The Paraya Caste as repositories of genealogical Information.

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The Paraya Caste as repositories of genealogical Information.

As mentioned earlier, the genealogies of the prominent families of Jaffna were known to the “Paraya” community (drummer caste) of the respective villages from where these families originated, since the latter were the repositories of such information. During important festivals and family celebrations, it was customary for members of the Paraya caste to visit the “valavus” (the manor houses) of their Vellala Ejamans (overlords), to beg for alms. They would greet the head of the household by addressing him by his family’s ancestral mudali name, followed by the words “Namo! Namo!” (hail! Hail!). For instance when the head of the Tissanayagam family was approached for alms, the parayas would beat their drums and cry; “Tissanayaka Mudalikku Namo! Namo!”

The genealogy of a family was always referred to at Hindu weddings and funerals. During the Hindu wedding ceremony,three generations of the genealogy (Koththiram)of the bridal couple is recited by the officiating priests. At Hindu funerals it is customary to publish a document referred to as a Kalvettu, which sets out the genealogy of the deceased. In the past such genealogical information was often obtained from the Paraya community of the ancestral village of the deceased. 

Kalvettu's were often unreliable documents as most of the families concerned, in an attempt to aggrandize themselves often made bombastic claims linking them to imaginary mudaliyars. Some would even try to link their ancestry to the kings of Jaffna, or the Chera, Chola and Pandya emperors!!!

 

 



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1 comments at the moment.
Comment By Comment
Namo Namo.... Am i correct to assume that every caste had a leader or a headman? If so who is the last know headman of the Paraya community?

Surely his family would still have some information about the aristocratic families of Jaffna and the region.

Also i assume that you are going to take on HRH R. J. Kanagarajah our self proclaimed lord and master? I am sure you have seen his site http://www.jaffnaroyalfamily.org/

I wonder why no one has taken him on thus far. Inaction by the actual Tamil families who were the old aristocracy of Jaffna give him credibility.
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