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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Famous Nairs

Freedom fighters

Velu Thampy Dalawa: Dalawa of erstwhile Travancore Kingdom
and was the first freedom fighter from Kerala to organise an uprising against
the British on a massive scale. He committed suicide before British caught him

Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair: Was the President of Indian National Congress and leader of Indian NationalCongress before Mahatma Gandhi. Only Malayali to become the president of Indian National Congress. Was also member of Viceroy’s executive council in British India

V.K Krishna Menon: Was the defense minister of India; One of the most intellectual politicians India had ever witnessed; He held Masters degree in Psychology and Political Science from University College of London and London School of Economics. While in England was a member of Labour Party and was secretary of India League in England from 1929 to 1947. He was elected as MP in Indian parliament from Mumbai, Midnapore and Thiruvananthapuram 

Captain Lekshmi Seghal: Lead Rani of Jhansi regiment in the Indian National Army of Subhas Chandra Bose during independence struggle. Married to Prem Kumar Saghal at Lahore. She belongs to Anakkara Vadakketh Tharavadu in Palakkad. Daughter of Ammu Swaminathan 

K.Kelappan: (Kelappaji) Kerala Gandhi, freedom fighter, first
president of Nair Service

K.P. Kesava Menon: Fought with Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in
INA. Later Congress leader and editor of Mathrubhumi daily

Barrister G.P. Pillai: Leader of Travancore State

C. Krishnan Nair: One of the 72 volunteers who participated
in Salt Satyagraha; marched with Gandhiji to Dandi. Was the Congress MP from
Outer Delhi from 1952 to 1962. Also was the president of Delhi Pradesh Congress Congress

Vaikom Padmanabha Pillai: Called Kuthira Pakki, He was
commander of Ambalappuzha king as well as the Travancore Nair Army,
which defeated Tipu Sultan

Madhavan Nair (Nair San, Japan): Was a member of INA, fought
along with Japanese soldiers against the British, later became a well known
businessman in Japan

M. Madhavan: Freedom fighter and Mayor of Mumbai from 1965-66

C.K Govindan Nair: Was a freedom fighter and former president
of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee

K. Madhavan Nair: Freedom fighter and director of Mathrubhumi

N. Sreekantan Nair: freedom fighter and leader of RSP

T.M. Nair : founder of Justice party in Tamil Nadu

Kaitheri Ambu Nambiar:: commander of Kerala Varma
Pazhassi Raja's army in Kottayam, as well as his brother-in-law.

Pallichal Pillai (Also known as Vanchimuttam Pillai) -
leader of the Attingal Riot of 1721, the first uprising against the British in India

Famous Nair Politicians and Rulers

M.G. Ramachandran: Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and one of the most popular politicians India ever seen. Was a film star before he entered politics.

K. Karunakaran: Four times chief minister of Kerala, former union industry minister, was a member of Congress working committee. Karunakaran was one of the most influential leaders of Congress in India when he was alive. Was a staunch loyalist of Indira Gandhi
P. Krishna Pillai: Founder of Communist Party of India. Was fondly called Sakhavu (Comrade); Was born at Vaikom; Was a member of Congress initally and secretary of Congress Socialist Party
A.K Gopalan: Was the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha; one of the tallest leaders of Communist movement in India; popularly known as AKG
C. Achutha Menon: Was the chief minister of Kerala and known as an upright politician
Prakash Karat: General secretary of CPI (M) in India; Born to Menon parents from Palakkad. Is married to a Bengali comrade Brinda Karat

Prof MGK Menon: Was one of the leading space scientists in India and was a minister of state for science and technology in Government of India

E. K. Nayanar: Chief minister of Kerala three times, well known for his down to earth approach and earthy wit. Longest serving chief minister of Kerala known for his clean corruption-free political career

Pattom A. Thanu Pillai: Was the second chief minister of Kerala. Was also governor.
P.K Vasudevan Nair: Leader of CPI. Was the chief minister of Kerala for a short period.
Panampally Govinda Menon: Was chief minister of Tiru-Kochi and later union minister of law and railways. Known for his expertise in law.

K.K Nair: Was a staunch Hindu and an MP of Jansangh from Faizabad; He was earlier district collector of Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh and had allowed Hindus right to worship at Ram Janmabhoomi temple.

