Jump to content
IndiaDivine.org
Sign in to follow this  
gokulkr

Saurashtrians - The Genuine Aryans (Part Three)

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

3

Social Life and Cultural Pattern

 

 

Physiognomy and dress:

 

These Saurashtrians who are speakers of an Aryan language and who reside in the Dravida land are distinguished easily from their Tamil neighbors. The colour of the skin of the Saurashtrians is somewhat yellowish. As compared to the Tamil neighbor, he is thin, long and handsome (1 bookmark). His Aryan origin can be inferred from his physiognomy. A Saurashtri male is usually having good height and he looks handsome. He keeps a shikhā (hair-knot; turf of hair) on his head. The dress of a Saurashtri woman is akin to that of a Tamil woman. The Saurashtri women visit the Meenākshi temple regularly in the evening; they are more particular in this religious observance than the women of other communities (2 bookmark). From the black colour of the Tamil people, the yellowish, brown white colour of the Saurashtrians can be clearly distinguished. Their pronunciations are different. They are more shy by nature. The complexion of the Saurashtri women is more white. The beauty of their figure is not so captivating as that of the women in Saurashtra and Gujarat, and they have not also the ill luck of some Dravidian women who are not very remarkable for their physical beauty. “Saurashtrians maintain their original customs of the homeland. In physiognomy, they are different from the Tamils. Their colour is yellowish. He looks more handsome and intelligent. Tamils call them “Chettis” (3 bookmark). The word “Chetti” is derived from Sanskrit word “Shresthi”, usually meaning “merchant” or “trader”.

 

Bookmark 1:

J.H.Nelson: “The Madura Country,” Part VI; Page 87.

Bookmark 2:

K.R.R.Shashtri; “The Madura Saurashtra Community” Page 3.

Bookmark 3:

“Manual of the Madurai District.”

Bookmark 4:

“History of Saurashtra”, Page 13.

 

The Saurashtrians are brave and yet humble, God-fearing, honoring their guests, loving festivals and entertainment (4 bookmark). Their special characteristic as a community is the dexterity of weaving silk-cloth and mercantile ability. They are very keen to stick to truth in their dealings. In their literature ‘settu’ (meaning ‘satya’; truth) has been highly placed as a human virtue. An emphasis on ‘settu’ (truth) is specially laid in their work “Saurāshtra Nitishambu” (5 bookmark). The other groups of people who have come in their contact speak highly of their truthfulness.

 

The dress of the Saurashtri male is akin to the dress of the other Hindu males. They keep “Khesa” (Scarf: a piece of cloth kept on the shoulders) on their shoulders, when they move about. Some Saurashtrians are wearing the ‘dhoti’ (white garment wrapped round waist and tucked in) and wrap it around; some Saurashtrians wear the ‘dhoti’, keeping the folds. Even in the hottest summer, they do not put on chapels or shoes. As the Tamils staying in a hot climate do not feel any terror of heat, similarly the Saurashtrians also are habituated to the hot climate and they are seen walking in the streets without putting on any chappals or shoes even in the hottest month of Vaishakha. The men keep the shikhā (hair-knot) on the head. The weavers wear few clothes; particularly at the time of weaving, they are wearing a small piece of dhoti, leaving their upper half quite bare. Even the males are putting a vermilion mark (Bindi) on the forehead. When they have to go to a religious festival or a social meeting, they will not step out without putting this vermilion mark (Bindi) on the forehead. When they have to go to a religious festival or a social meeting, they will not step out without putting this vermilion mark (like the ladies) on the forehead.

 

The western influence is felt more on the attire of the males. But on the whole, the western influence on the dress is not found to the extent to which it is felt in the Western or Northern India. The Saurashtrian dress for the males consists of a dhoti, shirt and ‘Khesa’ put on the shoulders.

 

Bookmark 5:

“Saurashtra Nitishambu,” Stanzas 10-13

 

The style of wearing the sari by the Saurashtrian women is different from that of the Tamil women. The unmarried women wear the saris in the Bengali style, but the married women wear the saris in the ‘Kachhotā’ style. This Marathi influence on the female dress is quite clear. It is believed in the conservative circle of women as a sort of superstition that if a married woman, who has not worn the sari in the ‘Kachhotā’ style, makes any movement, commits a sin at every step of her movement. Now the social reform is in progress, and therefore the modern educated women do not believe in such superstitions and they do not wear their sari in the ‘Kachhotā’ style. But generally, the custom of wearing the sari in the Marathi style is not prevalent in the Saurashtri areas excepting Madurai. The shape and form of ornaments worn by the Saurashtri women are akin to those of the Telugu Brahmin women. The vermilion mark on the forehead of the males is smaller to that of the females. The flowers are used in plenty. The women have invariably braid of flowers (veni) on their heads. They will not turn out without putting on a braid of flowers (Veni). The male guest is honoured with a bunch of flowers or a garland of flowers. The female guests are honoured with braid of flowers (Veni).

 

The women folk are fond of putting on the ornaments. Women of ordinary families also will put on diamonds. Very precious diamonds are put on by the ladies in the rich families. There are three holes in the nose, right, left and middle. In these three small holes, three ornaments are worn by the ladies. There are ear-ornaments also. Even the males are putting on the ornaments of the ear. The earrings worn by the Saurashtri women are not very long as they are with the Dravid women. Like the Tamil women, the Saurashtri women tie their hair very hard. The parting of the hair is either straight or curved. The girls wear the skirt and blouse like the girls in Saurashtra and Gujarat. The ends of the skirt are not sewn together. A sari of seven, eight nine or ten yards is worn. The saris of silk and big borders are in vogue. Silken sari is more in fashion. The Tilak mark (mark of pigment) is made by the men on their forehead. The Tilak mark is not made by the women. Women make the vermilion mark only. The women put on rings even in the fingers on their feet. The kajjal (Collyrium, soot) is applied to their eyes by women. All women can wear black clothes. There is no superstition for the black clothes. On the contrary the widows cannot put black or white clothes. In Saurashtra the Kāthi women wear the black clothes. In Saurashtra and Gujarat widows can put on black or white clothes only, they cannot put on coloured clothes. On the contrary, Saurashtrian widows cannot put on black or white clothes; not only that, they cannot wear clothes which have a black border on it. The Saurashtri women in the elderly age group do not wear the blouse. This is just like Tamil women. Tamil women, who are elderly, do not wear the blouse. This Tamil custom has influenced the Saurashtri women. Nowa-days some elderly Saurashtri women have begun to wear the blouse. Women put on the diamonds in the nose and ears and also on the neck. To put on a diamond valued at ten thousand rupees or so is not uncommon in the rich families. The custom of putting on the diamonds is prevalent even in the lower class. The anklets are worn at the time of marriage. The western influence on the dress is seen on the younger generation. Boys have taken to trousers and pants. The custom of wearing the braid of flowers (Veni) on the hair by the Saurashtri women is widespread, but the style of putting on the braid of flowers (Veni) is not so artistic as that of the Gujarati ladies. Women apply daily yellow powder of turmeric (called ‘Halad’) while taking their bath. After bath, turmeric powder (Halad) is applied on the cheeks also. The reason of the yellowish colour of the skin of the Saurashtri women may be the widespread usage of turmeric powder (Halad) as toilet. The blouse of Saurashtri women has a shorter sleeve. Earrings are also worn. Women put on the golden girdles round their waist. They are put on above the sari. Even the unmarried girls wear the golden girdles like the belts. The width of the girdle is two inches. Diamonds are fixed in the belt. In Gujarat and Saurashtra, some boys and youths of the bania community put on the silver girdles, but the girdles worn by the Saurashtri women are golden. Three or four ornaments worn round the neck are shorter; moreover, a thin golden chain is worn, which is longer, reaching the girdle on the waist. Four or five gold or diamond buckles are worn on the head. The pearls are worn in the hair-do. In the parting of the hair the pearls are put on. The diamond arm-let is also put on. The women walk bare-footed even in the hottest summer. Hot water is drunk. Drinking water is not cooled in the pots. In Gujarat and Saurashtra, the married women, and unmarried maids cannot wear the golden bangles alone; they have to wear glass or celluloid (Kachakadā) bangles together. The Saurashtri women, married as well as unmarried, can put on golden bangles alone. The glass bangles are not in much use. The women wear longer blouses. There is no custom of covering the heads with the saris or of covering the face with the ends of the saris in the presence of elders. The young couples can talk to each other even in the presence of elders. The style of hair-do is different. It is not so artistic as that of the women in Saurashtra and Gujarat. The wearing of tusk bangles is a must for the married women in Saurashtra and Gujarat. Saurashtri women (married or widows) do not wear tusk bangles. When the women wear the sari in the ‘Kachhotā’ style, there is no need of wearing the skirt. The modern civilized women (whose number is rather small) who do not wear sari in the ‘Kachhotā’ style wear the sari of five yards; they put on the skirt, they have ceased to wear nose-ring or put on very small nose-rings.

 

Economic Condition:

 

As the Saurashtrians have closer connection with the textile industry, they are known as ‘PatnulKāran’ (6 bookmark). In Tamil ‘Patnulkāran’ means ‘weaver of cloth’ or ‘weaver of silken cloth’. As this word is used in reference with other cloth-weavers also, the Saurashtrians, who consider themselves Brahmins, do not like to be called ‘Patnulkāran’. In Madras they are only manufacturers of silk cloth. They have taken even the industry of cotton cloth with or without silken border. As they are trading in the goods manufactured by them and by others, they are considered to be in the category of chettis, the mercantile community of the Tamils. In the names of some the word ‘Chetti’ is intermixed but they are not originally chettis. ‘Chetti’ means ‘merchant’, ‘trader’, ‘master’ or ‘businessman’. In this sense they have adopted the surname of the ‘Chetti’ by way of imitation.

 

The main handloom articles that are manufactured by them include saris, kerchiefs, turbans, dhotis, chundaris, dupattā, khesas (cloth-piece kept on the shoulders). Price of these articles varies from fifty paise to Rupees 150 per item. They make the designs of various types, of golden thread and silken thread, on the border of the saris. They import fine cotton from England and Japan, silk from Italy, China and Japan, golden thread from France and to a certain extent from Surat (South Gujarat). Before one hundred and fifty years, the cloth manufactured by them was exported overseas to England, Europe, Arabia etc. At present it is exported only to Ceylon, Chinang, Singapore and to a certain extent to Fiji Islands, mainly the areas where the Tamil-speakers have migrated (7 bookmark). In India their goldthread cloth is well known and it is very popular at Bombay, Calcutta and Delhi.

 

Bookmark 6:

Thurston: “Castes and Tribes of South India”, Vol.VI, Page 160, 304

Bookmark 7:

Chimanlal Parikh: “Prasthān”: Jetha, 1992; Page 185.

