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Social Struggles of Nadars - (1600-1900 AD)

As a matter of fact, the struggles of the Nadars, analyzed from the available history, has started from the attack of Alexander the great, around 326 BC, when the group of Sangha or Gana (Kana) branch of Nadars had resisted his advance. Nadars who had a strong philosophy of 'Peace Loving' attitude like the great Buddhists and Jains, were not for any war. But, when compelled to war, they never retreated, a racial character that they even today hold to the ground. There might be hundreds of struggles. But, their brutal fall was inflicted through their own brethren. The Chola kings who were instigated to fight against the principles of non-violence of the Nadar kingdoms in the 10th and 11th century AD, repeatedly had taken against the brother countries, the Pandyas and the Cheras. These wars had gone for more than one hundred years, and the consequences had crushed them with abolishing (being compelled) of their faith in Buddhism and Jainism. When we know that Mahavira a son of a Nadar (Nata-Putra) tribe of Lichchavis, from the gotra of Sri Buddha, (The History and Culture of Indian People, vol II, III) it is not any wonder to say that the history of the Nadars are not to be taken so lightly. South India was embraced by Jainism and the way of character that the Nadars adhered to even this day, are proof for it. Instigated by Brahmanic (new or modern Arya) religion, the Chola king compelled the extermination of 8000 Nadar Jain saints in a single day by sending them to the gallows. This is followed by the destruction of almost all the Jain shrines from South India. But, it is very strange to observe that in the South, Kanyakumari district, they secretly or sometimes, openly held to their faith and rituals even up to 1918, a proof of this is seen in the inscription lying in the Chitharal Thiruchanathu Jain temple built during Asokas period, and renovated in the 9th century AD, by King Ko-Karunthadakkan, an Aye Nadan. Rudiments of depiction in Sri Nagaramman temple at Nagercoil too is an example to this. The earliest relics are still observed in the Kazhugumalai temple at Madurai.
After the Chola expedition the other brothers, the Pandya and Chera Nadans, we observe that they go in a multi-religious forms, sometimes following Saivism, or sometimes as Vaishnavites, and sometimes as the Nagas etc. Even though there had been marriage alliance between the Cholas and the Chera kings, the later days were in friction and sometimes in rebellion.
As the invasions of the Moguls came to the Southern Pandya country around 12th century AD, there had occurred many debacles for the Nadars, especially betrayed by their accountants and advisers, siding with the new arrivals. The in-fights among the royal brothers like that of the Sundara Pandyan, had invited newer problems to them and finally came the fatal Nayaks to establish their power in the Nadar oriented Pandya territory. This has a great impact on the Cheras also. We find that lots of fleeing from the Tamil Pandya country to the Chera land, during the period of Nayaks from 1566 to around 1700 AD. One inscription dated 1493 from Kallidaikurchi, informs us that this is the after-effect of the Muslim invasion and the process starts even from the period around 1493, instigated by the Pillamar or the Vellala community, who, till then had remained subjugated to the Nadar Supremacy.
By the beginning of 18th and 19th century AD, although we find that some Chieftains are still having their good establishments, the newly formed political situation with the presence of the British , French, the Dutch,. etc., have engulfed the power of the NADALVARS. Now, by the beginning of the 20th century AD, the Nadars are reduced to a economically backward community, being snatched off their lands and wealth by the Palayakkara (Nayaks), 1600-1700 AD, the Ettuviittil Pillamar, (through Velu Thampy Dalawa (1801-1809) who killed many number of Nadar land owners and confiscated their wealth in a very large number and had given to his allied groups of Nairs and Pillamar that the world had not seen before (The Dravidian Lineges). This age is followed by the imposition of taxation (HEAVY AS 120 TYPES OF TAXES ON THE NADARS) SO THAT THEY CAN NEVER THINK OF COMING BACK TO POWER FOR GENERATIONS. This period is the most DARK PERIOD in the history of the Nadars, their true history being marred and buried. Further, they were attacked even in sociological norms, by humiliating , creating new rules that they shall not enter into the temples, can not wear cloths on the upper part of the body, and must perform uliyam ( free service without wages), etc.,. These all indicate the heavy punishment imposed on a vanquished ruler who had been captured by the victor, as was seen imposed on tribes like the Israelites, or as envisaged in the French Revolutions. Those were such sorts of evils that the Nadars had to fight in the latter 19th and 20th century AD. We are to remember that it was during these periods that the history of India was written being initiated by many foreign powers like the British and the Dutch. Naturally, the Nadars have missed many of their historical fabrics being recorded in the texts. It was this period that Edward Thurston has studied the Castes of India and wrote the great book Castes and Tribes of India. He was guided by many of the Brahmanic (modern) groups who have misguided the history to a great extent.
Although elaborate studies are not conducted on the Nadars of the Northern States, their conditions too had been reduced to that of a backward position. The Aryanism and the latter 'modern' Brahmanism, have reduced the Nadar Kshatriyas to poverty, except the few families in power who were boosted by the Brahmins to get free gifts of huge lands and wealth for them. By this time the temples have all become the total play grounds for the Brahmins, and many of the aboriginal Kshatriya castes had been ousted by them saying they were unclean or unworthy of gods and 'worship'. At the same time, the Brahmins took hold of another earlier lower communities as the Shudras,{Nairs} or Pillai, etc., and upgraded them to the position, closer to them in order to give a thrashing blow to the fallen true kshatriaya Nadans. This has happened to the Sens, Bhoumick (Lords of Soil), Choudhuries (Chiefs), Mandels (like the Gramani Nadans), Kalal (Kalar), or Jayaswals (Madhvas) Gouds, Bhants, Idigas, Bhandare, Kavara, Villa as (Bhills), Alwars, Ahlvalia, and many of the Jaina and Buddhists, and even to the Sikh communities of the North also. Hence leaders like Guru Nanak, Mudisoodum Perumal, Bhoole, Shinde, Sri Narayana Guru, Ambedkar,Chattambiswamigal, Iyyankaali, etc., have come up to revolutioise the society in the country.
But the Nadars had shown the face of Revolt as early as 1559,1660, through Alwar Naden, Kalikaatha Perumal Nadar, etc., who had defied the laws of the Nayaks and fought to enter the temple. But, it took almost 200 years for them to fight back all the odds, before they could finally get their rights registered through legal declaration in the 20th century AD. Saint Ayya Vaikundaswamigal was arrested, put in jail, even put under the den of Lions, and also in a chamber of brimstone, but, his holy Sainthood prevailed him to come out successful in his stand for Revolutionary freedom. He even defied the written conditions of the King to make comprise with him to quit the Revolutions. Then the movement was followed by Sri Narayan Guru, and after a few decades, by Chattambiswamigal for nthe cause of the Shudras. . These revolutions have shown the path for Dalit leaders like Babasahib Ambedkar and many others in the later years.Christian missionaries also have helped Nadars in the process
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