Thevar people ('Thevar" literally meaning " in Sanskrit" King(royal lineage ) are a Kshatriya warrior group,collectively forms the Mukkulathor मुक्कलदोर (meaning: people of the three clans).Mukkulathor are a group of Tamil aristocratic warrior/martial people, native to the Southern districts of तमिळ नाडु. The Mukkulathor descended from the three royal lineage namely Cholas, Pandyans and Cheras. The name "Mukkulathor" alludes to the three roughly designated groups, Kallar,Maravar and Agamudaiyar, which make up this large endogamous social group. Thevar were inhabitants of Palai region during the Sangam period . The literature during sangam period divided the regions based upon the climate and topography. Palai was mainly a desert like region with little to no rain.
Nowadays, Mukkulathor are found all over the southern and central districts of Tamil Nadu, North-east Sri Lanka and amongst Tamil expatriate communities in South-East Asia and America. There is also a small community in Chattisgarh where they had migrated during British rule. The Royal houses of maduraii, Ramnad and Pudukkottai belongs to the Thevar community.
See main article Kallar
Kallar कळ्ळर (Tamil: கள்ளர்) Meaning Brave Peoples Kallars are one of the three related castes which constitute the Mukkulathor confederacy. They are described as "A fearless community shows many signs of independence and non-submission to any form of subjugation".
Historians postulate the word Kallar Derived from Kalla means Black in Sanscrit and Tamil (கள்வனென் கிளவி கரியோனென்ப' - திவாகரம்) Historians postulate Dravidians were called by Aryans as Kalla ..
Thirumal is also stated Mal to meant he is Black and also Krishna means Black. In olden days Black Dravidians were stated as Kalla to state their Bravery.
Kallars are largely found in the Southern districts of Thanjavur, Madurai, Pudukkottai, Trichy, Ariyalur, Theni, Dindigul, Sivaganga,Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Ramanathapuram districts of तमिळ नाडु. They are also present in Karur, Kanchipuram, Perambalur and Villupuram districts. One of their popular deities is Kallazhagar who is a warrior incarnation of "Lord Thirumala or Venkadavan".
The "Pandi Temples" (Muni Koil) found in Madurai and Southern regions of Tamilnadu were originally the Tombs of the Early Tamil Pandya Kings and Rulers. Pandiyar Kudavarai which is found in Aritapatti (near Melur) has been built for the Siddhars by the Early Pandya Kings.
The Kallars are quintessentially a feudal society, with feudal classes such as the Ambalakarar. They are found mainly in the Madurai, Tirchuripalli, Ariyalur and Sivaganga districts. In these districts, each village is headed by an "Ambalam" (president of an assembly) and the Ambalam took upon themselves the power to adjudicate disputes that arose among the inhabitants in the Nadu. The term "Nadu" is an ancient political and administrative system found wherever Kallar populations migrated.
Thenpandi Singam by M. Karunanidhi is a book about Ambalakarars and it was also made into a Television serial broadcasted over Sun TV Network and music composed by Ilaiyaraaja. They used to hear complaints, hold inquiries and punish the offenders. They wielded considerable powers to intervene in any kind of transaction or transfer of property among the people. No land could be alienated from one man to another without the permission of the Ambalams. The sur-name "Ambalam"is given to them, because of their Administration in their Villages. So they are mostly called as "Ambalam".
Another important Kallar subcaste is the Piramalai Kallar. They are a highly traditional people and have preserved their ancient customs to the present day. They are also believed to be the oldest inhabitants of the Tamil country with reports of their presence going back to Tamil literary works of the 4th century B.C. They are found mainly in the districts of Madurai(Usilampatti), Dindigul and Theni. Their popular deity is Amman, the Mother Goddess. They have contributed enormously in the freedom struggle for India. Perungaamanallur people near Usilampatti, fought against the british and many have died and they have a Thiyagigal Thoon (Pillar of freedom fighters) built in memory of them. Piramalai Kallars have also made big contribution in Nethaji's INA force when Subash chandra bose made a call for the INA force from the submarine radio lots of people from the community went and joint to fight against the british for India. They are kept alive of our ancient culture.
Some of the other feudal classes include Koothappar Kallars, Periyasuriyur Kallars, Gandarvakoatai Kallars and Esanattu Kallars found largely dominated in the Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Sivagangai & Trichy Districts.
Significant Kallar population also found in Srilanka and Malaysia. Samy Vellu, Ex-Works Minister (lost in 2008 election) and Leader of Malaysian Indian Congress, S. Thondaman, Leader of Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka are notable persons outside Tamilnadu.
See also main article Maravar
Maravar (तमिळ: மறவர்) also "Maravan" (meaning "Grateful Warrior") are one of the oldest social groups to be mentioned by the Sangam Tamil literature. This indicates an association with the Tamil land which is at least 2,000 years old. The writers of the Sangam Age place them in rural settlements withdrawn from cities. Maravars are the courageous breed and were involved in the major wars that Tamilnadu witnessed. The Kingdom of Ramnad was a Maravar kingdom and was ruled by the Setupati kings. Ramanathapuram and Sivagangai districts are Maravar strongholds from ancient times.