 

 

The main occupation of the Saurashtrians are; (1) Hotra, meaning learning and teaching. (2) Purohita, meaning the work of the priests. (3) Medicine (Indigenous), Ayurved or Hakimi. (4) Weaving of cotton and silk cloth. (5) Textile printing and sale of cloth. (6) The work of manufacturing of gold-thread. (7) Industry of silk cloth and sale of silk cloth. Herein the weaving, printing and sale of cotton and silk cloth is their speciality.

 

Moreover, they have now taken over to other occupations also. They can adopt any other occupation and can get proficiency in it. E.g. carpentry is not their special occupation. Formerly no Saurashtrians were carpenters. But now with the change of times, some of them have adopted carpentry as their occupation and they have succeeded in it. The Saurashtrians are doctors, pleaders, artisans, engineers, photographers, merchants, teachers and professors also. So they have now taken over to other occupations also, and they have succeeded in this taking over. Even then eight percent of them are weavers of cloth or are connected with textile industry.

 

In Madurai, the areas resided by the weavers are Lakshmipuram, Meenakshipuram, Narshinhapuram, Krishnapuram, Kanpathym and Pandadi. Some of their bigger firms deal in cloth, colour, chemicals etc. The rich among the Saurashtrians are approximately seven percent. Twenty five percent belong to the middle class. Approximately sixty-eight percent belong to the poor class. The minimum income is that of a weaver. His monthly income comes to rupees thirty or forty or sixty only. The weaver is helped in his occupation by the women and the children of his family. The women who help in cloth binding of Junnadi or Chundadi (Spotted sari) get a daily wage of thirty paise only. (*bookmark). Saurashtri women help their men-folk in the weaving as well as textile binding of the Chundadi. At the time of weaving, the physique as a whole and especially the eye, the hand and the feet etc. are working. On an average there are four or five persons staying in a weaver’s house. When the son marries, he lives in a separate house. This is particularly so because of the scarcity of space in the house. The loom of the weaver is kept in his house. For instance, when once we had to go to a weaving house, the loom of weaving was kept at the entrance of the house. We could enter the house by making our way underneath the loom. The name of the weaver was ‘Jekkada R.Chokkya’. Jekkad was his house name or surname. His gotra was Kashyap. The name of his son was Ramlinga. Out of his two daughters, one Sarojini had been married and she was at her in-laws. Another daughter Vasantā was unmarried. His son is studying and is helping him in the work of weaving. The whole machine of weaving is called ‘Magā’ (or Mhago). ‘Neli’, ‘Retikando’, ‘Toor’, ‘Phudo’, ‘Jakkatapeti’, ‘Pati’, ‘Talo’, ‘Panchalo’, ‘Achchhu’, ‘Peta’, ‘Rento’ are the names of various parts of the weaving machine. In weaving work, various designs and borders have been introduced by the weavers.

 

Bookmark *:

Now the earnings have increased.

 

 

 

Weaving of a sari of four to five yards takes two days, and that of a sari of eight yards takes three days. A weaver gets almost two rupees for a day. (* bookmark) Due to the characteristic occupation of weaving, the Saurashtri language has some of its proverbs related to weaving or its instruments. Eg. A person without any status or one who is practically good-for-nothing is called ‘Rikta Khandau’ (a spinning wheel without any cotton). The thick peg holding fast aside of the roller is called ‘Mhudha’ and in figurative (8 bookmark) language the word ‘Mhudha’ is used for a person who sticks to certain things without any understanding and shows lack of intelligence. Very talkative or loquacious fellow is called ‘rhetto’. When the Rhetto machine is working, there emits a noise, which is not liked by people; from this the figurative usage in the sense of a person whose continuous talks do not interest us seems to have emerged. ‘Kāpini’ means to break a loom; from this has emerged figurative usage of the ‘Kapiniker’, meaning finishing the work of an undesirable person in brief. ‘Porkut filiyas’ means finishing of half of the work. From this the figurative usage of the word ‘Filiyas’ means ‘an elderly person whose half life-span has already past.’

 

Bookmark *:

According to 1961 census, 36% of the silk-weavers of Madras state are Saurashtrians. Monthly income in silk-weaving is as follows:-

 

Income per loom Income per household

1. Dependant weaver Rs.41-83 Rs.66-33

2. Independent weaver Rs.40-33 Rs.137-75

3. Members of co-operatives Rs.39-17 Rs.58-83.

(‘Census of India’: 1961: Vol.IX; Madras State Part XI(A)

Handlooms in Madras state: Page 111).

 

Bookmark 8:

‘Madura Guide’: Page 150.

 

Prior to weaving, the processes of ginning and spinning have to be gone through. The Saurashtrians have not taken over to the ginning work. They have taken up the spinning work themselves. It is a common sight in Madurai streets to find the Saurashtri men, women and children busy with the weaving work. Their speciality consists in the weaving of silk cloth. Due to this, Madurai is considered one of the prominent centers among such eight silk centers throughout India. The Saurashtri women help particularly in the primary work of twisting the bare silk threads. The Saurashtri women are adept in working of the smaller spinning machines. They can work with the bigger wheels of ‘Rhetto’ also. The women folk help also in the secondary stage of twisting in the ‘la’ (bookmark symbol) shape. In Saurashtri areas except Madurai, the women also help in the textile printing work. In Madurai, Saurashtri women help in the weaving work, but they do not take part in textile printing. In Madurai, Saurashtri women help in the weaving work, but they do not take part in textile printing. The Saurashtrians can manufacture brocade (‘Kinkhăb’) cloth also. Some new inventions in the weaving machinery have been made by the Saurashtrians. Formerly the manufacturing of gold threads was fairly done. In 1932, a Saurashtri Company called India Gold Thread Mills Limited has been established.

 

The textile printing is their specific achievement. Formerly it was a common sight to find the gutters in Madurai, overflowing with red liquid. Now the municipality has made underground gutters and therefore this scene is a thing of the past. Even now the quantum of the textile printing work has not lessened. Even to day the coloured cloth will be found in the streets of Madurai, put there for drying. The cycles and passers-by will be seen treading on the cloth. The red colour of Madura is a special product of the Saurashtrians. Due to the spotted sari (Junnadi or Chundadi), in the whole of India and even in the foreign countries, their weaving and printing work is ranked very high. White spots in the background of red and black colour in the ‘Chundadi’ look simply charming. For making these spots the cloth is bound with little knots made therein. Because of the hinding of knots it is called ‘Băndhani (or ‘Bhandini’) meaning, ‘that which is bound’. Saurashtrians show their ingenuity in the colour mixture and novelty of designs. Women-folk help in the colouring of the ‘Chundadi’. It is their widespread home-industry. There are some trade secrets pertaining to the work of textile printing. These secrets are never divulged to any body, particularly a non-Saurashtrian. The non-Saurashtri-laborers are engaged in textile printing, but they are not shown any secret of the trade. So non-Saurashtrians have remained backwards, so far as the printing technique is concerned. The Saurashtrians have not been able to show ingenuity in the sale or publicity of their products. It is possible to increase the demand of their products by proper and greater publicity of their products. But they have not succeeded in the publicity side, as much as they have succeeded in the manufacturing side. The art of publicity and modern outlook as traders are lacking. As they are experts in weaving and printing, similarly if they excel in business management and organized publicity, they will get better returns.

 

Over and above the work of weaving and printing, some Saurashtrians are working as priests, astrologers, physicians, Ayurveda practitioners as well as doctors, teachers, goldsmiths, masons and carpenters. The proportion of people engaged in other occupations is comparatively less. There is a Saurashtri co-operative bank, a Saurashtri theatre, a Saurashtri hotel. So they take over to other occupations successfully, yet their main and specific occupation is that of textile weaving and printing. The weaving work is less remunerative than the printing work. In the weaving work, women-folk are helpful; even then the economic return is not every rewarding. It is customary for the Saurashtri women to keep with them the money, which they themselves earn. When the husband needs money, she will give him the money as loan, but the loan will have to be repaid with interest thereon. The houses of the weavers are inadequate and from the point of view of health and hygiene, they are harmful; of course the circumstances have improved now to a certain extent. Looking to the economic conditions of the Saurashtrians staying in Madurai, among them, 40 to 50 families earn more than 20,000 rupees annually; there are approximately hundred families earning 4,000 to 10,000 rupees annually. Approximately five percent of their population belongs to the richer section. 78 families have their wealth amounting to more than a lac; 43 to 60 percent of the population have a hand-to-mouth living. In the wartimes the weaving work had been more remunerative. But thereafter the difficulties have increased. Some weavers had to live as beggars. If the government gives impetus to handloom, their economic condition will improve. Late Rajgopalachari had made a proposal that the manufacture of saris and dhotis should be manufactured by handloom only and the mill should b prevented from the manufacture of saris and dhotis; he might have been moved at the unhappy state of the weavers, and this might have motivated him to put this proposal to the Government. Looking to the occupation of weaving and such other reasons, the Government has put the Saurashtrians in the category of the backward class and therefore they are getting all the usual benefits of the backward class community. In the field of modern education they are backwards, as compared to the other Southerners. There is more illiteracy in their community. Only two hundred graduates are found there. Only 15 percent are educated. If a weaver works eight hours a day, he will get 25 to 30 or 40 to 50 rupees a month. As the women-folk contribute to the earnings of the family (and there may be other reasons also), the position of women in their society is better, even though the women are backward in education. The special craft of printing has been known by now by other people also. At the time of marriage and such other occasions, they spend a lot. They have benefited much from the law of prohibition. On the whole, their economic condition is not very sound, yet because they have mastered a special craft, and as they have abilities to explore other avenues of income whenever it is necessary they have been able to maintain their progress steadily.

 

Claim for being called Brahmins:

 

All the Saurashtrians are claiming for being called themselves as Brahmins. The fact of all the people being Brahmins may look rather strange. Yet it is possible that when they migrated, they might have belonged to one caste or occupation. The manners and mode of living of the Saurashtri Brahmins are like those of the Ayengar Brahmins and the manners and mode of living of Saurashtri women are like those of the Telugu women. They accept the Hindu caste-system, and they believe that all the Saurashtrians staying in South India are Brahmins. Viprabandu K.V.Padmanabh Ayer has quoted a stanza in ‘Natangopāl Charitram’, as an evidence from smriti:

 

(Scanned image)

 

According to this stanza, the Brahmins having the occupation of weavers were staying in Saurashtra and these Brahmins who are adept in multiple textile designs belonged to Shalihotra Gotra. There is another sentence quoted from the Smriti:

 

(Scanned image)

 

(In different countries, the Brahmins pursue different professions.)

 

Saurashtrians, as a community, have remained aloof from the Tamils. The Tamil Brahmins consider them of a lower category and flatly refuse to accept them as Brahmins. Their occupation, not befitting the Brahmins, comes in their way of recognition.

