Thondaimandala Mudaliar

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Thondaimandala Mudaliar
தொண்டைமண்டல முதலியார்
Ptrajan.jpgMbhaktavatsalam.jpgSmuthiahmudaliar.JPGO. V. Alagesan.JPG
Regions with significant populations
Tondai Nadu, Chola Nadu
Languages
Tamil
Religion
Hinduism
Related ethnic groups
Mudaliar, Kongu Vellalar, Karkathar, Tirunelveli Saiva Pillai, Tamil people

Thondaimandala Mudaliar (Tamil: தொண்டைமண்டல முதலியார்) is a Forward caste and vegetarian community in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. They trace their lineage to the ancient Chola Velirs (relatives of the Chola Dynasty). Sekkizhar, the author of the Periyapuranam, was from this community.

History[edit]

Sangam and Medieval Tamil literature[edit]

According to Sangam literature, the Vēlir migrated from the Gangetic plains of ancient Dvārakā under the guidance of the sage Agastya. This is described by Nacchinarkkiniyar in his commentary on the Tolkāppiyam (Payiram; Porul.34).[1] The sage Agastya took with him 18 families of Vēls or Vēlirs and their kings from Tuvarai (identified with Dvārakā)[2] in the north, and migrated south.[3] Irunkōvēl, a Vēlir King of the Irunkōvēl line and a contemporary of Karikala Chola (circa 270 BCE), mentions his lineage and traces it back 49 generations to one of the kings of their ancestral home in Dvārakā.[4] This is repeated by the poet Kapilar when he sings to Irunkōvēl and asks him to marry the two daughters of his close friend and patron Vēl Pāri, another Vēlir king.[5]

Sekkizhar, one of the most prominent members of this community, is referred to as Ganga-Kula Tilaka, and his lineage is extolled in various pieces of medieval Tamil literature, the most notable among them being his biography by Umapati Sivacharya.[6][7][8] He was born in Kunrattur and would soon rise to become the Chief Minister of Kulothunga Chola II.[9][10][11][12] 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".

Migration[edit]

48,000 Vellalars migrated north with the Chola King Karikala Chola (ruled around 270 BCE) after he conquered Thondaimandalam from the Kurumbars, a nomadic tribe also known as the Aruvalars. He parcelled out the land to the Vellalar chiefs, now known as the Thondaimandala Mudaliars,[13][14][15] and divided the territory into 24 Kottams or districts:[15] Pulal, Puliyur, Eekadu, Manavur, Chenkkadu, Payur, Eyil, Thamal, Uttukadu, Kalathur, Chembur, Amur, Eethoor, Venkundram, Palkunram, Ilankadu, Kaliyur, Chriukarai, Paduvur, Kadikai, Chenthirukai, Kunrapattiram, and Venkadam Velur.[15]

Nāladiyār[edit]

During the pre-Chola period, the chiefs of the Muthuraja/Muttaraiyar community ruled over the Tanjore district in Tamilakkam. They controlled the fertile plains of the Kaveri region.[16] When the Cholas came to power, the Muttaraiyar were turned into feudatories. Muttaraiyar literally means King of three territories.[17] They built many temples for Siva.[18] One of the most famous from this clan was Peru Muttaraiyar, who was known for his great wealth and grand feasts. Two stanzas (200, 296) of Nāladiyār, one of the works of ancient Tamil literature, is dedicated to him.[19][20] One of their titles was Lord of Tanjore.[21][22]

During the period of Ko Rajakesarivarman Rajaraja Chola I, we know of at least one high ranking chief and a feudatory of the Chola from this community: Śēkkizhār Araiyan Sankaranarayanan, also known as Chola-Muttaraiyan. Araiyan, which is the Tamil equivalent of the Sanskrit Raja or King, in this context means a chieftain or a governor.[23] The title Chola Muttaraiyan means that he was a subordinate of the Chola King and was the Lord of the Muttaraiyar people.

