Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The origin of Nadars - Hardgrave states that the Teri palmrya forests of today’s Tiruchendur district must have been the origin of the Nadars. The renowned Nadar historian,Samuel Sarugunar, claimed that the Nadars are the descendants of the ancient rulers of Cheran, Cholan and Pandyan kingdoms and that when Nayak rulers captured the Pandya country, they divided the country into several Palayams(divisions) and appointed Palaiyakkars as rulers. The Nayaks rulers of Tamil Nadu ,as per the claims of Sargunar, imposed Deshaprashtam ostracism on the ancient Pandyas (Nadars),to ensure that their rise wouldn't ever happen. These claims are ,however, not baseless. The traditions followed by the Nelamaikkarars and the existence of the ruins beneath the Teri palmrya forests of Tiruchendur and ancient Pandyan capital city of Korkai, where the Nadar population is predominant, suggest they could very well be the heirs of the Early Pandyas. The two inscriptions at Kalladaikurichi suggest that in medieval times the Nadars served as administrators and accountants both in Chera and Pandya countries. However, there is little evidence to suggest that the Nadars could also be the descendants of the later Pandya rulers, as per the Nadars' claim. The identity or caste of the Pandyan kings remains a mystery. This belief, that the Nadars had been the kings of Tamil Nadu, became the dogma of the Nadar community in the 19thcentury.

From the 16th to 19th century AD, the Nadars had to struggle under the new Caste system imposed by the Aryan Agents and had to fight hard to come up socially, economically and politically. 

During these periods, Nadars faced many struggles like "The Temple Entry Movement, The Upper Cloth Revolution, The Human Rights Movements" by many leaders like Rao Bahadur T.Rattinasami Nadar, Vellayyan Nadar, Mooka Nadan, WPA.Soundara Pandyan Nadar, Ayya Mudisoodum Perumal, and Marshal A.Nesamony were fought and won over.

 Birth of a Revolution - Nadar Mahajana Sagham

Porayar Bungalow where the Nadar Mahajana Sagham was found

Rao Bahadur T.Rattinasami Nadar, a wealthy Nadar of Poraiyar, Thanjavur district (Borther of T. Gurusamy Nadar, Zamindar of Ariyalur). He was politically ambitious and sought to become a member of the legislative assembly , representing the Nadar community. As there was no organization to represent the whole Nadar community, Rattinasami Nadar invited prominent leaders of the Nadar community for a plenary session in February 1910. Rattinasami Nadar's uncle, V. Ponnusami Nadar, was elected to become the first president of the association, Nadar Mahajana Sagham. The association was open to any Nadar male of any subcaste or religion. The general purpose of the association was to uplift the entire Nadar community. The conferences initially held were dominated by the Northern Nadars.

The campaign against toddy was one of the first steps taken by the Nadar Mahajana Sagham to enhance the social advancement of the entire Nadar community. Though majority of the Nadar climbers were engaged in the production of jaggery, a significant number of Nadar climbers were also involved in the production of toddy. The Sagham urged the Nadar climbers to abandon their traditional occupation of toddy tapping and not to sell hard toddy. However many Nadar climbers were reluctant to give up their profitable occupation. The situation got out of hand when Nadar leaders tried to intimidate the climbers, by using tenets of their cult, to give up their occupation as toddy tappers. To ease the situation the district magistrate issued a proclamation restricting the climbers to sell hard toddy only in specific regions, where toddy can be legally drawn. However the Sagham's campaign was effective for only about a year.

 The Sagham then in order to aid the depressed climbers, sought to abolish the tax levied on palmrya trees. After the establishment of the Prohibition(of toddy) act in the Northern districts of Madras Presidency, the Nadar Mahajana Sagham along with its sister association,Dakshina Mara Nadar Sagham of Tirunelveli, sought to remove it to aid the depressed climbers. The British advisor government in turn suspended the act. However, the prohibition act was reintroduced after the independence. Under the rules of the act, the climbers could only tap between 4 am to 2pm and sell sweet toddy between 6am and 2pm.These procedures can also only be practiced by climbers who have license. The rigid government rules pressurized the depressed climbers. The two prominent Nadars saghams constantly pressurized the government and eventually the enforcement of these regulations gradually eased. By mid 1950's, the government assigned cooperative societies to promote jaggery production.

Famous Nadars who made Nadar Society what it is now !

K. Kamaraj (15 July 1903– 2 October 1975) was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975. He was known for his simplicity and integrity.
He was involved in the Indian independence movement. As a high ranking office bearer of the Indian National Congress, he was instrumental in bringing to power two Prime Ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1964 and Indira Gandhi in 1966. In Tamil Nadu, his home state, he is still remembered for bringing school education to millions of the rural poor by introducing free education and the free Mid-day Meal Scheme during his tenure as chief minister. He was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, posthumously in 1976.The domestic terminal of the Chennai airport is named "Kamaraj Terminal" in his honour and the Madurai Kamaraj University has been renamed after him.

Rao Bahadur T. Rattinasami Nadar is the founder of Nadar Mahajana Sangam. He founded the organisation with a number of leaders from Nadar community under the presidency of his uncle in 1910. The Sangam was founded to extend demands for membership in Madras Legislative Council. Rettinasami Nadar died one year after the founding of the Sangam

 W. Pattiveeranpatti Ayya Soundarapandian Nadar (September 28, 1893 – February 22, 1953) was a leading figure in Nadar Mahajana Sangam and became the first Nadar member of the Madras Legislative Council upon a recommendation by P.T. Rajan in 1920. He is known for his effort to associate the Nadar community with the Self-Respect Movement founded by Periyar E. V. Ramasamy. He was known as the uncrowned king of the Nadar community.

T . Gurusamy Nadar was the first and only Hindu Zamindar of Nadar society. He was the Zamndar of Ariyalur. He lived in Porayar and was a distillery tycoon. His son T.G. Rathanasamy Nadar was the President of Nadar Mahajana Sangham for a long time.

M. P. Sivagnanam, popularly known as Ma.Po.Si (26 June 1906 – 3 October 1995), was an Indian politician and the founder of the political party Tamil Arasu Kazhagam. He has authored more than 100 books. He was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly from Thiyagarayanagar constituency contesting as a DMK contestant in 1967.His participation in the demarcation of TamilNadu has made him an important figure in the state’s history. It was through his efforts the state could retain Madras(now renamed as Chennai) and got Tiruttani from Andhra Pradesh (due to his the namade vs manade agitation) . He was the chairman (presiding officer) of Tamil Nadu Legislative Council when it was abolished by M. G. Ramachandran in 1986.

Si. Balasubramania Adithan (1905–1981), popularly called as Adithanar, was a Tamil lawyer, politician, minister and founder of the Tamil daily newspaper Dina Thanthi. He was the founder of the We Tamils party and served as the member of the Madras Legislative Council for two terms and as the member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly for four terms. He was the Speaker of the Assembly during 1967-68 and Tamil Nadu's minister for Cooperation in the M. Karunanidhi cabinets of 1969 and 1971. 

Sivanthi Adithan is the owner of Tamil newspapers Dina Thanthi and Maalaimalar. The Government of India has awarded him Padmashri in the year 2008. He is the son of late S. P. Adithanar, founder of Dina Thanthi

K. P. Kandasamy was a politician from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and founder of Dinakaran, a Tamil daily newspaper. He founded Dinakaran in support of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) when his father-in-law, S. P. Adithanar, chose to support Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam during its split from DMK in 1977. He was the member of the fifth Tamil Nadu assembly.