Monday, 14 December 2015

KVMA Chennai Flood Relief Fund



The Klang Valley Mukkulathor Association (KVMA) organized a fund raiser for the flood victims of Chennai. We named it the KVMA Chennai Flood Relief Fund.

I announced it in Facebook on Friday 4 December 2015. We set the deadline at 12:00pm Monday 7 December 2015. Over 30 individuals donated. 

We collected a total of RM6,500. Our initial target was only RM700 as that is equivalent to Rs10,000 but we managed to hit the Rs100,000 (Rs1 lakh) mark.

We transferred Rs1 lakh to Chennai via Western Union on Monday. Based on the conversion rate of that day plus charges, it was equivalent to RM6,437.70. The funds will be managed by one Pradeep Rajan and his friends.

The funds were used to purchase 1000 kilograms of rice, mats, blankets and other basic necessities which will be distributed to 100 needy families. 

I wish to thank our donors who contributed. My friend from India, Kannan Thevar Sembiah responded immediately by donating Rs5,000. It was very kind of him to be supportive of KVMA's initiative. Special thanks to the committee members and family members of KVMA who helped out.

Pradeep and his friends such as Bose Madasamy are doing an excellent job in Chennai. They are working tirelessly to help the flood victims. This shows that the youths are the actual heroes in Tamil Nadu. 

The late Abdul Kalam would have been proud if he was alive to see the dedication shown by these Tamil Nadu youths.

Many organization collect donations but do not show how it is spent. I have included some images in this post for the benefit of my readers especially the donors. The donors have the right know how their money is being spent. 

KVMA will continue to play an active role in the Indian society, be it here in Malaysia or India.

KVMA Committee Team:
Sharmalan Thevar
Dr.Varatharaja Muvarayar

Mohana Nanthiyar
Keeran Sethurayar
Enthiera Kumar Thevar
Yogeshwaran Servai
Ramanathan Kalingarayar
Sheila Servai


Western Union invoice confirming money transfer from Malaysia to Chennai

Some update from Pradeep

Some updates from Pradeep

Picture taken after the mats and blankets were purchased

Some updates from Pradeep. 

Pradeep's post in Facebook after receiving the funds

I was constantly providing updates in Facebook

Pradeep, his mother and his team helped the Maranatha Church children
Our donation will be used to help 100 families

Kannan Thevar Sembiah immediately donated Rs5,000 after reading my post

The receipt for the blankets and bedsheets purchased

The receipt for the mats purchased
The receipt for the rice purchased


Monday, 26 October 2015

Who Is A Tamilar? Deciding The Tamil Identity



Tamil Nationalism or Tamilism as I prefer to call it has now re-emerged. It was pushed aside in the past by Dravidian Nationalism. I am in a way glad that it has re-emerged. 

I only hope that the present torch bearers of Tamilism will lead the people in the right direction and stay away from any form of extremism.

There are some articles in my blog which touches on Tamilism.

Tamilakam - Geographical boundaries of the present day Tamil world
The 5 Landscapes of Tamilakam -  The different types of landscapes that exist in Tamilakam
A Tribute to Taraki - Militarism of Tamil people and their military castes
Dravidian Politics & Surnames - A simple explanation on how the eradication of surnames by Dravidian front affected the Tamil society

The basic thing about Tamilism is the Tamil identity itself. 

What makes a person Tamilar? 

Today many people are able to converse in Tamil. They have names which sound similar. They reside in Tamilakam. Some are born in Tamilakam. Yet, we cannot classify all of them as Tamilar. 

Vishal Krishna Reddy

During the recent Nadigar Sangam election in Tamil Nadu, actor Vishal's ethnicity became an issue. This is because Vishal is of Telugu origin. He is not considered a Tamilar although he would have lived his entire life in Tamil Nadu.

Professor George L.Hart of University of California (Berkeley) has translated several Tamil epics into English. He is also one of the important people who helped to push India to classify Tamil as a classical language. This man definitely knows the language better than most of us yet he will also not be considered a Tamilar.

This shows that Tamil language proficiency or living in any part of Tamilakam will not be considered as criteria to consider someone a Tamilar. You can be a permanent resident of Tamil Nadu but that does not make you a Tamilar.

Professor George L.Hart

The only way is to check on the caste background of the person. If a person was born in a caste native to any parts within the geographical boundaries of Tamilakam, then that person will be considered as a Tamilar.