Maravars are courageous breed and were involved in almost all the major battles and wars that ancient Tamilnadu witnessed. Maravars are found predominantly in the Southern districts of Tamilnadu viz., Madurai, Theni, Sivagangai, Ramanathapuram, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Thirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari districts of तमिळ नाडु. They ruled the vast land mass of Tamilnadu along with the coastal rulers,Paravars. Both these tribes seems to have common origin,tamil nagas. The Southern martial arts of Kalarippayattu, Silambam, Varma Kalai have been practiced primarily by Villavars(Nadans & Ezhavars) of erstwhile Travancore areas.
The Maravar have close relation with Kalabhars even though they Maravars are a non-aryan, non-Kalabhar group.Another aristocratic caste called Paravars are akin to Maravars. They were ancient rulers of Pandya kingdom of coastal land and inland from the First Sangam Tamil age. Their leaders were given the शीर्षक "Meenavan" and "Pandyan" respectively. Edgar Thurston (1855-1935) a British museologist and ethnographer identified the use of the boomerang by Kallars and Maravars of South India.
Large number of Maravars served in the armies of many princely states of केरळ. But during the 18th and 19th centuries, most of them were assimilated in to the Tamil Padam Nair subcaste of the Nair community. The Maravar regiment of the Travancore army was known as "Maravar Padai", which supplemented Nair Pattalam, the larger indigenous military unit. Tamil Padam Nair is recognized as a part of the Malayala Kshatriya social grouping. The Ramnad Zamindar's are accorded the शीर्षक Sethupathi (protector of the Sethu bridge) even to this day.
There are 2 major subdivisions among the Maravar community. One is Appa Nattu Kondyankottai Maravar and another one is Chembiya Nattu Maravar. The Kondyan Kottai Maravars are related to the Vellalars and are still maintaining Killai(branches) as their sub sects. The Killai is inherited from mother. So a boy or girl will not marry in their same Killai. It is assumed that they are brother & sister. Such a practice is no longer prevailing amongst other maravars. The married womens of kondyankottai maravers wear "Thali" (Thirumangalyam) in the shape of Shiva lingam. So it is called "Linga Thali". Most of the Tamil castes wear the same type of "Linga Thali".
Agamudayar(तमिळ: அகமுடையார்) meaning Fearless people . Agamudayars are famously known by their शीर्षक ServaiThey make expert soldiers, warriors and constituted the bulk of Pandya armies. The legendary '''Maruthu Pandiyar''' brothers came from the Agamudayar (Servai) community. when 29 April 1789, the British forces attacked Kollangudi. It was defeated by a large body of Marudhu.It is said that the Marudhu brothers could kill a tiger without using any weapons. The lands the community owns are actually rewarded for their loyal and valuable service rendered for the cause of the Kings and the nation.
Agamudaiyars are found all over in Southern Tamilnadu in Sivagangai, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Kanyakumari, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Pudukkottai, Madurai, Trichy, Ariyalur and Tiruvannamalai districts & Also in Karnataka state Hiriyur Taluk, Aranakatte & Maskal matti people are living. ".
The word Agamudaiyan or Ahamudaiyan is derived from the root Aham which in Tamil means the guts or brave of one's mind. Agam also means "land" in Tamil, signifying that Agamudaiyars are Landlords and Householder ; the suffix Udeiyar indicating ownership. The word is also used in another form, Ahampadiyar, derived from another meaning of the same root, i.e., inside. And, in this derivation, it signifies a meaning of a particular profession, whose office it was to attend to the business in the Interior's of the King's Palace or in the Pagoda". The name," Mr. J. H. Nelson writes, "is said by the Rev. G. U. Pope, in his edition of the Abbe Dubois' work to be derived from aham, a temple, and padi, a step, and to have been given to them in consequence of their serving about the steps of temples. But, independently of the fact that Madura pagodas are not approached by flights of steps, this seems to be a very far-fetched and improbable derivation of the word. Or, perhaps, the name comes from aham in the sense of earth, and pati, master or possessor." Agamudaiyar were employed by Srilankan kings as body guards & to protect palaces,according to Ceylon history, they were referred to as "Agampadi Soldiers"& it also gives the break down of the term "Agampadi",(Agampu+Adi-to hit in Tamil), The ordinary शीर्षक of the Agamudaiyans is Servaikkaran, . In Pudukkottai, Trichy, Sivangagai, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Thirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Kanyakumari districts Agamudaiyans are also called Terkittiyar ("Southerners")..
The Agamudaiyans are divided into the following sub-sects: Aivali Nattan, Kottaipattu, Malainadu, Nattumangalam, Rajaboja, Rajakulam (Rajakulam and Parvatha Rajakulam), Rajavasal, Kalian, Sani, Maravan, and Servaikkaran..