Jaya Jaitley: Leader of Samata party

K.P Unnikrishnan: Was a cabinet minister in union government; he held the portfolio of surface transport 
Kummanam Rajasekharan: President of Kerala unit of BJP. He is well known for leading agitations to protect rights of Hindus in Kerala and agitation to protect the ecology of Aaranmula

C.V. Devan Nair: Was the President of Singapore
O. Rajagopal: Former union minister and member of BJP national executive several times

Ramesh Chennithala: Former president of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committe. Was formerly AICC secretary and Youth Congress national president. Was also home minister of Kerala. Now Leader of Opposition in Kerala and MLA from Haripad
Shashi Tharoor MP: Former U.N. Under secertary general and India's former minister of state for human resource development
KC Venugopal MP: Former Minister of state for aviation; MP from Alappuzha in Kerala; hails from Kannur district
Kodieri Balakrishnan: Politbureau member of CPI (M). Currently CPI (M) Kerala Secretary
Billy Nair: Former (1929-2008) South African Political leader, Was a member of National Assembly of South Africa

Famous Nair bureaucrats and technocrats

V. P. Menon- First secretary for princely states in independent India. Confidant of Sardar Vallabhai Patel. Secured the formal accession of hundreds of princely states in India using diplomacy and determination. 

KPS Menon: India's first foreign secretary; his son KPS Menon (junior) was also foreign secretary; his grand nephew Shivsankar Menon was also India's foreign secretary. He was India's National Security Advisor.

KPK Menon: Was finance secretary of India

NR Pillai: Was first cabinet secretary of Independent India 

Sardar K. M. Panicker- Diplomat and Diwan of many of India's erstwhile princely states 

Jyotindra Nath Dixit- Son of Munshi Paramu Pillai and India's National Security Advisor (2004-05) 

M. K. Narayanan- Was India's National Secuity Advisor; headed Research and Analysis Wing (RAW); now Governor of West Bengal

TKA Nair: Was principal secretary to Prime Minister; later director at Prime Minister's Office of India

Shivsankar Menon: Was foreign secretary of India; later National Security Advisor of India
K Vijayakumar: Former Director General of CRPF. Now senior national security officer and advisor to home ministry. He is a Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer. He had lead the commando team that killed forest brigand Veerappan

MKK Nair: Was a top management expert in India; served as chairman and MD of FACT

T. P. Sreenivasan - India's Ambassador to the United Nations, and Governor for India, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna

B. R. Nair - Former Chairman of Indian Railway Board
K. Sankaran Nair - Former Head of Research and Analysis Wing
M. Damodaran- Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India

P.Madhava Menon - Former Secretary Ministry of Labour and Director ILO ( India) 
Shashi Tharoor - Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information of the United Nations; Currently Minister of state for human resources affairs in India.

V. N. Rajashekharan Pillai - Was acting Chairman, University Grants Commission, India 

E. Sreedharan: Legendary engineer, was chairman of Delhi Metro; instrumental in making Konkan Railway a reality

G: Madhavan Nair, was chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, during his period  ISRO undertook a big leap

K Radhakrishnan: Former chairman of ISRO, is a native of Thirussur district in Kerala

Famous Nair Diwans

Velu Thampi Dalava- Diwan of Travancore
Thottekkat Diwan Kochugovinda Menon - Diwan of the erstwhile princely state of Cochin 
Thottekkat Diwan Sankunni Menon - Diwan of the erstwhile princely state of Cochin 
Paliath Achchan- Former prime minister of the princely state of Kochi 

Famous Nair Generals and Commanders of Para-military

Lt General Sarath Chand: Currently (2017) vice chief of Indian Army. Gen Chand is a native of Kottarakkara in Kollam district in Kerala and an alumni

Lt.General K. P. Candeth -GOC-in-C Western Command(Indo-Pak war hero, played a crucial role during liberation of Bangladesh)
Lt. General P. E. Menon - North Eastern Army Commander 

Lt. General Satish Nambiar: Was deputy chief of Indian Army- Headed UN Forces in Kosovo 

Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar - Deputy Chief of Staff Indian Air Force (2017). He is the current IAF DCS
Air Chief Marshal K. N. Nair - ex Airforce Chief 
Lt Gen V.K Pillai: Was Delhi area commander of Indian Army; Currently General officer commanding of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh
Lt Gen V M Nair: Is the commanding in chief of Kangra based 9 corps
Lt Gen Prakash Menon: Was the commandant of prestigious National Defence College New Delhi; Expert in counter insurgency 
Air Vice Marshal Narayan Menon 

