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Chettiar or Chetti is a title used by various mercantile, agricultural and land owning castes in South India, especially in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.[1][2]

"Chetti" derives from the Sanskrit word Shreshti, meaning wealth. It has variants in other parts of India.[3]

Notable people[edit]

Social status[edit]

The Nattukottai Chettiar are elite bankers.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Chettiar Band, AVM To FM". Retrieved 2016-04-09.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ "Chettiars reign where wealth meets godliness". timesofindia-economictimes. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  3. ^ Bhat, Dhananjaya (19 March 2006). "Chettinad home to stately mansions". Spectrum. The Tribune. Retrieved 2016-01-07. 
  4. ^ Jaffrelot, Christophe; Kumar, Sanjay (2012-05-04). Rise of the Plebeians?: The Changing Face of the Indian Legislative Assemblies. Routledge. ISBN 9781136516610. 

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. 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.

External links[edit]