Sivagnana Botham[edit]

The Kalappālar clan was an ancient and powerful Tamil clan which finds mention in Tamil literature. They embraced Saivism among other sects and religions. Two of the most famous from this clan are Achyuta Kalappālarāyan and his pious son Meykanda Deva.[24] Achyuta Kalappālarāyan was a powerful chieftain or king, while his son, Meykanda Deva, (the enlightened one), is the author of Sivagnanabodham and is considered the father of modern Shaivism.[citation needed] Some historians like P.T Srinivasa Iyengar identify the Kalabhra king Achyuta Vikranta with Achyuta Kalappala, while others like Krishnaswami Aiyangar refute this theory.[25][26] Iyengar holds the view that Achyuta Vikranta of Kalabhra kula was the same person as Achyuta Kalappala, and that Kalabhra in Pali becomes Kalappala in Tamil. He also proposes that Achyuta Vikranta was Tamil, as the three Tamil kings (Chera, Chola, and Pandya) sing to him in Tamil when they are displaced and imprisoned.[27]

Ekambavānan[edit]

Magadaimandalam was the region around Aragalur and was ruled by the clan of Banas. They were feudatories of the Chola and the Pallava. One member of this clan was Ekambavānan or Ekamabara Mudaliyar. The son of a rich landlord and a Bana prince, he was tutored by the poet Kambar. Tradition has it that on one occasion, the three kings, Chola, Chera and Pandya, paid him a visit. His wife welcomes the kings and informs them that he had just left for the fields. To this, the three kings crack a joke that he has gone to plant the fields and that it was not an appropriate job for a prince. Enraged by the ridicule of the kings regarding agricultural operations, the wife retorts that her husband would indeed plant the crowns of the three kings in the fields.[28]

When Ekambavanan returns, his wife informs of the visit of the kings and he immediately goes after them and takes them to task. The three kings realize their mistake and pay homage to Ekambavanan, who then releases them.

Periyapuranam[edit]

Sekkizhar, the author of the Tamil hagiography Periyapuranam or The Great Purana, consisting of the life stories of the 63 Tamil Saiva Saints or the Nayanars, hailed from this community.[8][29][30][31][32] Kulottonga was a devotee of Lord Siva Nataraja of Chidambaram and continued the reconstruction of the cult center of Tamil Shaivism begun by his predecessors. At the same time he was enchanted by the Jain epic Jivaka Cintamani. To wean him away, Sekkizhar composed and sang the Tamil epic Periyapuranam.[29]

The Periyapuranam was composed during the 12th century during the reign of Kulothunga Chola II. Sekkizhar introduces his brother as Thondaimān Pallavaraiyan, the Lord of Thondaimandalam and the king of the Pallavas.[33] When Thondaimandalam was affected by a famine, Sekkizhar sacrificed all his wealth in support of the people. For this act, the Chola king conferred upon him the title Thondaimandalam nindru kātha Perumāl (the great one who stood in front and saved Thondaimandalam).[34] Here we have an inscription of him from the Amman shrine of the Kunnattur, Sriperumbudur Taluk on the west wall of the Amman shrine, Tirunagēśwara temple:

Records an agreement of the Tiruvunāligai sabhāi of the temple to burn a lamp in the shrine for the money received from the wife of Śēkkizhār Bhuvanapperumāl alias Tundaganādudaiyān.[35]

Tundaganādudaiyān literally means as the one who owns Tundaganādu which is the Sanskritized form of the Tamil Thondaimandalam.[36]

Initially a feudatory of Rajaraja Chola III (ruled 1216 to 1256), Kōpperunchingadēva I lived in one of the most turbulent times of the Chola and the Pallava empires. He had numerous titles, a few of which were Alagiya Siyān (the handsome lion), Sakalabhuvana Chakravarthin (the emperor of the universe), and Avaniyālapirandān (born to rule the world).[37] From multiple inscriptions, we know that he bore numerous titles and would assume the titles of all his ancestors: Ātkondadēvan, Gāngēyan, and Tamilnādu Kātha Pallavaraiyar or Tamilnādu Kātha Perumāl.[38] In one of his inscriptions he is described thus (about mid 13th century):

The hero of heroes and the son of the black lord
the victor of victors, the Ātkondadēvan Gāngēyan of militant long spear.[39]

The Chola empire was rife with corruption and was surrounded by hostile states waiting to make a move. He had to frequently suffer incursions by the Hoysalas into Thondaimandalam. Finally, the breaking of the treaty by king Maravarman Sundara Pandya and the blind eye turned by Rajaraja Chola III would enrage him so much that he would decide to take on the reigns of the Chola empire. He marched to Sendamangalam and imprisoned the Chola king and become the guardian of young prince Rajendra Chola III.[40] Rajaraja Chola III appealed to the Hoysala emperor Vira Narasihma, who was matrimonially related to the Chola family, for help. The Hoysala emperor realised the weak state of affairs in the Chola empire, and took this opportunity to expand his own empire. Kopperinchinga submitted briefly and released the Chola emperor.[41]

After having released Rajaraja Chola III, Kopperunchinga I retreated, regrouped. He decided to take a stand one last time. He dispatched his son, Kopperinchingadēva II. Born to Kōpperunchingadēva I and his wife Silāvathi, he fought the Hoysalas in the north-west, the Telugu Tikkas in the north, and the Pandyas in the south.[41][42] He razed the Hoysala empire in the north-west, planted a pillar of victory, assumed the title Karanataka mana mardhana, and then performed the Tulahabara (weighing oneself against gold and precious gems) with the huge war booty at Tillai (Chidambaram). He installed Rajendra Chola III on the throne and they worked together to regain some of the lost territories of the Chola empire). It is for this reason that he is described in his inscription as the Sun to the Lotus tank (of Chola).

