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Monday, March 28, 2011

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala


This post on Kerala's caste system has not been written with an intention to ridicule or glorify any caste as such. I do not ever judge or like to be judged on the basis of my caste. I do not support any form of caste discrimination because I know exactly how it feels to be treated differently because of one's caste. It isn't a great feeling.  


First Question is always "What is your Caste?"
In Kerala, one of the first things you are bound to be asked by even new people you've just met is, "What is your caste?"  This is not a tirade against any caste but my experience, personally. And just for information, I have never used my caste name 'Menon' to this day. That is something I have learned from my father - who has never used 'Menon' in his name because he believes his destiny is shaped by values, vision and actions, not  by his caste.

As some one who is a Menon by birth, I can also tell you frankly that it often feels like a curse to be born as an upper caste in this state known as "god's own country." 

Except that it has some social benefits at times and in some places, it helps.

In Trivandrum, when I was studying there, I was the last admission to the hostel that was already full. I got one of the best rooms - very spacious for four people, and it had a clean bathroom too. I didn't know how lucky I was till i got to meet the others who were final year students.

They all told me that you had to be either a VVIP (you know i am not that!) to get the room in the first year itself, or you had to be a Menon (that I am). I was shocked. I couldn't believe it though I was grateful for getting a good room. When the phone in the hostel stopped working during a holiday weekend, some of the girls asked me to go to the neighbor's house and make the complaint by phoning the telephone department. I said, why should i do that, why don't you people do this?

They told me, "The lady of the house will let only upper castes into the house."

Several Kerala Christians and Muslims accept Caste System
I said, you must be joking. I couldn't believe this is happening for real. With these girls in tow, we went to the neighbor' s home. A Christian doctor's home! Imagine, and i thought Christians were totally opposed to the caste system! 

Anyway, the door opened. Lady of the house looked at us like we were scavengers, carrying some terrible infection. I explained and she asked very rudely, "whats your caste?" and when I said Menon, she said, "Only you come in, ask the others to stand out." I was so uneasy and angry. I made the call and quickly came off. This is the extent of literacy in Kerala - we ask for caste, we demand dowry and gold but of course, we call ourselves very educated and cultured.

In the same hostel that I stayed, another Christian friend's father who came to meet his daughter asked me my caste. When I said i am a Menon, he told me directly, "I always tell my daughter never to mingle with those who are not Nairs and Menons. It's a matter of our family honour." I was shocked. This is coming from a well-known businessman from Chengannur, a Christian by religion and his daughter is an engineer who is studying for IAS!  

No wonder, Swami Vivekananda called Kerala as a 'madhouse of caste.'

Kerala Menons have to fight for their basic rights
In real life, being a Menon is like being denied every decent right that is available to everyone else in the country. My father topped and got entry for both medical and engineering way back when entrance exams were not yet the norm. As always, the seat for medical colleges were prone to manipulation and his merit seat was denied to him because he is a Menon. Not just him, a whole batch of Menon students who had cleared and should have got the medical admission were denied the same in the name of caste! Thankfully, my father filed a case in court and it is the famous lawyer Advocate Shiva Shankara Panicker who argued his case (his son is Justice K Radhakrishnan, SC Judge at present). He won the case and my father got his medical seat. But he had lost an academic year during the litigation process and so did the others. Even now I don't know how much has changed for the Menons. 

It's a typical truth in Kerala that we judge the honor of a family by its caste and religion, and of course, social sign posts. This phenomenon has further divided Kerala as a caste-ridden, materialistic society that places almost zero emphasis on nurturing human values like compassion and commitment to the unfortunate or vulnerable sections of the society. We have become a state that is obsessed with status symbols more than anything else. This shame is growing with us, destroying all that was good, pure and beautiful about Kerala.

Okay, i am not accusing anybody here, am just telling u what an ordinary Menon/Nair/Nambiar goes through in Kerala. It also ironically means that you get more respect in the homes of Christians and Muslims who in turn love to call you by your caste name, as a sign of respect. For many of their weddings, they tell us, "We have kept separate seating arrangements for you, Menonkutty." Not sure whether that's a good or bad sign yet. 

In a nutshell, we as Menons and Nairs, are deprived of opportunities in education, government jobs and government promotion lists (but we have the right to die out of frustrations arising out of govt discrimination). Fact is that Menons in Kerala are denied jobs, education and promotions at every point. So what? We have social respectability, as if that can pay our bills! 

Worse, people prefer to forget that the very last Rajah of Travancore passed a law which allowed those who were socially vilified as "Untouchables" to enter the temples in his realm. This was way back in 1936. Does anyone remember it today? We talk of other social reformers who have now earned the status of gods. I admire them but why is it that the last Rajah of Travancore is never given the same respect? Is it because he is unfortunately of royal birth and lineage?

The one truth that everyone likes to bury is that it is the so-called, much vilified upper castes in Kerala that supported and paved the way for equality based social reforms in Kerala. Today, their contribution is buried under the sand and they are all condemned as perpetrators of caste based prejudices.

Mata Amritanandamayi on Caste
In an intimate conversation that I was blessed to have with Her Divine Grace Jagadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma, as those of us who love her call her - but please note, I am not a devotee, i am someone who loves her deeply - ), I asked her, "Ammey, why is there so much hatred and anger and intolerance in the name of caste in our society? Isn't God above caste? Why is it such a big problem even today? Do you support it?"

Amma looked deep into my eyes and held me close and said, "My child, it has and will always be a big problem in our society. That will not change. No one can change it. You cannot change it."

I was deeply disappointed by her reply and I persisted, "But Ammey, you emphasis only on love. Why then do you speak in support of the caste system?"

She smiled a beautiful smile, the one that intoxicates our hearts with deep, unbelievable love. Then, she told me, "I do not support the caste system because God is above caste. Caste is of no importance to God. God sees and responds only to love. But when you, as a person and as a daughter in a family, live in a society that believes in caste and has age old practices relating to caste, you have a duty to respect the beliefs of others,  because you are part of the society, your family is part of it and so it goes from one family to another. God is not bound by caste, it is people who are bound by it because they chose to. Amma, specifically, believes only in love and not in caste."

I always wonder - Why is it that in God's Own Country, this is never really put into practice? Why have we not yet opened our minds and hearts to greater awareness? 

I am a Menon by birth. I will remain so till I die. But while I live, I will live as an instrument of God - that is what Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has taught me.

P.S. Before you abuse me saying that I am glorifying Menons or criticizing other castes, please understand this: I don't have an agenda here. I am a Menon who is married to a Thiyya and my son is perhaps the best amalgamation of both castes - half Menon, half Thiyya. I don't endorse any caste except the caste of humanity and love.

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59 comments:

KParthasarathi said...

