Kanakammal - Ninavil NinRavai: Tamizh reminiscences: Once during Golden Jubilee celebrations time, [completion of 50 years of advent of Sri Bhagavan to Tiruvannamalai], devotees bought a table fan and fixed it on a stool, near Sri Bhagavan's seat. Though September, it was a long summer and was quite hot. Sri Bhagavan was sitting on a stone sofa inside the thatched shed called Jubilee Hall. Sri Bhagavan after His return from stroll, saw the table fan and like a child asked how it is to be put on, how it is to be put off, how it should be made to rotate from one end to another etc. After a few minutes of running, the fan started making terrible sounds.

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They believed that it was not easy to impose upon the people by an individual s work. This system must have prevailed before the time of Manu on the basis of other factors like hereditary occupation and amalgamation of different races of people in search of new professions, etc.

According to the racial theory, caste system was the outcome of the practice of the Aryan race. As per the occupational theory, caste was formed on the basis of the professions performed by the people.

The religious theory states that Hindu religion was responsible for the formation of caste institution. The followers of one particular deity considered themselves as descendants of the same clan. The theory of cultural contact says that amalgamation of the Aryans and the Dravidian 1 B. They include hereditary occupations and living in the form of groups. Aryan s efforts to maintain their superior status and racial superiority, various cultures, economic and administrative measures of the rulers of different dynasties.

There are innumerable gradations in the caste institution. It is not easy to change one s own caste, because, it was subjected to the above mentioned characteristic features. Usually, the so called low caste people paid reverence to the upper castes of the society.

Thus, the caste system stood for the communal representation. Hutton, the social analys, dismisses the idea that castes appeared on the basis of birth. This is the 3 G. The people of the Sangam Age belonging to different groups had different modes of living and occupations in relation to the topographical five-fold divisions of their lands namely Kurinji, Mullai, Marudam, Neithal and Palai called Tinais lands.

Inter-marriage system, though was in practice, was strongly opposed. In general, people could migrate to other regions and take new occupations. It was generally believed that the institution of castes 7 P. Subramania Mudaliar, Ramayana Ullurai. Smith, op. It mentions a system akin to caste system but not related to the Aryan four-fold system. Vanikar or Vaisiyas Merchant and Vellalar Agriculturists.

In fact, there were several other groups included under the Aryan sub-division of the Sudras. The Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas were considered by Tolkappiyar author of Tolkappiam as Dvijas and as such were entitled to wear the sacred thread. On the other hand, no reference is found in any of the Sangam works that 11 G. Hardgrave Jr. Besides, several Brahmins took to secular occupations. The most prominent examples Nakkirar court poet of Pandiya Kingdom and Velapparapan who earned their livelihood by carving Canch-shells into bracelets.

In short, the social division was geographical and horizontal and not hierarchical and vertical. The practice of Brahmins residing in separate quarters had started as early as the Sangam Age. The quarters, where the Brahmins lived were known as Parpanachcheri. In certain villages, there were streets where Brahmins alone resided. The Sangam works like Kuruntogai and Perumpanarruppadai speak about the settlements of the Brahmins.

Some of the villages where only the Brahmins lived were called Brahmadeyas, Chadurvedimangalam, Parpanachcheri and their streets were called Agraharas. It is significant that there were no separate quarters or suburbs exclusively set apart for the Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Vellalas. The six fold 18 functions of the Brahmins were studying and teaching Vedas, performing sacrifices, giving and receiving alms. Tolkappiyar equates the Kshatriyas with kings. The 17 K. Veeramani, Periyar Tamil , Kalanjiyam, Vol.

XIV, No. II, No. Besides, castes did not always stick on to their traditional occupation. Exogamy too was in existence. Though warfare was the traditional avocation of the Kshatriyas, Tolkappiyar lays down different prescriptions at various places of his work. In one place he states that the weapons of war can be handled by the Kshatriyas as well as the Vaisyas; in another context he says that the Vellalas too, if ordered by kings, were entitled to use weapons of war.

The Kshatriyas married the women of the Velir or higher Vellala caste. Again, Tolkappiyar holds that Brahmins too could become kings at times. The ideas on superiority of the basis of caste had appeared as early as in the Sangam age. Tolkappiyar speaks of the Uyarndor the superior class and the pinnor the lower or the backward class.

