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On Kiriyathil Nairs and Nair Aristocracy

Posted by Maddy Labels:


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.


During wedding planning in families which attach much importance to caste, an alliance is carefully checked to see what caste classification the prospective bride or groom belongs to. If they are both Nair’s they check to see what kind of a Nair the other is. So now that explains that there are different types of Nairs. It is a subject by itself which I will not get into, but briefly, there are quite a few and decided by pedigree as well as profession, social status and also positions granted by a sovereign in those old times. Some say there are close to 64 or so of such sub classifications. Examples are Illathu, Swaroopathu, Pattola, Maran, Idachery Nairs, Odathu, Athikurichikal, Chembukottikal, Chalia Nairs, Kalamkotti Nair, Pallichal Nairs, Veluthedathu Nairs, Vilakkithala Nairs and so on and so forth. Whatever said and done, the top position of differing tables created in Malabar, Cochin and Travancore regions are held by the Kiriyathil Nair. So what is a Kiriyath Nair supposed to be?

Note first of all that Kiriyam as terminology is not exlusive to Nairs. It is a term used by many other communities such as the Thiyyas, Kanakkans, Kurups and so on. Kiriyam can actually be said to mean clan. Illam as a family home or homestead is also not exclusive to Nambuthiris (Kulam is another nonexclusive term). The normal definition, dating back to Fawcett goes thus - The Kiriyattil, or Kiriyam, said to be derived from the Sanskrit word graham, a house (a doubtful derivation) is the highest of all the clans in South Malabar, and is supposed to comprise or correspond with the group of clans just named of North Malabar. In the old days every Nair chief had his Charnavar, or adherents. The Purattu Charna are the outside adherents, or the fighters, and so on, and the Akattu Charna are inside adherents, clerks and domestics. The clan from which the former were drawn is superior to the latter.

What brings these Kiriyathils Nairs to a primary position is the fact that they were not obliged to serve upper caste Namboothiris or the ruling Kshatriaya families (The Illath Nair or Illakar on the other hand served in Nambuthiri homes while the svarupakkar served the royal households e.g. Kolathiri, Perumbadappu etc). The Kiriyathil nairs tended to matters of their houses or estates, and were allowed to collect taxes on land holdings of Sthanis whom they were aligned to. Only the Kiriyam Nair was allowed to wear bracelets on both arms and they were also not classified as Sudra Nairs (not in the eyes of the Namboothiris though) whereas all other Nair classifications were.

Kanippayur provides two comparisons to explain the difference, firstly comparing the Tripunithara Rajas and the Kodungallur Chazhur kovilakom. Both were Kshatriya families in principle but the former were higher in social status, being the ruling elite. The males the royal house are called Thambrakkal whereas the males of Chazur are Thambakkal. The females are Thambrattimar and Thambattimar respectively. Similarly the Zamorins (Samoothirimaar) and other Eradi families are of the same category but the former are Rajas and their home, Kovilakoms. The Zamorin can sit and eat with a Namboothiri, but the Eradi could not.

In the old times, the land was divided into Naadu’s and Desam’s. Their rulers or chieftains were termed Naaduvazhi and Desavazhi respectively and were always of Kiriyath nair stock. Kiriryam therefore is considered to be the corrupted dialectic equivalent of the Sanskrit term ‘graham’ or homestead. The graham name and the land around it, owned by the owner is one that had been formally endorsed by the local Thambran. As the titles of Desavazhi and Naduvazhi lost prevalence when time passed, the honorific Kiriyam titles remained, thus creating the group of those aristocratic families and their descendants. Note here that the name of the home or in today’s terms the family name had to be kept intact to provide a manner of proof of the Kiriyam lineage.

Interestingly in the Cochin area, some of these Kiriyam Nairs were also called Vellayma Nairs, signifying the connection to Vellala or Valluvan of the Tamil lands. If you recall, I had mentioned earlier (On the origin of Nairs) an article by U B Nair alluding to the advent (based on Oppert’s claim) of Vellalas into Malabar. It appears that 64 families of karakattu vellalars formed the original Kiriyathil Nair group. They were the groups which won distinction from the Pandya king for guarding the clouds and were apparently the ones brought in by Parasurama into Malabar. However this is debunked by UB Nair himself on the basis that Parasurama existed before the advent of Vellalas to Kaveripattinam and as he had brought Nairs to Kerlam, Nairs predated vellalars.

