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Iyengar or Ayyangar (Tamil:அய்யங்கார், Kannada:ಐಯಂಗಾರ್) is the name given to Hindu Brahmins of Tamil origin who follow the Visishtadvaita philosophy propounded by Sri Ramanujacharya. They are found mostly in Tamil Nadu as they are generally native to the Tamil country. But they are also found in large numbers in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Iyengars are Pancha Dravida Brahmins. Their mother tongue can be either Tamil, Kannada or Telugu.

Vaishnavites have been living in the Tamil country even prior to the time of Ramanuja. However, Iyengars as a community trace their origin from the times of Ramanuja. However, in many cases, both Iyers and Iyengars are mistakenly referred to as "Ayyar" as they are indistinguishable from Iyers in their adherence of the Brahmanaical tradition. However, devout Iyengars sport a namam (Sricharanam) as a caste-mark as opposed to Iyers who apply vibhuti.

Etymology

The word "Iyengar" is a relatively new name and was not used in any medieval works or scriptures. The word "Sri Vaishnava" would therefore be the right word to describe them, though all of them could be called as Sri Vaishnava Brahmins. The word Iyengar itself, meaning one who is characterized by five attributes (Aindu angangal) , is independent of the person's Varna or caste. Rather, it indicates the philosophical affiliation of the adherent. However, in current day practice, the term is taken to indicate brahminical roots as most people who affiliated themselves with the philosophy were from the Brahmin castes.

Lester, Robert C.claims that the word “Ayyangaar” was first used by one KandhaadaiRamanuja Ayyangaar of Tirupathi around 1450 AD. He was a saaththaadha Sri Vaishnava,who do not usually wear the sacred thread or perform brahministic practices. The classification of Ayyangaarsas a Brahmin sub-caste is probably still more recent. Ayyengar probably referred to followers of Sri Ramanuja of anycaste.

Origin

Though Vaishnavite deities have been worshipped in the Tamil country at least since the beginning of the 1 A.D, the origin of Iyengars as a separate community dates from the 10th century AD when Ramanuja lived.

Iyengars are divided into two different sects, namely Vadakalai and Thenkalai.

The Iyengar community started taking shape about 1000 years ago, and traces its philosophical origins to Nathamuni, a Sri Vaishnava Acharya, who lived around 900 CE. Nathamuni, who was exposed to the divine outpourings of Nammazhwar and other Azhwars (Sri Vaishnava Saints from Southern India) introduced the philosophy of Azhwars into temple worship. Nathamuni's efforts were formalized into a religious system of lifestyle, practice and worship by Ramanuja who propounded the philosophy of Visishtadvaita. Ramanuja claimed that the mystic insights of the Azhwars were the same truths enshrined in the Vedas, and created a group of people whose identity as servants of Narayana focussed on the fact that all sentient beings were 'equal' being children of the same Supreme Being, and that outward bodily differences in terms of varna and caste were unimportant in terms of one's relationship to the Supreme. Ramanuja had Srivaishnava (Iyengar) disciples spanning the social gamut, including non-brahmin saints such as Pillai Uranga Villi Dasar and Tripura-devi, a lady disciple known for her unwavering devotion to Ramanuja.Edgar Thurston, in his work Castes and Tribes of Southern India explains that Vaishnavite Brahmins were all converted Smarthas. To support his view, he explains how some families of Iyengars observe death pollution in some Smartha Brahmin families.

According to tradition, a large number of Vadamas have adopted Vaishnavism since the origin of the community in the 11th century AD

Demographics

160 px


Iyengars are native to the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Their numbers are evenly distributed all over Tamil Nadu with a majority of them, however, residing along the Cauvery Delta.

Fairly significant numbers are present in the states of Andhra Pradeshmarker and Karnatakamarker. A large number of Iyengars migrated to Karnataka in the 11th century AD. Their descendants are called Hebbar Iyengars and Mandyam Iyengar.

Language and Dialect

The mother tongue of most Iyengars is Tamil. However, they speak a unique Iyengar dialect often called Vaishnava Paribhaashai. This dialect is almost identical with the Iyer dialect known as Brahmin Tamil, the difference only being in the level of Sanskritization. Scholars have often refused to recognize it as a separate dialect regarding it only as a sub-dialect of Brahmin Tamil. However, Iyengars in Karnatakamarker speak a dialect that has a significant Kannada substrate, which has descended from medieval Tamil. Iyengars in southern Andhra Pradeshmarker speak both Tamil and Telugu.