 

In the seventeenth century, when there was the reign of Queen Mangammā in Madurai, a state officer of Madurai had arrested eighteen Saurashtrians and had put a charge-sheet upon them that in spite of their not being Brahmins, they were performing the Brahmin rites such as upākarma or shrāvani (wearing of sacred thread etc.). On this occasion, the Queen submitted this case to a conference of scholastic judges of Trichinipalli for deciding whether the Saurashtrians were Brahmins or not. In this trial the Saurashtrians won their case and they were permitted by the State to perform rites of Brahmins. The Queen Mangammā gave them Shāsanpatra (the letter of Authority), by which they were authorized to perform the Brahmin rites. Even though this favorable decision was given by the State, Tamil Brahmins have not accepted them as Brahmins. For this purpose, their mercantile and weaving occupation has also come in their way. The Saurashtrians have adopted the surnames of Tamil Brahmins like Ayer, Ayenger etc. They have also adopted the names resembling Tamil Brahmins. The Tamil Brahmins have been constantly saying that their way of life is not that of real Brahmins. They have been accused that the Saurashti widows do not follow the rite of Mundan (Shaving of the head) like Brahmin widows and that when the Queen Mangammā held the inquiry, the Saurashtrians had asked the widows of the community to do Mundan (shaving of the head) overnight. For a long time, they had a dispute with the Tamil Brahmins as well as the state officers for their claim of being recognized as Brahmins. In a book named ‘The Cast Questions in Saurashtra Community”, this dispute is described in details. At last, the Saurashtrians are noted as Saurashtri Brahmins in the census-reports, and this has been achieved as a result of incessant pleading with the census officers. In the Devala Smriti and the Katyayana Smriti, list of occupations pursued by Brahmins includes the occupation of weaving and manufacture of cloth. It has been noted therein that the Brahmins pursuing such occupations were residing in Saurashtra. This has substantially supported their claim of being recognized as Brahmins. In Vasishta Smriti, it is said: (scanned image).

 

In Yajnavalkya Smriti, the Brahmins have been permitted, in critical times, to pursue the occupation of krishi, shilpa, Bhriti, Seva, Viparna, Kusida etc. (the occupations of farmers, artisans and laborers etc.) According to the Patalakhand of the Padma Purana, the Brahmins of Saurshtra and Gujarat are included in the Pancha Dravida Brahmins:

 

(Scanned imaged)

 

The Dravid Brahmins are also pursuing mercantile occupation. Tiruvallu Vanāynār, the famous author of the sacred text Tirukkural which is accepted as the Tamil Veda in the south, was pursuing the occupation of a weaver. It is their argument that weaving being an honest and straightforward occupation, it should not be considered a disqualification for a Brahmin.

 

Their Gotras (family-names or names of ancestral lineage) resemble those of the Brahmins. Sixty-four Gotras of the Saurashtrians are enumerated in a work called ‘Gotrakānda’. Kashyapa, Kaushik, Jabali, Jahnu, Maitreya, Māndavya, Vātsyāyana etc. are their Gotra-names. In the ‘Gotrakānda’, together with the Gotra-names their relevant Rishis and pravars are also noted. Sometimes it is argued that like the Brahmins even the Kshatriyas and the Vaishyas also have the Gotras. Therefore merely the fact of having Gotra names does not prove their claim of being recognized as Brahmins. At the most thereby it can be proved that they are not shudras. But they claim that only the Brahmins have the Pravaras, and the Saurashtrians have the Pravaras. This evidence is given in support of their claim for being recognized as Brahmins. Sometimes it is said that the evidence of the shāsanpatra (letter of Authority) of the Queen Mangammā does not prove their claim of being called Brahmins. The Queen Mangammā had only accepted their right of wearing the sacred thread. But the sacred thread is worn even by the Kshatriyas. Therefore their recognition as Brahmins cannot be proved simply by the evidence of the sacred thread worn by them. But taking into account the Gotra, Pravar, Rishi etc. as given in the ‘Gotrakanda’, their claim for recognition as Brahmins gets justification. The surnames or shākhās are called Gotra-nam (House-names) and moreover everyone is known by some ‘Vāna’ (probably derived from Sanskrit ‘Varna’). Eg. There is ‘Gurjarvan’. Sometimes the ‘vāna’ is related to the occupation pursued by the family eg. ‘Bhade’. It means a cook; it is related to the profession of the family. All the Saurashtrians are following the Apastamba Sutras. The original Saurashtri and Brahmanical rites are seen preserved in the life of the Saurashtrians on the ceremonies such as betrothal, marriage etc. The tradition of the Gotra-recital also proves it. Due to the changing times and places, some innovations have been incorporated in their original traditions. Even then the Brahmanical way of life and the Brahmanical rites are preserved uptill now. The Saurashtrians have kept their religious fervor intact. Religious festivals such as Brahmotsava, religious rituals such as Ashvattha-pradakshinā, and the lively interest shown by both the male and female members of the society in the Gitā recitations - all these amply show their religious nature and Brahmanical way of life. The Saurashtrians are organizing the religious festivals very often during the year. The programmes of Gitā-recital are often organized and it is realized on such occasions that many Saurashtri women know Gitā by heart. This shows the religious bent of the community as a whole:

 

Some sholars are inclined to consider the Saurashtrians as belonging to the community such as ‘Khatri’ or ‘Brahma-kshatriya’. Sometimes the Saurashtri language is called ‘Patnuli’ or ‘Khatri’. This linguistic nomenclature gives some support to this influence. Therefore Dr.Randle says that the name ‘Khatri’ is significant (9 bookmark) and perhaps they might be belonging to the stock of the Khatri community of the Bombay state. In the Bombay (now Maharashtra) State there are more than 50,000 Khatris (10 bookmark). They call themselves kshatriyas and in Gujarat, they are known as Brahma-kshatriyas. They have fairly good height. They are handsome; and they wear sacred thread. From this, Enthoven has inferred that the khatris of Bombay might be related to the khatris spread over in Punjab. The Khatris of Bombay are divided into the sections such as belonging to the Sun-dynasty, the Moon-dynasty etc. The Khatris of Gujarat are Vaishnavites. The Khatris names Patavegirs, like other weaver communities, are the worshippers of ‘Hingalāja Māta’ (Goddess called Hingalāj). Perhaps they might have come from Sind. The Khatris of Punjab are a mercantile community. Their population is of more than 4.5lacs. Guru Nanak and Guru Anand were the Khatris. As Rose says, the modern Khatri is undoubtedly the successor of the Kshatriya of the ancient times, though his profession is that of a mercantile nature (11 bookmark). Cunningham has tried to evolve the work ‘Khatri’ from the word ‘Katra’, meaning ‘market’. The Khatris are also seen in Uttar Pradesh and Bengal. Thus the Khatris of all the states have some characteristic in common. Almost all accounts agree that the Khatris are handsome, they have fairly good height and they have remarkable professional and administrative efficiency. Their administrative and mercantile abilities are well known from the times of the able Khatri minister Todarmalla of the Emperor Akbar. Linking the Saurashtrians with the Khatris, some scholars are inclined to think that they are originally of the same Khatri stock. But it is more probable that they were originally Brahmins and not Khatris. Their occupation was not befitting the Brahmins, according to the traditional notions. Again they had to give up some Brahmanic rites owing to the migrations. But even then they are preserving the Brahmanic way of life generally and they have the Gotras of the Brahmins as usual (12 bookmark).

 

Bookmark 9:

Dr.Randle: “The Saurashtrians in South India”; Page 10.

 

Bookmark 10:

R.E.Enthoven: “Tribes and Castes of Bombay” Page 205.

 

Bookmark 11:

Rose: “Glossary of Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and Northwestern Provinces” Vol.I, Page.59.

 

Bookmark 12:

“Census Report”: 1901 XV. (Madras) Page.173

 

In social relationships, the Saurastrians do not have any relationship of marriage with any community except their own. Similarly they have not maintained any relationship of common dinner with other communities. The Saurashtrians of Madurai have the relationship of the common dinner with the Saurashtrians residing outside Madurai, but there is no marriage relationship between them. Certain groups have been formed according to the distribution of areas. There is no social relationship either of marriage or common dinner with the Tamil Brahmins. They have adopted the surnames of the Tamil Brahmins; they have adopted their names. They have the forehead marks like the Tamil Brahmins. Moreover the customs and social rules pertaining to widowhood, the rules to be observed by the women during the menses (the monthly course period), the rules pertaining to untouchability, rites of workship etc. are observed by following the customs prevalent among the Tamil Brahmins. The ceremony of Shrāddha (oblation) is also performed. At the end of the monthly course period of the women, the tiles of the floor in the house are purified by means of putting a thin layer of cowdung. The widows do not remarry, but the Saurashtri widows not have the Mundan (Shaving of the head) as it is done scrupulously by the Tamil Brahmin widows. Such are the resemblances and differences of customs observed in both the communities. But on the whole, there is the dominance of the Brahmanical way of life and Brahmanical rites in the community of the Saurashtri Brahmins.

 

The Saurashtri Community of Madurai:

 

The growth of population of the Saurashtrians in Madurai has reached to such an extent that it is proverbially said that every third person seen in Madurai is sure to be a Saurashtrian. The population of Saurashtrians residing in the city of Madurai amounts to more than 75,000 people. The Saurashtrians are intelligent, adventurous and industrious. As the prosperity of Bombay is sometimes considered largely due to the Gujarati people settled in Bombay, similarly the prosperity of Madurai is considered largely due to the Saurashtrians residing in Madurai (13 bookmark). In Madurai, they reside mostly in the southern parts of the city. In some streets of Madurai, it is seen as if every house therein is a small-scale factory of cloth weaving and printing (14 bookmark). The Saurashtrians residing in Madurai are more progressive than the Saurashtrians residing in other parts of South India. The Saurashtrians of Madurai is comparatively richer and gets more comforts of life than his brothers residing outside Madurai. The financial condition of the Madura Saurashtrian is better than that of the Saurashtrians in Madras, Salem, Kumbha Konam, Canjivaram etc. He has attained more efficiency in the art of weaving and better skill of the profession. He has adopted modern mechanical contrivances in accordance with the change of times. Therefore the contribution of the Saurashtrians towards the development of the city of Madurai has been very significant and their community can be legitimately proud of it. As citizens of Madurai, they have attained prominent positions in the Municipality, the Temple Committee and such other social and civic activities. Before some years the chairmanship of the Madurai Municipality was held by a Saurashtrian. In 1951, the vice-chairman of the Municipality was a Saurashtrian. They have also been placed as members in the committee of the famous Meenākshi temple of Madurai. The Madura Saurashtrian is taking a prominent part in the political and social life of the city; it may be the work of a political party, it may be the Gandhian work of removing untouchability, or the work of propagating Hindi, he is always taking active part in social and political life. The feeling of unity is very strong among the Saurashtrians. They have always shown in their life the firmness of mind and tenacity to pursue with determination, their aim, the virtues also found in the original residents of Saurashtra. The Saurashtri institutions such as the Saurashtra Sabha are a symbol of their unity. The cultural activities pursued in these institutions are worthy of praise. The organization of Saurashtrians is excellent. In their trade and industry, they employ the persons of their own community. They have not to rely upon the people of other community in their profession. As a community, they are self-dependent. Their feeling of unity and co-operation is very strong (15 bookmark). Therefore they have attained success in their profession of cloth manufacturing. Their work is more methodical. Due to their unity, they have established centralised institutions such as the Saurashtra Sabha. They are running a Saurashtri High School in Madurai. They have planned to have a Saurashtri college. Formerly the Saurshtri language was taught in the Saurashtra high school.

