digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

Paraiyar
Regions with significant populations
India (Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry)
Languages
Tamil, Malayalam
Religion
Hinduism, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Tamil people

Paraiyar or Parayar (formerly anglicised as Pariah)[1][2][3] is a caste group found in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They are also known as Adi Dravida ("Original Dravidian"), which was a title encouraged by the British Raj as a substitute for Paraiyar because the British believed that their colonising of the country had ended slavery in India.[4]

The Indian census of 2001 reported that in Tamil Nadu the Adi Dravida population was about 5,402,755 and the Paraiyar population as 1,860,519.[5]

Etymology[edit]

Robert Caldwell and several other writers derive the name of the community from the Tamil word parai ("drum"). According to this hypothesis, the Paraiyars were originally a community of drummers who performed during village festivals and funerals. As their population increased, they were forced to take up occupations that were considered unclean, such as burial of corpses and scavenging. Because of this, they came to be considered as an untouchable caste. M. Srinivasa Aiyangar finds this etymology unsatisfactory, arguing that beating of drums could not have been an occupation of a large number of people. Some other writers, such as Gustav Solomon Oppert, derive the name from poraian, the name of a regional subdivision mentioned by ancient Tamil grammarians.[6]

History[edit]

Pre-British period[edit]

The Sangam literature (c. 300 BCE–300 CE) contains references to the caste system of Tamil culture, which contained certain "low-born" groups referred to as Pulaiyar. They were believed to be associated with magical power and kept at a distance, made to live in separate hamlets outside villages. However, their magical power was believed to sustain the king, who had the ability to transform it into auspicious power. Thus the pulaiyar performed a ritual function by composing and singing songs in the king's favour and beating drums. They were divided into subgroups based on the instruments they played. George L. Hart believes that one of the drums called kiṇai later came to be called paṟai and the people that played the drum were paṟaiyar (plural of paṟaiyan).[7][8][9]

The earliest extant reference to the term Paraiyar (as an occupational term for drummers) occurs in a poem by the Sangam poet Mangudi Kilar (2nd century CE). But the earliest mention of the term as a caste does not occur until the reign of Rajaraja Chola (11th century CE).[10] From this period onwards, the word occurs in different contexts in the various pre-British sources:

  • Inscriptions, especially those from the Thanjavur district, mention paraicceris, which were separate hamlets of the Paraiyars.[11] Also living in separate hamlets were the artisans such as goldsmiths and cobblers, who were also accorded low status in the Sangam literature.[12]
  • In a few inscriptions (all of them from outside Thanjavur district), Paraiyars are described as temple patrons.[11]
  • There are also references to "Paraiya chieftainships" in the 8th and 10th centuries, but it is not known what these were and how they were integrated into the Chola political system.[12]
  • According to the Later Chola inscriptions, someone who breaks the terms of an endowment is to be considered as degraded as a man who gives his wife to a Paraiyar.[11]

Burton Stein describes an essentially continuous process of expansion of the nuclear areas of the caste society into forest and upland areas of tribal and warrior people, and their integration into the caste society at the lowest levels. Many of the forest groups were incorporated as Paraiyar either by association with the parai drum or by integration into the low-status labouring groups who were generically called Paraiyar. Thus, it is thought that Paraiyar came to have many subcastes.[13]

During the Bhakti movement (c. 7th–9th centuries CE), the venerated saints, Shaivite Nayanars and the Vaishnavite Alvars, contain one saint each from the untouchable communities. The Nayanar saint named Nandanar was born, according to Periya Puranam, in a "threshold of the huts covered with strips of leather," with mango trees from whose branches were hung drums. "In this abode of the people of the lowest caste (kadainar), there arose a man with a feeling of true devotion to the feet of Siva." Nandanar was described as a temple servant and leather worker, who supplied straps for drums and gut-string for stringed instruments used in the Chidambaram temple, but he was himself not allowed to enter the temple.[14] The Paraiyar regard Nandanar as one of their own caste.[15] Scholars such as Burchett and Moffatt state that the Bhakti devotationalism did not undermine Brahmin ritual dominance. Instead, it might have strengthened it by warding off challenges from Jainism and Buddhism.[16][17]

British colonial era[edit]

By the early 19th century, the Paraiyars had a degraded status in the Tamil society.[18] Francis Buchanan's report on socio-economic condition of South Indians described them ("Pariar") as inferior caste slaves, who cultivated the lands held by Brahmins. This report largely shaped the perceptions of the British officials about the contemporary society. They regarded Pariyars as an outcaste, untouchable community.[19] In the second half of the 19th century, there were frequent descriptions of the Paraiyars in official documents and reformist tracts as being "disinherited sons of the earth".[20][21] The first reference to the idea may be that written by Francis Whyte Ellis in 1818, where he writes that the Paraiyars "affect to consider themselves as the real proprietors of the soil”. In 1894, William Goudie, a Weslyan missionary, said that the Paraiyars are self-evidently the "disinherited children of the soil".[21] English officials such as Ellis believed that the Paraiyars were serfs toiling under a system of bonded labour that resembled the European villeinage.[22] However, scholars such as Burton Stein argue that the agricultural bondage in the Tamil society was different from the contemporary British ideas of slavery.[23]