Vijaya Kumar: Was Director General of India's Central Reserve Police Force: As head of Special Task Force He killed notorious forest poacher Veerappan; Currently senior advisor at India's Home Ministry

Famous Nair Businessmen and Business leaders

B Ravi Pillai: Currently assessed as the richest Keralite with a wealth of over $ 4 billion. Chairman Nasr Al Hajri Corporation; a business conglomerate based in Bahrain and managing director of Petrochem based in Saudi Arabia. Pillai who hails from Kollam has business interests throughout GCC and owns mines in Australia. He is reportedly expanding to Hongkong also.

PNC Menon: Chairman of Shobha group, a construction major based in Bangalore, India, he has Oman citizenship. He owns Service and Trade, biggest interior decoration company in Oman with a pan Gulf presence.

Arun Kumar: Founder and Group CEO of Strides Arcolab. He was slected as one of the top ten businessmen from Kerala by Times of India in 2015. He is featured by Indian media as one of the giants in pharmaceutical sector and a top businessmen to watch. Mr. Kumar hails from Kollam district.

C.K. Menon: Managing director of Doha based Behzad group; stakes in transportation, marketing of car accessories and engineering machinery. One of the biggest companies transporting oil and gas in Qatar, Behzad group has business interests in several GCC countries and England.

V.K Rajasekhara Pillai: Awarded Pravasi Bharatiya Samman at the meet held in Bangalore in 2017. He is the chairman of Bahrain based National Group of Companies. He business empire is spread over GCC and South East Asia. National Firefighting Company WLL is his flagship comapny which is headquartered in Bahrain. Mr. Pillai is a native of Mannar, near Mavelikkara in Alappuzha district.

Late CP Krishnan Nair: Was chairman of Leela group which owns a chain of hotels throughout India, garment factories and software parks. One of the most respected names in hotel industry in the world, Nair is a multifaceted personality who began career as an official of Indian Navy during pre independence period and had participated in freedom struggle.

Late Dr KTB Menon: KTB Menon was one of the biggest Indian businessmen based in Kuwait ever. A young Menon joined the family business of Al Gharabally family. Later Abdulla Gharabally and Menon together established ASH Al Gharabally Co in 1958 which grew as one of the biggest firms in Kuwait. He was one of the biggest construction contractors based in Kuwait. He died at Bangaluru reportedly because of heart attack. But some people believe that his death was under dubious circumstances.

GA Menon:  Founder of Magnecomp International based in US, UST Global, Toonz Animation etc, Menon was a visionary businessman who was a truly international entrepreneur who estab Magnecomp which is currently the world's second largest manufacturer of suspension assemblies with operations in the U.S., Hong Kong, China, Thailand, and Singapore, according to UST Global

Shivsankaran Nair: CEO of British Borneo Oil and Gas Ltd; Nair has interests in oil and gas, shipping, manufacturing, construction etc. His business interests are spread over Central Asia, Africa and China. He was in the news in international dailies for being the Chinese agent for acquiring oil exploration rights in African companies. Nair brokers deals for China and is based in Malata.

Tan Sri Datuk Ravindran Menon: Co founder and group managing director of Ara Group, a conglomerate based in Malaysia.The group is mainly into construction of infrastructure and owns airports.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar MP; Owns Jupiter Capital, a Bangalore based venture capital fund; owner of Asianet News; He owns a Kannada daily too. He is the son in law of TPG Nambiar and was one of the partners of BPL Industries Ltd

TPG Nambiar: Founded BPL Industries india; 

Reji Menon: Oil magnate based in Ukraine; Founded Asianet and was its chairman till he sold it to Rupert Murdock

Rajan Pillai: Known as biscuit king, Pillai was once chiarman of Britannia Industries; He comes from a top business family based in Kollam and his father K Janardhanan Pillai was once the largest cashew exporter in India. Rajan died under tragic circumstances after he was imprisoned at Tihar Jail following a case filed by his former business partner at a Singapore court.

K Ravindranathan Nair: Is currently the largest cashew exporter in India and is a well known philanthropist. He owns Vijayalakshmi Cashew Company at Kollam. Nair produced almost all of the award winning films of well known directors Adoor Gopalakrishnan and Aravindan.