 

Bookmark 13:

J.H.Nelson: “the Madura Country.”

 

Bookmark 14:

K.Rangarao: “Madura: Tourist’s guide.”.

 

Bookmark 15:

“Madura District Gazetteer”. Vol-I page.110.

 

 

 

 

 

In Madurai and the whole of Tamilnadu, the Saurashtrians are unique in certain respects and they are considered as a well-to-do community. Among them, some persons are very rich. Therefore those who come in contact with the richer section of the community think that the whole community is very rich. There is a Saurashtra ‘Petha’ (market) in Bangalore and the industry of the famous silken carpets and cushions is almost their monopoly. The Saurashtrians are pursuing their social and cultural activities through their institutions such as Saurashtra Sabha (Madurai), Saurashtra Central Sabha (Madurai), Saurashtra high school, Saurashtra old boys’ association and its library, Saurashtra club, Saurashtra co-operative society, Saurashtra Sevā Samāj, Saurashtra Govinda Dāsa Sevā Samāj etc. Among these institutions, the Saurashtra Sabha of Madurai has been the centralised and prominent institution. This institution has been working for the social welfare of the people by way of arranging the educational facilities for the Saurashtrians, managing a library for the community, maintaining a Saurashtri temple, organizing the religious festivals, giving aid to the poor (* bookmark), founding and maintaining inns (‘Chhatram’) at the religious places, arranging the sacred thread ceremonies for the boys of the poor section of their society, providing for the marriage ceremonies of the girls coming from the poor strata, building the Ghāts (baths) at religious places and such other activities in general for the well-being of the Saurashtra community. For this purpose, they have been collecting the subscriptions from the Saurashtri merchants and others, in proportion to their income (calculating certain pies per rupee). This is a progressive and prosperous institution of the Saurashtrians. It is making all efforts for the preservation of Saurashtri language, literature and culture. The affairs of the Saurashtri temple are managed by the temple committee of this institution. It maintains an elephant in its premises. The elephant is lent on rent for the functions such as marriage. This elephant has been kept specially for the religious celebrations by the Saurashtrians.

 

Bookmark *:

Recently (in October, 1975) when cloth was distributed free to the weaker sections, there was a stampede in the Saurastra High School compound and some persons lost their lives in the stampede.

 

 

Old manuscript in Saurashtri language have been collected by the Sabhā. They are kept in a small but useful museum in the building of the sabha. The museum includes the pādukās of the Saint-poet Thyagraj. The Saurashtrians have spent munificently for constructing and maintaining their temple. Various gold-studded seats for the gods are kept in the temple. Four temples have been built in the temple compound. On their arrival in Madurai, the Saurashtrians had built a temple in the city. This temple became old and therefore a new temple was built. Moreover a third temple has been built by a Saurashtrian donor; this temple has the idols of the Gods and also the small statues of the donor together with his two wives. A new fourth temple has also been constructed in 1954. The Sabhā is arranging regularly the programmes of mass-prayers. The Saurshtra Sabhā of Madurai is more organised and more prosperous institution than the Saurashtra Sabhas of other places. It is the nucleus of other Saurashtri institutions. In 1954, Shri. C.M.V.Krishnamachari was the president of the sabha. Shri.B.S.Venkataraman was its Secretary. During their tenure of office, due to their strenuous effort, the sabhā has become and ideal institution.

 

Saurashtra Central Sabhā of Madurai is a centralized institution of all the Saurashtrians in South India. All other Saurashtra Sabhas of various places in the south are attached to this institution. More than 2000 students are studying in the Saurashtra high school and most of the students in the school are Saurashtrians. The high school building is really grand and it is bigger and more artistic than most of our college buildings. There are more than 78 teachers on the staff of the high school. Formerly the Saurashtri language was taught as a voluntary subject in the Saurashtra High School. But now-a-days the teaching of the Saurashtri language has been dropped. Saurashtri Mitramandala is arranging the summer classes for the teaching of the Saurashtri language every year. Education is expanding rapidly among the Saurashtrians. A big building of the high school is now found inadequate for the increasing number of students. Moreover there is a separate Saurashtra Girls’ high school. There are other schools such as Saurashtra girls’ elementary school, Saurashtra elementary school and Saurashtra secondary school. This shows how education is rapidly expanding among Saurastrians. The institution of the Saurashtra old boys’ association has also progressed a lot. Hardly any High school old boys’ Association might have its own independent building. It runs a library of its own. This association has started since 1920. Its library has commenced since 1924. There are more than 15000 books in the library. More than 65 magazines are d for the library. A mobile library has been started since 1939. They are running a night school for teaching Hindi. They have started a sports club since 1949. They are celebrating their school-day with pomp. Sports and tournaments are arranged regularly. The members for the association are more than a thousand. Hardly any other school Boys’s association in our country might be doing such splendid work.

 

Moreover, the Saurashtrians have their own club. They have a co-operative bank of their own. There is a Saurashtri co-operative Society. The Saurashtra sevā samaj does the work of social service. The Saurashtra Govindadās Samāj arranges religious programmes and mass-prayers. A religious institution named Gitānilayam is devoted to the studies of Gitā and it arranges the programmes of Gitā-recital. In this way, a splendid example of working in co-operative spirit and in an organized form is seen here in the social life of the Saurashtrians.

 

The social institutions of the Saurashtrians might have been set up earlier according to the tradition of their homeland but due to the Dravidian influence increasing slowly, some original traditions might have been given up. According to their original tradition (16 bookmark), people are classified in the following four divisions: - (1) ‘Gomvadā’; resembling the leaders (or the Patels) of the community. The word ‘Gomvadā’ might have been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Grama’ (a village) (Gomvadā, meaning a village leader). The word ‘Gomvadā’ has some resemblance to the Gujarati word ‘Gamot’. The leaders or the Patels of the Kale Kanbis of Bombay are called ‘Gāvadā’. (* bookmark) (2) ‘Saulin’: Prominent persons of the community. It is said that the world ‘Saul’ might have been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Surya’ - (sun). ‘Saulin’ might have been derived in the sense of devotees of Saul or the Sun. It is also inferred that sun worship was prevalent among them (** bookmark).

 

Bookmark 16:

“A History of Saurashtras”; Page 11.

 

Bookmark *:

The word ‘Gomvadā’ is akin to Marathi-Konkani ‘Gāunda’.

 

Bookmark **:

This inference has no other support and therefore it cannot be accepted as a scientific elymology.

 

 

Some of them have ‘Saulin’ as their surname. (3) ‘Vāyadu’: Physician (Vaidya) or scholar. (4) Bhautul :- cf. Sanskrit ‘Bhāgavata’. They are musicians, particularly the singers of devotional songs. Some of them have ‘Bhautul’ as their surname. All these four classes have not been completely extinct. Formerly the position of ‘Gomvadā’ in Madurai was a hereditary post. Vāyadus (physicians and scholars) and Bhautuls (poet, singer, devotee, astrologer) are properly respected. Moreover the common man is known as ‘Kārestun’. (Gujarati word ‘Kārahtān’ means, active association in a secret plot by a group, and it is a Persian loan-word; both the words seem to have a verbal resemblance only). The Sanskrit word ‘Kri’ means work, and there from the word ‘Kārestun’ might have been evolved in the sense of persons of the working class. It may be a formation like (scanned image)

. When somebody is to be boycotted, an assembly of all the classes including the ‘Kārestuns’ is called for. It is not easy to equalize their classification with that of the four castes (Chāturvanyam) as per Hindu tradition. These classes might have been derived from the hereditary occupations or hereditary family status.

 

Among the Saurashtrians the social reforms are in a primary stage. There was the custom of early marriages, but when Sarda act came into force, the custom of early marriages came to an end. The Sārdā act has already become a blessing to the Saurashtri community. According to their original custom, even six or seven years old girls were married and as result, the economical condition became worse. Their marriages are very expensive but the burden of the caste-dinner is not laid on the bride party. Marriage, generally, takes place in the same place of residence. At the most, they can keep relationship of marriage with the Saurashtrians of Madras; otherwise the Saurashtrians of Madurai, as a custom, must marry in Madurai only. Due to geographic reasons, some social rules have come into existence. Sometimes if these rules are broken, no strong objections are taken; but generally, the Saurashtrians stick to their social rules and regulations. The Saurashtrians, all of them being Brahmins, have not matrimonial restrictions in their groups, yet, in practice, there seems to be prevalent some sort of classes due to status, profession, economic conditions, family considerations etc. But on the whole, there is a feeling of equality. The Saurashtri widows are not permitted to remarry. There is no taboo for widows in keeping the hair. Women need not cover their faces with the saris. It is of course, not a social reform, but it is a common custom of south India. Excepting a token monetary payment (and also some ornaments and clothes) to be given to the party of the bride, according to the tradition, there is no other payment to be paid to either party. If either party has some defect, some payments are made by the defective party, but the payment is kept a secret. It is not a widespread evil. In Tamils the payments to the bride-groom are made according to their degrees; e.g.2000 Rs. To a graduate, 3000 Rs. To a honours graduate, 4000 Rs. To an M.A. and so on. This amount is received openly in Tamil society; this is not the case with the Saurashtrians. Intercaste marriages are rarely seen. Love marriages are very few. One Saurashtri young woman has married a Gujarati youth. The youth is a Kāyastha of Surath and the Saurashtri woman has adopted the Gujarati language, customs, food-preparations, manners etc. so nicely that one can hardly imagine that she is not originally a Gujarati woman. Such intercaste marriages are very few. Gujarati people have been living in Madurai since a century. Though the period of their stay is long enough, only two inter-caste marriage have occurred. There is no incident of any Gujarati women having married a Saurashtri man. In some rural or pastoral areas, some Saurashtri men have married the women of different castes and a few Saurashtri women have married fisherman and Muslims also, but they are not considered as members of the Saurashtri society. Very few persons were receiving education formerly. Pure literary education was not popular among the Saurashtrians. In 1927, the proportion of male-education was 40.4 percent and that of female education was 2.50 percent. And now the proportion of male-education has reached upto 60 percent. These figures pertain to Madurai; in other places the proportion of education is much less. This education means only the knowledge of reading and writing. Uptill now, the Saurashtrians were not interested in higher education; since their boys helped them in their weaving occupation, they considered the education to be an economic loss. Early marriages also affected the education over and above other reasons. Until 1941, there were 89 graduates (17 bookmark) including the graduates of Arts, science and engineering. In 1951, there were 200 graduates and 150 men qualified with technical education (18 bookmark). On the whole, illiteracy is decreasing in Madurai. The proportion of education of Saurashtrians in Madurai has reached upto 40 percent. The Saurashtrians’ apathy for higher education and cultural activities is lessening and that is a good sign of progress of the Saurashtri society.

