost the heritage of TirukkuRal as a Jaina book. Many were compulsorily converted to Saivism but for good have carried the lofty ideals of vegetarianism, non-violence, nayavada and compassion with them. Nayanar and NeeRu Poosi Nainar are sects of such history. Many of the Muslims in Tiruchi and Tanjavur region were vegetarians at least up to seventies till the gulf opened the employment channels.

Tamil Jains or Samanar are native to Tamil Nadu, India. They are a micro community of less than 50,000 in number. Tamil Jains belong to the Jain Digambara sect, who speak Tamil in their homes. They are also known as Samanar in Tamil (in Sanskrit: Shramana). They are mostly scattered in northern Tamil Nadu, mostly in the districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Vellore, Thiruvannamalai, Cuddalore and Thanjavur. Their mother tongue is Tamil. They are not to be confused with the other Jains belonging to the Swethambara sect who speak Hindi, Marwari, or Gujarati.

Samanars have a legacy that is more than 2,000 years old. Many of the rich Tamil literature works were written by Samanars, such as Seevagasinthamani. Three of the Five great Epics(Aim-perum-Kaapiyangal)in Tamil literature is attributed to Samanars. The famous classic Thirukural is generally believed to have been written by a Samanar( Valluvar ).

Samanars who adhere to the Digamabara form of Jainism. They believe in Ahimsai,Satyam and Asceticism. All Samanars are of the Digambara sect. Tamil Jains or Samanars use various titles such as :

Udayars in Senji,
Jains in Kancheepuram,
Mudaliars in Tanjavur and
Chettiars in the Kumbakonam

Another common title is Nainar. These are merely titles given to Samanars living in those regions and are not actual caste within Samanam. Samanam in Tamil denotes the Digamabara sect within the Jain religion and there is no caste/sub-caste/division under it. Due to the lack of a caste system, these titles were more of an effort by the larger Hindu community to give them one. The Samanars today have ended up calling themselves with these titles and also as Nainaars. Samanars are strict followers of Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and hence purely vegetarians.

They consider it a grave sin to hurt or kill a living being for any reason. Samanars in their early history have gone through “kazhuvetrum” (similar to a holocaust) by the onset of brahmanical order in Tamil Nadu. During the period of “samanar kazhuvetrum” (7th century AD), many Samanars had been killed and persecuted. Many had to go through forced conversion to Hinduism. The Samanar motto is “Vaazhu Vaazha Vidu”, translated as “Live and Let Live”.

Tamil jains familes are found in Madras, Chengelpet, South Arcot, North Arcot, Tanjavur districts of Tamil Nadu and also in urban areas such as Madras city, Kancheepuram, Vandavasi, Arni, Tindivanam, Vizhupuram. We can find Jain temples constructed in Dravidian style in these areas. In many of these temples daily worship takes place.

Nainars are mostly Vellalars :

The Vellalars, namely the agriculturists, who stood at the apex of the social structure of Jaffna, constituted the “key caste”. They were the nainars or feudal lords who had vassals called kudimai and slaves called adimai. Their chieftains bore the title mudali. The kudimai castes, consisting of artisan (e.g. gold smiths) and other professional (e.g. masons and barbers) castes could not be bought or sold but had to render their social and ritual duty at the behest of particular Vellala masters whose vassals they were. Those who belonged to these castes were called kudimakkal, namely “children of the house” implies thereby the close and intimate association with the Vellala family which was naturally dependent on them for their services. The adimai castes consisting of the Pallars who were agrarian labourers, Nalavars who were teddy tappers, Koviyars who were household servants to Vellalars (and Chandars – tree climbers) were labourers and domestic servants owned by the Vellalars. They lived apart from their masters usually in palmyrah groves where they could do gardening on their own for their maintenance.

There is evidence to show that the Vellalars played an important role in the administration of the Tamil Kings of Jaffna.


Moopar (Moopan) and Muthiriya Moopan (shanan) are known as subcastes of Muthuraja in Tamilnadu. This Moopan community is also present in Kerala, Lakshadweep. Moopar or Moopan means head of a village. Moopan literally means chieftain. While Mutharacha was the chief of a Mutha ( a cluster of villages) in erstwhile Mutha system of administration, the Moopan is a chief of a village in Kerala & Lakshadweep even today.

Each of the tribes ( Indigenous groups living in Anamalais) – Kaadars, Malasars, Malaimalasars, Pulaiyars, Muduvars and the Eravalars is headed by a moopan who is generally the oldest member in the settlement. In Kerala Ooru moopan means hamlet tribal leader.

Kerala : The tribes of different regions of Kerala, differ from each other in their language, religion, rituals. But they have many things in common. The social life of the tribes is very well-knit and the leadership of the Moopan is held with great respect by members of the community. Among the Mannan tribe the leader is known by the name Rajamannan. He solves all problems of the members of the community. They follow the matriarchal system of inheritance. But the women do not occupy the pivotal position in the family. Women are held as slaves. They believe that they have to work hard for the well-being of their men-folk. They do hard labour by engaging themselves in collection of fuel from forest, helping their men-folk in agricultural activities.

These tribes do not burn their dead. They bury them. The belief is that if the death rites are not observed with proper care, the dead will resurrect from the grave and give trouble to them. So they are particular about doing all prescribed rituals. When the body is placed in the pit, the relatives throw rice on the body, which is wrapped in cloth. After the pit is covered they put a structure over the grave and place a pot full of water and a knife. It is meant for the dead to quench the thirst and to hunt for food.

Among the Irular tribe of Palghat district, the whole community engage itself in a type of dance and music known as Kurumbalam. They perform this dance and music whenever their occurs a marriage or death. The music and dance will continue until the dead body is removed to the funeral place. The son or the rightful descendant of the dead who does the rites has to shave his head. The main participant in the rites are the son and the nephew of the dead man. The Moopan also joins them in the performance of rites. The body is placed in the pit for burial with the head facing south. After the funeral, the relatives prepare a feast. The dead person is supposed to participate in the feast. So he will be offered food as ritual.

On the death of a wife, the husband is made to lead a strict life of penance. He has to shave his head. He is not allowed by the Moopan to take bath, change the dress or even to smile for one complete year. If he breaks these rituals, the Moopan has the authority to punish him with the same austerities to be observed for yet another period. Among the Kurichyar communities, bow and arrow are treated as symbols connected with all important events in a person’s life. When a male child is born, an arrow is shot by relatives as a ritual, signifying the addition of a new member to the community. At the marriage function the bridegroom holds a bow and arrow.

Trippapur Moopan of Padmanabhapuram in Kerala : Some time in the 14th century, the Trippapur Moopan, head of the Trippapur Swaroopam family that ruled Padmanabhapuram, built a palace with a mud-fort at Kalkulam in the traditional Kerala Nalukettu style and called it Darpakulangara. In the 18th century, after renovating the palace and replacing the mud-fort with a four-km-long granite wall, Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the ruler of Travancore, renamed the fort, the palace and the surrounding areas Padmanabhapuram, in honour of the Lord Padmanabha, the patron deity of the royal family of Travancore. Padmanabhapuram continued as the seat of the royal family of Travancore, till the capital was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram in 1780.

Irulas Village Panchayet in Tamilnadu : Each Irula settlement has its own traditional panchayat or village council. Each panchayat consists of a head ma (moopan) and the elder of the settlement. Woman usally do not have membership in the village panchayat. All the disputes related to Irula settlement are brought to the notice of the Moopan who convenes the council meeting to discuss them. The panchayat proceedings are called by the Irulas as “Nyayam pesarathu” which means “speaking out justice”.

POLITICO-JURAL ORGANISATION OF THE IRULAS VILLAGE PANCHAYET: Each Irula settlement has its own traditional panchayat or village council. This panchayat or council consists of a headman (Moopan) and the elders of the settlement. Women usually do not have membership in the village panchayat. At the beck and call of the Oor Panchatat, particularly of the Moopan, are the functionaries called Kuruthalai and Vandari. They are the official messengers of the panchayat and convey its messages to the fellow Irulas within and outside the settlement depending on the necessity. It is customary in each Irula village that the offices of Moopan, Vandari and Kururthalai are held by members of different clans. It is also interesting to note that the two clans the members of which hold the office of Kuruthalai and Vandari should be in a marriable relationship with the Moopan’s clan. All the disputes related to the Irula settlement are brought to the notice of the Moopan who convenes the council meeting to discuss them. The panchayat proceedings are callecd by the Irulas as ” pesarathu” which means ” speaking out justice”

Occasions for panchayat meetings:

1. Before the celebration of all festivals.
2. At the time of death ceremony.
3. To solve intra and interfamilial disputes and to discuss about expiation when some wrong has been committed by any person.
Moopan (Headman): His post is hereditary. His title Moopan is always prefixed to his name whenever a reference is made to him . His wife is referred to as Moopathi. He and his family members are highly respected by the Irulas. The Moopan is expected to sit on a raised platform/chair/bench during the panchayat preceedings while others sit on the ground. During that occasion, he wears Urumalai ( turban ) and it is also said that no one other than Moopan should wear Urumalai on that occasion.

Role of Moopan in various occasions: Villagers should consult him on every important matter. Whenever there is a proposal for a marriage, it should be intimated to the headman. When the groom’s party from another village reaches the bride’s village with a marriage proposal, the party should visit the Moopan’s home and consult his first, before proceeding to the bride’s house. Moopan’s presence is essential at the time of a marriage. Whenever a death occurs, it is the Moopan who should decide the time/date of the disposal of the dead body.

If there are any disputes in the village, the Moopan enquires into them, and takes decisions in consultation with other elders. He should convene the meeting of the council before the celebration of all the festivals to discuss about details such as raising of funds and particular features of their performance. Also when a matter of infraction of community norms comes up before the Moopan, he convenes the village panchayat. The matters that usually come before the panchayat are related to divorce, property inheritance, illegitimate relations, inter personal and inter familial disputes etc. Most of their problems are solved within their panchayat. If there is any problem of wider implications, it is placed before some influential caste men of the surrounding villages with whome the Irulas have long connections. The local term for compromise is “Samadharanam “. For some of the crimes, the offenders are asked to arrange a feast for the villagers. Irulas offer gifts to the Moopan when he attends the life-cycle ceremonies. They refer this money as ‘ Moopan panam’

Succession to the Offices: All these three offices are hereditary and usually the eldest son inherits the office from his father, following the rule of primogeniture. If an incumbent dies without having any sons, then his brother or his brother’s son succeeds him. In the selection of the headman, other aspects like age, marital status, physique, ability, knowledge etc. are also taken into consideration. If the eldest son is found to be unfit for the post of headman, the council chooses the second son for the post.

Moopan in Lakshadweep: Minicoy is one of the ilands in of Lakshadweep. Furthest from Kavaratti island, 200 km away to the south and also nearest to the Maldives, Minicoy has a culture very different from any other island in Lakshadweep. It has a cluster of 10 villages, which are called Athiris each presided over by a Moopan.

Herbs helped Mudda Moopan to live till 120

Mudha Mooppan was the King of Kurumba tribals in Attappadi, Kerala (India), and was a well known tribal medical paractioner. In 1994, the International Committee on Urgent Anthropological and Ethnological Research under UNESCO published a bulletin on Mudha Mooppan. It described him as an encyclopaedia of medicinal plants. He had been the Mooppan (headman) of the Anavai Kurumba hamlet for more than 50 years.

Daily News from New Delhi on Monday, 25 November 2002 reports that an Indian man believed by villagers to be more than 120 years old says herbs are the secret of his longevity, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported.

Mudda Moopan, the king of a traditional tribe in the southern state of Kerala, doesn’t know how old he is. What he knows is that he has married 23 times and fathered too many children to remember.

But Moopan can recall the names of only 16 of his wives, the youngest of whom is in her early 30s. His youngest child is 11 years old, the newspaper said.

Moopan claims the secret of his longevity is a paste of 10 rare herbs that he takes three times a day. But he won’t reveal the ingredients of the paste.

“He can identify more than 1,000 rare medicinal plants. He is a living legend,” an agricultural scientist told the newspaper.

The newspaper said tribal folklore is full of Moopan’s heroic acts about how he once tamed a violent tusker and how he cured a king.

Locals consider Moopan one of the oldest men in the world and peg him at over 120.

Last year a group of university students collected a sample of his hair to figure out his age and concluded he had long crossed a century.

ANAVAI (Attappady), AUG. 26th, 2006 The legendary Mudha Mooppan, well-known tribal medical practitioner and head of the Kurumbas of the Attappady Hills in Palakkad district, who claims that he is 118 years old and has married 16 times, is hale and hearty. (However, anthropologists have put his age at 108.)

In 1994, the International Committee on Urgent Anthropological and Ethnological Research under UNESCO published a bulletin on Mudha Mooppan. It described him as an encyclopaedia of medicinal plants. He had been the Mooppan (headman) of the Anavai Kurumba hamlet for more than 50 years. He has the stamp of authority on everything he says and does. He has travelled throughout Attappady and the Nilgiri forests, mostly on foot. He learnt medicine from his father, the late Kakki Mooppan and Mallan.

He has marital relations with as many as 16 women belonging to the Kurumba, Muduga and Malayar tribes. He still maintains three of them and is living with the 16th wife, Soni (45), a Kurumba woman, at the Palappatta tribal hamlet in Attappady. His clan now has 108 members.

This popular tribal medicine practitioner is still very active and goes to many places in Kerala and outside for giving treatment. He claims that he has got single drug for some dreaded diseases like cancer.

Mudha Mooppan became the tribal head of Palappatta hamlet some years ago when his son took over the mantle from him as the headman of Anavai.

Though there is a dispute over his age there is no dispute about his 16 marriages. He says that six of them died and of the remaining ten he maintains three.

The Kurumbas of Attappady is one of the five primitive tribes recognised by the Central Government. Others are the Cholanayikkans of Nilambur, Kattu Nayikkans of Wayanad, Kadars of Parambikulam and Nelliampathy in Palakkad and the Koragas of Kasaragod. There are 75 primitive tribal groups in India.

The Kurumbas are shifting cultivators and collect minor forest produce. They live deep inside the forest. Polygamy is widely practised by them. But polyandry is a taboo. Matriarchal and patriarchal cross cousin marriages are prevalent among them.

The political organisation is presided over by Ooru Mooppan. Other functionaries are Mannukkaran, Kuruthalai and Bandari. Without the permission of these functionaries no marriage, death rites and other ceremonies are performed in the hamlet.

Mudha Mooppan claims that he first got marriage with Kurumbi of the Kurukkathikallu hamlet when he was 30 years old. She was 25 years then. The 16th wife is Soni, and Mudha Mooppan stays with her and he has no issue in this wedlock.

P.R.G. Mathur, anthropologist who has studied Mudha Mooppan for the last many years, says his age is estimated to be 108. He is a well-known tribal medicine man. He knows the language of animals and can identify plants.

This tribal headman, who eats roots and plants as part of his daily diet, is a legend among the tribals and his sound health even at 100 plus is a mystery.


Nayakkars are a subcaste of Muthuraja community in Tamilnadu. Most of the Nayakkars were the Telugu warrior people who migrated to Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala and Srilanka under different political circumstances. These Nayakkars were the same warrior Nayaks who were once the military and administrative heads in Telugu Kakatiya and Vijayanagar kingdoms.

Veera Pandya Katta Bommana

King PrataparudraпїЅs Kakatiya kingdom was ably served by seventy five chieftains called Nayaks. The Nayaks who belonged to various agrarian castes such as Kuruba/Golla, Velama, Kamma, Reddy, Telaga, Balija, Boya etc., were divided by mutual jealousy and rivalry. However, the Nayak chiefs valiantly fought during the hour of the need. Many Nayak chiefs were captured, converted to Islam and sent back as governors. These included Harihara and Bukka, the Kuruba Nayakas who later established Vijayanagar kingdom at Hampi. The Nayaks set aside their differences and rallied under the leadership of Prolaya to safeguard the Hindu Dharma. Some of the prominent Nayaks included Addanki Vemareddy, Koppula Prolayanayak, Recherla Singamanayak, Manchikonda Ganapatinayak, Vundi Vengabhupathi etc., They all had a singular objective of liberating Telugu country from alien invaders.

Naiker also Nayakar, Nayakkar, Naicker, Naikar is title used by many Andhra Pradesh, Tamil nadu and Karnataka people in India and abroad in the Tamil diaspora. Nair also seems to be the modification of Naikar.

Nayaka => Nayakar => Nayakkar => Naikar => Nair

In karanataka, specialy in Chidurga, Bellary, Raichur and Mysore, the dominated caste is NAYAKA. These people were rulers previously after VIJAYANAGAR SAMSTHANA.There are many MPs And MLAs from this caste.The great personalities from this cast are MADAKARI NAYAKA of Chitradurga Samsthana. He won the war against Hyderali, father of Tippu Sultan. Majority were Telugu speaking in Bellary, Raichur and Parts of Chitradurga region. By thier culture and worship, they look like the migrants from ANDRA region. Still many families had roots in ANDRA region. In karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the NAYAKA community people reigned for the decades and contributed much and enriched the status of the Indian culture. Nayakas have ruled the Karnataka and Andra for nearly 400 years. We can also see the coins, forts, books and other monuments.

The word Naicker is a Sanskrit and Tamil compound word and is specifically used by ethnically Telugu Speaking people in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnatka and abroad along with many other caste titles or surnames. It is also used to denote persons of Telugu or Kannada ancestry in Tamil Nadu whose ancestors are believed to have moved into Tamil lands with the expansion of Vijayanagar and Maratha empires along with general Muslim inroads into their ancestral lands. They were also referred to as Vadugar or northerners. The usage of common titles across caste lines confuses the ethnic landscape further and allows many different caste and ethnic identities to exist at the same time.

Naicker title is used by various castes of telugu speaking origins.The most prominent clan is Kambala (Kambalatu Naicker) in southern districts.Also Kamma,who use the Naidu title in Coimbatore district use Naicker title elsewhere in Tamil Nadu. It is also used as a caste title by Kuruba, Tigala and Vanniars as well as many other tribalsin Karnataka. Amongst the Tamil citizens of South Africa a variant spelling Naicker is used. It is also used in Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Reunion as common surname amongst Tamil citizens of these countries. In Trinidad and Tobago, Fiji and Guyana variant spellings of this title is part of the general Indian diaspora’s surnames. It is also used as a title amongst Indian origin Hill Country Tamils of Sri Lanka.

Kambalathu Nayakkars : Kambalathu Nayakkars were once the natives of Bellary in Andhra Predesh, which later became a part of Karnataka. It was ruled by the Muslim kings then. It is said that the Kambalathu Nayakkar’s women were forced to marry the men from the Muslim kings’ family. Two women were married against their wishes and when they came to ask for a third one, the Nayakkars had no option but to accede to their demand. Later Nayakkars ran away from the place. River Cauvery was overflowing its banks. The Nayakkars prayed to Chakka Devi to help them in their crisis as the Muslim army was behind them. They prayed to Chakka Devi that the trees on the other side of the bank should bend towards them and vice versa. By Chakka Devi’s grace, it so happened and the Nayakkars crossed the river. The trees returned to their original position and the Muslim army, which had arrived by then, were unable to cross the flooded river.

The Nayakkars who migrated to Tamil Nadu destroyed a part of the forest, built homes, created farm lands and started their new lease of life. Since it was the time when the kings were Nayakkars, they led a luxurious life as zamins and polygars (Palayathukarar). In the beginning their occupation was mainly hunting, predicting one’s future with implied meanings, Kodaangi Adithal, and agriculture. Kambalathu Nayakkars are divided into nine sects. Some say it is 18, but the three most important sects are: 1. Sillavaar, 2. Kollavaar , 3. Thokkalavaar. An interesting fact is that Telugu people living in Maharastra near Andhra borders add “Var” or “War” to their surnames.

Kambalathu Naickers pride themselves as the ‘most forward looking’ for they follow a strict lifestyle depending solely on agriculture and cattle rearing. They are migrants from Andhra Pradesh and the community guard fiercely against government interference or any outsider stepping into their area to dictate terms to them.

Early girl marriages and incest are common among Kambalathu Naickers and they have their own panchayat led by village headman to arbitrate on marital discords and personal laws. Strangely, they travel in groups if they venture outside their village, but never partake food from others or seek help while visiting places and hence pack their food and requirements well in advance. Children are taken out of school before they reach V Class and are given thorough training in agriculture for an independent livelihood. But girls, as per custom, are married off within the caste to those looking for female hands in taking care of household chores to run the large joint family.

In this the Sillavaar sect is also called Rajakambalam sect and it is said Pattakarar sect originated from this sect. Pooja is performed for Chakka Devi during the month of Chithirai (3rd Monday). The next day, they offer a ram as sacrifice to the goddess and then the rituals are performed. They worship the trees ‘punga maram’ and ‘moongil’, and ‘koraipul’ which helped them to escape from the Muslim army. Chakka Devi is said to be a Shakti avatar and it is believed that she has given immense power to the women of Kambalathu Nayakkar tribe. The occupations that were once their livelihood are still followed by some. The Kambalathu Nayakkars live now in Nellai, Thoothukudi, Madurai and Salem districts.

Kattu Nayakars : It is already recoreded in this website that Veerapandya Kattabommana who belonged to palayakarar subcaste of Muthuraja community in Tamilnadu had Telugu origins. The surnames list published in this website too indicate the fact that there are Mudiraj people with Katta and Bommana as their surnames. It is also a known fact that Sri Devi Jakkammal is hereditary goddess of Kattabomman and a temple of Goddess is located near the fort where Veerapandiya Katta Bommana was brutally hanged by British Kattabomman as he wanted to drive away the British from the country during the 17th century A.D. The name of his wife was also Jakkamma. Kattabomman revolted against the British rule. He was one of the first martyrs of India’s freedom struggle who was hanged by the British in the 18th century. Bannerman ordered that Kattabomman to be hanged. And on October 16, 1799, Kattabomman was led to a roadside Tamarind tree in Kayatharu where he was hanged.

Panchalankurichi is a tiny village located 3-km from Ottapidaram and 18-km from Tuticorin. This village is of great historical importance as the great warrior Katta Bomman known as “Veerapandiya Kattabomman” raised his voice against the British regime in the 17th century AD here. The Government of Tamil Nadu in 1974 constructed the Kattabomman Memorial Fort. The Archaeological Survey of India protects the remnants of the old fort. The hereditary Goddess of Kattabomman was Sri Devi Jakkammal. A temple dedicated to Sri Devi Jakkammal is located near the fort.

Goddess Jakkamma of Kattu Nayakars and Goddess Chakka Devi of Kambalathu Nayakkars was one and the same. Both the Nayakars belonged to the same Telugu Mudiraj Warrior blood from Bellary districts and most probably belonged to the same vanara race of Kishkinda kingdom which was once located in the region of present Bellary districts of Karnataka.

Chakka Devi => Jakka Devi => Jakkamma

The name of Katta Bommana seems to be directly related to the name of his trib KATTU and his tribes diet Jakkamma who is also known as Bommakka. KATTA may be a modified word for KATTU and similarly BOMMANA could be a modified word for BOMMAKKA. The people of this tribe give the name of their Goddess to their children. Jakkamma, Jakkadevi, Bommana, Bommakka, Bommadevi, kalimma, Kaliamma, Kaliappan, etc are some of such names.

Kattu => Katta
Bommakka => Bomma + Akka = Sister Bomma

If this name of Goddess Bommakka is given to a male person, it can get modified to Bommanna and it means brother Bomma. Here in Telugu Akka means sister and Anna means Brother.

Akka = Sister
Anna = Brother
Bomma + Anna => Bommanna => Bommana = Bomman
Bommanna = Brother Bomma

The Kattu-Nayakars of Tamil Nadu belong to an obscure sect known for their mystic power. The Kattu-Nayakar is literally the ‘Lord of Forest’ and has no fixed residence. They spend half of the year in the forest and during the rest travel among the people. They apparently have no livelihood and are sustained by their ability to foretell the future and provide effective spells against misfortunes in human life. They are also reputed to cast spells to avenge evildoers. Their nomadic life, divided between forests and people, is similar to the Parivrajaka sect mentioned in Brahmanical literature. The Kattu-Nayakars are widespread in Tamil Nadu. While the Nilgiri hills are believed to be their natural habitat, there are groups of settlements in Coimbatore, Kadallur near Dindukal, Nilakotai, Santhaipettai, Pudupatti, Pudukotal in Truchi about 130km from Madurai, Sathiamurthy Nagar in Samayanallu in Madurai and Thanjavur, District.

The Kattu-Nayakars practice necromancy and the rituals are shrouded in mystery. The rituals take place in the cremation grounds during the moonless night of Amavasai. Nothing is more disturbing, more disquieting, sometimes more alarming than a Kattu-Nayakar shrouded in a black blanket in the dead of night; thus he has inherited additional names that are descriptive : Jamakottangi and Kamabalathu-Nayakar.

Kattu-Naykars worship Goddess Jakkamma and Mallaiyar, the Lord of the mountains. The temple to Mallaiyar is in Padiyur, on the road to Dindukkal and Karur. The main temple of Jakamma is on the west side of the village Kadallur. Believed to be the source of all power, her image is kept under a banyan tree surrounded by thorns of illanthai (zizyphus sp.). The ritual of providing an umbrella to the goddess is celebrated with great festivity. Jakkamma is also known as Kalimma and Bommakka.

A nineteenth century Company Painting identifies the Kattu-Nayakar as a Tadwan or Malabar fortuneteller, giving a clue to the route taken. It is pertinent to observe that Tadwan is a corrupt form of ‘Tandavan’ in Tamil, a name descriptive of the cosmic power of Shiva’s dance. There are several sub-castes in the Kattu-Nayakar community. One of the sub-sect performs a ritualised dance form known as thevarattam, the dance of the God. It is awesome to watch the whole community go through steps interwoven into the complex rythm of a large drum. On such occasions a dancer with divine connection makes divinition in a trance, in which the body channelises the drum beat to make known the unknown. He also makes predictions based on cause-effect phenomena that takes into account omens, obtained at a particular time and certain gestures. Prediction from the cawing of crows, flight of birds, formation of clouds is also known. Forecasting or making of rain is one of his functions. Thus it is seen that Kattu-Nayakar is well versed in all aspects of astrology. The Kattu-Nayakar is known to worship Lord Muruga of the Pallani Hills annually with great devotion.

