Saturday, October 4, 2008

Brahmins of Tamil Nadu

Brahmanas in India – an introduction
Evidence as to whether all the present day Hindus were migrants , possibly from Asia minor and whether they were were Aryans is both confusing and conflicting. But the fact that they were a major part of the great religion called “Sanathana Dharma” or “eternal truth” is very strong. The invading hoards from outside of the later years starting from Hunas classified this group of people as Hindus. This religious group did not have any founder prophet. They followed the tenets of religion as enunciated by very many sages, kings, heroes in their four holy books called Vedas. When these books were evolved, there was no script to write and preserve them. So this group decided to entrust the job of learning all these Vedas by rote and teaching it to the next generation be left to a very specialized group of people called “Brahmanas”. Initially it looks as if these were only the selected people of the community who had the intellectual capacity to do this very tedious job and also prepared to lead a simple life without any vocation to earn their livelihood.. Preservation of Vedas was of paramount importance and the Hindu community must have decided that to do this these scholars who were dedicating their life for such a noble venture must be taken care of by the other members of the society engaged in war, cattle rearing and commerce.
It is not clear when the process of selecting the intellectuals and putting them in one group stopped and when Brahmanas became Brahmanas because of their birth. But this has already happened in the late puranic period and definitely in the early historic period of India. As per the religious tenets that they were taught, all groups gave munificent support to all Brahmanas , who lead a scholarly life devoted entirely to learning and teaching. Most of these early developments must have happened in the Indo gangetic plain and the valleys of great rivers like Narmada, for by that time the pastoral nomadic Hindus have become a thriving agricultural community. .When population started exploding and when new religious teachers converted the kings to new way of thinking and when enemy hoards threatened the very survival of their religion , some of these Brahmanas must have decided to migrate to the south and settle down in the shores of the great river Cauvery. .

A.A peep in to ancient and medieval history
Migration
According to reputed historians , in the hoary past Tamil Nadu was occupied by a very cultured people whose religion was perhaps different from Hinduism. They did not have the Chaturvarnyam among them but had different caste groups. To this country the Brahmanas of North India migrated. This according to historians took place when the Maurya Kings were ruling India, the reason being the new religious revolutions in the north started by Gautama the Buddha and Mahavira Vardhamana which found favour with the kings. The Brahmana migration was in waves and many of them settled down in present telugu country and some of them reached Tamil Nadu.The first groups to migrate to Tamil Nadu were the pro-Shukra Brahmanas who were followers of Lord Shiva and the last few waves were the Pro-Brihaspati Brahmanas who were mainly followers of Lord Vishnu. Historians believe that at that time there were differences between Saivites and Vaishnavites but was very minimal.
Tamil Nadu (i.e the three great kingdoms of Chozha, Pandya and Chera) welcomed these new migrants with open hands. The stories of the migration of Agasthya(a Brahmin saint of North India) and his being the founder of the river Cauvery are chronicled in ancient Tamil myth. His disciple Tholkappiyar , who is definitely a historical figure wrote the first book in Tamil viz. Tholkappiyam.This book clearly mentions the existence of Brahmanas in Tamil Nadu. There is some evidence pointing out to Tholkappiyar himself being a Brahmin. They were initially called Anthanars or Parpaars or aravor or vediyars. Tholkappiyam also mentions the word Aiyar in one place.
The kings of Tamil Nadu were attracted by these learned pundits and made them their Asans or teachers. They also gave these teachers several powers. Apart from this several villages were given to them as grants free of cost and free of tax .These were called Brahmodayams or Chadurvedimangalams. Possibly in a much later period they were renamed Agraharams.Though new to the culture and language these new migrants learned the language of the country and the ancient books mention many great poets among them in the courts of some very famous kings. These early migrants also brought the concept of Gothras. Bharadwaja, Koundinya, Kasyapa, Kaushika and Atreya Gothras are mentioned in the early sangam literature. They initially did not name themselves as they do in modern times after the Gods they worship but tended to use their Gothra in their names. Some of the examples of the early names were Kauniyan Vinnantayan (Kaundinya), Palai Gautamanar (Gautama), Ilankausikanar (Kausika) ,Kallil Athreyanar(Atreya) , Bharadwaji Nachinarkiniyanar (Bharadwaja) and so on.
They were strict vegetarians, teetotalers and spoke a specialized dialect of Tamil among themselves. Their houses had a “well-washed-scrubbed-courtyard” and mostly a cow and a calf were tied to a post in front of their houses and dog and fowls were assiduously kept out. The Brahmin of those times had six fold duties viz. learning of Vedic texts, teaching of Vedas, performing yagnas(called velvi in Tamil) , helping others perform yagnas, giving of gifts and taking of gifts. Among the earliest schools of Vedas started by them were the Ghatika in Kanchi and the Vedic School in a village called Ennayiram near present day Pondycheri.. The sangam literature mentions about a famous Brahmana named Punjarurkavunian Vinnandayan who is supposed to have performed many Vedic sacrifices during those times.
They also took lot of interest in developing Tamil Literature. Among the well known Brahmana poets of that time were Nakkerar, Kapilar, Nachinarkiniyar, Tayam Kannanar and so on. Though representatives of the Vedic learning they also took very active part in the Bhakti movement of the ancient Tamil Nadu. Among the great saints were Nambi andar Nambi , Nadamuni, Sambandar, Sundarar, Kungilyakalayanar, and many others.

