13 December 2007

On the Syrian Christians (Nasrani Mappilas) and their origins

I would like to weigh in with my take on the origin of the Syrian Christians aka Nasrani Mappilas. Some of it is theoretical, some of it is based on folklore, some on known trends in Kerala&India. Some of the theory is mine, some of it is others. I will try to separate out each of these as I present my take on the history of the Syrian Christians(SyrChrs).

Perhaps the most important point to keep in mind is that it is well known and documented that the SyrChrs are not homogeneous - not culturally, not genetically nor in terms of social status.

Culturally the SyrChrs have practises that differ across localities as well as across families. Some SyrChrs families are considered "high" born while others are not considered so.

It is well known that SyrChrs practised polygyny (and in some cases polyandry) where the subsequent wives would be from socially lower (usually Hindu)communities. Further, many families and whole communities claim descent from Jewish settlers. Others claim Brahmin descent.

The differences in claimed descent meant that SyrChr communities were accorded different social statuses in different regions. In many areas they were perpetually in conflict with Nairs for patronage and the granting of privileges from the local kings or chieftains.

West Asian Identity
A key element that separates out the Mappila communities from the others in India and Kerala is the obvious West Asian influence. It is generally believed that this points to a West Asian origin for the communities. It is documented that around the beginning of the Christian era Muziris on Kerala's coast was the largest trading port on India's Western coast known for its West Asian settlements.
Trade in Early India, Oxford University Press says the following on page 66: "Thanks to a graphic description left behind by Pliny, historians are able to trace the development of the sea-route to the west coast of India in four-stages. The most developed route, which was also the shortest and safest,began from the Red Sea port of Myos Hormos and /or Berenice and reached the famous Malabar port of Muziris (Muciri of the Tamil Sangam texts) in forty days by following the Hippalus (i.e. the south-western monsoon) wind. Pliny states that the earliest point of maritime contacts between India and the West was Patalene in the Indus delta; the subsequent point was the port of Barbaricum on the middle mouth of the Indus. The third stage made Sigerius or Jaigarh on the Konkan coast the convenient harbour and finally, Muziris became the most important port of call." Essentially by the time Pliny wrote things down Muziris was well established as a major port of call for Roman shipping. Note that the term Roman refers in general to the peoples ruled by the Romans - which included portions of Arabia and regions around the Mediterranean - i.e. present day Palestine/Israel, Armenia and Africa.

The Indian Christians of St Thomas, Leslie Brown adds the following on page 60:"At first(from about 90 B.C.) ships went from Aden and other Arabian ports direct to Bombay and finally discovered how to sail direct, diagonally across to Muziris, the port of Malabar, instead of tacking laboriously down the coast. Malabar was in any case the end of the voyage. for it was from there that pepper, spices and precious stones were exported." He goes on to say on page 61 "We know something about the extent of this trade from references in Latin writers and from coins discovered in south India. Arikamedu was an established Roman trading station and the Peutinger Tables show a temple of Augustus near Muziris, and it is said that two Roman cohorts were stationed there to guard the warehouses. Pliny speaks with some dismay of a trade which cost the empire about one and a half million sesterces a year, chiefly for luxuries like pepper, ginger and precious stones, with no reciprocal export trade to compensate". On page 62 he says "Some Tamil classics(Silapadhigaaram, Manimekalai) also speak of this trade. One poem speaks of Muziris, where `agitating the white foam of the Periyar river, the beautifully built ships of the Yavanas(Westerners) came with gold and returned with pepper, and Muziris resounded with the noise'; and in another poem we read of the Pandya king drinking `the cool and fragrant wine brought by the Yavanas in their good ships'. We also read that some Indian rajas employed bodyguards of Western soldiers --`the valiant-eyed Yavanas whose bodies were strong and of terrible aspect'; who were `excellent guardians of the gates of the fort walls'."

Now nothing is mentioned of the ethnic makeup of these West Asians, but to me it seems to be primarily Semitic (Arabs and Jews), Persian, Armenian, Abyssinan, Egyptian and of course the Graeco-Roman elites themselves. It should also be noted that Muziris was famous before a direct sea-route to it was found.

These settlers would have been entire families/communities or simply male traders who setup factories on Kerala's shores. Many would have taken Indian wives. Over generations they would have formed a distinct community. It has been suggested that this could be the reason for the term Mappila(groom) being used to refer to them - a community formed by foreign grooms setting up families on Kerala's shores.