Kuravas and Nayakkars are one and the same : They are nomads. Nomadic tribes. Known as ‘kuravas’. The very language is full of abusive proverbs, idioms and phrases on them. ‘kora muzhi’ and ‘kora paya’ are popular abuses for the looks of a petty thief and any petty offender in general. They are branded as thieves and carry the curse of ages.

Kuravas are Kurubas and Kurubas are non other than the descendants of mysterious warrior Kalabhras who invaded Tamil lands. They worship Goddess Shakti in the name of Jakkamma. The kurubas are also known as bunts in Karnataka and bants Western Andhra Pradesh. These Kurubas are also known Yadavas in Coastal Andhra Pradesh. There are some sections of bants / bunts in Mudiraj community.

Kuravas have the know-how and they practice herbal cure for many kinds of ailments. When the educated and so-called cultured world runs to chemical relief for anything and everything, starting from Anacin, Crocin, Metacin, Brufen et al, they have simple, natural herbal remedies. The art is handed down from father to son and is a tradition among them.

This is the tribe that is still preserving the secrets of the Siddha medicine, once very widely prevalent in Tamil Nadu. They have all the secrets of the system and know how to cure even serious ailments with simple herbs. Nobody cares to look in their direction at all. And a very precious science is breathing its last, uncared for, unsolicited and unused.

They have been moving from place to place and forest to forest for generations and we know every single plant, single leaf, root and branch and know which would cure what disease.

A branch of this tribe – relatives of the group that is presently camping in Perungudi – is practising herbal cure in Papanasasam, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Salem, Dharmapuri, Bargur etc. At least two of them stay in one place for the convenience of their patients. The medicine and cure doesn’t cost much. That the remedy is effective is seen from the fact that many throng to them in these areas.

The tribe goes from place to place in search of herbs and roots in Senji, Thiruvannamalai, Sengam, Sekadikaadi, Vettalam, Anai malai, Javadhu malai, Penn Malayalam, Yelagiri, Nilgiris, Jamuna puthur, Thumbakkaadu malai, Mottabapa malai, Sadai Sivakkum malai, Mettupalayam malai, Pallavaram etc. Far and wide, and spread all over Tamil Nadu.

Telugu Vaduga Nayakkars of Srilanka : After King Vimala Dharmasuiriya I (1591-1604), Senarath (1604-1635), Rajasimha II (1635-1687) and Vimala Dharmasuriya II (1687-1707), we come to Narendrasimha (1707-1739) popularly known as Kundasale Deviyo and fondly remembered as Sellan Nirindhu, the playful King. Keeping with immediate past practice he too married from South India and died without a royal heir. He had left a son Unambuva Bandara by a Kandyan concubine but jealousy and disunity among the ruling families prevented him from succeeding the throne. Narendrasimha anticipating such an eventuality, before his death nominated his brother-in-law a South Indian Vaduga of Nayakkar extraction to succeed him at the instance of his Mahesi Rammaloka the Adigar and Saranankara who had been his teacher and saw an ideal opportunity to promote Buddhism through him, even though it was something unprecedented in Simhale. Thus ended the long line of Sinhala Kings; and the later Kandyan story really begins with the advent of this Telugu Vaduga Nayakkar. Their dominance saw a regular influx of their relations into the court as aspirants to trusted office, inter marrying with the leading Kandyan (Radala) families and being absorbed by them and accepted by the people. “

According to the nomenclature of kings who ruled Sri Lanka from King Vijaya (BC 543), the last Sinhala King was Viraparakrama Narendrasingha. He died in 1739, having ruled the country for 33 years. His mother and wives were all Nayakkars from Malabar in South India, and there were in consequence, king’s Nayakkar relatives living in Kandy at a place then known as Kumarupe and later known as Malabar Street.

The last four kings in the Mahavamsa from 1739 to 1815 were Nayakkar princes who were referred to as Vaduka Tamils in Sinhala records. They claimed descent from Telugus (Telugu is another Dravidian language) but spoke Tamil language when they were ruling southern Tamilnadu from Mathurai. Some Sinhala chiefs wanted to dislodge the Nayakkar and become kings themselves but they could neither agree among themselves nor get sufficient popular support. The British who established their domination over the maritime provinces of the island by 1798 exploited the ambition of the Sinhala chiefs to make them traitors to their king. Wikrema Rajasinghe alias Kannusamy, the last Lankan/Tamil king, was made a prisoner and exiled to India.

One can see paintings in the Mural in the Auditorium in Srilanka : The Mural adorning the walls of the auditorium depicts the saga of a country whose sovereignty and independence were lost and subsequently regained. It tells the story of a few Kandyan Chiefs who conspired with the British to dethrone their King who was a Nayakkar of Indian origin and thereby retain power among themselves. By the time they realised their folly it was too late, for they had signed the Kandyan Convention and ceded the Kingdom over to the British. The aftermath of the cession was an angry resurgence and revolt by some national minded courageous men who ultimately paid with their lives.

Nayakkars of North Indian origin in Srilanka : Vijaya tops the list of Nayakkars, who started the Sinhala royal lineage having North Indian connection. He was a North Indian prince who was exiled to Lanka.

The Mahavamsa links the story of the landing of Vijaya, the “origin myth”, to a series of religious myths regarding the place of Buddhism in Lanka, as ordained by Buddha. According to the chronicle, Vijaya landed on the day Buddha passed into nibbana (death and enlightenment). Both these events are recorded as having occurred in 543 BC. The chronicle states: “The prince named Vijaya, the valiant, landed in Lanka, in the region called Tambapanni on the day the Tathagatha (another name for Buddha) lay down between two twin like sala trees to pass into nibbana.”

According to the Mahavamsa, he wanted to marry into a royal family and sent pearls and gems to the Pandya king to ask for a princess for himself and women for his followers. The Pandya king obliged. According to the Mahavamsa, Vijaya and his Pandya queen had no issue. Their successor was Vijaya’s queen’s nephew, who was a Pandya. According to the Mahavamsa, there were only two Pandu kings. But it appears highly improbable. There must have been many Pandu kings but facts were probably not available when the Mahavamsa was composed. Pandu-k-Abhaya is said to have become king when he was thirty seven years old and ruled for seventy years. According to the Mahavamsa, Devanampiya Tissa’s father was king Mutasiva. Mutasiva is said to have ruled for sixty years.

Furthermore, in 1739, since Sri Narendrasinghe, the Sinhalese king of the Kandyan kingdom, had no suitable progeny to succeed him, the brother of his Tamil queen, from the Nayakkar royal dynasty in Madurai, ascended the throne and took on the Sinhalese name Sri Vijaya Rajasinghe. This line of Tamil kings continued until the Kandyan kingdom was ceded to the British in 1815. The kings of the Nayakkar dynasty took on Sinhalese names and professed Buddhism to please their subjects. So did their families, courtiers and retinue, who came over in substantial numbers.

1687 -Dutch helps the king with ships : As a tactic to keep Kandy happy , Dutch help to transport the new Bride for the king from Madurai ( A teligu speaking Nayakkar people who moved to Coramandel coast when the Muslims invaded ) , and also to bring Buddhst monks from Burma to revive Buddhism.

Portuguese had a commercial contact with Nagappattinam during the Tanjore Nayak rule (Sevvappa Nayakkar and Acchuthappa Nayakkar). Portuguese commercial centre was established in 1554. With the advent of Portuguese, Velankanni Church came in to existence.

In 1658 the Dutch tried to evict the Portuguese from Nagappttinam to establish their commercial centre under the agreement reached between King Vijaya Nayakkar of Thanjavur and the Dutch on 5.1.1662. The Dutch built Christian Churches and a Hospital. They also released coins with the name ‘Nagappattinam’ engraved in Tamil letters.

Later Nagappattinam fell into the hands of the British in 1781 after the prolonged struggles. Thus, Nagappattinam has the history of over 2,000 years for its credit.

Nayak / Nayakudu / Nayudu :

Nayaks were all mostly Telugu Mudiraj Bants and their variants : Nayaks who worked for Kakatiya and Vijayanagar kingdom were all mostly Telugu Mudiraj Bants and their variants such as Kapu, Kamma, Velama, Balija, Yadava, etc. Kakatiyas were believed to be people of fishermen community and koli-Mudiraj warriors were mostly from fishing background. The Kakatiyas were politically associated with Chalukyas and Kalchuris of Maharastra and this is a strong proof that they were socially affliated to the same warrior class people of Kalchuris.

Kammas were the people who basically specialised in transportation during peace & war times as they reared large herds of bulls & cows. They became farmers as they had large herds of bulls in their control to till the land and slowly they became land lords. The Kapus were the people who were specialised to look for village security (village guards). Since they were stationed in the village most of the times, they took up agriculture as one of the day time professions and became farmers similar to Kammas. The kuruba Nayaks who got specialised in sheep rearing identified themselves as Yadavas in Andhra and elsewhere in India.

The association of Kapus, Kammas, Velamas in the royal / warrior block of Mudiraj ( Related to Kalyani Kalchuris ) can be traced in Palnadu and their participation in Palnati yuddam (war). Palnati Mudiraj were the descendants of Kalyani Kalchuris of Maharastra / Karnataka. There is a reference to one Kommaraju of Kalyana kingdom in Ankamma Kolupu (puja) narrated by ballads. The Goddess Ankamma worshipped by Mudiraj in Palnadu is known as Marasapu Ankamma. Marasa means Maharasa. There are several surnames and gotams (gotra) such as Setty, Talari, Palavelli, Recharla, Dronadula, etc wgich are common among Mudiraj, Balija, Kapu, Velama & Kamma communities. This may possibly be an indicater to their common racial ancestry rooted in their warrior professions. We come across warriors mostly from those communities / races who who go on to new countries for invading and establishing their rule.

Raasa = Rasa = Raja = Racha = Raya
Maha = Muthu = Mudi
Maarasa => Marasa => Maharasa => Mudirasa
Mudirasa => Mudiraja => Muthurasa => Muthuraja

The people of present day Mudiraj are those who are the descendants of Kalachuri clans and mostly accepted the soldier jobs and did not stay in any one location due to the nature of their jobs. These warrior soldiers who normally used to become chieftains / kings had to look after the administration. They had to maintain specialised army groups ready to be moved to any location and participate in the wars at the instructions of supreme command (Emperor). The nature of their job made them not to take up any side profession as they were not permanent in any one location. Such warrior / soldier people of Mudiraj were forced to shift their age old ancient fishing profession as fishing areas were not under the control of any body and open for all. The people of Mutharasu / Mudiraj associated with Vijayanagar, who assumed Nayak titiles gradually fragmented into different communities based on “base professions” adapted by them. Today we have various groups of Naidoos such as Balija Naidu, Kapu Naidu, Kamma Naidu & Muthuraja Naidu in Andhra and Tamilnadu.

Nayak => Nayakudu => Nai(ku)du = Naidu

They were the fuedatory kings who used to pay lump sum amounts to the ruler of the kingdom and work as subordiantes to the ruler. By 1564 the Vijayanagar empire came to an end at the hands of Deccan sultans in the battle of Talikota. The empire was split into many parts and was given to the Nayaks to rule. After the collapse of the Vijayanagar kingdom, some of these Nayakas declared themselves as independent rulers of their provinces. Tamil Country under the Telugu Nayaks was peaceful and prosperous. The Nayaks of Madurai and Thanjavur were most prominent of them all. They reconstructed some of the oldest temples in the country. Some of the Nayaks also issued cons in Tamil-Nagari or Telugu.

Thanjavur Nayaks : After the Chola dynasty founded by Vijayalaya in A.D.850 came to an end with the death of Rajendra III in 1279. The state of Thanjavur was ruled by a succession of petty chieftains who claimed descendants from the Cholas till, towards the end of the 14 th century, the land was annexed by the Vijayanagara kingdom. Viceroys were appointed to manage and administer the state, as in other Vijayanagara states. In 1535 A.D., Achyuta Raya of Vijayanagara appointed Sevappa Nayak, in turn, established the Nayak dynasty at Thanjavur. The reign of the first three Nayak kings of Thanjavur пїЅ Sevappa, Achutappa and later Raghunatha was marked by the ministership of Govinda Diksita, famed as an able administrator and erudite scholar. The greatest of the Nayak rulers was, undoubtedly, Raghunatha, son of Achuta, who was crowned in the year 1600.A.D.

Teulgu Literature was promoted by Telugu Nayak Rulers of Tanjavur : The literary traditions established by Sevappa, under the tutelage of Govinda Dikshita, came to fruition under the rule of Raghunatha. Raghunatha was a gifted scholar in both Sanskrit and Telugu, and a talented musician. He also who authored several books. The Telugu and Sanskrit literatures received a great fillip. But, more important, the foundations of what was to become the culture of our times were laid during the reign of Raghunatha Nayak. In other words, Telugu culture was imported and adapted to Tamil traditions. Although they were Telugu speaking rulers in Tamil speaking lands, they patronised literature, religion and the arts, particularly Sanskrit and Telugu literature. Vijaya Raghava Nayak, the son of illustrious Raghunatha Nayak succeeded his father and ruled Thanjavur from 1631 to 1675 A.D. He was the last of the Nayak Kings of Thanjavur and thereafter the kingdom came to be possessed by the Marathas of Thanjavur. Raghava Nayak too had a number of good poets in his court, and the most interesting feature of his court which distinguishes it from others, was that it was filled with a large number of highly accomplished women poetesses learned both in Sanskrit and Telugu, and were also adept in Bharata Natya Sastra. Vijayaraghava Nayaka had to his credit more than 30 works in Telugu. Some of the works are available only in Sarasvati Mahal Library of Tanjavur. His drama Vipnarayana charitra and its Tamil translation are the publications of this Library.

Madurai Nayaks : Madurai was ruled by the Nayaks for more than 200 years, and their period is regarded as the Golden age in the history of Madurai. During their reign, Madurai was at its height in art, architecture and learning. The Nayaks embellished the city with many magnificent temples and majestic buildings. The older part of the town built by Nayaks is contained within the square enclosure and narrow winding lanes are laid out in the pattern of a lotus. Madurai is a major tourist destination, which remains packed with tourists and pilgrims throughout the year.

It is well known that towards the end of Krishnadevaraya’s rule the Nayak principalities of Tanjore, Madurai and Gingee were established. Towards the end of his reign Krishnadevaraya, sent his able general nagama Nayaka to Madurai, to remove the Chola who has captured the Country and restore it to the Pandya. Nagama took no time to dirve out the Chola, but did not restore the country to the Pandya. This enraged the emperor Krishnadevaraya, who sent Nagaman’s son Visvanatha to fight against his own father and the young general won the battle. Krishnadevaraya appointed Visvanatha himself to govern the Madurai Country. That marked the beginning of Madurai Nayak dynasty.

Though Visvanatha ruled as a Governor under Vijayanagar dynasty, he styled himself as a Pandya. In his coins he reflected this by showing on the reverse the two fish and a sceptre and the Tamil legend ‘Visvanathan’ in-anti-Clockwise direction. The issue of the coins with Tamil legend and the Pandya crest by the Telugu speaking Visvanatha shows that he respected the sentiment of the people of the region and also ensured a smooth currency system. The Coins of later times issued during the Nayak rule, bearing the names of Visvanatha and his successors, sometimes also having the name of the presiding deity of the Madurai temple or the name of the town itself in Tamil and Telugu occur in large numbers. During the Nayak period the chola paintings were over painted by the Nayaks. These have certain labels in Telugu characters mentioned the names of Sevappa and Achyutappa and others.

Chennai (Madras) was built by Telugu speaking Nayaks who were Mudiraj fisher men : The first British Warehouse came up in Madras in 1639 when the British acquired the sandy beach from the local Telugu speaking Nayaks ( who were Telugu Mudiraj fishermen ) on lease. It was called Madraspatinam then. It was a well known fact that the city was named after Mutharasu Chennappa. While a part of the city was known as Madras Pattanam, the other part was named as Chenna Pattanam.

Mutharasu => Mudarasu => Madarasu => Madrasu => Madras
Chennappa => Chennayya => Chennaiah = Chennai

Coins issued by Telugu Nayaks of Madurai : The printinng of TWO FISH on coins issued by these Madurai Nayaks point their probable koli-Mudiraj connection. Among the rulers, three deserve special mention, Visvanatha’s son Krishnappa and his son Virappa were great builders. They were aided by the able administrator Ariyanatha Mudaliyar. It is a known fact that Mudaliyars are a variant of Muthariyars (Muthuraja) of Tamilnadu. Virappa built a number of structures including the 1000 pillared hall at Madurai. The most outstanding ruler of the Madurai Nayak dynasty was Thirumalai Nayak, son of Muthukrishnappa. He succeeded his brother Muttu Virappa in 1623 and ruled upto 1656 A.D. Another variety of coins show the standing figure on the obverse and the standing bull on the reverse. Before the bull a Sankha is shown. Above the bull is the letter ‘Cho’ in Telugu-Kannada character. It is likely that this coin was issued by Chokkanatha Nayak Another variety shows the standing figure on the obverse and the standing bull on the reverse. Before the bull a Sankha is shown. Above the bull is the letter ‘Cho’ in Telugu-Kannada character. It is likely that this coin was issued by Chokkanatha Nayak. Yet in another type of the coin series, it showed the standing figure on the obverse and the Bull standing on the reverse. In front of the bull is shown a conch, and a letter ‘vi’ in Telugu Canarese script, above the bull is a crescent. This coin is probably an issue of ‘Virappa’ Nayak. Crescent moon possibly represents their lunar lineage. The Mudiraj community is a fedaral community having all kinds of lineages and it basically represent a warrior ruling class people. There are varieties of these coins showing on ne side two fishes or standing man and on the other the Bull either standing or seated. All these were issues off Madurai Nayaks. They are found in large numbers around Madurai region. One more coin about which there could be no doubt, is that of the issue of Queen Mangammal. It shows on the obverse a seated bull on a pedestal. On the reverse is seen four square; within each there is the Telugu letter ‘Mangamma’ obviously an issue of the queen.


Kokolu Anka Rao


Poosaris are non-brahmin Hindu pujaris in Tamilnadu. He is a priest who does pooja at village temples. The `grama poosarigal’ were among the privileged people and included great scholars, saints and math heads. They were entrusted with the task of spreading the principles of Hinduism. The temple priests were endowed with a unique opportunity of propagating the Vedas. Training camps are often objectively conducted to enable the `poosaris’ to know their duties. The Grama Kovil Poosarigal Peravai (village temple priests forum) in Thirumalaikkodi near Vellore is one such organization which had been organising the training camps annually to ensure that the `poosaris’ performed the daily poojas in accordance with the procedures, even in small temples.

Poosaris are known to be one of the subcastes of Muthuraja community in Tamilnadu. There are also Telugu Mudiraj priests at Sri Tirupatamma Devasthanam which is situated in a village of Mandal of Penuganchiprolu of Krishna District. Mudiraj Papamamba was the principal devotee of Thirupathamma. These poosaris or poojaris are mostly associated with temples housing mother Goddess in different forms.

Mother goddess is worshiped in the form of Kali or Durga At times she is considered the guardian goddess of the house. It is interesting to note that some temples dedicated to Kali are officiated by Brahmins whereas others are officiated by pusaris or non-Brahmin village priests according to the old Tamil custom. During puja, some devotes get into a trance. Kavadi or dance procession on a hook after piercing one’s body with needless, and karakam, namely the carrying of a copper pot filled with water and covered with margosa leaves in a state of frenzy, are also devotional practices associated with the worship of Kali.

The rituals at Sri Maha Narasinghe Vairavar Swami aalayam on Boundary Road, Batticaloa, are to propitiate Vairavar, another deity believed to have immense powers. A typical scene is by the Kali shrine on the side of the main structure of the Vairavar temple. A child has been brought with an incurable disease that is believed to be so because a spirit possesses him. Around the shrine, in full public view, the junior poosaris chant mantras to the beat of drums, invoking the goddess to find out identity of the spirit that possesses the child. The medium, trembling and in a trance, places his hand on the child’s head, anoints him with tumeric, wipes him with sheaves of margosa leaves, while the priest hopes the spirit in the child will identify itself.

The village Pusari is a familiar figure in our classics too. He is the soothsayer and the priest whom we meet in Sangam literature. Our ancient kings consult him before waging wars. Aged mothers go to him with the sacrificial goat in order that their girls might become normal and free from the devil’s clutches. We find that these Pusaris are not only priests and astrologers but also able lyricists.

The song of the village poosari, or the priest of the village temple, is charged with such a spontaneity that one could even say that these songs are composed to a dictation from within. In most cases the priest gets into a trance and utters words in a possessed condition almost unconscious of his composition.

In eastern Sri Lanka majority of Mukkuvars are Hindus and belong to fishing community. There were no Brahmin priests in their Temples before 30-40 years ago but now some temples have Brahmin priests. Even though most of the Temple or Kovils rituals or Chadangu are lead by one Pusehar or Pusaris in Tamil language.

Othuva Moorthy or Othuvar Pillais : They Are The Tamil Kovil Poosaris. They Recite (Othuthal) Beautiful Thevaram, Thiru Vasagam. They Are Also Part Of Tirunelveli Saiva Pillai.

Kurukkalaiya Pillais : They Are Again The Kovil Kurukkal. Again A Kind Of Saivaite Poosaris. They Also Recite Tamil Pasurams. Not Like Some Sanskrit Aiyars, Who Prefer To Avoid Tamil.

Sengathurai Poosari : Sengathurai Poosari lived in the 18th century. He was born in Sengathurai of Palladam Thaluk. At the foot of the Chennimalai hill we find his tomb and Madam. He took renunciation at a very early age, offered himself to the Lord of Chennimalai, and renovated the temple by and large.

He built the Maha Mandapam of the temple on the hill, laid the floor with stones on the hill temple, and constructed the Kailasanathar temple outer mandapam, inner mandapam, gopuram & tirumathil. On the day of consecration of Maha Mandapam of the hill temple, the sculptor showed him, his sculpture that he had created as a mark of acknowledgement. Sengathurai Poosari immediately said that this stone figure is going to replace him and on the very day he attained the Golden Feet of the Lord.


Mutracha :
Muttaracha had a variety of modified names such as Muttirajulu, Muttarasan, and Mutratcha. The people of this caste is known by any one of these names in the Telugu speaking lands, and in the Tamil speaking country it is known as Muttirayan and also as Palaiyakkaran.

The Muttarachas are a Telugu Caste ane they are most numerous in Krishna, Nellore, Kuddapah( Kadapa) districts of Andhra Pradesh and also North Arcot districts of Tamilnadu. The Muttaracha warriors were employed by the Vijayanagar kings to defend their country frontiers, and were honoured with the title of Paligars (Palaiyakkarans). The word Muthracha is derived from the Dravidian roots – Mudi and Racha. There is also another derivation is from Mutu Raja, which means a soveriegn of some part of Telugu country. They eat animal meat , fowl and drink liquor. Some of them eat pork. They do not eat beef. The use honorific titles such as Dora and Naidu.

Mudi = Old or Ancient or Great
Racha = King

Dora = Lord or Sahib

The people of this caste are numerous in Hyderabad, Madras. They are also found in some numbers in Chanda (Chandrapur ) district of Central provience (present Vidarbha region). In Chand they took to the profession of masonary. They are Talaris or watchmen in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. As servants they are considered very faithful and courageous. This may be one of the reasons why these people became well known as Bantlu. Bantu means servant and Bantlu means servants. Actually, they call themselves as Bantarasas or bant warriors but because of their faithful services to the kings, the word Bant became synonymous to Servant.

In the North Arcot district, they are in great numbers in Chendragiri taluk. They are found all over the district as the village taliaris or watchmen. Because of this reason, this cate is often called Taliari caste. They proudly call themselves as paligars, and in Chendragiri as Doralu (Lords), because several of the Chittoor Palaiyams (Villages governed by Paligars) were in possession of members of their caste. They seem to have entered the country in the time of Vijayanagar kings, and to have been appointed as its kavilgars (Watchmen). The caste is usually esteemed by others as a low one. Most of its members are poor, even when they have left the profession of talaiari, and taken to agriculture. They eat in the houses of most other castes, and are not trammelled by many restrictions. In chendragiri $ they rarely marry, but form connections with women of their caste, which are often permanent, though not sanctioned by the marriage ceremony, and the offsring of such associations are regarded as legitimate.

( The Mutharacha men who used to live with women of their caste without marriage could possibly be the commando members of suicide squads employed by the Mauryas and later by Vijayanagar kings. )

In Nellore, Mutrachas are known as hunters, fishermen, bearers, palanquin-bearers, and hereditary watchmen in the villages. Some times, Mutracha or Mutrasan is known as a sub-division of Urali, and a title of Ambalakkaran . Muttiriyan is a Tamil form of Mutracha, and appears as a title and subdivision of Ambalakkaran. It is also observed that Tolagari is recorded as a sub-division of Mutracha. The Tolagaris are stated to be a small cultivating caste, who were formerly hunters, like the Palayakkarars. Most of the Mutrachas are engaged in agriculture. In the Karnool and other Rayalaseema districts, Mutrachas used to collect winged white-ants (flyinf termites = usillu), which they store in large pots as an article of food after drying them in sunlight. They are said to make use of some special powder as a means of attracting these flying white ants, in catching which they are great experts.

It is said that in some places, the relations between Mutrachas and Gollas (Velirs) are strained *. Both these watrrior groups were chiefs in Kodumbalu region and had matrimonial relations too. On the occasions of marriage among the caste people of Madigas, some pan-supari is set apart for the Mutrachas, as a mark of respect.

( * This coud be due to the reason that Velirs (Gollas) helped Vijayala Chola in dislodging Mutharaya king Perumbidugu Muttarayan from the seat of Tanjore. At that time Velirs and Cholas were the subordinates of Pallavas, and the Mutharayas were the subordinates of Pandyas. Pallavas and Pandyas used to fight their proxy was using Cholas and Mutharayas. )

In consequence of the fact that some Mutrachas have been petty chieftains, they claim to be the Kshatriyas, and to be descended from Yayati of Mahabharatha.

