|Classification||Scholars, Landlords, Accountants|
|Religions||Saiva Siddhantam, Hinduism|
|Region||Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Burma|
|Subdivisions||Arunattu Vellalar, Cherakula Vellalar, Karkarthar, Kodikkal Kara Vellalar, Nanjil Nadu Vellalar, Nattampadi Vellalar, Pandiya Vellalar, Paiyur kottai Vellalar, Chozia Vellalar, Saiva Velallar, Veerakodi Vellalar|
- 1 Origin of Vellalar Pillai
- 2 Distribution
- 3 Notable people
- 4 Modern Personalities
- 5 External links
- 6 References
Origin of Vellalar Pillai
The name Vellalar is derived from two words namely Vellam meaning water in Tamil and alar meaning ruler, management and the term Vellalar means "Landlords". It is also to be remembered that the word Velanmai means Agriculture in Tamil. Sometimes they are also referred to as Karalar which means "lord of the clouds" in Tamil.  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".
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. 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
- Arunattu Vellalar
- Cherakula Vellalar
- Kodikkal Kara Vellalar
- Nangudi Vellalar
- Nanjil Nadu Vellalar
- Nattampadi Vellalar
- Pandiya Vellalar
- Paiyur kottai Vellalar
- Chozia Vellalar
- Saiva Velallar
- Veerakodi 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 Tamil Nadu. Few of these people moved to Kerala as well and is now concentrated in mid Travancore, Kottayam and Idukki districts. During their settlement in Kerala they brought an idol symbolising Devi and is now placed in "Mankombu temple" in Kottayam 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
- Maruthanayagam Pillai (1725–1764) Commandant for the British East India Company, later became Administrator for Madurai. Also known as Muhammed Yusuf Khan
- 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
Arts and Films
- N. S. Krishnan, Legendary actor
- Suruli Rajan, Legendary actor
- S.A. Chandrasekar, Film Director
- Joseph Vijay, Film Actor
- Vadivelu, Film Comedy Actor
- Dharani (director), Film director
- Sundar C, film director
- Vijayakumar, Film Actor
- Arun Vijay, Film Actor
- Sridevi Vijayakumar, Film Actress
- Thambi Ramiah, Associate Director turned Actor
- Azhagam Perumal, Film Director
- Balasubramaniem, Film Cameraman (Pithamagan)
- Vikraman, Film Director
- Aparna Pillai, Film Actress
- Vijayalakshmi, Film Actress
- Dhanraj Pillay (born 1968), Indian hockey player
- Shankar Pillai (born 1992), Football prodigy, VNIT, Nagpur.
- 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)
- "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.
- The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago - Page 113 by V. Kanakasabhai - Tamil (Indic people) - 1904 - 240 pages
- "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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