Vellalas in Tamilnadu
· Vellalars are agricultural people and in Tamilnadu they are classified into Vellalars and Karalars. Vellalars are one who control the "Vellam" i.e floods in the river and grow crops and Karalars are one who control "Kar" i.e Clouds in the form of Tanks and Lakes and grow crops. Later when Southern parts of Tamilnadu came into the control of Telegu Nayak Chieftains both Vellars and Karalars(Karkathars) came to work under the chieftains. They maintained Accounts in palayakaras offices, and hence they assumed the the title kanakku "pillays" then Pillays.
Vellalar The standard theory is that it derived from Velanmai ie is to cultivate, to control floods ie Vellam. is not the standard theory but a new one has emerged that is it is derived from Vel to win to control to take as well as a lance an old and archaic Tamil weapon.
Cultivation in South Asia spread by force, people would move out into virgin land, which was used by tribal people for slash and burn agriculture or for hunting and convert into prime agricultural land.
This involved force as well as forced conscription of slave like labor who usually were the original inhabitants of land who end up being menial bonded laborers in their own land.
Tamils as an archaic society maintained the original meaning of the word for cultivators as warrior farmers although all societies used it across the globe and in particular across South Asia.
This was a honorific title of select few people who would organize such raids and settlements (like chiefs) which spread to all including that of all ulavar the actual Tamil name for cultivators.
Similar treatment can be seen in the spread of titles such as Naidu and Gounda. Today everybody uses it but once it was restricted to village headman.
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As far as Vellalas in Tamilnadu are concerned, they have broadly three layers. The first layer consists of Saiva Vellalars (Saiva Mudaliars and Pillais). They are vegetarian, literate and sophisticated like Brahmins except priestly duties but also were also major landowners, feudal lords and powerful like Rajputs or Thakurs of Northern India except individual violent nature of Rajputs and were village administrators like Kayasthas of Central and Eastern India. There are a number of sub-castes/clans among them like Thondaimandala vellalar, Karkatha vellalar, Tirunelveli saiva vellalar, etc., and most of them intermarry these days.The second layer consists of a number of unique castes which do not intermarry at all. The castes like Kongu Vellalar, (Western Tamilnadu) Pandia Vellalar,(Madurai) Chozhia Vellalar,(Trichy & Thanjavur) Tuluva Vellalar (North Tamilnadu), Arcot Mudaliar,(North Tamilnadu) Nanjil Vellalar (Kanya Kumari) are concentrated in specific parts of Tamilnadu and are similar to Reddies,Kammas,Vokkaligas and Lingayats. Equating them to Jats may not be appropriate since these vellala castes have a long standing history of agriculture and leadership whereas Jats have grown to the current position recently and are considered not very cultured in Northern India.But care has to be taken with reference to Lingayats. Lingayat is a large conglomeration that has the top creamy layer similar to Vellalars (Patels, Patils, etc.,) but also has other caste groupings like Barber, Washerman, etc., within it.The third layer consists of certain castes who have started using the title of vellalar like Isai vellalar (Temple musicians and dancers), Devendrakula Vellalars (Pallars, agricultural labourers), etc., ---
Does anyone know if the Saiva vellalar community belongs to the
Vaisya varna as spoken of in the Hindu 'saastram' - since they are
involved in trade and agriculture.
if so - then vellalars, at least the saiva vellalars (pillai-mudaliar-
chettiyar) should be entitled to get ceremonies done in vedic way,
and not puranic way which is reserved for sudra/laborer community.
According to V.Kanakasabhai - vellalars constitute the ulavar
community in the Tolkappiyam -equivalent to Ksatriya-Vaisya varna.
baramahal records say that in the mythology - the vellalar was born
from the banks of ganga nadi, making them Ganga-vamsa, and on the
creation of the vellalars the daivangal (deities) invested him with
poonool(sacred thread), to show he is dvija (belongs to vaisya caste) from his birth.
If Telugu chieftains came into Tamil Nadu, how did they communicate with the Tamils? Did they learn Tamil?