There is a saying current among the Mutharachas that the Mutracha caste is as good as pearal, but became degraded as its members began to catch fish. According to a legend, the Mutrachas, being kshatriyas, wore the sacred thread (Jenhevu = Jandhyamu). Some of them, on their way home after a hunting expedition, halted by a pond, and were tempted by the enormous number of fish therein to fish for them, using their sacred threads as lines. They were seen by some brahmanas while thus engaged, and their degradation followed. In Telugu country, two divisions, called paligiri and Oruganti, are recognized by Mutrachas, who further have exogamous sects or intiperulu (surnames), of which the following are examples:

Palagiri Division
Avula = Cow
Arigala = A dish carried in procession
Busi = Dirt
Ella = Boundary
Guvvala = Doves
Indla = Houses
Iga (Eeega) = Fly
Koppula = Hair-knot

Oruganti Division
Katari = Dagger
Marri = Ficus Bengalensis
Nakka = Jackal
Puli = Tiger
Talari = Watchman
Thota = Garden
Uyyala = A Swing
Thumu = Iron measure for measuring grain

Readers may like to see the page on – Ankamma, to see know story giving about the details of Mutrachas to Yayathi of epic Mahabharata.

The Muthuraja or the Muthrasi people are known as Muttiriyan or Muttiriyar. The name Muthuraja is derived from the word mudi, meaning top most and raja, ruler. Mudiraj also means ancient king or old king. The Muthuraja have several occupational subgroups, which indicate place, professions, ancestors, etc. Some claim to be Kshatriyas, others consider themselves as untouchable Sudras. They are distributed in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala

The Muthrasi speak the Tamil language and use Tamil script. Muthuraja are mainly a land owning community and their traditional occupation is agriculture. Rice, jowar, maize and ragi are their staple cereals.

It is common to have marriages arranged through negotiation. Dowry is given in both cash and kind. Both widowed and divorced persons are allowed to remarry. They live in nuclear families and adhere to male equigeniture for inheritance.

Traditionally the Muthrasi were employed as soldiers and guards. At present cultivation, fishing, masonry, agriculture and industrial labor, daily-wages are their primary occupations. Some of the Muthrasi are professional ballad singers. They also prepare fishing nets and tramping devices and are experts in making crackers and explosives.

The sacred specialists from their community perform worship, birth, marriage and death rituals. They also practice ancestor worship every year on Pithru Amavasya, while offerings are made to their ancestors. They have both Shaivite and Vaishnavite sections in their community.

Their village deities are Malleswara, Venteswara, Muneswar, Someswara, etc. They celebrate local Hindu festivals like Ugadi, Sankranti, Ekadasi, Diwali, Ram Navami, etc.


Mutrachas are Beldars in Chandrapur districts of Vidarbha region in Maharastra. There is considerable Telugu speaking people in this part of Maharastra due to its common boarders with Andhra Pradesh. Mutrachas are also found in some numbers in Chanda (Chandrapur ) district of Central provience (present Vidarbha region). Chandrapur is also known as Chanda. In Chanda, they took to the profession of masonry (Beldars). They are also considered good stone carvers. They are comparatively a low caste in Chanda region. They eat fowls and drink liquor. They do not eat beef and pork. It is compulsory among them to marry a girl before she arrives adolescence, and if this is not done her parents are put out of caste, and only readmitted on payment of a penalty.

There is a Telugu Hindu caste of Kapewars & Beldars in Chandrapur and surrounding regions. The family dietof this Telugu community of central provience is Ankamma and KUL DIETY is called Pochamma. Their village diety is called Marai Mai, who is worshipped before marriage by offering a male goat in sacrifice. The major piligrimage centers of Kapewars are Markhanda Deo of Chicholi and Mahakali of Chandrapur. . The Kapewar are mostly cultivators and some of them work as labourers in forestery or agriculture fields. There is a unification drive between Beldar and Kapewar and their subdivisions who are reported to be basically Kapewar. These people are seen in Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. They are maximum in Maharastra and very few in M.P.

The worship of Goddess Ankamma by Beldars & Kapewars is silently pointing to hidden secret that these people are closely related to Telugu Mudiraj & Tamil Muthuraj people. We all know the fact that a large sections of Mudiraj worship Goddess Ankamma in coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema regions and Northern districts of Tamilnadu.

Those who work with Kavacha (Thapi = an instrument used by masons for placing cement ) are called Kapewar. They are mostly Beldars (diggers of earth) by profession. They were Telugu caste people of cultivators from present Telangana who came to Chandrapur region of Maharastra as they were harassed by the Muslims under Nizam Nawab rule. They are also skilled masons. There are four subdivisions of Kapewar пїЅ Munner Kapewar, Reddy Kapewar, Gurudi Kapewar and Pantedlawar. The Kapewars speak Telugu inside their houses and speak Marathi with outsiders. They can also speak Hindi. Among Kapewars, there are both Vegetarians and Non-Vegetarians. Nonvegetariand dnormally do not eat beef and pork but they drink liquor. The four groups share bread with each other but not their daughters. They add WAR to their surnames and most people having war in their surname are Telugus.

Kapewars are a Telugu caste of cultivators like Maratha – Kunbis. They are also skilled stone masons and Major Lucie Smith’s conjecture is that they may have been previously employed in building the Candrapur walls and took to cultivation later. They have some peculiar marriage customs. On the 4th night of the ceremony, the bridegroom, bearing portions of a plough, followed by the bride, carrying cooked food in a cloth, walks to the edge of the marriage booth and drills five furrows with an ox goad in which he sows mixed cotton-seed and jowar. The cooked food is then eaten by the pair who share it with all prescnt and the seed is watered by the company washing their hands over it. There is a regional association of Kapewars and Beldars in Chandrapur. The term Beldar is generically applied to a a number of occupational groups of more or less diverse origin such as Beldar, Od, Sonkar, Raj, Larhia, Karigar, Matkuda, Chunkar, Munurwar (Munnuru kapu ?), Thapatkari, Vaddar, Pathrot, and Thakari. They work as masons or navies, build the earthen embarkments of tanks or fields, carry lime and bricks and in former times refined salt. All these jobs to point to their association with water and sea which point to their connection to kol and kolis. Beldar means one who carry a BEL or a hoe or a mattock Beldars are present in numerous numbers in the Nimar, Nagpur, Chandrapur, and Raipur districts. The Nunia, Murha, and Sania (Uriya) castes are also frequently known as Beldars and can not be clearly distinguished from main caste of Beldars. It is probable that all these castes of Beldars are derived from Non-Aryan tribes.

The sansias and Larhias or Uriyas of Chattisgarh and the Uriya country seem to have originated from Kol (Kolis ?), Bhuiya, and Oraon tribes, the Kols especially making excellent diggers and masons ; the Oddes or Vaddars of Madras (Kannappa kula пїЅ a subcaste of Muthuraja) are a very low caste, and some of their customs point to a similar origin, though the Munurwar masons of Chanda appear to have belonged originally to Kapu (Kapewar) caste of cultivators. We have already seen that Kapus and Mudiraj are closely related rival warrior groups with a lot of common surnames in South India.

The Beldars of Chattisgarh are divided into Odia (Uriya), Larhia, Kuchbandia, Matkuda, and Karigar groups. Uriya and Larhia are local names applied to residents of Uriya country and Chattisgarh respectively. Odia is the name of a low Madras caste of masons but whether it is the corruption of Uriya is not clear. Odias say that they are the descendants of RajaпїЅs sons. These Odias have their tutelary diety in Rewa Stat and at his shrine is . a flag which none but a geneuine Odia descent from Raja SagarпїЅs sons can touch without some injury befalling him. The Beldars of Chattisgarh eat pigs. They worship Gosain Deo at the intervals of two to three years with the sacrifice of pigs. Valmikis and Bedars too are closely associated with pig rearing and pig eating. Bhakta Kannappa belonging to Srikalahasti region belong to Bedar / Vedar / Valmiky caste of pig eaters.

In Chanda, the principal castes of stone workers are the Telengas (Telugus) who are also known as Thapatkari (tapper or chiller), Telugu Kumbi and Munurwar. They occupy a higher position than the ordinary Beldar. They say that they came into Chanda from Telugu country along the rivers пїЅ Godavari and Pranhita to build great walls of Chanda, the palaces and tombs of Gond kings. The Munurwars are a branch of the Kapu cultivating caste of the Telugu Country. The Munurwars of Chanda in Maharastra could be the couter parts of Telugu Munnuru Kapus of Andhra Pradesh.

Kapewar & Munurwar : A great cultivating caste of the Telugu country , where they are known as Kapu or Reddy , and correspond to the kurmi in Hindustan and Kumbi in Maratha districts. Kapewar is simply the plural form of Kapu and Munurwar is the subcaste of Kapu. In chanda a number of kapewars are stone masons and are considered the most proficient workers at this trade in the locality. Tis caste people are some times known as Telugu Kumbis and can be distinguished by a red bot on their fore heads from childhood. These Telugu Kapewars & Beldars are believed to be brought to chanda for building the Chanda fort and palaces. The Beldars are earth-workers who get their name from the use of the Bel, or mattock in digging, and are principally found in the plain tahsils Buldhana districts.

Pushkaranas : The Pushkaranas or pokharanas derive their name from Pushkara or Pokhar Lake, near Ajmer. They are scattered all over Rajaputana State and neighbouring proviences. These group takes their name from the sacred lake of Pushkar or Pokhar near Ajmer, one section of them is said to have been originally Beldars or Ods who were raised to Brahminical rank as a reward for excavating the tank. They still worship the pickaxe. They are the hereditary Brahmans of the Rajputana Bhatias, and are stricter in caste matters than the Sarsut. They are found in some numbers in the western districts of the Punjab.


Mukkulathor or Mukulathaar is used to refer to the trinity of ancient royal lineages. It can be roughly translated as “people of the three clans”, a reference to the three aristocratic clans (Kallar, Maravar and Agamudayar) which have supplied the Tamil country with most of its royal dynasties and warriors. Mukkalathors are reverently addressed to as “Thevars,” meaning “Great Lord” by other Tamils. It is general feeling that the Agammudaiyar’s are superior to the maravar’s & the Maravar’s are superior to the Kallar’s. They are Tamils and were traditionally Hindus while some had become Christians. Today they constitute a significant part of Tamil community in India, Sri Lanka and among the diaspora around the world.

In Telugu and other Dravidian languages, “Moodu” means “Three”; “Kula” means “caste” and hence “Mukkulathor” means “A cluster of three castes”.

Moodu = Three
Kula = Caste
Koti = Crore
Kannu = Eye
Moodu + Kula = Mukkula => Mukkulator = Three clans / castes
Moodu + Koti = Mukkoti = Three Crore
Moodu + Kannu = Mukkannu => Mukkanti = Threenetra = Shiva

The word “Deva” had been used as a title by South Indian kings since time immemorial. It is a well-known fact prominent Mukkulathor comnmunities like the Maravars were referred to by historians of the Sangam Age and despite the absence of concrete evidence, the similarity of culture and traditions make the possibility that Chola and Pandya kings might have hailed from the Mukkulathor community quite real.

As in other old aristocratic Tamil caste such as Devars, Paravars are also are very proud about their caste heritage. U. Muthuralingam Thevar is revered as a hero of the Thevar/Maravar community. U. Muthuramalingam Thevar, also known as Pasumpon Muthuramalingam Thevar (October 30, 1908 пїЅ October 30, 1963) was an Indian politician. Thevar was born in the village of Pasumpon, Ramnad district. He hailed from a wealthy landlord family. Thevar was the only son of Ukkirapandi Thevar and Indirani. During that conference Subhas Chandra Bose lodged at Iyengar’s house in Mylapore. Thevar was very impressed by Bose. After the conclusion of the INC session, Thevar followed Bose to Calcutta. Thevar became the leader of the All India Forward Bloc in Tamil Nadu, and was national deputy chairman of the party from 1952 onwards. He was elected thrice to parliament.Thevar was become an icon in the political life in southern Tamil Nadu. Many political parties seeking the support from that community at the time of elections will make pay their respect to him.

The Maravars are of the Mukkulathor warrior caste and the people of Veeramanickthevanthurai also trace their lineage as being Kshatriya. The mukulathor who moved to south & western Tamil nadu formed chera dynasty are later become pillai (saiva pillai, nanjil vellalar, ettu veetil pillaimar, etc. Nair surmames). The mukulathor who moved to northern tamil nadu formed chola dynasty are later become agamudaya mudadliyars or udayar,sozhiavellalar( chola vellala r),sengunthar mudaliyar or Kailkola maravar padai (who are warriors served in chola dynasty) still now they use tiger as there flag emblem. Maravars were the backbone of Later Pandya. The right for widows to remarry among Maravars was allowed by Maravarman Sundarapandian, looking at the plight of Maravar widows. Many Marvar women used to become widows at an early young age, as many Maravar men were members of suicide squads.

Kallar,Maravars and Agamudayars claim that they are the descendants of the Pandyas.Ancient tamil-castes like Nadars,Thevars and Paravars claim that they are the descendants of the Early-Pandyas.

Thevars, the same caste as Chola and Pandya kings are classified as MBC now. Some people are of the opinion that for reservation purposes they are known as Mukkulathor, but for other purposes they are Thevar.

It is believed that the Maravar people, the Agamudayars, Thanjai Cholarkula Kalla Nattars, Pandiya Vellalars, Chola Vellalars, Chera Vellalar, Vellala Mudaliyars, Agamudaya Mudaliars and Udayars have all descended from Kallars.

Kala => Kali => Koli = Black
Veera = Vira = Beera = Bir = Warror
Kalaveera = Kalabeera => Kalabira => Kalabra
Kalabra => Kalabrar => Kalabar => Kalavar => Kalvar => Kallar
Kallar => Kallan => Kalian => Kali = Black

Ahamudyar, Maravar and Kallar together known as Mukkulathor (three castes) are relatively more visible particularly in Ramanathapuram district as they are not only owners of cultivable land, large in number and more assertive but also known for committing atrocities on the Scheduled Castes. The Mukkulathor belt of the Andipatti Assembly constituency has a good sprinkling of Piramalai Kallars (PK), Thevars

Kallars along with Maravars and Agamudaiyar are an ancient martial caste in TamilNadu, South India. Kallar, Maravar, Agamudayar, Vellalar, Agamudaya Mudaliar or Udayars all originated from the ancient Tamil race called kalabhrar of the ancient Indian subcontinent. From kalabar first people are called as piranmalai kallar according to place the title changes as maravar, agamudayar, cholarkula tanjore kalla nattar, pandiya vellalars, chola vellalars, chera vellalar or (having pillai, Mudaliar title), vellalamudaliyars, agamudaya mudaliars or udayar etc.

It appears that Kalabhras who invaded the well known and well established South Indian Chola, Chera and Pandyan Dynasties not only occupied their countries but also assumed their dynsty titls making it very difficult for historians to distinguish the present Mutharayars / Mukkulathors from the chola, chera & Pandyans. It can be seen from the fact that todayпїЅs Mutharayars are having chola and Pandyan names in their surnames. For example Mutharasu Pandian and Cholai Alagan are the surnasmes of Mutharayrs.

Communities like the Maravas, the Yadhavas and the Nadars have exogamous group called Kilai which runs on the female line. It is passed on from mother to daughter. In these castes no one can marry a girl of the same Kilai. The preferred marriageable relationship are aunt’s daughter or the maternal uncle’s daughter. he marriages are held only at the brides house, in the case of the Mukkulathars, the Nadars, the Chakkilians, while in some other castes, the celebrations take place at the groom’s residence.

Thevar community has three endogamous subgroups -Agamudayar, Maravar and Kallar. Kallars are known to be the oldest immigrants of Neolithic period with Mediterranean racial elements (Malhotra et al. 1981). Mitochondrial polymorphic marker analysis of the Piramalai Kallars of Madurai, Tamil Nadu – one of the subgroup of the Kallars showed that they might have been the first пїЅOut-of-AfricaпїЅ migrants, with expansion in the Middle East, subsequent migration to India and would have finally settled in South India (Pitchappan 2002). They are the oldest immigrants of Neolithic period with Mediterranean racial element, who are described as a martial community in the early Chola and Pandya periods (9th century A.D.; Singh 1997). The Thevar group (Kallar, Maravar and Agamudayar) was an exception. They were found to be closer to the people of the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan, and also found intermediate to Africans and Sahul (Australians and New Guineans) populations. Amaba-lakar and Veerakodi vellalar formed separate clusters. These findings were consistent with the known population histories.

Mukkulathors are Mutharayars ?? :
Mukkulathors are a combination of three castes – Kallars Maravars and Agambadyars. This group is called Thevars. Further Kallars also include Ambalakarans and Nattars. During the British rule they were considered a criminal group.

Kallars = Kallars + Nattars + Ambalakarans There are various sub-castes of Kallars amongst whom the Ambalakarar ( One of the surnames of Muthurajas ) is the most important.

The Ambalakarars are known to be a subcaste of Tamil Muthurajas and this sect is present in both Maravars and Kallars.

Maravamutharayar, Kotampattimaravarayar, Katahamaravarayar and Nathampadimaravar are some surnames that belong to Tamil Muthuraja community. Marava in these surnames is an indication of the Maravar clans in Mutharayar community. Marvars became an integral part of Muthuraja warrior ruling community in Tamilnadu a long time ago.

Katahamaravarayar => Kataha + Marava + Rayar
Kotampattimaravarayar => Kotampatti + Marava + Rayar
Maravamutharaiyar => Marava + Mutha + Raiyar
Nathampadimaravar => Nathampadi + Maravar

Maravar is one of the three clans that form Mukkulathor ( Mudukulathur ) community in Tamilnadu. The other two are Kallar and Agamudayar. Mukkulathor is used to refer to the trinity of ancient royal lineages. It can be roughly translated as “people of the three clans”, a reference to the three aristocratic clans (Kallar, Maravar and Agamudayar) which have supplied the Tamil country with most of its royal dynasties and warriors. Mukkalator are reverently addressed to as “Thevars / Devars,” meaning “Great Lord” by other Tamils. The Kallar, Maravar and Agamudaiyar communities constitute the Kshatriya or warrior class of TamilNadu, South India. They are all believed to have originated from an ancient people called kalabhrar. Historians are of the view that Mutharayars of Kodumbalur are the descendats of Kalabras.

Muthu = Mudu = Mudi = Great
Mudukula = Great Caste / Great Clan

In Sanskrit language пїЅMaraпїЅ means пїЅkill or dieпїЅ. Thus Maravar means a do or die commando killer or suicider. It is an established fact that Bant Mudirajus were the commando members of suicide squads during Vijayanagar empire and even earlier during medieval times.

Mara = kill or Die
Maragaya = Dead
Marliya = killed
Maro = kill it
Maravar = killer or suicider

The maravar in the Sangam literature can be described as an aristocratic libertine with access to worldly pleasures. Up to the end of the first millennium the word maravar referred to a function, the warriorпїЅs function, which could be taken up by mercenaries in different armies. In Sinhala language the word ‘Maravaraya’, means a desperado.

The word maram is connected with valor, bravery, anger, wrath, enmity, hatred, strength, power, victory, war, killing and murder. Not only can a warrior have maram, but also a whole army and a horse. This can be made evident by the two turai, пїЅthemesпїЅ of heroic Sangam poetry, tanaimaram, пїЅvalour of the armyпїЅ and kutiraimaram,пїЅvalour of the horseпїЅ. Kallars and Maravars of south India maintain a martial tradition. Marvar is a Tamil ‘military’ caste. The Maravar has made a contribution to the Sinhala language. To this day, a ‘marava-raya’ is synonymous with ‘thug’. One of his ‘military’ castes the Maravar has made a contribution to the Sinhala language. To this day, a ‘marava-raya’ is synonymous with ‘thug’.

Cockfighting in Tamil Nadu is mentioned in ancient literature like Manu Needhi Sastiram, Kattu Seval Sastiram, and other sangam-age literature, 2,000 years old. It is referred to as the favourite past-time for Maravars or the warriors of Tamil Country.

Tales of the Maravas of southern India in the fourteenth century “all revolve around military competition, battles with Muslims, Kallars, and Kurumbars (hunters); and all cite authoritative grants of territory from obscure later Pandyan kings.”

Today the word maravar has developed into a caste name for hunters and robbers in South India, for dacoits, i.e. a criminal caste. The maravars and Kallars were declared a criminal caste in 1911 by the then Government of India. Their political ambition after 1911 was to get rid of this bad reputation that discriminated them in public life. Their ambition was taken up by the South Indian Branch of the Forward Bloc. This was founded by Muttiramalinkam Tevar on behalf of Subash Chandra Bhose in 1938. There is thus a close connection between the maravars and the Subhasists in recent times from about 1938. This succeeded only in 1947. This connection is also clearly visible in the fact that part of the Indian National Army (INA) under Subhash Chandra Bhose to 1945 consisted of maravars. Maravar ambitions and South Indian Subhasism were coordinated. The selfimage of the maravars of having a glorious history, and their political ideology classified as Subhasism strongIy infIuenced the mind of the young Veluppillai Pirapakaran (LTTE leader) .

Maravar are one of the oldest social groups to be mentioned by the Sangam Tamil literature. Maravars get mentioned in Sangam poetry itself and has hundreds of references in tamil history. This indicates an association with the Tamil land which is at least 2,000 years old. The writers of the Sangam Age place them in rural settlements withdrawn from cities. Maravar, in Tamil, means a warrior. Maravars are the courageous breed and were involved in the major wars that Tamilnadu witnessed. Other historians postulate that Maravar is derived from Tamil language term Marutham (called as Thinnai). They originally lived in (See Ancient Tamil country). The name of the city Madurai is also postulated to be derived from Maruthai and honorific title of local Pandya kings.

The territory that runs north from Tirukkurungudi across a dry landscape dotted with irrigation tanks spanning about twenty miles across the edge of mountains and the plains below; and from Madurai it curves east down to Rameswaram. It is the territory in which Maravars or Tevars have exercised dominance for roughly 400 years. It is marked by the old fort towns founded by Marava palayakkarar under the royal Nayaks of Madurai. Its records include stories of battles against the British that becme nationalist lore. Its history also includes a very particular legacy of caste conflict, which hinges on contested control of local territories pitting Tevars against various competitors. This Marava territory was historically defined by its separation from areas of Telugu Nayak power in the east and Vellala/Brahman power in the south along the Tambraparni River.

Maravars and Devendra Kula Vellalars are the two predominant castes in Tamil Nadu’s southern districts. Ramanathapuram district is the heart of ‘Maravar country’. Pasumpon district was named after Muthuramalinga Thevar, the undisputed leader of the Maravars, Kallars and Agamudaiyars put together and who was an associate of Subhas Chandra Bose.

The Maravar groups, however, want to be known as Thevars, an umbrella grouping of Kallars of East Thanjavur region, Piramalai Kallars living west of Madurai and the Agamudaiyars living east of Madurai. The Maravars take enormous pride in staking claim to a martial past and invoke some recent Tamil films which celebrate their pride. The current Maravar icons, apart from Muthuramalinga Thevar, are freedom-fighters like Vellaya Thevar, another key lieutenant of Veera Pandya Katta Bomman and Puli Thevar, after whom the state government has been forced to name a new transport corporation. Katta and Bomma are two surnames of Telugu Mudiraj and the ancestors of Katta Bomman were from Telugu origins.

People who had ancient tribal backgrounds as hunters and pastoralists, now became settled farmers and warrior kings, like Boyas north of the Kaveri in Karnataka and Kallars and Maravars south of the Kaveri in Tamil Nadu. The term maravar has a spectral history all its own. In Sangam texts and medieval epigraphy, it denotes fearsome people. The maravar were hunters, robbers, and warriors. They lived outside the nadu. They were not incorporated into the family alliances among Vellalar jati in the nadu. The medieval exclusion of outsiders from nadu marriages and from residence in the nadu had maintained the tribal purity of Vellalar and Brahman lineage entitlements. The fearsomeness of the maravar threatened rulers of nadu and their Pandya kings. After 1300, Maravas fought Nayakas to establish kingdoms of their own, as Marava tribes settled down to farming, conquered other tribes, and built ethnic territories from Ramesvaram up the Vaigai to the mountains and south along the base of the mountains past the Tambraparni. Telugu Nayaka and Marava warriors and peasants carved out separate ethnic territories. Their major leaders eventually became palaiyakkarar (Poligars) of the Madurai Nayakas, who could not defeat them and made them subordinate allies. Maravars and Nayakas held their own territories as Madurai Nayakas maintained personal authority in the old Pandya territories along routes of drainage irrigation and intensive paddy cultivation. The new ethnic territories that covered most of the land between the Vaigai and Tambraparni divided agrarian space in an east-west pattern, with Maravars mostly in the west and Nayaka warrior-peasants entirely in the east.

Many of Kallars , Maravars and Vanniars became Vellalars . Some section of vellalas gave up meat eating and became vegetarians- they were called “Saiva Vellalas “.

The fighting men of the King Elala of ceylon belonged to a military caste among the Tamils- Maravars. The males of this tribe had to undergo military training between the ages of sixteen and twenty four, and thereafter they usually took to the cultivation of the lands allotted to them by the state. Whenever their services were required they left their farms and served in the army. These forces were loyal to the King. The Kondaikaras were a class of efficient troops in the armed forces. In later times the Vadagars were also employed in the KingпїЅs services. All these soldiers were not wanting in valour or heroism. Their gallantry were well demonstrated in the bloody battle at Nallur in 1591, when all the valiant guards of the King died fighting to the last man.

It is believed that the Maravar people, the Agamudayars, Thanjai Cholarkula Kalla Nattars, Pandiya Vellalars, Chola Vellalars, Chera Vellalar, Vellala Mudaliyars, Agamudaya Mudaliars and Udayars have all descended from Kallars. In North India Kalar Kshatriyas are Jaiswals and Jaiswals are related to Kalchuris. Kalabhras are believed to be either the descendats or variants of Kalchuris or Kalachuris of central India.

