Talk:Caste system in Kerala

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The subjugation of indigenous Dravidians - Tamil Kingdoms by Aryans, Nagas and Foreigners[edit]

The Caste system in Kerala is the result of the subjugation of indigenous Dravidian Tamil people by the Aryans and Nagas who migrated from Ahichatra in the Indo-Nepalese Border. Kerala used to be ruled by the indigenous Tamil dynasties from time immemorial. The Chera Dynasty and Pandyan Kingdom of the Tamil Villavar people[1].Kulasekarapperumal who founded the Later Chera Dynasty described himself as Villavar Kon[2]. The Tamil rulers until 14th century practised Patriarchy and wrote inscriptions with Tamil Vatteluttu Script.Tamils considered the Karnatakas Kadamba kingdom as the arch enemies and Chera king Neduncheralathan won a critical victory over the Kadambas in the fourth century AD[3].

Aryan Naga Migration[edit]

Kadamba king Mayuravarma, the arch enemy of Cheras brought Aryans and Nagas from Ahichatram, in Uttarpradesh in the 4th century AD[4][5].The Nagas arrived at Banavasi since were hereidtary bonded or Bunta. Some of the sub castes of Bunt (community) of Karnataka migrated to Kerala after 800 AD.

During Later Chera period[edit]

Tharisapalli plates issued by Ayyanadikal Thiruvadikal King of the Venads Ay kingdom mentions Ezhavas, Vellala and Theeyamalzhwars (Police officers) etc and not Nairs and Namboothiris.Thrikodithanam inscription (10th century AD) mention of migrant Nairs and Namboothiris from Tulunadu.[6].Namboothris used Manipravalam but the official language was Tamil while inscriptions were used.

The invasion of Malik Kafur and defeat of Tamils[edit]

After the invasion of Malik Kafur at 1310s all the Tamil dynasties of Tamil Nadu and Kerala were replaced by Nagas(Naicker and Nairs).Some of the sub castes of Bunt (community) of Tulunadu the Nayaras, Menavas,Kurubas and Samantas appeared as the rulers of Kerala after the invasion of Malik Kafur.During the rule of Madurai Sultanate most of the Naga kingdoms of Kerala came into existence.The Arab Ilkhanate and Turkish navies protected the northern kingdoms of Nagas of Kerala.Matriarchy Polyandry and Naga Worship came to Kerala in that period.The Bunt dynasties used Tulu script to write Malayalam. Most of the Tamils and other Dravidian people of Kerala were pushed to a lower level. The Nagas and Aryans occupied a higher status and Dravidians occupied a lower level. The Uttarpradesh/Nepalese culture dominated Kerala replacing the Dravidian culture.

British Period[edit]

Tippu Sultan who gained the support of Ali Raja of Kannur brought an end to the Kolathiri and Zamorins of Calicut in 1789[7].Exodus of Nairs from Malabar to Travancore worsened the condition of Dravidians in Travancore.The conclusion of the treaty by British East India Company[8] with Travancore brought Tamil and Telugu Brahmin administrators who occupied a higher status than Malayalees.British also appointed Syrian Christian ministers such as Thachil Matthoo Tharakan and Syrian Christian judges.

The Dravidians and Non-Dravidians of Kerala[edit]

Keralas Chera Dynasty which ruled Kerala till 1100 ad was a Tamil dynasty contrary to the claims of Nairs and Namboothiris. Keralolpathi claims that the Chera kings followed Matriarchy and belonged to Tulu Bunt (community). In reality Chera kings were Tamils who followed Patriarchy who hated Polyandry practised in the later times. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Nairs and Namboothiris were Tamils. The Dravidian people of Kerala are Dark indigenous tribes who descend from the Villavar Meenavar Vellalar and other supporting tribes of Chera Dynasty such as Vanavar Malayaman and Pazhuvettarayar of old Tamil Stock. Many of them have completely disappeared from Kerala but can be found in parts of Tamilnadu. The Bunt (community)/Nairs and Brahmins according to Gramapaddathi of Tulunadu Brahmins and Keralolpathi migrated from Ahichatram and adjoining areas of Nepal and may be of Aryan and Naga lineage and not Dravidians.The Nagas were brought to Kadamba kingdom of Mayuravarma as herditary bonded slaves or Bunta who were not allowed to marry or to have families and thus Matriarchy evolved.The Namboothiris who once brought Nair/Bunt (community) from Ahichatram refused to accept them as Kshatriyas even after their ascendencey to rulership after Malik Kafurs invasion in 1310 ad. The Nairs display a fair colour with slightly mongoloid features like their Nepalese counterparts the Newars. Namboothiris the Aryans from Ahichatram, Uttarpradesh are relatively fair people. The descendents of various foreign communities who migrated from Syria Persia and Portuguese who established Christianity also display foreign features including sharper facial features and fair colour. In short the Aryans and Nagas and immigrants are ethnically different from indigenous Dravidian people of Kerala/ South India) and cant be included in Dravidian caste system at all.Dravidians of Kerala are many thousand year old and most of the Dravidian kingdoms were ruled by them prior to 1310 AD.

Non Dravidian Customs of Nagas Aryans and immigrants[edit]

The Naga kingdoms between 1310 to 1947 practised Matriarchy unlike the earlier Tamil dynasties Chera Dynasty Ay kingdom and Pandyan Kingdom. In Matriarchy some families practiced Polyandry. Property rights and lineage were established through mother. Their family units owned property jointly. Family units included brothers, sisters, the latter's children and their daughter's children. The oldest man was legal head of the group and he was respected as the Karnavar of the family or tharavad (homestead).

The disappearence of Naga customs[edit]

Matriarchy and Polyandry are not practised by Nagas of Kerala from the early 20th Century. Similarly Snake worship also has been disappearing while the Dravidian Gods such as Iyyappan, a Pandyan prince and Mariamman the Dravidian rain goddess are brought into prominence once again after the Dravidian resurgence in 1947. ... reverted without any discussion[edit]

Could the editor please give his reasons for reverting back? Thanks.

Manjunatha (15 Sept 2006) Manju Should we encourage edits without discussion?? About sambandam. You can call it quasi legal marriage. The women is appreciated as the wife of The nampoothiri. The sons were legally recognised. eg Swathi thirunal was the son of a brahmin. but they did not have any claim on the paternal property. It's different from keeping concubines. I read in menon's book on Kerala history that nairs were permitted to keep mistresses from castes like Veluthedathu , Chakkala Nairs etc. RAKS (Sept 15, 2006)

Which edits you are talking about? Everything is being discussed here. And I have not read a single opposition for deleting four fold Varna system in Kerala.

--Manjunatha MANJU I was talking about the edit of the friend who reverted back to his own brand of classification with out discussion and not to yours. I personally thik the Chatur varna system does not apply much to kerala. This is more or less true of South India, in particular Tamil nad and Kerala RAKS

Hello The one thing evry historian points out about caste system in Kerala is the absence of indigenuous 'Vaishyas'. Read any book on Kerala History by Sreedhara menon's or Kerala through ages. Chettis are from Tamil nadu and exists so today. RAKS

Cyriac Pullapilly statement on Nairs[edit]

First of all, Cyriac Pullapilly never wrote a book on Nair hierarchy and few are quoting his notes to validate the hierarchy of Nairs. The statement "... were given Kshatriya functions, but only Shudra status" is ambiguous and never quote everywhere as reference to Nairs. Nairs had Ruling class, Kshatriya class and Shudra class. A cohesion of all these class happened during the formation of NSS that doesn't mean that all Nairs become Shudras. The cohesion of classes happen to unite all Nairs and strengthen the Nair community by increasing the percentage of Nair community for political and social influences. Few has taken the cohesion as a platform to picture all Nairs as Shudras. Such people should read books like Keralaolpathi, Malabar Manual etc to understand the fact that Nairs had been rulers like Samoothiri, Koyi Thampuran, Rajah etc.. These histories cannot be changed.

  1. ^ Kaliththokai
  2. ^ Periar Thirumozhi
  3. ^ Kerala Charithram Prof.A.Sridhara Menon P.79
  4. ^ Tulunadu Gramapaddati
  5. ^ Keralolpathi
  6. ^ Thrikodithanam inscriptions
  7. ^ Kerala Charithram Sridhara Menon
  8. ^ [ A Brief Sketch of Travancore