Many Jewish refugee communities found their way down to Kerala, typically travelling down the trading routes and settling in the relatively cosmopolitan trading locations on the Malabar Coast. J.N.Farquhar in "The Apostle Thomas in North India" (available in The Nazranies, edited by Prof. George Menachery) theorizes that the Jews were dispersed all the way from Syria to Parthia, many were engaged in trade and that for the Apostle Thomas "his kinsmen the Jews would be the chief objective". Essentially, he believes that any visit by the Apostle to Malabar would have been to proselytize amongst the thriving Jewish community "dispersed" as he puts it from Syria to Parthia with their communities extending all the way down to the Malabar coast. The Apostle's visit though very plausible will remain categorized as folklore until we can find definite proof of his visit to the Malabar region.

As Christianity began to catch on in West Asia (both Arabia and Persia) and later the Roman Empire, the religious make up of the Yavanas to Kerala's shores began to become more Christian. Their persecution in the early centures probably only added to their increased settlement on Kerala's shores. These Christian communities would eventually be called Nasrani Mappilas.

Another major development in West Asian Christianity mirrored in Kerala is the (East)Roman vs Parthian empire hostility that resulted in the East and West Syrian Churches. Today this is represented by the Syro-Malankara and Jacobite&Orthodox denominations following a West Syriac liturgy (centered around present day Syria & Lebanon) while the Syro-Malabar, Chaldean and Church of the East following an East Syriac derived liturgy (centered around present day Iraq & Iran). It is very likely that both Churches had communities in Kerala in obedience to them within years of the split.

With the advent of Islam the demographic of the Mappilas would have started changing again. There might have been a brief increase in settlements from those escaping persecution, following which the number of Muslims amongst the West Asians would have increased - especially amongst the Arabs.

As documented by Leslie Brown(page 81) the Muslim settlers would eventually push the Christian ones into the hinterland. Contact with West Asians would now be primarily Muslim, but Christian and Jewish traders would continue to visit Kerala's shores.

Unions with Indian communities and social integration

With the decrease in overseas Christian contacts, the Nasrani Mappila communities would have become more Indianized.

The Mappilas were patronized for the money they brought in to the coffers of the various kings and chieftains under whose suzerainty they traded. As their numbers increased they would have provided soldiers and weapons to their chieftains which in turn would have been rewarded with grants of land and social privileges. Some communites like the Knanaya community were granted land on immigration. This coupled with the loss of control of the trading ports to the Muslims would have resulted in the Nasranis becoming a landed community growing the spices and timber they historically traded.

Leslie Brown notes(pages 169-171) that in a lot of areas SyrChrs and Nairs were considered equals and were constantly in competition for royal patronage and privilege. The SyrChrs took wives and very likely accepted grooms after the Marumakkathayam fashion from amongst the Nairs.
Excerpts from The Indian Christians of St Thomas, Leslie Brown page 169:"They were given charge of the collection of revenue for the rajas in certain places and in the fourteenth century Marignolli found that they were in charge of the public weighing office in the Quilon customs. Associated with concessions in the pepper and other trades was the grant of service from certain castes and the responsibility of protecting them." On page 171 he writes: "The Christians shared many other things besides names with the Nayars. They occasionally took wives from that community, and their children often went to school with Nayar children...Many families still have certain privileges in the temples which are believed to have been granted in recognition of some service given or some present made in former times. For example at the Arat festival in Parappatattu temple the oldest member of the Pulikkamarrattil family of Syrians (who bore the title of Panikkar or Menon)had the right to go before the image of the deity and received rice and other presents". On page 170 he says: "The other privileges granted by the rajas were of use in establishing the position of the Christians in society and as such were most jealously guarded. In the sixteenth century the raja of Paravur tried to give similar privileges to the Nayaras of his State but the Christians rose in armed revolt and forced him to change his mind"