Continuing on, these lords or chieftains or Sthanis (Nadu Vazhi and Desavazhi) had additional titles such as Kurup, Kaimal, Nambiar, Kartha, Vazhunnavar etc. This authority to govern was the reason why the Kiriyathil nair families considered themselves superior to other Nairs. They were considered to be the aristocrats, they had the status, the upbringing, the standing, bearing and so on and were also authorized to settle dispute in their respective territories.

In general they are involved with agriculture, work as a Sthani’s or chieftain’s officer or as accountants. Should there be a dispute to adjudicate, representative from four kiriyams hear it and if they cannot resolve it, the matter is passed on to the Nambudiri (regional nambudiri council?). In those times, the Kiriyam nair married only from another kiriyam. It was also their responsibility to maintain the rules of pollution, for example, if a death occurred in a lower class Nair’s house and people including upper classification Nairs were attending, all the cooking could only be done by a Kiriyathil Nair. They were called Ejamanan and according to Kannipayur, prominent Kiriyathil Nair families preferred sambandham only from Nambudiri men for the women in the family. As days went by and the English came to take control of administration, the Kiriyathil Nair did not have much to do unlike the other Nairs who had held on to their hereditary professions. All they did therefore was living a life of landlords with revenues from the land tilled by their tenants.

Looking at Bhaskaran Unni’s magnum opus, ‘Kerala of the 19th century’, we see that the definition has changed. Quoting Chathurvarnakarmam, he states that while Kiriyam Nairs were aristocrats, there were also soldiers in their midst and adds Nairs, Kurups, Nambiar, Panickkar and Menon to this Kiriyam list.

We also observe that while Kiriyathil is the name of the highest class sub-caste of the Nair caste, they are found confined to the regions of Malabar and Cochin mostly and are rarely seen in Travancore where the second in line in Nair sub caste i.e. Illathu Nairs, take predominance.

Francis H Buchanan (vol2 p408) traveling through Malabar in 1800 affirms the above in his records - The Nair, or in the plural the Naimar, are the pure Sudras of Malayala, and all pretend to be born soldiers; but they are of various ranks and professions. The highest in rank are the Kiriam, or Kiriyat Nairs. On all public occasions these act as cooks, which among Hindus is a sure mark of transcendent rank; for every person can eat die food prepared by a person of higher birth than himself in all disputes among the inferior orders, an assembly of four Kiriams, with some of the lower orders, endeavour to adjust the business. If they cannot accomplish this good end, the matter ought to be referred to the Namburis, The Kiriat Nainmar support themselves by agriculture, or by acting as officers of government, or accountants. They never marry a woman of any of the lower Nairs, except those of the Sudras, or Charnadu, and these very rarely.

Kannipayur points out another interesting observation connected with Kiriyath Nair’s. If a Nair ate in a Nambudiri’s illam, he had to remove his banana leaf after the meal, himself. The women of the Illam are not allowed to dispose of these. However a Kiriyam Nair invitee also desists from doing this himself. Instead he brings along a Nair servant to do that menial service, demonstrating his higher status of Sthani Nayanmar. It is also believed that important Kiriyam Nair families, until about the end- of last century did not accept husbands from the Samanthan castes such as Nedungadi and Kartavu. 

Kannipayur believes that the Nairs came to the fore after the 12th century and following the defeat of the Cheras, to further split into multiple swaroopams. The Kiriyathil Nair from that point on was the eye and the hand of the overlord, and was the clan who administered smaller principalities (The Desavazhi was akin to a Village Munsif of British times). A desam incidentally is a village or the smallest administrative unit and had at least one Kiriyam Nair resident, who was therefore the village authority.

While this was what was in practice, it would be interesting to check what the lore and legend was in connection with the Nairs. In the words of Kerololpathi: “Parasu Rama having sent for Sudras from various countries, made them settle and prescribed various rules of conduct for them. He created adima and kudima in the Desom, protected Adiyans and Kudians, established Taras and Sankitams, separated the Nairs into Taras, and ordered that to them was to belong the duties of supervising (lit. the eye) executing (lit. the hand) and giving orders in such a manner that rights should not be curtailed or suffered to fall into disuse. To the kudians the kilkur (inferior share), to the Brahmins the melkur (superior share); to the former the kanom and to the latter the jenmam; and so the law of kanam and jenmam and the rules of conduct for the Brahmins and customs for the Sudras were ordained.”