Divisions and Groups

It is very important to note here that they were both Shaivites and Vaishnavites among them since their known history but they preferred to live as one major group with several sub groups.The Bhakthi movement of spearheaded by Azhwars and Nayanmars was followed by the great philosophical awakening of India strangely from the Brahmanas of Tamil Nadu.The first was Sankara Bhagawat Pada who was born in a Namboodiri family and came out with the concept of Advaitha or non dualism. He interpreted the holy books of India and came to the conclusion that , essentially there is no difference between God and the beings he created.All of them were a single ultimate truth called Brahma. Then came Sage Ramanuja from a tamil brahmana family who did not agree with Adhi Sankara. He conclusively argued that , the beings and God are different but the beings can merge with God by realization. The royal path for realization was through Saranagathi or absoulute surrender.His philosophy was called Visishtadvaitham or “specialized non dualism”. His disciples reinterpreted the concept of surrender according to the mode of saranagathi and there were two schools of his followers viz. Vadakalai and Thenkalai. The last great doyen of this great philosophers was sage Madhwa who was born in the coastal area of the present Karnataka who disagreed with both of them and gave rise to the philosophy of dualism.
The historians who have traced the migration of Brahmanas to Tamil Nadu believe that the first group to migrate were the BrihatCharanams and Ashtasaharam Brahmanas. The Brihatcharanams loosely translated as Big foot or Great migrations were the first wave of settlers who settled in places like Mangudi, Satyamangalam, Thiruvannamalai ,Palamaneri, Kandarmanikkam, Milagasur and so on. The next migrants were possibly were the Ashtasahasrams who settled down in a place called Ennayiram near Pondicherry. The next big wave of migrants were the Vadamas , so called by others who have already settled as Northerners. There were other smaller sub groups like Vathimas also. Many of these migrants whose main occupation was learning Vedas and performing Yagnas took to Temple worship in Tamil Nadu by gaining proficiency in agama Sastras. These were called Kurukkal in general and some of these prominent groups were again grouped in to Sholiyars. Since the initial migrants felt that these people have committed a big mistake by taking up Temple Worship , they were looked down by the other groups. Another prominent and well recognized group of learned Brahmanas were the Chidambaram Dikshitars. The Mukkani Brahmanas who assist in Pujas in the Tiruchendur Temples were a later addition to these groups The Vadamas themselves were again split in to Then desathu Vadamas and Vada desathu vadamas.
It is not clear when the Vaishnavites became a separate group and started calling themselves as Iyengars. They definitely did it after the advent of Sage Ramanujachariar who systematized Srivaishnavism After him his followers again split in to Vadakalai Iyengars and Thenkalai Iyengars. There is also some evidence to prove that most of the Vadakalai Iyengars were from Vadamas and most of the Thenkalai Iyengars were from the Sholiyars.
There were also minor sects like Kesis and Kaniyalars. There is another very small group called Prathamasakhis who are confined to few villages like Seddanipuram near Nannilam of Tanjore district who believe that they turn in to untouchables at mid day everyday. They go out of the house at mid day and reenter the house after a purificatory bath.
From those migrants who occupied the present Karnataka state rose another great sage called Madhwa.He preached a different cult of Vaishnavism with slightly different philosophy. His followers were called Madhwas.In later days reverse migration took place and many of them settled back in Tamil Nadu.Among them was the great Sage Raghavendra.
There also seems to be a big group of Telugu speaking brahmanas settled during the rule of Krishna Deva Raya and Marathi speaking brahmanas settled during the later Maratha rule in Tanjore.
The ancient Brahmanas of Tamil Nadu took up to professions such as Land Holders, musicians and domestic priests . Of these Silappadikaram mentions that those who took to music were frowned up on. They normally took to surnames like Sarma, Bhattar, Somayaji, Jadavallabhar, Dikshitar etcThey belonged to Gothras like Maudgalya, Srivatsa, Kaundinya, Kasyapa, Bharadwaja, Vadula, Atreya, Vasishta, Gautama, Haritha, Kaushika, Sandilya, Garga, Paurukutsa, Sankrityayana, Samkrithi, Viswamitra and so on. Most of the Rig Vedis followed the Aswalayana Sutra, the Shukla Yajurvedis followed either the Apasthambha or Bodhayana sutra , the Krishna Yajurvedis followed the Katyayana Sutra and Samavedis followed Drahyayana Sutra.

Ancient professions
As was necessary the Brahmanas could not stick on to the profession of Vedic learning and eke out a living. Initially they were supposed to perform Yagnas (Velvi in Tamil) but they convinced the kings of Tamil Nadu that they should take over the maintenance of temples according to the Agama Sasthras. Because of this except for the temples of Goddesses like Kali, Ayyanar etc they were appointed as the Archakas.Here again there were two major groups , the Kurukkal doing worship in Shaivaite temples and Azhwars doing worship in Vaishnavaite temples. Another profession in which they shined was administration. They were the only community in Tamil Nadu who established Sabhas for administration of their agraharams. The king gave a sort of autonomy to such Sabhas. Details of many Sabhas are available in several stone inscriptions. Possibly due to the simple life they lead, the Kings also started appointing them as ministers and chief administrators. One of the greats was Ulagalanda Chola Brahmarayan who surveyed the lands for the king Rajadiraja. Many of them took to Tamil writing like Kalamegha Pulavar, Arulnandi Sivacharya, Periyachan Pillai, , Nathamunigal and so on. They also produced Appayya Dikshidar who was possibly a great contributor to the philosophical writings on Advaita founded by Sankaracharya.Other great writers were Govinda Dikshitar the author of Sangita Sudha, Yagnanarayana Dikshitar the author of Sahitya Ratnakaram, Ramabhadra Dikshitar the author of Janaki Parinayam, Sridhra Venkatesa Aiyaval who wrote a biography of Shaji the brother of Shivaji, Sadashiva Brahmendrar who authored many religious tomes and so on. Another very important but patently unnatural profession for the Brahmanas of this period was that of the warrior. There were Brahmanas like Rajaraja Brahma Maharaja in the kingdom of Vengi, Kannan who was a general of Kulothunga I , Ramappiyan the famous general of Thirumalai Nayakkan of Madurai...
Music was another profession they shined. They systematized the musical rules , composed thousands of pieces and also became experts in singing.Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Deekshidar and Shyama Shastry were the all time greats.

