This blog serves a purpose- to share my experiences, knowledge, travels, and personal views with my family, friends and also to rest of the world. Life has been a roller coaster of a ride so far, but the journey i have embarked on is certainly proving to be a great one. The article is no where near complete, therefore you are most welcomed to sail with me. Consider this my personal diary, opened to you. Enjoy the ride- of Life and its Beauty.

July 24, 2008

Nagarathar Community- My Pride

Hi Guys!
ok next on my list was to blog about a cultural night i attended and also volunteered to help in. The event was titled Nagarathar Nite 08'. I get it, Loads of are confused with the term "Nagarathar", right? So if i was to blog on the event, most of you'd be a little lost. Therefore, i thought I'd give a short intro to this term and my immediate community of people.
Intro, The Nagarathars are a Chettiar community that originated in Kaveripoompatinum under the Chola kingdom of India. They are a prominent mercantile "caste" in Tamil Nadu, South India. I say "caste" because, these days this caste system is not really looked at anymore. In Malaysia and other countries we still follow this system, no not for ruling purposes nor to look down on other people (Used to happen decades ago!) but instead,now, we use it to an advantage, as a platform for success by working together and helping each other. That's about it this caste system goes. Oh, and not to forget, for Marriages too! i shall get back to this later in my post- Keep Reading...

A little more on history class yeah, bare with me, please. Nagarathars are Hindus whom originate from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. They have been trading with Southeast Asia since the heyday of the Chola empire, but in the 19th century they migrated to countries throughout Southeast Asia. Nagarathars, also known as Nattukotai Chettiars, were an important trading class of 19th and 20th century South East Asia. Chettiars were traditionally involved in occupations like money lending and wholesale trading. At this moment we have a population of 1 million worldwide!! (not too big, but still its a large number of people..)

To the Dressing, Chettiars those days were Very well dressed and loaded with jewelery. They were always well dressed, even at home. As they were very well respected people in the local communities in India. Even in Malaysia, Chettiar traders from India got special good attention from the Brits during their rule here. Advantages were there when you said you were a Chettiar. Houses were Mansions or a smaller scale of castles with magnificent carvings and expensive building materials. Such pride did they carry in portraying wealth...

Religious activities? Nagarathars spread Hinduism in Asian countries as well as business. Even today, one can find temples dedicated to the Hindu deity, Murugan, spread throughout Asia.
Want Stats?
Malaysia- 15 Temples
Singapore - 2 Temples
Myanmar- 50 Temples (yes! thats alot!!)
Ho Chi Minh City- 2 temples
well, these are a few of the countries outside India who have built and are maintaining Temples of their own.
Proud to say, The Famous Thaipusam Festival in Malaysia, is also celebrated at a grand scale in Penang! (besides Batu Caves). Nattukotai Waterfall Temple in Penang is the Temple which organises this event in Penang. (pals, now you know why i go All the way to Penang waaay before Thaipusam, and that by skipping class too!)

This community has over the time flourished in agriculture and trade. The community is famous for its trade in spices and hotel industry. Now it also has a large number of banks in India which was founded by Chettiars. There are Universities also in India founded by Chettiar ancestors, famous Indian poets too. Sides them, there are alot of Chettiars in the Film Industry in India and media channels. Indian Minsters also do we have, and many Indrustiallists too both in India and Malaysia. In Malaysia we have Dato' P.Kasi, one of Malaysia's richest man i must highlight.

Now to the delicious food, chettinad chicken and fish curries are extremely famous throughout south India! Well, those are the real famous dishes, sides that there are Loads! Chettinad Cuisine is very famous among local indians too. Now, there are even cookbooks on em'! (There is also a book on our heritage...)