Maravars were the backbone of Later Pandya. The right for widows to remarry among Maravars was allowed by Maravarman Sundarapandian, looking at the plight of Maravar widows. Many Marvar women used to become widows at an early young age, as many Maravar men were members of suicide squads. Agamudayar Also known as Agam Padaiyar or defending soldiers . Thevars of ramanthapuram district are given the title Servai (one of the surnames of Muthurajas of Tamilnadu). From the name itself, it appears that Maravarman was a Mukkulathor ( Mudukilator ).

It is a well-known fact prominent Mukkulathor comnmunities like the Maravars were referred to be historians of the Sangam Age and despite the absence of concrete evidence, the similarity of culture and traditions make the possibility that Chola and Pandya kings might have hailed from the Mukkulathor community quite real. Nevertheless, it is scarcely doubted that Mukkulathors of Madurai, Ramnad, Tirunelveli and other southern districts have any Pandyan blood in them.

The downfall of the Mukkulathors occurred in 1345 with the fall of Vira Pandyan IV and the subsequent conquest of Madurai by the Delhi Sultanate. However, the southern territories of the Sultanate soon asserted their independence and the Mukkulathors recovered under the Vijayanagar Empire and later under the Nayak dynasty during whose period they served as Polygars or chieftains. The Nayaks were actually governors appointed by Vijayanagar kings and were Naidus of Telugu origin.

(Here, it is once again a strong proof that Vijayanagar rulers starting from Sangama Harihararaya& Bukkaraya to Saluva Narasimharaya, Tuluva Sri Krishna Devaraya and subsequent Aravidu kings were all predominantly Telugu bants (Mudiraj) and hence the governers apponted by them in Tamil country were all Telugus who at later time came to be known as separate Naidu / Balija / Kapu communities. Mukkulators who are related to Muthurajas are mostly from Telugu ancestors and to be more honest their ancestors were Indo-Aryans who came from North India in the name of Kalabras. These Kalabras not only invaded the then well established chola, chera and Pandyan kingdoms but also thoroughly inter mixed with those royal families matrimonially. As a result, it is very difficult to identify who the kalabhras are today пїЅ but we can see the kalabra descendant Mutharaiyars well associated with chola and pandya surnames – this way the kalabhras completely localized themselves by accepting and associating their surnames with chola, chera and pandya surnames.

Later, after the fall of Vijayanagar, they established some measure of independence in the provinces which they governed and appointed individuals from the warrior Mukkulathor clans as their military chieftains and governors. After a century of peace and prosperity, the Nayak kingdom disintegrated and regional Polygar chieftains most of whom were from the Mukkulathor communities, making use of this opportunity, established their dominance and rule in the areas which they governed.

Marayoor is one of the famous tourist spots in the Idukki District of Kerala state, South India. It is the land where nature, history and culture merge harmoniously into tourism. 42 kilometers north of Munnar through the Udumalppetta route, Marayoor is the only place in Kerala that has natural sandal wood forests. The name Marayoor is said to be derived from two words пїЅmaraпїЅ and пїЅoorпїЅ, in Tamil and Malayalam languages пїЅmaraпїЅ means hidden and пїЅoorпїЅ means land. Legend has it the great Pandavas of Mahabharata epic, had stayed in the area during their exile and so the place was named as пїЅMaranjirunna oorпїЅ or the land (they) hide. Later it became the landпїЅs name пїЅMarayoor.пїЅ The most probable meaning of the place name is the Uru (Village) of Maravars (A tribe lived in this area during the turn of Christian Era, who used to attack travellers for looting, hiding in the forest. The word meaning is ‘people who hides’, They were traditionally members of the army of tribal chiefs and the Maharajas of Chera, Chola and Pandya).

The old Chera tribe lived in the Marayur – Kandallur region for a long period of time because the rock etchings found on the tombs in the village of the Maravans, namely Marayur one can notice changes in the burial rituals that could have evolved over long period of time. They might even have inhabited this region for centuries.

Chokkanatha, 1662-82 : Chokkantha was replaced on his tottering throne about 1678 by a Muhammadan adventurer who during the next two years usurped the whole of his authority (and even the ladies of his and fallen brotherпїЅs harems) and at last was slain by Chokkanatha himself and a few of his friends. But the NayakkanпїЅs position was still far from enviable. In 1682 his capital was besieged by Mysore; was shadowed by forces belonging to the marathas, who, while pretending to be on his side, were only waiting for a chance to seize his territory for themselves; and was threatened by a body of Maravans who norminally and hurried to his assistance, but in reality had only come to share in the booty which the sack of Trichinopoly was expected to yield. His successor was his son Ranga Krishna Muttu Virappa, a boy of fifteen who ruled for seven years. Little enough of his territories remained to him to rule. The greater part of them was held by Mysore, some by the maravans, some by the Marathas of Gingee and some by the Marathas of Tanjore.

The Maravans, a community of cultivators practically confined to Madura and Tinnevelly, who have a reputation for truculence. With the Kallans they gave much trouble during the Poligar Wars, and they still have an unenviable name for their expertness in dacoity and cattle-lifting. The Kalavar or Kalabar / kalabrar in Thirupathi region are known to the cattle lifters.

Kallar is one of the three communities which constitute the Mukkalathor confederacy. European eyewitnesses of the 18th century have made mention of Kallars as “a fearless tribe show many signs of independence and non-submission to any form of subjugation”. They were expert soldiers and constituted the bulk of Chola and Pandya armies. The principal occupation of Kallars is farming. There are various sub-castes of Kallars amongst whom the Ambalakarar ( One of the surnames of Muthurajas ) is the most important.They were a warklike people who strongly resisted every British attempt to subjugate them. They are found in Madurai and Sivaganga districts. In these districts, each village is headed by an Ambalakarar (president of an assembly) and the Ambalakarars took upon themselves the power to adjudicate disputes that arose among the inhabitants in the “nadu”, belonging to different castes. They are also believed to be the oldest inhabitants of the Tamil country with reports of their presence going back to Tamil literary works of the 4th century B.C. They are found mainly in the districts of Madurai and Theni. Their popular deity is Amman, the Mother Goddess.

The surnames being used by the thevar people are ambalakarar, servai, vandaiyar, thalaivar, nattaar (not nadar), etc.

The Kallars of Trichy, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Ramnad Districts have very distinct Surnames (Pattappeyar). Some of the most common names are Kalingarayar, Vandaiyaar, Thanjaraayar, Chozhangaraayar, Kandiyar, PUrsaar, Vaanavaraayar, Mazhavaraayar, Pallavaraayar, Pullavaraayar, Servai, Thevar, Kandapillai, Vayaadiyar, Vanniar, Nattar, AlankaraPriyar, Munaiyatriyar, Saaluvar ManraayarKaadavaraayar, Madhavaraayar, Vambaaliar, Thenkondaar, Mankondaar, Kaaduvetiyaar, Sozhagar, Chozanga nAttar etc. There are over 700 Surnames in use and the marriages dont happen within the same surnames.

There are a group of Agamudayar in North tamilnadu (Thiruvannamalai, Vellor, Arani, arcot).They are migrated from madurai in 17th century. In Northern Tamilnadu they have other surnames like Udayar,Mudhaliyar, Arcot Mudhaliyar, and Thuluva vellalar. Even though they have these surnames they are called us Agamudayar. Also they dont do marriage relation with Mudhaliar,pillaimar and udayar.

Nattaraiyar seems to come under Nattars group of Kallars who in turn belong to Mukkulathor community of of Royal clans of Tamilnadu.

Natambalkar, Nattalvar and Nattaraiyar are surnames of Tamil Muthurajas. Ambalakarars, a subcaste of Muthuraja fall under Kallar as well as Marvar groups. These people are said to be the descendants of Kalabhras or Kalabrars.

Nathampadimaravar (Nathampattimaravar)
Kallars = Kallars + Nattars + Ambalakarars.

Kalbhras => Kalabrar => Kalabar => Kalavar
Kalavar => Kalvar => Kallar

Nattars belong to the caste-Hindu Kallar community. The leaders of Nattars, Ambalams, are the self-styled heads of the people in four “nadus” lying in Sivaganga and adjacent districts. The Nattars had the right to hold the “vadam” (rope) and pull the car, besides receiving temple honours before the pulling of the car at temple car of Sri Swarnamoorthi Eswarar temple, during the annual festival.

Nattars headed administrative bodies of Nadus during chola rule : A 1,100-year-old stone inscription of the Parantaka Chola period has been discovered at a Siva temple at Ezhuchur, near Padappai, in Sriperumbudur taluk of Kancheepuram district, 56 km from here. The inscription, datable to 920 A.D., is in Tamil. It was found in the door jamb of the temple which is called Nal-Inakkisvarar (Deity of Good Harmony). The inscription says that Nocci Kilan Kaliya Peruman gave the gold (“pon” in Tamil) to “nattar” to build (“thali”) the temple. The Nattar formed the administrative body of Velima Nallur-Nadu. A “nadu” was a geographical division. From the inscription, it was inferred that the present village Ezhuchur was called Velima Nallur in those days and it served as the headquarters of the Nadu of the same name. According to Dr. Rajavelu, “nattar” were “vellalars” (agriculturists). Most of them owned vast lands. Another inscription too was found as a door jamb in the same temple but its letters have faded out.

The warlike castes such as the Kallars and Maravars of South India maintain a martial tradition and deem themselves to be Ksatriyas, but the Ksatriya model of domination has never found currency in the heartland of the South, the rice-growing lowlands. Kallars are peripheral to the agrarian social formation.

In ancient and medieval south India, from about the fifth century, the term nadu denoted a micro-region which was important as the basic unit of agricultural production. The agricultural community formed in the nadu was called nattar or nattavar, literally meaning the people of the nadu. Initially it was exclusively composed of the Vellala peasantry, but from the eleventh century there began to appear in Tamil inscriptions the term periyanadu meaning “big nadu” to denote a supra-nadu assembly.

In Chola period we know Nattars as the rep resentatives of the local society called Nadu. Ac cording to Subbarayalu, Nadu was the groupings of agricultural settlements formed by natural factors conducive to agriculture, and each Nadu was basi cally a cohesive group of agricultural people tied together by marriage and blood relationships. The people who occupied the dominant position in each Nadu were Nattars. Among the group mem bers in the Nadu assembly, Nattars, being the representatives of the villages of agricultural landholders and being the prime landholders in the respective Nadu, presented themselves as the chief spokesmen of the people in the region. Matters concerned with the Nadu were settled by the Nat tars in the local assembly called by the same name or Nadu. These Nattars must have had some com munal tie like caste or kinship relation among themselves in the respective Nadus. Nattars may be presumed to be the bearers of communal formation in the original form. Though Nattars had lost their historical role by the concerned period, they did not disap pear from the historical scene of South Indian society altogether. Records prepared in the early colonial period have accounts about very influential Nattars in some parts of South India.

The recent historical studies has clarified much about Nattar in the Chola period (9th-13th century A.D.) and in the Vijayanagara period (14th-16th century A.D.). It is so far understood that Nattars were originated from the pre-Chola period and were the key figures in the agrarian society as well as in the political structure of the Chola state. Regarding the Nattars in the Vijayanagara period, there is much controversy whether this institution survived or declined.

C. Minakshi. In her “Administration and Social Life under the Pallavas”, noted the importance of Nattars in Pallava period (7th-9th centuries A.D.). The importance of the nattar as a political body is well-recognised in the later Pallava inscriptions. The significant part played by the assembly (nattar), the rural administrative system during 8th & 9th centuries A.D. the Nattar was a constituent assembly that served as a check to provincial autocracy. The people who occupied the dominant position in each Nadu were Nattars. Nattars were the representatives of the villages of agricultural landholders (Vellanvagai) and were the prime landholders in the respective Nadu, presented themselves as the chief spokesmen of the people in the region. Their inherent influential position was well recognized by all rulers at the time and inscriptional evidences show that only the Nattars had the final authority to endorse the royal grants of land.

According to Velanjeri plates of Parantaka (Pallava) -The Nattar of Ilattur and the Nattar of Tiruttani in the subdivision of Naduvin-malai, belonging to the territorial division Kunravardhana Kottam will supervise and see that the three villages Kilagal, Mayangaru and Talaivedu, in their territorial division are united into one with the village Melirunceru and measure three thousand kadi of paddy as panca-vara, and nine kalanju of gold, annually, after changing the previous holders, till the sun and moon last.

During Vijayanagar Rule, it is seen that Nattavars had played an important role in Vellar Valley in Tamilnadu during the 15th and 16th Centuries.

The Nattar functions were mostly comprized of those relating to temple management and revenue matters. For instance they functioned as the nominal custodians of charities made by others, donated to temples, remitted taxes on the land granted while taking the burden of paying the taxes remitted, assisted temple management in leasing out temple land or in selling the same, and in some case they decided offence against the property or person and punished by confiscation of some land in favour of the local temple. In the revenue matters, as the Nadu was the state revenue unit, they were responsible for the taxes while acting as the negotiators for the Nadu. The chiefs of the Nadu were Nattars, who were the leaders or spokesmen of the dominant ethnic groups within it. There the Nattars were the ‘ruling class’ with the power and authority to manage resources, and were differentiated from other people in many ways. These Nattars were linked together by their common dominion over the land. Their corporate entity was reinforced by marriage alliances, close social relations, shared religious and ritual affiliations, and common allegiance to locality chiefs who, in this period, were of the Nattar. Many of the descendants of these Nattars are in Reddy community of today. Today’s Reddys are the erstwhile landlord Nattars / Kallars of Muthuraja / Mudiraja warrior community of Medieval period.

Nattars were found to be widely spread in various parts of Tamil area at least at the beginning of the 19th century. The area located in the northern part of Tiruchirapalli District is reported to be the stronghold of the Nattars by the Collectors in the early part of the 19th century. Though these Nattars were not the very typical ones that were expected in the sense they were the descendants of Telugu migrants coming to the area only in the 16th century or in the Vijayanagara period, at least the survival of the notion of the Nattar authority and power could be traced in the present day. Nattars are here defined as one of the local leaders who took the leading role in the society in the pre-British period. During British period, Nattars were deprived of many of their former functions as well as their privileges which had maintained their authority in the local society, and their control over the others had to be simply based on the lands they were allowed to ‘own’. This could be one of the reasons why Nattars developed anti-British attitude and revolted against them whenever they got a chance.

Nattars were mostly found in the districts of Chingleput, South Arcot, North Arcot, and Tiruchirapalli in the present Tamilnadu State. In Chingleput or the Jagir Nattars were very influential. Some Nattars were employed in the government administration as ac countants or census enumerators in 1783. Nattars were appointed in the respec tive paraganas in 1797. Due to the lack of information about Nattar, the British administrators treated Nattar differently at different geographical locations as revenue officer, Zamindar, caste headman, village headman, temple manager, contractor of textiles, and in others they simply or purposely neglected Nattar.

Pudukkottai Raja Rajagopala Tondaiman – The last ruling prince of Pudukkottai. The Tondaiman Dynasty were Kallars, a group which the British named in the Criminal Tribe Act. These non-Rajput rulers utilized founding legends and religious stories to legitimize their status.

Nattars, Nadavas and Bunts are one and the same people :
The Bunts are thought to have had a common origin and culture as the Nayars of Malabar and Nattars of Tamil Nadu. As the name Nadava implies, originating from the word nadu or territory, the Bunts are owners of land. The name Nadava or Nadavaru means people of the nadu or countryпїЅ. The word Bunta in Tulu language implies a powerful man or a soldier. The community of Bunts (anglicized from Buntas), also referred to as Nadavas, form an important and integral part of the socio economic culture of Tulu nadu, in coastal Karnataka. Originally thought to have migrated from Northern regions, or even brought by the kings as soldiers and protectors of land, now they are mainly landlords and cultivators. Vijayanagar empire is sa >
Udaiyars => Udayars => Wodayars => Wodeyars

Mukkulathors are a combination of three castes (Kallars/ Ambalakarans / Nattars, Maravars and Agambadyars). This group is called Thevars. The Ambalakarars of this group are a subcaste of Tamil Muthurajas. During the British rule they were considered a criminal group.

Kallars and Nattars are one and the same people :
Kallar men worked as Kavalkarars (Village protecting police = Kapus) or watchmen, in hundreds of villages throughout the erstwhile Madura District in Tamilnadu. These Kallars are often said to blackmail the cultivators (village farmers) into paying in return for the return of the stolen cattle. In late 1985, the Madras board of land revenue raised the possibility of declaring as ‘criminal tribes’ the entire body of ‘martial castes’ in the Southern districts of the presidency – Kallar, Marvar, and Agambadiyar, numbering upward of one million individuals. By coincidence Kallars were ex-communicated by villagers at that point of time in an anti-Kallar movement. In Madura district talukas of Dindigal, Palni and Periyakulam responsibilty for rural protection was assumed by Kallar, Valayar and Koravar watchmen. Valayar and Koravar watchmen were also targeted in the anti-Kallar movement. The Kallars were ‘in their origin soldiers out of work’ noted the Madras Board of land revenue in 1896.

Mr. Pandian’s dissertation focuses specifically on the Piramalai Kallar community of southern Tamil Nadu. The Kallars were the most significant of the castes notified under the colonial Criminal Tribes Act of 1911. Charged with highway robbery, cattle rustling and many other putatively habitual crimes, the Kallars were subjected to an extraordinary degree of repression and police supervision. In addition to such measures, the colonial state also made a series of agrarian interventions that took agriculture as a potent vehicle of social reform, from minor land grants to massive regional irrigation projects. Mr. Pandian has conducted his ethnographic research at the head of the Cumbum Valley, where a voluntary agricultural settlement was opened for the Kallars in 1917.

Kallars are known to be notorious bandits :
Traditionally opposed to the Chettyars and the Nadars is a class of notorious bandits called “Kallars”, meaning “thiefs”. A Tamil expression sums up the view generally held about them: “Koila dhona mushkil”, which is to say, “it is not easy to clean up a lump of coal”. The Kallars are an upper tear of the Sudras, the working class. They steal, spend all they have, often resort to violence, and are generally feared by the Tamil people. They envy the Nadars who they perpetually seek to undermine. pambadams are very large geometric earrings made of pure gold following ancient wax-based techniques. Pambadams are still worn today by elder Tamil women of the Nadar caste. The elder women who wear their family’s pambadams are a choice target for the Kallars, who frequently attack them to cut their ears off and steal the gold earrings. Nadar women are known for their pride, and some commit suicide out of shame if they fall prey to such an attack.

Tirumangai Alvar belonged to a tribe of thieves (Kallars) and was a practicing robber before becoming a saint.

Karttikeya (Kartikeya / Subramanya referred to here as Senani / general ) appears as a god of bandits. There was a clear tradition in ancient India which connected Skanda-Karttikeya with thieves and robbers. It is also highly interesпїЅting to note that in South India Subrahmanya is adored by such tribes as Kallars and Marabas, who belong to be robber caste. In the Deccan the god Khandoba, who is regarded as an aspect of Karttikeya, is worshipped by a tribe called Ramoshis who live by stealing. Ramoshis are there both in Bedars (Vedars / Vedans / Vetars / Vetans = a subcate of Muthuraja) and kolis and believed to the followers or blood related to Sriram. The Kallars are stigmatised as robbers and worst offenders even today.

Excerpts from, Sir Walter Elliot: ‘On the Characteristics of the Population of Central and Southern India’ [Journal of Ethnological Society of London, 1869, vol.1, no.2, pp.94-128] – “пїЅThere is a third well-defined race mixed with the general population, to which a common origin may probably be assigned; I mean the predatory classes. In the South they are called Poligars, and consist of the tribes of Marawars, Kallars, Bedars, Ramusis; and in the North are represented by the Kolis of Guzerat, and the Gujars of the North-west Provinces. Most of these people are directly related to Muthuraja / Mudiraja community. All of these present the same characters, physical and moral; being brave, athletic, warlike, addicted to robbery, and fond of the chase, in which they make use of a curved stick, throwing it with great dexterity like a bomerang. They possess a skill in tracking men or beasts, equalled only by that of the North American Indian; and are unrivalled in the ingenuity with which they evade the most watchful vigilance in their plundering excursions. They exist in numerous, independent communities, situated in the less accessible parts of the country, yielding a nominal obedience to the ruling power of the time, and paying a small tribute when the Government is strong enough to enforce it. From their fastnesses they plunder the surrounding plains in time of trouble, or exact blackmail to purchase exemption from their inroads.

With the same view every village engaged the services of one of these, who was invested with the office of village watchman, and received remuneration in land and fees, for which he not only protected the place from the visits of his friends, but tracked and seized all other depredators. Travellers, if they would proceed in safety, also engaged the services of one of these men, or failing to do so, were certainly plundered. They have never risen to sovereign power, but have established many small principalities [Foot-Note in the Original: As the Bedar Rajas of Bednore or Nagar in Mysore; of Harponhalli, etc. in the Ceded Districts; the Matta-Rachawar chief of Carvatinagar, and the Tondiman, Raja of Puducotah, a Kallar chief, in Arcot; the Marawar chiefs of Ramnad, and Sivagunga in Madura; and numerous others scattered over the whole of the south.

The Kallars are a numerous caste dispersed throughout Southern Tamilnadu. The Piramalai Kallar are one of its most important endogamous subcastes. Although the ‘ Kallar country’ west of Madurai has often been elaborated as their native region, T.Turnbull described the Paramalai Kallars as early as 1817 as ‘dispersed and expatriated tribe’ who had established themselves as cultivators in ‘the very extrimities’ of the cumbum valley. While the Kallar of Pudukottai, Tanjore, and Melur were understood to have ‘settled’ by and large to cultivation over the course of 18th and 19th centuries, the Paramalai Kallars retained a popular and administrative reputation for lawless and predatory conduct. They were classified as a ‘criminal tribe’ between 1918 to 1947. The Piramalai KallarsпїЅwere classified as a “criminal tribe” by the British colonial state in 1918 and subjected to an array of measures in social, moral, and agrarian pedagogy.

Kallars who enjoyed exclusive temple rights wants to retain their earlier social status and privillages :
The Maravar groups, want to be known as Thevars, an umbrella grouping of Kallars of East Thanjavur region, Piramalai Kallars living west of Madurai and the Agamudaiyars living east of Madurai. The Thevars, with its various sects, the Kallars, Pramalai Kallars, and Agamudiars, are thickly populated in the southern districts of Madurai, Dindigul, Theni, Tirunelveli and Ramnad. The Thevars are a dominant caste in these state’s southern districts. Thevars, Kallars and Maravars who once belonged to royal clans became to Backword Caste (BC) today.

Members of non-Nakarattar castes such as Kallars or Konars managed the guardian god’s temple (normally a temple for Ayyanar). Nakarattars referred to members of all such castes as the Nattar , the “people of the country.” Only they had the right to open up the hundial (a special strongbox) into which devotees put contributions for festivals held to worship the deity of the temple.

The priests belong to the backward Moopanar caste (Subcaste of Muthuraja). But, the Kallars (a Backward Caste sect of the Thevars) supervise the temple.

Kallaris the dominant caste in the countryside around Madurai, traditional occupation thievery, village guards, now farmers but still guard villages; non-brahmin, meat-eating, etc. Karuppana-svami, the deity of the Kallars; his shrine is at the gate of the door to Lord Alagar’s temple and he is the servant of Lord Alagar (Vishnu). There is a Karuppu Samy temple in Southern districts of Tamilnadu, which draws devotees from as far as Malaysia and Singapore. Karuppannaswamy, the God of Kallars and the finely carved eighteen steps, are held in great reverence by the devotees. It is claimed that nobody will dare tell a lie at this spot.

They are more often in direct conflict with Dalits for living space and political and economic opportunities. Dalits of Kandadevi village in Devakottai taluk in the southern district of Sivaganga have been asserting for over five years their right to pull the temple car of Sri Swarnamoorthi Eswarar temple, during the annual festival along with the Nattars, who belong to the caste-Hindu Kallar community. The leaders of Nattars, Ambalams, are the self-styled heads of the people in four “nadus” lying in Sivaganga and adjacent districts. The Joint Commissioner, in his orders issued on April 8, 1999, stated that the Nattars had the right to hold the “vadam” (rope) and pull the car, besides receiving temple honours before the pulling of the car. On the day of the festival, amidst the “tension” caused by the large police presence as well as the presence of Dalits and caste Hindus, the Nattars refused to accept the “customary” honours. The Nattars’ objection to Dalits’ participation in pulling the temple car rested on the claim of the heads of “nadus” that their right regarding the pulling of the temple car was part of the “customary rights and traditions” they had been enjoying. They were handed these “rights” under the zamindari system and these rights went out with the abolition of the system under the Estates Abolition Act, 1929.

Nakarattars :
The well-known Nattukottai Chettiar caste or, as they call themselves, the Nakarattars. The most powerful members of Madurai’s mercantile elite were Nakarattars and that the caste organization in which they participated operated beyond the local limits of the city, beyond even the limits of South India, and instead operated throughout the macroregion of British Southeast Asia. By the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, especially after the opening of the Suez Canal, Nakarattars were the major sources of finance for myriad agrarian transactions between Burma, Ceylon, Malaya, and the Madras Presidency. The caste organization of the Nakarattars began to unravel in the face of multigovernmental interference with traditional banking practices. Nonelite NakarattarsпїЅperhaps 80 to 90 percent of the casteпїЅwere forced to scramble for new employment opportunities, often working as employees in government and business offices, although many of these are owned or managed by Nakarattars. some Nakarattars even gained ceremonial rank in colonial society as they became zamindars themselves, or received other titles such as Rao Bahadur or Raja Sir. Nakarattars gave generously to Siva temples in their ur (residential village) and in their nakara-k-kovil (clan temple).

The Nagarattars are one of the most fascinating communities in India, notable for both their entrepreneurial success in the modern world and their adherence to traditional family and ritual values. The status of married women is protected by women’s property rights and the kinship-oriented system based on cross-cousin marriage. The Nagarattars performed many renovations in recent times. The work done by Nagarattars for our temples indeed remarkable. Throughout Tamil Nadu, if they built a temple they also built a Vedic school with the belief that the Vedas constituted the “root” of the temple.

