Talk:Kerala Iyers

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Arbitrary heading[edit]

This article contains many historical inaccuracies. The Brahmins who were residents of Travancore and Cochin who trace their origin to Thirunelveli, Ramnad and Madurai district of Tamil Nadu are clubbed with the Brahmins of Palakkad a majority of whom migrated from Tanjore district.

Till 1956 the Tamil Brahmins of southern and central Kerala were the residents of the erstwhile princely state of Travancore and Cochin whereas the Palkkad Brahmins were residents of British India.

I have added the history of the Pandi (short form for Pandya) Iyers in the article on Iyers. The entire article does require a fresh look.

Unfortunately, I am not proficient in WIKI editing.

I have been studying Indology especially the History and religions of India.

I am the editor of India and Hinduism categories of ODP.

Sankarrukku 09:58, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

I have revised the text by removing historical inaccuracies.

1. There are two Brahmin Communities in Kerala. Palakkad Iyers and the Pandi Iyers of Travancore and Cochin. This article had mixed up both of them. They are distinct with their own language and culture. Till the present generation even marriages between these communities were not common.

2. The language and other political agitations in Travancore and Cochin before 1956 never affected the Palakkad Brahmins as they were in British India and have no relevance here.

3. The Palakkad district was merged into the state of Kerala only in 1956. A lack of Tamil schools should be attributed more to the neglect of the British administration than to the government of Kerala.

4. Palakkad or Palghat has a sizable Tamil Brahmin population even now.

5. I will fine tune the article later with additions about Pandi Brahmins in Palakkad. and add an article on Pandi Brahmins.

I would be thankful for any help/suggestions.

--Sankarrukku 17:50, 22 August 2007 (UTC)


1) "Pandi Iyers"- Pandya kingdom was an ancient kingdom.

2)"Pattar" = Bhattar (Sanskrit origin, not Malayalam word)

2a) The origin of the word Pattar came from Bhattar. See for more specifics & history behind it. Yes, at times it might be construed as derogatory - but, Pattars indeed is a unique community and is highly recognizable from other iyers. I am not for separatism, but would strongly suggest to document & track the Pattar or Kerala Iyer community separately in Wiki also - as is done in the dedicated website and the associated discussion group Ramsap (talk) 12:57, 24 March 2008 (UTC)ramaprasad subramaniamRamsap (talk) 12:57, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Clarification- "Till the present generation even marriages between these communities(Palakkad Iyers and so-called Pandi Iyers) were not common"- The true reason is- most Iyers migrated to Palakkad district from Tanjavur(Tamil Nadu) after accepting an invitation from the king(Raja) of Palakkad belong to the 'brahacharanam' sub-sect of Iyers, while, most Iyers in south Kerala belong to Vadama sub-sect, who migrated from Thirunelveli district. However, there were other sub-sects also among the migrants, but, the majority in these two different regions belonged to two different sub-sects. And marriages between the two group of Iyers, were common, if the bride and bridegroom belonged to the same sub-sect.(Vadama, Brahacharanam, etc..)However, Iyers in the south Kerala often preferred marriage proposals within the region and neighbouring districts of Tamil nadu than Palakkad, a 'distant land' then.(No train, buses like today...and...different sub-sects...their numbers...etc..etc..just guess the reasons)

Tamilians or Malayalees?[edit]

If Palakkad Iyers are Tamil Brahmins, what is the point in adding Jeyaram, Ajith Kumar and Hariharan? --Rrjanbiah (talk) 06:06, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Travancore Iyers[edit]

This article places more importance on the web site of Kerala Iyers as a source than on an acknowledged history of Travancore by Sangunny Menon. The web site history is full of howlers and reflects the prejudice against Travancore Iyers. To call a community which has produced more than 10 Divans or Prime Ministers of Travancore state as a community of cooks shows the prejudice.


I wonder how information sourced from a History book can be called unsourced. Then that reference has also been removed. Why?

  • A History of Travancore, by P.Sangunny Menon. Originally published in 1878. Reprint 1983. Kerala books and Publications Society, Cochin. ISBN: 81-85499-14-4

How much of reference to standard works is there in the article?

I know that there is no point in writing all this.

Sankarrukku (talk) 08:49, 10 September 2010 (UTC)

I have reinstated some of the removed material. The reason given was that they were unsourced. But even the sourced material had been removed. This is against all norms of Wikipedia.