Ariyanatha Mudaliar[edit]

Ariyanatha Mudaliar was the Vellala Dalavoy (Chief Office Holder) of the Vijayanagar viceroy Viswanatha Nayaka (1529–64).[43] He took power in the rich Tamaraparani rice lands. He is credited with founding the palayam or small principalities system ruled by petty chiefs called poligar or palayakarars. He divided the Pandya kingdom into 72 palayams and commanded the 72 dry-zone poligar chiefs.[43][44] The Thousand Pillar Hall in the Meenakshi Temple was constructed by him in 1569. At the entrance of the Mandapam, there is a statue of him seated on horseback.[45]

Ariyanatha Mudaliar was a pre-colonial military figure and enjoyed a cult status in southern Tamil Nadu. He became a tutelary patron figure amongst some of the region's cattle-keeping groups.[43]

Ceremonies[edit]

The members of this community held the right of handing over the crown at the time of coronation ceremony (mudi-sootu vizha) of kings and religious heads.[46] In the Tamil classical literature, Kamba-ramayana, Kavi-chakravarthy Kambar stated that "the great sage Vashista took the crown from ancestors of Vallal Sadaiyappa Mudaliar and crowned the King Rama".

Historical personalities[edit]

  • Sekkizhar, the author of the Tamil hagiography Periyapuranam or The Great Purana consisting of the life stories of the 63 Tamil Saiva Saints or the Nayanars hailed from this community.[8][29][30][31][32]
  • Thirunavukkarusu Nayanar, also known as Appar, one of the 63 Nayanars, celebrated by Sekkizhar in his epic Periyapuranam hailed from this community.[47][48] He was a contemporary of Tirugnanasambandhar (younger of the two) and lived during 7th century.[49] Sambandhar affectionately referred to him as appa(father). Though born into an orthodox saivite family, Appar initially embraced Jainism and was known as Dharmasena. He would later convert back to Saivism and travel to many places and undergo ordeals to show his devotion to Siva.[50] He would sing one of his hymns in praise of Siva at Vaitheeswaran Koil.[51]
  • Kotpuli Nayanar, one of the 63 Nayanars hailed from Nattiyantankuti. He was so attached to Lord Siva that he allotted a heap of paddy in the form of huge hill in each of the Siva temples to feed the Saiva devotees.[52]
  • Ambi Aramvalartha Mudaliar was a minister during the reign of Krishnadevaraya (1509-1530 AD).
  • Maavai Kumaraswamy Mudaliar administered the districts of Madurai, Tirunelveli, and Trichy from 1688 to 1700. His son-in-law, Aarai Aagappa Mudaliar, administered these areas from 1701 to 1726. Since Aarai Alagappa Mudaliar had no children, he handed over the authority to his sister’s son-in-law, Dalavoy Kumaraswamy Mudaliar, whose direct descendants enjoy the title of "Dalavoy" to this day.[citation needed]
  • Subramanya Mudaliar, a patron of arts and literature, was a Minister in the Pudukottai Kingdom. He is a direct descendant of Sekkizhar.[56]

Modern personalities[edit]

Freedom fighters[edit]

Social work[edit]

Literature[edit]

  • Makaral Karthikeya Mudaliar: A scholar and poet in the 19th century who hailed from Veyttur, near Maduranthakam. He authored a number of Tamil books, including Veleer varalaatrumanbu, Tamil Solvilakkam, and Mozhi Nool.

