Article written by Webmaster Pasupathi K Pillai, 18 June 2005
Today I received a copy of "Nanjil Vellalar Vazhkai" by Nanjil Nadan [SEE THE BOOK ]
Thanks to a chance friend on net, Mr. Ramalingam, who kindly sent me the book.
I finished the book in just 4 hours.
It is a book on the life and times of the Unique Kanyakumari District Nanjil Vellalar Pillai who are Non vegetarians, landowners, panniyars around that area.
They had 3 distinct separate groups - Marumakkal Thayam, Makkal vazhi, and the Saiva Vellala Pillai.
I belong to the Saivaite group.
The marumakkal and makkal vazhi is broadly discussed in this book.
Eventhough the Vellalars life, culture is more or less same across all this small distinctions.
When I read through the lines, I was overtaken by the sad fact that today many of the Vellalars are not in good times.
They are economically weak, poor, landless, upper class people only on the paper.
Kavimani Desika Vinyagam Pillai [from Putheri in KK dt.] wrote in 1917 "Marumakkal Vazhi Manmiyam"
Today this Nanjil man from Veera Narayanam [KK Dt] wrote this second manmiyam.
He agrees about the bad deeds done by Landowners of those times, "the burning sambavar [parayar] kudisaigal", the sexual exploitation, the untouchability etc. etc.
Even in Tuticorin Vaditheru, till recent times [1970's] I saw an arch and a central stone and a black stone culvert telling people of untouchable caste should not enter this area. Vaditheru remained a domian of Forward caste people till recent times.
Total Vaditheru was full of Vellalakkudi.
Wherever a Vellala goes, he tries to live within his own communities. he tries to avoid other low castes, at the most he may mingle with the
brahmins or othe equal high castes.
Now the same vaditheru is full of mixed castes, notedly the Fernando christians, who gave large money to buy such beautful old time houses with its rich old history.
That brings out some animosity from other castes immediately like the brahmins who are also suffering from such exclusivity and isolation.
So, in this New Era of Post Independence and Caste Conglomeration, the Brahmins and the Vellalas are the worst affected economically socially and politically.
Now the Political Power is with the Majority MBC and OBCs.
The Reservation Policy affected the two upper castes badly.
There should be a Reservation Policy based on Economical freedom.
OK, that is a matter for life to debate.
What are the other points which attracted me in this book?.
The various unique culinary culture of the Vellalas.
Eriseri, Ulandansoru, Mundharikoththu, Susian, Kzhiyadaikai, Kokkatta, Poivizhangai, Poriurundai...
The various readymade medicines of the Vellala homes..
muttaippaththu, kurunai kanchi, thaippal for sore eyes, kaichiya nalla ennai with red chilli for ears, nallennai kuliyal ...
The various small gods of the Vellalas.
Avvayaramman,Muppidathi, Mutharamman, Soolai Pidari, Santhana mari, Sudalai madan, Sastha, Aiyappan, Shiva, Murugan...
The unique Vellala- Nanjil Nattu Vellala style of Tamil speech -mostly bordering Kerala.
Ela = to call amma
Asaththu poyi = forgot
KK dt. rice varietis
Vasarumindan, Veeramudan, Aanaikomban, aruvang kuruva, muttai kuruva, maikuruva, seeraka samba, punuhu samba, poombalai, thattravellai, seetha boham, panagkuruva, nenthirappalii, kattich samba, kalmanalvari, vallarakkan, kichili samba =18 types.
So these things are still followed, still remains..
OK, come to today's realities, i see the only emancipation for the Vellala community is by mixing with less socially fortunate people.
I saw lot of inter marriages going on in bramin caste to escape the FC stamp.
The same is a possibility and acceptable thing for Vellalas also.
In our large extended family there are many examples of inter marriages.. with SC, with Moopanar, with Nadar.
So I think it is a welcome change, if you are ready to change.
But if you are proud of your caste history, and casteist thinking, then i am sorry, the future is not so good.
Because in Tamilnadu there are lots of castes putting surname as "Pillais".
Within them lot of divisions, no unity.
As our site describes the various sects of Pillai, I suspect the PILLAI is not a caste name in OLD TAMILNADU.
The PILLAI is a common surname indicating most of the socially upgraded people, from the HARAPPAN times.
In Harappa they called Murugu Pillai [Lord Murugan], Anir Pillai [the squirrel] etc.