 

Bookmark 17:

‘List of Saurashtri Graduates’: 1941.

 

Bookmark 18:

‘Memorandum to the Backward class Commission’ Page 2

 

 

Social and religious festivals:

 

The Saurashtrians celebrate both the social and religious festivals like Dipāvali, Vaikuntha Ekādashi, Desharā, Rāmanavami, Janmāshtami, Basavannā (Dipkeli), Holi, Brahmotsava, Ashvatthapradakshinā, Gitāpārāyana, Shayan ekādashi (or festival of flying kites), Mārgashirsha religious festival etc. They celebrate every festival with full pomp. On the moonless day of Ashvina, they celebrate the festival of Divali. According to Shalivahan Shak, they calculate the beginning of the year from the first of the bright fortnight of Chaitra month, and so they celebrate the new year accordingly. They celebrate the festival of Vaikunth Ekādashi; they celebrate Dasherā on the day of Vijayādashami. On Rāmanavami day they observe a fast. They celebrate the holiday of Janmāshtami (the birthday of Lord Krishna).

 

The festival of Basavannā is celebrated in two ways. Basavannā is also called Boskannā. In the Mysore State and Telugu province-particularly in the district of Bellāri in Madras - this festival seems to be celebrated at certain places. Basavannā is a ‘Kānadi’ word and it is also used in the Telugu language. In the festival of Basavannā, the virgins as well as married women play ‘Kolāttam’. The form of Kolāttam is just like that of Rāsanritya of Saurashtra and Gujarat. Kolattam seems to be related to Rāsanritya which Saurastra has interited from Krishna. Kolātta means a stick, Dāndiyā. What we call Dāndiyā-Rāsa, they call Kolāttam. The Dāndiyā-Rāsas are different for the male and the female. As in Saurashtra and Gujarat, on the Navrātri days, women sing and play Rāsagarabi, similarly the Saurashtri women - particularly the virgins - play Kolāttam in the days from Diwāli to Devadiwali. Men play Kolāttam at any time. This festival is also called Dipakeli, because they, keeping a lamp (Dipak) in the center, play Dāndiyā Rāsa around it. In Saurashtra and Gujarat a Garbo is placed, so the dance is called Garbo or Garbi. The lamp (Dipak) is placed in Garbi as well as Dipkeli. The various physical movements and postures are possible in Kolāttam as well as Rasanritya.

 

In the festival of Basavannā, virgins make the statue either of a bull or of a goddess. The aged women guide them in this work. This statue is made of clay. Keeping this statue in the center they sing and dance. This festival continues for ten days. On the tenth day, this statue is taken in a procession, with pomp and then it is dropped in a tank. In Saurashtra and Gujarat there is the festival of Goramā and the virgins celebrate the festival of Goramā (Gauri) for ten days in Shrāvan month, and they worship the image of Gormā. Similar is the festival of Basavannā. Formerly in Saurashtra in Gujarat, there was the custom of making an image (either of bullock or goddess) from the clay and elder men and women, keeping it in the center played Rāsa. This custom was continued in the rural areas, and now it is vanishing. This festival is called ‘Gebbila’. The resemblance of the word ‘Gebbila’ to the Gujarati word ‘Garabi’ is noteworthy, though it may be accidental. The Saurashtrians play the festival of Holi in Fāgan month. Now this festival is not widespread as before. Brahmotsva continues about ten days round about February and on each day the procession of God is taken in different conveyances. The programmes of Brahmotsava continue even at night. On the first day of every month, they keep the programme of the Gitā-recital. On the moonless day of every month, the festival of Ashvatthapradakshina is celebrated. In the building of Saurashtra Sabha there are three trees of Kadamba, Ashvattha and Pippal in a combined formation. The Saurasthri men and women move round these Punyavrikshas or holy trees one hundred and eight times, singing devotional songs. On the bright fortnight of Aashada month, they celebrate the festival of flying the kites. Formerly the Saurashtri men, women and the children went to the river Vaigai and enjoyed the flying of kites. The songs were sung and the people stayed there for the whole day. The Saurashtrians participate in the festival of the Minākshi temple and the Alagar (Vishnu). If the festival is to be celebrated on the bank of a river or in the far-situated temple, the Saurashtrians go there in groups and take their meals there. In the holy month of Margashirsha, the assemblies of devotional singers, getting up early, go to the river for bathing and thereafter they mover round in the city singing devotional songs. Previously, there was a custom of playing drama either of Krishna or Rama in the days of the marriage ceremony (19 bookmark). Thus this festivity minded community celebrates many social and religious festivals. The festivals give full scope to entertainment and they have also religious as well as social motives; the Saurashtrians, with keen interest and in great numbers, participate in these festivals. The Saurashtri people take interest even in the programms of Bhajan-assemblies and kolātta-assemblies, which are arranged very often.

 

Bookmark 19:

Ranga Rao: “Madura”.

 

 

 

Sixteen cultural processes including marriage; Marriage ceremony and Matrimonial customs:

 

Uptill now the Saurashtrians are following original Brahmanical cultural processes. We can realize Brahmin and Aryan culture in their way of life. They seem to follow sixteen cultural processes prescribed in the Brahmanical way of life. The way of life of those whose economical condition is not good and who live in the rural areas has diverted to a certain extent, but most of the Saurashtrians in Madurai live according to the Brahmanical way of life. We can realize this from their pattern of behaviour from birth to death. The sixteen cultural processes such as Garbhādhāan, Punsavan Simantonnayan, Jātakarma, Namakarmānnaprāshan, Chulopnayan, Vedavritchatushtaya, Godān, Samāvaratan, Vivāha, Pitr-Khyāti are considered the Brahminical cultural processes (20 bookmark). The Saurashtrians seem to be following most of these processes.

 

In Saurashtra and Gujarat, the auspicious occasion of the first pregnancy of a woman is celebrated. Similarly, the Saurashtrians celebrate this occasion. On this occasion, the people of the bride-party arrive and the ceremony seems just like that of marriage. In Gujarat and Saurashtra, the woman having first pregnancy walks slowly from the bathing-place to the place of residence. In Saurashtrians there is no custom of slow-motion walking by the pregnant lady, nor she is slapped on the face by her younger brother-in-law (husband’s younger brother), but there is a custom of dinner party, and worship of the deity etc. The pregnant lady is adorned as she was adorned at the time of her marriage-ceremony. In her decoration, the braid of flowers (Veni), garlands etc are also used. On the hand and neck and on the head there is the adornment of flowers as well as the ornaments of gold and diamonds.

 

Bookmark 20:

Hiranyakeshiya; “Brahmakarmasamuchaya”.

 

The men-folk from the bride-party bring silken clothes, utensils and sweets for the pregnant women. Likewise, they also bring, according to their economic condition, the clothes manufactured with the silver and golden threads and simple clothes (Dhoti and khesa) for her husband. On this occasion, there is not a custom of worshipping the Goddess Rāndala, as it is in Saurashtra. On this occasion, there are also male guests from the side of the bride-party. If they are rich, their party consists from one hundred to two hundred, and if they are poor, they consist of fifteen to twenty, and they stay for two or three days as in the marriage. After this celebration, the bride is taken to her father’s house. It seems a strange custom to us that she has to drink the sandal wood water through the nose at the time of filling her lap. When she gives birth to a child, they observe “Suutak” (untouchability on the occasion of child birth); on the eleventh day, there is a rite of naming the child. If the male child born is eighth, he is named Krishna. This custom might have come in existence, because Krishna was the eight child of Vasudeva and Devaki. As the terms of endearment the children are called as “Duddu” (milk), “Pillā” etc. Now we can see a great deal of Dravida influence. Now they are named like Tamil Brahmins. E.g.Venkatrāman, Rāmānandam, Rajgopāl, Harigovindāchari, Pāmanabhāyer, Devendran, Narayan, Rengachārya, Nāgaswami” etc. For the females, the names such as Sita, Chakku, Indira, Vasanta, Sarojini, Shanta, Kanak etc. are popular. The method of writing names (particularly the order observed in the names) is like that of the Tamil people. First of all, they write their Shakha (surname, the name of the house), then father’s name and at the last they write their own name. E.g.according to Gujarati, “Venkataraman Shreenivas Bhade” is written, but according to their method “Bhade Shreenivas Venkataraman” or in an abbreviated form “B.S.Venkatarāman” is written. Likewise the names of their sons such as ‘B.V.Arivindshekhar’, ‘B.V.Vidyashekhar’, ‘B.V.Kripashekhar’ are written; the names of the daughters, if they are married, are written with the names of their husbands and surnames; eg.Mrs.K.R.Vasantadevi. The name of the unmarried daughter is written with the father’s name and his surname. Eg; ”Miss B.V.Shantadevi;”, “Miss B.V.Kankadevi”. Some people, write not only their father’s name but they also write their grand-father’s name.

 

At the end of the first year, after naming the child, the rite of Annaprashan (to make the child eat food for the first time) is observed. There is no custom of celebrating the first shaving of head (keeping the tuft of hair). When the boy is from 7 to 12 years old, he has to put on the sacred thread, after celebrating the sacred thread ceremony. If some people cannot afford to celebrate the occasion, due to economic conditions their sons can put on sacred threads at the time of their marriage. For the boys of the poor persons the arrangements for the celebration are made by the Saurashtra sabha. Sometimes, the brother can put on the sacred thread at the marriage time of his sister, but the elder brother cannot put on the sacred thread at the marriage-time of the younger sister.