Migration from Tamil Nadu

Another very important event that happened to Brahmanas , was their migration to neighboring states. The Palakkad Brahmanas of Kerala, the Dravida Brahmanas of Guntur, and The Sankethis of Karnataka all were Tamil Brahmin migrants. They might have migrated due to the rule of Maharatha and Vijayanagar dynasties when they lost their pre-eminent position in society. Also saint Ramanuja was forced by politics of those times to spend some part of life in Karnataka and he had several followers there.

Impression of ancient foreign visitors

Many foreign visitors during that period have left several comments on the life of a Tamil Brahmanas of those times .Marco Polo wrote that:” It is their practice of everyone, male and female, do wash the whole body thrice everyday …..you must know that in eating they use the right hand only and would on no account touch their food with left hand …..
So also they drink only from drinking vessels; and everyone hath his own;nor will anyone drink from another’s vessel. And when they drink they do not put the vessel to their lips, but hold it aloft and let the drink sprout in to their mouth…” He also says that they never tell lies and they abhor robbery. He also mentions” They are distinguished by a certain badge consisting of a thick cotton thread which passes over the shoulder and tied under their breast. Domingo Paes , a Portuguese visitor wrote about the king using their services to ask questions to the idol in the temples.
It was during this period that the Brahmanas of Tamil Nadu started concentrating on education. They established several schools called Ghatikas where they could learn Sanskrit and Vedas. There were famous Ghatikas in Kanjeevaram, Nagapattinam and Ennayiram. The subjects taught in these schools were Kavya, Vyakarana, Sastra etc. The kings made sumptuous grants for running of these schools. With the coming of Vijayanagar kings and that of Maratha kings Brahmanas easily picked up the language of kings and got employment in their courts. But most of the Brahmanas were not having facilities to come and join these Ghatikas. They instead continued with the Guru Kula style of ancient in India by living in the houses of their teachers. The art of music was somehow taught only like this.

B: Modern Times
The Brahmanas evolved much further in the eighteenth and nineteenth centaury. This period also saw their rise and fall in Tamil Nadu.The groups’ rise was due to their early interaction with the English. The English wanted to communicate with the locals. And they easily identified the Tamil Brahmin for this job. They first taught him English and employed him to help them talk with the locals. Identifying their administrative genius as well as devotion to their masters, they employed them in all sort of jobs. This was perhaps the main reason , why we find the Brahmanas of today a very educated lot. They made a mark in whichever field they got interested. If a list of all time greats in Tamil nadu were compiled about 50% of them would be brahmanas. Recently the Tamil Nadu Brahmin association has compiled to who is who among Tamil Brahmanas and this 1000 paged volume has not even covered 50% of those eminent people. A feeble attempt is made here to indicate some great people here and possibly represent .001% of the great Tamil Brahmanas.

1.Administrators
Before independence most of great geniuses in administration who held posting under the British were Brahmanas. Some of the greatest were Sri Seshaia sasthri, Sri.T,.Muthuswami Iyer, Sri.P.S.Sivaswamy Iyer, Rt.Hon.Sreenivasa sastry, Sri.C.P.Ramaswamy Iyer,Sri.Bhashyam Ayyangar etc In the post independence period they mostly moved away from the spheres of administration but the notable among them was Sri.T.N.Seshan.

2.Freedom fighters
The Brahmanas though by nature not interested in politics fought side by side with others for making our nation free.Possibly the greatest among them was Sri.N.C.Rajagopalachari (Rajaji) who also became the first governor general of India, He was also a very great writer as well as social reformer. Some of the other notables were , Va.Ve.Su.Iyer, Mahakavi Bharathi, Vanchi who killed the collector of Tirnelveli, Sri.Santhanam who was our first railway minister ,SriSathya murthy and Sri.Bhashyam iyengar,Sri Ananthasayanam Ayyangar who was the first adorn the chair of speaker in the Indian parliament laid great foundations of parliamentary practice.

3.Writers.
The Brahmanas simply dominated the writing scene of Tamil Nadu for a very long time. The first novelist , Vadavur Dorai Samy Iyengar, The great lady writer who wrote for creating social awakening Smt.Vai.Mu .Kothainayagei ammal, Sri.U.Ve .Swaminatha iyer who wandered all over Tamil nadu and collected folk and ancient Tamil literature(called Tamil Thatha), Kalki the greatest writer of historic fiction, Maha Kavi Subramanya Bharathi who is acknowledged as the greatest poet of modern times, Nadodi,Chavi, Gomathy Sunbramanyam, Ki.Va Jagannatham Chandilyan, are some of the few all time greats.
Among the savants who contributed to Sanskrit literature were Ganapathi shastri, Gopala shastri, Thethiyur Subramanya sastri, Prathivathi bhayangaram Annangaracharyar and so on.
In journalism also they made very significant contributions. The Hindu, Dhinamani, Swadesha mithran, Kalki, Ananda vikatan, were all started by brahmanas and managed by them.