Nattars participated in the development of Thirupathi : The earliest inscription from Govindaraja’s shrine is dated in the 19th regnal year of Rajaraja Cola III, equivalent to 1235 A.C. referring to the installation sometime previously of Tirumangaiyalvar within Sri Govindaraja’s temple and to the provision then made by the Periya-Nattavar for his daily food-offering through their grant of a piece of land. From inscription no. 40 from Sri Govindarajasvami’s temple, dated in the 19th year of the reign of Rajaraja Cola III (1235 A.C.), we gather that sometime previously the Periya-Nattavar, members of the council of the nadu or group of villages, quite possibly the local group of Kudavur-nadu installed an image of Sri Tirumangaiyalvar in the temple of Sri Govindapperumal in Tirupati, that in order to consider the provision for his amudu-padi (food-offenng) and sattu-padi (decoration with flowers, sandal paste, etc.,) they met in full strength in the council chamber attached to the Tiruvilankoyil(new\y constructed temple) in Tiruchanur and accepted the grant of land made by the Kudavurar, the residents of Kudavur. It would, therefore, appear that grants of land within the nadu had to be approved by the council of the nadu.

Nattavars were jains at one time :
Sadaiyarparai is situated in the Pdukkottai region of Tamil Nadu. About half a kilometre from the Siva temple is a boulder containing an image of a Tirthankara shown seated in the dhyana posture. It is a medium-sized relief, aid to be of Adinatha, and exhibits ninth century stylistic features. The image together with the nearby cavern habitat was Once known as Perunarkilicolaperumapani. An inscription engraved by the side of the image, datable to the reign of Sundara Palya I, records pallichhandam to the deity (Alvar) of Perunarkilicolaperumapaili for various offerings by the nattavar of Tenkavinadu. It has become evident that Sadaiyamlalai came to be a Jain centre probably during the ninth century, and continued to be so until the thirteenth century. Pudukottai was ruled by Mutharayars, whose ancestors were jains.

Udaiyars who ruled Vijayanagar empire were associate clans of Mukkulathor :
Mukkulathor includes three royal clans – Agamudaiyars (Udayars), Kallars(Nattars) and Maravars. These clans are directly and indirectly related to Tamil Muthurajas / Telugu Mudirajas. The following inscriptions are a clear evidence of their connection to bunt / bant rulers of Vijayanagar empire. The Pandya and Vijayanagar inscriptions contain several references of Nattars / Nattavars.

SOUTH INDIAN INSCRIPTIONS -VOLUME XVII – INSCRIPTIONS COLLECTED DURING 1903 – 1904 -VIJAYANAGARA inscription No. 179 – (A. R. No. 159 of 1904) – Tiruppalappandal, Cuddalore Taluk, South Arcot District – On the north wall of the mandapa in front of the central shrine in the Madhyas-thanathesvara temple. Kampana Udaiyar S. 1291, Saumya : 1369 A.D – Kampana Udaiyar is stated to be the son of Vira Bokkana Udaiyar. The details of date given, viz., Saka 1291, Saumya, Tula su. 13, Sunday, Uttirattadi correspond to 1369 A.D., October 14, Sunday, the nakshatra Uttirattadi having ended at 92, the previous day. This inscription records the remission of the levy of nattu-viniyogam on the kani land, Virapalanendal in Araivarisaipparru belonging to Nayanar, Pennorubaga-mudaliyar of Maruttur, by the Nattar in Vadagara in Magadai-mandalam.

SOUTH INDIAN INSCRIPTIONS -VOLUME XVII – INSCRIPTIONS COLLECTED DURING 1903 – 1904 -VIJAYANAGARA – Inscription No. 183 -(A. R. No. 163 of 1904) – Tiruppalappandal, Cuddalore Taluk, South Arcot District – On the north base of the mandapa in front of the central shrine in the Madhyasthanathesvara temple. Kampana Udaiyar. S. 1291 : 1369 A.D -Kampana Udaiyar is referred to as the son of Vira Bokkana Udaiyar. The details of date given viz. Saka 1291, saumya, Tula su. 11, Friday, corresponds to 1369 A.D. October 12. (See No. 179 above). This inscription records an agreement by the Nattavar of Tiruvayppadi in Magadaimandalam to conduct the 7th day festival for god Tirunagisvaram-udaiya Nayanar of Tiruppalaippandal. Vanduvarapati-samayakkanakkan figures as the signatory of the record.

SOUTH INDIAN INSCRIPTIONS – VOLUME XVII – INSCRIPTIONS COLLECTED DURING 1903 – 1904 – Pandyas – No. 723 – (A. R. No. 666 of 1904) – Tirumullaivayal, Saidapet Taluk, Chingleput District – On the south wall of the central shrine in the Masilamanisvara temple – Jatavarman Sundarapandya I. Year 15 : 1265 пїЅ 66 A.D – The provenance of this record so far to the north and its palaeography would point to the identity of the king with Sundarapandya I. This records the gift of the proceeds from certain taxes like ur-kadamai, ayam, perasadavari etc. by the inhabitants (nattavar) of Pular-kottam and Ikkattu-kottam, for repairs, and unguents in the temple of Tirumullaivayil-udaiya-nayanar, at Kanapperuru-nadu, in Pular-kottam in Jayangondasola-mandalam.

SOUTH INDIAN INSCRIPTIONS – VOLUME XVII -INSCRIPTIONS COLLECTED DURING 1903 – 1904 – Pandyas – Maravarman Kulasekhara I – Inscription No. 253 – (A. R. No. 231 of 1904) – Singavaram, Gingee Taluk, South Arcot District – On the south base of the central shrine in the ruined Adivaraha Perumal temple – Maravarman Kulasekhara I. Year 30 : 1298 A. D – The details of date given viz., 30th year, Simha su. 11, Mulam, may correspond to 1298 A.D., August 19. The weekday was Tuesday. This inscription records the tax-free gift of the village of Singapuram, including the lake, wet and dry lands, puravadai, mavadai, maravadai, kulavadai, asuvatiperkkadamai, kasayavargga [*m], kudiperkkadamai and other rights accruing from the lands including the old tiruvidaiyattam but excluding the devadana lands, as tirunamattukani, for worship, festivals and repairs to the temple, for the merit of the king [Perumal] to god Panri Alvar in Tiruppanrikunru in Singapuram, in Singapura-nadu in Palkunrakkottam in Jayangondasola-mandalam, by the Nattavar of Senjimalai-pparru. It mentions Irugai madavarana Rajaraja Brahmarayan among the signatories.

SOUTH INDIAN INSCRIPTIONS – VOLUME XVII -INSCRIPTIONS COLLECTED DURING 1903 – 1904 – Pandyas – Inscription No. 549 – (A. R. No. 506 of 1904) – Agattiyanpalli, Tirutturaippundi Taluk, Tanjore District – On the north wall of the central shrine in Agastyesvara temple – Maravarman Kulasekhara I. Year 31 : 1299 A.D – The details of date given viz., 31st year, Rishabha, Sunday su. [9], Uttiram, correspond to 1299 A.D., May 10, ’18 ; ’89. This epigraph records the grant of 5 veli of land, made free of taxes to god Tiruvagattiyanpalli-udaiyar in Kunrur-nadu, in Umbar-valanadu alias Taranimulududaiya – valanadu, for the celebration of a festival in the month of Vaikasi, on the last day of which occurs the star Hasta, for the health of the king by the Nattavar of Kunrur-nadu. The land was called Bhagampiriyada-nallur after the name of the god.

SOUTH INDIAN INSCRIPTIONS – VOLUME XVII -INSCRIPTIONS COLLECTED DURING 1903 – 1904 – Pandyas – A. R. No. 226 of 1904) – Singavaram, Gingee Taluk, South Arcot District – On the east base of the mandapa in front of the central shrine in the Ranganatha temple – Maravarman Virapandya – The beginning of the lines in this inscription are built-in and therein the date has been lost. The available details of date are saptami, Wednesday, Tiruvonam, which are insufficient for verification. It records the grant of wet lands with the income from the taxes such as tari-irai, tattarpattam, kasayam etc., in the village of Pallavanpattu in the Seruvalur-parru, as tax-free tirunamattukkani by the nattavar of the place, for the health of пїЅпїЅпїЅпїЅпїЅ. Perumal (king) for worship and various offerings to gbod Nayanar Devapperumal set up in the temple of Nayanar Panri-Alvar in Tiruppanrikunru in Singapuram in Palkunrakko[ttam] inJayangondasola-mandalam by a person (name lost) of Rajarajapuram in the same division. It is stated that Irugai-madavarana Rajaraja Brahm[a*]rayan (see No. 253 below) drafted the record under orders of the nattavar.

Kallars were anti-British and joined freedom fighting :
Usilampatti area is about 30-35 km from the center of Madurai. Nadars and Thevars are two predominant castes in the area. The Nadars are elatively well off, and appear to run pretty much all businesses in town. There are three Thevar sects and the Piramalai Kallars are the ones which are largely found in this area. The relatively better-off Thevars live in Usilampatti, others in the villages surrounding this town. Piramalai Kallars had a history of being fighters and had supported Subhas Chandra Bose. The Kukkulathors were freedom lovers and hence they anti-British in their character. Apparently the Usilampatti state assembly seat has consistently gone to the Forward Bloc (a caste-based party, a Thevar party, not to be confused with the leftist Forward Bloc of West Bengal. The founder here, a Thevar leader, is a self-avowed disciple of S.C Bose).

The other variants of Mutharayars Karnataka and Maharastra were the bedars who also fought tooth-nail against British and got labelled as “criminal tribes” by British.

Kalarippayattu : There two styles of kalarippayattu i.e the Northern and Southern styles. The southern styles of kalarippayattu are Tamil and for at least several hundred years have been practised primarily by Nadars, Kallars, Thevars and some Sambavar.

The southern styles of kalarippayattu have been practised primarily by a section Nairs and Ezhavas of kerala and a small section of Nadars, Kallars, Thevars, of estwhile Travancore areas. Zarrilli refers to southern kalarippayattu as ati murai (the ‘law of hitting’) or marma ati (hitting the vital spots).

List of Backward Classes, Tamilnadu – (1). G.O.Ms.No. 28 BC & MBCW Department, dated 19.7.94 and (2.) G.O.Ms.No.100 BC & MBCW (BCC)Department ,Dated 24.11.97:

  • Easanattu kallar
  • Gandharva Kottai Kallars(except Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Pudukottai Districts)
  • Kootappal Kallars-(except Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli, Karur and Perambalur Districts)
  • Piramalai Kallars- (except Sivaganga,Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram. Madurai. Theni, Dindigul, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur Districts)
  • Periyasooriyur Kallars- (except Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts)

44.Kallar Kula Thondaman

Common Genetic codes in Yadavas and Kallars :
Pitchappan, who heads the immunology department at Madurai Kamaraj University, has found that the gene markers M130 seen in man 50,000 years ago and M20 seen in man of 35,000 years ago are present in the Kallars and several other local people of Tamil Nadu. Some of the markers are common to the Kallars and the Yadava populations of the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat. And the M172 markers found in some Tamil Nadu populations are also found in the people of Pakistan’s Balochistan province. The puranic records reveal that Yadavas and Mutharayas were the descendats of Yayathi. While Yadus descended from Yadu, the eldest son born to Devayani, the Mutharayas were the children of one of the seven brothers of Yadu.

For instance, the Piranmalai Kallars, who are highly exposed to the risk of HLA (DRBI 1501), possess an ancient M20 NRY chromosome showing their migration from middle-east. The same can be said of the Yadhavas of Tamil Nadu (said to be the descendants of Lord Krishna), who possess high frequency of M172 NRY allele, common in the surroundings of Baluchistan in Pakistan.

Bastar Kallars : In the villages of Bastar region of Chattisgarh, there is a tribal community by name Kallars who speak Halbi language. They are known as backward caste of cultivators and distillers. There can be a remote connection between baster kallars and Tamil kallars through kalabhras who invaded South India through their movement to Andhra Pradesh.

Vandayar’s are basically from Tamilnadu and Andhra pradesh ( before seperation of Madra state). The name Vandayar is native to Tanjore District and it spread all over the world. The surname belongs to kallar & Maravar castes of “mukkulathore” clans probably called in the nation DEVAR. The kings with the name Thondaiman / Vandayar are all from kallar community. These are called “PATTA PEYAR”. Further, it is well known that Kallars are the deescendants of Kalabhras. It is also agreed by many historians that Muthurajas are also the descendants of Kalabhras. A large number of Ambalakarars are part of Kallar and Maravar clans.

Kalabhras => Kalabras => Kalabars => Kalbars => Kallars.

Vandayar nickname is very popular in Tamil Nadu particularly in Thanjavur District.There are thousands of families having the same Nickname ‘Vandayar’ in and around Tamilnadu.It is a belief that the Vandayar Families belong to same blood relation and hence they are all considered to be Brothers and Sisters.

VANDAYAR name seems to be a modification of the name VANRAYAR
Vanarayars ruled parts of Tamilnadu and Karnataka. The name or title could be due to gradual modification of Vanrayar. Thevar – Pillai – Mudali are all same once & Many Pillai Kings were there. Kaduvetti Muttara is known to belong to Banarayars lineage. Even Mahabali Chakravarty too hailed from the same lineage.

Bana = Vana = Forest
Rayar = Raya = Raja = King or Chief
Banarayar => Vanarayar => Vanrayar => Vandayar

Vandayars could be Thondaimans from Thirupathi Region
The kings with the name Thondaiman / Vandayar are all from kallar community. These are called “PATTA PEYAR”. The Pallava kings at several places are called Thondamans or Thondaiyarkon. A King named Akasa Raja who belonged to the Lunar race was ruling over Thondamandalam (Thirupathi). Akasha Raja also had a brother named Thondaman. Akasharaja was the son of King Mitravarman of Thondamandalam.Balaji, Lord of the Seven Hills, Vishnu himself, got married to Princess Padmavati, beautiful daughter of King Akasaraja of Thondamandalam and Queen Dharanidevi.

Vellore District was also known as ” Thondamandalam Region” in early History of South India. In Second half of the Ninth Century A.D. Vellore District formed part of the pallava kingdom. The Chola emperor, Raja Raja Chola, renamed “Thondamandalam” as “Jayamkonda Chola mandalam” after one of his titles.

Thondamandalam was a prosperous land. Its capital was Kanchipuram. Thondaman built Mahabalipuram : Mamallapuram is a small town on the east coast of India and is 58 km away from Chennai.The monuments here are among the oldest in the south and belong to ancient Thondamandalam. They were created under the patronage of the Pallava Kings who ruled North Tamilnadu from their capital at Kancheepuram between 500 and 700 A.D. The five rathas and the shore temple at Mamallapuram rank high among the best specimens of ancient Indian architecture. During that period, Mamallapuram was one of the main sea ports on the East Coast.

The demilitarization of the Tamil region did not spare even the Kallar caste which had rendered valuable service to the British in the important wars of the Carnatic,by which they subjugated the whole of south India.The hereditary chiefs of this military caste were the kings of Pudukottai пїЅ the Thondamans, who had sided with the British against Hyder Ali and later his son, Tippu Sultan. In many of the early wars, the British fought on behalf of the Nawab of Arcot in south India, the Kallar had made up a sizeable portion of their forces. But the Kallar and the other Tamil military castes had to be disfranchised to rid Tamil society of its ancient habits and culture of predatory warfare.

After the fall of the Cholas of Thanjavur in the 14th century the area came under the rule of the Madurai kings, Pallavarayars and Thondaimans of Pudukottai according to J. Raja Mohammed, Curator of the Pudukottai Government Museum. The Thondaimans of Pudukkottai rose to power by about the end of 17th century. In the year 1640 Ragunatha Raya Thondiman formed Pudukkottai State. The Thondaimans of Pudukkottai came to rule with full sovereignty over the Pudukkottai area from the middle of the 17th century till its amalgamation with the rest of India after Indian Independence in 1947.The royal family of Thondaimans ruled upto 1948. Pudukkottai province became a part of Tiruchirappalli district.

In later centuries, the Thondaiman rulers, while nominally feudatories of the Ramnad state, often pursued an independent foreign policy, a trend common in all parts of India at that time. Certainly the most consequential of such ventures was their alliance with the BritishRaj in the 18th century, first against the Nawab of Arcot and later against the Kingdom of Mysore. Pudukkotai finally came under formal British protection in 1763. This was arguably unavoidable, since the Thondaimans were much menaced in that period by a resurgent Mysore ruled by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. Tipu Sultan had sought to leverage the power of the France against his United Kingdom adversaries, and Pudukkotai, in common with its neighbours such as Thanjavur and Travancore, found it expedient to ally with the British.

The ancestors of the Pudukkottai ruling line of Thondaimans, are migrants from Thirupathi region in the Thondaimandalam, the northern stretch of the ancient Tamil Kingdom, along with the Vijaynagar army, which was in engagement in this part of territory in the early 17th century. It is probable that one among them got some lands assigned to him by the local Pallavarayar chieftain and settled down at Karambakudi and Ambukovil area, and became the chieftain of the area, later came to be called as the progenitor of Thondaimans of Pudukkottai ruling house. According to the legendary account found in a Telugu poem, Thondaiman Vamasavali, the Thondaimans belonged to Indravamsa and the first ruler was Pachai Thondaiman.

Aranthangi is ruled by Thondaimans (Different from Pudukkottai Thondaimans) in earlier days.Not much is known about the Aranthangi Thondaimans who were ruling Aranthangi from the 15th to 18th century, as fuedal chiefs under the Pandyas, Sethupathis of Ramanathapuram, Nayaks of Thanjavur and Vijayanagar kings. Though there are references to the Aranthangi Thondaimans in the inscriptions in the temples in Avudayarkovil, Alappiranathan, Pillaivayal, Aranthangi, Kovilur, Paramandur, Palankarai, Piranmalai, Thiruvarankulam, Kurumbur, details of these rulers are rather sketchy.

Though there are references 60 Thondaimans as ruling chiefs, administrative and military chiefs, royal personages etc., in quite a few places, at different points of time, it was very difficult to bring them all under a single clan, or connect one another ethnically or politically. Similarly the Aranthangi Thondaimans were an independent line of chieftains, ruling from Aranthangi, and their reign flourished even about 200 years before the rule of the Thondaimans of Pudukottai (which started in about 1640). Aranthangi Thondaimans were the chief patrons of the Avudayarkovil temple, and had liberally donated to the maintenance of the temple, as indicated by copper plates in the possession of the Tiruvavaduthurai Adheenam.

An inscribed granite pillar, giving details of the hitherto little known Aranthangi Thondaimans, and also of the establishment of a `Thannerpandal’ (drinking water centre) for pilgrims proceeding to Rameswaram, has been discovered by Mr. Raja Mohamed, curator of the Pudukottai Museum, and secretary of the Pudukottai History Forum. It was customary in those days to inscribe in copper plates, the gifts of land made by Thondaimans, and which had already been inscribed in granite stones. Such corrobarative inscriptions in granite and copper plates prove the genuineness of the gifts. The inscriptions also refer to the donation of land for the presiding deity, Lord Thyagaraja, of Tiruvarur. The pillar has recently been shifted to the Pudukottai musuem.

They had gifted lands etc. to Tiruvarur, Rameswaram, Kanchipuram and also Benares temples. About 25 copper plates grants of Aranthangi Thondaimans have been recorded so far, and 16 of them are in the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam. No places or forts have been found in Aranthangi, except a few remains of the dilapidated walls of an old fort. Attempts are being made to study in depth, about Aranthangi Thondaimans. Ancient granite pillar with inscriptions which was found in Nattani village in Pudukottai district recently.

The famous ‘Thondai kingdom’ (which lies to the north of Tamil Nadu), which had been ruled by the Thondaimans had many scholars to its credit. To the south west of Kanchi (Kanchi is considered the Holiest of the seven holy places of pilgrimage for attaining salvation) lies a holy place called ‘Sumangali’

Pandya king – Muttarasa Tirumalei Maha Vilivanathi Rayar was a Vandiyar
In 1451, it is said a Nayakkan named Lakkana brought to Madura four persons, who he declared to be the true Pandya stock, and set them, or one of them upon the throne. The names of these four are given as follows, namely :

  • (1) Sundara Tol Maha Vilivanathi Rayar (Suntara tora mavili vanathi rayer)
  • (2) Kaleiyar Somanar ( kaliyar somanar)
  • (3) Anjatha Perumal ( Anjatha Perumal)
  • (4) Muttarasa Tirumalei Maha Vilivanathi Rayar( Muttarasatirunali mavili vanathi rayer)

These kings can be seen with titles Muttarasa, Mavili and Vanathirayar and from the following information they seem to belong Kallar branch of Thevar (Mukkulathor) clans. For more details on Kallars and Vandiyars, readers may like to refer to webpage “WAR-TRIBES” in this website “MUDIRAJA”

Mahabali => Mahavali => Mavali => Mavili => Vili
Vanathirayar => Vanadirayar => Vandiyar
Mahavali + Vanathirayar => Maha Vilivanathi Rayar

The surnames used by the Thevar people are Ambalakarar, Servai, Vandaiyar, Mannaiyar, Nattar (not Nadar), etc. The Kallars of Dindigul, Trichy, Thanjavur, Theni, Madurai, Sivaganga, Pudukottai and Ramnad Districts have very distinct surnames.Some of the most common names included are Vanathirayar, Ambalam, Kalingarayar, Vandaiyaar, Thanjaraayar, Vaanavaraayar, Pallavaraayar, Servai, Vanavarayar, Thondaimaan, Thevar, Vanniar, Nattaar, Saaluvar, Onthiriyar, Kaaduvetiyaar, ,olivarayar etc. There are over 700 surnames in use.Now it is clear that the present day Vandayars (Kallars) are the descendants of ancient or vanarayars or vanars or vanathirayars.

Vaanavaraayar => Vanavarayar => Vanarayar
Vanarayar => Vanrayar =>Vandayar => Vandiyar
Vanarayar => Vanadirayar => Vanathirayar

It is said that “Vanar” or “Banar” were called “Vanathirayar” and they claimed to have won over all the three Moovendar and briefly ruled Madurai after chasing away “Pandyans”. If it is so, these Bana kings could be the part of Kalabhras who invaded South India displacing the then Chola, Chera & Pandya kings. . The title Muttarasa used by some of these kings too point to this fact that they could be kalabhras as it is widely believed that Muthurajas are the descendants of Kalabhras. Even the name ” Kallar ” it self is a modification of the word Kalabrar or Kalabar or Kalabhra.

Kalabra => Kalabrar => Kalabar => Kalbar => Kallar

It is probable that all of them were members of one and the same family and resident of Kaleiyar Kovil; and that their mother was the mistress of some petty Pandya chieftain. Whatever they were, they appear to have been crowned, and to have enjoyed a certain amount of kingly power in the Pandya country during a period of fort eight years. Their names still survive in the legends. And it would seem to be by no means improbable that it was these illegitimate Pandyas who built the four loft towers ( Gopuras) which rise from the walls surrounding the great Pagoda at Madura. But the building of them is always ascribed by natives to “the Pandyas”.

Vanarayas and Bana kings were one and the same
Bana : is a gotra of Jats found in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in India. Banas are descendants of King Banasur. Their capital was at Bayana in Bharatpur. Vana Ganga river gets name from Banas. The princess of Bayana was Usha married to Anirudh. There is a temple at Bayana constructed in memory of Usha. Virkvansi Jats and Sinsinwar Jats of Bharatpur later on occupied Bayana. Bana is a rigvedic ruling clan. Byawar near Ajmer and Bhadawar, Kadiyar Khanda in Bikaner, Giradhpur, Chitauli, and Chandaudi etc famous villages of Meerut are inhabited by Bana jats.Bana is a village in Churu district inhahited by Bana gotra Jats.this village established by bhoj who is bana .

Thiru Narayanapuram :
Location: Thottiam taluk, Trichy district. 1 km from Varadaraja puram.
Main Deity: Veda Narayanar, in lying posture with Sridevi, & Bodhevi thayar
Importance: Swayambu Veda Narayana Perumal on Adi seshan with 10 heads. Sridevi & Bhodevi doing seva.Prahaladha as a small boy. Brahma got his veda upadesam in this place.

Story: Once Mahabala chakravarthy Vanarayar was travelling towards Mysore from this place to fight and expand his kingdom. At night they had to halt here and he had a dream. Vedanarayana perumal under the mud was to be removed and installed in a temple built by him. After doing the pooja he should proced further then he will be the King without any effort. The King as he was told and his wish was fulfilled.

Another in the purana is Arayar ( Muthuraja ) family came to worship here. That day fire broke and the temple with temporary structure got fire and Arayar to save god from fire he with his family lay on the idol and attained moksha. Prahaladha is seen in the temple. After Hirnya vadham, Perumal was in anger prahaladha worshipped him and asked him to be in santha swaroopam in this place forever. Brahma was of ego that only he can create and perumal wanted to teach him a lesson so he created an ugly person and sent him to Brahma. Looking at this person. brahma was confused as to who could have done. To clear his doubt. he asked Veda Narayana perumal, who could be. Perumal replied him that since Brahma is the god of creation it could be no one else. Then suddenly the ugly person disappeared, and his ego was destroyed. Brahma asked Narayana to preach veda to him. This was the place, where veda was preached to Brahma, so we see the right palm of perumal is kept open as giving upadesa to Brahma. There are 4 vedas as pillows to Veda Narayanar here which is unique. Anjeneya in the front pillar is important because people here keep him as a judge for every matter. The temple is a small one but well maintained.

Bali or Mahabali may also be written or said as “Vali” or “Mahavali”. Bali – founder of the varnas; descendant of Yayati. Mahabali (Daitya) – Chakravarti (noble king) who sacrificed his kingdom to Vamana, a.k.a. “Vairochana Bali” (son of Virochanab Bali), “Mabali” and “Mavali”; descendant of Turvasu lineage. Mahabali Banarasa (Bana) – King of the Bana tribe in Gandanadu.

Bana Kingdom
Kaduvetti Muttaraja is said to belong Bana lineage as per some insciptions. The Bana kings ruled parts of South India. In many cases as subordinate position and some times taking major roles. The Banas had their capital at various places at different times, including Kolar. Kolar was a capital city of Western Ganga Muttarasa kings. Bana Vidhyadhara, son of Malladeva (Married a grand-daughter of the Ganga King Siva maharaja ( Shivamara ?) , who reigned between 1000 and 1016AD) .