It may be added that the Vellalas, who were generally Pinnor in relation to other communities, were themselves subdivided into superior and inferior sections. The superiors were the landowners, and it is important to remember in this connection that the superior Vellalas enjoyed just encomiums with the Arasar king , and a few these Vellalas were actually chieftains ruling certain parts of Tamil Nadu.

Purananuru one of the Sangam literature also refers to the four castes as Verrumai Terinta Narpaeullum. Besides the four groups mentioned in Tolkappiam, there were various other social groups that performed fine arts. They led a common life having common customs. On the basis of their occupations, they lived in groups. The term Saathi in the poetical compositions convey the divisions in the society. It functioned as a type of a trade union and was eminently suited for the preservation and transmission of the pattern of skill, knowledge and behaviour by constituting the culture of a particular group.

Subramnai Iyer, op. Tamilvel and S. Meyyappan, ed. Neethinull Tamil , Chennai, , p. They were welcomed settled in different villages and were given grants of lands and gifts. Numerous temples were erected. The temples became the citadels of the orthodox caste system and for the supremacy of the Brahmins, hierarchy.

In the religious and social spheres the supremacy of the Brahmins was established. The Kasakudi plates of Nadivarama Pallavan explain the significance of observing the principles of Varunashrama-Dharma by all castes. Under the imperial Cholas, the social disparities which had approved in the earlier epoch of the Pallavas, continued in an accentuated form. Temples, rituals and ceremonies also increased in number. Caste regulations in respect of temples became vigorous. So new Brahmadeyas, Ghatikas Schools and Vedic centers of learning increased in number.

They promoted the study of the Vedas and of Sanskrit. The same social setup continued in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when the Vijayanagara Empire was expanded to Tamil Nadu. Several new castes 25 Dipankar, Gupta ed.

New castes like Nayakkar, Reddis and Devangas Chakkiliyas permanently settled down in Tamil Nadu and often they became proficient in Tamil.

They spoke their mother tongue, Telugu at home. Another peculiar aspect of the caste system which was prevalent in Tamil Nadu from the eleventh century to the beginning of eighteenth century was that of the Valangai Right Hand and Idangai Left Hand castes as gleaned from a number of inscriptions.

The genesis of the Right Hand and Left Hand castes was a mystery. According to Gustav Oppert, the term Right Hand and Left Hand as applied to caste in Tamil Nadu, marked the distinction of the agricultural classes on the one hand and the artisans on the other. Some other scholars opined that the old regiments of the Cholas were known as the right hand divisions and the new one was the left hand.

Hutton and various legends have attempted to explain their origin. It is learnt that in the Chola army there were some sections known as Valangai Palam 26 K.. Nilakanta Shastri, The colas, Madras, , pp N. Subramanian, Sangam Polity, Madurai, , pp K. Huttoh, op. The Valangai and Idangai consisted of 98 sub-castes each. How did this exact number arise is also not known. Slater, in his book entitled Some Villages in South India stated that the caste system of the north influenced the south where, it attained its full and greatest development.

I, No S. Manickam, op. Shjesha Iyengar, op. D , Vol. II, Neyoor, , p. The Nayanmars and Alvars have already influenced the Tamil society in the social and cultural spheres, with their devotional songs. They denounced the Hindu caste system. They adopted the liberal attitudes towards the caste institution. Cooked food of the low class was taken by the Brahmins. The low class people were given certain privileges.

They served in the temples by offering flowers, taking water, etc.


History Notes

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They believed that it was not easy to impose upon the people by an individual s work. This system must have prevailed before the time of Manu on the basis of other factors like hereditary occupation and amalgamation of different races of people in search of new professions, etc. According to the racial theory, caste system was the outcome of the practice of the Aryan race. As per the occupational theory, caste was formed on the basis of the professions performed by the people.



Tiruvachakam - Part I - by Robert Butler and others.. Four chapters from this work, 58 to 61, are devoted to the story of Manikkavachagar. Because of that peopl;e used to him Vadavurar. He was put to school very early. He read all the religious books, absorbed the lessons therein, and became noted for his devotion to Siva, also his kindness to living beings. Having heard about him, the Pandya King sent for him and made him his prime minister and conferred on him the title Thennavan Brahmarayan, i. Kigabei Perhaps when a child he bankei zen to have a sinful idea, acted upon it, and let the habit bankei zen of itself.

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