My contributions are sourced. A reference to the articles on , Pandian Kingdom, Venad, Sencottah and other related Wikipedia articles will bear out the statements made.

The article as it existed was biased and unsourced. I do not understand why even the sentences about the contributions made by the community was removed. It indicates a Bias against Kerala Iyers especially Travancore Iyers.

I will continue to add to the article. If my contributions are removed they should be replaced by sourced material with citations. No double standards here.Sankarrukku (talk) 08:12, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Palakkad Iyers[edit]

This section has the following sentences.

<<The Palakkad Iyers were a land-owning class and were financially better-off than the Iyers of Travancore and Cochin regions.

During the 19th century, like the aristocratic Nambudiris, they even contacted sambandham with Nairs, though the numbers contacting such alliances were very low, and Nairs considered Sambandham with Iyers to be of inferior status than with Nambudiris or Varmas.

Some even officiated in temples established by Tamils, however were not allowed to be priests in temples.>>

The first statement is not backed by any historical date or research. Such conclusions are mainly derived from the information available in Logan's Malabar manual. But this deals with only the Travancore Iyers who were in Malabar and those who travelled to Malabar on trade. It does not throw any light on the Travancore Iyers who were residing in Travancore.

Sambandham was a practice which is against the basic tenets of Hinduism. Hinduism lays great stress on begetting a son. The person who does not have a son goes to a Hell called Puth. There are different kinds of marriages laid down in the Hindu scriptures. Sambandham does not fall into any of them.

In the Namboothiri community only the first son could marry. Other sons could not marry. They could only have Sambandham.

<<Sambandham was beneficial for both the groups involved. For the Namboothiris is prevented disintegration and division of property. Also it allowed the secluded Brahmin families to have more influence on social and political decisions, since often a Namboothiri would have a Nair chief or prince as a first cousin. For the matriarchal castes, particularly the Royal Kshatriya families and the Nairs, Sambandham was a way to ensure the husband, being a Brahmin, would remain in the area, unlike Nair husbands who often were required for war in other areas. This way the population of Nairs could be maintained during times of war. Thus Sambandham as a system was encouraged by both, the Namboothiris and the Marumakkathayam Savarna castes.>> Quote from Nambudiri article.

The Marumakkathayam (inheritance by nephews) system was obviously created to ensure that the children born through Sambandham could inherit.

These advantages were lacking in a Sambandham with a Tamil Brahmin. All Tamil Brahmins were married within their own caste. In the case of Tamil Brahmins the sambandham was only a concubine. The Tamil Brahmin community viewed such Sambandham with displeasure as it was against the basic tenets of Hinduism. So it is but natural that sambandham was rare among the Tamil Brahmins. The Tamil Brahmins also differed from Namboodiris about the classification of the castes in Kerala.

The temples in Tamil Nadu are constructed according to the Agama Sasthras which are ancient scriptures. The Puja rituals in the old temples is as per the Agama Sasthras. The Gurukkal community who are Saivas (unlike the majority of Tamil Brahmins who are Smartas) studied the Agama Sasthras and were the only people who were qualified to be temple priests. The Smartas could not become temple priests even in Tamil Nadu.

The Kerala temple construction and Puja rituals follow Tantras. But even here they do not follow the ancient Tantrik texts. The texts which are followed are Tantrik texts written in Kerala. These are not very old. It is no wonder that the Smartas could not become temple priests because they were not qualified.

Again most of the temple priests in Kerala are Potis (Nambudiri#Embranthiri) who are Tulu Brahmins who migrated from Karnataka. These migrants who did not speak Malayalam were absorbed into the Namboodiri community, though they still do speak in Tulu at home and have their own culture and traditions. They are like the Gurkkal of Tamil Nadu.

This article is about Kerala Iyers. Not about the interaction between Namboodiri community and Kerala Iyers. Nor about their perception of Kerala Pattars. We could write an article about the relationship between these two communities and also examine why Embranthiris who migrated later were accepted and not the Kerala Iyers. But that is material for research scholars and not Wikipedia.

