கடிதம்

This entry is part of 33 in the series 20060804_Issue

சதுரகிரி வேள்


Dear Editor,

Thanks for publishing my previous letter. Though i had to use your prestigious magazine for these kind of
‘arguments’, i am taking this liberty of doing this again one last time.

This is the last mail i am going to write with reference to what was written by Mr.Nedumaran; First
of all, he assumes that my mails are either knee jerk reactions to suppress some unpalatable information
about origin of velalars or a tactic to silence opposing view points. Nothing can be farther from
truth; In this age of internet, any one can write whatever they want and reach millions in a minute.
There are other websites and forums where people write worse things. As it is not my job to defend Velalars
everywhere, i do not bother much. Since i have been a reader of Thinnai for a while and i like the
seriousness with which people contribute here unlike the frivolousness you see everywhere, i have written
letters on this subject a few times to Thinnai, only to present the other view point. If he thinks he has
the right to portray ?incorrect assumptions? as history, Why can not we put across our arguments? When
he can point out that someone else is presenting ?half-truths? as history, why can?t I say the same
thing about him? He should address the points that I have raised one by one; instead of trying to call mine
as ?dominant caste attitude?.

The height of his argument is when he surmises that Kalappirar were Velalars because they expanded
Agriculture in Tamil country and they reduced taxes; Does he not want to take into account that Tamils had
built irrigation systems like Kallanai before the arrival of Kalappirars and Karikalan married Nangkur
Vel’s daughter? If that was the case, who lived in ‘Marutham’ or was Ainthinai an invention of
kalappirars? It has been scientifically agreed that “settled agriculture” indicates beginning of
establishment of societies and nationhood; mankind has evolved from hunter-gatherer to shifting cultivation
to settled cultivation. It would be a laughing matter if Nedumaran tries inventing a different process of
evolution for Tamils alone, just because Velalar are related to Agriculture.

He refers to a mention of a group of Velalar claiming that they had won over all the three Moovendar. How
does it prove that they were kalapirars because of this? They were other smaller kings who had made
similar claims. What about Mutharayar? Is he not aware about a much smaller tamil group called “Vanar” or
“Banar” who were called “Vanathirayar” who claimed to have won over all the three Moovendar and who briefly
also ruled Madurai after chasing away “Pandyans”? He might know that they are of recent vintage and merged
into maravars, as far as my memory is correct.

Even now, one can see that he has double standards when it comes to Velalars; He is quite happy to relate
“Velam” to Velalar but does not want to relate Velalar to “Velir” or “Vel”. How selective more one can be? Is
it anywhere mentioned that “Velalar” are children of “women kept in Velam”. He might now say that Velalar
were children of Kalapirar women captured by the victorious Pallavas and Pandyas. Frankly, it does not
matter to us today as recorded history points to otherwise.

This is becasue , Kalapirar were accepted as Jains as most of the Tamil literature written during their
period was around Jain principles. And, the revival of Hinduism or Vedic religion started with
Thirunavuakkarasar, the oldest popular figure clearly known as belonging to Velalar clan, converting
Mahendra Varma Pallavan into Saivam. He and Thirugnana Sambandar caused thousands of jains to be decimated.
If we accept Mr.Nedumaran’s theory, why would Appar cause the demise of his own clan?

Also, not only me, a large number of living and dead tamils, had not accepted that Varnasrama existed in
Tamil country. Nedumaran and his ilk can shout from rooftops, but tamil society knows that it did not have
Varnasrama and particularly, every one took up arms and went to battle when it was required. Even
Kalappirar won Tamil country by war. If velalars were descendants of kalapirar, did they give up arms as
soon as they won Tamil country? Initially he said Velalars were descendants of kalappirar; In the next
response, he is saying that some Velir merged into Moovendar and rest into Velalars through Kalappirar.
Now that he might have realized that even Kalappirar were warriors, he might next say that Velalars were
slaves of Kalapirar and they have been claiming the legacy of their original masters. The other
contradiction is that he says that Tolkappiam came in4-5 century AD after Sangam literature. That means it
was written during Kalappirar times. If that was the case, would Tolkappiam not have assigned “External”
category to Velalars? Now that i have pointed out this, he might say Tolkappiam was written earlier
during Pandya times.

He thinks that only Sanror had martial past in tamil history and they are the missing Kshatriyas in Tamil
country, he would be surprised with the number of references i can throw where every other tamil group,
be it Brahmins, Velalars, Maravars, Kaikolar, Agamudaiyar, Mutharaiyar, Kallar, Vanniar, Pallars or
even Kuravars are mentioned in popular tamil literature (not in caste hagiographies) as having
participated in major battles/wars, won titles, and even some had their had their own armies and small
kingdoms.

The bottomline is, Velalar had an illustrious history and has thousands of famous names in tamil history
before the arrival of Vijayanagar armies, where as Nedumaran’s group has no mention. He might want to
claim Chera, Chozha and Pandya lineage; But he can not discount the fact that these three dynasties, had
close relations with Velalars and other tamil castes. They married into them, gave them higher positions in
Government. This has continued and till date velalars are generally accepted by every other tamil caste in
equal or higher terms.

Though i hate to conclude like this, it can be fairly assumed that Nedumaran wants to invent a tamil royal
history for a group that did not exist in popular tamil culture before Britishers established themselves
here; instead he finds mention of Velalars and others like maravars, nattars, agamudaiyar, kallar and
udaiyar everywhere. I also understand that he has figured out that there are not too many references
even for Sanror (meaning his caste group) having been kings and feudals, compared to others. I can only
assume that he has come to a conclusion that the only way to establish ‘higher’ status for his group is to
put down velalars and appropriate everything, from Velanmai to Velir to Nammalvar, for his group. What I
do not understand is, in what way a higher status of Velalars was responsible for the lowering of status of
Sanrors (sanars)?

Sincere apologies to Thinnai Team and other readers of Thinnai.

Hoping to contribute something constructive next time,
Thanks and regards,

Sathuragiri Vel

sathuragirivel@yahoo.com

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