For a detailed mapping of words and spoken forms of the Iyengar dialects and standard Tamil see Wiki article on Iyengar Tamil.

Subsects

By philosophy

Iyengars are classified into Vadakalai, or "Iyengars of the Northern Descension", and Thenkalai, or "Iyengars of the Southern Descension", with subtly different philosophical and ritual interpretations of Ubhaya Vedanta. Scholarly opinion is mixed as to the origin of the two names. Some believe that the terms Northern and Southern refer to differing regional developments, the Northern or Vadakalai predominating in the north of the Tamil country and the Southern or Thenkalai predominating in the south. Others argue that they reflect the importance or primacy given to Sankrit Vedanta by the Vadakalais and of the Tamil scritpure, Divya Prabandham, by the Thenkalais.

The Vadakalais, who trace their philosophical origins to the insightful Vedanta Desika, asseverate primacy to Sanskrit and Vedas, and believe that human effort is a contributory factor to liberation, as is Divine grace. Despite these differences, however, both traditions uniformly revere the same teachers from the Alvars down to Ramanuja and largely agree in their core philosophies. The differences seen today stem primarily from social conflicts stemming from rivalries at large temples dating from the 18th century . Vadakalai Iyengars follow Ramanuja and Thooppul Vedanta Desika. While Thenkalai Iyengars follow Ramanuja and Manavala Mamuni.

Edgar Thurston summarizes the points of dissension between Vadagalai and Thengalai Iyengars thus:

  1. Whether Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, is (Vibhu) co-omnipresent and co-illimitable with Vishnu;
  2. Whether Lakshmi is only the mediatrix for, or the co-bestower of moksham or final beatitude;
  3. Whether there is any graduated moksham attainable by the good and blessed, according to their multifarious merits;
  4. Whether prapatti, or unconditional surrender of the soul to God, should be performed once for all, or after every act of spiritual rebellion;
  5. Whether it (prapatti) is open to all, or is prescribed only for those specially prepared and apprenticed;
  6. Whether the indivisibly atomic human soul is entered into, and permeated or not by the omnipresent creator;
  7. Whether God's mercy is exerted with or without cause;
  8. Whether the same (the divine mercy) means the overlooking (dhosha darsanam) or enjoyment (dhosha bogyatvam) of the soul's delinquencies;
  9. Whether works (karma) and knowledge (Jnana) are in themselves salvation giving, or only lead to faith (bhakthi) by which final emancipation is attained;
  10. Whether the good of other (unregenerate) castes should be tolerated according^ to their j^raduated social statuses, or should be venerated without reference to caste inequalities;


An almanack dated 1765 divides Iyengars into Tadwadis and Ramanuja Vaishnavas. While the author mentions Kumbakonam as the headquarters of the Tadwadi sect he mentions Kanchipuram as the headquarters of the ramanuja Vaishnavas.

By origin

An Iyengar boy from Chittoor with a namam on his forehead, circa 1916


Iyengars, both Vadakalai and Thenkalai, are sub-divided into Hebbar, Mandyam, Generic and Sholiyar. The Generic, who form the majority are referred to as Keezhnaatu (from eastern lands) in Karnataka.

Hebbar

The Hebbars speak a unique dialect of Tamil called Hebbar Tamil. In earlier years confined to the towns of Belurmarker, Shanti Grama, Nuggehalli, Nonavinakere, Bindiganavile in the Tumkur districtmarker, and Hiremagalurmarker (all in Karnatakamarker), Hebbar Iyengars are now found in many parts of India, across Europe, and North America. Some believe that the Hebbars are the descendants of Srivaishnavas who migrated to Karnataka from Tamil Nadu, in the train of the Vaishnavite acharya Ramanuja while others feel that they are Jain Kannadigas who had been initiated into Srivaishnavism by Ramanujacharya.

Mandyam

Mandyam Iyengars are those who migrated to Mandya districtmarker in Karnataka from Tirupathi in Andhra Pradeshmarker. They are fewer in number than Hebbars and speak a unique dialect of Tamil known as Mandyam Tamil. Mandyam Iyengars, without exception,belong to the Thenkalai subsect

It is interesting to note that Iyengars of Melkotemarker, mostly of the Mandyam sect, do not celebrate Deepawali due to the lore that Tippu Sultan massacred hundreds of relatives of the Tirumaliengar, in retaliation for his having entered into an agreement with the British in 1790, on behalf of the dowager queen Rani Lakshammanni of Mysore.