Sankarrukku (talk) 08:30, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

There is no need to have the Namboothiri perception of Iyers in this page. Namboothiris considered themselves as the highest brahmins. The Embranthiris were accepted because ethnically they are same as the Namoothiri (Potti, adiga, bhatta etc). Basically Tulunad and Kerala had been inhibited by ethnically same people (Namboothiri and embranthiri, Nairs and Bunts, Ezhavas and billavas). However, Iyers' saga had been different from all these 'Jenmi' brahmins. They had to fight their way up and the happy ending of the story was that they achieved this and were accepted by the Kerala people. Their sharp mind and enthusiasm made them move up in the social hierarchy from small time farmers, teachers and cooks to diwans of the ertswhile princely states. Theirs have been one of the most successful stories of migration for the acceptance they got from the migrated states. Even today, I think they have more freedom and acceptance in Kerala than in Tamil Nadu. They are treated on par and many of them consider themselves as Malayalis than Tamils. However, as priests, they were never treated on par with the Embranthiris/Namboothiris. Also they never had any Sambandham with higher caste hindus. In travancore, they were below Namboothiris and Nairs in the caste hierarchy. This lead to few Iyers to consider themselves as Nairs and work in the temples as helpers (they were known as Padamangalam Nairs). They formed one of non-kshathriya clans of Nairs. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:12, 22 October 2010 (UTC)


This practice of the Namboothiri community has no relevance in an article about Kerala Iyers. I do not find any mention of this in the article on Nairs or Ezhavas or any other community from Kerala. As I had posted earlier this article is about Kerala Iyers and not their relationship with other communities.

BTW the Namboodiris very rarely got an opportunity to practice this untouchability because the Kerala Iyers were neither the tenants or farm laborers with whom the land owners came into cantact.

The reference is also from the site of the Namboothiri community.

Removing some information from socio-economic impact[edit]

  • At present Dhanalakshmi Bank, Trichur is the only surviving Banking company of the Kerala Iyers. => removed because no where in the website of Dhanalakshmi Bank it is mentioned that it is a banking company of Kerala Iyers.
  • developing local cuisine by introducing Tamil food such as Idli, Sambar, Vadai which have become an intrinsic part of Kerala cuisine today. => This sentence is changed to developing local cuisine by introducing flavours of Tamil food. As Idli, vadai etc, were part of the south indian cuisine which covered all the four states of South India, it is very dubious to state that these were introduced by Iyers. Since changed the sentence in to a neutral one. Cheers, -- Aarem (Talk) 03:48, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

Recent Edit Wars[edit]

There is a persistent attempt to lower the staus of the Kerala Iyers by 1. Showing how Namboothiris considered them. This has no relevance here. I have not seen any such note in other articles about other communities. The relationship between different communities has not relevant here. Every community gives its own point of view. Not the point of view of other communities. This is true of all community pages in Wikipedia.

Please see my note under Shudam. There is no mention of the practice of untouchability practiced by Namboothiris in the other Wiki pages about the other communities of Kerala.

Again a mention is made about Tamil Brahmins being not allowed to be priests of the local temples. The Tamil Brahmin sects who form the majority of the Kerala Iyers are not allowed to be priests even in the temples of Tamil Nadu. The Gurukkal caste are the only people allowed to be priests in the prominent temples. Temple priesthood was not considered a good profession by the Tamil Brahmins. They never went for that. This is in contrast to the Namboothiris who considered it a noble profession.

These two statements are from a Namboothiri point of view. That is not relevant here.

2. Repeated attempts are made to show that Tamil Iyers were employed as cooks , musicians etc. Though some of them might have been employed as such the entire community was not one of cooks and musicians. The Tamil Brahmins owned extensive land in Palghat and Chittur areas. They were also land owners in Kalakkad and Nagercoil areas. ( there were part of Travancore and now part of Tamil Nadu).

Tamil Brahmins were Dalawas and Diwans only in Travancore and not in Cochin. This is seen by the list published here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Special:Contributions/Sankarrukku (talk)

What you mean by lowering the status? There is no need to compare other articles, try for the betterment of this article. Comparison with other castes is relevant in this page, as it gives the reader a clear understanding about the caste system prevailed in Kerala. It also gives information about Kerala Iyers in the society. Also, No where in the article it says that Iyers were ONLY cooks or musicians. Land owners in Kalakkad doesnt means that Iyers cannot be employed in other jobs.
Please understand that this article should be neutral in tone, and there shouldnt be any glorification/de-glorification. As long as valid citations can be provided, the statements stands. Wikipedia is a collection of many such information. --Vythiri (talk) 06:57, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Discuss the points raised any me before making edits. Discuss point by point. I have already initiated discussions long back in 2007. The reasons for including the Namboodhiri point of view is not given. I have given my reasons above repeatedly.Sankarrukku (talk) 07:30, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

I am surprised that you want to emphasize the universally condemned practice by Namboodhiris called Shudam. The member could start a separate article about Shudam and how it affected the other communities especially the Ezhavas. No article in Wikipedia compares one community with another. This is not the policy of Wikipedia. It will lead to total edit wars. If you want to write about the notorious caste system of Kerala (which Swami Vivekananda called a mad house) write an article about that. Do not try to portray Kerala Iyers as untouchables.

