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

Chandan R. Narayan cnarayan at SOCRATES.BERKELEY.EDU
Sat May 15 00:07:46 UTC 1999

The jaina conversion theory was related to me by an uncle [we are hebbAr],
but seems spurious.  As far as ayyangAr dialects are concerned, does
anyone know of phonologies/grammars/etc. of SrIvaiSNava dialects of tamil?
The only study I know of is AK Ramanujan's essay on Iyer vs. Iyengar
dialects in "Structure and Change in Indian Society" (Singer and Cohn

chandan r. narayan || cnarayan at

On Fri, 14 May 1999, Mani Varadarajan wrote:

> > > Yes,  there  are  a  lot  of  "AyyangArs"  in  KarnAtAka  who  belong
> > > to  the  non-triad  group.  [...] In  fact
> > > many  can  trace  their  roots  to  their  ancestor  who  accompanied
> > > RAmAnuja  from  Srirangam  for  his  12  year  exile  in  KarnAtaka.
> [...]
> > > The  HebbAr  and  MaNDyam  AyyangArs  are  converts  to
> > > Shri-VaiShNavism.  The  HebbArs  were  originally  Hoysala-KarnATaka
> > > SmArta  brahmins.  The  MaNDyams  are  Jains  whose  ancestors  RAmAnuja
> > > defeated  at  King  BiTTideva's  court.
> I don't think there is much proof that the Mandyam
> Sri Vaishnavas are descended from Jains.  While it certainly
> is a possibility, I am certain that the Mandyams themselves
> will contest it, since they consider themselves descendants
> of those who fled with Ramanuja to Karnataka.
> It is also unlikely that converted Jains were accepted as
> brahmins into Ramanuja's fold.
> > What about the Hemmiges?
> I am a Hemmige Sri Vaishnava.  (For those who do not know,
> Hemmige is a small village in the T. Narsipur Taluk, across
> the Kaveri from Talakkad.  This is the main village.  Over
> the years, eight villages in the Mysore area have come to
> be populated by the Hemmige Iyengars.) We are descendants of
> Sri Vaishnavas from Kanchipuram, and our dialect of Tamil
> attests to this.  Many peculiarities of Kanchipuram
> Sri Vaishnava Tamil are evident in Hemmige Tamil, which
> is a mixture of this old Kanchipuram dialect, Sanskrit,
> and Kannada.  In addition, the temple at Hemmige is
> of Varadaraja Swami, the same as at Kanchipuram.
> The story conveyed to me by a senior Hemmige Sri Vaishnava
> was that 800-900 years ago, the king wanted some brahmins
> in his kingdom, so he invited several families from Kanchipuram
> and gave them an agrahaara at Hemmige.  As you can see, this
> migration is independent of Ramanuja's stay in Melkote.
> Hemmige is an exclusively Sri Vaishnava village as
> far as brahmins go.  The rest of the population is Lingayat.
> Mani

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