It is a revelation.Frankly I cannot believe that such things are happening.While some forward castes are kept disadvantaged in education,jobs and in segments where governments have a say, this extreme intolerance is not found elswewhere in other states.
If this were the state of affairs with caste playing a divisive role even in a highly literate state like Kerala, I think it is tiime for good hearted people to join together to fight this menance.

Jzt4me said...

Gosh, A Xian lady asking for the caste...that was really the extreme...As for me, I had never encountered such atrocious behaviour...

But yes, I too really hate the Caste system...On the whole, I hate the Reservations due castes..Why not give reservations on the basis of their wealth...Being a Nair, myself had hated the system of giving priority to undeserving candidates just because they belonged to the lower caste...haa...

A cousin who got Bank Selection got a job in her hand after almost 2 years, just bcoz the vacancies were filled in the format of 1 Merit, 2 SC, 2 ST, 1OBC and then 1Merit...and so on...so to reach her Merit position of 11, it took 1 year...

I still remember what my aunt told me years back...She travelled in a busy bus and then walked long distance in the hot sun and reached the centre and bought an Application form for Entrance exam for some Rs500...when she stood there all tired and sweating...there came an expensive car and out came the owner all dressed in expensive clothes...Walked straight through and bought a form for Rs 100...He was from the reservation category...

This was told with sarcasm by my aunt...But then, the truth is devastating for many of us...

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

@KParthasarathu: It is getting worse and socially, the people of Kerala are being forced to adhere to the game of cultural clusters. This is not good for the people or the future generations of this highly literate state. What makes it worse is that politicians across all political parties encourage this to the maximum.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

@Jzt4me: The story that your aunt told strikes a chord with thousands of Menons, Nairs and Nambiars. I can understand, having seen this happen over and over again. Politicians are encouraging this because they count on casteist vote bank to bring them the big win. We need action and reactions to counter this approach rather than be complacent, and that is why I wrote the blog post.

Anu said...

I am a Nair myself and am aware of the Nair/Menon preference in Trivandrum. But honestly I feel that the caste system is one of the few things that is keeping India from being a country full of people who pee and poo on the streets. The lower castes should not be given reservations or any form of undeserving privileges. The country as a whole is filthy dirty because of such poor lower class people. It is important to safeguard the upper, more educated and intelligent class of people. The caste system in India is a necessary evil.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Hi Anu, I understand your perspective but my thoughts are different. Reservations have helped the minorities or the nation's interests and therefore, I think it should be discontinued. However, I don't believe that the varna system and the caste system as practised today are one and the same thing.

Gandhiji is one of great people who made a bold attempt to differentiate the two. The Varna system didn't have the evils of the caste system, whereas the caste system is a real evil and a menace to a progressive India and a progressive people.

At the same time, I do respect the views of the Nair community as I belong to it too.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms.Swapna,

I really thank you for speaking my heart out.My name is Soumya Subramaniam(Half iyer n half Nair)I personally have been going through this dilemma since the day i have moved to Cochin from Goa.I have travelled across india ,been to a lot of places due to my job and have noticed this kind of discrimination only in kerala.I have had some fall-backs in my personal life due to which we shifted to cochin,but unfortunately,the consequences was due to a Ezhawa family.My parents and my relatives are now so much into the caste thing that they have still not realised what i feel and that iam not against any caste.They have searching for an alliance for me but they are particularly searching the same community as we and its really getting hectic as no alliances wants to marry.My situation is such.I just seem to hate the culture here of caste,dowry,gold demands ,iam the only child to my parents but out kerala society does not seem to understand that.I would really like to connect with you.I have my profile in facebook as Soumya Raman Subramaniam,iam also a member of No dowry Society in Facebook.If you would like to join me,please do so.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Soumya, I am very sorry to hear about the bad experience you have undergone. It is indeed disturbing that caste is a reason for so much unhappiness and pain in a woman's life and continues to be so. Thank you for sharing your story with me. It means a lot to me that you trusted me to convey your feelings here.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with what "amma" said, "you are part of society so and so accept it", that is not the right words. So what of society had human sacrifices and child sacrifices? We accept it because we are "part of society" ??? We are called to civilize and enlighten society and combat caste system not blindly "accept" and "respect" what is there, then we end up respecting devils.

Anonymous said...

I'm a varma girl from kerala and i too hate caste system. once i went to a temple. it was about to close when the swami there said,"those belonging to the noble family may enter and see." everybody hated it and i was so ashamed to step out and go in because evryone was very upset of this.

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

@Anonymous: The problem of caste related inequality and social identity is getting worse by the day. In South India, the problem has been hushed up and suppressed. But the one thing we have to remember is that in many parts of the country those belonging to the lower caste are beaten, stripped and treated like slaves with no dignity so to speak. In the South I think the discrimination is definitely less but that doesn't make it a lesser problem.

cricketfreak said...

To be honest, Swapna, I am a Nair and I have never encountered any discrimination or bias in any way. I thought this never happened in Kerala. Obviously I am wrong.

cricketfreak said...

My God...do people like you still exist in today's world? How sad that you have come to such a conclusion. The lower class people need help, and education to slowly climb out of poverty. It is people like you who are hindering them and thereby hindering the whole country. The whole caste system will be abolished:it is the one great defect of Hinduism. Then, and only then, will the streets be clean again.

appu said...

hey dear friends,

I don't want to mention that I'm a such and such person from a caste . I'm a Keralite more over I believe that I'm a human being. Just forget about all the discrimination you have faced in your life, because , the future of kerala lies in our hands . As we the youngsters of kerala must understand that above all it must be LOVE that should be prevalent in our hearts . Please never ever discriminate anyone in your life based on anything , the only solution for these problems is to make our land a place without caste . I love kerala as a place where only humans live ...so please work towards that goal...I have a solution for these problems in my head ...Its the promotion of love marriages rather than forced community marriages..thus making it possible to have a place without a fixed caste.

sumesh sukumaran said...

that is a correct answer.

chitra raji said...

the customs ,practices and even the houses were built according to these needs.those who were wealthy were able to built bigger houses.these big houses built by the nairs have some specialty.the steps leading to the second floor starts right from the veranda.this was to help those visitors or sambandakars.they dont have to enter the house ,they can easily go to the second floor and enter their favourists room.these type of houses can be seen still in many parts of kerala.the namboothiri houses too have some peculiarity.that part where homas are done doesnot have second floor that was to avoid filling of smoke into the second floor.nairs where the main servants of the namboothiri families without them it was difficult for the bhrahmins to maintain their houses.

sunantha warrior said...

