Mudaliars also Mudaliyar , Mudali or 'Moodley is a caste title used by the people belonging to various Tamil castes and in the Tamil diaspora. Castes using Mudaliar title speak Tamil as their native language, though a few may speak Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada.
The surname is derived from the honorary title Mudali meaning a person of first rank in the Tamil Chola feudal society which was bestowed upon top-ranking bureaucratic officials and army commanders in medieval South India. The surname is generally prevalent among Indian Tamils (Nattar) and the Tamil diaspora though it is also used in other parts of South India. literally meaning The first citizens or first ones after his son Athondai had won the battle against Kurumbars.
Thondaimandala Mudaliars are the natives of Tamil Nadu, from time immemorial. This community with rich heritage, traditions and civilization and known for their honesty, intelligence, valour, loyalty and administrative ability were occupying high positions like ministers, army chiefs, regional rulers etc. in various southern kingdoms.
Chola king Karikal Cholan has awarded the title of “Mudaliars” (meaning muthanmai (first) citizens) to these community members. Since then we are called as “Thondaimandala Mudaliars”.
These community members had the privilege of handing over the crown at the time of coronation ceremony (mudi-sootu vizha) of the kings, religious heads etc. This fact can be seen from old Tamil classical literature “Thirukkaivazhakkam” which states “mangaiyoru bhagarkum, madhavarkum, mannavarkum thunga mudiyai sootumkai (the hands that handover the crown to kings/religious heads at the time of coronation ceremony)”.
Some of the Mudali clans of Thondaimandalam migrated to Sri Lanka during the period of the medieval poet Kambar. For example, some of the Tamils in Ceylon trace their lineage to this group, some of whom had become saints called Nayanars. The book The Tamils in Early Ceylon by C. Sivaratnam traces some of the Mudaliyars in Ceylon to Thaninayaka Mudaliyar (among others), a rich Saiva Vellalar who emigrated to Ceylon from Tondaimandalam. Maanadukanda Mudali, a Vellala king of Thondai Nadu had shed over kamban a shower of gold for his work of Erezhupatu, a literary work praising agriculture. Taninayaga, a Vellala of Seyur was made the chief of Neduntiva.
Jaffna has two or three clans from Thondaimandalam with the Mudali surname. Irumarapum Thooya Thaninayaga Mudali from Seyyoor and Mannadukonda Mudali whose clan has been quoted even during poet Kambar's time. Here is the direct quotation from Kailaya Malai, a historical book of Jaffna on the migration into Jaffna from Thondai Nadu. The other clans may come under this section or under Sri Lankan Vellalar section.
The next was the Vellala of the family of him who shed over kamban a shower of gold for the work of Erezhupatu, whose country was Tondainade, who had a widespread name, who used to wear a lotus garland and whose name was Maanadukanda Mudali. He was made to reside at Irupalai. The next was the Vellala of Seyur, who was as wealthy as Indra, and who never deviated from the path of visture. whose garland was of water lilies. Whose fame was great and whose paternal and maternal lines were matchless and pure and whose name was Taninayaga. He was made a chief of Neduntiva..[unreliable source?]
Castes using Mudaliar title
Agamudayar is a community whose members are prevalent in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.] Agamudayar have been using the title of Mudaliar since the 13th century. The Agamudayars actually belong to the Mukkulathor community. These three castes are together known as Mukkulathor. Agamudayar who generally use Thevar as title also use the title of Mudaliar in Northern Tamil Nadu. Servai, Udaiyar, Pillai and Reddy are their other titles used in various parts of the state of Tamil Nadu.
Kerala Mudali is an aggregation of various castes that use Mudaliar title. They are predominantly found in the areas of Trivandrum and Palakkad Districts of Kerala and Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu. They migrated to these places starting late 17th Century onwards for various purposes including Agriculture, Coconut oil extraction, Coir Trade and as Specialized Fighters and Reliable Spies. They were given special preference by Royal Family of Travancore due to their cultural similarity and loyalty.
Saiva Vellalar (otherwise known as Thondaimandala Saiva Vellalar or Thondaimandala Mudaliar) is a Forward caste and vegetarian community in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. They trace their lineage to Sekkizhar, the author of the Periyapuranam. They are the original homogeneous group of Mudaliars who were settled in Thondaimandalam (otherwise known as Thondai Nadu) in South India by Chola King, Karikala Chola. The legendary great king “Karikal-cholan” of “Chola- dynasty” had two sons. He divided his kingdom into two and gave the northern part including “Kanchipuram”region to second son named “Aathondai Chakravarthi”. This region has come to be called as “Thondai-mandalam”, named after the founder-emperor. Aathondai chakravarthy has divided his kingdom into 24 divisions (kottams) and appointed members from ‘Saiva-velalars” community as “rulers” of these regions or “kottams”, under his empire. They were emerging as 'Landlords' during the time of British rule.