Chandran Menon: Founder of Kolhapur based Menon group a pioneer in automobile component manufacturing industry in India. Group companies include Menon Pistons Ltd, Menon Bearings Ltd, Menon Piston Rings Ltd, Menon & Menon etc.

M.K. Nair; founded Mumbai based Petron Engineering Construction Ltd: He sold his majority stake to a Khazhak company.

Ajyachandran Nair: Managing Director, Alka Contracting, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Udayabhaskaran Nair: A Nagpur based big businessman, chairman of Nairsons group which is one of the top coal services company in India; owns hospitals, medical college, software and processed food companies; An active BJP worker, Nair contested as BJP candidate in assembly elections in Kerala.

Raj Nair: Chief technical officer and group vice president of Ford Motors, United States

Famous Nairs in Film industry (Film actors, directors, singers....)

Adoor Gopalakrishnan- Movie director and Dadasaheb Phalke Award Winner (2004) 

G Aravindan: Well known film director, won national award several times

P Padmarajan: Was one of the most popular directors Malayalam film industry ever witnessed; He combined popularity with artistic values, directed some of the memorable films in Malayalam

Priyadarshan: Is one of the top film directors in Bollywood and Mollywood (Malayalm film industry) He is the first Malayali to become big in Bollywood with several Hindi super hits to his credit.

Mohanlal: Is the mega star of Malayalm film industry; Has won the best actor award at national level in addition to several other awards nationally and internationally

Jayan: Was the first real superstar in Malayalam film industry known for his macho image. Died tragically in his early 40s.

Seema: Daughter of Madhavan Nambiar, she was was the topmost heroine in Malayalam film industry in 70s and 80s. Paired with Jayan in several hit movies. Still continues to be active in film industry and television.

Jayabharathi: Was one of the real superstars in Malayalam film world; cousin of Jayan; Acted in many superhit Malayalam and Tamil films

Suresh Gopi MP: Super star in Malayalam film industry known for his action roles; Has won best actor award at national and state levels. Currently a member of Rajya Sabha and leader of BJP

Dileep: One of the superstars of Malayalam film industry; He has won many awards; was married to famous actress Manju Warriar. Currently divorced her and married Kavya Madhavan

Kay Kay Menon: One of the top actors in Bollywood. Has won many awards; He is born and brought up in Mumbai

KK (Krishnakumar Kunnath): Is one of the leading singers of Bollywood. Son of C.S Nair and Kanakavalli, he is born and brought up in Delhi and Mumbai. His hits in 2012 includes songs in Ek tha Tiger, Aakash Vani, Jism 2, Makkhi etc.

MS Viswanathan: One of the most famous music directors in Tamil, MS Viswamathan was born in Elappully, Palakkad Kerala. His father was Subramaniyan and grand father Krishnan Nair. He grew up in very difficult circumstances. Was taken to Chennai by his uncle Appa Nair where he developed his career later.

Shashilal Nair: Was one of the top directors in Bollywood;

MN Nambiar: Was one of the top actors in Tamil film industry. His son Sukumaran Nambiar was national treasurer of BJP

Malaysia Vasudevan: Was one of the most famous Tamil Playback singers. His parents Chathu Nair and Ammalu hailed from Ottappalam in Palakkad from where they migrated to Malaysia for a livelihood. 

Prithviraj Sukumaran: Son of former hero in Malayalm film industry Sukumaran. He has presence in Bollywood also. A budding super star

Bharatan: One of the top directors in Malayalam film industry; Has produced many super hits; He combined artistic values with commercialism

Shobhana- One of the top heroines in Malayalam film world; winner of national award and well known dancer

Nedumudi Venu: One of the top actors in Malayalam film industry; has won many awards.

PN Menon: Was one of the top directors in Malyalam film industry in yesteryears. 