4.Scientists
This is an area that they took least interest. But the great mathematical genius Sri,Srinivasa Ramanhjam, The first Nobel prize winning scientist, Sir.C.V.Raman. the scientist responsible for feeding modern India.Dr.Rangachari possibly one of the greatest physicians Tamil nadu has produced,Dr.Ramamurthy the great neuro surgeon Dr.M.S.Swaminathan, Dr.Chandra Shekar , an authority on astrophysics who won Nobel Prize, Dr,Seshadri one of the greatest chemists that India has produced, Dr.Kasthuri Rangan of the ISRO were all brahmanas.

5.Music
This was another field dominated by the Brahmanas. The music trinity who started it all,Pattanam Subramanya Iyer,Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer, Gopalakrishna Bharathi, Kothamangalam Subbu, Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyenger, Maharajhapuram Viswanatha Iyer, Maharajhapuram Santhanam,Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathatr, Sri.M.S.Gopalakrishnan, Tiger Varadhacharyar, Madurai Mani Flute Ramani, Kunnakudi Vaidyanatan,Veenai Balachander, Smt.Pattammal,Brinda –Muktha, Bombay sisters, Kavitha Krishnamurthy, Hariharan, Shankar Subramanyan the great music critic Subbudu are only the beginning of the list.
Another music related vocation in which they excelled was Pravachanas and Hari Katha.Two of the greats were Sengalipuram Anantha Rama Deekshidar and Thoopul Lakshmi Narasimhan,.Pudukootai Gopalakrishna Bhagavathar was an eminent musician who systematized the bhajana sampradayam.

6.Cinema
This orthodox community also took interest in development of drama and Cinema in Tamil Nadu.Some of the all time greats were SriBalachander, the doyen among film directors and actors like , Gemini Ganesan, Kamala Hasan, Cho, Vishu, Vyjayanthi mala, Rekha, Jaya Laitha ,Hema malini, Saharanamam, Jayaraman, Priya Mani, Vidhya Balan and so on.

Quo Vadis?
The reservation system introduced after independence, the land reform bills and the Dravidian movement put this small vibrant community in to great strain. They were simply thrown out of their moorings and were forced to migrate all over the country as well as the world in search of jobs. Though earning a bread has become their priority, they still act as the repository of Hindu religious knowledge and are the corner stones on which future Hindu religion will stand..They also would essentially provide intellectual input in all walks of life for all the time to come.

49 comments:

Brahmanyan said...

Very informative and good blog on Brahmin migration.
Regards,
Brahmanyan

telugufriends said...

Let's come together on http://www.apjunction.com to bring all the Telugu people unite on one platform and find Telugu friends worldwide to share our thoughts and create a common bond.

Let's also show the Mightiness of Telugu people by coming together on http://www.apjunction.com

V Shivakumar said...

This blog is certainly the one we as Brahmins need. The atrocities committed on Brahmins in the neame of reservation has left many of us to dogs. Majority of us are living in abject poverty and the worst pasrt is unlike all other communities A BRAHMANA NEVER HELPS ANOTHER BRAHMANA. This is very true because we as Brahmins believe only in selfish deeds like our own family, our own interests and our own priorities. It is sad that Brahmins have become Beggars. It need not be a Tamil Brahmin alone, the same is the case in all the states. It is time we come forward and together and revolt for a cause... for I cannot bear to see many of us going hungry or without shelter. Let me be selfish here, let us first show some humanity towards our own bethren. Forget Iyers, Iyengars, Vadama, dosama, havyaka, namboodiri etc. We are all brahmins. Can we start a movement?

christina said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Alessandra

http://www.craigslistpostingonline.info

Anonymous said...

Genocide and ethnic cleansing of Brahmins is being carried out in the guise of "Social Justice". It is time to arouse people to fight against this onslaught.

venkat said...

It is true that how the sub-sect of brahmins had artificially created by brahmin thmeselves.

One true thing was missing regarding the objective of studing vedas or performing yaghnams.

Main objective OF true brahmins is BHAKTI as prescribed in "BHAGVAT GITA AND BHAGAVATAM"
These two are like TWO EYES of an human being. While performing BHAKTI as prescribed in BHAGVAT GITA AND BHAGAVATAM, learning vedas and performing karma is to REMOVE THE HURDLES which may araise due to known and unknown SINS MADE IN earlier birth and death (of body). BHAKTI is the way to prosper for higher levels to attain the highest level "MOKSHA"
to take the SOUL inside "VAIKUNTHA"
where "REBIRTH AND SUFFEREINGS COME TO AN END"

This "BHAKTI" was kept aside because of greed in attaining some material benefit and other kind of short term benefit. Even many Brahmins ignored this truth because of new material innovations and later on started ignoring "SANATANA DHARMA" or VARNASHRAMA DHARMA.

Because of the ignorance of above main objective, many sects and sub-sects were artificially created to attain power and dominating motive with other persons.

