Thanjavur Marathi people
Sir T. Madhava Rao · T. Gopala Rao
|70,000 appx. (2001)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Chola Nadu region of Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Dharmapuri district, Kerala|
|Thanjavur Marathi (mother tongue), Kannada, Tamil|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Marathi people, Deshasta Brahmin, Tamil people|
Thanjavur Marathi (Tamil: தஞ்சாவூர் மராத்தியர், Marathi: तंजावूर मराठी) (colloquially called Rāyar (Tamil: ராயர்)), are a Marathi-speaking ethno-linguistic group, who reside in the central and northern parts of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They are the descendants of Marathi administrators, soldiers and noblemen who migrated during the rule of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom. Thanjavur was a Maratha kingdom in Tamil Country, until the British dethroned the last Thanjavur Maratha king. It was founded by Maratha Warrior Chatrapati Shivaji's brother, Venkoji Rajē Bhonsalē. Venkoji Maharaj was one of the Brave Marathas.
There has been evidence of Marathi immigrants in the Tamil country ever since ancient times. During the Vijayanagar Empire and its aftermath, there was regular movement of people from central India. The Thanjavur Marathi community originated in the 17th century. The first Thanjavur Maratha was Venkoji, also known as Ekoji, a brother of Chattrapathi Shivaji, who established the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom.
In the early years of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom, migrants to Thanjavur were very few and rare. Most Thanjavur Marathis are descendants of people who migrated during and after the reign of Serfoji I who ruled from 1712 to 1726. Serfoji I invited Brahmins to settle in Thanjavur and offered them vast quantities of land. He also established agraharams such as Sarabhojirajapuram. Migrations to the Tamil country from Maharashtra and northern Karnataka took place throughout the 18th and the first half of the 19th century until the demise of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom in 1855. Since 1855, migrations have almost ceased. Some aristocratic Thanjavur Marathi families, however, continue to follow the centuries-old custom of concluding marriage alliances only with aristocratic Maratha families of Maharashtra and Central India.
According to the 2001 census, Marathi is spoken as a mother tongue by about 0.1% of the total population of Tamil Nadu. Exact districtwise statistics are not available, but according to estimates, Marathis are mostly concentrated in the city of Chennai and the Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Dharmapuri, Vellore, Salem, Thiruvannamalai, Tiruvarur, Kanchipuram and Tiruchirappalli districts of Tamil Nadu. The Marathi population in Tamil Nadu has dwindled recently due to migrations to Maharashtra, Bangalore, North India and foreign countries. There is also a considerable Thanjavur Marathi population in southern Kerala made up mostly of people who migrated to Travancore from Kumbakonam and Thanjavur to take advantage of the privileged positions they enjoyed in the Travancore court during the 19th century. According to www.deshasthas.org Tanjavur Marathis now live world wide apart from Bengaluru, Chennai, Trichy, Kumbakonam, about 30 families live in California, US - silicon valley, bay area, Fremont, 6 families in Australia, about 15 families in UAE, Dubai, 10 families in London and EU.In Malaysia especially Kuala Lumpur,there is huge concentration of Thanjavur Marathis. In modern age, there are more than 3000 active TMs on Facebook started by Shri. Ravi Shelvankar which has given birth to various online activities of podcasts, subsect Madhawa group etc.
The mother tongue of the Thanjavur Marathi people is Thanjavur Marathi, a dialect of the Marathi language. Kannada is also spoken and understood by a significantly large segment of the Thanjavur Marathi population, if they have moved to Karnataka. Having lived in the Tamil country for centuries, almost all Thanjavur Marathis in Tamil Nadu are proficient in Tamil.
The Thanjavur Marathis are credited with having introduced culinary dishes such as poli and sambhar to Tamil Nadu. They also introduced folk dances such as Poi-kaal kudirai. Musical instruments such as gottu vadyam and tambura were also introduced by them.
Notable Thanjavur Marathis
- Anandarayar Sahib, Diwan of the Thanjavur Maratha kingdom during the reigns of Shahuji I, Serfoji I and Tukkoji.
- Reddy Row, Diwan of Travancore from 1817 to 1821 and 1843 to 1845.
- R. Venkata Rao, Diwan of Travancore from 1821 to 1829 and 1838 to 1839.
- Sir T. Madhava Rao (1828–1891), Diwan of Travancore from 1857 to 1872 and an early leader of the Indian National Congress.
- Thanjavur Subha Rao, Diwan of Travancore in the 1830s.