Even now in Kerala, a Post Man is called as "Anchal Pillai".
In Tamilnadu till recent times the Accountant is called "Kanakku Pillai"
So, any trade, if it becomes a respected trade, automatically emanicapated as a PILLAI sub caste.
Even there are VELALARs vs. VELLALARS.
The VELALARS are kuyavargal.
ILLATHU PILLAI are the house makers - the erstwhile building contractors -once upon a time the homes are made of Mansuvar - Sand.
So These many diiferent kinds of PILLAIs are all part of TAMILANDU, TAMILIANS and they never intermarry, they never accept them as one.
All have different types of Thali, different food styles, different cultures.
So it is by far impossible to unite them as a whole.
So if you are a FC Pillai, ready to inter marry with a Sozhiya Pillai or Illatthu Pillai or Koyil Pillai or Isai Vellala or Tuluva Pillai or any other Pillai....
Because only the PILLAI surname is same.
MODE OF LIVING is different.
Then it is equally same for you to marry with a NADAR or MOOPANAR or SC/ST.
I say all SAIVA PILLAIs and other FC PILLAIs, please change, accept the new life, accept other castes.
This is a very simple shortcut to your social stability.
Some people may ask what about Our Culture? what about our Tradition?... Ofcourse they have to change too.
They can change for the better.
DK party will be the happiest when the see such social change occur, because for this only Periar waited till this day.
But to follow Periar's Atheism and other Anti God theories will be bad for all the people of Tamilnadu.
Because in India is Spiritually rich nation.
Even other countries try to follow us. India has produced a lot of Spirtual Science products like YOGA.
HOROSCOPE, SIDDHA MEDICINE, AYUR VEDHA, TELEPATHY, KOODU VITTU KOODU PAITHAL, VARMA KALAI, RASAVATHAM and many other things are to follow and breath take the WESTERN NATIONS, very soon.
So MISSING THOSE THINGS will be a costly affair and we will lose our Identity.
So, my immediate concern is, leave the caste ideologies, accept all people as TAMILIANS, then we can do wonders.
Like VOC, Ma.Po.Se, Ki.Aa.Pe, N.S.K, Kundrakkudi, Namakkal Kavingyar, Dr. Jeevanandham did.
People may be there to pull down you, But if you are hardworking and earnestly helping the PEOPLE OF TAMILNADU, you can raise to the top.
The FC Vellalas are cribbing that they supported the DK Party from Kudi Arasu to Viduthalai times of Periar, Veeramani, but they got nothing in return.
I remember my father say, that my grandpa was an ATHEIST MAN in Periar times, he bought KUDI ARASU, he destroyed 400 COCONUT TREEs in his THOPPU when GANDHI and PERIAR told to demonstrate against alcoholism.
See the DMK is ruled by a Isai Vellala [Karunanidhi]. The ADMK ruled by again a VELLALA NAIR [MGR].
But they never helped the FC VELLALAs, not because of their IDEOLOGY, but because of their FEAR of the KNOWLEDGE of the FC VELLALAs and HATE of the FC people, who once ruled them, once isolated them as lower people.
Even Kalaingayr Karunanidhi once sarcastly told in Tanjore DMK Mahanadu, the FC Pillais are "Poonool Podatha Parpanargal"
The same Thamil Inath Thaliavar bowed to Indira Gandhi and accepted her verdict of making new dams in Karnataka thereby causuing lots of social degradation of the KAVERI FC VELLALA PILLAIs and KARKARTHARs and BRAHMINS who were the land owners across the KAVERI BELT.
So, the ways are ...
1. Intermarry heavily with other PILLAI OBC/MBC castes -not blindly but with caution and study reg. suitabilty economically.
2. Intermarry with SC/ST, NADAR, MOOPANAR etc.-not blindly but with caution and study reg. suitabilty economically.
3. Give full attention to studies of your children and become a decent knowledge worker. Today We see lots of SOFTWARE, HARDWARE fields are in control by PILLAI people. They can do better as academicians, scientists, bankers,lawyers.
4. Avoid Businesses. If you are so much interested, then follow the successful COLOMBO VELLALA models, follow the successful RMKV, DA texiles as exapmles.
5. Never boast of your past, work for today, laurels will reach you.
6. Future is still bright if you are ready to leave the old baggage.
Time to Time I will write to you more, I hope you are all ready to hear me.
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