It is clear from the above that the Nairs were connected with supervisory functions of that early feudal system and William Logan rightly observes: "they had as a guild higher functions in the body politic than merely ploughing the rice-fields and controlling the irrigated lands”

K Raman Unni explains the two differing levels of Kiriyathil Nairs in his 1961 thesis - As an example consider this - Kolappulli is a village headed by a Sthani nair who lives in Kavalappara, a village three miles away. Barely three fourth of the lands of the village belongs to the Sthani Nair and it is one of the few villages where his retainers, the Kiriyattil Nairs, reside. In each of the three villages, families of power belong to the retainer castes.

As the numbers of Kiriyattil Nairs increased, the category of Sthanis separated themselves from a broader group of Kiriyathil Nairs. Raman Unni explains - The Sthanis, literally meaning the holders of high social status are lineages of title holding and very wealthy Nairs originally drawn from different castes of Nairs, chiefly from the Kiriyattil Nairs. Most of them were in pre-British times Naduvaris (district heads) and some were powerful Desavaris (village heads…... Some of the Sthanis carry special ritual rights and privileges as a heritage from a remote past and some of them have these bestowed by the ruler who awarded the title.

Kiriyam Nair caste appears to have had off-shoots of differential rank named Kakka Kiriyam, Patti Kiriyam, Manala Kiriyam and Panom Kiriyam. The Kiriyattils in general everywhere were on a level with the 10,000 armed retainers (Purathucharnas) under the Zamorin. Menons in Ponnani taluk were in this manner title holders under the Raja of Cochin and those in Walluvanad were originally clerks under their Raja drawn from Kiriyattils and Purathucharna Nairs. Of the non-Brahmin high castes the Kiriyattil Nairs alone are said to have a relatively good mastery of the culinary art, perhaps in line with their tradition as 'Kitchen men' of their Sthani overlords. The Kiriyattil men of the less wealthy tharavad, on invitation, serve as cooks at feasts of Nair castes of the same group, a practice reported by more popular in earlier periods. The Kiriyattils (both Nairs and Nambiars) the adukkalakkar (kitchen men) send from each taravad at least one man to the Sthani head's house to cook during the fourteen days of death pollution of his taravad. Nairs in a mood of gossip or sportive ridicule would refer to the Kiriyam Nairs as "KolliUntikal" which means feeders of fire wood, with reference to their role of cooking for their Sthani-heads at ritual occasions.

References
Malabar and Its Folk - T. K. Gopal Panikkar
Malabar Manual - William Logan
19’aam Nootandile keralam - P Bhaskaran Unni
Aryanmarude Kudiyettam 3rd volume – Kanipayyur Sankaran Namboothiripad
Caste in South Malabar – K Raman Unni
Census of India, 1901
Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages - Robert Caldwell
A hand book of Malabar law and usage as administered by the courts - B. Govinda Nambiar
Report of the Malabar Marriage Commission 1891

Notes
A peculiarity in North Malabar - There were three Kovilagams namely Chirakkal, Kottayam and Kadathanad, in North Malabar. The term 'Kiriyam' Nair is never used by North Malabar Nairs in speaking of themselves. Two main divisions are into Agatha Charnavar and Puratha Charnavar. There are Charnavar attached to each Kovilagam in North Malabar. The Nairs of North Malabar will generally consider that they are attached to one or other of the Kovilagams. A man will say that he is al-karan (adherent) of such-and-such a Kovilagam. If a man is alkaran of a Kovilagam it is that Kovilagam which

L Anatha Krishna Iyer on Kiriyathil Nairs basing his comment on Keralolpathi – The members of this subdivision are believed to have been the descendants of the early Brahmins, in their union with the Deva, Gandharva and Rakshasa women, bought into Kerala by Parasurama and their duty was primarily to serve them

Robert Caldwell - The word kiriyam according to Gundert, is a corrupted form of the Sanskrit word Kshayam which means loss, perhaps unrelated to the discussion but explains how it is difficult to obtains derivations for kiriyam from the Sanskrit word graham– Dr Robert Caldwell states - The hard, lingual sibilant of Sanskrit is unknown to classical Tamil. Sometimes it is changed into s’, a change which ordinarily takes place at the present day in the pronunciation of the lower classes in the southern districts, sh is sometimes, though rarely, converted in Tamil into r. Dr Gundert supplies me with some instances of this in old Malayālam—e.g., kshaya, Sans. loss, is in old Mal. written kirayam, and the name Lakshmanan in an old copy of the Ramayana is written Ilarkkanan. Here rkk stands for ksh. Sometimes sh is assimilated to a succeeding n—e.g., the name Vishnu becomes sometimes, both in poetical Tamil and in Malayalam, Vinnu.

