Velirs

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Velir
Official language Tamil
House Velir (Satyaputo) - Fraternity of Truth
Family Dynasties *Athiyamān
*Malayamān
*Vēl Pāri
*Vēl Āviyar
*Irunkōvēl

The Velir were top aristocratic chieftains in Tamilakam in the early historic period of South India.[1][2] They were vassals and rivals of the Ventars (Chera, Chola and Pandya kings).[3] They had close relations with them through marriages and coronation right.[4][5]

Strong literary and archeological evidence links core Vellalar subcastes with the Velir chieftains.[6][7] Veḷir became a title inherited by Veḷḷalar chiefs of the medieval period.[8]

History[edit]

According to Tholkappiyam, the Velirs came to south from the city of Dwarka under the leadership of sage Agastya and belonged to the Yadu clan.[1][9][10]

Potsherds with early Tamil writing from the 2nd century BCE found in excavations in Poonagari, Jaffna bear several inscriptions, including a clan name—vela, a name related to velir from the ancient Tamil country.[11]

Velir chiefs[edit]

Athiyamān Nedumān Añci and his son Ezhini, were Adigaman chieftains, based in Tagadur. They were contemporaries of Auvaiyar. The Sangam poem "Thagadur yathirai", now lost, was written about his battle with the Chera king. Another Velir was Irunkōvēl who ruled from Koval (modern day Tirukovilur) on the banks of the Pennai, (the present Ponnaiyar River) which presently discharges into the sea at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. It is likely that the course of the river has changed to the south over many centuries. Other Velir chiefs of repute include Alumbil Vel, Alandur Vel and Nangur Vel[12]

The Kongu Velir dynasty ruled Kongu Nadu, while the Vel Pari dynasty produced numerous kings ruling Parambu Nadu, the most popular of whom was a close friend of the poet Kapilar.[citation needed] The Irunkōvēl line ruled over Ko Nadu and their most famous ruler, Pulikadimal, was a contemporary of Karikala Chola and Kapilar.[citation needed] The most heralded of the Āviyar line was Vaiyāvik Kōpperum Pēkan, a contemporary of the poet Paranar, and renowned for his generosity.[citation needed] The Malayamān Velir dynasty ruled Nadu Naadu around Tirukoilur, their royal emblem featured a horse and their most famous king was Malaiyamān Thirumudi Kāri.[citation needed] Both he and his son Thaervann Malaiyan assisted the early Cholas and Cheras. The most famous Velir dynasty was the Athiyamān dynasty, and this dynasty's powerful and most famous king was Athiyamān Nedumān Añci. His son Elini ruled Kudiramalai of the ancient Jaffna kingdom and Vanni, a co-ruling contemporary of the famous king Korran. These kings belonged to a prolific Tamil horseman tribe.[13][14] The ancient Tamil Naka Oviyar tribe of the Velir house, whose nation stretched to the Tamil emporiums of Mantai and Kudiramalai, included the king Nalliyakkotan who ruled this region and is paid tribute to in the Ciṟupāṇāṟṟuppaṭai.

Each of the Velir dynasties ruled from their own capitals and utilized the seaport of Arikamedu.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mahadevan, Iravatham (2009). "Meluhha and Agastya : Alpha and Omega of the Indus Script". Chennai, India. p. 16. "The Ventar-Velir-Velalar groups constituted the ruling and land-owning classes in the Tamil country since the beginning of recorded history" 
  2. ^ Fairservis, Walter Ashlin (1992) [1921]. The Harappan civilization and its writing. A model for the decipherment of the Indus Script. Oxford & IBH. pp. 52–53. ISBN 978-81-204-0491-5. 
  3. ^ Upinder, Singh (2008). A History of Ancient and Early Mediaval India: From the Stone Age to the 12th Century. India. p. 384. "Apart from the Vendar, there were number of chieftains known as Velir... The kings and chieftains often fought against each other by forming alliances. The lesser rulers no doubt had to pay tribute to the more powerful counterparts." 
  4. ^ Venkatasubramanian, T. K. (1986). Political Change and Agrarian Tradition in South India. Delhi: Mittal Publications. pp. 63–67. 
  5. ^ Sastri, K. A. Nilakanta (1955). The Colas. Madras University historical series 9. University of Madras. p. 49. 
  6. ^ Hockings, Paul (1992). Encyclopedia of world cultures. p. 304: There is fairly strong literary and archeological evidence linking core Vellala subcastes with a group of chieftains called Velir. 
  7. ^ Yamamoto, Tatsurō (31 August – 7 September 1983). Proceedings of the Thirty-First International Congress of Human Sciences in Asia and North Africa, Tokyo-Kyoto, Volume 2. p. 1015: Champakalakshmi: Related comments, I have an explanation for the reason why they became a landed community in Tamilnadu, if we go back to Sangam period, we have large number of Velir clans who were the large landowners. Ramesh questioned the equation of Vellalas with Velirs, and Champakalakshmi affirmed their relation. Mahadevan supported Champakalakshmi quoting a Nakshinar's commnentry. Jha and Champakalakshmi agreed in recognizing the importance of muvendavelan in chola period. 
  8. ^ Dirks, Nicholas B. (2007-12-03). The Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom. Cambridge University Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-521-05372-3. 
  9. ^ Shashi, S. S. (1989). Encyclopedia of Indian Tribes. p. 216. 
  10. ^ Pivot politics: changing cultural identities in early state formation processes By M. van Bakel page 165: "The Velir were an instrusive group in South India... It is now suggested that (...) may have been associated with the Yadu of Dvaraka..."[1]
  11. ^ Mahadevan, Iravatham (2003). Early Tamil Epigraphy: From the Earliest Times to the Sixth Century A.D.. Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-674-01227-1. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  12. ^ Seneviratne, Sudharshan (1994). "The Twilight of the Perumakan: South Indian Polity Restructured and Incorporated". In van Bakel, Martin; Hagesteijn, Renée; van de Velde, Piet. Pivot Politics: Changing Cultural Identities in Early State Formation Processes. Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis. p. 172. ISBN 978-90-5589-007-1. 
  13. ^ Historical heritage of the Tamils, page 256
  14. ^ Kolappa Pillay Kanakasabhapathi Pillay. (1963). South India and Ceylon. University of Madras. pp. 39

External links[edit]