Pillai may stand for saiva pillai from Tirunelveli region or other non veg pillai from Tamilnadu also
· From: samikannu (@ 188.8.131.52) on: Thu Oct 10 03:23:47
Saiva pillai means a Pillaimar who worship Lord Siva of saiva religion. nothing to do with vegetarian or non vegetarian
· From: kumaran (@ athena.wits.ac.za) on: Thu Oct 10 15:59:14
'Saiva' generally refers to those who adopt the vegetarian diet, apart from the reference to Sivan. hence Saiva Pillais are entirely vegetarian, whereas other pillais are not.
pillai is "little one" referring to wrong side of bed i.e. kids of unofficial wife no 2, 3 etc. is not a slur. In those days this was the normal behavior. kings' son fitzroy is Pillai. Iit was considered matter of honor to be son of great king.
The Great Vellala Yogi Sivarajayogi Ayya Swami Thiruvadikal was the Guru of Sree Narayana Guru , Chattampi Swamikal and Ayyankal. He was the First and the Greatest social reformer of Kerala. He was a Yogi cum Family man Ayyaswamikal started "Panthbhojanam" in KeralaHe argued that any Yogi can install idols in temples, that inspired Sreenarayan Guru to install idols"Oru jathy, oru matham ,oru Daivom" is his teaching .Sreenarayan Guru popularized the sloganThe Thycaud Ayyaswami Trust & Temples are made in memory of this Great Guru of GuruHis original name was Subbarayan. He lived during the period of 1814-1909 His parents were Sri.Muthukumaran(Nakalapuram-TN) and Smty.Rugmini Ammal (Kollam)He was Manager of Thycaud ResidencyHis deciples were Chempazhanthy Nanu (Sree NarayanaGuru)Kollur Kunjan Pillai (Chattampi Swamikal )Swayam Prakasa Yogini Amma KollathammaAyyanKaliA.R.Raja Raja VarmaChithramezhuthu RaviVarmaAppavu VakilThottahil Raman KaniyarManakkattu BhavaniFernandez,PettaThakkala Peer MohammadVelutheri Kesavan VaidhyarMakkadi Labba etc.etc ( more than 50 )His works wereBrahmothara Khandom · Ulloor amarntha Guhan·Ramayanam Bala khandom ,· Ente Kasi yathraPazhani vybhavom, Hanuman pamalai Ramayanam pattu Ujjayani mahakali pancharatnamThiruvaroor murukan Kumarakovil murukanThe Doctrine he propagated"Intha ulakathile orae oru jathy than, Orae oru matham than,orae oru kadavul than"(" Oru jathy ,Oru matham, Oru Daivom" Malayalam translation by Sree Narayan Guru.)- References:1.Sivarajayogi Thycaud Ayyaswami Thuruvadikal-A.C.Raja2.Brhamasree Thycaud Ayyaswamikal-Ayyamission,Thiruvananthapuram3.Sree Narayana Guru Sathavarshika Smaraka Grantham(1954)4.Upahara Mala(1950)-Salkavi P.K.Kesavan5.Sree Narayan Gurudevan(1971)-P.Parameswaran6.Guru(1996)-K.surendran7.Thiruvithamkoorile Mahanmar(1121)-Sooranadu Kunjan Pillai8.Albutha SidhanSree narayana Parama guru(1974)-VidhvanK.E.Neelakondan9.Vivekodayam (1084 Karkidakom)-Kesari BalaKrishna Pillai10.upahara Malika( 20.4.1950)-Kesari Bala Krishna Pillai11.Ayyankali-T.P.H.Chentharassery12.Chattampi swamikalum Navothanavum-K.G.neelakandan Nair13.Sree Narayan Paramahamsan-Pandit K.K.Panicker14.Narayana guru(1978)-Prof.M.K.Sanu15. http://expage.com/page/guruofsreenarayanaguru16.http://expage.com/page/ayya17.http://expage.com/page/ayyavu18 http://expage.com/page/thycaud19 http://expage.com/page/sivarajayoga20.Dravid Samskaram Sahyadrisanukkalil-VR.Parameswaran Pillai21.www.kanjirappally.com22.www.palai.com 23.Castes & Tribes of South India - ET.Thurston, VII 36124.Rajesh G Pillai-Pampavalley Civilization Research Centre, Aranmula25.Petta thullalum kshethrapuravrithangalum PK.Sankara Pillai& Dr.Kanam Sankara Pillai26. http://expage.com/kannaki 27. http://expage.com/ganapathiyarkovil 28. http://expage.com/anakulangara