Now any Brahmin whould realise that these big mistakes done in the past and henceforth to keep only "SANATANA DHARMA OR VARNASHRAMA DHARMA" to advance there status in BHAKTI. The passing of TRUE KNOWLEDGE was partially or fully stopped to pass on to the next generation which have created confusion in our own land of "GREAT BHARAT"

Our generation again require to know things from begining about the difference between "BODY AND SOUL" which is a primary essence of true scientific knowledge.

PANZA-The Man Behind Times.. said...

I have been into so many posts of yours including the slokas compiled in various sites...Hats off To You,Sir..

V.Rajan said...

You are doing an excellent service to the community sir through your blogs. I am amazed at the treasure of information in this bloga and your other connected blogs where the slokas are translated to english. Infact when I used to recite slokas I used to wonder whether I can do justice in reciting without knowing the meaning. I was longing to get the meaning and was amazed to find a treasure when I incidentaly stumbled upon your group of blogs when I was searching about 'naayurivi' used in homams. Hats off to you for providing us a wealth of information. I pray God to give you long life and best health for continuing this service of knowledge transfer!!

kalyanasundaram said...

It is high time that brahmin community also gets reservation in government jobs & seats of government education institution, since we also pay taxes to government just like any other community.This is NATURAL JUSTICE. LET SUPREME POWER LEADS NEAR FUTURE TO THIS PATH BY ANY ACCEPTED MEANS.

Srinivasa Gopalakrishna said...

nice blob Sir, but i am really worried about the future of our small community. The poor among us should be given reservations. Already we are depleted from most of the Govt. jobs. The private sector only has IT companies & no good choice other than that, so we are forced to leave the country in search of our interest.

Anonymous said...

Thank you thatha! So much to know and learn.

Sky said...

Thatha, your article on Brahmins of Tamilnadu wasn't only informative but very inspiring to read as well. The Brahmin community today is at a threshold today facing many challenges:
(1)Forced to take up professions unlike the traditional functions of vedic teaching, conducting yagnas, promoting spirituality
(2)Lack of adequate community support and goodwill from society though Brhamins have been very peaceful, led honest lives of integrity, and led the society in many fronts.Its sad that due to effective propaganda by vote-bank focused politicians some people mistakenly hate brahmins for nothing !! :( )
(3)Government of India/States discouraging Brahmin community welfare through their reservation policies in name of 'Social Justice'.
In this situation, the youth of Brahmin community require good role models from our community and guidance on how to effectively manage problems not only in day-to-day life but also lead and again raise the noble brahmin community to the forefront again(in legitimate and dharmic ways).
We need to effectively make use of Internet and modern social media to help the poor, educate and promote entrepreneurial spirit(stand on own legs) in our brahmin community.
Its time to forget differences(iyer/iyengar, vadama/vathima, north-indian/south-indian) and unite all brahmins in the spirit of a true Brahmin (to be the representative of Dharma and the Supreme Brahman on earth)

Kerala Brahmin said...

Thanks for your comment. In a small way I do contribute to such activities. I feel strongly that The Guru Peetams of Iyers and Iyengars should join together and work for the
Upliftment of Brahminic ideals.

Saptha said...

An informative blog for all the new generations. Thanks for your efforts. Please keep up the good work.
Thanks & regards
Saptharishi Suresh

SOFTTRADER said...

It is a pity that Brahmins with their higher average intelligence have become pawns in the Indian system because of what can be called politely as cowardice and self centric interest of individual brahmins. Please read below my comments to The Hindu on an abusive comment on Brahmins by one Sudipto Mondal. It is a shame that he would get away with it.
_______________
With reference to the article in "The Hindu" dated Sunday, July 8, 2012, Bangalore Edition, titled "India's IT powerhouse is mired in social justice".

While there is social prejudice in rental or sale of properties, Sudipto Mondal's statement stating that if somebody advertised for "Brahmins only" instead of "Vegetarians only" he can be booked under IPC and SC/ST act shows how ill informed Sudipto is. First of all such an intimidating statement is probably the basic reason for bias against some sections of society by some other sections of society. It is pitiable that Sudipto is trying to intimidate Brahmins with his article.
The act of renting a premise is the owner's choice unless his property is stuck with rent control act. So his choice of tenant can be anything and beyond the scope of any IPC. There is no reservation for SC/ST in private rental or sale of properties.
Such a reprehensible statement from Mr Mondal will only alienate more sections of society against one another. I am surprised "The Hindu" has allowed such a material to be published. I am sure it can be treated as an intimidation against Brahmins and can be taken to court. It would be appropriate for "The Hindu" to apologise to readers for this misinformation and for allowing publication of such statements which spreads communal hatred.
------------

As a community if we continue to be silent a time will come when someone will say your daughter is reserved and one out of 4 daughters will have to marry an SC/ST and 2 to OBCs and only one can marry by general merit.

Just my 2cents view.

Anonymous said...

good post

sankar said...

sir i am a tamil brahmin....i want to know whether i can marry my father's elder sister's son's daughter......waitng for your reply and thanks in advance

P.R, Ramachander said...

You can definitely marry her . There are no prohibitions about it.

sankar said...

thank you sir..... i have searched many sites and everyone is telline me that you cant do that......sir you dont know how much confidence you gave me with your word.... i really appreciate that......

Subhadra said...