Surnames and Titles[संपादन]
The surnames used by the kallar people are Ambalakarar, Servai,Gopalar, Kalapadiyar, Vandaiyar,Mallikondar, Veeramundar, Paluvettaraiyar, Paandurar, Malayaman, Vallavaraiyar, Etrandaar, Mannaiyar, Nattar (not Nadar), kumarandar,Annuthipiriyar,Rajaliyar etc. It is a general practice in Tamil Nadu to address a kallar woman as "Nachchiyaar". Papudaiyar, Kadampurar, Anjathevar, Olivarayar, Vanathirayar, Sendapiriyar, OOnayaar, Alathondamar, Ambalam, Aarsuthiyar, Kaadavaraayar, Kalingarayar, Vandaiyaar, Veeramundar, Sepillaiyar, Vallundar, Thinnapriyar , Thanjaraayar, Kandiyar, Pursaar, Vaanavaraayar, Mazhavaraayar, Payer, Kommatti, Mootar, Patti, Kannakkarar, Irungular, Singilaar, Ponnapoondar, Pullavaraayar, Servai, Karaimeendar, Vanavarayar, Vairayar, Ponpethiar, Gopalar, Thevar, Kandapillai, Vayaadiyar, Naadalvar, Nattaar, Vallambar, Alankara Priyar, mavaliyar, Munaiyatriyar, Keerudayar, Saaluvar, Manraayar, Madhavarayar, Mudaliyar, Onthiriyar, Servai, Serumadar, Sethurayar, Vambaliar, Thenkondaar, Mankondaar, Moovaraiyar,Senainattar etc. There are over 2500 surnames in use.
Story of Mukkulathor There was a well known story about mukkulathor.Some Tamil castes trace their ancestry to Ahalya and Indra's liaison; the castes are named after Ahalya's children. Gautama finds the three boys and names them according to their behaviour: Agamudayar (derived from "brave"), who confronts Gautama, Maravar (derived from "tree"), who climbs a tree and Kallar (derived from "thief" or "rock"), who hides like a thief behind a large rock. A fourth child, Vellala, is added in some versions. In another variant, the liaison is replaced by penance and worship offered by Ahalya to Indra, who gifts her the children as a reward.. Some of the surnames are seen in Tamil copper-plate inscriptions of Chola was also mentioned in Ponniyin Selvan (Tamil historical novel written by Kalki Krishnamurthy).
Recent Scientific study[संपादन]
There are diverse theories with regard to the origin of Mukkulathors.
Dr. Pitchappan have found the ancient DNA marker M130 in the blood of Piramalai Kallar that links them to the very first modern humans who migrated out of Africa and travelling through the southern coastline of Asia that eventually reached ऑस्ट्रेलिया.
British colonisation of India was strongly resisted in the South especially in Mukkulathor country.
Puli Thevar from the eighteenth century is remembered as the first Indian king to have fought and defeated the British in India. His exploits have since become legendary.
Resistance to British rule was also offered by Padal Vellaiya Tevan who fought the British along with Kattabomman. His son Desakaval Senbaga Tevan is also remembered for his exploits.
The Maruthu Pandiyar brothers are notable for their role in the Polygar Wars. They were eventually captured by the British and hanged in 1801.Golden Words for Servai People "Paayavum Theriyum Pathungavum Theriyum Bayapada Theriyathu", which loosely translated means, "We know how to pounce, how to stalk but we know not any fear".
Valukku Veli Thevan, a very strong Kallar Ambalakkarar rulled Paganeri Nadu in present Ramanatapuram District, who opposed the British rule.
They are traditionally Hindus of Saiva Siddhanta maargam. Presently Significant numbers of thevars are following Christianity, still upholding thevar caste values and pride. Today they constitute a significant part of the Tamil community in India, Sri Lanka, and in other parts of the world.
Although a great many of the members are still agriculturalists, many have also progressed up the social ladder as doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, politicians and civil servants.Especially in entertainment field this community is still has the dominating position. This community people are spread allover in the media world like Cinema, television etc. They are well placed in Politics as well. A large number of people from the community are serving the nation as military men. A large number of people are serving the Tamil Nadu police department.
- கள்ளர் சரித்திரம் - நாவலர் பண்டித ந மு வேங்கடசாமி நாட்டார்
- Thenpandi Singam by M. Karunanidhi
- " Castes and Tribes of Southern India Vol I, Pg 5
- Castes and Tribes of Southern India Vol I, Pg 6
- Castes and Tribes of Southern India Vol I, Pg 7
- Castes and Tribes of Southern India Vol I, Pg 8
- People Of India:Maharashtra by Kumar Suresh Singh,Anthropological Survey of India:http://books.google.co.in/books?id=4bfmnmsBfQ4C&pg=PA1991
- Thurston, Edgar. Castes and Tribes of Southern India Volume I - A and B. Madras.
- On Tamil Militarism- The suppression of Tamil military castes
- Genetic structure of four socio-culturally diversified caste populations of southwest India
List of prominent Mukkulathors[संपादन]
- Vallambar Official Website
- Matrimony site for mukkulathor
- Exclusive Matrimonial Site for Kallars, Maravars and Agamudayars.
- Devapattu Kallars