M Krishnan Nair-One of the famous Malayalam film directors of yesterdays. He had directed films in Tamil also. His famous film in Tamil Rickshawkkaran won a national award for MGR. Former Kerala chief secretary and poet K.Jayakumar is his son

Shaji Kailas: One of the most popular Malayalam film directors; His hits include Thalasthanam, Aaram Thamburan and Bharatchandran IPS

Adoor Bhasi - Actor
Ragini, Padmini and Lalitha- The sisters were actresses and dancers and ruled south Indian film Industry in 50s and 60s.
Murali Nair - Movie director
Navya Nair- National award winning actor
Madhu- Malayalam movie actor. Honored with Padmashree in 2012

Sukumaran: One of the top heroes of yesteryear. Prithviraj is his son 

Vinayan: One of the most popular directors in Malayalam film world currently

Revathi Menon - Actress and director
K. S. Chitra - One of the most famous Playback Singers of South India. Chitra has sung many popular songs in Malayalam and Tamil. Her bhajans are also equally famous.
G. Sujatha - Playback Singer
T K Rajeev Kumar - Filmmaker

M.G. Radhakrishan: The late musician is known more as a music director though he has made his mark as a singer too. He has tuned many popular film songs in Malayalam.

MG Sreekumar: National award winner and one of the most popular singers of Malayalam film industry.
P.Leela: Was one of the top singers in Malayalam and Tamil film industry. She was also known for his devotional songs on Guruvayoorappan

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Classification of castes and its impact on Nairs

Ploy behind the concept of forward and backward castes

The idea of classifying different groups in Hindu community as forward and backward castes is a clever ploy initiated by different political parties and state and union governments in India to destroy the social system which was exising at a period and enable political parties to create their spheres of influence. Nairs are one of the groups which suffered most from this.

Caste system in the sense that it was perceived in 1950s had a very limited history compared to history of Hinduism which is thousands of years old. Many have misinterpreted caste as Varna whereas the truth is they have very little in common.

The whole idea of reservation is based on the wrong notion that certain castes below a line are upper castes and certain castes below the line are lower castes.  According to this wrong notion all those named upper castes had enjoyed all types of privileges from time immemorial and all lower castes were subjected to severe oppression by upper castes.

In actuality in the caste system which came into existence in the country around A. D. 1500, the notion of upper and lower castes is relative. That is one caste which can be considered as upper caste when compared to a particular caste could be considered a lower caste by another group. One caste which is considered upper caste in one particular locality is considered lower in another locality.

Now how could such an irrational system form the base of so called scientific levelling process known as reservation. While reservations were initially meant for a period of around a decade, various governments which ruled the country have extended their limit several times for the sake of vote bank and it is likely to continue for another century.

In the context of Kerala Nairs who are warriors and later farmers by profession had to bear the brunt of all those gimmicks. It is to be noted that Brahmins consider Nairs to be Shudras (lower caste).

Though the leaders of India's independent movement might have mooted the idea of reservation with a genuine concern for the then socially backward groups later it became a political weapon in the hands of political parties.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wikipedia page on Nairs defame Nair Community

Wikipedia page on Nairs includes all sort of derogatory opinion on Nair Community in Kerala. It seems that somebody with ulterior motives has edited the Nairs Page of Wikipedia to defame Nair Community. There is a deliberate policy from some part to destablise Nairs. The aim it seems to be  destruction of the community eventually.

According to the Wikipedia Nairs page Nairs are not a single caste but a category of castes. This is seemingly an innocent opinion but is aimed at dividing Nair community. Nairs have different sub divisions like other castes in India and Kerala.

For example Brahmins have different sub sects in Kerala. Ezhavas and scheduled castes in Kerala also have different sub divisions. In earlier times, when a caste grew there was a trend among sub sects to claim superiority and eventually develop as another caste in extreme cases. Reformers  of different castes have dismissed sub sects and united their castes in 19 th century and early 20th century in Kerala. Sub castes are true to Nairs also but like any other caste in Kerala.  It is not like different castes uniting to form one caste. The fact is a caste when it grows numerically gets divided into sub castes.

Their internal behavior is markedly different in Northern and Southern Kerala, according to Wikipedia. This is an absolutely foolish opinion. Nairs both in South and North have similar customs in all their major social and personal lives. Of course this is in tune with customs and of Hindu community of which Nairs are a part. 

Another misinterpretation of fact is Nair women especially from Central Kerala bearing legitimate children with several husbands.

Latest findings appearing in Nairs page in Wikipedia a nair hater has quoted one S.N. Sadasivan to emphasis e his opinion that the word Nair did not originate from the Sanskrit word Nayaka which means leader. Who is S.N. Sadasivan to say this? What are his credentials? He is not known to be an expert historian and his expertise is in Public Administration. Incidentally Mr. Sadasivan is an ezhava by caste and follower of Sree Narayana Guru according to Wikipedia. Has Mr. Sadasivan said so? It needs to be checked. Or is this a ploy to create social unrest by pitching Nairs against Ezhavas by selectively quoting Sadasivan?