 

In Saurastrians, marriage is called “Horat” and betrothal is called “Ghettivido”. Betrothal is called “Ghettivido”; because at that time marriage is fixed by giving betel-leaf (vido) and betel nut. “Ghetti” means “to fix”. ‘Ghettivido’ means decision of marriage; at that time the marriage-date is fixed. At the time of betrothal, both the parties recite that they have come from Saurashtra to Devagiri and then from Vijaynagar to Madurai. This recital is called “Baulas”. From this Baulas, we can trace their history of migrations. In old times, it was a custom of marrying the children in a certain Gotra. Now only one restriction exists that they cannot marry in the same Gotra. At present one is more attracted to the riches than to the Gotra. At the occasion of betrothal, there is a custom of “Desannam”. It means what is called in Gujarati “Desh” or “Desa”. In Gujarat and Saurashtra, the bride-party is given some monetary amount, by bridegroom party, which is fixed by their community. That is called “Desh”. There are different amounts fixed in different castes, and in some castes, particulary in the castes of Brahmins, there is no custom Desh. In the Saurashtrians, the amount of “Desh” is sixty rupees, and it is given at the time betrothal. In addition to these sixty rupees, there are, a Sari (costing 50 to 100 Rs.), a short-sleeved blouse, 11 or 25 cocoanuts and fruits that can be distributed to those who have come on the occasion. Particularly, cocoanuts, mangoes and bananas are distributed. In Gujarat and Saurashtra this is called sakar-chundadi. The Saurashtrians also carry with them sugarcandies with chundadi. Previously the boys and girls were wedded earlier. Now, after the enforcement of Sarda act, the daughter marries at the age of

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

Aryans are people who studied & followed 'Vedas'.

 

is is thru aryans 'vedas' are spread throught india. dravidians are people who dont follow 'Vedas'.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

 

So there were Aryans and Dravidians. And they are different from the other

 

 

Dravidians were once Aryas and followed Kshatriya dharma(warriors). But then they stopped following Vedas and so became vratyas.

 

As for Gokul's explanation, I find it somewhat racist, pointing skin color etc. Gokul please don't take it as a personal attack. Your post seems to point differences amon Saurashtrites and Tamilians. I know many Saurashtrites that do not follow Vedas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

what is your agenda this time? You say nasty things about Shaivites in one of the threads, and now it is time to attack the 'dark-skinned" tamils, eh? What is your motive behind this diatribe? Why are u trying to create a wedge between light-skinned and dark-skinned ppl? Is this part of Vaishnava dharma as well, to divide India on the basis of color and caste? It is disgusting to see such posts on a website that is supposedly "indiadivine", but there is nothing divine about this separatist tendency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

this thread actually is about history of saurashtrians. pls read it. without reading it dont attack me.

 

i havent mentioned anything offensive about tamilians in this thread.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

<--- You say nasty things about Shaivites in one of the threads, and now it is time to attack the 'dark-skinned" tamils, eh? -->

 

yes tamil shaivatees always make fun of 'Govinda' & 'Namam'. thats wat i pointed out in many threads. if u dont believe this, come to tamilnadu & see for yourself.

 

i just have posted about sourashtrians. my agenda is not to hurt anybody by posting about saurashtrians. just like tamilians "brag" about their culture, i am bragging about my culture.

 

if you feel that this post is hurting to someone, i am EXTREMELY SORRY. I DUNNO THAT THIS POST WILL HURT SOMEONES FEELINGS.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

twenty of twenty-one. There is a custom for a boy that he should marry in the year of an odd number. It is a peculiarity of the Saurashtrians that there is no gap of more than two or three months between betrothal and marriage; so we hardly see the incidents of nullifying the betrothal. In case somebody expires in the family, the marriage is postponed for six or twelve months, but generally there is no gap of more than two or three months between betrothal and marriage. “Ghettivido” means fixing the date of marriage. Excepting their own Gotra, they can marry in any other Gotra. Maternal uncle can marry his sister’s daughter. The children of maternal uncle and father’s sister can marry. Such custom is found in some Kathi and Rajput families in Saurashtra and Gujarat. Of course in Kathis as well as in Rajputs, the children of the maternal uncle and the father’s sister can marry, but the maternal uncle and his sister’s daughter cannot marry. In Saurashtrians maternal uncle and sister’s daughter can marry and it indicates the Dravidian influence. In the Dravidians, keeping in view the status of the family, Gotra, position, study of the bridegroom, the bride party gives money in cash and other things. There is no such custom of selling the bridegroom in Saurashtrians. Exceptionally, if the bride is less beautiful, having some physical defects or the Gotra being of lower category, or having some defects or her family being considered lower, the bridegroom party is given some money. Similarly, if the Gotra of the bridegroom is lower, or his family is considered of a lower category due to some reasons, or the bridegroom has some defects, some more amount is paid to the bride-party. Generally, there is no monetary transaction for bride and bridegroom in Saurashtrians. At the time of betrothal, the sixty rupees of “Desh” are given, and sometimes some rupees of “Desh” are given at the betrothal, and the remaining amount is given at the time of marriage.

It is a problem whether in the Saurashtrians all are Brahmins or some are Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra too. In Madurai, all are Brahmins and due to their Gotra and economical position, there are some differences, although they have relations of dinner and marriage among them. The Saurashtrians of Madurai do not keep relations of dinner and particularly of marriage with the Saurashtrians outside of Madurai. They keep relations of dinner and marriage only with the Saurashtrians of Madras. In Madras, some “Sahu” families have been living, and they speak Saurashtri dialect and recognize themselves as the Saurashtrians. The Saurashtrians of Madurai consider them to be polluted. Except the Saurashtrians of Madurai, the Saurashtrians elsewhere have relations of dinner and marriage with one another. The classes of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra have come into existence due to the differences in the way of living, occupation and looseness in matrimonial rules. Eg. In Kanjivaram there are Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. Somewhere Saurashtri men have married the women of different castes, and in some villages the Saurashtri ladies have married the men of other castes. Those Saurashtrians who have been thus considered polluted are called Shudras. Except this, in Saurashtrians, particularly in the Saurashtrians of Madurai, there are no caste differences. The unity of the Saurashtrians of Madurai is more remarkable than other Saurashtrians. Saurashtri men and women hardly marry in other castes. A Saurashtri woman has married a Gujarati Kayastha and in her way of living we relies more of Gujarati culture. This Saurashtri woman has nicely adopted the food habits, manners and customs of Gujarati culture and tradition. The Kayashtha husband of this Saurashtri woman knows Saurashtri language. Their marriage seems to be natural on account of the original affinity. They have three or four children who speak Gujarati language properly, but the marriages of this type are very few. Generally, the Saurashtrians of Madurai do not keep the relations of dinner and marriage with the Saurashtrians outside of Madurai. Their population, being 75,000 they need not extend the circle of relationship. Again, they believe that some looseness has entered into the way of living of some rural Saurashtrians. Some Saurashtrians who are living in the villages situated on the coast take fish as their food and for such reasons the Saurashtrians of Madurai do not keep relations with them.

 

Previously the marriage ceremony continued for five days. Now it ends within two or three days. At the marriage-time, Ganesh is worshipped. At the houses of both the bride and bridegroom, the worship of Ganesh and sacrifice ritual take place on the previous day of marriage. The members of bridegroom party go to the house of the bride and it is called ‘Vorat’ (compare with Hindi ‘Borat’; Gujarati ‘Jan’). At the house of the bride, a picture of the chariot of Ashvinis is drawn on the wall-picture of Ganesh. Near the wall-picture of Ganesh, five lines of small pots are made. In Saurashtra and Gujarat, what is called ‘Chori’ resembles to this. Under the bower of marriage, the pots of copper or brass are put in four directions to make ‘chori’. The difference is that the Saurashtrians, instead of putting them under the bower put them before the picture, and these pots are proportionately smaller. In ‘Chori’ there are four lines while the Saurashtrians make five lines. Like ‘Chori’ the pots are arranged on one another. In Saurashtra, it is called ‘Utarad’, while the Saurashtrians call it ‘Hutarad’. Bride is called ‘Navari’ and “bridegroom” is called ‘Navaro’. The usage of these Marathi words indicates the influence of Marathi. In Saurashtri, like Gujarati, the word ‘Jamai’ (son-in-law) is used. In Saurasthra and Gujarat, there is a custom that the bride and the bridegroom are anointed with ‘Pithi’ (a paste made from the mixture of turmeric and other things); similarly the Saurashtrians also anoint turmeric. Particularly they apply more turmeric to the cheeks. In Saurashtra and Gujarat, the bride and the bridegroom tie ‘Mindhala’ (scanned image) on their hands. The Saurashtrians tie a big piece of turmeric instead of ‘Mindahla’ and they call it a ‘Kangan’.

 

Both the parties being the rites of marriage with the establishment of ‘maneksthambha’, ‘Mandaparopan’, worship of Ganesh and Nandihoma. Before the party of bridegroom arrives at the house of bride, all these preliminary programmes are completed. A remarkable matter about ‘Manekshthambha’ is that the Saurashtrians follow literally the meaning of ‘Manekastambha’ by planting it as big as a pillar. In Saurashtra and Gujarat, the ‘Manekasthambha’ is very short, about as long as one foot and it is made of wood, while the Saurashtrians are adhering to the literal meaning of pillar (Stambha) actually. Before marriage, the Saurashtrians, seeing a good omen, perform Mandaparopana. On every auspicious occasion, there should be an establishment of Ganesh. According to the rites, prescribed by the Shastras, (scriptures) they establish Ganesh in the beginning of marriage. At the time of ‘Nandihoma’, the father and mother of the bride worship their father and mother (if they are not alive, then elderly couple of the family is worshipped).

 

Previously, the marriage-ceremony, which continued for four or five days, now ends mostly within two days (sometimes in a day) on account of economical reasons and influence of reforms. If the bridegroom is to come from the local place, the marriage ceremony is performed at an auspicious hour in the morning. A marriage procession sets out with a pomp. The party of bridegroom is given a welcome at the house of the bride, and each man from the bridegroom party is given betel leaf and nut, garland and sandalwood, but none is served with food. Only the bridegroom and his companion (the ‘anavar’, ‘sangaith’, a mate assisting the bride-groom), are fed for four days. The party of the bridegroom coming from the local place is not given any lodging. To welcome the party of the bride-groom at the gate of the house of the bride, the eldest son-in-law of the family (the eldest brother-in-law of the bride or as an alternative, any eldest son-in-law of the family) goes and receives the bride-groom, ‘Sangaith’ (‘Anawar’ or a mate of the bride-groom who helps him) and the men of the party of the bride-groom with great respect. The matrimonial rites are not done under the bower, but in the room of the house. In the beginning, the father of the bridegroom gives the rest of money of ‘Desannam’, clothes and ornaments. There is a strange and funny custom that five annas and three pice are charged now from the father of the bridegroom, as the said amount was given to the midwife at the birth of the bride. Having dressed yellow sari as ‘panetar’, wearing ornaments and flowers, the bride comes for the rites of marriage. There is neither custom of covering her face nor the custom of covering head, so the bride comes with open face and uncovered head. For the first time in her life, at marriage, she wears the sari in Marathi style (Kachhota style) and even after marriage she keeps on the Marathi style as a sign of her married status. The unmarried girl cannot wear the sari in Marathi style, but can put on in simple Bengali style. This style of wearing the sari seems to be an outcome of Marathi influence.

