The Chekavar (also Chekava, Chekavan, Chekon) were warriors who commonly belonged to the Ezhava/Thiyya community.
Chekavar is derived from the Sanskrit words Sevakar, Sevakan or Sevaka, which means soldiers in service or soldiers in royal service. Hermann Gundert's English-Malayalam Dictionary, defines the term as militiaman and warrior.
Sangam literature and hero stones found in Tamil Nadu show that Chekavar were engaged in combat, often on behalf of a lord. On these hero stones, Chekavar are generally depicted by an image of an armed man along with a Shiva Linga. Hero stones were erected to commemorate men who had fallen in battle or cattle raids and were traditional during the Sangam period.
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