It is this one thing which determines who is a Tamilar and who is not even if the person resides outside Tamilakam including those in Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.

Vishal is not a Tamilar because he is Vishal Reddy. Reddy (or Reddiar) is Telugu caste which originated from outside Tamilakam. There are Reddies in Tamil Nadu who have been living in the state for almost 500 years. 

Castes shows if one is a native of the land. Reddies, Naickers, Sakkiliyars and Mutrachas are some of the castes which came from outside Tamilakam and settled down here. They are not native castes. Hence, are not considered as Tamilar. This then leads to another question. 

How long must a caste have settled down in Tamilakam in order to be considered as natives?

There are some like Kallars who arrived in Tamilakam 70,000 years ago. Others arrived later. Could be 5000 years or even 500 years.

So where do we draw the line?

A friend told me that all those who settle down in Tamil Nadu before the partition of Madras State are considered as natives. Some feel that those who settled down here during or before Western colonisation are natives. Others feel that those who arrived from outside the boundaries of Tamilakam after the end of the Sangam Ages cannot be considered as natives.

Perhaps it will be important to first decide who can be considered as native Tamilar. The government of Tamil Nadu and their counterparts in Sri Lanka, Puducherry and Karaikal can work together to set the standard.



Thursday, 17 September 2015

Ganesha On Rupiah



Today is Vinayaka (Ganesha) Chaturthi. It is considered as the birth day of the elephant headed God. The legend of his birth is very popular.

Parvati created him and requested him to guard her chamber. When Shiva returned, he saw Ganesha guarding the chamber. Ganesha did not allow Shiva to enter the chamber. This angered Shiva and he beheaded Ganesha.

After realising that it was his son, Shiva brought him back to life. An elephant's head was placed as a replacement for the missing head. Shiva then made Vinayaka the leader of his Gana army. This is how he came to be known as Gana Athipathi or Ganapathi.


The image of Ganesha is the most popular Hindu icon. It is even very popular in the most populous Muslim nation which was once a Hindu nation, Indonesia.

If you take a look at the 1998 Indonesian bank note for 20,000 Rupiah, you can see an image of Ganesha on it. There is a story for this. 

Back in 1990s, Indonesia was going through several crisis. It was under the rule of Suharto. The 1997-98 Asian financial crisis hit them hard. 

It is rumoured that Suharto consulted a Hindu astrologer and asked for a solution. He wanted the country to overcome the obstacle. The astrologer suggested that he print the image of Ganesha on the bank notes. Ganesha will remove the obstacle for Indonesia.

The government published the bank notes with images of Ganesha on 19 February 1998. During the next few months, the country saw widespread unrest. It escalated into the anti-Chinese riot causing Suharto to resign on 21 May 1998.

The astrologer was right. Indonesia's biggest obstacle at that time was actually Suharto and Ganesha removed him! Surprisingly, Indonesia has shown progress ever since then.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Culavamsa - Some References On The Mukkulathor Community



The history of the Sinhalas of Sri Lanka begins with the arrival of Prince Vijaya from Kalinga. The island's history is recorded in the Dipavamsa, Mahavamsa and Culavamsa.

Prior to the arrival of Vijaya, the Tamils have already established their kingdoms there. Vijaya's marriage to the Tamil princess of the Pandyan kingdom helped him to establish a new Sinhala kingdom in the island. 

Few centuries later, there were battles between the Pandyas, Cholas and the Sinhalas. The Sinhala army occupied parts of southern Tamil Nadu in the 12th century during the time of Parakramabhu I. They were eventually defeated by the Tamils. 

I managed to find some of the names of these places and their chieftains in the Culavamsa. The places are located in present day districts of Madurai, Sivaganga, Tirunelveli and Ramanathapuram. There were great battles involving many people particularly the ancestors of the present day Mukkulathor people.




Kandadevi Swarnamoortheeswarar festival.
PICTURE CREDIT: S.James

One of the places mentioned as ruled by a feudal chief named Kangeya (Gangaiyar/Kangeyar) is Kandadevi. This place is located in the district of Sivagangai near the Devakottai area.

Kangeya divided his domain into 4 Nadus. The Nadus are Unjanai, Semponmari, Thennilai and Eravuseni. The Nadus were ruled by 4 Kallar brothers.