"Vellalar kula jathan" AYYAN AYYAPPAN of SABARIMALA
About ten generations back there lived a Vellala youth by name Kandan Ayyan alia Kandan Ayyappan in Erumely , Kottayam district of Kerala in India.We do not know anything about Ayyan's parents except that his father was one Kandan and uncle was one Perissery Pillai. He became the army chief of Pandalam Royal family . Ayyan was instrumental in the defeat of Udayanan ,who attacked Sabarimala and tried to demolish the ancient Sastha temple in the thick forest of present Pathanamthitta district. The Royal family of Pandalam (King Pandian ) was migrated from Tamilnadu about 800 years back .Ayyan's family belonged to "Vellalar kulam", followed them.Rajasekharan ,the Pandian King, reconstructed the destroyed Sastha temple at Sabarimala with the help of Ayyan , Vavar , a Muslim youth from Kanjirappally and Kadutha, a Nair youth from Muzhukkeer ,Chengannoor, Alapuzha district . During the clash Ayyappan was killed. Perissery Pillai ,the uncle ofAyyan constrcted the old small Sastha temple (kotchanpalam) at Erumely opposite the Vavar Mosque constructed by Muslims in memory of Vavar.Temple made in memory of Kadutha is seen in Sabarimala .After the death of Ayyappan people thought that he as the avathar of Lord Sastha and began to worship him .Later Sastha and Ayyappan became synonyms. Some say that Ayyan was the son of a member of royal family but Nalankal Krishna Pillai in his book Mahashekthrangulkku Munpil says that Brahmins had never the name Ayyan or Ayyappan. In the age old Eelaversevam pattu ( songs of Elavar sevam, see ref.no. 3) it is clearly stated that Kandan Ayyan belonged to Vellalar kulamNear the Sree Ayyappa talkies in Erumely,Kottayam dist there is a Vellala house called Puthanveedu, In the same compound there is one 300 year old ,thatched,diapilated mud house, the house of Perissery Pillai.There we can, even today see the old sword used by Ayyappan. Even now Ayyappan/Ayyan Pillai isvery common among Vellalas of Kottayam Alapuzha, Pathanamthitta, Idikki and Ernakulam districts. A number of Ayyappan kovils are built by Vellala community,migrated from Tamilnadu following the Pandian King. Lakhs and lakhs of Tamilians come to Sabarimala every year to worship Tamil origin Vellalar kula jathanAyyan Ayyappan of Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta dist of Kerala.Two Netizen groups have been formed to spread these facts Kindly join them by sending e-mails to:email@example.com@egroups.com
VELLALA PILLAI" OF KANJIRAPPALLY
A beautiful temple Ganapathy Koil built in granite, stands as a testimony to the early Tamil influence in religion and culture.There is also indications that Tamil rulers of Kanjirappally levied tax on live stock or Pothimadu to supplement income to another temple Bhagavathi Shri Madura Meenakshi.The next batch of Hindu settlers came two centuries later.They too were traders by profession. Hailing from Kumbhakonam they were called" Vellala Pillas".Thoug they were merchantsthey gradually took to farming. The vellalas attended the Ganapathiyar Koil for worship but later they built anothertemple on the northern side of the temple property, called northern Ganapathiyar Koil in Pallava style of architecture.During the reign of Thekkum koor Raja these Vellala Pillas became highly influential and another temple by the side of River Chittar in the name Madura Meenakshi was built.