There are some popular beliefs in kerala .even historians are not free from these prejudices .one such prejudice is nairs were the sole warriors or soilders in kerala during the earlier period.can it be true by any means.actually answer is no.one european person who were in kerala during the middle of 1700s wrote that ,there were some 15 lakh soilders in kerala.he gives the army strength of each princely states eg 50000 regular army in travancore,another 1lakh using traditional weapons.samudhiri had some 50000 to 75000.kochi had 35000 and palakkad raja had 20000etc.this goes on and on.even that list was not complete.but we know even in the census taken in the last decades of 1800s ,the total savarna population was less than 10%.to sustain a 15lakh army is not easy.even india in 21st century find it too expensive.and population strength is one main concern.any country can rise a army which will be some 5% to 10% of its youths population.may be the kerala armies were not regular armies.still 15 lakh soilders is not so easy to be formed from a section of the society which forms only a minority of the society.but we shall better look at the records and make an understanding of the actual fact.

palace records does not use the word nair army.samudiri granda varikal never refer to nair army.the word used is lokar.why would they have not used the word nair pada,if it the usual usage or the pada was actually consists of nairs.they should have used it surely .but the reason is evedent the then army was not consists entirely of nairs.samudhiri letters have also been found.in it also he never used the word nair pada.there also he used the word lokar.the famous naval battles fought during that time was betteen portugeese and naval army of samudhiri led by marakkar .the naval army was mainly consists of mappilas.

sunantha warrior said...

there is one incidant,once a portugeese army group invaded calicut and marched upto samudiris palace.samudiri was not there ,nor his army.lokar or people around the place or in the city got alert and attacked the portugese.many portugeese were wounded and some killed ,portugese were forced to return to their ships,never again they dare to do such a thing.majority of people in calicut city are ezhavas or thiyyas,even now.if there is another major group its the muslims.(mukkuvar or deevara are also there.but lesser in beech area compared to more southern and norther parts.also muslims were converted from ezhava and deevara families for serving in navy. )the greatest lord (or family )in calicut that time was a ezhava having granded many titles and positions from samudiri.when haider attacked calicut this lord came to see haider ali and presented gifts before him and requested to spare the people of calicut.while samudhiri family and many brahmin familes fled to travancore.

there is a place in malappuram near the boarder to kozhikode where kadalundi puzha joins the sea.its name is kottayil.there is a hill near by and a fort.also a palace or kovilakam and a devi temple ,kottayil devi shetram.at the top of the hill a smaller temple also is there.monkeys dominate there.a very large number.the main temple walls are painted with ramayana stories.samduris family members liv...ed in the palace till 1921.at that time samudiris sister was living there.during the mappila lehala ,the mappilas came ,surrounded the palace,closed all the doors from outside,shuting all inside-mainly ladies and set fire to the house.then they left.the people inside cannot find a way to escape nor a way to open the doors.they prayed to kottayil devi.suddenly with trembleing sound,the doors opened and everyone ran outside,thanking to devi.thus they all survived.because of these incidents people have great faith in this temple.
this is a strategical place in terms of military.there is a family named karippara near this place.during samudhiri rule,they were the most trusted family of samudhiri.the military and the administrative responsiblity was entrusted them.the fort cheif was from this family.when army moves to malappuram or to bharatha puzha during mamangam or when samudhiri forces move towards palakkad or kochi,the logistics was controlled from here.ship movemnts can be watched from the near by hill.another family named dharmoth was also held key roles in military in these area.even now karippara family have some privilages in the temple now understaken by samudhiri and malabar devasom.these two families are thiyyas.
many of the thiyya families held key roles in military in samudhiris reign.kolathiri or chiraykyal swaroopam was ruling in kannur and many if not all of their military commanders were ezhava or thiyya.still now ezhava are the majority in kannur.please also note that chaver pada is not a nair army.it could never be.it was a offensive group formed amoung the army ,to fight against the chola rule.

sunantha warrior said...

marthanda varma is very famous kerala king ,for he defeated the dutch forces at kulachal in 1744.c.v.raman pillai has written a novel named marthanda varma.in it a hero like character is there.it is ananda padmanabhan valia padathalavan.in the novel he is made a nair ,son of thiru mukattu pilla.but actually he is a historical figure.he was not a nair,he was from a channar family.he was the marthanda varmas very trusted person,was his body guard,his army chief and his closest friend.history books usually try to conceal him.only reference of him will like this---after the death of army cheif ananda padmanabhan,aiyyappan (pillai or nair )was made cheif.---.ananda padmanabhan was treacherously killed.his tomb is till in kanya kumari district.he was actually the strength and brain of modern travancore.without him marthanda varma would have been killed by pillamar in his twenties. also mankoikkal family which is refered in the novel also existed.they too is a channar family.never and not a nair or kuprupp family.this two families exists in kanyakumari district.

marthandavarma trusted ezhava soilders.its wrong that he as a whole distrusted nairs.actually all pillais were not nairs.it was not a caste name but a title position granded by king. Pillai was a lord postion or title given by the king after a ceremony called thirumukkam pidikkuka .the selected person sits on an elephant and is taken around the city ,followed by other lords and important officers.when this procession reaches the palace ,king receives him and the title of pillai is bestowed to him.he can build a big house in that particular place where his lord ship is given.he shall be known with the title of that place with sufixed with pillai eg kazhakutton pillai,chempazhanthi pillai etc.there is a doubt that ramanamadom pillai is a brahmin.in 1830s even during the british rule a brahmin was given the title of pillai,he was the then devan in travancore. its like a lord or prabhu.bhrahimin,muslims and christian pillais were also given pillai position.similar to pillai the title given in kochin was menon and in kannur it is nambyar. menon title were held by ezhava familes and other castes.as it is now belived as a caste name ,they now dont use it nowadays.these were more an administrative postion than a military position.they were entrusted with the duty to collect the tax from land in that locality.for that a small army was allowed to be kept under them.

sunantha warrior said...

in north its likely that entire army of kolathiri and majority of zamorins was thiyyas.there is no nair pada mentioned in the records of these kings.actually the word nair and nair pada was repeatedly used by portugese.due to many reasons our earlier historians studied and may be only read their writings ,records,letters etc.thus the wide spread concept of nair pada imprinted in the minds of us.to be frank i never came across a firm evidenace of nair pada ever existed.only one was a battalion in madras regiment.and remember it was one of the first units disbanded or renamed just after independance.by then it was not actually a nair pada as many non nairs were in it.

During the time of velu thampi naval supreme commander of travancore was a ezhava.he was a friend of veluthampi and fought against british.he is also considered as one of the bravest warriors in kerala.when veluthampi began preparations for a war against british ,a rival group formed which opposed the velutampi.they asked kuthira pakshi ,a famous warrior then ,who was also a good fighter well trained in weapons ,to go and meet naval commander,who was in support of velu thampi.if commander does not joins with the rival group he shall be killed by kuthira pakshi.commander was then in his 50s but was a master in arms.kuthira pakshi asked him to meet in a paddy field .when he came he was asked to leave tampi and join the rival group.but he declined.at last kuthira pakshi drawed sword and attacked the commander.but the older commander slipped aside and cut down the kuthira pakshi.kuthira pakshis death stired a general fear amoung the rivals of thampi.which helped him to organose a fight against british.
the naval commander during velu thampi's time was and is a great warrior and brave personalites of kerala.he was the one who made the plan to attack manrove thuruth.after the defeat of velu thampi ,the commander was taken prisoner and brought before manrove.manrove himself conducted the trial at sankumukkam beach.the prisoner was brought before him and was burried upto neck.the british cheif sat before him in a chair.he asked the prisoner "did u fought agianst british" answer was yes.again "did u killed british men" the middle aged naval commander replied "yes i have killed british men.if possible i shall do it again.they are the invaders."monrove was suprised to hear this reply.he did't expected such a reply.he understood the spirit and braveness of the commander ,understood he fought for his mother country and for freedom.so he pardoned the commander and released him.he eventually went back to his house.
one of the stories about sakthan tampuran ,a reference about the vadakkum nadan guarding brigade is said.it was a ezhava army ,its head was also an ezhava.

