Thursday, 24 October 2013

Lord Rama - A vegetarian? Guess not.

Hindus often have a misconception about Hinduism. We often tag it as a vegetarian religion. Hinduism as we know today is actually a collection of various religions native to the Indian subcontinent. Unlike the Abrahamic religions, it is not a one book religion. 

Therefore, there are many scriptures and paths within Hinduism. Each may contradict with one another. Each path has its own rules and way of doing things. What is correct for you may not necessarily be correct for me.

The Gaudinya Vaishnavites believe that Krishna is the Supreme God. The other Vaishnavites disagree by stating that Vishnu Narayana is the Supreme God and Krishna is just an avatar.

Get my point?

Many Hindus failed to realize the vast differences within Hinduism itself. 

Vegetarianism become popular in India not because of Hinduism but because of Jainism and Buddhism. These were the real promoters of vegetarianism. Only after the arrival of Buddhism and Jainism did vegetarian practice became so popular in India.

There are many references in Hindu scriptures and epics which promotes vegetarianism but at the same time, there are many references which speaks about animal sacrifice and consumption of meat. 

Believers of  'Vegetarian Hinduism' will definitely deny this. Many do not like to speak about it and for obvious reasons, do not like people like me to speak about it.

I used to be very active in Hindu forums during the early 2000s. I often end up arguing with many priest and most of them happen to be from ISKON. I have nothing against vegetarians or Vegetarian Hindus. It is a choice. I also have nothing against ISKON.

But at the same time, I strongly believe that the historical facts about Hinduism must never be denied. There is no shame or guilt in accepting something which is against the current norm. 

If we can accept the fact that Draupadi was shared by 5 husbands, why can't we accept the non-vegetarian aspect of Hinduism?

One of the hottest debates which I came across was about Lord Rama's diet. As we all know, he was a warrior born in the Solar race. He belonged to a lineage known as the Ishvaku lineage. Rama lived in the forest for many years. He was exiled.

So what he could have eaten in the forest? Some argued with me stating that he relied on fruits, herbs and roots only. I find it difficult to believe. 

The current Ramayana books which you get in the market may tell a different story. It has been edited from the original version. I call it the 'vegetarianised scriptures'.

We need to look at the Ramayana written by Vaalmiki. Not the Ramayana which was edited in recent times to suit the needs of certain Hindu groups.

I have included some verses from the Vaalmiki Ramayana itself. You can read it towards the end of this article and judge it for yourself.

I have nothing against a non-vegetarian Rama.
I accept Rama for how he was, not for how I want him to be.


suraaghaTasahasreNa maamsabhuutodanena cha |
yakshye tvaam prayataa devi puriim punarupaagataa || 2-52-89

89. devii= “Oh, goddess! Upaagata= After reaching; puriim= the city (Ayodhya); punaH= again; yakshhye= I shall worship (you); suraaghata sahasreNa= with thousand pots of spirituous liquor; maamsa bhuutodanena cha = and jellied meat with cooked rice; prayataa= well-prepared for the solemn rite.”

“Oh, goddess! After reaching back the city of Ayodhya, I shall worship you with thousand pots of spirituous liquor and jellied meat with cooked rice well prepared for the solemn rite.”

Verse 89, Sarga 52, Ayodhya Kanda

 तौ तत्र हत्वा चतुरः महा मृगान् |
वराहम् ऋश्यम् पृषतम् महा रुरुम् |
आदाय मेध्यम् त्वरितम् बुभुक्षितौ|
वासाय काले ययतुर् वनः पतिम् || २-५२-१०२

102. hatvaa = having killed; tatra = there; chaturaH = four; mR^igaan = deer (namely); varaaham = Varaaha; R^ishyam = Risya; pR^ishhatam = PR^isata; mahaaruru = (and) Mahaaruru; (the four principal species of deer); aadayaa = and taking; tvaritam = quickly; medhyam = the portions that were pure; tou = Rama and Lakshmana; bubhukshhitou = being hungry as they were; yayatuH = reached; vanaspatim = a tree; vaasayaa = to take rest; kaale = in the evening.

Having hunted there four deer, namely Varaaha, Rishya, Prisata; and Mahaaruru (the four principal species of deer) and taking quickly the portions that were pure, being hungry as they were, Rama and Lakshmana reached a tree to take rest in the evening.

Verse 102, Sarga 52, Ayodhya Kanda

 क्रोशमात्रम् ततो गत्वा भ्रातरौ रामलक्ष्मनौ || २-५५-३३
बहून्मेध्यान् मृगान् हत्वा चेरतुर्यमुनावने |

33. tataH = thereafter; gatvaa = having travelled; kroshamaatram = only a couple of miles; bhraatarau = the two brothers; raamalakshhmaNau = Rama and Lakshmana; hatvaa = killed; bahuun = many; medhyaan = consecrated; mR^igaan = deer; cheratuH = and ate; yamunaavane = in the river-forest of Yamuna.

Thereafter having travelled only a couple of miles the two brothers Rama and Lakshmana killed many consecrated deer and ate in the river-forest of Yamuna.

Verse 33, Sarga 55, Ayodhya Kanda

 ऐणेयम् मांसम् आहृत्य शालाम् यक्ष्यामहे वयम् |
कर्त्व्यम् वास्तुशमनम् सौमित्रे चिरजीवभिः || २-५६-२२

22. saumitre = Oh; Lakshmana!; aahR^itya = being; aiNeyam maamsam = bring meat of the antelope; vayam = we; yakshyaamahe = shall worship; shaalaam = (this) leaf-hut; vaastushamanam = purifactory ceremony on entering the house; kartavyam = on entering the; chirajiivibhiH = by those who wish to live long.

"Oh, Lakshmana! Bring the meat of an antelope. We shall perform a purifactory ceremony while entering the house. Which is to be done by those who wish to live long."

Verse 22, Sarga 56, Ayodhya Kanda

 मृगम् हत्वाऽऽनय क्षिप्रम् लक्ष्मणेह शुभेक्षण
कर्तव्यः शास्त्रदृष्टो हि विधिर्दर्ममनुस्मर || २-५६-२३

23. shubhekshaNa = Oh; large-eyed; lakshmaNa = Lakshmana!; hatvaa = killing; mR^igam = the antelope; kshhipram = quickly; anaya = bring; iha = here; vidhiH = the prescribed rite; shaastra dR^iSTaH = according to scriptural point of view; kartavyaH hi = indeed is to be done; anusmara = keep in mind; dharmam = the sacred obligation."

"Oh, large-eyed Lakshmana! Killing the antelope quickly, bring it here. The prescribed rite according to scriptural point of view indeed is to be performed. Keep in mind the sacred obligation."

Verse 23. Sarga 56, Ayodhya Kanda

 इणेयम् श्रपयस्वैतच्च्चालाम् यक्ष्यमहे वयम् |
त्वरसौम्य मुहूर्तोऽयम् ध्रुवश्च दिवसोऽप्ययम् || २-५६-२५

25. saumya = Oh; great brother!; shrapayasva = boil; etat = this; aiNeyam = antelope's meat; vayam = we; yakshyaamahe = shall worship; shaalaam = the leaf-hut; ayam = this; divasaH = day; ayam = (and) this; muhuurtaH api = instant also; dhruvaH = are of a distinctive character; tvara = be quick.

"Oh, gentle brother! Boil this antelope's meat. We shall worship the leaf-hut. This day and this instant also are of a distinctive character. Be quick."

Verse 25, Sarga 56, Ayodhya Kanda

 स लक्ष्मणः कृष्ण मृगम् हत्वा मेध्यम् पतापवान् |
अथ चिक्षेप सौमित्रिः समिद्धे जात वेदसि || २-५६-२६

atha = then; saH lakshmaNaH = that Lakshmana; prataapavaan = the strong man; saumitriH = and son of Sumitra; hatvaa = killing; medhyam = the holy; kR^iSNa mR^igam = black antelope; chikSepa = tossed; jaata vedasi = in a fire; samiddhe = ignited.

Then, Lakshmana the strong man and son of Sumitra, killing a holy back antelope, tossed it in an ignited fire.

Verse 26, Sarga 56, Ayodhya Kanda

 तम् तु पक्वम् समाज्ञाय निष्टप्तम् चिन्न शोणितम् |
लक्ष्मणः पुरुष व्याघ्रम् अथ राघवम् अब्रवीत् || २-५६-२७

27. parijJNaaya = feeling certain; pakvam = it is cooked; niSTaptam = and heated thoroughly; chinna shoNitam = with no blood remaining; lakshmaNaH = Lakshmana; atha = thereafter; abraviit = spoke; raaghavam = to Rama; puruSa vyaaghram = the lion among men (as follows).

Feeling certain that it is cooked and heated thoroughly with no blood remaining, Lakshmana spoke to Rama the lion among man as follows:

Verse 27, Sarga 56, Ayodhya Kanda

 अयम् कृष्णः समाप्त अन्गः शृतः कृष्ण मृगो यथा |
देवता देव सम्काश यजस्व कुशलो हि असि || २-५६-२८

28. ayam = this; kR^iSNaH mR^igo = black antelope; samaapta angaH = with its complete limbs; shR^itaH = has been cooked; sarvaH = completely; mayaa = by me; deva damkaasha = Oh Rama; remsembling god!; yajasva = worship; devataaH = the deities; asi ahi = you are indeed; kushalaH = skilled (in such act)

"This black antelope, with its complete limbs, has been cooked completely by me. Oh, Rama resembling God! Worship the concerned deity, as you are skilled in that act."

Verse 28, Sarga 56, Ayodhya Kanda

 वन्यैर्माल्यैः फलैर्मूलैः पक्वैर्मांसैर्यथाविधि |
अद्भर्जपैश्च वेदोक्तै र्धर्भैश्च ससमित्कुशैः || २-५६-३४
तौ तर्पयित्वा भूतानि राघवौ सह सीतया |
तदा विविशतुः शालाम् सुशुभाम् शुभलक्षणौ || २-५६-३५

34;35. raaghavau = Rama and Lakshmana; saha siitauyaa = along with Seetha; shubha lakshhmaNau = having auspicious characterstics; tarpayitvaa = satisfied; bhuutaani = the spirits; maalyaiH = by crowns of flowers; vanyaiH = obtained in the forest; phalaiH = by fruits; mulaiH = by roots; pakvaiH = by cooked; maamsaiH = meat; abdhiH = by water; japaishcha = by prayers; vedoktaiH = as uttered in sacred texts (Vedas); darbhaishcha = by sacred grass; sasmitkuchaiH = by fuel and Kusa grass; tadaa = then; vivishatuH = entered; sushubhaam = the auspicious; shaalaam = leaf-hut.

Rama and Lakshmana along with Seetha, having auspicious characteristics, satisfied the sirits by crowns of flowers obtained in the forest, by fruits roots and cooked meat, by water, by prayers as uttered in the sacred texts (Vedas), by sacred grass, by fuel and Kusa grass and then entered the auspicious leaf-hut.

Verse 35, Sarga 56, Ayodhya Kanda

 तां तथा दर्शयित्वा तु मैथिलीं गिरिनिम्नगाम् |
निषसाद गिरिप्रस्थे सीतां मांसेन चन्दयन् || २-९६-१

1. tathaa = thus; darshayitvaa = having shown; girinimnagaam = the mountaneous river Mandakini; taam siitaam = to that Seetha; maithiliim = the daughter of the king of Mithila; niSasaada = sat; giriprashthe = on the hill side; chhandayan = in order to gratify her appetite; maamsena = with flesh.Having shown Mandakini River in that manner to Seetha, the daughter of Mithila, Rama set on the hill-side in order to gratify her appetite with a piece of flesh.

Verse 1, Sarga 96, Ayodhya Kanda

 इदं मेध्यमिदं स्वादु निष्टप्तमिदमग्निना |
एवमास्ते स धर्मात्मा सीतया सह राघवः || २-९६-२

2. saH raaghavaH = that Rama; dharmaatmaa = of righteousness; aaste = stayed; siitayaa sha = with Seetha; evam = thus speaking; idam = this meat; madhyam = is fresh; idam = this; niSTaptam = was roasted; agninaa = in the fire.Rama, whose mind was devoted to righteousness stayed there with Seetha, saying; "This meat is fresh, this is savoury and roasted in the fire."

Verse 2, Sarga 96, Ayodhya Kanda

 निहत्य पृषतम् च अन्यम् मांसम् आदाय राघवः |
त्वरमाणो जनस्थानम् ससार अभिमुखः तदा || ३-४४-२७

27. tadaa = then; raaghavaH = Raghava; anyam = another one; pR^iSatam nihatya ca = spotted deer, on killing, also; maamsam aadaaya = its flesh, on taking; tvaramaaNaH = hurrying himself; janasthaanam abhimukhaH sasaara = to Janasthaana, towards, he drifted,proceeded.

Raghava then on killing another spotted deer and on taking its flesh, he hurried himself towards Janasthaana. [3-44-27]

Verse 27, Sarga 44, Aranya Kanda

 समाश्वस मुहूर्तम् तु शक्यम् वस्तुम् इह त्वया || ३-४७-२२
आगमिष्यति मे भर्ता वन्यम् आदाय पुष्कलम् |
रुरून् गोधान् वराहान् च हत्वा आदाय अमिषान् बहु || ३-४७-२३

22b, 23. muhuurtam samaashvasa = for a moment, be comfortable; tvayaa iha vastum shakyam = by you, here, to take rest, possible; me bhartaa = my, husband; ruruun = stag with black stripes; godhaan = mongooses like [civet-like mammals of the family Viverridae, esp. of the genus Herpestes, Marathi manguus]; varaahaan ca = wild-boars, also; hatvaa = on killing; bahu amiSaan aadaaya = aplenty, meat, on taking; puSkalam vanyam aadaaya = plentiful, forest produce, on taking; aagamiSyati = will be coming [soon.]"Be comfortable for a moment, here it is possible for you to make a sojourn, and soon my husband will be coming on taking plentiful forest produce, and on killing stags, mongooses, wild boars he fetches meat, aplenty. [3-47-22b, 23]

Verse 23, Sarga 47, Aranya Kanda

 रामो अथ सह सौमित्रिः वनम् यात्वा स वीर्यवान् |
स्थूलान् हत्वा महा रोहीन् अनु तस्तार तम् द्विजम् || ३-६८-३२

32. atha = then; viiryavaan raamaH = resolute one, Rama; saha saumitriH = with, Soumitri; vanam yaatvaa = to forest, on going; sthuulaan mahaa rohiin hatvaa = robust-bodied, big, Rohi [or, Kesari animals,] on killing - hunted; tam dvijam = for him, the bird; saH = he; anutastaara = spread sacred grass - to place offerings.Then that resolute Rama on going into forest along with Soumitri hunted a robust-bodied, big Rohi animal, or, Kesari animal, and then he spread sacred grass on ground to place that offering to the deceased soul of that bird. [3-68-32]

Verse 32, Sarga 68, Aranya Kanda

 रोहि मांसानि च उद्धृत्य पेशी कृत्वा महायशाः |
शकुनाय ददौ रामो रम्ये हरित शाद्वले || ३-६८-३३

33. mahaayashaaH = highly renowned one - for his observance of religious ceremonies; raamaH = Rama; rohi maamsaani = Rohi animal's, meat; uddhR^itya = pulling out; peshii kR^itvaa = to gobbets, on lumping it; ramye harita shaadvale = on pleasant, greenish, on pastures; shakunaaya dadau = for the bird [Jataayu,] gave [as offering.]On drawing up the flesh of that Rohi animal and lumping it to gobbets, that highly observant Rama placed those gobbets on pleasant greenish pasturelands as obsequial offerings in respect of that bird Jataayu. [3-68-33]

Verse 33, Sarga 68, Aranya Kanda

 न उद्विजन्ते नरान् दृष्ट्वा वधस्य अकोविदाः शुभाः || ३-७३-१३
घृत पिण्ड उपमान् स्थूलान् तान् द्विजान् भक्षयिष्यथः |

13b, 14a. vadhasya = of killing - about hunting; a kovidaaH = not, experts - artless to avoid hunting; shubhaaH = best - birds; naraan dR^iSTvaa = people, on seeing; na udvijante = un, flustered; ghR^ita piNDa upamaan = ghee, gobs, in simile; sthuulaan taan dvijaan = burly, them, birds; bhakSayiSyathaH = you may savour."Thereabout birds will be unflustered on seeing humans, because they are artless to avoid hunting, because none kills them, and you may savour them because those birds will be best and burley, similar to ghee-gobs... [3-73-13b, 14a] 

Verse 13, Sarga 73, Aranya Kanda

रोहितान् वक्र तुण्डान् च नल मीनान् च राघव || ३-७३-१४
पंपायाम् इषुभिः मत्स्यान् तत्र राम वरान् हतान् |
निस्त्वक्पक्षानयसतप्तानकृशान्नैककण्टकान् - यद्वा -
निः त्वक् पक्षान् अयस तप्तान् अकृशान् न अनेक कण्टकान् || ३-७३-१५
तव भक्त्या समायुक्तो लक्ष्मणः संप्रदास्यति |
भृशम् तान् खादतो मत्स्यान् पंपायाः पुष्प संचये || ३-७३-१६

14b, 15, 16a. raaghava = oh, Raghava; raama = oh, Rama; tatra pampaayaam = therein, in Pampa Lake; iSubhiH hataan = with arrow, on skewering; varaan = best ones; niH tvak pakSaan = without, skin [scales,] wings [fins, descaling and de- finning]; ayasa taptaan = with iron rod, on broiling; a kR^ishaan ca = not, scraggy, also; na aneka kaNTakaan = not, many, with thorns [with fish-bones]; matsyaan = fishes; rohitaan = red-carps [cyprinus carpio]; vakra tuNDaan = blunt, snouted [small eatable porpoises]; nala miinaan ca = a sort of sprat, also; lakSmaNaH = Lakshmana; bhaktyaa samaayuktaH = reverence, along with - reverentially; tava = to you; sampradaasyati = will offer.

"Oh, Rama in that Pampa Lake there are best fishes, red-carps, and blunt-snouted small porpoises, and a sort of sprats, which are neither scraggy, nor with many fish-bones. Lakshmana will reverentially offer them to you on skewering them with arrow, and on broiling them on iron rod of arrow after descaling and de-finning them. [3-73-14b, 15, 16a]

Verse 14, Sarga 73, Aranya Kanda

 पद्म गन्धि शिवम् वारि सुख शीतम् अनामयम् |
उद्धृत्य स तदा अक्लिष्टम् रूप्य स्फटिक सन्निभम् || ३-७३-१७
अथ पुष्कर पर्णेन लक्ष्मणः पाययिष्यति |

16b, 18a. bhR^isham = many [stomachful, to satiety]; taan matsyaan = those, fishes; khaadataH = while eating; puSpa sancaye = [one in the] flowers', bunches of; padma gandhi = lotus, scented; shivam = pellucid; sukha shiitam = comfortably, cool; anaamayam = without disease [uncontaminated]; sa tadaa akliSTam = that, that way, unadulterated [pristine water]; ruupya sphaTika sannibham = silver, crystal, in shine; pampaayaaH vaari = Pampa Lake's, water; atha lakSmaNaH = then, Lakshmana; puSkara parNena = with lotus, leaf; uddhR^itya = on lifting up; paayayiSyati = [to you] he offers.

"While you eat those fishes to satiety, Lakshmana will offer you the water of Pampa Lake, which will be in the bunches of flowers of that lake, and which will be lotus-scented, pellucid, comfortably cool, shiny like silver and crystal, uncontaminated and that way pristine, by lifting it up that water with lotus leaf, making that leaf a stoup-like basin... [3-73-16b, 17, 18a]

Verse 15, Sarga 73, Aranya Kanda

 पंच पंच नखा भक्ष्या ब्रह्म क्षत्रेण राघव |
शल्यकः श्वाविधो गोधा शशः कूर्मः च पंचमः || १-१७-३९

39. raaghava = oh, Raghava; brahma kSatreNa = by Brahmans, Kshatriya-s; shalyakaH = a wild-rodent with defensive quills; shvaavidhaH = a kind of boar that kills dogs, wolves etc; godhaa = a lizard with unimaginable grip; shashaH = hare; pancamaH kuurmaH ca = fifthly, tortoise, also; panca = five [kinds of]; panca nakhaa = five nailed animals; bhakSyaa = are edible.

"Raghava, five kinds of five-nailed animals, viz., a kind of wild rodent, a kind of wild-boar, a kind of lizard, a hare and fifthly the turtle are edible for Brahmans and Kshatriya-s. [4-17-39]

Verse 37, Sarga 17, Kishkindha Kanda

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Bangsa India Malaysia

Setelah sekian lama, saya telah bercadang untuk menulis dalam Bahasa Melayu yang kini dikenali sebagai Bahasa Malaysia. Kali terakhir saya menulis dengan menggunakan Bahasa Kebangsaan kita adalah ketika di sekolah menengah, iaitu hampir 13 tahun yang lepas.