Finally – Would these people have anything to do with the Kiriyam and Kriyavada doctrine of Mahavira preached by Jains?? The kiriyam doctrine teaches that the soul exists, acts and is affected by acts. Did these clans have anything to do with the large numbers of Jains we had in Malabar at one time? Food for thought….


WISHING ALL READERS A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR

29 comments:

  1. Maxbinder

    William dalrymple was the one who revolutionized history reading in India by introducing a new method a reciting history in a lucid and pragmatic fashion. After Dalrymple I chanced upon your blog.....and voilà!! you tickled my long dorment history nerve.....and now I am hooked onto this stuff. If I were introduced to this habit by reading Dalrymple's docile and mild narratives of Indian History , I went hard core by reading your narratives about Malabar history. Since I am a person with Malabar ansestory, you writings triggered a whole new reality. Now I am looking at things with a historical perspective, to deduce meaning of a 'relationship' or 'structure' from a historical view point. Thanks UM a.k.a maddy for your efforts. May be using this post as a precursor you will write a book.

  1. Maddy

    Thanks maxbinder
    nice to read that i triggered a historic interest in you.
    that has always been my purpose, and it is good to note that it is working...
    I do want to write more and get into the book format, but juggling my work and what i term a hobby at present, is proving tough, to say the least...

  1. Unknown

    Thanks for the article maddy, Could you share some thought on the PILLAI title commonly used by Nairs from trivandrum to trissur, there are sources that claim that the title was given by Marthanda Varma whereas it was a title, held by old time feudal lords who were the consorts of Attingal Rani.
    Is Pillai equivalent to Menon?

  1. Unknown

    Hai Maddy, Excellent article, now could you share some thoughts on the PILLAI title used by Nairs of Travancore to Kochi, was it the equivalent of MENON?
    Some sources claim that Junior Ranis took consorts from Old time feudal lords who had the title PILLAI, another claims that the title became common after accession of Marthanda Varma. The Padmanabhapuram Palace was constructed by a king named Iravi Pillai Iravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal in A.D. 1601 claims another.
    Anyways long gone are those prosperous days of Kiriyathil Nair,looking at the status of nairs today, the old aristocrats have succumbed to poverty after the fall of feudalism whereas the Non Sthani nairs seem to have prospered compared to their Kiryathil cousins!

  1. Maddy

    Thanks Neelakantan.

    Pillai is more of an honorific title used in Travancore, and in old times was conferred after a ceremony called ‘tirumukham pitikkua’. It appears that in those times, the recipients were not addressed as Pillais in correspondence but as kanakku. The next higher title was Chempakaraman. Tampi interestingly is the title given to Nair offspring of Travancore royals.

  1. Maddy

    I must add - In old times, the title had to be acquired by a Nayar after paying the sovereign a sum of money. Another complication is that the Vellalas also used the title in their community, so you had Tamil Pillai's as well.

  1. jayan

    maddy sir

    mr neelakantan query is of much interest,

    as we go south keraala where venad was ruling,where some kind of tamil influence, we can see nairs has got the tile pillais ( nanchi nattu pillai also has the same title)

    when we come to kochi, the tile goes endless, kartha,kaimal ,menon etc ,

    even after the annexation of cherthala by travancore after a fiery fight with kochi( where kochi lost one young prince and famous padathalavan palliyil etiikelu menon and paliyathu komi achan under captivity), the famous dalava kesavadas pillai offered tiles such as kaimal ,kartha ,menon,kurup etc after collecting some soverins for the govt tresury, the then king karthiaka thrinal rama varma was in need for fund for fighting aganist tippu

    it is interesting to note the tile given here not pillai but tiles common to kochi viz menon,kaimal .kartha and kurup ,the tile used by sthani nairs (or kiriyattu nairs) of kochi mostly