An said...

I am totally against the caste system in Kerala. The question which I hate most is "what is your caste?".But I have to encounter this question a tons of times in my life since my school days(to be precise from my 2nd standard).I hate it when people add caste name as their second name.Its not at all a good practice.Its a kind of telling indirectly that I am superior than you.My opinion is to remove your caste name from your name If U don't have the superiority complex. At least remove your caste surname your Facebook profile name as a first attempt. I am also against caste based reservations.In my opinion we have to stop the caste based reservation and we still need reservation to uplift the backwards from all castes(i hate that word !).I knew a lot of people from so called backward caste in a good financial situation still enjoying the benefits from government.The Government Jobs has became a dream for those from upper caste.The irony is that you might be wondering what my caste is?!

Anonymous said...

my dear friend am a nair but actually i dont like caste system.but all else in my family believes in it.but they dont usually have hate or discrimination to other caste.particularly a ezhava family is near our house.they are like familiy members to us.when one girl in our family reached the age of marriage everyone in our house was anxious as she may be in love with a boy in near by house.but even though they know and liked each other they were not in love.and all were so relived as her marriage occured smoothly.i too married a nair girl.am now in government service.to be frank i dont think caste reservation is actually maintained nor the obc caste and sc gets real benefits.only recently caste certificates were used to scrutinize. at office my caste was noted immediately and was made part of a secret team mainly organized on caste.they interfere in all matters related to money and funds.obc and sc persons in our office are generally kept away from these meetings eventhough they are competent and some times were officers. now i slipped away from that office .

rajeev kumar said...

it have been shown earlier that the army commander of marthanda varma was anantha pathmanabhan who was a channan or nadar and not a nair.he was also the commander of the personal body guard battalion of the king.it consists of 36 warriors selected by the king personnaly.they were all channars.in many victorious battles conducted by marthanda varma the commander was ramayyan who was not a nair.his caste is not known clearly.he was born in tamilnadu and came into the serice of the travancore king at a very young age.for many years he was considered as a bhrahmin,but some have pointed out that he belonged to the maravar community of tamilnadu.what it is clear is that he is not a nair .kanakku ,pillai,chempaka raman etc were given as titles to the courters or to those who were in service or to those who have done service to the king. it was not given on community basis nor to a particular caste.it cant be competetant persons are to be taken to service and it cannot be found from a particular caste,not always from upper caste .

in kerala the largest about one third population is ezhavars another caste.many ezhavars were in military service in olden days.not only they were soilders but also were commanders and officers in the armies.varnapalli family was the army chiefs and ministers of kayamkulam kingdom, so was ambanattu panikkar in service of ambalapuzha kingdom,ambantttu family of kollam was another ezhava family in service of kollam or desinganadu principality.Akathayyadi panicker was the cheif army commander of elaidatthu soroopam or kottarakkara kingdom.(Ref: Pathonmpatham noottandile keralam by Bhaskaranunni),Renakeerthy and dharmakeerthi chekavars - Commandor of Marthandavarma. (Ref: Travancore state manual.).ezhavars were largely in the service of cochin kingdom ,sankthan thampuran specialy appointed a ezhava military betallion in the guard of vadakkum nathan temple , commanded by a ezhava officer.in malabar area ezhavar were largely addressed by the name thiyyar and chekavar.chevam means military service in malayalam.those who were soldiers were known as chekavar.as thiyyars were so much in military service that ,it became another caste name of ezhavars.the word chaver pada or suicidal squad was actually derived from the word chekavar.whether it actually existed a question still not answered.

santhosh kumar said...

During last decade of 19th century ie during 1890's a man called C.V.raman pillai who was living kerala wrote a novel,a historical romance.it was one of the first novels in Malayalam.the novels name is marthanda varma-the famous king of travancore who enlarged travancore to a bigger country and made it strong with new revenue administration .he also weakened the feudal system there which was slowly emerged and formed from 14th century.C.V.Raman was very high caste spirited person (as was like many at the time.even now its said that nairs are the most caste spirited persons in kerala ).so he named all the important characters of the novel with surname pillai, some of the characters were real historical figures .they too were christian-ed with pillai surname.this novel was very popular and was taught in schools and colleges(even now) .many thought foolishly that it was the real history.but actually many characters were his creation which he thought needed for a love story.he knew many folk songs and from that he formed his own story.some parts of these songs are including at the start of each chapter.

Many after reading this novel tried to read the history accordingly ,doing so they corrupted the real history.as all know kerala people is very caste spirited specially the upper castes and christians.the caste organizations of kerala also tried to make profit from this novel.and thus when the real social history surfaces many people find it difficult to believe and accept.

 The author C.V.Raman was a learned man .but at his time travancore state government jobs were mainly given to tamil bhrahmins.new educated malayalees wanted to have jobs in government and they organised and started demanding this need.a memorandum was submitted to king which was signed by thousands demanding appointment of malayalees in administrative jobs of travancore.but it was rejected.later some relaxation was given.many ezhavars awere also signed in that memorandum including Doctor Pulpu ,one of the great reformation personalities of kerala,along with the nairs and others.when government began to accept malayalee youngsters to service,ezhavar and other castes were denied this right.it was like a 100% reservation for the upper class,mainly benefited by nairs.it aroused a new hate and separation between nairs and ezhavars who were now in obc list and were untouchables at the time. but ezhavars were already organised and actively taking part with the reform movements of sndp .nairs and bhrahmins lagged back and were clinging tight to the old customs.many learned persons from upper class including nairs and bhrahmins were actually part of the reform movements and were working even with sndp .eventually removements started in upper class and new organisations were formed.nairs were so few in number.so many small castes , sects and groups joined together and took the umbrella name nairs and formed the organistion named nair service society(nss).after the formation of nss many sects were included in it.eventhough it was a organization meant for the modernization or civilizisation as explained by its leaders at that time ,it eventually became involved in politics after independance and is the most benefited caste organization in kerala.

rajeev kumar said...

