Devendrakula Vellalar, Mallar
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Brief History

 

         Devendrakulam is the name of a caste in India. The members of the caste claim (Please review the 'News and Links'  page that has links to evidence that supports these claims) they have this name because they are the descendents of Lord Indra, King of the Devas. Majority of the people of this caste are involved in agriculture. The people of this caste are also called by Palla, Pallan, Kudumban, Pannadi, Devendrakulla Vellalar. Though People of this caste claim superiority of their origin, the caste is included in the Scheduled Caste and many of its members were held as agriculture slaves and bonded agriculture labourers during the 17th Century until mid 20th Century.

 

        Research done by Dr.K.R.Hanumanthan and extensive research by Thiru.R.Deva Asirvatham and later by Dr.Guruswamy Siddan and others indicate that the people of this caste are the descendents of the famous ancient Tamil Kings Cheras, Cholas, Pandyas and Pallavas who ruled the current Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Part of Andra and Maharastra during ancient period and ruled Tamilnadu up to the 16th Century. Most of the ancient, Temples in and around Tamilnadu were built and owned by this community. After the invasion of Vijaynagar Empire and Marata Kings, the Tamil Kings and their community were removed of their title, land and were made as agricultural labourers in their own farms for which they were the then owners. To hide this Historic fact these people who were then called as Mallar (Malla, Mallan) were named as Pallas (Palla, Pallan) and many poems were written during 17,18,19 and beginning of 20th Century in the name of Pallu Poems with the encouragement from Vijayanagar (Nayak) dynasty. Before that period the People were called as Mallas Meaning warrior, Oolavar meaning plougher (farmer) and Vellalar meaning great gift giver. These people were regular farmers and land lords during peace time (Oolavar) and warriors (Mallars) during war time. The Sangam poems written before 1 century BC sing of the Gods Lord Shiva, Godess Umadevi, Lord Tirumal (Lord Vishnu), Godess Lakshimi, Lord Brahma, Godess Saraswati, Lord Muruga (Lord Karthik), Lord Vinayega (Lord Ganesh), Lord Indra as Mallas and as Pandian and Chola Kings. Though the Pallu Poems denigrated the Mallas and also called them as Pallas, they also say that Palla's ancestors were Mallas and sing that the Gods were Mallas and then were Pallas. During 16th Century AD, Nayak King passed a law ordering people not to have any contact with the Pandian dynasity (in general with Mallas) and prevented the 18 communities that supported the Tamil Kings from having contact with one another and from inter-marriage between these communities. (This was the origin of Untouchability and modern caste division in Tamilnadu). The Mallars were ex-communicated, then gradually over the next 300 years, their lands were removed and given to other new formed upper castes that were loyal to Telugu Kings. The Mallars were named as Pallas and were made as agricultural labourers in the land in which they were once owners. Then after a few generations they were made as bonded labourers and then were removed of all basic human rights (Prevented from having education, access to public places and Temples built by their own ancestors, prohibition from wearing Ornaments and dress on the upper part of the body, shoes etc). To hide the truth that all Temples built upto 16th Century AD were built by the ancestors of these people, attempts were made to hide Temple Paintings by redrawing new paintings on the old ones (Tanjavur Periya Koyil, Mariamman Koyil). During 1932 when British gave self-autonomy to Indians, 1000s of new castes sprung up claiming superiority on one over the other. Several actions were directed by other communities to keep the Pallas at a low profile for fear of the other communities (new formed higher castes) loosing their claim for high caste and land ownership. In 1957 the Pallar, Devendrakula Vellalar Community was included to the Scheduled Caste by Kamaraj, then Chief minister of Tamilnadu, owing to the poverty of the community.

 

        Day-to-day activity shows evidence of the rich heritage these people had from ancient times. The community people have their own village self government (Panchayat), have special priests for Temples, Barbers, Dobbies, Doctors etc in villages. These people also have their own temples that are called as King Temples. They are also the priests in village Temples, exclusively owned by these people. In ancient temples like Perur, Samayaburam, Tirunelvelli and so on, leaders of this community are brought to the Temple with festivities on Elephant with White Umbrella coverage, playing trumpts and drums and given the first respect during Temple festivals and are asked to touch the TempleCaravan (Thear) first before it comes on procession. These were the privileges only the ancient Tamil Kings had and were passed on to their descendents that still continues. Priests of these ancient Temples accept and agree that the ancestors of DevendraKulathar are the ancient Tamil Kings, Cheras, Cholas Pandyas and Pallavas.

There are ownership documents (Pattayam signed during 1500s) that show that the Palani Murugan Temple and numerous ancient Temples belong to people of Devendrakulam. These ancient Temples  were built by ancient Tamil Kings thus these documents and  respect given to people of this community at these temples bridge the relation between the ancient Kings and the Devendrakula community. Stonescriptures (Kalvettu) and inscription written in the 1500s also claim that the Devendrakulathars are the descendents of the Pandya dynasty.

 

References:

 

From Tamil Books

 

1. Moovendar Yar (Who are the Three Kings)

2. Pallar alla Mallar aam Mannar (Not Pallas but Mallas, Yes Kings)

3. Tamil Elakiyathil Pallar yendra Mallar, Devendrakula Vellalar ( Adipadai Saandrugal).

    (Tamil Literature portraying Pallar alias Mallar, Devendrakula Vellalar (Basic Facts))

 

List of Recent Books on Mallar (Pallar), Devendrakula Vellalar



Perur Temple


Palani Temple


Thiru. R. Deva Asirvatham


Moovendar Yaar


Pallar Alla Mallar


Vellalar Yaar


Devendrar Veelchee



Tamil Elakeyathil Mallar



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