I am a tamil Brahmin by birth. But still I understand the purpose and cause for the reservation system. For generations Brahmin community has been reigning major posts everywhere from Politics to education. We didn't allow other communities to flourish, instead we were part of the integral system that advocated untouchability and other social crimes. Now is the time to provide social justice, by paving way and helping in the upliftment of other communities.
If one cannot understandf the reservation system in a rational way of thinking, then nothing can change people's preconditioned notions

Anonymous said...

Same old story told for years together, recited, and scripted now entered into blogs.
Natural justice only kept reservations.
Speech and script is your strength.
Nature gives less priority to speech than deeds.

Anonymous said...

Sir, I would like to add the name of Mahavidwan R.Raghava IYENGAR, a great tamil/ Sanskrit scholar of 20 th century [SEE Wiki]. He was sethu samasthana vidwan under three setupathis of Ramnad and first research head of Tamil dept of Annamalai university. He was the founder editor of Tamil res. Jl Sentamil of Madurai Tamil sangam.He wrote erudite commentaries on many sangam works . Prof. R.Vijayaraghavan

KOWNDINYA said...

Dear Sir I am a Tamil Smaarta (IYER) Brahmin. I read somewhere on the net that all Palakkad Iyers are Brihatcharanams. Is it true? Why were they looked down upon by the Namboodiris? Both Tamil Chozhiya Brahmins & Namboodiris used to have POORVA SHIKHA (Munkudumi) & both used to study the Jaimineeya or Thalavakara Shakha of Samaveda whereas all the other brahmins used to study the KAUTHUMA SHAKHA. Do these two groups have common origin? What is your opinion about the contention of some people that Namboodiris are JEWS LIKE THE CHITPAAVANS OF MAHARASHTRA?
Namaskaram. Kowndinya

P.R. Ramachander said...

It is not true that all Palakkad eyers are Brihacharanams. I belong to Palakkad and in our village there areVadamas, Brahacharanam, Vadhyamas w=and Ashta Sahasrams, Chozhiyas are Brahmins who came first to Tamil Nadu and studied Agamas instead of Vedas and other Brahmins considered them inferior because of that. The Namboodiris on the other hand are experts in Thanthra Sastra and are not similar to Chozhiya Brahmins ,WE have 8-9 Chozhiya villages in Palakkad.CHembai Vaidhyanatha BHagwathar is one of them. Namboodiris have entirely different acharams .Only the eldest son marries a Nambudiri Girl. All othe Namboodiri sons marry Nairs, Varriars , Kshatriyas etc, THey are suppose to have 64 Acharams like this.Adhi Sankara was a Numboodiri.I too am a Kowndinya like you.

P.R. Ramachander said...

One king committed a big sin.Namboodiris told him that there is no pariharam for that .Some Tanjore Brahmins and did the Pariharam.,THat king gave those Brahmins from Tanjore several Palakkad villages as gift ,Also Tamil Brahmins follow worship base on Manthras and Namboodiris do it based on Thanthra,This may be the reason for difference of opinion between these two Brahmins.

RT SUNDARAM said...

So exhaustively written. I am all praise. :)

Sir, are you in the process of getting published? I am sure literature of this kind is of great requirement today.

IYER UNITY said...

Reasons behind differences between Namboothiris and Iyers, as I guess after a deep study.
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1) Political borders: Namboothiris were strongly allied with the Chera Kings initially. But, Iyers were politically divided under Pandyas, Cholas and Pallavas. Result was political mistrust and suspicion!!!! I think the same happened everywhere when different non-Sanskrit speaking vernacular-happy Kings in the south competed with each other, and the local brahmins had always forced to prove their loyalty by 100% assimilating into the local language, culture etc, hence, many sub-castes based on local languages came into exist, however, at the cost of Sanskrit!!!!! Later, Delhi Sultans and Mughals expanded into Tamil speaking regions. But, Kerala's Kingdoms, like Travancore, Cochin and Zamorin's Malabar etc were independant as local Arabs and Malabari Muslims having mixed Arab ancestry always prevented the Delhi Sultans through diplomacy from expanding into Kerala as Calicut port was used by Arabs for trade. The spice trade was vital for Arab economy. They had exclusive trade rights in Kerala and they also respected local Kings who behaved well. On the other hand, the North Indian Muslim kings had only one option, and that was to respect what these Arabs say since Arabs, as being more original Muslims, were considered superior when taking decisions on their religious matters etc. So, it was a compromise!!! However, brahmins and all Hindus outside Kerala was mistrusted by Arabs, and as a result, Namboodiris didn't even want to travel outside Kerala!!! Nambudiris totally cut off themselves from all outsiders on all matters etc etc since they feared both the Arabs as well as Delhi Sultans, Mughals etc etc and always tried to be "loyal" to their "protecting masters"!!!!!!!

IYER UNITY said...