Ananadha padmanabhan is the central or hero of the novel mathanda varma written by C.V.Ramana.this character again appears in another novel by the same author.the marthanda varma novel is also love story between anadha padmanabhn and a nair girl.anantha padmanabhan is a trusted friend and companion of marthanda varma.he is very good in arms and is a good warrior.he saves the king many times from the hands of ettuveetil pillamar.another family is also comes into importance in the novel .it is the mangoikkal family.marthanda varma was saved by that family and in that act the family house was burned down.they helped marthanda varma escape from the enimies and he stays in their family.but the enemies suspecting this attacked the house ,but they were stopped by the paraya (another caste now in scheduled list) soldiers and others of the mankoyikkal family.enemies tried to kill marthanda varma by setting fire to the house but bharathan channan or anantha padmanabhan saves the marthanda varma.in the novel ananthapadmanabhan is made nair by making him the son a thirumukkathu pillai.mankoyikkal family is also made nair by using the word kurup and pillai surnames to its family members some of whom also appears in his another novel dharma rajah.

santhosh kumar said...

in reality the anantha padmanabhan is a historic figure and belonged to channar community.his house still exists in kanyakumari district which was constructed by him during the period of marthanda varma king.he was the caprtain of the body guard battallion which included 36 warriors who were all channars selected personnaly by marthanda varma.he was a great friend of marthanda varma and served the king as his minister and army commander.actually he helped marthanda varma is securing the support of channar and nadar community to fight against the madampis of travancore who helped the thampis in their claim to thrown.these powerful feudal lords were trying to kill the marthanda varma.anantha padmanabhan died in the year 1953 after the establishment of travancore kingdom.

the mankoyikkal family also existed and their house too is in kanyakumari district of tamilnadu.kanyakumari was part of the travancore kingdom till 1956.they belonged to channar caste.now the channar caste name is not used.the channar caste and nadar caste combined together in 1925 and is now a single caste.they too held high posts in the period of marthanda varma and rama varma.its likely that they were given the title kurup as they trained soldiers.king marthanda varma also formed a title called chempaka raman pillai which was given to the most eminent personnalities who helped in the government.this title was given to these two families.

the word ettuveetil pillamar too was coined by C.V.Raman pillai and got popular in such a way that all, even historians use the same word.but they were not all pillais or anyone of them belonged to caste vellala pillai who now use the surname pillai.these eight houses were very powerful feudal lords and they held influencial posts .ramana madam and pallichal were ministers of attingal soverign of which ramana madom was a bhrahmin family.kulathoor and chempazhanthi were ezhava families.the arms trainer or kalarippayattu teacher of kazhakuttom was an ezhava man named kesava panikker.later he left from kazhakuttom with his diety whom he worshiped to another place called thozhuvancode where he established a temple now known as thozhvancode devi temple.its priests are even today members of his family and those families related to him and also they belonged to ezhava family.there is no bhrahmin priests in that temple.the word used in the old documents for mentioning these people are ettuveetil madampimar and not ettuveetil pillamar.in the document which mention the punishment of these madampis only 4 houses are stated.the reason is that all were not supporters for the eliminations of marthanda varma.because of the popularity of the word ettuveetil pillamar ,through the novel many people thought that all the pillais or nairs were against marthanda varma and it was a fight against nairs and the ruling family and in the fight nairs lost.

padmakumar said...

the novel was so influencing that many not only historians but also the intellectuals of communist party too were misguided so much that in the books written by them , they mention this as the mass or people revolt against the ruling class or marthanda varma.it also made people to think that nairs were the controlling the state affairs and all the powerful land lords or atleast all the powerful lords were nairs who used to keep a sur name as pillai.this also created a new story that nairs of travncore were against marthanda varma and as ruler he crushed them.this was really not the actual case.nor the nairs were anywhere near to be called powerful for they were so few in number in kerala and travncore.only after the formation nss many castes which were not actually considered nairs were included and thus the number of nairs have increased.earlier these castes were having (still now) seperate caste names and considered nairs to be so much lower to them that even touching them was not allowed.but they used to appoint nairs for their house hold works,but still they were kept aside.the water touched by a nair was not considered good to drink by them (because of the untouchablity practised at the time) doing so was punishable with bhrasht meaning throwing out from their caste and denying all the rights,which included social out casting.even today many castes which joined with nss(nair service society) consider themselves higher than nairs and dont like to got together with so called nairs, eventhough many times they dont use their old sub caste title but generally considered as nairs by others.marriages are not encouraged amoung them or they dont prefer to make an aliance from the nairs.pillais of trivandrum also are part of the nss ,they too are considered as nairs generally.but they use the surname as pillai and not nair.the caste name is vellala pillai.marriages doesnot occur between these castes.in southern districts nairs castes itself is considered as two types.one higher and other lower.generally speaking higher traditionally possess more lands.they generally distance away from the lower nairs.higher nairs generally doesnot support rss or hindu fundalmentalist organisations and movements.

Additions and method of changing caste of characters,and alloting caste historical person done by C.V.Raman was later criticized by many others later.but generally that critics literature is not popular among the masses.any way many persons before and after C.V.Raman had done the same thing .alloting castes to 18 siddhars of tamilnadu is one such example ,done by those who transilated their works to malyalayam.this has happened in recent past ,from 70's to till date.many who reads these works only were easily fall to belive that they belonged to that caste or at time of these historic perosns caste system existed and was strong as in later years.even now some new papers knowingly or unknowingly put caste names to persons when they write a feature about historic events.examples can be seen even now in 2012.

santhosh kumar said...

there are some works such as kerala mahathmyam,kerala charitham,kerala pazhama etc which claim to be history books.but actually these were written by bhrahmins of kerala during the second half of 19th century or after 1850s.in it many forged stories were written with characters taken from puranas ,ramayana and mahabharatha.the stories of parasurama one purana character throwing axe to sea,story of mahabali and vamana etc are wrtten in these books.no facts or actual history is dealt in these works.but it was claimed that it was written very very early.but it contains reference of british rule,cannons,rifles etc which shows that ,it was written after 19th century.the aim and claim of these works is that kerala is for bhrahmins or bhrahmins are only rigthful owners of kerala.for that parasurama story was forged ,donating of kerala by him to bhrahmins etc were written.ofcourse it was written by bhrahmins of kerala who were leading lasy or easy living in kerala during that period.so in that books they claimed kerala was for them only.

padmakumar said...

saint sri chatampi swamikal during the first half of 20th century wrote a book named prachena malayalam.in that he claims that he had found some reference in tamil books about nair caste orgin.but that books were not mentioned by him.he goes at length claiming that nairs were desecenders of snake worshipers or naga aradhars lived in kerala long ago.he also argued that these people were called nagas because of their method of worshiping snakes.the main claim of the book is that nairs were there in kerala from time immorial and from the date on which earth was formed and that the nairs were the only authorised owners of kerala or kerala belongs to nairs.its so sad thing that a person who was revered as an acomplished saint could't even rise from the caste thoughts accumulated in him from his childhood.