Sholiyar or Chozhiar

The word Chozhiar means “of the Chola country”. Chozhiar is the name given to a sect of Brahmins native to the Chola country. While most Chozhiars profess Saivism, some profess Vaishnavism and are known as Chozhiar Iyengars. Vaishnavite Chozhiyars often intermarry with their Smartha counterparts. They usually bear titles as ‘Dikshitar’’’ or ‘Nambi’’’. The chozhiar Iyengars are a closely knit community with a high degree of cooperation and cohesion . They are also found in and around tiruchi in several agraharams like Srirangam, Puthur , Amoor etc.

Others (called Keezh naattu, in Karnataka)

Keezh naadu basically refers to their more recent connection to eastern lands. Majority fall under this class. The principal native cities in recent times are Sri Rangam, Kanchipuram, Tanjore, Madurai, Ramanadapuram and Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, Tirupati in Andhra as well as Mysooru, Mandya, Kollegaala and Hassan districts of Karnataka.

Philosophy

See Also:Vishishtadvaita and Sri Vaishnavism

Many Iyengars accept Narayana / Vishnu as the Supreme Being (Paramatma), and subscribe to a monotheistic philosophy of a Supreme Being who is the primal, substantive and supportive cause of the manifest and unmanifest universe. But it will appear strange for a Southerner to know that Vishishtadvaitam as practised in South India is an unheard term among the Vaishnav Sects in the North India.

They also recognize all other gods such as Brahma, Indra, Shiva, Agni in the Hindu pantheon as subservient to Narayana and amongst the jeevatmas (sentient souls, chit) whose existence is dependent upon the will of the Supreme Being.

The Lord of Kanchi is believed to have manifested Himself to Saint Tirukachi Nambi and have revealed the following six principles which form the six precepts of Visishtadvaita:

  1. Sriman Narayana is the supreme self; unparalleled and unsurpassed - ahameva param tattvam.
  2. The lord has all the insentient and sentient as his body, and He is the soul of everything - darshanam bhedam eva ca.
  3. The way to get salvation is surrendering to the feet of the Lord - upAyeShu prapattiH syAt.
  4. There is no need to adopt contemplation on the Lord during our final breath - antima-smRti varjanam.
  5. After the soul departs from the material body, it gets salvation if he/she adopted the means of surrender (sharaNAgati) -dehAvasAne muktiH syAt.
  6. One should approach a fully qualified Vaishnava acharya and get enlightened - (Poorna)achaaryam Samaasraya.


Sri Vaishnavam draws authority from the PrasthAna trayam, namely, Upanishads, Brahma Sutra, and Bhagavad Gita.

In addition to the PrasthAna trayam, Sri Vaishnavas consider the Tamil hymns of twelve saints called Alvars as equal in authority to that of the Vedas. These hymns are called the Divya Prabandha. The teachings found in Divya Prabhandham are completely consistent with the teachings of the Prasthana Thraiyam. Therefore, Sri Vaishnavas consider the Dhivya Prabhandhams to be equal in status to the Vedas. For this reason, Sri Vaishnavas are called Ubhaya Vedantis.

The Vaishnavite tradition began in the Puranic period. Most Iyengars follow an unbroken lineage of Acharyas. After the period of the Tamil Saints called Azhvars, the Divya Prabandha was lost. During the 9th century C.E., Sri Nathamuni retrieved them by the grace of Nammalvar and re-established Sri Vaishnavism. For this reason Sriman Nathamuni is considered the first Acharya of the modern era. In the line of Acharyas that followed, Ramanuja is considered the greatest. Among his many achievements the commentary he wrote for Brahma Sutra, called Sri Bhashyam is considered by many to be the best.

Among the Acharyas after Sri Ramanuja, Sri Vedantha Desika and Sri Manavalamamuni are considered preeminent. After the time of these two great saints several Sri Vaishnava religious orders disciples of Swami Sri Desikan. Sri Ahobila Matam is the second oldest in this line.

Religious observances

Rituals

Rituals that mark important events in life, such as Seemantham, Jatakarma, Namakaranam, Vidyabhyasam, Upanayanam, Kalyanam, Shasthiabdhapoorthi and Tarpanam are practised by Iyengars. The rituals are generally similar to practices of brahmins around India but bear great similarity to the practices of Iyers. The rituals which form a part of the person's life are Jatakarma, Upanayanam and Tarpanam.

