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Thread: A brief study on the Tamil Gounders (Tamil Kaamundan) of Tamil Nadu

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    Author: Virarajendra

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    A brief study on the Tamil Gounders (Tamil Kaamundar) of Kongu Mandalam, Tamil Nadu

    The Kongumandalam of the Sangam period Tamil Nadu was ruled by Kongu kings with their capital at Kangeyam, and on many occasions they went under the rule of the Tamil kings of the neigbouring Chera country (the Kerala).

    The "Gounders" is not the name of a "caste" of Tamil Nadu, but the decendents of the "Native Tamilians" of Kongumandalam (Kongu Nadu) of Tamil Sangam period of first century A.D. who choose Paddy Cultivation as their "profession", and were known as "Vellaalar" or "Velir". They often had their own Chieftains (Sittarasers) who ruled regions of Kongu Nadu independently and at times as subordinates to Chera kings.

    During the period of medieval Cholas the "Vellaalar" were 'also' known as "Kaaraalar", and the talented among the Vellaalar of Kongu Nadu held positions as "chiefs and leaders" in various fields of administration under Chola kings and were referred to by the title "Kaamundar". During the period of Paandiyar kings they were known as "Kaaminder" in slightly corrupted form, and subsequently during the period of sway of the Vijayanagar (Kannada) empire over regions of Tamil Nadu they were known as "Gounder" being a "Kannada version" of original "Kaamunder
    ".


    However presently almost all the Vellalar of Kongu Nadu are referred to as "Gounders" many of whom are "Tamil Saivites" by religion, and classified into two main sub groups as "Vellaala Gounders" and "Vettuva Gounders". The 'elite' (Marutha Nilam - farming region) Vellala Gounders wanted to differentiate themselves from the 'rural' (Mullai Nilam - jungle region) Gounders of early Kongunadu, and possibly referred to them as the "Vettuva Gounders"

    The Vanniyar are Thondaimandalam Tamils, while Kaamunder or Gounder are Kongumandalam Tamils. With the Thondaimandalam Tamils (Vanniyar) marrying among the Kongumandalam Tamils (Kaamunder or Goundar), a new sub-group of people called "Vanniya Gounders" came into existence with mixed traditions and pratices of the Thondaimandalam and Kongumandalam Tamils.

    During the period of Naayakkar rule in certain regions of Tamil Nadu in the "sixteenth century A.D.", the Telugu speaking Naayakkars & Reddiyars who came from Andhra Pradesh into Tamil Nadu, some also reached the Kongu-mandalam region and married among the Tamil Gounders. This made yet another two sub-groups of Gounders to come into existence having their "caste names" as suffix known as 'Gounda Naayakkar' & 'Gounda Reddiyars'. Some of the Gounders living in the border regions of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, who married among the Kannadigas evolved another "caste name" as "Kannada Gounders"


    Important Note



    It is distressing to note that among the major (so called) Castes of Tamil Nadu, it is among the "Gounders" of Kongu Nadu you get "so many" sub-caste groups (Kulams) which are tightly held on by them to date. It is high time the Gounders adjusted themselves to fit into the World stream of the "third Millenium" shedding away their tight "caste system" with "so many sub-groups", especially at a time when the rest of the World has far developed. Further it is correct for all the present day "Gounders" to revert back to their traditional Tamil name as "Kaamunder", and refer to themselves as "Vellaala Kaamunder" or "Vettuva Kaamundar" (without classifying any Kulams) or by their original name as "Tamil Vellaaler of Kongu Nadu, more preferably as "Tamilians of Kongu Nadu"

    Evidences:

    "......a gift of land as iraiyili for offerings at the service called Tiruchchennadai to the god Mahadeva at Nelvay by Nanni-Kamundan, son of Erumaiyanal-Kamundan alias Virasola Kamundan of Ariyur in Puramalai-nadu, while Panchavan Brahmadarayar a peruntaram of the king was ruling from Tagadur Nadu which was granted to him for maintenance (by the king)......"