Oleh itu, saya memohon maaf sekiranya penggunaan bahasa tidak begitu memuaskan.

Malaysia merupakan sebuah negara yang mempunyai pelbagai bangsa. Setiap bangsa di negara kita mempunyai asal-usulnya yang tersendiri. Saya ingin mengambil peluang ini untuk berkongsi ilmu  mengenai Bangsa India dan suku-sukunya.

Bangsa & Kewarganegaraan
Istilah Bangsa India atau 'Indian' sebenarnya merupakan istilah kewarganegaraan yang digunakan oleh penjajah British untuk merujuk kepada rakyat Empayar British India. Walaupun orang-orang India di Malaysia bukan lagi warga negara asal moyang mereka, namun istilah ini masih digunakan sebagai nama bangsa di Malaysia.

Pada pendapat saya, adalah tidak wajar untuk menggunakan istilah ini. Ini adalah kerana kami kini merupakan rakyat sah negara Malaysia dan bukannya negara India.

Seperti mana 'Indian' digunakan untuk mereka yang datang dari India, istilah 'Ceylonese' digunakan untuk mereka yang datang dari Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka dikenali sebagai Ceylon sebelum tahun 1972. Apa yang menghairankan ialah, istilah 'Indian' dan 'Ceylonese' telah memisahkan serumpun bangsa yang kebanyakannya menggunakan bahasa Tamil sebagai bahasa ibunda .

Tetapi untuk mengelakkan kekeliruan para pembaca, saya akan menggunakan istilah Bangsa India atau 'Indian' di rencana saya ini.

Kaum & Bahasa Ibunda
Bangsa India di negara ini mempunyai pelbagai bahasa. Bahasa-bahasa yang digunakan berasal dari wilayah yang berlainan. Sebelum kewujudan Empayar British India, setiap kaum mempunyai kerajaan tersendiri dengan raja yang berdaulat di wilayah mereka.

Mereka yang berasal dari Kerala bertutur dengan menggunakan Bahasa Malayalam. Oleh itu mereka dikenali sebagai Kaum Malayali. Mereka yang berasal dari Tamil Nadu bertutur dengan menggunakan Bahasa Tamil. Oleh itu mereka dikenali sebagai Kaum Tamil.

Kaum Punjabi pula berasal dari negeri Punjab dan mereka menggunakan Bahasa Punjabi. Kaum Telugu merupakan pengguna Bahasa Telugu dari negeri Andra Pradesh.

Oleh itu, identiti kaum dikalangan orang India ditentukan oleh bahasa ibunda mereka. Bahasa ibunda saya ialah Bahasa Tamil. Keluarga bapa saya berasal dari daerah Sivagangai (selatan Tamil Nadu) dan keluarga ibu saya berasal dari daerah Thanjavur (timur Tamil Nadu).

Kasta & Persaudaraan 
Kita sering mendengar perkataan kasta digunakan tetapi tidak ramai yang faham maksudnya. Kasta boleh dibahagikan kepada dua. Iaitu Jathi dan Varna. 

Jathi merupukan suku atau puak, manakala Varna merupakan kategori sosial sesuatu individu ataupun puaknya. Jathi ditentukan oleh kelahiran dan tali persaudaraan tetapi Varna ditentukan oleh pekerjaan dan status sosial.

Antara suku-suku dikalangan Kaum Tamil


Saiz dan bilangan suku setiap kasta adalah berbeza dari satu sama lain. Setiap suku mempunyai tradisinya yang tersendiri. Selain itu, suku-suku ini berasal dari daerah-daerah yang berlainan. 

Misalnya, kebanyakan Palli berasal dari kawasan utara Tamil Nadu manakala suku Paravar pula berasal dari kawasan tepi laut (terutamanya di tenggara Tamil Nadu).

Selain tradisi yang berbeza, suku-suku ini juga mempunyai loghat Bahasa Tamil yang berbeza dan agak unik. 

Loghat-loghat yang digunakan bergantung kepada daerah yang diduduki. Loghat Nellai Tamil, Madurai Tamil dan Kongu Tamil adalah antara loghat yang boleh didengar.

Kaum Tamil sebenarnya menggunakan nama akhir (last name) sebelum era politik Dravidia (era reformasi sosial Periyar) . Nama akhir diwarisi melalui keturunan bapa dan ia menunjukkan keluarga dan suku masing-masing.

Misalnya, saya menggunakan Thevar sebagai nama akhir kerana saya berasal dari suku Maravar.  Suku Maravar, Kallar dan Agamudayar juga digelar sebagai kasta Mukkulathor.

Antara nama akhir yang digunakan oleh suku-suku lain ialah: 

Pillai (Suku Vellalar)
Mudaliar (Suku Vellalar, Suku Agamudayar)
Kavundar/Kaunder/Gounder (Suku Vellalar, Suku Palli, Suku Vettuvar dan Suku Kurumbar)
Nadar (Suku Ilavar)
Kudumbar (Suku Pallar)
Konar (Suku Idaiyar)
Udayar (Suku Parkavakulam)

Kasta Mukkulathor mempunyai kira-kira 1,135 nama akhir. Thevar adalah salah satu daripada nama akhir yang digunakan.

Seperti yang dikatakan tadi, Varna ditentukan oleh pekerjaan dan kedudukan sosial. Mengikut kepercayaan masyarakat India yang kebanyakannya beragama Hindu, setiap tamadun manusia boleh dibahagikan kepada 4 Varna

Brahmin - Golongan paderi, ketua agama dan intelektual
Kshatriya - Golongan perwira dan pemerintah
Vaisya - Golongan perniagaan dan perdagangan
Sudra - Golongan petani dan buruh

Varna pada asalnya boleh ditukar. Misalnya, seorang askar boleh bekerja sebagai seorang petani. Tetapi, lama-kelamaan konsep Varna dimanipulasi untuk menjaga kepentingan sesetengah golongan masyarakat. 

Terdapat juga teori yang mengatakan bahawa sistem Varna melarang mobiliti sosial supaya setiap suku dapat menggunakan kebolehan masing-masing untuk melakukan pekerjaan yang paling sesuai untuk mereka. 

Misalnya, suku yang bersifat agresif seperti Kallar adalah lebih sesuai menjadi askar berbanding dengan orang-orang Brahmin yang kurang agresif. Oleh itu, adalah wajar untuk mereka meneruskan pekerjaan tradisi suku mereka pada zaman itu.

Sistem Varna tidak lagi diamalkan pada zaman moden ini kerana sistem demokrasi yang diamalkan kini membolehkan setiap individu memilih pekerjaannya.

Agama Hindu & Kepercayaan 
Agama-agama seperti Islam, Kristian dan Judaisma digelar sebagai Agama Abrahamik. Agama-agama ini mempunyai pengasas dan merujuk kepada satu kitab sahaja. Selain itu, agama-agama ini juga dipengaruhi budaya kaum pengasasnya.

Seperti yang anda tahu, kebanyakan orang India masih menganuti agama asal mereka, Agama Hindu.

Agama Hindu sebenarnya merupakan satu koleksi pelbagai agama yang wujud di benua India. Agama Hindu boleh dibahagikan kepada Vaishnava, Saiva, Shakta dan ia tiada pengasas.

Walaupun pengamalan agama, para guru, kitab-kitab suci dan tafsirannya berbeza, masyarakat Hindu percaya bahawa Tuhan Yang Esa adalah satu, hanya nama dan cara menyembahNya berbeza. 

Ini kerana konsep ketuhanan di dalam Agama Hindu menerangkan bahawa dunia mempunyai pelbagai tamadun. Setiap tamadun mempunyai bahasa dan budayanya yang tersendiri. 

Oleh kerana itu, masyarakat Hindu percaya bahawa setiap makhluk adalah ciptaan Tuhan yang sama dan pengamalan agama sesuatu tamadun harus dihormati walaupun berbeza dengan cara kita.

Saya berharap penjelasan saya tentang masyarakat India dan suku-sukunya dapat membantu anda memahami kami lagi. Sekiranya anda ingin membaca versi Inggeris, sila klik di bawah ini.

Sekian, terima kasih.