Samasrayanam

Amongst all Srivaishnavas, there is a unique initiation ceremony into the Vaishnavite Brahmin brotherhood along with the Upanayanam. The Vasihnavite youngster is initiated into Iyengar fraternity by branding him with the Chakram(wheel) and the sanghu(conch), which are holy symbols associated with Lord Vishnu. The ceremony of initiation called Samashrayanam is usually carried out by the head of a Vaishnavite mutt. The knot in the sacred thread worn by Vaishnavites is known as Vishnu Grandhi as opposed to those worn by Smarthas which is known as Rudra Grandhi.

Weddings

See Also: Iyer Weddings

A typical Iyengar wedding are made up of the following events: Vethalaipakku, Pandalkal, Janwaasam, Nischayathartham, Nandi or Vratham, Kashiyathrai, Oonjal, Piddishuttal, Kanyadaanam, Mangalaya Dharanam, Akshathai, Homam, Saptapadi, Nagoli, Vasthra, Gruhapravesham, Sambandhi Virandhu,Reception and Nalangu.

Lifestyle and culture

See Also: Traditional Iyer Ethics,Traditional Attire

The first and foremost point of references for Iyengars with regard to their legal system is the Manusmriti. The Manusmriti prescribes a set of ethical vales to be practised. Iyengars of certain subsects of the Vadagalai sect, in particular, rigorously follow the set of values prescribed by the Manusmriti. However, of late, most of these injunctions have been discarded.

Tamil Brahmins at a convention of the Mylai Tamizh Sangam


The traditional dress of Iyengars is the same as that of other South Indian Brahmins. During religious ceremonies, Iyengar men clothe themselves in a panchagacham and an angavastram. Just like Iyers, Iyengar women wear a nine-yard long saree known as the madisar but the style of wearing the saree is different from that of the Iyers.

Iyengars sport the Sricharanam as opposed to Iyers who apply vibhuti. The significance of the Sricharanam is that it represents the Goddess Lakshmi, the divine consort of Lord Vishnu and is considered an important representative of one's faith in the Divine. It is typical for devout Iyengars to wear the Sricharanam (along with, in many cases, the Thirumann) at all times, except when they perform the morning duties and subsequently the ablutions prescribed as part of the Nityakarma or daily activities.

Politics



Post-independence, Iyengars, along with Iyers, have been marginalized by the anti-Brahmin Movement in Tamil Nadu. Prior to independence, Iyengars along with Iyers, held a monopoly over education and had a firm control over the administrative machinery in Madras province. The Iyengar community can take just pride in having produced the first Congress Chief Minister of Madras province, the first Indian Governor-General of India and a leading luminary of the freedom movement, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari. However, ironically, it was partially to Rajaji's policies, that Tamil Brahmins, owe their downfall. A couple of legislations brought into effect by the Rajaji Government that ruled from 1937 to 1940 and 1950 to 1952 decreed that the children in a family should learn and master the trade of their parents and that Hindi should be made compulsory for government jobs. These legislations, more than anything else, were responsible for vitiating the communal atmosphere in the province resulting in the rapid growth of the Dravidian Movement. Rajaji was elected for a second term in 1952 but with Rajaji's resignation as Chief Minister two years later and his replacement by Kamaraj, the downfall began. Iyers and Iyengars were gradually effaced out of the political scene by the rise of Dravidianism and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam which captured power in 1967. Today, Iyengars, along with Iyers, have almost disappeared from the political arena with the exception of a few individuals. Brahmin individuals still continue to wield considerable authority as the example of Jayalalithaa Jayaram, AIADMK which is a Dravidian party, two-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and the current Leader of Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly would indicate.

Iyengars and Iyers

The Iyengar community has evolved mostly through the conversion of Smartha Brahmins and, to a lesser extent, non-Brahmins. Edgar Thurston says that a large number of Thummagunta Dravida Brahmins belonging to the Iyer subsect have been converting to Srivaishnavism even during his lifetime. He also states that the Vaishnavite Thummagunta Dravida marry only Thummagunta Dravida women and hence the numbers of Vaishnavite converts had been swelled through marriage alliances with the Thummagunta Smarthas.