The Bana kingdom , records of which in canarese are chiefly to be found in the Eastern fringe of Myand in Punganor, was established early in 8th century in a tract of country of which the North and South boundaries roughly corresponded to to those of present district of Chittor, while it extended from Kolar on the West to Kalahasti on the East. Later in the Century, this kindom evidently increased rapidly in the power and absorbed large terretories to the North. Bana inscriptions of _this period boast of possessing “the country west of the Andhra Dominions” or all the country West of the “road to the Telugu country, ” by which must be meant the East coast road from Conjeevaram to Nellore.These Bana Muttaras kins seems to be defeated Vijayalaya Chola.

Vandiyars and Pandiyars could be one and the same
Mukkulathor, Mukulathar or Mukulathor is a name for a group of three related social groups or castes of Tamil Nadu state of India. The related castes are Kallar, Maravar and Agamudaiyar. The commonly used titles & surnames of this community, are Thevar, Nattaar, Padaiyachee, Thalaivar, Ambalakarar, vandiyars, salvars, kaduvettiar..this title differ according to the region they live .etc These people could be the decendents of the Pandiars who are still live today in South India.

Vanarayar => Vanrayar => Vandayar => Vandiyar => Vandiyan
Vandiyar => Pandiyar => Pandiyan => Pandian
Vandiyar => Pandiyar => Pandiyan => Pandiya => Pandya

Most of the Vandayars or Vandiyars are Kallars. It appears that the title Vandiyar gradually modofied to Pandiyar. This could be possible as Kallars claim to be the descendats of rulers of Pandyan kingdom. Pandiyars are said to have taken over MADURAI in around 300BCE according to Sangam Literature.

The Maruthu Pandiyar brothers (Periya Maruthu & Chinna Maruthu) ruled Sivagangai, Tamil Nadu during the last part of the 18th century and they were the first to issue a proclamation of independence from the British rule from Trichy Thiruvarangam Temple, Tamil Nadu on June 10, 1801, which is 56 years before the North Indian rebellion – Sepoy mutiny of 1857.

Inscriptional references to Bana or Vana kings

Tamil Inscriptions – part – iii – Inscriptions of the CHOLA DYNASTY
No. 76. Udayendiram Plates of Prithivipati II. Hastimalla- Prithivipati II. was a dependent of Parantaka I. and received from him the dignity of ‘lord of the Banas’ (v. 21), who had been conquered by the Chola king (v. 9). He defeated the Hill-chiefs (Girindra) and the Pallavas (v. 23) and bore the titles ‘lord of Parivipuri’ and ‘lord of Nandi,’ i.e., of the Nandidurga hill near Bangalore.

Ganga king Prithivipati II was conferred “lord of the Banas” by Parantaka I Chola. Banas are mentioned in Tamil Nadu as late as 13th and 15th century. Banas had different titles in different regions at different times. Some of them include, Vanar/ Vanara/ Vanavarayar/ Vanakovarayar/ Ponparappinan, etc.

MISCELLANEOUS INSCRIPTIONS IN KANNADA -VOLUME IX – Part – I -CHOLAS -No. 299. -(A.R. No. 332 of 1912.) -ON A SLAB SET UP IN A FIELD AT KARSHANAPALLE, PUNGANUR ZAMINDARI, CHITTOOR DISTRICT.-The record is not dated. It refers itself to the reign of Sembiyan Mahabali-Banarasa and to the rule of Vikkiyanna over Pulinadu sixty. It records the death of Vikki and another hero in a battle with Pallvi(a)-Dhavala and that the hero’s brother Kundiga set up stone in their memory. Sembiyan Mahabali-Banarasa was a subordinate of the Chola king Parataka I.

Volume_23/pandya_1.html – No. 430 (Page No 327) – (A. R. No. 430 of 1907) – Sinnamanaur, Periyakulam Taluk, Madurai District – Rajasimhesvara temple пїЅ on the same wall – Jat. Vira-Pandya (I) : year 26 : 1278-79 A.D. (?) – This seems to record a similar gift of an impost on certain articles of merchandise like betal-nut, pepper and rice agreed to contributed by the members of the community Padinenvishayattar of the four nagaram for a festival in Margali in the temple of Rajasimhesvaramudaiya-Nayanar at Arikesarinallur in Ala-nadu. Mention is also made of a bazaar to the east of Valangai -mikaman-tirumandapam built by (an officer) Pandiyadaraiyar in the name of Pillai Kulasekhara -Mahabali-Vanarayar. The members are stated to have met for their deliberation in the temple of Vikramapandisvaramudaiya -Nayanar at Sivallavan-padaividu.

INSCRIPTIONS COLLECTED DURING THE YEAR 1906-07 – PANDYA – No. 127 (Page No 99 ) (A. R. No. 127 of 1907) – Pappankulam, Ambasamudram Taluk, Tirunelveli District – Sidhajnanesvara temple — on the same wall – Mar. Kulasekhara – is is also an inscription of the same king. The regnal year is lost but the details of date can be read as (Makara) ba. 14, Thursday, Anushanm. It registers another sale of land in their village by the same Uravar of Vikramapandya-nallur to the temple for 928 Danapala -guligai -panam. This also refers to a previous mortgage of the land made in the 8th year of the king. With two individual by name Vanarayar and Sulapanippillai for 728 panam which seems to have been paid back now to the mortgages out of this sale amount.

South Indian Inscriptions : 23. We are not quite so certain of the identity of Jatavarman Vira-pandya whose inscriptions from Sinnamanur and Kallidaikkurichchi (Nos.430 and 117) are respectively dated in the 26th and 28th years of his reign, but do not begin with any preamble giving his exploits. The former refers to a hall in the temple built by an officer of the king and called the vangai-Mikaman-Mandapam after the surname of one Pillai Kulasekhara-Mahabali-Vanarayar. No. 117 registers an endowment for a feeding house made by a certain Tirunilakantan Rajakkanayanar alias Tondaimanar of Puduvur in Ala-nadu.

SOUTH INDIAN INSCRIPTIONS – No. 6 – (A.R. No. 327 of 1912.) -ON A SLAB SET UP IN A FIELD AT KARSHNAPALLE, SAME SAMINDARI AND DISTRICT – This is not dated and refers itself to the reign of the Bana king Banarasa, who was also in charge of the Ganga six-thousand province when Ballaha i.e., the Rashtrakuta king led a campaign against Kaduvetti, for not paying tribute. On this occasion a certain servant of Banatattaran, himself a servant of Vijayitta, while returning on a horse near Kuntiala, died after slaying Ganamurti. Since the characters of the record are of the 9th century A.D. it may be assigned to the time of Vijayaditya II.

No. 7. (A.R. No. 313 of 1912.) – ON A VIRAGAL SET UP IN THE BACK-YARD OF A HOUSE IN CHALAMANGALA, SAME ZAMINDARI AND DISTRICT – This id damaged and not dated. It refers itself to the reign of king Banarasa of the Mahavali Bana family and seems to record the death of a warrior in a battle.

No. 8 (A.R. No. 323 of 1912.) -ON A SLAB BUILT INTO THE NADI-MANDAPA IN THE ARKESVARA TEMPLE AT KARSHANAPALLE, SAME ZAMINDARI AND DISTRICT – The record is not dated and is damaged. It mentions Banarasa of the Mahavali kula ruling over [Ganga] six-thousand province.

No. 11 – (A.R. No. 543 of 1906.) – ON A SLAB SET UP IN A FIELD IN FRONT OF THE VILLAGE CHADALLA, ON PUNGANUR-CHDUM ROAD, SAME ZAMINDARI AND DISTRICT – This undated record refers itslef to the reign of the Bana king Mahaali-Banarasa. It states that when some one was ruling Valla, situated in Badugavali, and when Banarasa led a campaign on behalf of Permanadigal against the Nolamba, Rachamalla and Mayindadi, Madhavarasa of Kinganur fought and, having slaing a number of men and horses in the battle of Soremadi, died. In recognition of his service the king bestowed (upon his family) land of three khamba.

They are also known as Agam Padaiyar or defending soldiers (or in pure Tamil, Agam udayar means: Agam – prestige, Udayar – having) indicating a specialization as soldiers/ rulers. Agam can also be compared with heart, (as in “Agathin Azhagu Mugathil Theriyum”), and can be interpreted as, “people with a good heart”. Although their name is attested later in literature, they and the culture is indigenous to the area and are ancient in origins. Vellala woved their daughters to ramnad agamudayars then formed servaikarars. Thevars of ramanthapuram district are given the title Servai. Some believe these castes formed as part of military formation of Kallap-Padai or hustlers, Marap-Padai or soldiers and Agap-Padai or defenders, although no evidence has been put forward towards this theory.
Kallars, Maravars and Agamudayars formed an indispensable part of ancient Tamil armies and fought in a number of famous battles and skirmishes. However, it has frequently been doubted that most of the ancient Tamil kings themselves might have been Mukkulathors. It is believed that the Maravar people, the Agamudayars, Thanjai Cholarkula Kalla Nattars, Pandiya Vellalars, Chola Vellalars, Chera Vellalar, Vellala Mudaliyars, Agamudaya Mudaliars and Udayars have all descended from Kallars.

Great kings like the Marudhu Pandiyar brothers were thevars and to be more precise – Agamudayars. Ancient tamil warrior castes like Kallar,Maravars and Agamudayars claim that they are the descendants of the Pandyas. After Madurai fell into the hands of the invading armies of the Delhi Sultanate, the Pandyas sought the help of Vijayanagar Empire. The Vijayanagar Empire replaced the Delhi Sultanate in Madurai and appointed Telugu Nayaks governors to rule from Madurai.

The Agampadi community were from the Agammudaiyar caste from Tamil-Nadu. So Agamudayar is also known as Agampadaiyar,or Agap-Padai(Defending Soldiers),& subsequently the word Akampati, from “Kerala” or Agap-Padai from Tamil-Nadu, became Sinhalised, & transformed into Agampadi or Agampodi, Agampu+Adi. They were allowed to wear a red turban, to distinguish them from the common soldiersb& were highly trained in martial arts, fighting with swords etc. & were brought to Srilanka from South India as mercenary soldiers & were used to fight wars & to protect Royal Palaces, they had several military camps in the Southern part of Srilanka & married local Salagama women & got integrated in to the Salagama sub caste “Hewapanne” (Warriors), they have the title Agampadi, or Agampodi, in front of their surnames. They were noted to have fought valiantly against the portuguese, according to a legend, One Agampodi warrior with his sword, beheaded a cruel Portuguese Commander who had earlier thrown Sinhalese children to crocodiles & presented the head to the King who awarded him with a honorary title.

Kallars, Maravars and Agamudayars formed an indispensable part of ancient Tamil armies and fought in a number of famous battles and skirmishes. However, it has frequently been doubted that most of the ancient Tamil kings themselves might have been Mukkulathors. Along with Agamudayars, Maravars, Kallars, Kaikkolas also served in the army of Chola Empire. Sengunthar or Kaikolan or Kaikolar use the title of Mudaliar after their name. Mudaliyars a variant of Muthariyars only. Along with Agamudayars, Maravars, Kallars, Kaikkolas also served in the army of Chola Empire.

Some Agamudayars call themselves as Pillai. Agamudaiyar, a caste belonging to the Mukkulathor community who generally use Thevar as their surname also use the Mudaliar. The Agam udaiyars (the most upward community among the three) slowly migrated towards the northern part of Tamil Nadu, settled there, changed their caste name to Thuluva Vellala. Agamudayar пїЅ they are called as Mudaliyar in Madras area , as Thevars in Maduarai/Ramnad dist, as Pillai in Tanjore area, they are one of the caste groups of Mukulathor.

Mutharayars => Mutharaiyars => Muthariyars => Muthaliyars => Mudaliyars

The mukulathor are mainly south of kaveri. Mudaliars(north of kaveri) and pillais (south of kaveri) are subset of vellalas(cultivator caste).

Agamudayar are one of the Mukkalathor. In general, they are agriculturists. Agamudayar of Northern Tamil Nadu use Mudaliar title and those living in Southern parts use Udayar title to their names. They are distributed in the Districts of Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruchi and Pudu-kkottai. According to a Maravar historian, there are eleven important subgroups of Maravar: Sembinattu, Kondayam Kottai, Sirutali Katti, Vanniya, Pantara, Karana, Appanurnattu, Agata, Uppukottai, Kuruchi and Sorvaikara Maravar. They are largely distributed in the districts of Tiruchirapalli, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Kamarajar, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Ramanatha-puram and Pasumponn Muthuramalinga Thevar Districts. The prescribed exogamous rules are strictly observed i.e., they do not marry within the same clans/gotras (Singh 1992).

The Kallars, Maravars and Agamudaiyars, who call themselves Thevars, are the traditionally denotified tribes, and their concentration is heavy in the southern districts. During the British rule, certain restrictions had been imposed on them.

In the village of Viravorum near Manimangalam (sixteen miles southwest of Madras town), for instance, a dispute arose between two peasant communities, the agamudaiyars and the reddis. According to the agamudaiyars, the Mirasidar rights of the reddis had been sold during the war against Hyder Ali. After the war, the agamudaiyars were unwilling to allow the reddis to rebuild their houses in the village.

Sri Kamakshi Amman temple, at Panchamadevi village, in Karur district – the temple’s “Kudipaattukarars” include brahmins, dalits, agamudayars, goundars and sozhiya vellalars, reflecting an egalitarian spirit in devotion.

MARAVAR KADHAI PADALGAL : THIS WORK is an ethnographical study on the Maravar community of Tamil Nadu which is traced back to the period of Pandya Kingdom. The author deals with the subject under four main divisions – the history and life of the Maravar community, ethnographical perspective on the folk ballads; socio-cultural aspects described in the The ballads having story songs are in the form of Villupattu, one of the ancient folk performing arts of Tamil Nadu.

The Villupattu ballads `Poolithevan Kadai’ and `Veerapandiya Kattabomman Kadai’ are interesting to read. Their courage and love for freedom come out strongly. The Kallars and Agamudayars are also studied, although not in detail, as part of the Maravar community as belonging to Mukkulathor. Poolithevan, who belonged to the Maravar community, was the first freedom fighter from Tamil Nadu, a fact not well known.

The kings who founded and ruled Vijayanagar empire for more than 200 years bringing almost all the telugu speaking lands and tamil country under their control were mostly Udayars. These were the same Udayars who are now well known known as Wodayars or Wodeyars of Mysore. Some of the Mudduraja ( Mudiraj of Karnataka ) kings who ruled Kodagu also used Wodayar royal title. There are insciptions naming some Sangama dynasty and Saluva dynasty rulers as Udaiyars. The Udayars direct and indirectly related Mutharayars and Mudiraj. Udayars are one of the three clans under the cluster – Mukkulathor. Mutharayars, Mudaliyars and Udayars are all one and the same people.

Mutharayars => Muthariyars => Muthaliyars => Mudaliyars => Mudayars => Udayars

For more details about Udayar rulers of Vijayanagar empire, readers may please go through the chapter “Vijayanagar Empire” under menu “Kingdoms” in this website.

Kokolu Anka Rao
date= 11/11/2007
Nagpur, Maharstra, India.

First , I thank you for web service about mutharaiyar(mudiraj). I am a mutharaiyar. I read mudiraj wikipedia. I oppose some of your writtings. Vella Goundar are not a muthuraja but vettuva goundars are muthuarajas. Like that mukulathor(Devar, Agmudaiyar, kallar, maravar) are not muthuraja. They are using muthuraja surname in their names for gaining respect and proud(servai, Amabalam, Amabalakarar), but they cannot get community certificate in Muthurajae name. Because, muthurajas and Tamilnadu Govt., would not agree that they are muthurajas. Same is the case with pillai surname, most of vellas in tamil nadu are using pillai surname after their name for gaining respect and proud. But, Govt would not give them any such certificate for those as pillai. Govt only accepts and issue community certificate as pillai surname for tanjore, nagai, thiruvarur district muthurajas.

Lot of thanks for your service on mudiraj.

Date: Tuesday, 20 December, 2011, 5:52 PM
Boopathi Pattan ( )


Valai meaning ‘net’ gives birth to valaiyar / valaivar (fishermen) in sangam texts using y and v as glides respectively. Cholas are called “vaLavar” ( people of the fertile lands ) in Sangam texts. The Chola heartland is Kaviri delta.Karikala Chola was from valavan / Valaiyar fishing community and the valaiyars belong to subcaste of Muthurajas at present in Tamilnadu.

‘Valaya’ or ‘Valaiyans,’ are one of the oldest aboriginal groups inhabiting the hill tracks of Southern Tamil Nadu. Valaiyans are skilled hunters and forest product gatherers. Their name is believed to be derived from the word ‘valai’ (or net), since this implement is constantly employed by them in the capturing of jungle game ( Thurston & Rangachari, 1909).

Vala => Valai = Net

In Telugu VALA and in Tamil VALAI means net. The NET that is used to catch fish is the fist invention of ancient fishing community of bhil kolis. The weavers branch of kolis came to be known as Koris and Sant Kabir belongs to this kori community. Saint Valmiki also belonged Valya Koli. Here, Valya refers to Telugu VALA and Tamil VALAI. These Valayars could be the descendants of emperor Mandhata. Koli fishermen of North India also claim their descendancy from emperor Mandhata.

Valaya = Net = Closed Loop
Valaya => Valya
Valaya => Valay => Valai => Vala

Further Valmiki is also known as Ratnakar Walia. Valmiki is said to belong to Valya kolis. Here, the Walia could be a gradual modofication of the word Valaya / valya .

Valya => Walya => Walia

Valaiyan is one of the most ancient castes in the country.” In the Tanjore Manual they are described as ” inhabitants of the country inland who live by snaring birds, and fishing in fresh waters. They engage also in agricultural labour and cooly work, such as carrying loads, husking paddy (rice), and cutting and selling fire-wood. They are a poor and degraded class.” The Valaiyans are expert at making cunningly devised traps for catching rats and jungle fowl.

In the Census Report, 1901, the Valaiyans are described as ” a shikari (hunting) caste in Madura and Tanjore. In the latter the names Ambalakaran, Servaikaran, Vedan, Siviyan, and Kuruvikkaran are indiscriminately applied to the caste.” There is some connection between Ambalakarans, Muttiriyans, Mutrachas, Uralis, Vedans, Valaiyans, and Vettuvans, but in what it exactly consists remains to be ascertained. It seems likely that all of them are descended from one common parent stock. Ambalakarans claim to be descended from Kannappa Nayanar, one of the sixty three Saivite saints, who was a Vedan or hunter by caste. In Tanjore the Valaiyans declare themselves to have a similar origin, and in that district Ambalakaran and Muttiriyan seem to be synonymous with Valaiyan.

Moreover, the statistics of the distribution of the Valaiyans show that they are numerous in the districts where Ambalakarans are few, and vice versa, which looks as though certain sections had taken to callinor themselves Ambalakarans. The upper sections of the Ambalakarans style themselves Pillai, which is a title properly belonging to Vellalas, but the others are usually called Muppan in Tanjore, and Ambalakaran, Muttiriyan, and Servaikaran in Trichinopoly. The usual title of the Valaiyans, so far as I can gather, is Muppan, but some style themselves Servai and Ambalakaran.”

In the colonial days, the British had identified the Valaiyars and several other communities in Tamil Nadu (and elsewhere I am sure) as thugs, and issued a gazette (official) notification to that effect. All the affected communities were collectively known as “Notified Tribes”, an ignominious identity, signifying criminal habits. After independence, the Government of India decided to rectify this unfair stereotyping of entire communities. It issued a new gazette notification, declaring that the said communities have been denotified as criminal tribes. Thereafter, they were identified as “Denotified Tribes”. Their identity was officially changed but they were stuck with the ignominy nonetheless. So much for the concept of identity! Half the population of valayars of Natham Block in Tamil Nadu are a traditional hunting caste. Valayars are from Tamil Nadu and Chettinad Valayars ( Sivaganga, Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram Districts ) are a denotified community. Valayars ( Mutharayars ) are also a Backward community in Tamil Nadu.

They are divided into sevaral endogamous sections of which the important are the valuvadis, saraku valayans, and veda valayans. Their usual titles are Ambalakaran, Vedan, Servai. However in the study area they are called pusaris and officially called Muthurajas. Ambalakarans are traditionally associated with temple activities. The traditional occupations are snaring birds, fishing, agricultural and manual labour, and collecting medicinal herbs, and honey. The Valayars have caste association called Muthurajas Association.

The valayars were often found in the villages on periphery of forests in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. They were below all the castes, in social hierarchy but for pallars and paraiyars. The valayars have been listed as Backward Class since 1913 and were included in the Most Backward Classes in 1957. Valayars as a class at the bottom of the most backward classes in every respect. The difference between valayars and Scs is exceedingly thin and in some areas, even partial untouchbility is practised against them.

The women play a very significant and unique role in these valayar and other fishing communities. The women of Chinnapalayam and Thoopukadu, belonging to the Valaiyar community, have traditionally harvested crabs, fish and seaweeds in the waters around the islands facing the bay, and also, on the seaward side.

There are different views about the origin of the Valayar community. One story says that the Valayar come from the race of Guhan who was a fisherman in the period of Lord Rama. Guhan helped Rama cross a river, as a result of which Rama accepted Guhan as his brother. Valayar (Muthurayar) community is a sub-group of hunters called Vedavar. Kannappanayanar comes from the race of Vedavar. They are the descendants of Kannappanayanar who was a devotee of Lord Shiva. Kannappanayanar had come from Thirukaalahasthi in Andhra Pradesh. Valayar’s forefathers are thus believed to have come from Andhra Pradesh. They were staying in the forest and lived by hunting, collecting roots and fruits found in the forest in the ancient period. As ages passed they settled in the coastal areas and started fishing for their livelihood.

Perumbidugu Muthurayar who ruled Trichy centuries ago was the descendant of Pazhavettarayar. All the Muthurayars are the descendants of this royal community. A booklet published by one Professor M. Rajashekara Thangamani, on the occasion of 1330th birth anniversary of Perumpidugu Muthurayar-II, offers some information about this community. According to this research paper, the Muthurayar community had their golden days in the seventh, eighth and ninth centuries AD. Even though there is no conclusive proof about the origin of the community, the said paper claims that there were Muthurayar kings like Perumpidugu Muthurayar-II, who ruled a part of Tamil Nadu, with the capital at Tanjore.

The paper also claims that Muthurayar kings functioned as rulers under the major kings of Chola, Pandya and Pallava dynasties. There is also an intriguing reference about the Muthurayar kings, who at one stage supported the Pallavas against the Pandya kings and then took over the rule from the Pallavas. However, the reign of the Muthurayars was short lived due to the resurgence of the rule of the Chola and the Pandya kings. Another interesting feature in the said paper is that their counterparts are found in West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala under different names.

Valaiyars are hunters; they mainly hunt small game and their name derivesfrom a small net (valai), which they use to catch their prey. They are said to hunt and eat all types of inferior food such as rats or frogs. In other words, if we accept a definition of untouchability in purely ritual terms, the Valaiyars are by no means superior to the Pallars. Their caste name is derogatory and today they prefer to be called Muthuraja, Muppannar or even Amblakarrar.

The vallayars in some parts of Tamilnadu are known to eat rats. Valaiyar community business is hunting. They hunt rats in our fields. They say those rats in the fields and rice thay have saved in their holes are used as medicines. “Valai” means net. People using “Valai” called Valaiyar.

Valaiyar caste group is on the low end of scale extensively settled in the more forested regions of Pudukottai. The Valayar caste group is not considered a dalit community. People of this community are economically worse off than most scheduled caste (dalit) communities. The vallaiyar community people are traditional herb / medicinal plant gatherers and cultivators. . The people of the valayar community have been famous for their familiari ty with their ecology and flora fauna. They tell a folk story in this regard :

A Vedan ( literally means hunter, but here refers to the valayar as valayars are a branch of vedans ) cwas one nitting fishing net. Lord Shivs ( Hindu God) passed that way with a great surprise asked the vedan what the need for fishing net was when the whole area has been dry for years together. The Vedan confidently replied that the weather signals show that it would rain shortly and the ponds would get filled up and that he would use the net to fish in the ponds. Amused at the Vedans idiocy, Lord Shiva laughed to himself and left the place. When he returned, he was taken aback seeing that it had rained heavily, ponds were filled and heaps of fresh water fishes were lying in their banks. He immediately fell at the Vedans feet and exclaimed, you are the God for you know what is to come. Such was the confidence that the valayars had about their predictions about nature.

It must be noted that the Valaiyar myth of origin is typical of a very low caste and is also told by the Paraiyar untouchables:

Lord Iswaran was giving his blessing (asservatham) to all people and distributed sacred ashes (thiruneeru). The Koonars came up with a big pot and thus a lot of ashes fell into the pot. They were very blessed and that is why today many people among them are well off. Other people came with their hands and they were also blessed; today they are also well off. The Valaiyars were fool enough to come with a valai (net) and thus when Iswaran gave the ashes most of it fell on the ground. Only a few particles remained on the knots of the valai and the Valaiyars were little blessed.

We cannot speak here of a proper myth of origin as it considers the caste which comes in front of the divinity as already constituted. However, the myth also explains the difficulties of upward mobility encountered by the Valaiyars, and derives those from a kind of congenital stupidity. We could argue that this is the reproduction of a social stereotype current among the high castes to explain the inferiority of lower social sections. Nevertheless, what matters here, is that the Valaiyars are associated with the lowest castes, and tell this story to account for their low status.

South Indian Inscriptions collected during the year 1906 : Jatavarman Pandya II
No. 393 – (A. R. No. 393 of 1906) – Tiruchirapalli District, Pudukkottai State, Tirumayyam. – Satyagirinatha-Perumal Temple пїЅ On The North Wall Of The Mandapa. Jat. Tribh. Vira-Pandyadeva (Ii) пїЅ 4[5] Th Year – The details of the date are given as Dhanus, ba. 8, Wednesday, Hasta, which would correspond to A.D. 1340, December 13. This is Jat. Vira-pandya II who ascended the throne in A.D. 1296.