 

The bride welcomes the bridegroom. She gives him flowers, fruits, milk, sandalwood etc. The silver glass in which the bridegroom is given milk is gifted to him as a custom. The bride is not brought before the bridegroom by the maternal uncle of the bride, nor he accompanies her. When the bride comes, a cloth is held against the face of the bridegroom. The similar custom is prevalent in Saurashtra in Gujarat. After the welcome, the hands of the bride and the bridegroom are tied together. This custom is also prevalent in Saurashtra and Gujarat. The bride and the bridegroom bestow garlands (on neck as well as in the hands) to each other, and as a rite of adorning each other, the sandalwood, Kumkum (red powder), mirror etc, are offered, and they fan each other. The bride is given ‘Mangalsutra’ (a chain of gold as a token of matrimonial relation) and it is put on the neck of the bride by the bride-groom and the other of the bride-groom or if the mother is a widow, the aunt or any married, unwidowed woman, presses the screw of the Mangalsutra. The Mangalsutra seems to be the result of Marathi influence. The bride also worships the bride with ‘Arati’ (Aarati is a rite of worship in which a lamp with several burning wicks is moved around). At the place where there is the establishment of Ganesh and the picture of the chariot of Ashvinas, the bride and the bridegroom to bow down. The mantras of ‘saptapadi’ are recited. (‘Saptapadi’ is a Hindu rite of marriage in which the bride and the bride-groom take seven pledges for happy married life, taking seven steps together. Before this, there is the recital of Gotra (name of the family or tribe). At the time of ‘saptapadi’, the brother of the bride gives the rice, which is sacrificed at the altar. The same custom is seen in Saurashtra and Gujarat. At the time of ‘Mangalfera’ (four rounds around the altar for wedlock) a betel leaf is put in the hands of the bride and the bridegroom. The same custom is also seen in Saurashtra in Gujarat.

 

In Saurashtri marriage, like Saurashtra and Gujarat, ‘chhedachhedi’ (two ends of the cloths; one end is from the bride and the other end is from the bridegroom;) is tied, which is untied before the God of family, after N&#257;gavalli and after having gone to the house of the bride-groom. The bride scatters the rice on the head of the bridegroom with her hands. In Saurashtra there is the same custom, but the barley and sesamum seeds are used in our ceremonies instead of rice. The first-day programme ends with the sacrifice of the rice.

 

On the second or third day after ‘saptapadi’ or if the marriage ceremony is of one or two days, on the very day, the programme of ‘Nalangu’ is kept. Nalangu is a Telugu word. It means respect, welcome, or worship. In ‘Nalangu’ the bride and the bridegroom welcome each other and play with the flowers. When they play with the flowers, they are considered like God Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. Previously marriages were taking place at very young age. Before menses, at the age of eleven or twelve, the girl was married. The bride and the bridegroom being very young, they played with flowers under the bower of marriage; in the presence of all, they eat and give morsels to each other. Though now they marry at the proper age, the custom of ‘Nalangu’ is still continued. The men and the women of both the parties see the programme full of play with great interest. In Gujarat and Saurashtra, at the time ‘Chori’, the bride and the bridegroom eat ‘Kans&#257;r’ (a sweet food made from the flour of wheat and molasses). It is said ‘Kans&#257;r’, but it is a mixture of rice, sugar and ghee. The Saurashtrians also feed them rice. Whether the bride and the bridegroom are younger or elder, the programme of ‘Nalangu’ is held without fail. Somewhere in Saurashtra and Gujarat there is the custom of playing with flowers. In the castes such as of carpenter, tailor, blacksmith, potter etc, the bride and bridegroom, if young, play with the flowers as a custom when the party of the bridegroom is returning with the bride. Among the Saurashtrians there is a peculiar custom of ‘Nalangu’ or ‘Vattu’ (The word ‘Vattu’ seems to be derived from the Sanskrit word ‘vartya’, meaning “the morsels of food”). As in Saurashtra in Gujarat at the time of ‘Chori’ the bridegroom takes a bath. Similarly the bridegroom takes his bath (with anointing oil) at the time of Nalangu. In the programme of Nalangu, the bride and the bridegroom feed the morsels of food to each other. In Saurashtra and Gujarat, the bride and the bridegroom feed the morsels of kans&#257;r. In the Saurashtrians the programme of Nalangu goes on for a long time. ‘Navari’ (the bride) and ‘Navaro’ (the bride-groom) feed each other the fruits (bananas, mangoes, guavas, apples etc) and sweets (Jalebi, Pend&#257;, Halavo, Mesub etc.) The bride and the bridegroom are seated on bench fully adorned with flowers. Below, very near the sangaiths (helping mates of the bride and the bride-groom), the children and the young group of men and women sit near the bench. Purhot (the family priest) and the singers of the marriage song are sitting nearby. As the Purohit gives fruits to the bride and the bridegroom, the bride and the bridegroom give them to each other. To give flowers to the bridegroom sitting beside, the bride stands up with a style and as if she is performing the Mudr&#257; of Bharatnatyam, she gives flowers with a shy smile. This scene is very charming. With the exchange of fruit and flowers, the songs of Nalangu are sung with the accompaniment of musical instruments.

 

This programme become a real play if the elders also take interest in it with pleasure. The bride, holding a banana in her hand, turns it over the head of the bridegroom and then taking a wafer-cake (p&#257;pad), she lets it being dropped over the head of the bridegroom by clapping. In Nalangu the bride and the bridegroom play with flowers. ‘Navaro’ (the bride-groom) throws a ball of flowers at ‘Navari’ (the bride) and she catches it. If ‘Navari’ fails to catch it, it is considered as lack of her cleverness. The play of flowers goes on for about ten or twelve minutes. To test the cleverness of ‘Navari’ and to defeat her in the play, ‘Navaro’ throws the ball in such zigzag manners or so high that ‘Navari’ cannot catch it. On such practices, the people of the bride party take objection (point of order). According to fixed rules, it is ascertained how to throw the ball. The play of flower-ball is a peculiarity of the Saurashtrians. Perhaps in Saurashtra and Gujarat, this type of custom might be existing in old times, but now it is not in practice. Only in the castes such as carpenter and blacksmith, the bride and the bridegroom, if very young, play with the flowers.

 

In the programme of ‘Nalangu’, there is a custom of playing a game of odd and even. Even to day in Saurashtra, the bride and the bridegroom play the game of odd and even after marriage at the house of the bridegroom. At the time of Nalangu, the game of odd and even is played in the Saurashtrians. The bridegroom keeping copper coins in his hand, asks the bride whether the coins in his hand is in odd or even numbers. To defeat the bride, the bridegroom hides one copper coin between his two fingers, so that the judgment of calculation may turn wrong. The people of the bride-party keep a sharp eye on whether the bridegroom plays this trick or not. If the bridegroom plays the trick, they object it to. The bride and the bridegroom are given ten rupees for playing the game of odd and even. The custom of playing the game of odd and even might have been prevalent in Saurashtra, because in Saurashtra the play which is a little different from the play of the Saurashtrians, is also called the game of odd and even. In Saurasthra the game of odd and even is played in such a way that in a large plate filled with the water containing Kanku (red powder), some copper coins and a rupee are put together. Either the bride or the bride-groom succeeds in taking the rupee first, and the person succeeding is considered victorious and it is believed that one who wins in that game holds the power in their future domestic life. Such type of the game is also played in the Saurashtrians.

 

After ‘Nalangu’, the rite of ‘N&#257;gavalli’ takes place. Even in the Telugu Brahmins the same rite is performed. The bridegroom is anointed with oil. Then he takes a bath. The ornament, which is put on the neck of the bride as a symbol of conjugal relation is called ‘Bottu’. In N&#257;gavalli, a pitcher is worshipped. After Nagavalli, the bride and the bridegroom are given a farewell. In old times, the girl was married at the age of five or six years or at the age of eight or nine years, so the honeymoon was not celebrated at the time of marriage. Either her two friends of the same age or a little order, or her two sisters accompanied the little bride; the bride could live without any hesitation due to their company. The bride and the bridegroom did not meet each other. To day, still this custom is in force, even though they marry at a grown-up age. Two friends or sisters of the bride go with her and enjoy dinner. After that the bride goes back to her father’s house. When the bride is grown up and is in menses for the first time, this news is immediately sent to her father-in-law’s house as a rule. The people of the party of the father-in-law arrive playing musical instruments; and the last rite ‘Ch&#257;lhom’ of the marriage takes place; and then, after celebrating honeymoon, the bride and the bridegroom begin their life. Today the bride and the bridegroom being grown-up, the rite of ‘Ch&#257;lhom’ is not postponed. In the Saurashtrians there is a strange custom that after the marriage, the bride-groom, with or without his companion (Sangaith), goes to dine at the house of the father of the bride for a period of nine or ten months. The house of the party of the bride, being local, this custom might have been possible. The bridegrooms of now a days merely go to dine for one or two months or one or two weeks. But, even now, the bridegroom has to go to dine at the house of the father-in-law at least for ten or twelve days. In these days, he is given sweets and sumptuous dinner. In Saurashtra and Gujarat, there is a custom of feeding sweets to the bride for some days; while among the Saurashtrians the bridegroom is given dinner continuously for one or two or six months. The Saurashtrians are permitted to have two wives, but the divorce is not permitted.

 

The widow is not permitted to remarry. She is allowed to keep her hair on the head; but she has to remove the ‘Bottu’, a sign of her married life. The widow can eat the betel-leaf or can wear coloured clothes even at the old age. According to the Hindu rite, the dead body is cremated. When the men go to the funeral place, the women follow them up to the funeral place. This custom is not there in Tamil people, but the same custom to a certain extent is seen in Saurashtra and Gujarat. The women folk come up to a certain point. If it is the evening, the body is kept until the morning of the next day. The remnants of bones are dropped into the flowing waters of a river. Those who go to the funeral place have to stay a great deal of time there, and they have to be given breakfast also. In Saurashtra, in k&#257;thi community, the funeral takes a long time, and at that time, they prepare ‘Kasumb&#257;’ (an opium preparation), not at the funeral place, but in a place nearby. This custom resembles to that of the Saurashtrians. After the death, the ‘Suutak’ (untouchability due to death) is observed for ten days and then takes place an oblation to the dead.

 

In the matter of food, the Saurashtrians of Madurai, like the Tamil neighbours eat mainly rice, Dosa and Idali, but some families are also non-vegetarian. The Saurashtrians of Madurai do not take fish and eggs. The Saurashtrians, residing on the coast, take fish. Among the Saurashtrians of Madurai, the proportion of meat-eating is reduced. Due to prohibition, the addiction to drinking wine has practically gone. Like the southerners they take their food in patrali (the leaves of the tree of banana). It is not customary for them to dine in a large plate; they drink hot water in the summer. They defend themselves in the case of meat-eating with the plea that they eat fish as the Brahmins of Bengal do. There are different ways of living in different countries. They argue that even the Rishis of Vedic times were eating meat. Such type of arguments they present, when they are asked about their meat-eating. There is a rite named ‘Vaddap’. In it, the female ancestors are worshipped, and on that occasion only the married women are given dinner. In Saurasthra and Gujarat, the custom of ‘Gorani’ (when the married women are invited to dine on the ritual occasion) of R&#257;ndal (the wife of the Sun-god) is prevalent. This custom resembles to that of Saurashtrians. Some Saurashtrians of Mysore side are pure vegetarians. Thus on the occasions of life from birth to death, some different ways of living in different places have mingled with those of Brahmins, although the original customs have not vanished entirely.