Now to the Interesting thing for my friends now, Marriages. yeap, in this community its a complicated thing to explain! Let me try, but first a little history first, The king of Pandiya gave the Nagarathar community nine villages. They built a temple in each of them and created the "9 temple" division of the community. Initially, the Nagarathars lived in 96 villages surrounding the temple. Members of each temple society treat each other as brothers and sisters or "pangalis" and thus marriage is not allowed amongst members of the same temple. Men and women of different temples marry, and the bride automatically becomes a member of the groom's temple. get it? pretty simple come to think of it. i'll skip the temple names, it will be hard to pronounce, most of them.
In todays community, the thing which has still maintained is the must of a person to get married within the Chettiar community, and we Chettiars still strongly follow it and also of course the not-from-the-same-temple rule above as these both are a matter of pride and honour for parents and relatives.

Hope this answers the tonnes of questions I have gotten in the past few years from my mates whenever i use the term "my community", "Chettiar" and on, Marriages. ;)
I am proud to be a member of- Nagarathar / Chettiar Community. Very.
(Especially with the Youth Wing kicking into gear!)
Cheers!

Next Up: Nagarathar Nite 08' :)

13 comments:

  1. great post with loads of new knowledge...=p keep it up

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  2. lol. Thank you soo jin!
    haha, new knowledge on me i hope. lol. bet ya didnt know bout this. haha. thanks...;)

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  3. yeah yeah i seriously don't know so much about your community...hehe..now i do..at least a little. =p

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  4. i got really honoured experiance after reading this & i feel proud 2 born in chettier community even i heared more about our community please get me

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  5. grow up man.. its is history.. there is nothing to be proud about it.. we have to move one... its bad that we are making life trouble for most of the younger generation ppl by following this thing of marrying inside the community.. we have to accept intercaste marriages..

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  6. and stop bragging .. a nagarthar has to do his family buisness and none of us are doing it now.. which just takes away everything from you... nagarathar are history... you might be born in that community that doesn mean you are part of it unless you do their buisness.. FYI even i belong to your community and totally feels its crap to still hold on to these silly caste things...

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  7. Nagarathar achievements in those days are pride of every one and not only to people belonging to Nagarathar Community alone. Your statement that you are pride to be in that community does not add any pride to you. It only shows your caste consciousness and obsession with caste system. You can consider yourself pride to be Nagarathar provided you have achieved anything like Nagarathar of yester years. They did business and provided employment to others. Now most of you work for others on monthly salary. They built palatial houses those days. Now most of you are not even able to earn enough even to maintain it. Most of the palatial houses built by your fore Grand Fathers are in dilapidated status now. Thanks to your callousness. What quality and qualification you have to call yourself as Nagarathars any more except few. Regarding marriage rules, it affects mostly Nagarathar Community as they are not able to find suitable partner within their community near to the place they live and especially in the Citizenship of their present Country. I have seen Girls not able to get married even after attaining age of 30 years because Fathers are very rigid in their rule towards their community.

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  8. Honestly, grow up guys. The way you lot have the heart to disown your own children if they chose to marry someone who isnt from your caste is simply

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  9. Still they should mature themselfs to accept intercast marriages

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  10. Pl grow up guys.I'm also from same community.FYI..My brother is 32 years old.Still we cannot able to find a suitable partner for him.My parents became sick becos of this.Nowadays it's very tough to find a bride or groom in nagarathar.At this time why don't they allow intercaste marriage.They should answer for this.

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  11. Brother ...Population of Nagarathars is around 100,000.and not 1 million.

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  12. It is a fake community first of all . There origin is different .nagarathar community is a mix up of isai vellalar and nagrathar .Dont be proud of this.This pulli system is useless.I really encourage intercaste marriage.Y cant we make a group or blogspot where boys and girls who are willing to to do intercaste marriage who belong to nagrathar can know each other .There are lot nagrathar families who are willing to do intercaste marriage.It will help them for sure. Most of the boys are are unmarried today .. plz think ...

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  13. The boys ready to get married must come out of the community and seek girls from outside--you can see a number of girls are available from other community in the market.You can make your own choice without wasting the prime period of your early life
    This is my own personal experience

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