The most outrageous opinion is quoting a so called Brahmin work Kerala-jatyachara-nirnayam, that  the term nair was bestowed upon three Naga girls by a Brahmin after an image of a dog ('nai') they created was brought to life and became the escort of Ayyappa.

This is absolutely trash and aims at abusing Nairs. Nairs need to protest against this heinous attempt to defame the community.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Nairs page in Wikipedia altered

The Nairs page in Wikipedia has been altered with many questionable information finding a place in it. The information as available on June 29, 2011 is found to be significantly different from what was there till May 15, 2011.

The information on Nairs now on Wikipedia is totally one sided and is based on views of some western writers mainly. This along with new links to the page at the bottom are definitely not positive views on Nair community. It gives rise to the doubt that some powers have altered the page to defame nairs. Many groups opposed to Nairs are angry at the popularity of the page and envious of the eminence of Nair community. Nairs need to protest against this.

Links like those linking nairs to Bunts have been removed from the Nairs page. Some of the information like Nairs fought along with Portuguese are factually wrong. Nairs as a community fought against Portuguese aggression on Western Coast of India

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nair Service Society gets new general secretary

Finally NSS assistant secretary G. Sukumaran Nair has become general secretary. He had been in charge for the last few months reportedly following health problems experienced by the then NSS general secretary P.K. Narayana Panicker who has been made the president of NSS recently.

Well it is good that Mr. Nair who had considerable clout inside the organisation has become the general secretary. But it is also worthwhile to remember that his opponents inside NSS and outside had often criticised him for his acts. Many times defamatory statements had been spread against Mr. Nair. Mr. Nair had often taken stands which are far different from Mr. Panicker.

Mr. Panicker had always been soft on issues affecting Nairs in general. But Mr. Nair has been outspoken. His verbal duals with SNDP Yogam President Vellappally Natesan and MES leader Abdul Gafoor and his opinions on NSS opposing former chief minister V.S. Achuthananadan have created enough enemies for him.
While Mr. Panicker had always resorted to legal fights (probably becasue he was an advocate) instead of popular struggles Mr. Nair had at times resorted to mass agitations as the President of Changanassery NSS taluk union.

If separate individual leaders' abilities or drawbacks and analyse progress of NSS in the last quarter of a century none would disagree that the period has seen NSS losing its clout and development activities at a standstill.

The period saw Government of India implementing reservations in union government services following recommendations of Mandal commission. Though NSS may say it has succeeded in bringing in economic criteria in reservations like Creamy Layer it should be remembered that creamy layer concept would help only poor among backward and not poor among forward. So how do it validate NSS' plea for brining in economic criteria in job reservations. Recently thanks to strong leadership of Vellappally Natesan OBCs were given reservation in Travancore Devaswom Board. It was NSS' miscalculated support to the Brahmin high priest which eventually resulted in that.

Similarly Minority comminities have received umpteen benefits during the last quarter of a century. In Kerala they are now far ahead of other in money power, educaiton status and social status. NSS has not started many education institutions during the last decade. But minorities started many. Though it had ample resources to start a medical college it backed out.

Well will the new general secretary do something to help Nairs. Let us see (will be continued)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Magnanimous Nair leaders

Nairs formed the back bone of orthodoxy in Kerala. It is true that at a time (say roughly from 15th century to early 20 th century) they imbibed the value system of Brahmins and a section of them oppressed sections of working class who were from lower castes.

But enlightened sections of Nairs took the lead to reform social ills like caste based discrimination including untouchability. Nair reformers gave all support to backward community leaders when they demanded end of discrimination.

Ayyankali, the leader of Pulaya scheduled caste community was helped in his efforts by Nairs. It is also true that certain Nair feudal lords attacked him
Govinda Pillai the feudal lord of Venganoor in whose farms Ayyankali's parents worked helped him.
"Ayyan had a benevolent landlord in Govinda Pillai. The landlord cleared jungles to make fields with the help of Ayyan. Later he gifted a small plot to Ayyan. Land owned by a Pulayan created unease among the landed," notes pages (link

Another notable Nair who helped him was Sadananda Swamikal, who was a spiritual leader who worked ardently for giving the scheduled castes their rights.

