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Thread: A brief study on the Tamil Vanniyar of Tamil Nadu

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    Author - Virarajendra

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    A brief study on the Tamil Vanniyar of Thondaimandalam in Tamil Nadu

    "Vanniyar" literarily means 'Vanmai Mihunthavarkal' and were the traditional "Warrior Tribe" of 'Native Tamilians' (Kshythiriyar in Sanskrit) of Tamil Nadu. "Vanniyar" tribe exited in the former Thondai Nadu, Chola Nadu, Paandiya Nadu, Chera Nadu and Kongu Nadu regions of then Tamil Nadu. The Vanniyar Tribe of each Nadu were referred to by the name of the respective regions as Thondaimandala (Thondai) Vanniyar, Cholamandala Vanniyar, Paandimandala Vanniyar etc etc.

    The present day decendents of the Native Tamil Vanniyar of Thondaimandalam region (Thondai Nadu) of present North Tamil Nadu were referred to as "Thondai Vanniyar". They decended from the period of "Tamil Thondaimaan Kings" who ruled North Tamil Nadu during the first century A.D. with Kanchipuram as their capital upto fifth century A.D. and whom they served. They also served the Athiyaman Kings and Malayaman kings who too ruled regions of Thondaimandalam around Thirukkoyilur and Miladu Nadu which were their respective capitals from first century.

    The Vanniyar Tribe with the fall of "Thondaiman dynasty" "Athiyaman dynasty" of Thondaimandalam, and the subsequent supremacy of the "Pallava dynasty" in this region, continued to serve under them who also ruled with Kanchipuram as their capital. With their alliance with the "Pallavar" kings the "Tamil Vanniya Chieftains" ruled regions of Thondaimandalam as "Sittarasers" under Pallavas with the title "Pallavaraiyer". "Araiyar" means Sittarasers (kings of small regions). Also when the Thondai Mandalam came under the rule of Pallava kings the Vanniyars too formed a large part of the Pallava army.

    The Tamil Vanniyar Chieftains served initially under "first line" of Pallava dynasty from the time of Mahendravarman - 1. However from the time of Nanthivarman - 3 being the first king of the "second line" of the Pallava dynasty referred to themselves as "Kaadavar dynasty" - a Pallava branch dynasty with much Tamil mix, which made Nanthivarman - 3 to refer to himself as "Thamil Nanthi" and as "Thamilakaran Nanthi". Thereafter the Pallava kings referred to themselves both as "Pallavar" and as "Kaadavar". During the latter half period of the Pallava kings the "Tamil Vanniyar Chieftains" also aligned with the second line of Pallava kings and continued their rule with the title "Kadavaaraiyar" and served under them. Nanthivarman - 3 was the first king who referred to himself as Kadavar or Kadavar-Kon.

    One Chieftain from the line of Kaadava-araiyar became a Tamil Saive Saint and was counted as one among the 63 - Tamil Saiva Saints of Tamil Nadu. This is confirmed by the references in the "Thevaaram" of the Tamil Saiva Saint Suntharamoorthy Naayanaar, Seikeelaar's Tamil "Periyapuranam", and Nambiyaandar Nambi's Tamil "Thiruththondar Thiruvanthaathi".

    The Vanniyars are not the decendents of the Pallava dynasty, but the decendents of the Tamils of Thondaimandalam region, who served the Pallava kings under their own 'Vanniya Sittaraser' (Chieftains) during their rule.


    Evidences

    ".......kudaiyudaiyaar Malaya-mannar (Malaiyaman), Kuntravar (Athiyamaan), Pallavar mum mup-padai yudayaar (commanded their three forces) Vaniyar (the Vanniyar)......"

    Silai Elupathu - by Poet Kambar, verse 8

    ".....Vaiyanikal Pallavar thang kulamarabin valithoantri(ya)......kanni mathil sool Kanchi Kaadavarai Adikalaar.......paavanintha Ayyadikal kaadavanaar....."

    Aiyyadikal Kaadavar-koan Naayanaar, Thiruththondar Puraanam

    ".....bakthi kadal Aiyyadikal aakintra nam Pallavane....."

    Aiyyadikal Kaadavar-koan Naayanaar, Nambiyaandar Nambi's Thiruththondar Thiruvanthaathi, 11th Tamil Thirumurai


    During the 'Pre-medieval Chola period' and 'Chola period' too the Tamil Vanniyar ruled different parts of Thondaimandalam as Sittarasers with their respective titles Ganga-araiyar, Kadava-araiyar, Sethi-araiyar, Sambuva-araiyar, Yathav-araiyar and Malaiyakula-araiyar. These names over a pe riod changed in to Gangaraiyar, Kadavaraiyar, Sethiraiyar, Sambuvaraiyar, Yathavaraiyar, Malaikularaiyar.

    With the subsequent Chola Empire expanding over Karnatakas during medieval period the Vanniyars also settled in the southern regions of Karnaataka, and 'over a period of time adopted Telugu and Kannada languages of the region - and these 'Tamil Vanniyars' were later known as Telugu & Kannada Vanniyars.


    One of the prominent individual during the period of Kulothunga Chola - 1 (A.D.1070-1120) was his Senathipathi (Army General) namely the "Karunaakara Thondaimaan". He was referred to as 'Karunaakara Thondai Vanniyan' in the Tamil Poetic work of Poet Kambar of this same period, namely in the "Silai Elupathu' composed praising the Tamil Vanniyar community. He is the hero of the other Tamil Poetic work of Poet Jeyamkondar namely the Kalingaththu Parani sung in praise of the war expedition lead against the Kalinga country (present Orissa) on behalf of Kulothunga Chola - 1 which ended up in great victory.
























    This Thread will be developed into a full Research Article very soon
    Last edited by virarajendra; 20th May 2015 at 07:53 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by virarajendra View Post
    This Thread will be developed into a full Research Article within next one month
    2 varushamaachu....

    Never argue with a fool or he will drag you down to his level and beat you at it through sheer experience!

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    ! ! ! ! - NOV - continuing now

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    Excellent.... I'm waiting
    Never argue with a fool or he will drag you down to his level and beat you at it through sheer experience!

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