The descendants of these 4 brothers still live in this part of Sivagangai. They are known as Nattar. These Nattars have the right to pull the chariot in the Kandadevi Swarnamoortheeswarar temple festival as they were the ambalams (local rulers).

Another place mentioned in Culavamsa is Anjukottai. This place is located near Tiruvadanai of Ramanathapuram. There is also a branch of Maravar people known as Anjukottai Maravar.


Pudukottai inscription which refers to the Kallar chief as Nadalvar

The Culavamsa also mentioned Mukkulathor family names such as Karambarayar, Madhavarayar, Mundiyarayar, Muvarayar, Kalingarayar, Kallakavelar, Kanasirayar, Thondaiman and many more. 

There were also specific references to the Nadalvars who are also known as Nattar in the present era. Names like Kandiyuru Nadalvar refers to the ancestors of the present day Kandiyar family of the Kallar community. 

It is also stated in this Sri Lankan chronicle that the Kalingarayar, Munayadarayar and Kallakavelar were brother-in-laws of the Thondaiman. The names such as Kallakavelar shows their Kallar origin.

I have included some references from the Culavamsa below.










Thursday, 13 August 2015

Tamil Saivism & Vedas

The Nayanmars. Picture taken at KL Mariamman Devasthanam.
The Tamils are largely Hindus. The Hindu philosophy is based on the teachings of Vedas, Agamas, Upanishad, Itihasas, Puranas, Gita and various other texts. Veda and Agama fall into a class known as Sruthi meaning not of human origin or heard. 

Today we also have Tamils who are Christians and Muslims. In the past, we also had Tamils who were Jains and Buddhist. The Bhakti movement revived Hinduism among the Tamils who at one point of time embraced Jainism and Buddhism. It was the Bhakti movement headed by the Alwars and Nayanmars which returned the Tamils to Hinduism.

The Tamil Hindus can be divided into the principles of Shan Matham meaning 6 Religion. Most of them are either Saivites or Vaishnavites. The Saivites have Thirumurai as their holy book while the Vaishnavites have the Nalayira Divyaprabandham.

The present day Tamil Saivites follow the Saiva Siddhanta school of Saivism. In the past, there were other schools such as Pasupatham, Vamam, Bhairavam and a few others.

There is a Saiva Siddhanta movement in Malaysia which promotes the Thirumurai. They are also doing more than just promoting this. They are portraying Vedas and Agamas as something alien to the Tamil people. 

They do this because both the Vedas and Agamas are in Sanskrit. They also claim that the Siva worshipped by the Tamils is not the same as the Rudra mentioned in the Vedas.

Since this movement claims that their teaching is based on the Thirumurai, let us examine some hymns from the Thirumurai to confirm if their claim is valid.

The Thirumurai is a collection of teachings and hymns of the saints known as Nayanmar. There were 63 Nayanmar. Their work is collected into 12 volumes. The volumes were arranged without following the chronological order for some mysterious reason.

Among the oldest is Thirumular's Thirumantiram. This is also known as the 10th Thirumurai. Thirumular dedicated a chapter for Veda and Agama. It is known as Veda Sirappu (Greatness of Veda) and Agama Sirappu (Greatness of Agama)

Veda Sirappu
வேதத்தை விட்ட அறம்இல்லை வேதத்தின்
ஓதத் தகும்அறம் எல்லாம் உளதர்க்க

வாதத்தை விட்டு மதிஞர் வளமுற்ற
வேதத்தை ஓதியே வீடுபெற் றார்களே

Vētattai viṭṭa aṟamillai vētattiṉ
ōtat takumaṟam ellām uḷatarkka
vātattai viṭṭu matiñar vaḷamuṟṟa
vētattai ōtiyē vīṭupeṟ ṟārkaḷē

Thirumular mentioned that there is no Dharma other than the one prescribed in the Vedas. It shows how much importance is given to the Vedas as it is seen not only as a divine revelation but also as a complete knowledge system. 

Agama Sirappu
அஞ்சன மேனி அரிவையோர் பாகத்தன்
அஞ்சொ டிருபத்து மூன்றுள ஆகமம்
அஞ்சலி கூப்பி அறுபத் தறுவரும்
அஞ்சாம் முகத்தில் அரும்பொருள் கேட்டதே

Añcaṉa mēṉi arivaiyōr pākattaṉ
añco ṭirupattu mūṉṟuḷa ākamam
añcali kūppi aṟupat taṟuvarum
añcām mukattil arumporuḷ kēṭṭatē

Here, Thirumular explains that the Agama is born from the 5th face of Siva (4th line). The 2nd line states that there are 25 + 3 Agamas. So there are total 28 Agamas. 

