Maravar (Tamil: மறவர்) also "Maravan" (meaning "Grateful Warrior") are one of the oldest social groups to be mentioned by the Sangam Tamil literature. This indicates an association with the Tamil land which is at least 2,000 years old. The writers of the Sangam Age place them in rural settlements withdrawn from cities. Maravars are the courageous breed and were involved in the major wars that Tamilnadu witnessed. The Kingdom of Ramnad was a Maravar kingdom and was ruled by the Setupati kings. Ramanathapuram and Sivagangai districts are Maravar strongholds from ancient times.
Maravars are courageous breed and were involved in almost all the major battles and wars that ancient Tamilnadu witnessed. Maravars are found predominantly in the Southern districts of Tamilnadu viz., Madurai, Theni, Sivagangai, Ramanathapuram, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Thirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari districts of Tamil Nadu. They ruled the vast land mass of Tamilnadu along with the coastal rulers,Paravars. Both these tribes seems to have common origin,Tamil nagas. The Southern martial arts of Kalarippayattu, Silambam, Varma Kalai have been practiced primarily by Nairs, Kallars, Thevars and Villavars(Nadans & Ezhavars) of erstwhile Travancore areas.
The Maravar have close relation with Kalabhars even though they Maravars are a non-aryan, non-Kalabhar group.Another aristocratic caste called Paravars are akin to Maravars. They were ancient rulers of Pandya kingdom of coastal land and inland from the First Sangam Tamil age. Their leaders were given the title "Meenavan" and "Pandyan" respectively. Edgar Thurston (1855–1935) a British museologist and ethnographer identified the use of the boomerang by Kallars and Maravars of South India.
Large number of Maravars served in the armies of many princely states of Kerala. But during the 18th and 19th centuries, most of them were assimilated in to the Tamil Padam Nair subcaste of the Nair community. The Maravar regiment of the Travancore army was known as "Maravar Padai", which supplemented Nair Pattalam, the larger indigenous military unit. Tamil Padam Nair is recognized as a part of the Malayala Kshatriya social grouping. The Ramnad Zamindar's are accorded the title Sethupathi (protector of the Sethu bridge) even to this day.
 Pandiyan Dynasty
Historians postulate that Pandians are Maravar. The discovery of Indian copper plate inscriptions provided a relative abundance of new evidence for use in evolving a chronicle of India's elusive history
There are 2 major subdivisions among the Maravar community. One is Appa Nattu Kondyankottai Maravar and another one is Chembiya Nattu Maravar. The Kondyan Kottai Maravars are related to the Vellalars and are still maintaining Killai(branches) as their sub sects. The Killai is inherited from mother. So a boy or girl will not marry in their same Killai. It is assumed that they are brother & sister. Such a practice is no longer prevailing amongst other maravars. The married women of kondyankottai maravers wear "Thali" (Thirumangalyam) in the shape of Shiva lingam. So it is called "Linga Thali". Most of the Tamil castes wear the same type of "Linga Thali".
The Chembiya Nattu Maravars are Surya vamsam. They are historically from Thanjavur. Kondayan kottai maravars women were having habits of maruthalli. But Chembiya Nattu Maravars women were having habit of Udankattai yeruthal (Sati which is now banned and hence not in practise).
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
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