but snake worshiping exists in many parts of india and tamilnadu.the people who do this does have relation to nairs nor do they belong to same caste status.many adivasis and aborgins worship snakes ,so do many other people in india.it have no relation a particular caste.moreover snake worship in kerala have some unique features.rituals ,songs,other performance arts associated with this worship was done some particular caste called pulluvar and not nairs.in any part of the worships of snakes at temples or outside nairs had (and have) no role.in some temples bhrahmins do the worship other rituals being done by other castes such as pulluvars,velans ,parayas etc.but this book had great influence and many persons tried hard to put forward a false theory, that nagas ruled india and the nagas of nagaland are related nairs.but nagas of nagaland are people or mangol orgin came there and settled during the 16th century after the fall of mongol empire in china.they dont even have snake worshiping culture. the reality is that there is no race called nagas who had their mainly worshipers of snake.snake worship has many explainations and is a common feature which can be seen in different parts of india.the snake worship is not every where done with same intention or meaning.in kerala it is related rahu and ketu two imaginary planets included in the hindu solar system.it said that rahu eats moon and when it happens solar eclipse occur.to avoid the evil effects of rahu people in kerala perform snake worship.only out of fear and to eliminate bad or difficult experiences in life that people do snake worship and because of any love and respect to snakes.

rajeev kumar said...

that book stired confidence in nairs and helped to feel pride.the reasons are many.nairs were called as malayala sudras or the most downward caste in the varna system ,by the bhrahmins of kerala .ealier it was like a pride for the nairs as they were considered in side the varna system and some what part of hindus as they were allowed to enter the temple eventhough with some restrictions.these restriction include denial of ringing bell which was considered sacred,were never allowed to touch or come near the priest,nor were allowed to touch the offerings ,not allowed to enter the place were cooking of dishes meant for offerings.they were also had to move away when the priest come with things for worship.still it was considered as good as many other castes who forms now the majority of hindu religion now were not allowed even to enter the temple.also the bhrahims considered nairs as their servents who were obliged work for them sometimes even without wages.anything given to them were mere the great kindness of the bhrahmins.nair womens were the main maid servents doing house hold works in bhrahmin familes.the nair women were also had to submit to bhrahmins for sex if he desired so.if a bhrahmin comes to a nair house ,he can mate with any women he desires.it was the custom and considered as sacred and blessing.nairs also practiced polygamy ie having more number of husbands(i dont know the correct word in english .the word used popularly with somewhat nicely is sumbandakar meaning men in relation).anyone from bhrahims to nairs can have relation with a nair woman if he desires so.even an order of proclaimation from a travancore king declairing that those nair women who does not submit to wishes (sextual) of men from bharahmins to nairs shall be considered leading an unholy life which is punishable.it is difficult for a nair lady to live alone or with her lover or single husband.if an influencial person desires ,there is nothing she can do.out of the childrens born ladies will get more importance as the children of that girls shall be the next rightful heir of the family.this was because with this system no nair man can declaire strongly that he is the father of a kid for the kids mother had many men mating with her.but the mother of a kid can be identified much more easily as she delivers a kid which have witnesses and there by proof .because of this practise ,which was practiced mainly by nairs,the childrens doesnot know who their father was.it was not a problem till the 20th century.but after that due to reform movements and spread of education this custome began considering to be a shame to them.many great reformers fought against this system .this system does not exists now and is even unlawful.

the customs ,practices and even the houses were built according to these needs.those who were wealthy were able to built bigger houses.these big houses built by the nairs have some specialty.the steps leading to the second floor starts right from the veranda.this was to help those visitors or sambandakars.they dont have to enter the house ,they can easily go to the second floor and enter their favourite woman's room.these type of houses can be seen still in many parts of kerala.the namboothiri houses too have some peculiarity.that part where homas are done doesnot have second floor that was to avoid filling of smoke into the second floor.nairs where the main servants of the namboothiri families without them it was difficult for the bhrahmins to maintain their houses.namoothiris called nairs valyakkar(servents),adiyars(slaved like servants) ,sudras(lowest in varna system) etc.this was also considered by the nairs as a great thing they have pride in telling others that they were the adiyars of that or this mana(house of naboothiri).

padmakumar said...

further the customs followed by the namboothiri families were so ridiculus and now it seems unbelivable and nowadays they too feel shame to tell all that.but it is the true past and nothing to gain from concealing and covering it.reformation movements which started in india has changed the most degraded society of india and also it has helped to better the lives of all ,also the indian independence too was the result of such movements.that all movements helped people to come together ,meet and discuss the problems in the society.open talking was the base thing for the progress.but there were practices of untouchability.if a bhrahmin touches a nair it was taught he gets poluted and have to do penance and bathing .there were others such as ezhavar,thiyyar,pulayas etc whom if the namboothiri come closer beyond some limit then the namboothiri had to bath before he enter his house or temple.these namboothiris were commonly the priests of the temples belonging to the ruling family and other savarnas.there were worshiping systems and places for the ezhavars and thiyyas ,it was some sort of small temples ,but there all the poojas and worships were conducted by the persons from amoung them.pulayar and parayar were also had some form of worshiping .their main worshipping figure was goddess nowadays considered as kali(kali was a common name amoung them from very early period).they too perfomed poojas themselves.it may be interesting to point out here that kali was the cheif goddess worshipped by the warriors of india.eventhough pulayar and parayar were considered to the most downward caste earlier,actually they had a golden past.the words pulayar and parayar were in use in early times of sangam age when these were the names associated people who were the main men nearer to the then kings.sangam literature depicts of pictures of possessions of kings accompanied by pulayar and parayar.also modern researches shows that many places in kerala had kingsor rulers belonging to this caste.even today in second decade of 21st century they are the ones who raise the pride of kerala by winning medals in athletics and other strenious sports.

Anonymous said...

Alamak u indians are a disgrace.u all have same blood running in your damn veins.why u think higher caste is physically clean? i had high caste indian dr living in my flat who kept the toilet in total filth!shame on u indians! drop ur stupid caste mentality... n realise tat character is higher than caste which is man made.from a south east asian non- indian

Babu Raj said...

Keralites are proud to be the most enlightened among Indians, but the truth is that they are the greatest Hypocrites and people with most double standards,than the others!

Anonymous said...

even the wealth basis will not work in filthy india, because while Jayalalita earns a rupee /month and conduct 500 crore marriage for her step son?

Raj

Anonymous said...

the comment by the Ezhava chauvinist is not correct and most of his claims are hoaxs...
few Ezhavas practiced kalari and some of them served some petty Nair Chiefs and lords but that doesn't make them warriors...

