Pillai (community)

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Classification Landlords, Feudal lords, Farmers
Religions Saiva Siddhantam, Hinduism
Languages Tamil
Region Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Burma
Subdivisions Arunattu Vellalar, Cherakula Vellalar, Chozia Vellalar, Karkarthar, Kodikkal Kara Vellalar, Nanjil Nadu Vellalar, Nattampadi Vellalar, Paiyur kottai Vellalar, Pandiya Vellalar, Saiva Velallar, Veerakodi Vellalar,Karuneega vellalar
Related groups

Pillai[1] [2] [3] is a Tamil speaking community hailing from the elite caste of agricultural landlords called Vellalars. The Vellalars identified with ruling authority and were lords in the predominantly wet land villages which they controlled.[4] In addition, it is also used as a title by the Agamudayar clan of the warrior Mukkulathor caste.

Origin of Vellalar Pillai[edit]

There are different theories concerning the meaning of the word 'Vellalar': It derives from the word Vel meaning a spear or lance and alar meaning "people of Vel", an old and archaic Tamil weapon. Another theory is that the word Vellalar is from Velanmai meaning to cultivate. The word 'Velanmai' which we take to mean as agriculture is in fact means 'Benevolence', helping others. The Manimekhalai states "He is a Vellala who would not take his food, keeping the guest hungry outside". Another one postulates it is derived from Vellam or flood (in Tamil) and alar (ruler or controller), so Vellalar means "Lord of the floods". Sometimes they were also known as Karalar which means "Lord of the clouds" in Tamil.[23][24] The Journal of Indian History, Vol VII, explains that Vellalars, the controllers of the flood, irrigated their fields when the rivers were in flood, and raised the rice-crop on damp rice-fields while the Karalar were controllers of the rain, who looked up to the sky for watering their fields and stored the rain water in tanks. Some of the sub-castes of the predominant Pillai community are

Vellalars of Thondaimandalam who are actually a sub-caste of Saiva Vellalars adopted the title Mudaliar and became Thondaimandala Mudaliars, who were connected to Pillai community by origin[5]


The community is distributed throughout Tamil Nadu and also in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore. However, they form a significant proportion of population in the southern districts of Kerala. Few of these people moved to Madurai as well and is now concentrated in mid Chennai, Valparai and Madurai districts. During their settlement in Madras they brought an idol symbolising Devi and is now placed in "Mariamma temple" in Sathukudi district.

Notable people[edit]

Historical Personalities[edit]


  1. Ilayankudi maranar
  2. Kotpuli
  3. Manakkanychaara Nayanar
  4. Tirunavukkarasar, popularly known as Appar
  5. Viralminda Nayanar

Modern Personalities[edit]

Freedom fighters and social leaders[edit]


Rebel is an Insult, the illegal occupiers of India called all freedom fighters as rebels and this post in wikipedia is insulting a great personality



Tamil literature[edit]






External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Orientation - Vellala". Everyculture.com. 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  2. ^ "Vellalar History". Dino-latchmi.tripod.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  3. ^ "Who are Vellalars and History of Vellalars Mudaliars Gounders". Saivaneri.org. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  4. ^ Kingship and Political Practice in Colonial India - Pamela G. Price. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  5. ^ Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. 2003-05-19. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  6. ^ [http://books.google.com/ id=UFQEAQAAIAAJ&q=Vellala+pillai&dq=Vellala+pillai&lr= A garland: a biographical dictionary of Carnatic composers and musicians - N. Rajagopalan, B. Ramamurthi - Google Boeken]. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ [2][dead link]