ORIGIN OF PILLAI
. Since, time immemorial , clans existed among Dravidians; but they cannot be equated to castes of later periods. The "Tholkappiam" tells about four groups . The conversion of clans to caste system - right hand caste and left hand caste - occurred during Chola ( Kulothunga-AD 1110 ) period. The caste system got a firm footing after the arrival of Ariyans. Initially there were only two classes: Those who owned land or go to war and those who depend on manual labour for living ( artisans, weavers, farm labourers etc) formed first group. Brahmins were on the top in society and second came Velalars(cultivators ) , chettiyars (business men) ,warriors (Thevar , Kallar , Vanniar ).Others were below these. Due to the process called "sankritization"(every caste takes up the habits and customs of its immediate superior to reach the superior status..) many of Kallars , Maravars and Vanniars became Vellalars . Some section of vellalas gave up meat eating and became vegetarians- they were called "Saiva Vellalas ".This process started in Pallalav period.The Saiva Vellalas carry titles like PILLAI and Mudaliar , depending in the area of domicile. The saiva vellalas of Pandia and Chola K ingdoms carry the title "PILLAI" and those from Pallalva Kingdom used to carry the title MUDALIAR
Although the tamil word Vellala means the cultivator, there is ample evidence to indicate that the original Chera , Chola and Pandia Kingswere Vellalas. Today vellalas in Tamil nadu is a miniscule minority in southern districts.They are less than 7% of population. In Kerala and Sree Lanka vellalas are thriving.50% of Sri Lankan origin Tamilians are vellalas. Almost all political, business and academic leadership of Tamil community of Sri Lanka has been provided by vellalas. Many castes merged into vellala.'Kalarum maravarum agamuditarum mella mella koodi vellalar aayinere"- so goes the saying. Which means Kalar,Maravar and Agamudaiyar, the three power castes from South Tamilnadu assumed Vellala ID with the accumilation of wealth. This happens in Elankai too. Many including Malayalee Nairs have took Vellala ID with them .This is called "sankritization".Regarding Ayyappan , in Elankai, Ayyanar Swami and among Singalees Ayyanakaye are popular deities.
The Three layers
Vellalas in Tamilnadu are concerned, they have broadly three layers. The first layer consists of Saiva Vellalars (Saiva Mudaliars and Pillais). They are vegetarian, literate and sophisticated like Brahmins except priestly duties but also were major landowners, feudal lords and powerful like Rajputs or Thakurs of Northern India except individual violent nature of Rajputs and were village administrators like Kayasthas of Central and Eastern India. There are a number of sub-castes/clans among them like Thondaimandala vellalar, Karkatha vellalar, Tirunelveli saiva vellalar, etc., and most of them intermarry these days.The second layer consists of a number of unique castes, which do not intermarry at all. The castes like Kongu Vellalar, (Western Tamilnadu) Pandia Vellalar,(Madurai) Chozhia Vellalar,(Trichy & Thanjavur) Tuluva Vellalar (North Tamilnadu), Arcot Mudaliar,(North Tamilnadu) Nanjil Vellalar (Kanya Kumari) are concentrated in specific parts of Tamilnadu and are similar to Reddies, Kammas,Vokkaligas and Lingayats. Equating them to Jats may not be appropriate since these vellala castes have a long-standing history of agriculture and leadership whereas Jats have grown to the current position recently and are considered not very cultured in Northern India.But care has to be taken with reference to Lingayats. Lingayat is a large conglomeration that has the top creamy layer similar to Vellalars (Patels, Patils, etc.,) but also has other caste groupings like Barber, Washerman, etc., within it.The third layer consists of certain castes who have started using the title of vellalar like Isai vellalar (Temple musicians and dancers), Devendrakula Vellalars (Pallars, agricultural labourers), etc.,