- T. Rama Rao (1831–1895), Indian civil servant. Served as Diwan of Travancore from 1887 to 1892.
- T. Ananda Rao (1852–1919), Indian administrator. Diwan of Mysore from 1909 to 1912. Son of Sir T. Madhava Rao.
- T.A. Venkasawmy Row, Proprietor, Madras Law House and distinguished legal scholar
- T.V.Sanjiva Row, Legal Scholar, whose Legal Notes and digests are a staple of commentaries and reports on Indian law
- V. P. Madhava Rao (1850–1934), Indian administrator. Diwan of Mysore from 1906 to 1909 and Baroda from 1910 to 1913.
- N. Vittal (born 31 January 1938), belonging to the Indian Administrative Service 1960 batch, is one of the eminent public servants of India, who has held important positions in the Government of India, most prominent of which was that of the Central Vigilance Commissioner.
- T. Gopala Rao (1832–1886), Indian educator. Was one of the pioneers of Government Arts College, Kumbakonam. Gopal Rao Public Library in Kumbakonam is named after him.
- Palladam Sanjiva Rao (1882–1962), Indian flautist and carnatic musician.
- R. Balaji Rao (1842–1896), Indian politician and Indian independence activist. First Secretary of the Madras Mahajana Sabha. Represented Tanjore along with S. A. Swaminatha Iyer at the first session of the Indian National Congress.
- R. Raghunatha Rao (1831–1912), Indian civil servant, administrator, politician and Indian independence activist. Diwan of Indore 1875-88.
- K. Krishnaswamy Rao (1845-1923), Diwan of Travancore 1898-1904.
- R. Ramachandra Rao (1871-1936), Indian civil servant and Indian independence activist. Served as District Collector of Kurnool, Nellore and Madras.
- T. Ramachandra Rao (1825-1879), First Deputy Commissioner of Police, Madras.
- Subanthore Vasudeva Rao (1860-1955), Deputy Collector of Madras, one of the first Indian administrators in the British civil service.
- Subanthore Venkoba Rao (1933-2012), Chartered Accountant; Executive Director (retired), Indian Oil Corporation.
- D. Vasudeva Rao Managing Director Ennore Foundries (Retired).
- B R Dhondu Rao
- H.Bhimasena Rao, Indian Financial Service- Accountant General, United Provinces in the 1930s- Bhimasena Gardens in Chennai is named after him.
- Krishnaswamy Ananda Rau,(1894- 1966) Indian Educational Service- Professor of Mathematics and sometime Principal, Presidency College Madras- he was a contemporary of Srinivasa Ramanujam, the mathematician.
- C. R. Krishnaswamy Rao Saheb, IAS ( 1927- 2013) a distinguished administrator and civil servant who was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2008. Krishnaswamy Rao Saheb distinguished himself by becoming the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Charan Singh and then becoming the Cabinet Secretary when Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister.
- Maruthi Vasudeva Rao Narayan Rao, I.R.S. Chairman Central Board of Customs and Excise and U.N. Narcotic council.
- D J Balaji Rao - Vice Chairman, SCCI.
- T.B.Nagaraja Rao- Former Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General of India and Accountant General, West Bengal
- M. Bhagavanta Rao- Managing Director, State Bank of Hyderabad
- Sundar Narayana Rao, Reputed singer from Chennai, Tamil Nadu
In popular culture
- The fictitious RSS swayamsevak Shriram Abhyankar, in the 1999 movie Hey Ram, played by Atul Kulkarni, claims that he is a Thanjavur Marathi.
- An exclusive radio podcast dedicated to showcasing Thanjavur Marathis called 'Maja Astitva' is on PodOmatic.
- "Census of India - DISTRIBUTION OF 10,000 PERSONS BY LANGUAGE". Government of India. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
- Gopal, Ashok (August 1986). "Shivaji's Forgotten Cousins". Poona Digest.
- B. N. Krishnamurti Sarma (2000). A history of the Dvaita school of Vedānta and its literature: from the earliest beginnings to our own times. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 544. ISBN 8120815750, ISBN 978-81-208-1575-9.
- M. Vinayak (January 15, 2000). "Struggle for survival". The Hindu.
- S. Muthiah (July 7, 2003). "The Maharashtrians of T. N.". The Hindu.
- Robert Eric Frykenberg (1968), Elite Formation in Nineteenth Century South India, Proceedings of the First International Conference on Tamil Culture and History, Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaysia Press
- South Indian Maharashtrians (Cultural and Economic Studies), Silver Jubilee Souvenir, Mahratta Education Fund, 1937