The Nayar of India

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Janet Levels
Introduction to Anthropology (GS 1241H)
November 8, 2012

The Nair were classed as a martial race by the British, however were de-listed after rebelling against them under Valu Thampi Dalawa, and thereafter recruited in lower numbers into the British Indian Army.

The Nair, as it can also be spelled more than not, have been described as a “race caste who do not owe their origin to function, although, by force of example, their organization is almost equally rigid, and they are generally identified with particular trades or occupations. These race caste communities were originally tribes but on entering the fold of Hinduism, they imitated the Hindu social organization, and have thus gradually hardened to castes”. However, this does not constitute a homogenous ethnic group as it is possible that each sub caste or clan may have different origins. Example: Members from other tribes or communities were adopted into the Nair fold once Nair became to be known to refer to a caste such as Tamil Paden Nairs. There have also been incidents where the Nair caste status was bestowed upon persons favored by the Raja. A member of Sociologists is of the view that the Nair are not indigenous to Kerala, as many customs and traditions distinguish them from other Pearlites. According to one theory, Nair’s are descendants of the NE wars of Nepal, who joined the Munds exodus and later migrated to Kerala. The most prominent argument given to support their theory are the presence of different pagoda – like architectural style of Nair Theravadas and Temples and the practice of Matrilineal system of inheritance similar to both Nair’s and Ne wars. In Kerala of Southwest India lives and indigenous people, called the Nayar. They are known for having a highly complex and intriguing culture. The Nayar are a worrior caste who follow ,matrilineal dissention and are said to practice polygyny ( Nowak & Laird, 2010) Their villages are primarily sustained...
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