    but in venand both nair fighters and padathalavnas ( like ayyapan marthanda pillai and keavadas pillai ) using the same sir name ,pillai,unlike kochi and samoothiri kingdom, where only top notch get menon title



    cherthala taluk is the place in kerala where nairs posses large number of titles becoz dalava raja kesadasa pillai used it ad fund raising for the travancore kindom

    when we go to north,the tiles menon,nambiar,kurupp and panikker we can find
    mostly

    it is also very intersting to share to one note, our famous kathakali acharyan padikkam thodi ravunni menon story

    his name was padikkanthodi ravunni nair, he wanted to get title menon, he asked senior member of olappamanna mana namboothtipad to get this done as he was kariyastan of olappamanna mana

    nabbotiripad wrote a letter and given to ravunni nair and asked him to meet the then kadathanadu raja who has right to confer menon tile in that area

    raja after reading letter from ravunni nair,called him ravunni menon, there our great kathakali meastro became ravunni menon


    so as caste nairs has the highest number of sir names ,even surpassig bengali bramins( banerji,chateerji, mukerji,ganguli,bhattajargi etc)

  1. super sayan bharath

    Some of the subcaste of Nairs is about ethnicity and hybrids
    The Nambiars of malabar are the sons born out of sambandham between nair women and namboothiri male(Thus they are superior to nairs,&and they arw fair in complexion due to namboothir mix)
    The piallais are of the drvaid ancesrory and most of Dark nairs are from pillais and menon(Eventhough it is a honorary title they are mostly from pillai and shudra nairs)
    The vaniya nairs of north malabar are baniyas of sourashtra migrated for trade pueposes and settled here(So thye are mostly fair and william logan points out them to be the tallest among nairs and they have finest nose better than namboothiris)

  1. super sayan bharath

    Some of the subcaste of Nairs is about ethnicity and hybrids
    The Nambiars of malabar are the sons born out of sambandham between nair women and namboothiri male(Thus they are super

  1. jayan

    Mr sayan bharth comments is of interest, but let me state the following

    Firstly Nair's believed to be chera kings , of Dravidian origin

    After the fall of second chera dynasty Nair swaroopams came into domiance, like samootriri, and venadu all Nair's converted as kshriya by hiraniagarbam

    Unlike North India , fighting job of kshtriya and agriculture job of shudra done by Nair's

    Kirityathi Nair's are fighting clan used to fight for naduvashis and also possess vast land and has the right to collect taxes , all sthani Nair's having title pillai Menon kurup panikker adiyodi,menoki, nambairs etc falls into this category , as all names given by kings as per thier job under the kingdom
    Kaimal and kartha are naduvashis having vast land and possess small Nair military

    Now comes to the alliance of Nair with naboodthiris( sambavam) , Nair's gave due respect to naboos as they do pooja and other karma's associated with death of a person

    Nair's know naboos being bramins and pious in nature never domiance physically , hence alliance with naboos preferred

    Mostly we find in south Malabar , places like Ottapalam where naboothrii settlements like mana and ellam situated, nambiar also may fall into this category,
    Vaniyars from tamilnadu came to Kannur for fighting for chirakkal kovilakam and Got alliance with Nair's military of chirakkal and got Nair status

  1. Cherona Nair K.

    Sir, Kiriyathil Nairs are not Vellalars. Vellalars and Nairs have no similarities. For example, In Vellalar community, marrying off a girl to her maternal or paternal uncle is a normal thing. But in Kiriyathil-Illathu Nair community it is a big sin.
    Kiriyathil and Illathu Nairs are Nagavanshis. We have no relation with Thiyyas, Ezhavas, Illathu Pillaimaar, Chettiars, Chettis, Nadars, Vellalars, Ambalavasis, Bunts, Nayaris etc.
    There is no mention about Vellalars in Keralolpaththi. Vellalars were agriculturists in Tamil Nadu from ancient times.
    Kiriyam means Griham(house) and Illam also means house. We don't marry from Ambalavasi, Pallichan,Moothan,Guptan, Tharakan, Mannadiar, Pathukudi, OBC, ST and SC communinities.
    We don't practice witchcraft and Chaathanseva. This is reason why we prefer Brahmin astrologers more than Kaniyars.