    Inscription of the 25th year of Rajakesarivarman alias Sri Rajarajadeva - 1 (A.D.1009-10) on a rock near the ruined Siva temple at Pattukanampatti, Karur Taluk, Salem District.
    Annual Report on Epigraphy - No 254, 1009.


    ".......Swasthi Sri Vikkrama Chola Thevarkku yandu 3-vathu vadaparisaara Nattu Idikaraiyilirukkum Vellaalan malayaril Chola Kaamindan Mandradiyen, Aaludaiyaar Villichuvaramudaiyarrkku vaiththa santhiyaa theepa vikakku ontrukku......"

    Idikarai Villeeswarem Udaiyaar temple, Kovai Maavattam, Tamil Nadu.
    Kongu Vellaalar Kavettum Kaanipaadalkalum - by Pulavar S.Rasu




    The history of the great warrior "Theeran Sinnamalai" (Theerththagiri Gounder) of Erode, Kongu Nadu, who fought against the British for freedom of Kongu region and India

    A Song on Vettuva Gounders



    This Thread will be developed into a full Research Article within next one month
    Last edited by virarajendra; 25th September 2016 at 07:45 AM.

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    What about vanniya goundars?
    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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    Vanniyar are Thondaimandalam Tamils, Kaamunder or Gounder are Kongumandalam Tamils. When Thondaimandala Tamils (Vanniyar) married among the Kongumandala Tamils (Kaamunder or Goundar), a new sub-group of people called "Vanniya Gounders" came into existence with mixed traditions and pratices of the Thondaimandalam and Kongumandalam Tamils.
    Last edited by virarajendra; 28th April 2013 at 09:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by virarajendra View Post
    Vanniyar are Thondaimandalam Tamils, Kaamunder or Gounder are Kongumandalam Tamils. When Thondaimandala Tamils (Vanniyar) married among the Kongumandala Tamils (Kaamunder or Goundar), a new sub-group of people called "Vanniya Gounders" came into existence with mixed traditions and pratices of the Thondaimandalam and Kongumandalam Tamils.
    Thank you for the insight.
    I am also curious to know how some of them became Vishnu worshippers, complete with Vaishnavite practices, although they are not Iyengars?
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    What is difference between 'Kongu Vellala Goundans" and "Paattaali vanniyan Goundans" ?
    Why the later called themselves as Goundans ? TOO MUCH CONFUSING !!!

    The same way ... Mukkulaththor Devar also called themselves as Mudaliar or Pillai in Northern Tamilnadu !!!
    and more interestingly Telugu descendants devadasi's also put title as Isai Vellalar (example=M.Karunanithi / M.S.Subbulakshmi etc...)

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    Let it be the Gounder, Vanniyar, Mudaliyaar or Pillais of Tamil Nadu, all are one and the same Native Tamilians of Tamil Nadu. However originally the Gounder (Kamunder) were Native Tamilians who were of the profession of being Farmers of Kongu Nadu (Vellaler), Vanniyer were Native Tamilians who were of the profession of being Warriors (Poar Veerar), Mudaliyaars were Native Tamilians who were of the profession of being Village Leaders or Headman, and these same Village Leaders or Headman in the present Kerala (the Tamil Chera Nadu part of the former Tamil Nadu) were known as Pillais.

    The Vanniyar are Thondaimandalam Tamils, while Kaamunder or Gounder are Kongumandalam Tamils. With the Thondaimandalam Tamils (Vanniyar) marrying among the Kongumandalam Tamils (Kaamunder or Goundar), a new sub-group of people called "Vanniya Gounders" came into existence with mixed traditions and pratices of the Thondaimandalam and Kongumandalam Tamils.

    During the period of Naayakkar rule in certain regions of Tamil Nadu in the "sixteenth century A.D.", many Telugu speaking Naayakkars & Reddiyars who came from Andhra Pradesh into Tamil Nadu, also reached the Kongumandalam region and married among the Tamil Gounders. This made yet another sub-group of Gounders to come into existence having their "names" with the suffix as 'Naayyakkars' and 'Reddiyars' with mixed traditions and practices of Tamil and Telugu culture.
    Last edited by virarajendra; 21st June 2015 at 09:18 PM.

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