This registers the sale of padikaval right inclusive of the income from some specified lands in the village, by the Sabha of Tirumeyyam, in Kana-nadu alias Virudaraya -bhayankara-valanadu, to Muvan Kadappillai, a member of the Valaiyar (community) of Melaikkurundanpirai of the Padaipparru (military area?) in the same nadu for a price of 200 panam called the Valitir-andar-guligai. The specification of the income from the lands are not clear being lost in the damaged portion of the record.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 16/ 01/ 2009
Nagpur, Maharastra, India


Urali.- In the Madras Census Report, 1891, the Uralis are described as ” a caste of agricultural labourers found chiefly in the districts of Madura and Trichinopoly. The word Urali means a ruler of a village. Like the Ambalakkarans, they trace their descent from one Mutturaja, and the only sub-division returned by any number is Mutracha. They also assert that they were formerly employed as soldiers.

In the Wynad there is a section of Kurumbas called Urali Kurumbas, and it is not improbable that these Uralis of the Tamil country are an offshoot of the great Kurumba race.” The Uralis are further summed up in the same report, as ” agricultural labourers in Coimbatore, Trichinopoly, and Madura.

There seems to be some connection between the Uralis and the Ambalakkarans or Muttiriyans. Muttiriyan is a sub-division of both Urali and Ambalakkaran, and both of these are found in the same districts.

Uralis Kurumbas Ambalakarars Muttiriyans

Perhaps the Uralis are an offshoot of the Tamil Valaiyans, which by change of occupation has transformed itself into a distinct caste

Uralis Valaiyans Muttiriyans

They say that they were originally Kshatriyas living in ‘ Alipuram near Oudh,’ and left that place in search of adventure, or in consequence of disputes at home, leaving their wives behind them, and finally settled in the south, where they married serving women (pulukkachis). They say that they belong to the Mutturaja Kuttam, a phrase they cannot explain, and protest that the Ambalakkarans, who make a similar claim, have no ground for so doing. They seem to eat with no other caste on equal terms, but will, of course, accept separate meals from Vellalans.

They are split into seven nadus, which are in effect endogamous subdivisions. These are called after villages in the country inhabited by the caste, namely, Vadaseri, Pilluru, Sengudi, Kadavangudi or Virali, Talakka, Paluvinji or Magali, and Marungi. The members of the first three of these nadus are called Vadaseri Uralis, and those of the other four Nattu-simai Uralis, Kunduva-nattu-tokkadus, or Nandutindis. All of them will mess together. They say that the nadus were originally intended to facilitate the decision of caste disputes, and they are still the unit of self-government. Each nadu has a headman, who exercises supreme control over the villages included

The Uralis also have a number of exosfamous septs called karais by the Vadaserls and kanlyacchls by the Nattu-slmais, which are called after the names of places. They are generally cultivators, but are said sometimes to be given to crime. They wear the sacred thread on occasions of marriages and funerals. The women can be recognised by their dress, the kusavam being spread out behind, and a characteristic pencishaped ornament (kuchu) being suspended from the neck.

Uralis are fond of shikar (hunting). On the Sivaratri night, sacrifices are offered to their family gods, and, on the following day, all the men of the village go out hunting. They have a head shikari (huntsman), called Kavettaikaran, who receives every animal which is killed, cuts oft its head, and breaks its legs. The head is given to the man who killed the animal, and the rest is shared among the castemen.

Of the Uralis who inhabit the hill country of Travancore, the following account is given in the Travancore Census report, 1901. “The Uralis are a class of hill tribes resident in the Cardamom Hills. They are chiefly found in the tracts known as Kunnanat, Velampan, Kurakkanat, Mannukat, Kalanat. and Periyur. The headman of the Uralis in each of these areas is called a Kanikkaran. Tradition tells us that they were the dependents of the kings of Madura, and that their duty was to hold umbrellas in times of State processions. In ancient times, many of the parts now included in the Todupuzha taluk belonged to the kingdom of Madura. Once, when the king came to Neriyamangalam, the ancestors of these Uralis are said to have accompanied him, and to have been left there to rule (ali) that locally (ur).

Urali is further a synonym of the Tandans of Travancore, in reference, it is said, to their having been guardians of villages (ur) in former times. It is also the title of the headman of the Kuravas of Travancore and a synonym of the Kolayans of Malabar.

Among the Uralis and Kasabas, intercaste marriage is found very less. Others are accustomed to inter-caste marriages with other Tamil speaking tribes. The Uralis are said to have been masons.

Uralis of Kerala
Amongst several tribes who have settled down in safe haven in the beautiful state of Kerala , the name of Urali tribes is worth mentioning. Quite a handful of Uirali tribes have concentrated in the interiors of the forest areas of the state. These include Idukki hills of Kerala, also known, as God`s own land and also Kizhukanam, Memary etc. The anthropologists have traced out a very interesting story related to the origination of these Urali tribes. In order to evade heavy taxation also from the possible attacks of the great Maratha king Tipu Sultan, these Urali tribes have taken shelter in the interior mountainous areas.

At present , a survey has been conducted in order to know the population of these Urali tribes and it has been found out that there are eighty eight Urali houses in the whole of the memart district only with a total of two hundred and ninety four people in it .For better administration , the whole of the village community of the Urali tribes has been controlled by a village head man , popularly known as Kani . Most of the Urali tribes chose these Kani through election. However, today, the power of these village tribes has been deduced.

The society of these Ujali tribes too follows the matrilineal rules, following the footsteps of many of the tribal communities of Indian subcontinent. In fact the Urali tribes posses the right of inheritance in the maternal lineage. Uralis do incorporate changes. Uralis, who inherit property through maternal line, elect Kani in the same way.

Agriculture is the chief occupation of these Urali tribes, who also have discarded their age old habit of eating things like roots and fruits, Now these Urali tribes depend on various types of food crops to meet heir daily requirements. Root vegetables, tapioca, plantain and paddy form their staple food, which are produced by these Urali tribes in large quantities. Also cash crops like coffee, cardamom and arecanut are being produced by these Urali farmers.

Evidences are also there which shows that this Urali tribe also has tried their hands in executing rubber plantation. What is also to be noted that some of these Urali tribes loved to devour the flesh of the wild animals, though they are not at all fond of hunting. Till date, these Urali tribes have maintained the habit of chewing pan. Some of them even have developed tastes for betel, arecanut and lime.

However, these Urali tribes have restrained from consuming liquors, unlike most of the tribes of the region. As a recent phenomenon, these Urali tribes have started digesting country liquor and selling it.

Wayanad has the largest population of aborigine people in Kerala. The native Adivasis mainly consist of various sects like Paniyas, Kurumas, Adiyars, Kurichyas, Ooralis ( Uralis), Kattunaikkans etc..This is the land where tribes live in thatched roof, mud, bamboo and brick houses set in swampy valleys and plateaus.

Another tribal group of Wayanad is Uralikuruma, which is an artisan tribe. These tribal people in Wayanad have a dialect that is a mix of Kannada (local language of Karnataka) and Malayalam (local language of Kerala). The main occupations of the Uralis are pottery, basket weaving, mat weaving and farm labour. The Uralis are the primitive artisans of Wayanad whose pot-making technique is very primitive as no potter’s wheel is used. The Uralis do not marry outside their tribal society. They worship deities and ancestral spirits. The important musical instruments associated with the Uralis are the flute and the local drum, and Urali dances are performed to these instruments. There is a colourful Urali hamlet near the Muthanga entrance to the Wayanad Sanctuary.

Urali Gounders
Urali Gounders are sub sect of Gounder caste. They are known for Administration of the villages. They are populated largely in Trichy, Pudukottai, Perambalur, Karur, Dindigul, Salem, Sivagangai, Coimbatore and Madurai of Tamil Nadu State. Also, they are found with a countable numbers in Trivandrum and Iduki of Kerala, Bangalore of Karnataka States also. The evidence for their origin and history are found in Pudukkottai, Manapparai areas.

Muthiriya Urali Gounders are a subcate of Muthuraja in Tamilnadu and they were warrior clans of medieval times. Ponnar Shankar attained demo God status and are worshipped by the Kongu Vellalar and they belong to the community of Urali Gounders ( Muthurajas).

The Urali Kurumar worship a female deity, Betta Chikamma, ‘the mother of the hills’, who is very popular among them and receives offerings when someone has a disturbing dream warning them of impending epidemics. An offering is made and the tribals expect that the goddess will protect them against all evils. The Betta Kuruba an endogamous population in Karnataka, who on the other side of the border in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, are called as Urali Kurman. Urali Kurumbars are the major scheduled tribals.

Uralis worship Sun & spirits
The Uralis recognize the sun as the creator of all souls. They offer a short prayer to the sun. They consider the sun to be male god; but the moon they consider as the mother of all. Sun worship is an important part of their religion.

The Uralis believe that the hills are inhabited by evil spirits. The clearing of a jungle plot was preceded by an appeasement of the sylvan deities. The offerings were taken to the site of the forest which they wanted to cut down.

The Uralis frequently take refuge in exorcism for the cure of their ailments. They have their own magicians. Among them an aspirant for the vocation has first to leave the community and wander in solitude for some months in the jungle. After this preparation he may fall into a trance. He imagines that his forefathers appear to him in the shape of young women who teach him the magic arts. When he has learned his lessons he returns as a full-fledged exorcist to his community.

Urali Language
Region : Kerala, Idukki District, Upputhara, Kanchiyar, Vannappuram, Velliyamattom, Ayyappankovil panchayats. A Scheduled Tribe in India. Singh (1994) reports they speak Malayalam as first language. Separate linguistically from both Urali Irula in Tamil Nadu and Urali Kurumba in Wynad District, Kerala. 900 meters. Hunter-gatherers; agriculturalists. Hindu, Christian.

These tribes are found in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. These are also known by the names Oorazhi and Urli and speak the Urali language. Urali is a Dravidian tribal speech variety spoken in the Sathyamangalam Taluk of the Periyar district in Tamilnadu. The hamlets occupied by this ethnic community are situated in the hill tracts bordering Karnataka and Tamilnadu at an altitude of 1105 meters above the mean sea level. The dominant language of the area is Tamil. Tamil is extensively used for all purposes, including official communications and education. Hence everyone living in this area need to know Tamil if they want to have any interaction with the outside their ethnic group.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 05/ 02/ 2009
Nagpur, Maharastra, India


Nairs are a warrior community of Kerala just like Mudiraju bunts in Telugu and Tuluva speaking lands. This is the best known of the Malayali caste groups: most of the land-holders and ex-warriors who are now identified as Nayars. Some of the nairs use Pillai surname and Pillais are a subcaste of Tamil Muthurajas.

Middle age South Indian history, historians, and foreign travelers referred to the Nairs as a dignified martial nobility. The earliest reference to Nairs comes from the Greek ambassador Megasthenes. In his accounts of ancient India, he refers to the “Nayars of Malabar” and the “Kingdom of Chera”. The Nayars are one of the few known matrilineal civilizations in existence. Matrilineal families are those where descent is traced in the female line, from mothers to daughters. In this unique society, women are valued members of the family

Nayars are said to be a Dravidian community who were the military gentry of the land. The most influential territorial unit in the Dravidian set up of administration was a tara which means a ground, a village or a quarter. Nayars were treated as the gentry whose main work was to protect the land both in offence and defence. So they were treated as Kshatriyas. They provide a well-knit national militia for the whole land. This was the famous Kalari system. Kalari was the institution which had kept up the martial spirit of the Nayars. Every organisation and the system of inheritance of Nayars were based on ‘Marumakkattayam’, a system of matrilineal descent. Ezhavas too followed this system. Women enjoyed social freedom and they were married outside their own community, mostly among Brahmin Nambootiris.

Irrespective of the different theories that seek to explain the origin of Nairs, it is clear that till the early 20th century, Nairs exerted their influence in medieval Kerala society as feudal lords and owned large estates. Nairs dominated the civil, administrative and military elite of the pre-British era in Kerala. The decline of Nair dominance came about in multiple stages. During colonial times, the British perceived that Nairs were an inherent threat to their hegemony in the region and therefore outlawed their right to bear weapons and by banning the Nair martial art of Kalaripayattu.

Nairs or Nayars and bunts belong to same cast. Like Bunts and Nadavas, Nairs too follow their own form of inheritance called Marumakkathayam, which is “ali katt”. Bunts have “Nayaranna bali”. Last ruler / king of Kanajar, a village in Karkala Taluk, was Nayar Hegde. In this village it was prohibited to take name of the king. So Kanajar folks always called the plough equipment commonly known as nayer/ naver in tulu as guddal. Nayara is one of the 93 Bunts surname. Varma is a common surname of Nairs and Bunts. Varma title was used by Western Ganga kings who were Muttarsas.

The community of Bunts, also referred to as Nadavas, form an important and integral part of the socio economic culture of Tulu nadu, in coastal Karnataka. They are thought to have had a common origin and culture as the Nairs of Malabar and Nattars of Tamil Nadu.

According to K. M. Parinikar “The Nayars [Nairs] were not a caste, they were a race”. Some think nair is the honorific plural of nayan which is derived from the Sanskrit nayaka (leader). Naik or Nayak or Naicker was widely used by Vijayanagar and Madhurai rulers who were either Muthurajas bunts or Balijas. In any case, Mudirajas and Balijas represent Telugu speaking bants, and Nayars are a branch of Tulu speaking bunts.

Nayak, Nayaka, Nayakar, Nayakkar, Naik, Naiker, Naicker, Naickan, Nayakkan, Naidu, Nayudu or Naidoo is a common title used by various caste and ethnic groups across India. They are all derivatives of the original Sanskrit Nayaka, meaning a leader. The community history of various groups that use this title differs from place to place.

Nyayak => Nayak
Nayak => Nayaka => Nayakudu => Na > Nayak => Nayaka => Nayakar => Naya(ka)r => Nayar => Nair
Nayak => Nayaka => Naicker => Nai(cke)r => Naiar

Pillai is one of the titles used by Nairs and Pillais are a subcaste of Tamil Muthuraja (Mudiraja). Pillai was the commonest title of dignity held by the Nair of Travancore and corresponds to the Menon of Cochin. The title of Pillai was bestowed through a formal ceremony known as Thirumukom Pidikkuka i.e. holding the face of the King and included the payment of a fee known as Adiyara to the King. A person thus bestowed with this title now secured the honorific title of Pillai suffixed and the distinctive title of Kanakku (meaning accountant) prefixed to his name.

A title superior to the ordinary Pillai was that of Chempakaraman Pillai, an innovation of Maharajah Marthanda Varma of TravancoreTravancore. In Andhra Pradesh, The Gavara community uses Pilla as a title, whereas the Aaraama DraviduluAaraama Dravidulu community uses Chellapilla.

More than 130 sub-divisions of Nayars were mentioned in the Travancore census held in 1901. Kiriyathu Nayars form the highest of these subdivisions in Kochi and Malabar. They are the members of the aristocratic >
Again “Nayak” is a Bunts surname. Majority of Nadavas of North Canara have got surname Nayaka. Father of famous queen Chennamma was Siddappa Shetty and her husband was (Siva) Nayaka. Keladi chennamma is enlisted in this website as one of the queens related to Mudiraja community under “QUEENS”.

Others derive nair from the naga (snakes) which they worship. The Brahmin-inspired Keralolpathi regards them as the descendants of the Sudras who accompanied the Brahmin immigrants from outside Kerala. There is a theory that they came from the Nepal Valley, adjacent to Tibet. Some consider them to be early descendants of the Newars of Nepal. Serpent worship is one of common custom between the Newars and Nairs.

Dr. Zacharias Thundy’s theory is that groups of Newars who were partially Aryanized and would be later Dravidianized joined the Munda exodus and finally settled down in Kerala after a long period of sojourn in the eastern plains of Tamil Nadu. The Nairs were in Kerala before the Brahmins arrived in the seventh century A.D. The Chera kings were Nairs, and the Nairs were also Dravidians and not Kshatriya Aryans; the Brahmins, in fact, considered them as Sudras.

It is noteworthy that “Mundal” of Tulunadu and the “Munda” of North India have same synonym.

There is also a belief that the Nairs are Nagas and were already present in Kerala when Namboodiris came to Kerala. Nairs were martial Dravidian Nagas who had migrated like them, from the North. Like Bunts, affinity of the Nair community to Serpents and Serpent worship is indisputable. The mythical version says that Nairs being Kshatriyas belonging to the Nagavansham who removed their “Janivara” (sacred thread) and escaped to south to evade Parasurama. In the old Tamil texts, the Nairs were mentioned as Naka (Naga) Lords who ruled as feudal lords in the Chera kingdom.

he Manual of Madras Administration Vol II (printed in 1885) notes that the Nadavas are the same people as the Nairs of Malabar and the Bunts of southern Tulu Nadu. The Nairs have disappeared as an entity from Tulu Nadu but the inscriptions found in Barkur from the medieval period as well as the Grama Padathi, which gives the history of Brahmin families in Tulu Nadu, have made several references to the Nairs. They seemed to have intimate connections with the Brahmins and acted as their protectors, perhaps brought to Tulu Nadu by the Kadamba kings in the 8th century. Kadamba king Mayuravarma, who is credited with bringing Brahmins from Ahichatra (from the north), also settled Nairs in Tulu Nadu. Yet, there is no written proof for this occurrence and the only mention of the Nairs in the inscriptions comes after the Alupa period (early part of 14th century.

Jainism was introduced to the South in 300 BC by Emperor Chandragupta Maurya (321-297 BC) and a Jain saint – Bhadrabahu. Evidence of the presence of Jains in Kerala comes from the indisputable fact that many Hindu temples in Kerala were originally Jain Shrines.

Nairs were jains at one time like mudiraj and bunts. It could be because of the reasons that Naiyars a branch of Tuluva Bunts and mudiraj people are known as Telugu bants. All the Buddhists / Jains were made Sudras by Hindu priests and were declared practically untouchables. A Nair’s touch would pollute a Nambuthiri. Western Ganga Muttarasa kings built gagantic statue of Jain Bahubali at Shravanabelagola. The main spiritual traditions of South Indians have included both Shaivism or Shaivite philosophy, and Vaishnavism, which are both branches of Hinduism, although Jain philosophy had been influential in Southern India several centuries earlier. Shravanabelagola in Karnataka is a popular pilgrim center for Jains.

It is a well know fact that Mudiraj in Kakatiya kingdom headed a Research & Development wing which used to develop new technics of martial arts. Nayars who were experts in martial aerts, are related community belonging to Kerala. We can simply call them the Malayalee speaking Mudirajas or Muthurajas.

Kalarippayattu is the martial tradition of Kerala and the right to practice this martial art for the service of the ruler (Vazhunnavar) was predominantly vested with Nairs. Several social anthropologists and historians have documented the Nair dominance of the martial tradition of Kalaripayattu. For instance, The Kollam – Ramesvaram record states that the defence of the Chera kings and their city was entrusted to a group of Nair warriors known as Ayiram.

The Keralolpathi also clearly states that the commander of the Patinayiram called Patamel Nair commanded the forces of the last Chera Perumal and was the Supreme Commander of his Army. It is interesting to note that during the extended period of warfare between the Cheras and the Cholas in the 11th century CE Nairs demonstrated their exceptional martial skills, courage, and nobility by forming elite suicide squads (Chaver-Pada) against the invading Chola forces. Bunts are well known as commandos and suicide squads.

The Nairs were famous for their martial history, including their involvement in Kalaripayattu and the role of Nair warlords in the Mamankam ritual. The Nairs were classed as a martial race by the British, but were de-listed after rebelling against them under Velu Thampi Dalawa, and thereafter were recruited in low numbers into the British Indian Army. Only Nairs were recruited into the Thiruvithamkoor Nayar Pattalam (Travancore State Army), until 1935 when non-Nairs were started getting admitted. This State Force (known also as the Nair Brigade) was merged into the Indian Army after independence and became the 9th Battalion Madras Regiment, which is the oldest Battalion in the Indian Army.

It is believed that the Kolathiri and Travancore kingdoms had Nair origins. The Zamorin Raja was a Samanthan Nair and the Arakkal kingdom of Kannur, which was the only Muslim kingdom in the Kerala region, also had Nair origins. Nair feudal families such as the Ettuveetil Pillamar were extremely influential in the past and often had greater influence than the Raja.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 06/ 03/ 2009
Nagpur, Maharastra, India


Subramanya Raje Urs, the famous writer from Karnataka was the son of Muddu Raj Urs who had lineage of Western Gangas of Talkad.We know that Sripurusha Muttarasa was a king of Western Ganga lineage. Further we know that Muddurajas of Karnataka, the Mudirajas of Andhra Pradesh and the Muthurajas of Tamilnadu are one and the same people. This clearly indicates that some sections of people from Karnataka who use the title “Urs” are closely related to Mudiraj people of Andhra Pradesh.

Maharajas = Mudirajas = Muthurajas = great kings

The former Maharajas of Mysore belong to the Urs caste. Traditionally, the word Arasu or Arasa was used to designate royalty. The word Arasi is its feminine equivalent. In Karnataka, Devraj Urs >
Feudal lords of Western Ganga dynasty were military commanders who held the title arasa (from the 6th century onwards). These Arasas were either brahmins or from tribal background and controlled hereditary territories paying periodic tribute to the king.

MuthArasu => Arasu => Urs

Arasu is a community in Karnataka, India. TheBunts / Bants of Andhra and Karnataka mostly use the royal titles ARASU, ARASA & ARASI.

The Maharaja of Mysore, the Alupas dynasty of South Canara and the Saluva of the Uttara Kannada regions of Karnataka, the great Kannada poet Chamarasa in the Vijayanagar court are some examples of royalty who carried this title. Some of the early kings with this title were Aluvarasa I and Aluvarasa II of the Alupa dynasty (7th century).

The people of these warrior communities who lost their power and kingdoms forced to become labour work force or made to slavery jobs. It is said that Valmikis of North India who were defeated by Mulim invading kings were forced to become scavengers in their royal palaces. Today Valmiki people of North India are still scavengers and fall under Scheduled Caste group.

The other related royal castes of MuthArasu are – Wodeyars , same caste as Mysore Maharaja, are OBC. Thevars, the same caste as Chola and Pandya kings are classified as MBC. For reservation purposes they are Mukkulathor, for other purposes they are Thevar.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Nagpur, Maharastra, India
8th October 2009


The fact is that the people of Mudiraj community in Telangana region are also known as people of TENUGU caste. Alternatively Tenugus are a subcaste of Telugu Mudiraj. Tenugu and Telaga are closely related words and the people who belong to these castes are one and the same in their blood and profession.

Tenugu =>Telugu => Telagu => Telaga

While Telagas are a subcaste of kapus in Andhra region, the same people who are known as Tenugus are a subcaste of Mudiraj in Telangana region. This indicates that the Mudiraj caste people are one of the original people of Andhra Pradesh with Telugu / Tenugu as mother tongue and spread all over India to be identified with different names.

Mudiraj people are also known as Telaga in some parts of Andhra Pradesh. They are mostly harikatha narattors. Harikatha is a flexible art. The narrator is able to gauge the mood of the audience and can pick up another enter taining tale from the sea of stories if the one he is telling has no effect. If Harikatha is identified with Brahminical culture, its folk form is Burrakatha, mostly performed by people of Telaka or Mudiraj community. Burra means skull and the instrument used to accompany the storyteller resembles a human skull which is made of baked clay with a hollow shell.

Burrakatha is a popular folk style of story telling in Telugu. Burra means a skull. The instrument resembles a human skull and is made of baked clay with a hollow shell. It is wide on one side and tapers towards the other end. At times it is made out of brass and copper. The Burrakatha storyteller’s wife assists him in the singing. The performers belong to the Telaka or Mutharasi caste and are also called Sarada Kandru (The Sarada people), which means, worshippers of the Goddess Sarada Devi.

We know that fishing is one of the professions of some sections of Mudiraj. The telagas are also used to practice fishing.Tenugus of some villages in Telangana are following fishing as their main occupation. There are also fruit sellers and agricultural laborers in this caste.Tenuge is one of the backward castes, which is relatively more advanced in the telangana area. They have no exclusive caste occupation and follow occupations such as agriculture, fruit selling, and fishing and also agricultural labour. As in cheppial, among tenugu caste, a greater occupational mobility was seen in Chelgal also. Tenugus of this villsge are following fishing as their main occupation. There are also fruit sellers and aricultural labourers in this caste.

In some regions, Munnurkapus, Balijas, Telagas, Tenugus and. Mutrasis ( Mudiraj ) are collectively referred to as Kapus.

The Mudiraju seems to belong to “Jati – Cluster” rather than a single caste. In the village here, the Mudiraju has four sections – Mudiraju, Tenugu or Tellaga, Manne and Besta besides one ritually specialized subcaste or family, that is, Tallari. These sections are called as ” Kulla Urthi” occupational names, while the Mudiraju as a whole is called “kullam” caste. The Mudirajus are engaged in agriculture as owner or tenant, landless daily labourer ( cooli), oe fisherman. They are peculiar for the absence of any traditional occupation among them except the Besta ( fishery), although their members were engaged as village watchmen ( as machikuri or neerudi ) under the Nozam and they still maintain the job under the village administration. Maharastra Tenugus : The Tenugus ar Hindus and worship various Gods and Goddesses at the domestic, villasge and regional levels. At the domestic level they worship Mahadev, Balaji and Pandurang in their houses by offering flowers, vermilion, turmeric and incense sticks in the morning. They worship village gods like Teammaji, Laxmi, Balaji and Mahadeo. They go on pilgrimages to mahore, Demka, Tirupati and Pandarpur.They also observe vegetarianism and fasting on week days. On Monday they fast for Mahadeo, on Friday for Balaji, on Tuesday for Renukadevi.

Telaga is sub caste of the Kapu, or Naidu community of Andhra and concentrated primarily in the coastal areas of Andhra Pradesh. The Telagas are one of the ancient Warrior Clans and Feudal Landlords of India who had links to all the major Ruling Dynasties of South India like Chalukya, Chola, Kakateeya and Vijayanagar. They have the caste titles Naidu, Dora which indicate their Fuedal and Warrior past. Munnuru kapu were a detachment of the Telagas who migrated to the current Telangana Districts and served under the Kakateeyas and Nizams.