1. Kamiga
2. Yojana
3. Sivithia
4. Karana
5. Ajitha
6. Deeptha
7. Sukshma
8. Sahasra
9. Hamsuma
10. Suprabeda
11. Vijaya
12. Niswasa
13. Swayambuva
14. Agneya
15. Vijaya
16. Raurava
17. Makuta
18. Vishala
19. Chandra Jnana
20. Mukha Bimba
21. Purorgeetha
22. Lalitha
23. Siddha
24. Santana
25. Sarvokta
26. Parameswara
27. Karana
28. Vathula

The Sanskrit Agamic text contains rules on rituals and even temple construction. Tamil temples generally follow the Kamiga Agama. 

Another Nayanmar, Thirunavukarasu @ Appar who is considered as among the 4 main Nayanmars, also referred to the Vedas.

அரியானை அந்தணர்தம் சிந்தை யானை
அருமறையின் அகத்தானை அணுவை யார்க்கும்
தெரியாத தத்துவனைத் தேனைப் பாலைத்
திகழொளியைத் தேவர்கள்தங் கோனை மற்றைக்
கரியானை நான்முகனைக் கனலைக் காற்றைக்
கனைகடலைக் குலவரையைக் கலந்து நின்ற
பெரியானைப் பெரும்பற்றப் புலியூ ரானைப்
பேசாத நாளெல்லாம் பிறவா நாளே.

Ariyāṉai antaṇartam cintai yāṉai
arumaṟaiyiṉ akattāṉai aṇuvai yārkkum
teriyāta tattuvaṉait tēṉaip pālait
tikaḻoḷiyait tēvarkaḷtaṅ kōṉai maṟṟaik
kariyāṉai nāṉmukaṉaik kaṉalaik kāṟṟaik
kaṉaikaṭalaik kulavaraiyaik kalantu niṉṟa
periyāṉaip perumpaṟṟap puliyū rāṉaip
pēcāta nāḷellām piṟavā nāḷē.

The 2nd line describes Siva as an Atom (the core) of the Vedas. Vedas are also known as Marai in Tamil.

Thirunganasambanthar said the following in the 6th Thirumurai.

பார்மலிந்தோங்கிப் பருமதில்சூழ்ந்த பாம்புரநன்னக ராரைக்
கார்மலிந்தழகார் கழனிசூழ்மாடக் கழுமலமுதுபதிக் கவுணி
நார்மலிந்தோங்கு நான்மறைஞான சம்பந்தன்செந்தமிழ் வல்லார்
சீர்மலிந்தழகார் செல்வமதோங்கிச் சிவனடி நண்ணுவர்தாமே

Pārmalintōṅkip parumatilcūḻnta pāmpuranaṉṉaka rāraik
kārmalintaḻakār kaḻaṉicūḻmāṭak kaḻumalamutupatik kavuṇi
nārmalintōṅku nāṉmaṟaiñāṉa campantaṉcentamiḻ vallār
cīrmalintaḻakār celvamatōṅkic civaṉaṭi naṇṇuvartāmē

The word Kavuni in the 2nd line refers to the Kaundinya Gotra of the Brahmins. Sambanthar was born in this lineage. The 3rd line describes Sambanthar as a person who has knowledge in the 4 Vedas and he has written the verses in refined Tamil. Those who recite it will attain the feet of Siva.

The following verses are by Appar. He describes Siva as Vethiyan or the giver of Vedas in the first line. In the final line, he describes NaMaSiVaYa as the companion which will give salvation.