 

Religious Beliefs

 

In the religious beliefs of the Saurashtrians, the Sun worship is the most remarkable. Now, of course, the Sun worship does not seem to be in the forefront. Like the Pattav&#257;yakas (the weavers) of Mandsor, these people do not worship the Sun God in particular. They worship the Sun as they worship other Gods. It is probable that previously the worship of the Sun might have been more important. They derive the word “Saurashtra” from “Saur Rashtra” *(Surya Rashtra; it means the nation of the Sun) (21 bookmark). It is difficult to support this derivation phonetically; but from this, we can surmise their attitude towards the worship of the Sun. One prominent class of them is called ‘Saulin’. This class is said to be the worshipper of the Sun from its name. It is said that some people of this class regularly pray the Sun. A great number of the Saurashtrians are the followers of a sect named Madhvasamprad&#257;ya. They have their devotional songs collected in a compilation of songs, named ‘Madhvamat Prak&#257;shini’. Under the influence of Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya, some Saurashtrians might have become Shaiv and Vaishnava followers. In Saurashtrians there is no obstinacy or pressure for a certain sect. They are the worshippers of both the Shiva and Vishnu. They do not believe in any difference between these deities. Some believe the presiding head of the monastery of Shringeri to be their spiritual leader. (scanned image) . (All salutations to different Gods ultimately proceed towards the lord Keshava, Krishna), is their belief. If the religions and the sects of the wife and husband are different, it does not create any obstacles in their matrimonial life. The sect and religion are not considered important things in their matrimonial relations. The Saurashtrians go for ‘Darshan’ (Prayers) in the Saurashtri temple, which was built by them; they worship ‘Prasannavenkateshvar’, and likewise they also go to the Min&#257;kshi temple. In the Saurashtri temple, only a Saurashtri puujari (a man who has been specially engaged for the worship of God on behalf of the devotees) worship the God. In the rite of worship, first of all, Sanskrit recital takes place, and then Sankalpvidhi (a rite of volition) is followed. As it is with us the rite of Aarati (waving of lights before the deity) is taking place. A piece of fine cotton cloth (just like silk) is tied over the head of the worshipper. He is given a garland, Kanku (a kind of red powder), a cocoanut, a banana. The woman is given a braid of flowers (Veni). According to the custom of the Tamil people, the Mukuta (a crown ornament, made either of gold or silver) of Swami (Lord) is touched on the head of the worshipper.

 

Bookmark 21:

“History of Saurashtra” - Page.13

 

 

A sipping and a leaf of Holy Basil are given. In addition to the main idol of Venkateshvar, there are the idols of Hanum&#257;n, Radh&#257;krishna and others and the portraits of the saints and the golden and silver conveyances of the Ashva (horse), Gaja (Elephant), Shankha (the conch shell), Garuda (Eagle) etc. The Saurashtrians make a forehead-mark “N&#257;mam” like Ayengars. The married unwidowed women observe a fast on full-moon day, Monday and Friday. They worship the tree and the image of snake. The women particularly worship the Goddess Lakshmi, sing her songs and offer cocoanut. The Patteg&#257;rs of Mysore (who resemble the Saurashtrians) worship the Goddess of Shakti (Might) on the day of Dasher&#257;. The women observe pious rules of the menses for three or four days and on the third or fourth day, the whole house is besmeared with cow-dong. The pot full of water, burning lamp, Shuudra, cow, married unwidowed woman, gold etc. are considered good omens. A barber, a patient, a physically defective or deformed person, the fuel, oil, donkey, broom etc. are considered bad omens. The Saurashtrians have much faith in astrology.

 

Merits and Demerits of the Saurashtri Society

 

We can see some demerits in the Saurashtrians with their peculiar achievements. Due to the probation, the evil of addiction to drinking has almost vanished. Otherwise, the addiction of drinking was up to 60 percent in the labour class. The work of weaving was more labourious, so the drinking gave them a little stimulation. Meat eating is also prevalent in some families. The uncleanliness is now lessening in the Saurashtri houses and suburbs; however their sense of cleanliness is not so acute as the people of Saurashtra and Gujarat. Of course, the colours and the chemicals they use in the printing work have a power to destroy the germs of the diseases. So, the health of the Saurashtrians remains good. Again the habit of cleanliness is being stronger. The Municipality has set up under-ground gutters in the Saurashtri suburbs, so more cleanliness is now seen in these areas. In some suburbs, the houses are old-fashioned and they are without any ventilation.

 

In spite of having such limitations, the Saurashtrians have acquired stability and prosperity in the land, which was quite strange to them; but not only that, the Saurashtrians can take pride for making Madurai another big city and the industrial center of the state. There is a wonderful sense of unity in the Saurashtrians. The Saurashtri women never gossip, sitting at leisure; they help their husbands or families to earn livelihood by participating in textile weaving, printing and home-industry of Chundadi. The industrious and zealous Saurashtri women demonstrate to the other communities an example of the dignity of house labour. She also performs the duties of a housewife. The whole economic fabric of the house is in her hand and her house management can be an ideal for other women. In the Saurashtri women as well as men, you will hardly see any unemployed, lazy and idle person. Only one percent of the Saurashtrians might be idle or unemployed. The Saurashtrians have shown their inventive genius in some important researches of printing and weaving. They have preserved the skill of printing and weaving, which they have inherited by tradition. Not only that, they in accordance with the demands of new age, have been modifying and enriching it. They have not acquired cultural achievements so much as the industrial skill. But now the apathy for higher education, art and cultural activities is decreasing and that is a sign of progress and bright future for them.

 

/images/graemlins/smile.gif Om Namah Shivaya

/images/graemlins/smile.gif Om Namo Venkatesaya

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

..... then why are you in Madras Tamilnadu and why most of your guys are in Madurai, Tanjore and other places of Tamilnadu?

 

Tamilians are the people who "BRAG" the least.

Tamilians are the most accomodative people ( they can even bear the Scum of Politics like Karunanidhi, Periyar and other idiots).

 

And FYI Tamilnadu has the biggest temples and the ancient temples.

There is not temple as splendorous as the Pragadeeswar temple or the meenakshi temple, or the tiruvannamalie temple or the SeeRangam temple. So considering allthis we brag the least.

 

And tamilnadu is called " Vedam Valartha Tamilnadu" which means the Country that flourished the Vedas.

 

And I have lot of Saurashtra friends who are as dark as tamilians, and only when they tell, we know the difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

I had some of the worst experience when I went for Engineering admission.

 

I was hearing lot of castes, lots of communities for the first time in life.

 

I was discriminated because I was born in a Brahmin family and eventhough I scored excellent marks, i struggled to get admission in the colleges, whereas the dumba**** who studied with me got admissions easily( even thought they just passsed). It actually came as a shock to me.

 

From then on I hate this Dravidian , Aryan rubbish.

I believe its purely for political reasons.

And I had Sourashtra friends who belong to some Vellalar community which is considered MBC for reservations. And now I see one guy claiming Sourashtrians are Aryans.

 

So when it comes to college admissions they are not aryans, and when it comes to supremacy, they are Aryans.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

"Why are u trying to create a wedge between light-skinned and dark-skinned ppl?"

 

Hmm, this is what politics in Tamilnadu is all about.

And I am a brown skinned Tamil. So technically I shud fall right in the middle.

 

"Is this part of Vaishnava dharma as well, to divide India on the basis of color and caste? "

I am sorry to say that usually Vaishnavas, are most intolrant, Saivas a little less, and Smarthas are the most tolerant. You can put all the castes ( whose number exceeds the population of India) in this spectrum.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

i got a book portrating 'History of sourashtra'. i quote some of it.

 

i think i have some rights to sing glory of some culture.

 

i dont think i have posted anything offensive in this thread.

 

why tamilians hate this thread (ie., history of saurashtra) soo much ?

 

i have already asked pardon to people if the post had hurted feelings of any. actually i didnt post this as a intention to hurt any race/sect.

 

why hurling abuses necessarily at me ?

 

just speaking of aryans doesnt make that i hate dravidians.

 

i love vishnu much but doesnt mean that i hate rudra. samething applies to aryan-dravidian theory also. just because i speak of aryanism doesnt mean i hate/degrade dravidianism.

 

we people should be united. palkars (saurashtrians) also dont brag about their culture.

 

if i cant paste glory of palkars then where can i paste ? i think i have rights to sing glory of my culture. i am sure that i havent hurted/degraded other cultures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

See as a well wisher, I have reminded you repeatedly, not to hurt the feelings of people.

 

There are always difference of opinions. There are better ways of putting it across without really " rubbing on the wrong side". Do you see my point?

 

See, you un necessarily say Tamilians " Brag about their culture". As a Tamilian, that hurts me personally.

This would have hurt even the Sourastrians of Tamilnadu.

This would hurt the millions of Andhra people who settled in Tamilnadu and speak tamil and consider tamil as their mother tongue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

you tell that you are my well-wisher. then tell your name. as daily umteen guests come here.

 

i thought only Atanuji, Raghuramanji are wellwishers to me. thanks for being a well-wisher to me.

 

anyway i can demonstrate that i havent posted anything offensive. but even then someone will come & abuse me. so i will stop.

 

/images/graemlins/smile.gif Om Shri Guru Raghavendraya Namaha

/images/graemlins/smile.gif Om Shri Jagadguru madhvacharya Namaha

/images/graemlins/smile.gif Jai Shree Krishna

/images/graemlins/smile.gif Om Namo Venkatesaya

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

Sorashtrians were from India."Souram" means sun, that is fire. Sourastrains were hindus,who took sangya avestham and made it their holy book, zand avesta.

 

Zorastrians are also another branch of sourasthrians.All are aryans.whole world.Tamil is also another descendent of aryan race.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest guest

Rajendranji,

 

you seem to be confused with zoros and saurashtrians.

please read my threads - "Saurashtrians - the Genuine aryans", "Saurashtrians - the Genuine aryans (Part Two)", "Saurashtrians - the Genuine aryans (Part three)".

by reading my threads you will clearly know the difference between zoroashtrians & saurashtrians.

 

/images/graemlins/smile.gif Om Namah Shivaya

/images/graemlins/smile.gif Om Namo Venkatesaya

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×