The Origin of the Telagas can be traced back to the Western Chalukyan Expansion into Andhra region which happened in the 1st century A.D. The term Telaga was a derivation of the word Telingana Andhra was referred to as Telingana / Tri-Linga Desam in the ancient texts as it was the area that had three major Shivinsa-Aramas, thus was called Tri-Linga’, and the people living there were called Telugus and the language spoken by the people there was called Telugu. It is easy to see from this that the Telugu warriors came to regarded as Telagas par excellence.This is how the word Telaga was Derived.

Trilinga => Telinga => Telanga => Telagana
Trilinga => Telinga => Telanga => Telaga
Trilinga => Telinga => Tenunga => Tenugu
Trilinga => Telangu => Telungu => Telugu

The original inhabitants of Trilinga desham were vanaras and they had great kingdom by name Kishkinda. They spoke Telugu language. These people who migrated to Kannada country came to be known as tuluva bunts and their language came to be known as Tulu. Telugu and Tuluva are closely related languages. There are bunts / bants among both Telugus and Tuluvas. In Telugu lands Mudirajus are known as bants. This leads to a conclusion that the telugu Mudiraj and Tuluva bunts are one and the same people. The Bant word was derived from Banjara.

Vanachara => Vanjara => Vanara
Vanachara => Vanjara => Banjara
Banjara => Bant(z)ara => Bantara => Bant => Bunt

The research indicates a hiden fact fact is that the mudirajus, balijas and tuluvas had several common surnames which confirms their common vanara telugu ancestry. Just like tenugu / Telaga people among both Mudiraj and Balijas, there is one more section called Ontaris in both Balija and Mudiraju castes. It is once again argued here that balijas used to represent the Bunt Mudiraju sections in the medieval and ancient times. The bunts / Bants are also famous as suicide squads and commandos, interior guards, soldiers, administrators.

The Telagas were the commanders of the Chalukyas who became fuedatories and vassals of the Chola Dynasty and the Eastern Chalukyas such as the Velanati Chodas. Many Telagas served in the armies of the Vijayanagar Kings, Nayaks of Madhurai, Tanjore and Kandi. We also know that Cholas and Muthurajas ( Mudiraj) are one and the same people. Erikal Mutthuraja was known to be a Renati Telugu Chola king. According to many noted historians Telugu Chodas gradually came to called Telagas / Kapus as evident by their numerous surnames like Palachola, Chodapaneedi, Allu, Choda, Goenka, Konidena, Chodisetty etc present majorly with this community.

The Telagas are primerily a Telugu caste of cultivators of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India Telagas are known for their bravery and fearlessness aptly put by a famous Telugu saying describing the community “Teginche vade Telaga” which means “One who dares is a Telaga”. Even now, one can find swords, armour and weapons with some of the Telaga families in Rajamundry. All of these people are Vaishnavas and have Sri Venugopala Swami as their family deity.

Bobbili Telagas were originally Mutrsi born : These people take their name from a village “Bobbili” in the Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh where their forefathers rendered both personal and military service to the velamas who were once the sole occupants of the village. It is said that they were originally Mutrsi – born, but being soldiers and commamders of armies, they were elevated, in social rank, above the common folk and are at present known to enjoy as high asocial position as the Hajari and Racha Telagas. They veil their females and admit among them members of caste higher than themselves in social standing. Unlike other Telagas they practice both infant and adult marriages. Some of the members follow the occupation Patwegars, or silk weavers. They make good soldiers and are enlisted in the native armies.

Mr. Talla Ramakrisna furth on Saturday, 8 February 2014 11:30 AM, ( ) wrote:

Hello Ravinder Gaaru

I wanted to connect Ankarao gaaru, he had done significant of research and study about Culture and history of the community at least since last decade. You could connect to him, certainly would add lot of information regarding for your cause.

Further Telaga is another big community which was derivative of Mudhaliar migrated to early vijayanagara kingdom for soldering jobs and started speaking Telugu. Eventually they had been called Telaga/Telugu/Tenugu. I belongs to Telaga community.From Paalaseema district(as known in INDIA Mahabubnagar district or Paalamoor district) in Andhrapradesh.Add this community also into your list of community groups.

Certainly I would appreciate your efforts in trying to bring due share to the community on bringing all into one umbrella.Best of luck.

Ramakrishna Talla
Edison NJ (New York area)
001-917 297 3319

Kokolu Anka Rao
4th November 2009
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

Ambalakkaran. — In the Madras Census Report, 1 89 1, Mr. H. A. Stuart writes that “Ambalakkaran (ambalam, an open place t) is the usual designation of a head of a village in the Maravan and Kalian districts, and it is, or was the common agnomen of Kalians. I am not able to state what is the precise connection between the Ambalakkaran and Kalian castes, but, from some accounts which I have obtained, the Ambalakkarans seem to be very closely connected, if not identical with Muttiriyans (Telugu Mutracha), who have been classed as village watchmen ; and this is borne out by the sub- divisions returned, for, though no less than 109,263 individuals have given Ambalakkaran as the sub-division also, yet, of the sub-divisions returned, Muttiriyan and Mutracha are the strongest. Marriage is usually deferred until after puberty, and widow re-marriage is permitted, but there does not seem to be the same freedom of divorce at will as is found among Kalians, Maravans, etc. The dead are either burnt or buried. The consumption of flesh and liquor is allowed. Their usual agnomen is said to be Servaikkaran, but the titles Muttiriyan, Ambalakkaran, Malavarayan, Mutarasan, and Vannian are also used. The usual agnomen of Muttiriyans, on the other hand, is said to be Nayakkan (Naik).”

In the Madras Census Report, 1901, the Ambalak- karans are summed up as follows. ” A Tamil caste of cultivators and village watchmen. Till recently the term Ambalakkaran was considered to be a title of the Kalians, but further enquiries have shown that it is the name of a distinct caste, found chiefly in the Trichino- poly district. The Ambalakkarans and Muttiriyans of a village in Musiri taluk wrote a joint petition, protesting against their being classified as Kalians, but neverthe- less it is said that the Kalians of Madura will not eat in Ambalakkaran’s houses. There is some connection between Ambalakkarans, Muttiriyans, Mutrachas, IJralis, Vedans, Valaiyans, and Vettuvans. It seems likely that all Of them are descended from one common parent stock. Ambalakkarans claim to be descended from Kannappa Nayanar, one of the sixty-three Saivite saints,who was a Vedan or hunter by caste. In Tanjore the Valaiyans declare themselves to have a similar origin, and in that district Ambalakkaran and Muttiriyan seem to be synonymous with Valaiyan. [Some Valaiyans have Ambalakkaran as a title.] Moreover, the statistics of the distribution of the Valaiyans show that they are numerous in the districts where Ambalakkarans are few, and vice versa, which looks as though certain sections of them had taken to calling themselves Ambalakkarans. The upper section of the Ambalakkarans style them- selves Pillai, which is a title properly belonging to Vellalas, but the others are usually called MOppan in Tanjore, and Ambalakkaran, Muttiriyan, and Servaigaran in Trichinopoly. The headman of the caste panchayat (council) is called the Kariyakkaran, and his office is hereditary in particular families. Each headman has a peon called the Kudi-pillai, whose duty it is to summon the panchayat when necessary, and to carry messages. For this he gets an annual fee of four annas from each family of the caste in his village. The caste has certain endogamous sections. Four of them are said to be Muttiriyan or Mutracha, Kavalgar, Vanniyan, and Valaiyan. A member of any one of these is usually prohibited by the panchayats from marrying outside it on pain of excommunication. Their customs are a mixture of those peculiar to the higher castes and those followed by the lower ones. Some of them employ Brahmans as purohits (priests), and wear the sacred thread at funerals and sraddhas (memorial services for the dead). Yet they eat mutton, pork, and fowls, drink alcohol, and allow the marriage of widows and divorced women.” Muttiriyan and Kavalgar both mean watchman. Vanniyan is certainly a separate caste, some members of which take Ambalakkaran as a title. The Ambalakkarans are apparently Valaiyans, who have separated themselves from the main stock on account of their prosperity.

For the following note, I am indebted to Mr. F. R. Hemingway. The Ambalakkarans or Muttiriyans are more numerous in the Trichinopoly district and Pudukkottai than in any other part of the Presidency. Though they have been treated as separate castes, they appear to be one and the same in this district, generally calling themselves Muttiriyan in the Trichinopoly taluk, and Ambalakkaran elsewhere, and having no objection to either name. They admit they are called Valaiyans, but repudiate any connection with the caste of that name, and explain the appellation by a story that, when Siva’s ring was swallowed by a fish in the Ganges, one of their ancestors invented the first net (valai) made in the world. As relics of their former greatness they point to the thousand-pillared mantapam at Srirangam, which is called muttarasan koradu, and a big matam at Palni, both of which, they say, were built by their kings. To the latter every household of the caste subscribes four annas

Mysore Census Report, 1901.
Ambalam is an open space or building, where affairs connected with justice are transacted. Ambalakkaran denotes the president of an assembly, or one who proclaims the decision of those assembled in an ambalam.

Muttani Raja of Kalahasti seems to be the same as the Muttu Raja referred to in the traditions of tho Ambalakkarans, the Muttiriyans (Mutrachas), tho Uralis and the Valaiyans. According to Vettuva legend, Muttani Raja was a son of one Vijayan, born to him by a jungle girl, with whom ho fell in love when hunting, and whose father he slew. Vijayan’s father was Kannappa Nayanar, a hero whose name is associated with the traditions of the Vedans, Bedas, Ambalakkarans, and Valaiyans,and who is identified with one of the sixty-three Saivite Saints. Kannappa Nayanar was the oldest of ten brothers, sons of a Vedar girl who contracted a gandharva marriage with a doscendant of Yayathi, ono of the heroes of the Mahabharata> No historical evidence has been adduced to corroborate the migration legends of these castes, but the community of tradition probably points to a community of origin, and the legend of a Vettuva Raja still clings to Sankaridrug.

There are various subsects of Kallars, among whom the Ambalakarar is the most important. They are a war like people who strongly resisted every British attempt to subjugate them. The Kallars are quintessentially a feudal society, with feudal classes such as theAmbalakarar. They are found mainly in the Madurai, Tirchuripalli, Ariyalur and Sivaganga districts. In these districts, each village is headed by an Ambalakarar ( president of an assembly ) and the Ambalakarars took upon themselves the power to adjudicate disputes that arose amongst the habitants in the “nadu”, belonging to different sects. They used to hear complaints, hold enquiries and punish the offenders. They wielded considerable powers to intervene in any kind of transaction or transfer of property amongst the people. No land could be alienated from one man to another without the permission of the Ambalakarars.

The surname “Ambalam”is given to them, because of their Administration in their Villages. So they are mostly called as “Ambalam”.

Kallar Means “Brave People”, Historians postulate the word Kallar Derived from Kalla means Black in Sanscrit. Historians postulate Dravidians were called by Aryans as Kalla. Some historians believe that Kallars are the descendants of Kalabhras. Mutharayars are also believed to be the descendants of Kalabhras.

Kalaveeras = Black Warriors

Kalaveera => Kalabeera => Kalabra => Kalabrar => Kalabar => Kalbar => Kalvar => Kallar

Ambalakarar (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) and Ambalakkarar (Suriyanur, Tiruchirapalli District) fall under the List of denotified communities of Tamil Nadu

The Konda Dora of South India worship the deity Mutyalamma and her brother Poturazu., including their women ancestors who have died before their husbands. (Thurston 1975)

Furthermore, Mutyalamma is the name of a local caste in South India. There is also another group called the Mutyala (pearl) , – an exogamous sept, and name of a subdivision of Balijas dealing with pearls. According to Thurston, the Ambalakarans say they were born from the sweat (muttu, a pearl or bead of perspiration) of Parasiva (Thurston 1975).

Urali : In the Madras Census Report, 1891, the Uralis are described as a caste of agricultural labourers found chiefly in the districts of Madurai and Trichinopoly. The word Urali means a ruler of a Village. Like the Ambalakkarans, they trace their descent from and Mutturaja, and the only sub-division returned by any number is Mutracha. They also assert that they were formerly employed as soldiers.

In the Wyned there is a section of Kurumbas called Urali Kurumbas, and it is not improbable that these Uralis of the Tamil country are an offshoot of the great Kurumba race. The Uralis are further summed up in the same report, as agricultural labourers in Coimbatore, Trichinopoly and Madurai. There seems to be some connection between the Uralis and the Ambalakkarans or Muttiriyans. Muttiriyan is a sub-division of both Urali and Ambalakkaran, and both of these are found in the same districts. Perhaps the Uralis are an offshoot of the Tamil Valaiyans ( Valaiyars), which by change of occupation has transformed itself into a district caste (seem Ambalakkaran). The caste is split up into a number of sub-division, called after the name of the tract or nadu in Trichinopoly which each inhabits.

Thurston writes: “Round about Devakotta in the Sivaganga zamindari there are fourteen nadus, representatives of which meet once a year at Kandadevi, to arrange for the annual festival at the temple dedicated to Swarnamurthi Swami.” That the four “nadus” [Unjanai, Semponmari, Thennilai and Eravuseri], whose so-called heads have now been asserting their “customary” rights over the pulling of the Kandadevi ther, are part of these 14 “nadus” and the four constituted a group and the `Tennilai nadu’ was considered the chief “nadu”, “where at caste questions must come up for settlement”. Each “nadu” is headed by an Ambalakaran (president of an assembly) and theAmbalakarans took upon themselves the power to adjudicate disputes that arose among the inhabitants in the “nadu”, belonging to different castes. They used to hear complaints, hold inquiries and punish the offenders. They wielded considerable powers to intervene in any kind of transaction or transfer of property among the people. No land could be alienated from one man to another without the permission of the Ambalakkarans. They were known for awarding crude punishments and collecting oppressive taxes from the people.

Although stripped of much of their powers during the British Raj and later after Independence, they are still said to hold sway over a section of the people, with money, muscle power and political support. Describing the “nadus” as states within a state, advocate Bhaktavatsalam said the so-called heads of these “nadus” had no powers to adjudicate or award punishments. The power they claimed to enjoy had no legal basis whatsoever, he said. “In areas where they hold influence, they don’t allow anybody to sell land to Dalits,” Bhaktavatsalam alleged.

The Mukkuvans are the sea fishermen of the Malabar coast, who are described as follows by Buchanan. “The Mucua, or in the plural Mucuar, are a tribe who live near the sea-coast of Malayala, to the inland parts of which they seldom go, and beyond its limits any way they rarely venture. Their proper business is that of fishermen, as palanquin-bearers for persons of low birth, or of no caste; but they serve also as boatmen. The utmost distance to which they will venture on a voyage is to Mangalore. In some places they cultivate the cocoanut.

They have hereditary chiefs called Arayan, who settle disputes, and, with the assistance of a council, punish by fine or excommunication those who transgress the rules of the caste. The deity of the caste is the goddess Bhadra-Kāli, who is represented by a log of wood, which is placed in a hut that is called a temple. Four times a year the Mucuas assemble, sacrifice a cock, and make offerings of fruit to the log of wood. One of the caste acts as priest.

In the extreme south of the district they are called Arayans, a term elsewhere used as a title of their headmen. North of Cannanore there are some fishermen, known as Mugavars or Mugayans, who are presumably the same as the Mugayars of South Canara. Another account is that the Mugayans are properly river-fishers, and the Mukkuvans sea-fishers; but the distinction does not seem to hold good in fact.

The Mukkuva fishermen of Travancore trace their origin from the age of Indus Valley Civilization. They played a key role in shaping the Indus Valley Civilization. Fishing evolved as their chief economic activity. It preceded even agriculture and farming. With the arrival of the Aryans, they migrated to the southern part of the Indian peninsular. . During the Sangham age they occupied the Neithel land, one among the five important land divisions. They found their means of livelihood from the tender mercy of the rough sea. It was the Christian missionaries who played a predominant role to mould their life status. Even before the advent of the Europeans, there were conversions made to Christianity among the Mukkuvas by St. Thomas but primary evidences are scanty. It was St. Francis Xavier who made mass conversion of the Mukkuvas to Christianity.

Historically some believe that they are originally from East coast of Tamil Nadu who then migrated to Kerala, Sri Lanka and Lakshdweep. Also some may have re-migrated from Sri Lanka back to India and settled in the south western coastal side of Kerala.

The term ‘Mukkuvar’ has two etymological root meanings: (1) the ‘diver’, from dive into water muk or mung and (2) those who live in a corner muk. The Mukkuvar community is one of marine fishers. The term Mukkuvar was originally used to refer to all fisher Men. Ram writes basing herself on the existing folklore tradition, that the name is very much related to their spatial identity. The Tamil word ‘Mukku’ means ‘the tip’ or ‘corner’. In this sense “Mukkuvar denotes the people who occupy the very tip or edge of the land mass” . The second version is connected with their occupation. According to this, the terms ‘Mukkuvar’ (Tamil) and ‘Moger’ (Canares) come from the same root, meaning to dive’ The Malayalam verbal forms ‘mungnuca’ and ‘mukkuca’ signifies to immerse in water or to dive in water. Thus the acceptance of the term Mukkuva as their community name can be taken as a realistic approach to life. They have been living at the southern tip of the seashore of the Indian peninsula for centuries as deep-sea fishers.

Mattakallappu Manmiyam refers to Mukkuva or Mutkuhar are known as the first people migrated to this land and constructed seven villages in various areas. They immigrated their people form India and established the kingdom of Mukkuva. The name of the villages and towns in Batticaloa still holds the historical evidence of the ancient batticaloan people. When Mutkuhar intruded through the salty water and reached the destination of their voyage at the forests situated around the lagoon. When they finished. The name given by the Mukkuva was “Kallpu-Mattam” which literally means “boundary of lagoon”. Later it was called “Matta-Kallappu” which indicates the destination of Mukkuva’s voyage and the water is flat.

Mukkuvars are an eco-ethnic community coming from either the pre-Dravidian or the earliest Dravidian communities. Their cultural elements would be identical with those of the niethal community depicted in the Sangam literature. It is noted that these originated from the time of the civilization at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, It is vivid that they lived in Lothal in Gujarat and they had good business relationship with other continents. When the Aryan invasion took place they seem to have escaped to the southern part of the land and began to settle down there.

In short when one looks at the origin of the fishermen community, it would seem that their origin goes back to the Indus Valley civilization. From the ruins and seals unearthed at Mohenjo-Daro, the Minas and Parathavas were the two major fishermen communities who played considerable roles in all walks of life. “The other groups of fishermen community such as Mukkuvas and Arayas might have evolved from the groups Minas or Minavas.” Their primary occupation of fishing had a pivotal role in the early stages of the progress of humankind. It evolved as a chief economic activity and preceded even agriculture and farming. The advent of Aryans turned the situation upside down. The original settlers of Indus valley proceeded to south through sea and land routes in order to avoid the attack of Aryans. Those who came through land settled in hills and forests and who selected sea routes arrived and settles in the coastal regions of sound India including Kerala and Tamilnadu.

In short when one looks at the origin of the fishermen community, it would seem that their origin goes back to the Indus Valley civilization. From the ruins and seals unearthed at Mohenjo-Daro, the Minas and Parathavas were the two major fishermen communities who played considerable roles in all walks of life. “The other groups of fishermen community such as Mukkuvas and Arayas might have evolved from the groups Minas or Minavas.” (Theesmas, 2008, p. 14) Their primary occupation of fishing had a pivotal role in the early stages of the progress of humankind. It evolved as a chief economic activity and preceded even agriculture and farming. The advent of Aryans turned the situation upside down. The original settlers of Indus valley proceeded to south through sea and land routes in order to avoid the attack of Aryans. Those who came through land settled in hills and forests and who selected sea routes arrived and settles in the coastal regions of sound India including Kerala and Tamilnadu .

Other than fishing, the Mukkuvas had involved in ship building and trading also. They had control over trade in South India. The Inland Fisheries of Kerela is a unique one for all the fishermen of Indian Ocean. According to Barbosa, a group of Mukkuva fishermen involved in Navigation. Sometimes they involved in the preparation of salt, fish-vending, net-making and preservation of fish were their subsidiary occupations. The ships of the Zamorin were also driven by them.

Kokolu Anka Rao
12th November 2014
Nagpur, Maharastra, India


– Cane baskets and boxes of crude nature are manufactured by some Mutharacha families of Indukurpet of Nellore Talik in Andhra Pradesh.

– Temples were built by Mutharayar kings at Narthamalai : Located at a distance of 17 kilometres from Trichi, Narthamalai is an important place to visit due to its religious importance. The place is specially characterised by its unusual stone temple, which is circular in shape. This temple has six large skilfully carved statues of Vishnu in the central hall. Moreover there are some other cave temples of historical importance too. These are believed to have been built by the Muthariyars.

– Mutharaiyars were philanthropic chieftains: From the point of poetical and thematic value, the Naaladiyar occupies an enviable position, next to the Tirukkural. Though the poems are generally attributed to the authorship of erudite Jain ascetics, who flourished at the Dramila Sangha of Vajranandi (A.D. 450) in Madurai, some poems (200, 296) seem to be of later origin, since they eulogise the philanthropic chieftains, Mutharaiyars, the powerful feudatories reigning in and around Thanjavur under the sway of Pallava kings during 650 A.D. to 750 A.D.

– Mutharayar chieftains erected monuments : The tract north and south of river Vellar were in the hands of the Mutharayar chieftains who till their annihilation by the resurgent Chola line of Vijayalaya, were owing alternate allegiance to the super powers. The Irukkuvelirs, at the end became the firm allies of the Cholas.Thus, one cannot expect to find early Pallava monuments, antiquities and inscriptions in Pudukkottai region but only those of the contemporary Pandyas along with those of Mutharaiyars and Irukkuvelirs.

– Thurston writes: “Round about Devakotta in the Sivaganga zamindari there are fourteen nadus, representatives of which meet once a year at Kandadevi, to arrange for the annual festival at the temple dedicated to Swarnamurthi Swami.” Each “nadu” is headed by an Ambalakaran (president of an assembly) and the Ambalakarans took upon themselves the power to adjudicate disputes that arose among the inhabitants in the “nadu”, belonging to different castes. They used to hear complaints, hold inquiries and punish the offenders. They wielded considerable powers to intervene in any kind of transaction or transfer of property among the people. No land could be alienated from one man to another without the permission of the Ambalakkarans. They were known for awarding crude punishments and collecting oppressive taxes from the people.

– An extract from “Castes & Caste Observances amongst Tamils in Ceylon, Rev. James Cartman, OBE, M.A., B.D., M.Th. rom Hinduism in Ceylon, 1957”
(i) Ambalakarar – Cultivators
(ii) Muthiriyar – A Telugu caste, hunters and fishermen now employed on the estates.

– Muthuraja name of the community traditionally known as snake catchers. Live in the village name Paambati kalam of district Dindigal, Tamil Nadu, India. This village has the population of around 35 families comprising around 120 members including children.

– Moopanars are a subcaste of Muthuraja in Tamilnadu. Shri G.K. Moopanar, a renowned politician and follower of Kamaraj passed away on the 30th August, 2001, at Chennai at the age of 71 years.

Born at village Kabisthalam, Tamil Nadu, in August 1931, Shri Moopanar had his education at Papanasam, Tamil Nadu. An agriculturist by vocation, Shri Moopanar was associated with various social and welfare activities. He devoted his life for the uplift of poor and downtrodden and propagated national integration. The distinguished legislative career of Shri Moopanar began with the Membership of the House representing the State of Tamil Nadu, from July, 1977 to July, 1983 and again from July, 1983 to February, 1989. Thereafter, he was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in 1989 and remained there till 1991. Shri Moopanar again became the Member of this House from July, 1995 to September, 1997 and again from June, 1998 till he breathed his last.

He was a Congressman and staunch Gandhi family loyalist. Mr. G.K. Moopanar was the founder of died Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) in 1996 to fight the AIADMK.

– Moopanars belong to one of the subcastes of Muthuraja in Tamilnadu as per Chola-Mutharayar Research Center, Tanjore. . Once upon a time, there was a queen by name Moopi. Her lineal descendents were known as Moopanars. There is a divya desam called Tiru Kavith Thalam under the trusteeship of the Moopanar clan. Long time back, they were poets, scholars and warriors. Hence this place was known as Kavi sthalam. Over a period of time, it got changed to Kapisthalam. They are richest Tanjore farmers now.

– Kohlis are related to kolis and kolis are related to Mudiraj. Kohlis of Thar desert in Rajastan are descendants of the hunting and gathering population once subsisted on Thar’s abundant fauna, fruit and wild products such as honey. Although the only original inhabitants of Thar, the Kohlis are now the poorest and least established. They enjoyed a period of respect as soldier for the pre-British rulers, but now with the disappearance of game, are reduced to making the painful adjustment to herding and farming.

– In Theneripatti village of Tamilnadu, majority farmers are Udayars and Muthurajas.

Muthrasi fishermen : The fishermen in this ( Pillaipalli ) village belong to the Muthrasi ( Mudiraj ) caste. They have a society of which men from all 12 muthrasi households are members. Almost all the fishermen in this village are marginal farmers or renters of land for subsistence rice production with their main income derived from their own and other household members’ agricultural labour. Some of the fish (approximately 25%) is sold within the village at the following prices: korra mattalu at Rs. 50, nalla cheap at Rs. 40, bocche at Rs.20 and ravvulu at Rs. 25 per kg. The bocche fish survives the best in the Musi tanks but also fetches the lowest price per kg. The trader after deducting the cost of the seed pays the remaining amount to the society of the fishermen. This amount is equally divided among the members. On average each member receives Rs. 1500 per harvest depending on how large the fish grow. It is not necessary that the fish is harvested every year. Sometimes the fish is harvested once in two years if the size is not big enough.

This is part of study on Household Food Security and Wastewater-dependent Livelihood Activities Along the Musi River in Andhra Pradesh, India

This study focuses on landless and smallholder households who use wastewater generated from the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad in the drought-prone semi-arid tropics of Andhra Pradesh state, India for various livelihood activities, and the ontribution of the wastewater to their food security.

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