Parayi petta panthirukulam
Parayi Petta Panthirukulam, is a Malayalam language phrase which translates as "twelve kulams born of a Pariah Woman". This phrase is a well recognized as the title of an important legend of ancient Kerala, a southern state in India. The 'Kulams' refer to vocation based hierarchical ethnic groups. Vayillakunnilappan is still revered as a deity in Vaayillakkunillappan temple in the Palghat district of Kerala. The other eleven babies were found and adopted by people of different Kulams and they grew up learning the trade / skill of that Kulam. They all grew up to be the best in their respective fields, well respected and even the kings from far away lands sought their counsel. Their lives' many stories provide great insight and often provide interesting perspectives into lives based on wholesome values.
The key learning from this legend is that all Kulams of ancient Kerala have common ancestry and that regardless of your birth, life's skills and value systems are honed through one's upbringing. Here are the names of individuals who comprise the Panthirukulam: Mezhathol Agnihothri, Pakkanar, Perumthachan, Rajakan, Vallon, Vaduthala Nair, Uppukoottan, Akavoor Chathan, Karakkal Amma, Pananaar, Naranath Bhranthan and Vayillakunnilappan.
The following verses in Malyalam of anonymous authorship and of uncertain date describes the names of the twelve children of Vararuchi who comprise the progenitors of the twelve clans of the legend of Panthirukulam.
മേളത്തോളഗ്നിഹോത്രീ രജകനുളിയനൂര് -
ത്തച്ചനും പിന്നെ വള്ളോന്
വായില്ലാക്കുന്നിലപ്പന് വടുതല മരുവും
നായര് കാരയ്ക്കല് മാതാ
ചെമ്മേ കേളുപ്പുകൂറ്റന് പെരിയ തിരുവര-
- Kottarathil Sankunni (1990). Eithihyamaala (in Malayalam). Kottayam: Kottarathil Sankunni Memorial Committee. p. 44.