1) Continued: Later, when the Christian Portuguese came, Arabs stopped protecting Kerala Kings & Namboothiris from Delhi Sultans and at this point starts the real game, around this time more Iyers migrated into Kerala and got support once again from Kerala Kings!!!!!!!! However, Dutch(Netherlands) came, different Kerala Kings like Zamorin, Cochin, Venad etc traded with different European nations who were rivals to each other at that time, again royal pressure came, Namboothiris cut themselves off from others!!!!! Then, Marthanda Varma came, Travancore Vs Cochin + Dutch war, Travancore won supported by Dalawa Iyer, so....Namboothiris lost many territories to Travancore, so...the political hatred is natural!!!!!At this point of history, Iyers became master politicians and protected Travancore and Cochin from falling to foreign powers. Later, when British came after Tipu, Malabar helplessly became part of Madras state after the young Zamorin prince violently rejected a treaty with the British like one similar to that of what Nepal, Hyderabad, Mysore, Baroda or Travancore did, the advisor Swaminatha Bhattar from Palakkad was even stabbed by the prince under some Namboothiri influence and only the British doctors who came in time saved the Tamil Brahmin adviser's life!!!!!! This poor man is often vilified even by contemporary Malayalis as pro-British!!! However, if his advice was accepted, Malabar would have remained semi-independent!!! After all, how Malabar was protected from Delhi Sultans by Arab traders???? Treaty and Jizya(Muslim tax), right???? So, what was wrong with Iyer's advice??? And later many advocates, judges etc in Malabar were Tamil Brahmins, Namboothiris never got an opportunity in the modern education till the half of the 20th century!!!! Iyers having modern education had salary, cars etc....and Namboothiris were walking with Olakkuda!!!!! Then came C. P. Ramaswami Iyer in the south(Travancore) and EMS Nambudiri in the north(Malabar)!!!!! C. P. had a very modern and liberal outlook!!! He wanted a free economy and industrial output, he was a master economist and a big judicial reformer. Travancore started to develop very fast!!!! Then came Temple entry proclaimation in Travancore!!! The conservative Namboothiris never wanted other so-called untouchable castes in their temples!!!! So, when the Dewaswom boards were formed, they kept away even poor Iyers(i.e. modern education) from being archakas deliberately so as to continue their orthodoxy!!! Instead Tulu brahmins were given temple archaka jobs!!!!

IYER UNITY said...

1) Continued : Then, Iyers were English school teachers and College Proffessors!!!! This alarmed the communists since this was a big obstacle for them to promote their funny out dated agenda. That's why, to kick out the "liberal Iyers" who supported temple entry proclamation as well as a "Modern economy & Law and order", the Marxists brought "much more liberal" EMS Namboothiri to challenge C P Rama Swami Iyer using "Paradesi brahmin card" as well as "Capitalist issue"!!!! So, Namboothiris got "Ore kallile Rendu Maangaai", and for the time being, during 30's, 40's, 50's etc, most temples in Cochin & Malabar region remained still closed for so-called untouchable castes as C. P. was so much popular after the temple entry decision!!!! Many Namboothiris were happy to oppose C. P. for this reason alone!!!!! However, EMS was too much into politics and he did things in a funny way, he played "religious minority card", gave Muslim majority "Malappuram district" dividing Palakkad district, then land re-distribution etc etc things those days were really funny!!!!!!!!!! The thing they wanted to simply prove that "Malabar Namboothiris are more liberal and modern than Travancore Iyers"!!!!!!!!!! So, even many local Iyers wanted to be "more liberal" and C. P. was finally kicked out by one local Iyer!!!! And, after this, the local politicians mostly dumped Iyers and started playing vote bank politics!!!!!!! In Kerala, Iyers are a forgotten folks today and descendants of most of them are settled outside Kerala and no longer keeps any ties with Kerala politics!!!!!

IYER UNITY said...

2) Sectarian differences: And, when Namboothiris of North Kerala(Malabar) rejected Adi Shankara, surprisingly, the Chera King respected Adi Shankara and even started the "Kolla Varsham" to respect the great Guru, (Kollam era i.e. Malayalam Calender) a new calender!!!! This was around 825 A.D. , shortly after Adi Shankara's Samadhi as per the Sringeri version. So, the Adi Shankara's philosophy was forced upon Namboothiris by the King and the Saint's desciples, and later four Mutts were opened in Thrissur to create Sanyasis, however, Nambudiris bargained and only their community members were allowed to be their Acharyas. However, they respect Sringeri and Kanchi Acharyas when they visit Kerala. But, the other orthodox "Thanthri families" and "Aadyan families" have never openly recognized Adi Shankara as well as his traditions and as opposed to it even today as much as Madhwas, Ramanujas, other non-Advaita Mutts etc. Their first and last allegience is to Tantra alone, just like Bengali, Assamese, Nepalis, Aghoris etc...so....their stand is philosophical, and nothing to do with any Tamil/Malayalam language differences. Yes, in many parts of India, Tantric sex(Sex with non-brahmin women) was a reality, and after all, what was the misuse of "Devadasi system"???? I think here genuine Mutts and Tantrik Archakas disputed!!!! Naturally, Iyers followed Sanyasis, and not these Archakas and Devadasis!!!! Split and hatred was natural!!!!

IYER UNITY said...

3) The rest of the things are just gossips!!!!! Like what Kamal did in Maichael, Madan, Kamarajan!!! Is Mr.Kamal Haasan a woman just because he did the role in Avvai Shanmugi???? I think the answer is "NO". In the same way, Palakkad Iyers are not at all like the "cooked-up-role" of Kamal from the Michael Madan Kamarajan stuff!!! Palakkad Iyers are best politicians and tough against corruption!!!! They don't fear anybody when saying truth!!!! That shocks many, am I right Sir???

Many Namboothiris are good human beings, like Poonthanam, a great Krishna devotees, and what I said is not to offend anybody, just some political criticism and that's a democratic right, am I right Sir?

arunkrishna kannambadi said...

sir
i just read your article very much informative i was searching our kula deivam from our athreya gothra and family surname kannabadi
I am kannambadi varadachari arunkrishna
My father name kannambadi varadachari
Belongs to vadakalai iyengar athreya gothram
I AM SEARCHING FOR MY KULADEIVAM
any details advice would be highly appreciated and helpful to me
arunkrishna

P.R. Ramachander said...

