|Classification||Landlords, Feudal lords, Farmers|
|Religions||Saiva Siddhantam, Hinduism|
|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|
Pillai   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. In addition, it is also used as a title by the Agamudayar clan of the warrior Mukkulathor caste.
- 1 Origin of Vellalar Pillai
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Notable people
- 4 Modern Personalities
- 5 External links
- 6 References
Origin of Vellalar Pillai
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. 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
- Chozhia Vellalar
- Arunattu Vellalar
- Cherakula Vellalar
- Kodikkal Kara Vellalar
- Nangudi Vellalar
- Nanjil Nadu Vellalar
- Nattampadi Vellalar
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.
- Ilayankudi maranar
- Manakkanychaara Nayanar
- Tirunavukkarasar, popularly known as Appar
- Viralminda Nayanar
- Sardar Vedaratnam, Freedom-fighter famous for Vedaraniam Salt March
- T. S. Ramasamy Pillai (1918-2006), Freedom-fighter, politician and former Member of the Legislative Assembly.
- Gooty Kesava Pillai (1860–1933), Indian journalist and freedom-fighter. Delegate from Anantapur at the first session of the Indian National Congress.
- V. O. Chidambaram Pillai (1872–1936), famous Indian freedom fighter, the man who first supported a Scheduled Caste sage Swami Sahajaanantha,Founder of first Indigenous Ship Company against British rule.
- P. Jeevanandham,Communist Leader
- Chempakaraman Pillai (1891-1934), Indian revolutionary freedom fighter during the Anti-British Movements in India.
- Maruthanayagam Pillai (1725–1764) Commandant for the British East India Company, later became Administrator for Madurai. Also known as Muhammed Yusuf Khan
- Mr. N.R. Pillai, First Cabinet Secretary under Republic of India and First head of the Indian Civil Services Board
- Navanethem Pillay, South African Judge, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Pradani Muthirulappa Pillai, a famous minister of Ramnad during the reign of Muthuramalinga Sethupathy
- Subbayya Sivasankaranarayana Pillai (1901–1950), Indian mathematician
- Elagu V. Elaguppillai - Scientist
- Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai, Eminent Tamil poet
- Namakkal Kavignar Ramalingam Pillai,Famous Poet, freedom fighter
- Manonmaniam Sundaram Pillai, eminent writer in Tamil literature
- Maraimalai Adigal
- C. W. Thamotharampillai, publisher of ancient Tamil texts
- Pudhumaipithan, revolutionary writer from Tirunelveli Saiva Pillai community
- Jayakanthan, A Tamil writer
- Ra. Su. Nallaperumal - Tamil Novelist and Writer
- Makkal Kavingar Pattukottai Kalyanasundaranar
- Suki Sivam
- Nanjil Nadan
- Dhanraj Pillay (born 1968), Indian hockey player
- Iyappan Pillai (born 1995), Indian football prodigy
- Arumuka Navalar, born as Kandar Arumugam Pillai, a Hindu reformer
- S. Kanapathipillai, Hindu revivalist
- Naraina Pillai, a social entrepreneur and business man
- L. D. Swamikannu Pillai - Indian politician, historian, linguist, astronomer and administrator who served as the second President of the Madras Legislative Council.
- A. L. Subramanian - Mayor Tirunelveli Corporation
- A. R. Marimuthu- Ex MLA (Pattukkottai)
- K. Balasubramanian- Ex MLA (Pattukkottai)
- Vijayadharani- MLA (Congress)
- Website dedicated to Saiva Vellalar
- Aarunaattu Vellalar Website
- Website dedicate to illathupillaimar
- "Orientation - Vellala". Everyculture.com. 2012-02-11. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- "Vellalar History". Dino-latchmi.tripod.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- "Who are Vellalars and History of Vellalars Mudaliars Gounders". Saivaneri.org. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- Kingship and Political Practice in Colonial India - Pamela G. Price. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia - Google Boeken. Books.google.com. 2003-05-19. Retrieved 2012-08-01.
- [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.
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