River Krishna

Prof P Kumar kumar at PIXIE.UDW.AC.ZA
Fri Mar 19 11:21:28 UTC 1999

I am not sure if this has anything to do with the relationship between the
name of the river and 'peNNai' -- but the whole of Tamilnadu right upto the
Krishna delta has plenty of Palm trees (not date palms but the ones from
which Taadi (Tamil)/ Kallu (in Telugu) -- an intoxicating liquor is made).
The fruit of the tree has a big dark hard fruit with a shining skin. The
liquor is extracted not from the fruit but from the trunk of the tree. That
is why (i.e, because of the presence of Palm trees) both in Tamilnadu and
Andhra there is a caste which specialises in extracting this liquor. In
Tamilnadu the original profession of the Nadar community was to extract
Taadi and somewhere around the 19th century they began to move into other
commercial enterprises and today they are powerful economic group in
Tamilnadu. Incidentally the dowry paid to a bridegroom in this caste is
much higher than most castes in Tamilnadu. However, in Andhra such
transformation of economic status did not happen to their counterparts who
are known as Gowdas. They continue to extract Kallu to this day and
specialise in making Kallu. This Gowda group need to be distinguished from
the Karnataka Gowdas who occupy the status of landlord. In fact, in
Karnataka "Gowda" can be used as a mark/title of respect, e.g., Kempe


Prof. P. Kumar (Head of Dept)
Department of Science of Religion
University of Durban-Westivlle
Private BagX54001
South Africa
Tel: 027-31-204-4539 (work)
Fax: 027-31-204-4160 (work)
Email: kumar at pixie.udw.ac.za

Director of the 18th Quinquennial Congress of the IAHR Durban- August 5-12 2000
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