Iyengars have much in common with Iyers with respect to their observance of Vedic rituals, lifestyle, traditions, heritage, history and culture. They descend from the same set of Gotras. However significant differences arise mainly with respect to their adherence to the Vishishtadvaita philosophy, monastic affiliation, marriage traditions and to a small extent vocabulary. Another notable difference is the way the traditional nine yards saree(madisaar) is draped by the Iyengar women.

Iyengars today



As "Srivaisnava." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 22 May 2009 /search.eb.com/eb/article-9069320> states: "Srivaisnava Brahmans are much given to scholarly pursuits and have earned for themselves the honorary title of acarya ..".

Iyengars today have diversified into a variety of fields—their strengths particularly evident in the fields of law, mass media,medicine business, science, engineering, mathematics and computer science. However, even today, a few Iyengars choose to pursue the vocation of priesthood. Iyengars have been active in the cultural field too. Music has always been integral to the Iyengar community; Carnatic music has a great tradition within the community with many contemporary performers originating from the Iyengar community. Apart from vocal music, instruments such as mridangam, naadaswaram, veena, ghatam, violin, and more recently, the mandolin etc., Bharatanatyam were also patronized. Carnatic music and Bharathanatyam together enjoy a rich patronage in the cultural festivities in and around Chennaimarker during the months of December and January (Margazhi or Mrgasheersha). For a list of Iyengars who have achieved prominence in their vocations, see List of Iyengars.

Criticism

See Also: Criticism of Iyers,Brahminism,Anti-Brahminism,Caste-Based Reservations in Tamil Nadu

The Manusmriti forbids Brahmins from eating with individuals of particular castes (particularly the Scheduled Castes) and prescribed a strict code of laws with regard to their day-to-day behavior and dealings with other castes. Iyengars of orthodox families along with Iyers generally obeyed these laws strictly even though the food was grown by people of lower castes.

Grievances and alleged instances of discrimination by Brahmins are believed to be the main factors which fuelled the Dravidian Movement. This, in combination with the depressed economic and social conditions of non-Brahmins, led the non-Brahmins to agitate and form the Justice Party in 1916, which later became the Dravidar Kazhagam. The Justice Party banked on vehement anti-Hindu and anti-Brahmin propaganda to ease Brahmins out of their privileged positions. Gradually, the non-Brahmin replaced the Brahmin in every sphere and destroyed the monopoly over education and the administrative services which the Brahmin had previously held.

However, with the destruction of Brahmin monopoly over the services and introduction of adequate representation for other communities, anti-Brahmin feelings did not subside. On the contrary, they were fully exploited by politicians, who often indulged in anti-Brahmin rhetoric primarily in order to get non-Brahmin votes. Deprived of opportunities, Tamil Brahmins began to migrate en masse to other states in India and foreign countries in search of livelihood. There were frequent allegations of casteism and racism against Brahmins very similar to the ones made by the lower castes against them in the decades before independence.

However, despite accusations of casteism against Iyengars abd Iyers, there have been a number of instances wherein Iyengars have toiled to remove caste-barriers. Sir P. Rajagopalachari, during his tenure as the Dewan of Travancore brought forth legislations to permit Dalit and Izhava children in schools notwithstanding the vehement protests of the Malayali upper-castes. It was also due to his efforts that restrictions towards nomination of low-castes and untouchables to the Travancore State Assmebly were removed. Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, during his tenure as the Chief Minister of Madras Presidency enacted an act similar to the Temple Entry Proclamation issued in Travancore that permitted the entry of Dalits into Hindu temples.

Another important accusation hurled upon was that they were Sanskritists who entertained a distorted and contemptuous attitude towards Tamil language, culture and civilization

However, a detailed study of the history of Tamil literature proves this accusation wrong. The renowned Dravidologist Kamil Zvelebil, in his book Companion Studies to the History of Tamil Literature, even goes to the extent of saying that the Brahmin was chosen as a scapegoat to answer for the decline of Tamil civilization and culture in the medieval and post-medieval periods.

The Nalayira Divya Prabandham is regarded as the Tamil Veda and is recited along with the Vedas during festival processions.