  1. Maddy

    Thanks CG
    As i explained, the Vellalar connection was a contention put forth by UB Nair which he himself refuted later..

  1. jayan

    Kirityathi Nair and illathu Nair are nagavansishs,. Don,t understand, again illathu Nair's are ,Nair's who works are servants in naboothrii illams, as stated by kanipayyur , as akathuchernvar,. Kirityathil Nair's are purathu chernavar, means fighters ,who never mind , nambbothiri or ruling clan dictats

    So illathu Nair and swaroopams Nair's are mearly servants , and kirithail Nair's are fighters , and of course sammothiri and even venad kingdom all originated from kirityathil Nair's

  1. Menon

    Nice. Sir, I would like to know the differences and similarities between illathu Nair and kiriyathil Nair. Would they marry in each other ? As per your blog, you say they don't marry each other. How about these days ? I would like to know differences in custom ritual marriage and so on.

  1. Menon

    Did illathu Nair also come from the defendants of nagavshi tribe

  1. Unknown

    Dear Sir

    Greetings

    While going through your comments on this article My amma came across the name

    "padathalavan palliyil etiikelu menon"

    We belong to the same PALLIYIL family. The P in my gmail id stands for palliyil

    But unfortunately we don't know much about him. Except in bits and pieces.
    Just wanted to know Is there any other information you have on him.

    Will be greatful.

  1. Unknown

    Dear Sir

    Greetings

    While going through your comments on this article My amma came across the name

    "padathalavan palliyil etiikelu menon"

    We belong to the same PALLIYIL family. The P in my gmail id stands for palliyil

    But unfortunately we don't know much about him. Except in bits and pieces.
    Just wanted to know Is there any other information you have on him.

    Will be greatful.

  1. Unknown

    Hi maddy..ur article is really nice.Could you please elaborate more on Kidavu commu ofKurumbranad and achan community of Palakkad

  1. Maddy

    I do not have any plans to work on the kidavus as yet, but I have covered the Achans of palghat on a couple of articles

    https://historicalleys.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-palghat-achans-or-shekhari-varmas.html

    https://historicalleys.blogspot.com/2011/02/royalty-of-palghat.html

    https://historicalleys.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-venganad-nambitis-of-kollengode.html

  1. Kaimal

    No only kiriyathil are Nagvanshi

  1. Unknown

    They were some of the real nairs(menon and pillai)

  1. Unknown

    They were one of the real nairs(menon and pillai)and most of the nairs are from these two communities

  1. Unknown

    All nair ‘proper' castes are nagavanshis.which include:-
    Kiriyathil
    Illalkar
    Charna
    Swaroopam etc...

  1. Unknown

    We all are of dravidian ancestry,irrespective of caste(with few north indian,central asian etc...genes).All tribals except kurichyar are having pure dravidian genes now also.

  1. Kaimal
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  1. Kaimal

    Can kiriyathil Nair men married ittasheri nair girl

  1. VILMEENKODI

    Kiriyam and Illom were Dravidian titles. Vellalar and Nadars have them.
    Kiriyam is the title of a Landlord. Illom is
    is the title of petty landlord.
    Valluvanadus early kings were Vellalas with title Vellattiri. But later days Valluvanadus was ruled by Valluva Konathiri Moopil Nair.
    Kiriyam and Illom titles were the old titles of Vellalas.


    Vellalas were Gangetic Agriculturists who migrated to Tamilnadu durine the second century BC. The king of Kalinga Kharavela occupied Andhra and Northern Tamilnadu. They were known after their King Kharavela Vel Alar, Veliar, Khar Katha Velalar, Kharalar etc. They also have Naga blood. Kalappalar a branch of Kalabhras are Vellalar. Chola king Karimalan defeated and suppressed them. The Vellalas flourished during the Kalabra rulebetween 600 AD to 800 AD. A Kalappalar chieftain wanted to crown himself as Chola. The Thilai Vazh Anthanar the Brahmins wanted to crown him but they were afraid of Chola.

    Throughout history Vellalas were troublesome people. When later Chola kings came to power around 800 AD each of the Vellala feudal aristocracy were required to sent a daughter to the Chola harem.This was called Magakoda.
    Tharisappalli Sasanam says about four Vellala families given as serfs to Mar Sapir Eso in 849 AD.
    Around 1018 AD Rajendra Chola planted Vellalas in the southern Kerala who then spread throughout Kerala. There were 944 families of Vellala. With this conflict between the Tamil Villavar rulers of Kerala and the Vellalar started. Banapperumal a Tulu prince from Alupa dynasty attacked Kerala with a large 350000 strong Nair army from Coastal Karnataka in 1120 AD. Vellalars supported them. This led to the occupation of Kasragod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram districts by Tulu-Nepalese people.Matriarchy came to Kannur.

  1. VILMEENKODI

    Nairs are from Ahichatra the capital of Uttarapanchala once ruled by Aswathama.
    Southern Panchala was ruled by Dhrupada father of Draupathy. Another name of DraupathI was Panchali.Nairs perhaps fought in the Kurukshetra war. Nagastra could mean a contingent of Nagas.

    The first migration from Ahichatra came in 200 BC after Greek invasion. The Aswathama dynasty belonging to Bharadwaja Gotra got mixed up with the Parthian dynasty of Persia. Pahlava became Pallava dynasty. Virakurcha a descendent of Aswathama led an army of Jungle cutters of Bana stock and occupied Andhra Pradesh. The Vanniars of Northern Tamilnadu descent from Pallava Bana warriors.

    Second wave of migration is during the rule of Kadamba king Mayura Varma in 345 AD. Mayura Varma brought Aryan Brahmins and Naga warriors as heriditary slave warriors called Bantharu or Bandhitha (bonded people).Mayura Varma settled them at the coastal Karnataka. Nagas mixed with the local local Bana (Banta) to some extent. Eventually Matriarchy became a norm among the soldierly class. Tulu Bana kings did not practice Matriarchy.

    In 1120 AD the Tulu invader Banapperumal invaded Kerala with 350000 strong Nair army. Banapperumal (Banu Vikrama Kulasekharapperumal) was the brother of Tulu king Kavi Alupendra (1110 to 1160 AD).
    The army was led by Padamala Nair (Krishnan Munjad, Husayn Khwaja).The Arabs supported this operation with a view to establish a Base in Kerala.

    The last Chera king Ramavarma Kulasekhara anticipating the Tulu invasion had shifted his capital to Kollam and founded the Cherai dynasty. Ramavarma Kulasekhara adopted the title Ramar Thiruvadi and became the king of Venad kingdom.

    So without a war Northern Kerala was occupied by Banapperumal who established his capital at Valarpattanam near Kannur.

    He ruled from Kodungaloor for 36 years. Banapperumal was a friend of Maldivian King Dhovemi Kalaminja.
    Banapperumal appointed 19 lords in his territory. 5 Kshatriya, 8 Samantha and 6 Vellala Naduvazhis.

    Banapperumal married one Kshatriya lady and two Vellala ladies. Kshatriya ladies son was Udhayavarman Kolathiri. First Kolathiri ruler.
    The sons of Vellala ladies were Kaimals.Kaimals such as Nandietter Kaimal,Koratty Kaimal and Anchu Kaimals ruled over the central Kerala after Malik Kafurs invasion in 1310 AD.

    Banapperumal after executing Padamala Nair faced opposition from his own army. In 1156 AD Banapperumal embraced Islam and left for Arabia(Zahar Muhalla).

    Kerala once more brought under the control of Tamil Villavar dynasty at Venad.

    Tulu dynasties had northern four districts until 1335 AD. Kasragod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram district. Perumbadappu Swaroopam was ruling from Vanneri near Ponnani lake until 1335 AD

    Central Kerala was ruled by Villarvattom Kingdom otherwise called Udayaswaroopam with capital at Chendamangalam. Villarvattom kingdom was an offshoot of Villavars of Chera dynasty.The conversion of Villarvattom king to Christianity after 1338 AD will elevate Syrian Christian Population from few thousands to 30000.

    The invasion Malik Kafur in 1310 defeated the Pandyan dynasty. Villavars and Panickers were massacred.

    When the Madurai Sultanate was formed in 1335 AD Tulu dynasties were given the overlordship of Kerala again without war. Nairs mixed with Vellalas and spread throughout Kerala. Matriarchy became the norm.

  1. Unknown

    Kiriyath Nair, Karthas, Nambiars are Suryavanshi Nairs.. Not Nagas... Correct it..!!