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Regions with significant populations
Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka

Mudaliar (alternatively spelled: Mudaliyar, Mudliyar, also Mudali or Moodley) is a caste title used by the people belonging to various Tamil castes and in the Tamil diaspora. Castes using Mudaliar title speak Tamil as their native language.


The surname is derived from the honorary title Mudali meaning a person of first rank in the Tamil Chola feudal society which was bestowed upon top-ranking bureaucratic officials and army commanders in medieval South India.[1] The surname is generally prevalent among Indian Tamils and the Tamil diaspora though it is also used in other parts of South India.[2][full citation needed][3][full citation needed]

Some of the Mudali clans of Thondaimandalam migrated to Sri Lanka during the period of the medieval poet Kambar. For example, some of the Tamils in Ceylon trace their lineage to this group, some of whom had become saints called Nayanars. C. Sivaratnam traces some of the Mudaliyars in Ceylon to Thaninayaka Mudaliyar (among others), a rich Saiva Vellalar who emigrated to Ceylon from Tondaimandalam.[4][page needed]

Castes using the Mudaliar title include:

Director Shankar A.R.Rahman (before converting in to muslim) Hollywood Director Manoj Night Shyamlan V.P. Appadurai Mudaliyar (Ex-Chairman TNEB) Actor Prashant Actor Vikram AC Shanmugam (ACS Medical college)


  1. ^ Irschick, Eugene F. Dialogue and History: Constructing South India, 1795-1895. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. direct web reference:
  2. ^ History of Tirupati: The Tiruvengadam Temple By T. K. T. Viraraghavacharya
  3. ^ Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture - Page 161 by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar
  4. ^ Sivaratnam, C. The Tamils in Early Ceylon.