Sree Narayana Guru was taught in his childhood days by Kummampaillil Raman Pillai Asan, a nair Guru. At the time when backward castes were kept at a distance by orthodox nairs, another Nair came forward boldly to teach them. Young Nanu (who later became Narayana Guru) learnt Sanskrit and traditional knowledge from there. Chattampi Swamikal, who was born in Nair Community had been his spiritual mentor. Interestingly among Narayana Guru's direct disciples Nairs were many. Guru liked Swamy Sathyavrathan the most among his disciples.

Once Guru said Sathyavrathan (who was formerly Ayyappan Pillai) had the least pride in caste among those whom I met.

Mannathu Padmanabhan, founder of Nair Service Society had always supported movements against caste oppression. He lead the Savarna Jatha to support the right of lower castes to enter the road beside Vaikom temple. He actively participated in Vaikom and Guruvayoor Satyagraha organised for asserting rights of lowers castes. K. Kelappan a true patriot and first president of Nair Service Society lead the Guruvayoor Satyagraha for the rights of backward castes.

While all caste organisations demand rights for themselves Nairs demanded economic reservation which will benefit economically lower class from all castes and religions.

Perhaps magnanimity of Nairs went to become suicidal. Irrespective of their contribution against religious and caste oppression Nairs were often portrayed as villans. While every other community in Keala received some sops from different governments, Nairs got none.

Nair politicians who won on community votes also did not ever support even legitimate demands of the community. Perhaps it is time nairs did a soul search. let them continue to work for others but remember the saying "Charity Begins at Home."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Nairs and Keralam

Nairs are inseparably connected to the history and politics of Kerala and its progress but it is doubtful whether the community has got its due from different governments that ruled the state.

Though considered upper caste, the community does not have any upper hand in any sector in Kerala. Majority of Nairs have cooperated with the progressive movements in Kerala though in fact Nairs themselves have to bear the brunt of progressive movements, many a times.

Chattambi Swami, who spearheaded a spiritual revolution in the community criticised Brahmin supremacy existed among Hindus and established that all Hindus have the right to learn sacred Vedas. He encouraged all progressive steps taken by Sree Narayana Guru towards ending caste based discrimination among Hindus including untouchability.

Mannath Padmanabhan founder of Nair Service Society, the major social organisation for the upliftment of Nairs, always sided with efforts and agitations to end cast discrimination. It is to be remembered that he stopped using his own title in his efforts to establish a united Hindu community in Kerala.

If one looks at the leaders of all progressive movements in Kerala, it could be found that a major percentage of them are Nairs. The founder of communist movement P Krishna Pillai, the founding leaders of Indian National Congress and State Congress including Sir C Sankaran Nair, K Madhavan Nair, K P Keasava Menon, Pattom Thanu Pillai were all nairs.

NSS stood against the attempt of Dewan Sir C P Ramaswamy Iyer to create an independent Travancore. It was always for nationalism and always puts greater good of society in the forefront even while arguing for rights of Nairs. That the NSS has failed as an organisation currently is another issue. Its leaders have taken the greater common good to the extreme to the extent of forefeiting the rights of Nairs.

But despite all their progressive approach Nair community in Kerala failed get anything in return from Government is a fact. A large number of community members lost their land when the government implemented Kerala Land Reforms Act in 1970s. While similar upper castes among minorities protected their land under the benefit of exemption offered to cash crop estates while implementing land reforms act, Nairs who mostly cultivated food grains lost their land.

The reservations to OBCs and SC and STs made it tough for Nair youth to fight for government jobs also. The better organised minority communities grabbed government land and got it legalised by political pressure. Fertility rates among Nairs also feel leading to decrease in Nair population. While minority population increased Hindu population generally and Nair population in Kerala in particular decreased leading to lesser say in elections.

The opportunities offered by migrating to GCC and Europe and USA to Muslim and Christian communities is limited to Nairs. While migration strengthened the economic conditions of minorities in Kerala, Nairs went further down.

Being a law abiding community, Nairs are most adversely impacted by social changes in Kerala. Unfortunately NSS has failed to realise the current reality and formulate a strategy to uplift Nairs. Despite individual brilliance shown by Nairs in different fields the community is continuing to disintegrate and losing its bargaining power. Those Nairs who rise in their fields often fail to come to the help of community.