Arts and music[edit]

Politics[edit]

Sports[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Journal of Tamil studies, Issues 29-30 by International Association of Tamil Research, International Institute of Tamil Studies, p. 28
  2. ^ Ancient India: collected essays on the literary and political history of Southern India, p. 358
  3. ^ Temples of Kr̥ṣṇa in South India: history, art, and traditions in Tamilnāḍu, p. 34
  4. ^ Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes, p. 165
  5. ^ The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom: An Anthology of Poems from Classical Tamil, the Purananuru Translations from the Asian classics, p. 201
  6. ^ The Cōḷas By Kallidaikurichi Aiyah Nilakanta Sastri
  7. ^ Kalhār (white water-lily): studies in art, iconography, architecture, and archaeology of India and Bangladesh, p. 367
  8. ^ a b c Kalhār (white water-lily): studies in art, iconography, architecture, and archaeology of India and Bangladesh, p. 366
  9. ^ A Topographical List of Inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala States: Tiruchchirappalli District, page 388
  10. ^ Tamil culture, Volume 5, p. 291
  11. ^ Saiva siddhanta, Volume 15, page 26
  12. ^ The grand epic of Saivism
  13. ^ The economic history of India, Volume 1, p. 161: Karikala The Great defeated the Aruvalar and ... distributed the conquered lands to the Vellala chiefs, who were his relatives.
  14. ^ An agrarian history of South Asia, Part 4, Volume 4, p. 100: Vellala gentry on the north Tamil coast trace their origins to a royal Chola ancestor who migrated north with 48,000 Vellala families, conquering Kurumba hunters.
  15. ^ a b c The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago by V. Kanakasabhai
  16. ^ The political structure of early medieval South India, p. 112
  17. ^ Journal of Indian history, Volume 19, p. 40
  18. ^ Early Chōl̤a art:origin and emergence of style
  19. ^ History of Tamil language and literature: beginning to 1000 A.D., p. 89
  20. ^ Śaṅgam polity: the administration and social life of the Śaṅgam Tamils, p. 33
  21. ^ Tirupati Balaji was a Buddhist shrine
  22. ^ The History and Culture of the Indian People: The classical age
  23. ^ Indian archaeological heritage: Shri K.V. Soundara Rajan festschrift, Volume 1, p. 32
  24. ^ History of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 A.D., p. 532
  25. ^ Topics in South Indian history: from early times up to 1565 A.D., p. 79
  26. ^ History of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 A.D., p. 534
  27. ^ History of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 A.D., p. 533
  28. ^ A primer of Tamil literature, p. 121
  29. ^ a b c Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees by Alf Hiltebeitel
  30. ^ a b Extraordinary Child by Paula Richman
  31. ^ a b A Sacred Thread by Raymond Brady Williams
  32. ^ a b The Home of Dancing Śivan̲ by Paul Younger
  33. ^ The origin of Saivism and its history in the Tamil land, p. 73
  34. ^ South Indian inscriptions, Volume 12 p. 84
  35. ^ A topographical list of inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states, Volume 3, p. 438
  36. ^ Kanchipuram through the ages, p. 7
  37. ^ Epigraphia Indica, Volume 27, p. 86
  38. ^ The role of feudatories in later Chōḷa history, p. 140
  39. ^ A survey of the sources for the history of Tamil literature, p. 57
  40. ^ Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture, p. 21
  41. ^ a b Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture, p. 22
  42. ^ Epigraphy By Archaeological Survey of India. Southern Circle, p. 64
  43. ^ a b c Saints, Goddesses and Kings by Susan Bayly
  44. ^ The Trading World of the Tamil Merchant by Kanakalatha Mukund
  45. ^ History & Description of Sri Meenakshi Temple by T. G. S. Balaram Iyer, T. R. Rajagopalan - Meenakshi Temple - 1977 - 42 pages
  46. ^ This fact can be seen from old Tamil classical literature "Thirukkaivazhakkam" which states "mangaiyoru bhagarkum, madhavarkum, mannavarkum thunga mudiyai sootumkai (the hands that hand over the crown to kings/religious heads at the time of coronation ceremony)".
  47. ^ Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar as an indologist: a symposium:..born into an orthodox saiva vellala family..
  48. ^ Tantric cult of South India
  49. ^ Insights into Hinduism
  50. ^ A history of Indian literature, 500-1399: from courtly to the popular, p. 33
  51. ^ The embodiment of bhakti, p. 49:... The Lord at Pullirukkuvelur has the form of lightning; he is one in the heavens, two in the blustering wind, three in the flames of the red fire, four in the flowing water, five in the earth, a refuge that does not diminish..
  52. ^ Journal of Tamil Studies by International Institute of Tamil Studies, International Institute of Tamil Studies
  53. ^ A primer of Tamil literature By M. S. Purnalingam Pillai
  54. ^ Ancient Jaffna: being a research into the history of Jaffna from very early times to the Portug[u]ese period, C. Rasanayagam
  55. ^ A History of Culture by T. K. Venkataraman, University of Madras
  56. ^ Madras District Gazetteers: Pudukkottai, p. 272

References[edit]