Famous Iyengars

See List of Iyengars

Notes

  1. An Universal History, Pg 109
  2. Photos of Iyengars, From Kamat's Potpourri
  3. Essays on Indo-Aryan Mythology By Maṇḍayam A. Nārāyaṇa Aiyaṅgār 1898: [1]
  4. Meaning of Iyengar; from Answers.com
  5. Lester, Robert C. The Sattada Srivaisnavas. The Journal of the American Oriental Society January 1, 1994 .
  6. Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Pg 348
  7. A brief description of Nalayira divya prabandham
  8. A brief biography of Sri Nathamuni, from srivaishnava.org
  9. Ramanujar and 74
  10. Ramanuja from stephen-knapp.com
  11. Biography of Ramanuja
  12. Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Pg 334
  13. G. S. Ghurye, Pg 393
  14. Article claiming that Hebbars were migrants who moved from Tamil Nadu in the 11th century AD and that the language of Hebbars is derived from an archaic form of Tamil
  15. Similarities, Differences and Distinctions between Vadakalai and Thenkalai Iyengars
  16. Article on Iyengars
  17. Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Pg 350
  18. http://www.goodnewsindia.com/index.php/Magazine/story/melkote-sanskrit-academy/
  19. Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Pg 352
  20. The Six Principles of Visishtadvaita
  21. offences to the Sri Vaishnavas By Sri Sri Nitai Das Prabhu
  22. Ahobila Mutt Home Page
  23. A brief history of Alwars and the 108 Divya Desams or Abodes of Vishnu
  24. NAlAyira Divya Prabandham free download
  25. Biography of Vedanta Desikan
  26. Gopala Vimsati stothra of Vedanta Desikan
  27. Sri Manavalamamnighal Thiruvarasu Project
  28. List of Acharyas from Ahobila Matam mwebsite
  29. List of Oran-Vazhi Lineage of Vaishnavite Teachers
  30. Holy thread, why should I wear it? What benefit do I get out of it? by T.R.S.Iyengar
  31. Requirements for an Iyengar Upanayanam by T.R.S.Iyengar (in Tamil)
  32. Tarpana Manthram (in English)
  33. Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Pg 349
  34. Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Pg 277
  35. Ritual ceremonies and customs, Tamil Iyengar wedding
  36. [Are Brahmins the Dalits of Today http://in.rediff.com/news/2006/may/23franc.htm]
  37. [Dalits in Reverse, an article from Indian magazine The Outlook http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20050411&fname=Brahmins+(F)&sid=1]
  38. Superiority in Numbers from Tehelka.com, April 22, 2006
  39. Caste and the Tamil Nation by Nambi Arroran, from tamilnation.org
  40. A brief biography of Rajaji
  41. A brief timeline of Anti-Hindi agitations in Madras province (later Tamil Nadu)
  42. Anti-Hindi agitations in Tamil Nad, Tamil Tribune
  43. Caste in Indian Politics by Rajni Kothari, Pg 254
  44. Ayyankali, Chapter 4:Kerala's First Workers Strike
  45. Ayyankali, Chapter 8:Praja Sabha Member-2e
  46. P.V.Manickam Naicker, writes in 'The Tamil Alphabet and its Mystic Aspect', 1917,Pg 74-75: "Even should Dutt's description of the aryanisation be true, the real Aryan corpus in South-India came to nothing. A cranial study of the various classes will also confirm the same. The lecturer, being a non-Brahmin, wishes to leave nothing to be misunderstood. His best and tried friends are mostly Brahmins and he is a sincere admirer of them. There is no denying the fact that the ancestors of the present Brahmins were the most cultured among the South-Indians at the time the said Aryanisation took place and got crystallized into a class revered by the people. As the cultured sons of the common mother Tamil, is it not their legitimate duty to own their kinsmen and to cooperate and uplift their less lucky brethren, if they have real patriotism for the welfare of the country? On the contrary, the general disposition of many a Brahmin is to disown his kinship with the rest of the Tamil brethern, to disown his very mother Tamil and to comstruct an imaginary untainted Aryan pedigree as if the Aryan alone is heaven-born
  47. Zvelebil, Pg 197
  48. P.V.Manickam Naicker, in his The Tamil Alphabet and its Mystic Aspect writes: "At least one of them is explicit in his endeavour to establish page after page and chapter after chapter, untainted Aryan pedigree for the Brahmins and Brahmins alone among the South-Indians. As such, he has naturally no scruples to say that the Tamils have nothing excellent or high which can be claimed as their own. Whatever is bad in them is their heritage and whatever good in them they owe to Sanskrit.
  49. Companion Studies to the History of Tamil Literature,Pg 216
  50. Companion Studies to the History of Tamil Literature,Pg 212
  51. Companion Studies to the History of Tamil Literature,Pg 213


See also



References



Further reading



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