Nair Service Society
NSS Headquarters Main Gate,Perunna
|Formation||31 October 1914|
|Founder||Mannathu Padmanabha Pillai|
|Type||Caste based organization|
The Nair Service Society (NSS) is an organization created for the social advancement and welfare of the Nair community that is found primarily in south India. It was established under the leadership of Mannathu Padmanabha Pillai. The NSS is a three-tier organisation with Karayogams at the base level, Taluk Unions at the intermediate level and a central headquarters operating from Perunna in Kerala, India.
The Society owns and manages a large number of educational institutions and hospitals.
The Nair Service Society was formed on 31 October 1914 as a reaction to perceived communal slights in the princely state of Travancore in south India, which now forms a part of the state of Kerala. The Nairs were the most economically and socially dominant community, as well as the most numerous, in what was traditionally a staunchly Hindu theocracy that rigorously and officially enforced distinctions between castes. Some Nairs had felt provoked by the rise to prominence of the Syrian Christian community, who held a status on a par with Brahmins and whose members were being elected as chairs of various official bodies during a period when the political systems were being modified.
The Nairs believed Travancore to be a Hindu state and the founders of the NSS believed that their own community could only counter the changing socio-political situation if it presented a united front and did away with its internal social subdivisions.[a] The first caste association of this type to have been formed in the region was the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP), established in 1903 to work for the benefit of the Ezhava caste. Frederick Bailey has said that associations such as the NSS and SNDP had three primary functions:
- to "reform caste behaviour and bring it into line with high-caste standards", which became necessary as a consequence of some caste members obtaining employment in the professions and in government posts and thus coming into contact with high-caste colleagues who treated them as inferior. The associations aimed to blur the distinction between their members and higher castes, refusing to accept a subordinate position in society.
- to improve the welfare, education and employment opportunities for their members in order to further ameliorate the traditional caste differentiations
- to engage in politics for the achievement of these aims, which was necessitated because in attempting to promote the circumstances of their own caste they were inevitably setting themselves in competition with members of other castes.
Expatriate Nairs both in other states of India as well as in countries other than India have formed Nair Service Societies in their states and countries of domicile. Examples are Karnataka Nair Service Society with 30 karayogams and the Kanyakumari Nair Service Society with 27 karayogams NSS Vidharbha, which unites Nairs living in the Vidharbha region of Maharashtra, is having branches in Nagpur and Chandrapur.
In 2010 October, the Nair organizations from around the world decided to start a united organization. As a result, the Global Nair Service Society was formed after a meeting attended by thousands in New Delhi.
- Taluk Unions : 58
- Karayogams (village communities) : 5300
- Vanitha Samajams : 4232
- Bala Samajams : 2466
- The success of the NSS with regard to abolishing the subdivisions is moot: British Raj census reports of 1931 and 1941 varied in their interpretation of the available data and Christopher Fuller, an anthropologist, noted in 1975 that intermarriage between the various groups was "very rare". Fuller notes that "... many Nayars see the persistence of subdivisions within their community as a social and political problem, and they tend to deny their existence when outsidersask about them.
- "Founder". Nair Service Society. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- Devika, J.; Varghese, V. J. (March 2010). To Survive or to flourish? Minority rights and Syrian Christian assertions in 20th century Travancore (PDF). Trivandrum: Centre for Development Studies. pp. 15–17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
- Jeffrey, Robin (1974). "The social origins of a caste association, 1875-1905: The founding of the S.N.D.P. Yogam". South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies. 1 4 (1): 39–59. doi:10.1080/00856407408730687. (subscription required)
- Fuller, Christopher J. (Winter 1975). "The Internal Structure of the Nayar Caste". Journal of Anthropological Research (University of New Mexico) 31 (4): 283–312. JSTOR 3629883. (subscription required)
- Nossiter, Thomas Johnson (1982). Communism in Kerala: a study in political adaptation. University of California Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-520-04667-2. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
- Bailey, Frederick G. (May 1963). "Closed Social Stratification in India". European Journal of Sociology 4 (1): 107–124. doi:10.1017/S0003975600000710. (subscription required)
- Amma Show Bengaluru
- [dead link]
- Welcome to Vidarbha Nair Tharavadu
- "Global Nair organisation to be launched in Delhi Sunday". IndiaVision News (New Delhi). 18 October 2010. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- nss.org.in - The Official Website of Nair Service Society