  • The Cōḷas By Kallidaikurichi Aiyah Nilakanta Sastri
  • The origin of Saivism and its history in the Tamil land By K. R. Subramanian, K. R. Subramanian (M.A.)
  • Early Chola temples: Parantaka I to Rajaraja I, A.D. 907-985 By S. R. Balasubrahmanyam
  • South Indian inscriptions, Volume 13 By Eugen Hultzsch, India. Archaeological Survey, India. Dept. of Archaeology
  • Journal of Tamil studies, Issues 29-30 By International Association of Tamil Research, International Institute of Tamil Studies
  • Enamul Haque, Gouriswar Bhattacharya, Kalhār (white water-lily): studies in art, iconography, architecture, and archaeology of India and Bangladesh
  • Hemakuta: Recent Researches in Archaeology and Museology : Shri C.T.M. Kotraiah Felicitation Volume, A. V. Narasimha Murthy, ISBN 81-86050-66-3, ISBN 978-81-86050-66-8
  • Rājarājeśvaram, the pinnacle of Chola art By Balasubrahmanyam Venkataraman
  • Indian archaeological heritage: Shri K.V. Soundara Rajan festschrift, Volume 1 By K. V. Soundara Rajan, Chedarambattu Margabandhu
  • The economic history of India, Volume 1 By Abdul Qadir Husaini
  • Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes By M. van Bakel, Renée Hagesteijn, Piet van de Velde
  • Ancient India: collected essays on the literary and political history of Southern India By Sakkottai Krishnaswami Aiyangar
  • Temples of Kr̥ṣṇa in South India: history, art, and traditions in Tamilnāḍu By T. Padmaja
  • An agrarian history of South Asia, Part 4, Volume 4 By David E. Ludden
  • The Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom: An Anthology of Poems from Classical Tamil, the Purananuru Translations from the Asian classics By George L. Hart, Hank Heifetz
  • A Topographical List of Inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala States: Thanjavur District By T.V Mahalingam
  • Journal of Indian history, Volume 19, University of Allahabad. Department of Modern Indian History, University of Kerala. Dept. of History, University of Kerala, University of Travancore, Dept. of Modern Indian History, 1941
  • History of Tamil language and literature: beginning to 1000 A. D. By Es Vaiyāpurip Piḷḷai
  • Śaṅgam polity:the administration and social life of the Śaṅgam Tamils By N. Subrahmanian
  • The History and Culture of the Indian People: The classical age By Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Achut Dattatrya Pusalker, A. K. Majumdar, Dilip Kumar Ghose, Vishvanath Govind Dighe, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
  • Early Chōl̤a art:origin and emergence of style By Rama Sivaram
  • The Śrīkara Bhāshya: Introduction By Śrīpati, Śrīpatipaṇḍita, Conjeeveram Hayavadana Rao
  • Madras District Gazetteers: Pudukkottai By Madras (India : State), B. S. Baliga
  • History of the Tamils: from the earliest times to 600 A.D. By P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar
  • A primer of Tamil literature By M. S. Purnalingam Pillai
  • Tamil literature, Volume 2, Part 1 By Kamil Zvelebil
  • Epigraphia Indica, Volume 18, By Devadatta Ramkrishna Bhandarkar, Archaeological Survey of India, India. Dept. of Archaeology, India. Archaeological Survey
  • South Indian inscriptions, Volume 12, By Eugen Hultzsch, Archaeological Survey of India, India. Dept. of Archaeology
  • A topographical list of inscriptions in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala states By T. V. Mahalingam
  • Ancient India: collected essays on the literary and political history of Southern India By Sakkottai Krishnaswami Aiyangar
  • Sri Varadarajaswami Temple, Kanchi: A Study of Its History, Art and Architecture By K.V. Raman
  • The role of feudatories in later Chōḷa history By M. S. Govindasamy
  • A survey of the sources for the history of Tamil literature By Muthusamy Govindasamy, Mu Kōvintacāmi
  • History of South India By Pran Nath Chopra, T. K. Ravindran, N. Subrahmanian
  • Insights into Hinduism By Ramchandra Narayan Dandekar
  • Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar as an indologist: a symposium By Sir Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar
  • A history of Indian literature, 500-1399: from courtly to the popular By Sisir Kumar Das, Sāhitya Akādemī

Further reading[edit]

  • Thondaimandala Mudaliars Vamsavali (1st & 2nd editions),
  • Thondainadum athan tholkudiyum by Sri.C.S.Kannayiram,
  • The great temple of Madurai published by Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareswarar Thirukkoil, Madurai