Historians such as David Washbrook have argued that the socio-economic status of the Paraiyars rose greatly in the 18th century during the Company rule in India; Washbrook calls it the "Golden Age of the Pariah".[24] Raj Sekhar Basu disagrees with this narrative, although he agrees that there were "certain important economic developments".[25]

The Church Mission Society converted a large number of Paraiyars to Christianity by the early 19th century.[26] During the British Raj, the missionary schools and colleges admitted Paraiyar students amid opposition from the upper-caste students. In 1893, the colonial government sanctioned an additional stipend for the Paraiyar students.[27] The colonial officials, scholars and missionaries attempted to rewrite the history of the Paraiyars, characterizing them as a community that enjoyed a high status in the past. Edgar Thurston (1855-1935), for example, claimed that their status was nearly equal to that of the Brahmins in the past.[28] H. A. Stuart, in his Census Report of 1891, claimed that Valluvans were a priestly class among the Paraiyars, and served as priests during Pallava reign. Robert Caldwell, J. H. A. Tremenheere and Edward Jewitt Robinson claimed that the ancient poet-philosopher Thiruvalluvar was a Paraiyar.[29]

Buddhist advocacy by Iyothee Thass[edit]

Iyothee Thass, a Siddha doctor by occupation, belonged to a Paraiyar elite. In 1892, he demanded access for Paraiyars to Hindu temples, but faced resistance from upper-caste Brahmins and Vellalars. This experience led him to believe that it was impossible to emancipate the community within the Hindu fold. In 1893, he also rejected Christianity and Islam as the alternatives to Hinduism, because caste differences had persisted among Indian Christians, while the backwardness of contemporary local Muslims made Islam unappealing.[30]

Thass subsequently attempted a Buddhist reconstruction of the Tamil religious history. He argued that the Paraiyars were originally followers of Buddhism and constituted the original population of India. According to him, the Brahmanical invaders from Persia defeated them and destroyed Buddhism in southern India; as a result, the Paraiyars lost their culture, religion, wealth and status in the society and become destitute. In 1898, Thass and a large number of his followers converted to Buddhism and founded the Sakya Buddha Society (cākkaiya putta caṅkam) with the influential mediation of Henry Steel Olcott of the Theosophical Society. Olcott subsequently and greatly supported the Tamil Paraiyar Buddhists.[31]

Controversy over the community's name[edit]

Iyothee Thass felt that "Paraiyar" was a slur, and campaigned against its usage. During the 1881 census of India, he requested the government to record the community members under the name "Aboriginal Tamils". He later suggested "Dravidian" as an alternative term, and formed the Dhraavidar Mahajana Sabhai ("Dravidian Mahajana Assembly") in 1891. Another Paraiyar leader, Rettamalai Srinivasan, however, advocated using the term "Paraiyar" with pride. In 1892, he formed the Parayar Mahajana Sabha ("Paraiyar Mahajana Assembly"), and also started a news publication titled Paraiyan.[32]

Thass continued his campaign against the term, and petitioned the government to discontinue its usage, demanding punishment for those who used the term. He incorrectly claimed that the term "Paraiyar" was not found in any ancient records (it has been, in fact, found in the 10th century Chola stone inscriptions from Kolar district).[32] Thass subsequently advocated the term "Adi Dravida" ("Original Dravidians") to describe the community. In 1892, he used the term Adidravida Jana Sabhai to describe an organization, which was probably Srinivasan's Parayar Mahajana Sabha. In 1895, he established the “People’s Assembly of Urdravidians” (Adidravida Jana Sabha), which probably split off from Srinivasan's organization. According to Michael Bergunder, Thass was thus the first person to introduce the concept of "Adi Dravida" into political discussion.[33]

Another Paraiyar leader, M. C. Rajah — a Madras councillor — made successful efforts for adoption of the term "Adi-Dravidar" in the government records.[32] In 1914, the Madras Legislative Council passed a resolution that officially censured the usage of the term "Paraiyar" to refer to a specific community, and recommended "Adi Dravidar" as an alternative.[34] In the 1920s and 1930s, E.V.Ramasami ensured the wider dissemination of the term "Adi Dravida".[33]

Right-hand caste faction[edit]

Paraiyars belong to the Valangai ("Right-hand caste faction"). Some of them assume the title Valangamattan ("people of the right-hand division"). The Valangai comprised castes with an agricultural basis while the Idangai consisted of castes involved in manufacturing.[35] Valangai, which was better organised politically.[36]

Notable people[edit]

Religious and spiritual leaders[edit]

Social reformers and activists[edit]

  • M. C. Rajah, (1883–1943) was a politician, social and political activist from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu[32]
  • Rettamalai Srinivasan (1860–1945), a Dalit activist, politician from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu[38]
  • Iyothee Thass Pandithar (1845–1914), founded the Sakya Buddhist Society (also known as Indian Buddhist Association)[21]