You can add it here.

About being cooks and musicians, the Brahmins were cooks only in other Brahmin houses and in temples. In temples they needed Brahmin cooks as other communities would not eat food prepared by any other community than a Brahmin. Musicians were patronized by the Kings. The article already talks about Brahmins bringing Carnatic music to Kerala.

<<The Palakkad Iyers were greatly affected by the Kerala Agrarian Relations Bill, 1957 (repealed in 1961 and substituted by The Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963) which abolished the tenancy system.>>

This is a well known fact. How does this go with the cooks title. About Travancore Iyers a community of cooks could not have had this many Dalawas and Divans.

Even when I give you evidence that there were no Tamil Brahmin Divan in Cochin, you continue to include Cochin. By the way Travancore and Cochin were princely states which became the Travancore Cochin state after independence. They were not regions of Kerala which was formed only in 1956.

Anyone who is familiar with Kerala would know the pitiable conditions of the priests of the temples. Most of the priests are Potthis and Embranthiris who are Tulu/Kannada Brahmins who migrated to Kerala from the erstwhile Mysore state in search of employment.

All these points have been made by me in the last 4 years. Please go through all the posts.

I am always ready to discuss all the points. But it should be discussed in the talk page. That is the policy of Wikipedia. Repeated attempts were made earlier with anonymous I.Ps to make similar changes in this article.

If we can not agree let us ask for third party opinion and arbitration. Sankarrukku (talk) 17:26, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

I accept your point that there were no Tamil Diwans for Cochin, and is making change accordingly. But here, what you are trying to do is pushing your POV, which is highly biased towards Iyers. I have already provided the citations. Please do not remove it without discussing. --Vythiri (talk) 07:37, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

You can not make major changes without discussions. You are pushing the Namboothiri point of view of the community which is not acceptable. This is clearly shown by your reinstating the sentences about Shudham and Kerala Iyers not being priests without answering any of the points raised by me repeeatedly. Sankarrukku (talk) 11:57, 21 September 2011 (UTC)

It is not about any particular view point. It is about keeping the article neutral. If there was something like "Eda shudham" practised, you cannot just remove it saying that it is a Namboothiri thing. Please remember that wikipedia pages are not meant for publishing only good and fair things about a caste/religion. All facts, good or bad, should be included. Please read WP:NOT and WP:CENSORED. Also, I request you to abide by the WP:3R rules. Thank you, --Chektomate (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 03:38, 25 September 2011 (UTC).

You can not use Wikipedia for promoting any community's point of view on another community. This is not Neutral point of view. As I have pointed out ealier it has not been done in any other community page. "Eda shudham" is not mentioned in the Ezhava and Nair page. You can not target only the Kerala_Iyer community. I do not see any mention of "Eda Shudahm" in any other Wikipedia page.

Neutral point of view does not mean giving the point of view of another community.

Please see

This is being referred to as per advice received.

Sankarrukku (talk) 04:20, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

Expansion of article. Inclusion of the caste system.

I have expanded the article by including the way of living. I have also included a section on caste system and temple worship, issues which have become contentious. I have worded it similar to the Nair page.

Sankarrukku (talk) 06:22, 25 September 2011 (UTC)

You are trying to push a strong POV in favour of Kerala Iyers. Please understand that the article should be NEUTRAL. You need not compare with any other badly written articles. If you are interested in betterment of this article, please do so. DO NOT keep on reverting and removing cited statements. I request you to go with the consensus here. ---Vythiri (talk)

The article should be Neutral and not the view of other communities. I am referring this to as per advice received. Sankarrukku (talk) 03:13, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

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I have again reverted recent additions to this article. Please take note of the information at WP:V. Thanks. - Sitush (talk) 04:48, 1 September 2016 (UTC)