Few days back, i came across a Choliya Brahmin through my friend. While casually interacting with him, there was a discussion about the sharp divide among different sects of brahmins. In that he was saying that the Vadama brahmins treats them as untouchables, and will perform purification when the choliya brahmins entered their house.
This was very interesting to me, and as usual, i wanted to explore more on this. I asked him more about this, and i am summarising what he explained to me.
The vadama brahmins are those brahmins who came from North long back, and they enjoyed more power in Chola kingdom than the choliya brahmins who already lived there. The Choliya brahmins were called as Tamil Brahmins. There is no matrimonial alliance b/w the vadama and tamil brahmins, eventhough both are smarthas. The vadama consider themselves as superior than choliya brahmins and wont allow them inside their houses. The religious rites for the deceased (like Thithi, etc) was attended mostly by the tamil brahmins, whereas the vadama do the more lucrative yaga and yagnyas for the royals. Because of this, the choliya brahmins, who do such low end jobs are NOT respected. He said, that those who homams earn a lot, but those who do rites for the deceased, do not earn much.
Since i was already exploring our original civilizational framework of “Bharatha Varsham and its 56 Dhesams”, i was able to connect the dots based on the historic reason behind these social realities.
And i told him, that when vadama brahmins practice such harsh untouchability against choliya brahmins, their treatment of other non-brahmin communities, would be much more harsh. (Here by the term “Harsh”, i doesnt mean any ill-intention towards them. )
I asked, how was their relation with other non-brahmin communities, particularly those jathis classified as SC by the govt. As expected, he said that there was not much problem b/w the tamil brahmins (Choliya Brahmins) and the other choliya jathis (choliya vellalar, choliya parayar, choliya arunthathiyar etc). The problem is more acute only b/w the vadama and the choliya non-brahmins jathis.
This is an important aspect, which most of the people (mainly the free thinking hindu intellectuals) fail to recognise.
All those incidents of so called ill-treatment by brahmins, which those anti-brahmin gangs often point out, are by those non-native brahmins and NOT by the native brahmins. Because the non-native brahmins had entirely depended upon the kings for their survival, which had alienated them from other social groups. This also gave them a royal status, and naturally, a sense of superiority complex. And these non-native brahmins, got enormous grants and endowments from the kings. When our native kings were defeated by the britishers, these brahmins lost their patronage, and joined the British Beurocracy and started serving them. Whereas, the Native Brahmins (eg: Choliya Brahmins), continued their traditional life, because they depended on the other non-brahminic jathis (particularly vellalas) for their survival, and this inter-dependency had ensured a cordial and mutual understanding b/w those native communities.
Non-Native Brahmins in Tamilnadu:
I will list down those non-native brahmins in tamilnadu. Readers from other areas, can identify such non-native brahmins in their areas. (Again, pls note that this is NOT to incide hatred against them, but to find out reason for some of our social issues, which the dravidar kalagam and communists gangs had been blowing out of proportion).
- Telugu Brahmins, Vadama, Brahacharnam are non-native brahmins.
- Those Telugu Brahmins who came along with Vijayanagara Kings ( eg: Subramanya Swamy .. )
- Maratha Brahmins who came with Venkoji, the brother of Chatrapathi Shivaji who captured tanjore and ruled it.
The above are major brahmin groups whom i could recall. There can be minor groups, whom i might have missed.
Who are Native Brahmins?
The following are the list of native brahmins in Tamilnadu.
1. Choliya Brahmins
2. Pandiya Brahmins.
3. Konga Brahmins
4. Thondai Brahmins (also called Dravida Brahmins).
These are the brahmins who are in the vaideeha profession in large numbers, and follow their tradition. These brahmins have cordial relationship with all other non-brahmin communities, even though they follow untouchability.
The concept of Nativity:
Nativity arises as the result of first settlement. I have mentioned about the 56 dhesams of Bharatha Varsham. When these dhesams were built by our kshatriyas, they invite different social groups and settle in their dhesam, and divide the roles each people group to play in the society. It is through this legitimacy, that all jathis (including those classified as Dalits), have specific rights over their villages and village temples.
The first settlers have the unquestionable rights over their land. As such, the people group, who first settled when a dhesam is built are the natives to that region.
The first settled society in a region, not only gets the nativity, but also the ethnicity. The ethnicity is based on the new dhesam formed by clearing the forests. NOT by the invading groups.
Why Nativity is very Important:
Nativity is very important in social life. All the native people are inter-related, inter-dependant, and are part of the society built by the king. Each group have a specific role that is complementary to other people groups of the society in that ethnic dhesam.
Also, each native people group will have specific rights over the land and resources of their grama / nagara. For eg, in any village of Chola Dhesam, the Choliya Vellalars, Choliya Brahmins, Choliya Parayars etc have specific rights over their village temple festivals. Pls refer to my earlier post where i have reproduced a historic copper plate inscription that allocates roles to each people group of a village near coimbatore.
The non-native people usually dont have any rights over the temples or lands in a region. As such, the choliya brahmins have exclusive rights over most of the ancient temples in most gramas in chola region, whereas vadama and maratha brahmins do not have any right. They have right only over new temples where they were explicity invite for.
Similarly the maratha brahmins, who came as part of maratha army, dont have such a complementary social roles with respect to other communities of the chola dhesam. Because the dhesa dharma & culture of marathas is different that of the chola dhesam. Same with Vijayanagara Brahmins.
Nativity and Ethnicity gives solution to our social problems:
Nativity and ethnicity helps us to understand our social issues. Because, these give us a picture of the historical background of the society, and its issues. and when we understand our issues with clarity, we can easily counter the propoganda and also find a solution to this.
For eg, if any one accuses brahmins of untouchability, i would ask them which brahmins. Those who threw allegation would be confused at this first question itself. Because, they themselves dont have any understanding of our society, and merely repeats the colonial propoganda. So far, i have defeated the opponent with this first question itself.
Many of my community people, who subscribe to dravida ideology, will tell stories on how the brahmins lawyers ill-treated them/their parents , and how brahmin officers have oppressed them.
I will explain to them that not all brahmins are same, and those brahmins in government positions are telugu brahmins and NOT brahmings of our region. And i will further point out, that even though vellalas have come out of the profession, the native brahmins are still doing their vaideeha profession inspite of extreme poverty & hardships, and it is a sin to abuse the native brahmins for the wrongs committed by Non-Native brahmins.
This has beautifully worked out, and most of those DK abhimanis, accepted my explanation. The anti-brahminism had largely been defeated by me in all debates. This is possible, only because i see our society based on ethnicity and NOT based on religion (Hinduism) or Ideology (Hindutva).
The readers can think on these lines and analyse their society of their ethnic region. There will certainly be inter-relation b/w brahmins & non-brahmin communities of same ethnicity.