A question about the term "Iyer"

Palaniappa Palaniappa at AOL.COM
Sat May 16 03:31:13 UTC 1998

In a message dated 98-05-15 20:07:31 EDT, barathi at PC.JARING.MY writes:

<< The earliest reference to this word, that one
         can think of occurs in the "TholkAppiyam".
                 In the "KaRpu iyal", verse #4 mentions it.

         "Poyyum valzuvum thOnRiya pinnar,
          Aiyar yAththanar karaNam enba"

                 This with reference to mariage regulations.
                 At one time the "KaLaviyal" form of love,
         living together as husband and wife was in vogue.
         Boy meets girl and they decide to become husband and
                 In this custom, a lot of deceit, and wrongs
         crept in. So, after that the "aiyar" compiled the
         set-rules. So say the ancient ones.
                 When TholkAppiyar says that someone else has
         already said so, it would naturally mean that it was
         said before his time. And the institution of the
         karaNam's by the aiyar's was even earlier than the
         saying was done. It could mean Brahmins in general. >>

There is no need to assume tolkAppiyar meant brahmins here -smArtas or others.
The literal meaning is elders or respected ones. CT poems have descriptions of
ritualized wedding ceremonies that were brahmin-less and fire-less.


S. Palaniappan

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