Ettuveetil Pillamrar were nairs same as Mankoyikkal Kurup ( late Singer Kamukara Purushothaman belongs to that family)
Samuthiris hereditary lords were Mangattachan, Dharmothu Panikkar (Thimme Pannikkar) Para nampi, Tinayecheri Elayathu ,Kozikodu Thalachenna Nair, Eranadu Menon etc none of them Ezhavas...lyrist Bhaskarn mash comes from Dharmothu panikkar family ...because of religious things Nairs never participated naval activities so Mappilas were the chief naval force of Samurin... all most all Kerala Kings/lords comes from Nair clan..
Nairs are the first native warriors defeated a European colonial power (Kulachil war against Dutch)....

Kuthrapakshi the hero of war against Tippu was a nair from Vaikkaom....

Ravivarman Thampi said...

caste discrimination is a bad thing but pride about our own past is not a bad thing....
we can say that all humans are same but in reality it is not..each racial group/castes got their own identity through generation of life style and natural evaluation...it is a fact..Keniyans are great in long distance race..blacks are kings of boxing rings...Japaneses life expectancy more comparing others and they are great in nano technologies...Sherpas are kings of high altitude....Pathans are highly aggressive same in the case of Rajputs and Nairs but the social changes and the collapse of caste based duties that aggressiveness and attitude changed a lot but still visible same like all the dfogs are not same..Alstaion are best in security dogs..bull dogs are very agressive...labradors are excellent swimmers ...Pomerians gud for nothing...our "nadan" dogs are adaptive to any environment...same in the case of humans also....

Anonymous said...

good personal account on caste system....at the same time it would be worth if the writer and all other replied people just imagine about the mental and psychological torture faced by millions of people....i am feel pity to see u people again and again underlining the fact of being upper caste...who are u to declare yourself upper of lower?..please remove this from your mind set...

caste system is part of hindu religious established by vested interests to create division and thereby cement their place in society. it was during under hindu kingdoms it got acceptance...now we are in democratic system where natural resources shall be given equally to all citizens..religion, community, etc. should not play now.

i request all members (so called upper caste) to check your population in kerala. they are just 15 % of population. how can government give all jobs and benefits to these 15% only deny basic human rights to others because they were born as lower caste (again it is not their fault)

what i read from many replies is most of U fantasy about your so called upper caste birth..i feel pity to say, u become upper caste not because u born from mars. this is because the kings and local royal preferred your forefathers to do their menial work. and gradually they got separated from the stratum population...the lower castes...

so u r fighting against ur brothers my dear upper castes. lower castes are about 70% of kerala population, so all u want them to work under 15% backyard in a democratic system.

caste system will be eliminated only if u people (upper castes) co-operate with lower castes and give them a helping hand...not by nursing hatred and venom...

if u just remove ur menon, nair, pillai, kurup, nambiar titles perhaps u can help a egalitarian society based on human values of compassion and caring.

but if u want to still carry upper caste tag (definitely u will get acceptance in private corporate houses) u all perish under the emergence of lower caste people.

roshan varghese said...

i had recently heard a story told by a very old lady.she is from a bharhmin family.met her in Bangalore where she lives.she told that her uncle had 4 daughters.first child was married to a bhrahmin.he was not so wealthy.so he married the last three girls to ezhava youths.it was a common practice at that time as among bhrahmins only the first male is allowed to marry from the same caste.besides marrying away of girls is very expensive affair among bhrahmins.girls were used to marry to ezhavar families,not to nair families as bhrahmins considered nairs are their servants and ezhavars as Buddhist.
all her 3 cousins were living in bangalore.orginally they were from thrissur

Dr.savithri devi said...

i too heard that story.marrying bhrahmin girls to ezhavar families.i found many incidents in alapuzha,kannur,palakkad and thrissur.even found one case in trivandrum where a temple was installed by the bhrahmin lady who was married to a ezhava family.its near attingal

jayakrishnan said...

it was interesting

Seby said...

Liked your reply... I think you are an educated and cultured person... Many of the comments here shows their real caste discriminating mind...

Swapna Raghu Sanand said...

Dear friends,

When I wrote this post, I let my thoughts and experiences flow. The purpose is neither to support a caste or ridicule a caste. I believe that there is only one caste - the caste of humanity. Nothing is more important than practicing humanity and compassion to all beings, irrespective of which religion, caste or community they belong to. I also believe that I cannot change my caste but I can change my vision and my behavior by treating people with the love and respect they deserve and not by judging them on the basis of caste.

In a nutshell, all I want to say is that I don't believe in any caste system. It's as simple as that.

Shine Pathanapuram said...

In private companies in Kerala, the caste based office politics is in its worst level. Employee's skills are assessed based on caste.
If the management or the training department of a company belongs to Ezhava, then the Nair employees are outcaste or untouchables there.
Thus the Ezhavas will try to suppress the Nair's skill and let them be like the slaves in the company without any promotion or appraisal.

Malini said...

Swagatham to everyone here, my name is Malini Lakshmi and I'm proud to say I'm a Malaysian Malayalee. I myself belong to the Menon caste but to be honest, I don't have a depth full knowledge in Malayalam as my mom and I was brought up in Malaysia except for my dad who was raised in Kerala n migrated to Malaysia with his parents when he was 2. Basically, caste by nature is something very differently analyzed in both Kerala and Malaysia among the Malayalees. I've read various journals and articles on Keralites and their mad mindset on caste. It wasn't a surpise for me to hear that swami vivekananda has once said "Kerala the madhouse of cast " . Numerous differences could be spotted among Malaysian malayalees. Most of them do not even knew to speak fluent malayalam and surprisingly they carry their cast ( common ones are Nair, Menon ) behind their name . Generally, they can speak Tamil better than their mother language as the Indian community here speaks Tamil mostly. Besides, malaysian malayalees are much more versatile in their language and many desires English and same goes to me who came from a English educated family. Being a BA (Hons) English Language undergraduate , it tooks me time and lengthy period to acquire my mother tongue from number of friends who I've found via Facebook. I was seriously astonished when one of my friend who is a Keralite from Azhapulla questioned my caste before we build a friendship between us. Though it was quite depressing me, but I manage to secure a healthy friendship with him and I asked him what has made him to question on my cast....Hence he replied, " You know cast is something very important in Kerala and can't simply mingle with everyone generally without knowing their cast". I had real shock after reading his message and I told him back ..."whats the difference between the loqwr cast of Keralites and people like me? I'm a menon but I'm not fluent in my mother language at all...isn't that a shame compared to a lower cast man who is able to verse in Malayalam? " . Final reply from him was " No! Cast is cast and it can't be simply changed! Dear menonkutty, Kerala welcomes you even though you are not fluent in our mother language because be proud that you are a Menonkutty " . His words has made me glad but a little sad aside.....What's wrong with this social classes and the people in Kerala when the great bhagvan Sri Vishnu has only introduced 4 main castes which are Brahmin, Ksyatria, Vaisya and Sudra/Parian. It's sad to see the greenish God's own country been expoited by some irrational idiot's mentality. Manifestation of cast is ain't gonna drive you to heaven or receive Moksha in our lives if everyone is lost in the world full of pride, ego, racism, sexual desires and also jealousy against one another. I'm a malayalee and I would certainly lend my hands to those who need without discriminating their cast because Menons are crowned with perfect knowledge and they are believed to be expwrt learners too.....What's wrong of sharing those useful knowledge with the one who needs it when at the end of the day, we as a Menon gains some credibility among the public and they would be proud ans happy to learn from us instead of fearing the NAIRS AND we, MENONS. Last but not least, CAST IS A MANIFESTATION BY HUMANS AND NOT BY GOD. STOP ONCE AND THINK WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPEN TO WORLD IF GODS WERE TO START DISCRIMINATING ALL OF US BY CAST . LOL

Malini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Malini said...

