INDOLOGY Digest - 10 May 1999 to 11 May 1999 (#1999-55)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu May 13 22:00:26 UTC 1999

nanda chandran <vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>of my father, though an Iyengar, is of the same sub caste and also shares
>our surname. He is able to trace our line to MahArAshtra during the times
>the Peshwa.

This is somewhat too late for the times in which the vaDakalai and tenkalai
separation occured (around the 14th century). The problem is that vaDama is
a generic term, and covers people of diverse origins. If one digs deep
enough, I presume you will find affinities with Marathi and Kannada
Deshasthas, Kannada Kammes and Hoysala Karnatakas and Telugu Konaseemas and
Painganadus etc.

One problem is that 'vaDama' is a term given by the older strata of Brahmins
in Tamil Nadu (predominantly bRhaccaraNas and cozhias) to fresh arrivals
from the north. And "fresh" seems to stretch from at least the 10th-11th
century to the 17th century (Maratha times). The second problem is that
these identities may have been reinforced and redefined as late as the 19th
century, when the British started the census process. For example, there are
people who identify themselves as vaDamas in Tamil Nadu and as sanketis in
Karnataka. So one has to be careful about which stratum of vaDamas one is
talking about.


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