Chettiar

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Kanadukathan Chettinadu Palace entrance. It is an example of Chettinadu architecture.

Chettiar (also spelt as Chetti & Chetty or Shetty) is a title used by many traders, weaving, agricultural and land owning castes in South India, especially in the states of Andhra Pradesh,Tamil Nadu and Kerala.[1][2]

Etymology[edit]

The titile Chettiar/Setty/Chetti is used by many merchant and trading groups who were classified as high-ranking Shudras[3][4][5][6][7] and sometimes they claim Vaishyas[clarification needed] [8] in the south-indian states.[9] However the traditional chaturvarna system was inapplicable to South India where there existed only 3 varnas: Brahmin, Non-Brahmin and Dalit. All non-Brahmins were classified as Shudras[10].The word might have been derived from the Sanskrit word shreshthi which means wealth an honorific title bestowed on the leading merchants by the Tamil monarchs.[11]

Varna[edit]

Chettiars were classified as high ranking Shudras[12][13][14][15][16] and sometimes Vaishyas[8] by various historians. According to Anthropologist Irawati Karve, the Chettis are traditionally classified as Vaishyas from the Dhana-Vaishya sub-sect of Vellalars.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chettiar Band, AVM To FM". Outlook. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Chettiars reign where wealth meets godliness". The Economic Times. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  3. ^ Diehl, Anita (1977). E. V. Ramaswami Naicker-Periyar: A Study of the Influence of a Personality in Contemporary South India. Stockholm ; Göteborg ; Lund: Esselte studium. p. 16. ISBN 9789124276454.:”In Tamil Nadu the traditional caste society is in practice reduced into Brahmins and Sudras, kith a large third group classified in administrative terms as Scheduled and Backward classes.) Prominent among the Sudras are Vellalar , Chettiar and Gounder”
  4. ^ Prakash, Gyan (1956). The Hindu Marriage Act, Act No. XXV of 1955. Allahabad: Allahabad Law Agency. p. 46.: “In the case of a Nattukottai Chettiar”, who is shudra, the Madras High Court held that he could legally marry ...”
  5. ^ "The Dawn and Dawn Society's Magazine". 12. Calcutta: Lall Mohan Mullick. 1909: 124. Cite journal requires |journal= (help):”A Chettiar or Chetty is a high - caste Sudra ; in most cases he will be well - to - do ; very often wealthy indeed.”
  6. ^ Belle, Carl Vadivella (2017). Thaipusam in Malaysia. Singapore: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. ISBN 9789814695756.:”Although the Chettiars were originally a Sudra caste, in more recent times they have made claim to be considered as Vaisyas.”
  7. ^ Chitaley, D. V. (1922). All India Reporter, Volume 4; Volume 9, Part 8. p. 231.:”The Chetties are in generally deemed to be Sudras.”
  8. ^ a b Intirā Pārttacārati (2008). Ramanujar: The Life and Ideas of Ramanuja. Oxford University Press. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-19-569161-0. The Chetti , Vaisya , or merchant caste
  9. ^ Population Review. Indian Institute for Population Studies. 1975. p. 26.
  10. ^ https://books.google.co.in/books?newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&id=AVIzAQAAMAAJ&dq=%22The+vell%C4%81lars+cannot+be+equated+with+the+shudras+of+the+north%22&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=%22The+vell%C4%81lars+cannot+be+equated+with+the+shudras+of+the+north+since+some+of+them+had+the+right+of+marriage+with+members+of+the+royal+families+and+a+section+of+them+known+as+ve%C4%BCirs+were+local+rulers+and+feudatories%22
  11. ^ West Rudner, David (1987). "Religious Gifting and Inland Commerce in Seventeenth-Century South India". The Journal of Asian Studies. 46 (2). p. 376. doi:10.2307/2056019. JSTOR 2056019.
  12. ^ Diehl, Anita (1977). E. V. Ramaswami Naicker-Periyar: A Study of the Influence of a Personality in Contemporary South India. Stockholm ; Göteborg ; Lund: Esselte studium. p. 16. ISBN 9789124276454.:”In Tamil Nadu the traditional caste society is in practice reduced into Brahmins and Sudras, kith a large third group classified in administrative terms as Scheduled and Backward classes.) Prominent among the Sudras are Vellalar , Chettiar and Gounder”
  13. ^ Prakash, Gyan (1956). The Hindu Marriage Act, Act No. XXV of 1955. Allahabad: Allahabad Law Agency. p. 46.: “In the case of a Nattukottai Chettiar”, who is shudra, the Madras High Court held that he could legally marry ...”
  14. ^ "The Dawn and Dawn Society's Magazine". 12. Calcutta: Lall Mohan Mullick. 1909: 124. Cite journal requires |journal= (help):”A Chettiar or Chetty is a high - caste Sudra ; in most cases he will be well - to - do ; very often wealthy indeed.”
  15. ^ Belle, Carl Vadivella (2017). Thaipusam in Malaysia. Singapore: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. ISBN 9789814695756.:”Although the Chettiars were originally a Sudra caste, in more recent times they have made claim to be considered as Vaisyas.”
  16. ^ Chitaley, D. V. (1922). All India Reporter, Volume 4; Volume 9, Part 8. p. 231.:”The Chetties are in generally deemed to be Sudras.”
  17. ^ Karve, Irawati (1981). Biology of the People of Tamil Nadu. India: Indian Society of Human Genetics. p. 19. There is a tradition among the Vellalans that there were 3 divisions of the Vaisyas : ( 1 ) Bhuvaisyas or farmers , ( 2 ) Govaisyas or husbandmen and ( 3 ) Dhanavaisyas or merchants . The last division is claimed to have given rise to the Chettis who originally belonged to the Vellala tribe.

Further reading[edit]

  • Christine Dobson, Asian Entrepreneurial Minorities, Curzon Press UK, 1996. (A chapter in the book is devoted to the Chettiars who set up businesses in Burma.)
  • Rajeswary Brown (1993) "Chettiar capital and Southeast Asian credit networks in the inter-war period". In G. Austin and K. Sugihara, eds. Local Suppliers of Credit in the Third World, 1750-1960. (New York: St. Martin's Press).
  • Kudaisya, Medha M. (2009). "Marwari and Chettiar Merchants. 1850s-1950s: Comparative Trajectories". In Kudaisya, Medha M.; Ng, Chin-Keong (eds.). Chinese and Indian Business: Historical Antecedents. Leiden: BRILL. ISBN 9789004172791.
  • David Rudner (1989) Banker's Trust and the Culture of Banking among the Nattukottai Chettiars of Colonial South India. Modern Asian Studies 23 (3), 417-458.
  • Heiko Schrader (1996) Chettiar Finance in Colonial Asia. Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie 121, 101-126.