Mukkuvar

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Mukkuvar
ReligionsHinduism, Christianity, Islam
LanguagesTamil, Malayalam
Related groupsTamil people, Malayali people

Mukkuvar (Tamil: முக்குவர்) is a caste found in the coastal regions of Sri Lanka and the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The community is traditionally occupied in fishing, conch shell and pearl diving but are also found as involved in agriculture.[1][2][3] They also include the major landlords in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.[4]

Etymology[edit]

The name of the caste has several etymology theories. According to one is Mukkuvar derived from Tamil word mukku (means tip or corner) and the suffix ar (people), thus the term denotes "those from tip of the landmass".[5] Another theory states that the word Mukkuvan (singular form), means "diver" derived from the Dravidian word muluku (to immerse or to dive).[6][7] Other titles used by the community are Kukankulam, Murkukan and Mukkiyar.[8][9]

History[edit]

The earliest mention of the Mukkuvar is in the Sinhalese panegyric called Dambadeni asna (13th century AD), mentioning them as soldiers of Parakramabahu II.[4] Their folk origin varies from region to region. According to the legend of the Mukkuvar from Kerala, they emigrated from Sri Lanka.[10] The Mattakallappu Manmiyam texts attribute the emigration of the Sri Lankan Mukkuvar from South India under the rule of Kalinga Magha in 12th century AD.[4]

The Mukkuvar are found in Northern Province and Eastern Province of Sri Lanka.[11] Mukkuvar tribes migrated from Kilakarai in Tamil Nadu to cities in Puttalam and Jaffna Kingdom in the 8th century.[citation needed] The Jaffna chronicle, Yalpana Vaipava Malai, mentions the exile of Mukkuvars from Jaffna Kingdom to Batticaloa. They established a local polity in Puttalam, northwestern Sri Lanka. However, they and the Sonakar were defeated in a three-month siege by the Karaiyar chieftains, sponsored by the Kingdom of Kotte in the 15th century. This event is celebrated in a Sinhalese palm leaf manuscript called the Mukkara Hatana (The Mukkuvar War).[12]

The Mattakallappu Manmiyam refers to the defeat of the Thimilar by the Mukkuvar and the Sonakar in eastern parts of the island. Several places in Eastern Province bear names related to this event.[13] The theme of the Mukkuvar seeking the aid of Muslim Sonakars was always present and at that time alliances and intermarriage between the communities took place.[14][15] The Batticaloa region was under the leadership of Mukkuvar Vannimai chiefs.[2]

Religion[edit]

One of the earliest tribes to get converted to Christianity by Thomas the Apostle were the Mukkuvars from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala. The Christian Mukkuvar identify with the Catholic Church.[citation needed] The Mukkuvar practising Islam are known as Pusalan, Pulasar, Puislam or "New muslims", derived from the Tamil word putiya (new) and Islam.[16] The Mukkuvars of Sri Lanka from North Western Province are mostly Roman Catholic with a strong minority of Muslim Mukkuvars, however they are mostly Hindus in the Northern and Eastern provinces.[17]

Customs[edit]

The Mukkuvars of eastern parts of Sri Lanka follow the Mukkuva laws, also known as Mukkuva Ēṟppāṭu, which applies to marriage and property.[18] The Mukkuvars in Eastern Sri Lanka are, like other castes, also divided into kudi's (matrilineal clans).[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ragupathy, Ponnampalam (1987). Early Settlements in Jaffna: An Archaeological Survey. University of Jaffna. p. 223.
  2. ^ a b McGilvray, Dennis B. (2008). Crucible of Conflict: Tamil and Muslim Society on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. Duke University Press. p. 64. ISBN 0822389185.
  3. ^ (Jaffna), University Teachers for Human Rights (1991). The Debasement of the law and of humanity and the drift towards total war. UTHR (Jaffna), University of Jaffna, Thirunelvely. p. 31.
  4. ^ a b c McGilvray, Dennis B. (1982). Caste Ideology and Interaction. Cambridge University Press. p. 59. ISBN 9780521241458.
  5. ^ Suryanarayan, V. (2005). Conflict Over Fisheries in the Palk Bay Region. Lancer Publishers. p. 3. ISBN 9788170622420.
  6. ^ Colombo, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland Ceylon Branch (1967). Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Colombo Apothecaries Company. p. 42.
  7. ^ McGilvray, Dennis B. (2008). Crucible of Conflict: Tamil and Muslim Society on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. Duke University Press. p. 60. ISBN 0822341611.
  8. ^ McGilvray, Dennis B. (2008). Crucible of Conflict: Tamil and Muslim Society on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. Duke University Press. pp. 58, 60. ISBN 0822389185.
  9. ^ Holmes, Walter Robert (1980). Jaffna, Sri Lanka 1980. Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society of Jaffna College. p. 219.
  10. ^ McGilvray, Dennis B. (1974). Tamils and Moors: caste and matriclan structure in eastern Sri Lanka. University of Chicago. p. 25.
  11. ^ Raghavan, M. D. (1971). Tamil culture in Ceylon: a general introduction. Kalai Nilayam. p. 8.
  12. ^ McGilvray, Dennis B. (2008). Crucible of Conflict: Tamil and Muslim Society on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. Duke University Press. p. 61. ISBN 0822341611.
  13. ^ (Jaffna), University Teachers for Human Rights (1993). Land, human rights & the eastern predicament. UTHR (Jaffna), University of Jaffna, Thirunelvely. p. 89.
  14. ^ McGilvray, Dennis B. (1974). Tamils and Moors: caste and matriclan structure in eastern Sri Lanka. University of Chicago. p. 26.
  15. ^ McGilvray, Dennis B. (2008). Crucible of Conflict: Tamil and Muslim Society on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. Duke University Press. p. 77. ISBN 0822389185.
  16. ^ Kurien, Prema A. (2002). Kaleidoscopic Ethnicity: International Migration and the Reconstruction of Community Identities in India. Rutgers University Press. p. 77. ISBN 9780813530895.
  17. ^ Raghavan, M. D. (1971). Tamil culture in Ceylon: a general introduction. Kalai Nilayam. p. 88. Religiously considered, in the North-western Province, they are largely Roman Catholics, with a strong minority of the Muslim Mukkuvar in the village of Kottantivu. In the Northern and Eastern Provinces they are largely Hindus.
  18. ^ McGilvray, Dennis B. (1982). Caste Ideology and Interaction. Cambridge University Press. p. 68. ISBN 9780521241458.
  19. ^ Thurnheer, Katharina (2014). Life Beyond Survival: Social Forms of Coping After the Tsunami in War-affected Eastern Sri Lanka. Transcript Verlag. p. 142. ISBN 9783839426012.

Further reading[edit]

  • The ancient myths of the aborigines Kerala Calling, July 2004 by Dr. M.V Vishnu Namboodiri [1]

External links[edit]