சொற்றுணை வேதியன் சோதி வானவன்
பொற்றுணைத் திருந்தடி பொருந்தக் கைதொழக்
கற்றுணைப் பூட்டியோர் கடலிற் பாய்ச்சினும்
நற்றுணை யாவது நமச் சிவாயவே

Coṟṟuṇai vēthiyaṉ cōti vāṉavaṉ
poṟṟuṇait tiruntaṭi poruntak kaitoḻak
kaṟṟuṇaip pūṭṭiyōr kaṭaliṟ pāycciṉum
naṟṟuṇai yāvatu namac civāyavē

The Rudra of the Vedas is Siva. They are the same. The terrifying aspect is Aghora while the auspicious aspect is Siva. The word Siva can be found in the Namakam and Chamakam of the Sri Rudram in the Yajur Veda.Take a look at the following final lines of the 1st Anuvaka of the Namakam

namaste astu bhagavan viśveśvarāya mahādevāya
tryambakāya tripurāntakāya trikāgnikālāya
kālāgnirudrāya nīlakanthāya mrtyuñjayāya sarveśvarāya
sadāśivāya śrīmanmahādevāya namaha

The Sanskrit Panchakshra NaMaSiVaYa occurs in the 8th Anuvaka of the Namakam

namah śivāya ca śivatarāya ca 

Pancha means 5 and Akshara means syllable. When this is written in Tamil, it will become NaMaChChiVaYa with 6 syllables. This is because in Tamil, when the first word ends with a vowel, it has to take the base syllable of the 2nd word for a proper continuation. 

So Nama Sivaya becomes Namach Chivaya in Tamil. Si is written as Ich and expanded as Cha or Sa. You can take a look at the last line of Appar's verses shown above.

So although written with 6 syllables in Tamil, it has to be still be correctly pronounced as 5 syllables in the Sanskrit way. The pronunciation of Chi happens because of conversion from Sanskrit to Tamil as explained above. If we were to separate Tamil Saivism from any Sanskrit influence, the pronunciation of NaMaSiVaYa can become inaccurate. 

There was a Nayanmar known as Pasupathi. He recited the Sri Rudram daily in the temple water tank. He did this with great intensity. For this reason, he was addressed as Rudra Pasupathi Nayanar. 

These are some of the examples taken from the Thirumurai. It shows that the authors of Thirumurai, the Nayanmars glorified the Vedas and the Agamas. 

The Nayanmars accepted it as the source of our knowledge system. They then wrote their own hymns and explanation based on this knowledge system for the benefit of the common people.

Even in the annals of the Tamil people, our kings are known to be not just patrons of Tamil language, but also guardians of the Vedas and Vedic practices. 

Kings like Palyagasalai Mudukudumi Peruvazhuthi Pandya was famous for his patronage of Vedic sacrifices. The Pandya, Chera and Chola kings were even mentioned in the Mahabaratha, a Sanskrit Itihasa. They participated in Yudishtira's Rajasuya sacrifice (Vedic sacrifice).

It only shows that the Tamil society had deep Vedic roots. 

Based on all these, it makes no sense for any present day Tamil Saivite association to distance itself from the Vedas or even the Agamas simply because they are written in Sanskrit. The Thirumurai which they held with high regards is linked with these scriptures. 

Siva worship transcends all boundaries and that includes linguistic boundaries. Love towards ones language should not become an obstacle to embrace complete Siva worship. 

Unfortunately, some are trying to make it exclusively Tamil. There should be an end to this extremism which is spreading like cancer among the present day Tamil society.



Friday, 8 May 2015

The Perak Coronation Address



Whispering the royal secret into the ears of the ruler. 
Collecting water from 7 tributaries of Perak river in 7 pots. It will be used for the bathing ritual of the ruler. According to Hinduism, river water from 7 tributaries in 7 pots represents the holy rivers of Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri.


Many people in Malaysia are now talking about the  Perak coronation. The Perak royal family still follows an ancient legacy. There are many elements of Hinduism and Animism in it.

Back in January 1881, W.E Maxwell of the Colonial Civil Service (British Malaya) published a journal about the Perak coronation. It is called as a Chiri. A Chiri is actually a coronation address and it contains Sanskrit words.

R.O. Winstedt and R.J. Wilkinson have also written about the Perak coronation and its Hindu influence in their book A History of Perak which was first published in June 1934.




The following is taken from The Straits Times, 2 March 1939, Page 4

I have included pages from W.E Maxwell's journal, An Account of The Malay Chiri, A Sanskrit Formula, at the end of this article. 

It will be best to read it with an open mind. Keep in mind that although there could be elements of Hinduism, the Perak royal family of today have embraced Islam. They are no longer Hindus.

As a Hindu Malaysian, I pray that the Almighty Mahadeva Shiva bless the new ruler of Perak and his loyal subjects.

DAULAT TUANKU!!!