There are no methods to find out our Kula DEivam. Some astrologers who know "Prasna" can help yoou.

anitha iyer said...

Sir just read your article.
Can you tell any details about mukani sub sect of brahmins

P.R. Ramachander said...

MUkhani sub sect of Brahmins are associated with THiruchendur Temple of LOrd Subrahmanya. It seems during one invasfion of the temple they ran away and hid in their village MUkhani. Later it was decided to give responsibility of Pooja to Pothis(Tulu Brahmans of Karnataka) and Mukhani brahmins are even today seen to serve the priests of the temple. You can see them in and around Trivandrum, Thirunelveli and ofcourse Thiruchendur.

poornimaravi said...

good post .lot of informations.thank you very much for this blog.

poornimaravi said...

good post. thank you very much for this informative blog

ram kumar said...

Ramkumar vasudevan,nice blog. I like to post great work done by my grand father sangu.s.SUBRAMANIAN who was part of indian freedom movement participated in several activities like banning liquor etc..he was close associate to c.subramanian and chief minister kamaraj. He was editor in sudhesa mithran and after its ban by englishers he started SANGU, that is how he got his name infront. After Independence he doesn't want to enter into politics so tok the path of drama and bakthi. He is one of the pillars named in starting gemini cinemas. Dialogue writter for great movie chandralekha etc. He also did lot of work in bakthi, the eminent work is to trnaslate ashtapathi in tamil etc. Since this blog identified various stage of brahmin's involvement and I see many co-relation to my grand father's interest and life.

Krishnamurthy Gurumurthy said...

very interesting sir-but recently i read an article-that dnas were tested and they found that local brahmins if tamilnadu are the the same and matching with that of dravidians in tamilnadu especilly and its only politicians here who manipulated the facts to their conveniences-yes nobody came from khyber canal-all from here only-and so also the converts to other religions were originally hindus decades-centuries back

Marcus Dive said...

This is not true. They are selfish, treat other people as inferiors. They don't eat anything in others caste peoples house. When they give some thing to eat in their homes to other people they immediately wash plates as though the guests are diseased people.

Basky said...

Dear Sir,
You have given lot of useful information. I want to know about the migration of prathama sakha Brahmins or Sukla yajur vedis to tamilnadu.

Basky said...

Very useful info sir. Can we know about the migration of sukla yajur vedis to tamilnadu.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me about the location of Milagasur mentioned here,one of the eafk
ly settlement

Anonymous said...

sir,
you said aadi shankarar was a
nampoothiri . there is difference of opinion as nampoothiris came to kerala from north india in the end of 9'th a.d accoto most famous historian circa.During those days of aadi shankaracharaya in 8,thA.D. the parashurama kshetra was having only rigveda smartha tulu brahmins who had sthaneekam/stahlatthar post,hence called as sthanika tulu brahmins.most probable aadi shankara was one of this community

Anonymous said...

sir ,
As i said parashu rama kshetra was having only rigveda smartha sthaneekam tulu brahmins , who had sthaneekam /sthalatthar /sthanadhipathyam post in temples as vamsha paramparya and doing shroutha yagas .this can be vouched by epigraphs STHANIKAS AND THEIR HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE by B.A.Saletore. Please download it from archive.org.These people are the oldest recorded brahmins of south india right from 300 B.C.They can be corelated to brahncharanam Iyers and vadama iyers of tamilnadu.But these people came are south indians and not like vadamas who came from north.

Anonymous said...

sir,
The pandya rajas had their base and headquarters in koondapura/barkur in tulunadu and the rules still followed are his orders and even cholas and pallavas and cheras had their rule over there here. Tulu is nothing but old unrefined tamil also called as crude tamil/tiglari tamil or(pala)Old type of Tamil.So rigveda smartha sthaneekam tulu brahmins are the oldest original tamil brahmins.

Anonymous said...

Sir
Genetics tests conducted on other brahmins of tulu nadu who came from north prove that they have genetic intermixture with other local castes of south dravidians as mentioned by krishnamoothy gurumoorthy.

Anonymous said...

Sir
Pothis are not original tulunadu brahmins but they came from north india.and are called as kota and kooteshwara brahmins as they settled in those villages of tulunadu

Anonymous said...

IYERUNITY SIR,
please read the history of nampoothiris properly from circas history. they came in the end of 9'th A,D. there are still doubts as to whether aadi shankarar is nampoothiri or rigveda smartha tulu brahmins who had sthaneekam -posts in temples and hence called Sthanika tulu brahmins. They are the real tulu brahmins as they are present in tulu nadu right from the begining i.e 300B.C.Others brahmins like madhva shivalli/ pothis (koota /kootehwara)/ nampoothiri/havikas/ sakalapuri havikas/chitpavanas /karadis/deshastas came from north india in 9-11'th A.D .and can't be conidered as tulu brahmins as they can also talk tulu.Tulu brahmin means a brahmin present in tulu nadu right from the begining.Tomorrow if an iyer comes and settles in tulu nadu and learns tulu can he be considered as tulu brahmin??.Only rigveda smartha sthanika tulu brahmins are original tulu brahmins. Ref--STHANIKAS AND THEIR HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE. By B.A. Saletore downloadable from archive.org