Monday, 4 March 2019

My Talk On Melaka Chettis

My first post on this community can be read here : Chetti vs Chettiar- Are Those in Malacca Confused? 

The Melaka (Malacca) Cheti community managed to retain their identity for 500 years in Melaka far away from their original homeland in India because of the following:

1. They maintained their surnames; Pillay, Naicker, Chitty, Mudaliar, Rajah, Konar, Kullen, Pathar, Pandaram and Padayachi.
2. They still use their traditional Thali pendants; Telugu Pottu Thali and Tamil Thali
3. They still continue the worship of their Hindu family deities (kula deivam)

If these 3 things were removed, the Melaka Cheti community would have lost their unique identity and assimilated with the local population in ancient Malaysia. The community would have not existed today.

Here is the video of my talk which was delivered on Sunday 3 March 2019. The event was organised by Melaka In Fact.

Using some of the findings, I made some comparitive study. The Pillay familes of the Melaka Cheti have Angala Parameswari and Ayyanar as their family deity.

There are 100 sub divisions among the Vellalar community in Tamil Nadu. The Vellalar groups on the eastern side of Tamil Nadu like Arunattu Vellalar, Saiva Vellalar, Isai Vellalar, Sozhiya Vellalar use Pillai behind their names. The Arunattu Vellalars have about 35-40 family names although they use Pillay/Pillai as a shared surname.

This is the link to my previous write up on The Vellalar Community.

Here are 3 examples of the Pillay families of Arunattu Vellalar community:

Family name : Konnakudaiyan
Kula Deivam : Angala Parameswari
Village : Serugudi

Family name : Panaiyadiyan
Kula Deivam : Ayyanar
Village : Serugudi

Family name: Pavaludaiyan
Kula Deivam : Ayyanar
Village: Serugudi

The Pillays of the Melaka Cheti community could have been from the Arunattu Vellalar community. The Arunattu Vellalars can be found in areas like Kumbakonam and even Chidambaram.

Coincidentally, many Padayachis too live in this area. The remaining surnames of the Melaka Cheti community could also be found in the areas surrounding these two places although there is a possibility that they could have also come from other places.

Perhaps the ancestors of the present day Melaka Cheti community lived in the Kumbakonam or Chidambaram area in ancient times before they migrated to Melaka?

This is of course just a theory.  We need to find more evidence to link it.