On Kiriyathil Nairs and Nair Aristocracy

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The position of Nairs in the caste and ruling structures of medieval Kerala is a very peculiar one, and this resulted in so many anthropological studies into it. Volumes have been written by people who understood it in parts, for decoding the structure and its peculiarities is not easy. I don’t claim to know even parts of it, but I thought I will cover a little bit of my gatherings on the specific aspects of Kiriyam and Kiriyathil nairs here and in particular, as related to Malabar, not Travancore.

William Logan (1841-1914)

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The author of The Malabar Manual and a friend of Malabar

There are many Scotsmen, Irish and Englishmen who have spent long tenures in India, and some have spent their entire adult lifetimes in India but have done little. Logan Sayipp as he was known in Calicut spent only a few years but left a huge mark, for unlike many others who followed, he loved the land (and the people) which he was sent to administer. This man of Scottish farming stock went on to write what we still consider as source book on Malabar and his history, the Malabar manual. Let’s now try to get to know the man behind it all, his life and times.