Sengunthar also known as Kaikolar is a caste found in the state of Tamil Nadu. Historically, there were seventy-two subdivisions (nadu or desams). Their name comes from the Tamil words "kai" (hand) and "kol" (shuttle used in looming or spear). They consider the different parts of the loom to represent various gods and sages. They are also known as Sengunthar, which means a red dagger in Tamil. During Chola rule Kaikolars served as soldiers and were called "Terinja kaikolar padai". (Terinja means "known" in Tamil and Padai means "regiment"), so "terinja-kaikolar padai" were the personal bodyguards. Kaikkolars were militarised during the Chola empire and formed a major part of the Chola army from 8th century to 13th century. There were no Kaikolar army before or after the Chola empire. Kaikkolar formed merchant groups and maintained a military unit to protect the merchants. They formed many regiments in the Chola army. Kaikolars were prominent members of Tamil society even during the 10th century AD during Chola rule. Smarakesarit-terinja-Kaikkolar and Vikramasingat-terinja-Kaikkolar derived their names from possible titles of Parantaka Udaiyar-Gandaradittatterinja-Kaikkolar must have been the name of a regiment called after king Gandaraditya, the father of Uttama-Chola. Singalantaka-terinda-Kaikkolar (a regiment named after Singalantaka i.e. Parntaka I) Danatonga-terinja-Kaikkola (regiment or group). The early writing of the record and the surname Danatunga of Paranataka I suggests its assignment to his reign. Muttavalperra seems to indicate some special honour or rank conferred on the regiment by the king.
History of Jaffna has at least two or three clans from Thondaimandalam with Mudali surname. Irumarapum Thooya Thaninayaga Mudali from Seyyoor and Mannadukonda Mudali whose clan has been quoted even during famour poet Kambar's time. Please read Vaipava Malai and migration of people from Thondai Nadu to Jaffna and then write about Sri Lankan Mudaliars. It is not a British Phenomenon. Here is the direct quotation from a part of Kailaya Malai a historical book of Jaffna on the migration into Jaffna from Thondai Nadu. The other clans may come under this section or under Sri Lankan Vellalar section. The next was the Vellala of the family of him who shed over kamban a shower of gold for the work of Erezhupatu, whose country was Tondainade, who had a widespread name, who used to wear a lotus garland and whose name was Maanadukanda Mudali. He was made to reside at Irupalai.
The next was the Vellala of Seyur, who was as wealthy as Indra, and who never deviated from the path of visture. whose garland was of water lilies. Whose fame was great and whose paternal and maternal lines were matchless and pure and whose name was Taninayaga. He was made a chief of Neduntiva.
Nanjil Mudali is another group of people who have Mudali surname. They belong to Nanjil nadu in Kanyakumari district.
Thuluva Vellalar or Arcot Mudaliar is a sub-caste of Agamudayar and were immigrants from the Tulunad, a part of the modern district of South Canara. A King named Athondai Chakravarthy had brought down the people of Thuluva Vellalar to the present day Thondaimandalam of Tamil Nadu. Athondai Chakravarthy had established his rule over Northern Tamil Nadu after winning the battle over the Kurumbar. This is the reason that part of North Tamil Nadu was named as Thondaimandalam, named after this victorious king.
List of Prominent Personalities
- Irschick, Eugene F. Dialogue and History: Constructing South India, 1795-1895. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. direct web reference: http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=ft038n99hg&brand=eschol
- History of Tirupati: The Tiruvengadam Temple By T. K. T. Viraraghavacharya
- Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture - Page 161 by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar
- The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago By V. Kanakasabhai
- Thondaimandala Mudaliars, http://mudaliartm.org/history.htm
- The Tamils in Early Ceylon By C. Sivaratnam, http://books.google.com/books?vid=0PrqSaY8TV9DtgCG9v&id=hlocAAAAMAAJ&q=mudaliyar+vellala&dq=mudaliyar+vellala&pgis=1
- Rural Society in Southeast India By Kathleen Gough By Kathleen Gough
- "Irschick, Eugene F. Dialogue and History: Constructing South India, 1795-1895. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994."
- Order and Disorder in Colonial South India Eugene F. Irschick Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 23, No. 3 (1989), pp. 459-492,
- The Hindu : Of tilting pillars