I guess the movie, " J.C. Danial " directed by Kamal is a good explanation for cast system in Kerala and how cast discrimination ruins the entire community peace and economical growth in one's country.

Anonymous said...

What is god. Does animals, plants believe in god.
Belief in God is the tool for running the caste system.

If you people are really wants to come out of caste system, then first remove your sur name from usage. Do not marry in same caste.

Inter caste marriages can help to remove the caste system slowly.

Honestly if you want to get government job for your generations, then marry in lower caste and brand your children as lower caste people (of course you may not get government job, as you are part age old caste system)


Still if you look for same caste marriage then caste system will continue for some more time.

Anonymous said...

I belong to ezhava community and had been in love with a nair boy after he proposed me before 5 years. He was afraid to tell home about the affair and had insisted not to call when he is at home. After a lot of compulsion he told his mom about this as i was getting many proposals. His mom was shocked and cried and told him they ll never let him marry an ezhava girl. She dint even tell his dad,called me and asked me to make him understand. About what? She told me to hide my tears and act happy so that he ll think m alright and he may cope up soon. She said she would resign her job and his dad would leave home if it happens. At last he himself came to me, said sorry for loving me and explained how important caste is for them. I was being used all these years?

Shine Pathanapuram said...

Hello Mailini,
Remove wrong beliefs from you mind. The fours caste like Brahmin, Ksyatria, Vaisya and Sudra are not introduced by Lord Vishnu.
Lord Vishnu created Man.
Man created Caste System.



Anonymous said...

Facebook casteists are the worst! Even young guys calling themselves as Biju Nair and Bijoy Nambiar although their passport names are Biju Kalliath or Bijoy Puthenpurakkal (names are assumed and not real).
No hope.

Mr . PANICKER said...


Hi ,

I would like to tell you one thing.

MENON is not at all a caste name it is a job title (meaning is HEAD CLERK), their were many ezhavas who were given with MENON title by the rulers, but their families were not using it now. Only the nair caste using this tail now a days.

Ratheesh jitendra Panicker

lekshmikutty said...

some thing to say about the caste in kerala. nairs consists of the majority of savarna castes. but they are just 7% of kerala population. all the savarna consists of only 10%. but this is generally not accepted publicly by newspapers and even some organisations. after 2014 loksabha elections , it was noted that bjp got some 12% votes. and it actually annoyed all other political parties as it showed that , even mathrubhumi wrote that , earlier the maximum bjp could gain was 7% as it got votes about 12% it showed that other castes such as ezhavars voted to bjp.

shalini said...

to generalize, i had felt that a strong hate is building heights in kerala again nairs. every where youngsters talk hatefully about nairs. nayans as they used to call. among age group of 15-22 this hate is seen so strong. what i feel is this hate was really what nairs earned by their own disgraced activities after for some last decades.

rahul said...

i was born and brought up in delhi.my parents were from kerala and belongs to nair caste. but they dont mention anything about caste and asked me and my sister to be free from caste thoughts and identity. they said we belong to no caste and we have no caste. now my sister and me have married and i still live in delhi,sister have home in delhi and us. my parents were not even interested in taking us to kerala. they live with me and sister in delhi. but i went to kerala , tried to contact some relatives. but i did't like my relatives , for i felt they are too uncultured and uninformed. but i like kerala people generally. i have many friends in delhi who is from kerala. many of our family friends living in delhi for decades too doesnot want to go to kerala , nor they carry the caste identity. the marring off bhrahmin ladies to other castes mainly the buddhist ezhavars as one or two people posted here is a common thing happened and u can see many families and stories in delhi.

jisha k m said...

trivandrum is the most caste dreaded place in kerala. nairs boost and pretend to be higher or possess some specialty. they are being hated to the core by all others. nairs being more in government service, they try to cheat, bypass rules do lobbying , try to surpass others in promotions by creating vigilance cases , frame police cases using members in police, and helps escapes police cases by influencing nair police persons.in places where other caste people live , police try to make problems , rss is known as a gunda or criminal gang of nss in trivandrum. even police persosn are members in it and may be crime is planned with the help of them. but the rss draws the cader from harigens for this crimes. may be by all these means nairs now gained to earn the hate of people

Akhil said...

Hi Swapna, kudos for speaking out your mind.
I came across this article while searching about the caste system prevalent in Kerala.Although you posted this more than 3 years ago, a lot of what you said still holds true and I agree with most of it, except the part about Chitra Tirunnal. He had made the temple entry proclamation out of compulsion and not of benevolence;
The backward caste were feeling so opressed that that a huge population had threatened to convert to other religion en masse.It has nothing to do with his caste because. I say this because EMS was a namboodiri, yet highly celebrated for his social reforms.

resilient dreams said...

Hello, I dont know you and you dont know me, however i happen to have read your article today while looking for something else, I also read most of the comments.

In short religion still fires its gun, its still relevant and still very strong, I feel it will be so.

A simple question did God create man/women OR DID WE CREATE GOD ?

Well look at it this this way by God creating us, I am not sure if we served any purpose to him, but if man had created God and then caste system, it did serve him well.

God the unreachable - yet in us and with us every second, yet we look forward to meeting God, we pray to God, and we look for God at times of problems ? all when we know God is in us, with us !!! IRONIC ?

I feel its a complex multi dimensional equation.

Maybe on of the greatest creation by man, look at it this way no man can now create anything above God, any invention or discovery is all under Gods blessings - means he knew it before, we wish to meet God and look for his blessings for this we travel the length and breadth of the country performing rituals all to satisfy God - all this when we know, we wont be meeting him, yet no disappointment ? a wounder to human psychology.

The best part we all live as per the words of this creation or God.

Now getting back to your point - Maybe caste system had a specific reason to perform and when performed will help the system function properly.

Also caste system is universal, romans had it so did the civilization in peru, cuba, south east asia and many more, so do check on the caste system and maybe you will figure out something.

Anyway i think caste system did not permit job changes .....


Good day to you.

Innocent Day

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Anonymous said...

Its Humbug.
I am a Keralite based in Mumbai.
All mallus are partial to each other irrespective of religion or caste.
The only question that they ask is nadu evideya.

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