Dravidians who did cultivation, using water were called "Vellalas"(Castes & Tribes of South India - ET.Thurston, VII 361)Plough was their symbol. In Thelunku nadu they were called "Velar". In Karnataka they had a kingdom. Those vellalas who migrated from banks of Ganga was called "Gangavamsa vellalar".Their kingdom was "Ggangawathi".Those vellalas who lived in Kongunadu was called "Gounders". Ulkala (Orissa) was ruled by vellala kings in 11 century AD.Mudaliars and Reddiars of Thontaimantalam (Chengalpet & North Arcot Dists),Pillai of Chola (Kumbakonam ,Thanchavoor,Thrissinappally) Pillai of Pandya (Madura, Ramanathapuram, Thirunelveli) and Gounder of Kongunadu (Coimbatore & Selam) were Vellalas .Thry are either "sivas" or "vaishnavas". Some wear sacred thread . In "Pathittupathu" Vellalas were called "Uzhavar". Vellala King Mavel Aai founder of "Aai vamsam" created theVenadu . In Tharisappally sasan of 9th century AD, there is mention about Vellala -"velkulasundaran".(TAS II 70-80) In former Travancore and Kochi Vellalas were entrusted with account keeping.They were called "kanakkapillai" accountntant). Muthalpidi and parvathyakars of olden days were all vellalas. Accountants were respectfully called "Pillaiannan". In all village head quarters and in all the mandapthum vathilkal (Taluk office) there were vellalas and their families. During the reign of Balarama Varma who came after Dharma Raja , the melezhuthupillai(Chief secretary ) was vellala The Dalavas of Marthandavarmm,Arumugham and Thanu Pillai were vellalas Viranminda Nayanar of Chenganoor who donated lands for the Mahadevar templethere, was a vellala. Temples in Kerala built by VellalasAanakulangara Devi temple, Palai built in AD1725Achankovil Sastha Temple-Karappuswami priest is a VellalaAngalamman Kovil, ErattupettaAnnamalai Temple,Karikkodu,ThodupuzhaChenganoor temple managed by Viraminda Nayanar Chotty by ChottudayarGhandari Amman kovil near Secratariate TrivandrumKanjirappally Madura Meenakshy Kovil, North & South Ganapathyar Kovils(AD 1150& 1450)Kakkatukoickal Temple,R-Perunadu,PathanamthittaErumely Kotchamplam-built by Perisseri Pillai of PutheveeduKondoor by KondudayanMankompu Devi temples in Moonnilavu Palai,Arakkulam,Thrikkariyur,Parappuzha Edamaruku,Kooroppada,Thalavadi etcMeenachil Valyakunnel Devi TemplePuliyannur ,PalaiThidanadu by ThiruvudayarThattarakathuVellappatu Devi Temple,PalaiThycaud Sivan Kovil-site of Samadhi of SwamikalVellalars are agricultural people and in Tamilnadu they are classified into Vellalars and Karalars. Vellalars are one who control the "Vellam" i.e floods in the river and grow crops and Karalars are one who control "Kar" i.e Clouds in the form of Tanks and Lakes and grow crops. Later when Southern parts of Tamilnadu came into the control of Telegu Nayak Chieftains, both Vellars and Karalars(Karkathars) came to work under the chieftains. They maintained Accounts in palayakaras offices, and hence they assumed the title kanakku "pillays "and then Pillays.
According to "Keralolpathy "(Genesis of Keralam) Keralam was created by Parasu Rama one of the incarnations of Lord MahaVishnu.He threw his Parasu (axe ) to the sea from Gokarnam and the sea withdraw to the point of fall (Kanyakumari).After that he gifted the land to Brahmins. When he returned after some years, it was found that there was total anarchy due to the inefficient administrations of the then rulers. So he brought efficient and experienced Rulers from Tamilnadu (Paradesom).They were called "Perumakkanmar". Keralam was under Perumal rule for many years and the last one was Cheraman Perumal who converted to Islam and migrated to Mecca.During the Perumal rule they brought "Vellalas"- the cultivatorsand accountants of Tamilnadu-to Keralam .They settled permanently here and many of them became Traders and Accontants. They were posted as Accountants in Government posts and hence were called "KanakkaPilla".In all "Mandapathinkal Vathilkkal"(Thaluk Head Quarters) there were Vellala houses .As Village officers ("Pillaannan" ) they were highly efficient .In the famous Malayalam novel Kaya r, Thakazhay Siva Sankara Pillai admires their efficiency in measurement of land.Vellalas are "Vaisyas" and majority were Saivas ( follwers of Lord Siva).The foster son of King Rajasekhara of Panthalam, AyyanAyyappan was "Vellalakulajathan" (see: ancient Elaversevam Pattu)