Notes[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Raman, Ravi (2010). Global Capital and Peripheral Labour: The History and Political Economy of Plantation Workers in India. Routledge. p. 288. ISBN 1135196583. 
  2. ^ Gough, Kathleen (2008). Rural Society in Southeast India. Cambridge University Pres. p. 476. ISBN 0521040191. 
  3. ^ My library My History Books on Google Play Slave trade (East India) Slavery in Ceylon. East India Company. 1838. p. 615. 
  4. ^ Irschick 1994, pp. 168-169.
  5. ^ Tamil Nadu — Data Highlightst: The Scheduled Castes — Census of India 2001 (PDF). p. 1. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Basu 2011, pp. 2-3.
  7. ^ Hart, George L. (1987), "Early Evidence for Caste in South India" (PDF), in Hockings, Dimensions of Social Life: Essays in honor of David B. Mandelbaum, Berlin: Mouton Gruyter, pp. 467–491, "The kiṇaiyan seems to have been a bit lower than the Pāṇan. He would beat a small drum called a kiṇai, praise the king in the morning or at other times, receiving some reward for that act, and, evidently, he would go from village to village announcing the king’s decrees. He was probably the same as the modern Paṟaiyan. 
  8. ^ Moffatt 1979, pp. 36-37.
  9. ^ Samuel, Geoffrey (2008), The Origins of Yoga and Tantra: Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press, p. 83, ISBN 978-1-13947-021-6 
  10. ^ Basu 2011, p. 3.
  11. ^ a b c Orr 2000, pp. 236-237.
  12. ^ a b Moffatt 1979, p. 38.
  13. ^ Moffatt 1979, p. 41.
  14. ^ Moffatt 1979, pp. 38-39.
  15. ^ Vincentnathan, Lynn (June 1993), "Nandanar: Untouchable Saint and Caste Hindu Anomaly", Ethos 21 (2): 154–179, JSTOR 640372 
  16. ^ Moffatt 1979, p. 39.
  17. ^ Burchett, Patton (August 2009), "Bhakti Rhetoric in the Hagiography of ‘Untouchable’ Saints: Discerning Bhakti’s Ambivalence on Caste and Brahminhood", International Journal of Hindu Studies, JSTOR 40608021 
  18. ^ Basu 2011, p. 16.
  19. ^ Basu 2011, pp. 2.
  20. ^ Irschick 1994, pp. 153–190.
  21. ^ a b c Bergunder 2004, p. 68.
  22. ^ Basu 2011, pp. 9-11.
  23. ^ Basu 2011, pp. 4.
  24. ^ Basu 2011, pp. 33-34.
  25. ^ Basu 2011, p. 39.
  26. ^ Kanjamala 2014, p. 127.
  27. ^ Kanjamala 2014, p. 66.
  28. ^ Basu 2011, pp. 24-26.
  29. ^ Moffatt 1979, p. 19-21.
  30. ^ Bergunder 2004, p. 70.
  31. ^ Bergunder 2004, pp. 67-71.
  32. ^ a b c d Srikumar 2014, p. 357.
  33. ^ a b Bergunder 2004, p. 69.
  34. ^ Bergunder, Frese & Schröder 2011, p. 260.
  35. ^ Siromoney, Gift (1975). "More inscriptions from the Tambaram area". Madras Christian College Magazine (Madras Christian College Magazine) 44. Retrieved 21 September 2008. 
  36. ^ Levinson, Stephen C. (1982). "Caste rank and verbal interaction in western Tamilnadu". In McGilvray, Dennis B. Caste Ideology and Interaction. Cambridge Papers in Social Anthropology 9. Cambridge University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-52124-145-8. 
  37. ^ Mylapore Institute for Indigenous Studies; I.S.P.C.K. (Organization) (2000). Christianity is Indian: the emergence of an indigenous community. Published for MIIS, Mylapore by ISPCK. p. 322. ISBN 978-81-7214-561-3. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  38. ^ Srikumar 2014, p. 356.

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraiyar — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
2341 videos foundNext > 

THENI ALLINAGARAM PARAIYAR TV ADD

paraiyar song from alai oosai vslingam

sensitive song from paraiyar life.

Paraiyar /sambavar /maraiyar

பார் போற்றும் பறையர்கள்

பறையர் பெருமையைப் பறை சாற்றுவோம்.

PARAIYAR PERAVAI PRESS MEET ABOUT VAIKO CAST SPEACH ANNA TV

Description.

ALL INDIA PARAIYAR PERAVAI

Paraiyar

Paraiyar or Parayar is a caste group found in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They are also known as Adi Dravida, which was a title encouraged by ...

Paraiyar's Murder their daughter for marrying Arunthahtiyar boy

Karthikeyan married a parriyar women, and the Caste pariyars murdered their daughter. Why Pariyars are not talking about this murder? பறையர்களின் ...

Paraiyar Marriage Dance

This is a traditional dance in tamilnadu village.

Konga Paraiyar's Urumi Melam in Kalamangalam Kulavilakkamman temple

Konga Paraiyars were the musical citizens and announcer sect live in Konga desam. They were the one who announce the festivals in villages, Villages should ...

2341 videos foundNext > 

We're sorry, but there's no news about "Paraiyar" right now.

Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight