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BC 300: Migration of Aryans in Kerala

Posted by Arun Mohan ~ on ~ 0 comments

The period of Aryans started in India with the migration of people from European and Western Asian countries. They constitute a distinctive race or sub race of the larger Caucasian race. The period of Aryans in India is known as Vedic Period. It divided in two as Early Vedic period (BC 1500 to BC 1000) and the Later Vedic period (BC 1000 to AD 600). According to Aryans, Family (Kulam) is the smallest unit of Early Vedic Period. Father got the first place in family. Aryans practiced Patriarchy.Women Dowry exists at that time. Child Marriage not allowed. Their main cultivation is Wheat and Barly. The meaning of word Aryan is knowledgeable, honorable and warrior. The Aryans wrote the Vedas. They divided the society into four as Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishyas and Shudras. It is considered that both Brahmins and Kshatriya as Aryans.

BC 300 - BC 200: History says that long before the arrival of Aryans, people of ancient Kerala followed Dravidian practices which were not based on any particular religious beliefs. They worshipped totem gods and numerous spirits inhabiting rivers, trees, mountains etc. Pashupati and goddess were the Dravidian’s chief gods. There were regional deities protecting the boundaries of villages and demons that caused illnesses. They propitiated them by providing food along with singing songs and dances.

While the inhabitants of Kerala were thus following Dravidian practices, the Aryans arrived in kerala from Northern part of India from 3rd–2nd century BCE to spread the thought of Vedas. The Kshatriyas constructed Temples with Brahmins as Priests. Though several people gradually paid attention to Brahmins, the majority still continued to observe Dravidian practices. Subsequently Dravidians were ultimately absorbed within the fold of Aryans. It was not an easy task for the Brahmins to penetrate deep in to the well-integrated society and establish their power over it. The infringement of the Brahmins into their social and religious life was resisted by certain strong sections of the native population. So they split among the masses with the help of Kshatriyas and introduced the divine law of ‘four varnas' in the society.

Brahmins and Kshatriyas were designated as first and second varnas and there is no vaishyas in kerala, which is the third varna. They formed the fourth group of the Hindu caste hierarchy called 'Sudras', and assimilated the people who supported them for introducing the 'varna' system in the society. The willing natives supported the Brahmins were elevated to the Sudra status, and the unwilling natives were branded as untouchables. Thus there became two sections in society, Savarnas and Avarnas. Savarnas belonged to one of the four varnas and Avarnas were those outside the Varna system. After many centuries, Brahmins of kerala were named to Namboothri and the Sudras who served the Brahmins as Temple servants and Kshatriyas as soldiers was named as Nairs and the Ezhavas were constituted the bulk of the Avarnas as they were large in number. Both Nairs and Ezhavas contributed the majority of people of Kerala. 

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