It is likely that in places where Nairs and Christians were on par socially, or the latter higher (as in Paravur above), it is my belief that the increasing social clout of the SyrChrs would have resulted in some of these families being able to participate in the practice of Marumakkathayam with scions of Namboothiri families.
[Briefly Marumakkathayam amongst Namboothiris involved only the oldest son in a family taking a Namboothiri bride. Other sons would essentially move into households of non-Namboothiri landed communities and father children by the women in these households in a relationship called Sambandhams, living off the household(s) until their death. The children from these unions would not be considered Namboothiris. This allowed the patrilineal Namboothiris to not have to divide up their ancestral property. It also allowed the non-Namboothiri household to increase their social standing and build blood ties with this powerful land owning community at the apex of the caste structure along the Malabar coast]

The children born to these marriages would claim Namboothiri descent on the male side (the SyrChrs were patrilineal) and the families of today that claim Brahmin blood very likely are descended from these unions. In my opinion the commonly repeated folklore of Namboothiri conversions by the Apostle Thomas could be an attempt at hoariness by these families in the vein of Aryanization common to communities in the Indian sub-continent.

Various sources including Leslie Brown and such documents as the Synod of Diamper mention the practice of cohabition with Indian slave women - i.e. women from the oppressed labour communities of Kerala. This would have resulted in the children from these marriages becoming part of the SyrChr communities.
The Synod of Diamper has a "Decree XI" in it's "Action IX. Of the Reformation of Manners." section that reads: "Whereas there are great numbers of Christians who for want of having the Fear of God and the Church before their Eyes, do cohabit publickly with Concubines, to the great scandal of Christianity; the Vicars shall therefore with great Charity admonish all such Offenders, three times declaring to them, That if they do not reform, they must declare them Excommunicate, and if after so many Admonitions they do not turn away their Concubines, they must be Excommunicated until they are effectually parted, and be punished with other Penalties at the pleasure of the Prelate, according to the time that they have lived in that Sin, and when it shall so happen that their Concubines are their Slaves, they shall constrain them not only to turn them out of their Houses, but to send them out of the Country where they live, that there may be no more danger of their relapsing, which shall be likewise observed as to all other Women where there is the same danger."

The SyrChr communities continued to be churned as the fortunes of the kings & chieftains they owed allegiance to changed over time. The strange bubble like nature of the caste system prevalent in Kerala allowed the SyrChr communities to retain their West Asian customs and practices to a significant degree.

--Veliath (originally posted to a discussion board on wikipedia.org at 12:45, 20 May 2006 UTC)


Anonymous said...

since no solid proof exists, no amount of research whether by an international historian or by an indian sceptic interested in the truth can give a fair diagnosis to the life history of the syrian christians of kerala...........besides based on a few examples of the reality behind nair or namboothiri claimants of syrian christianity, we cannot judge the truth behind the whole history.only a fool would endeavour to do so.till then wild guesses and artful assumptions tend to satisfy our curiosity.........but, in the bargain driving us further away from reality

Anonymous said...

Ah yes. All you Keralain christians are descend from Yavanas becos some ancient text alludes to contacts with Muziris.
SO, how can you trace descent to them. 2 cohorts of Romans at Muzirs created 2 million christians in Kerala!
It does not even sound credible. Face the facts, You are from the lower castes of Pariahs, etc. The Britsh, Portugeses and other Europeans needed a loyal support base. The Namputhris and Nayars are acste Hindus with special privileges, so they would not bother. Not so for the pariah etc. So it made sense to convert. Nothing wrong in being of indigenous Dravidian stock. Take pride in your Indian origins rather than attempting to validate with legends.
Finally, Gondophernous is now clearly established as having ruled the area of Brahmanabad in Pakistan. So there goes the weak St Thomas link.

FlipFlop said...


This blog is the collection of the thoughts of who are interested in the Syrian Christian traditions.

Nobody here is trying to confirm anthing about SyChr's foreign geneology, just pointing possibilities...and BTW you should also know that almost none of these SyChrs (except for one small community called the Knanayas) actually claim to be of foreign descent.

The SyrChrs are proud to be Mallus(in fact more than most Mallus), proud to be Indian and just like the rest of India proud of their traditions.


veliath said...

I've responded to Jagveer's comment above in a new post titled Pariahs and Pride.


Anonymous said...

mr. jagvir here seems to be having a complex with regards to the race of the malayalis.......if whatever he says is true then i laud the malayalis for even after being pariahs, they have done a good job of learing the archaic form of syriac and giving themselves purely syriac names not forgetting jewish customs etc.........i must say with regards to his mention of the roman cohorts; why did those romans take deep trouble to see that the malayali crowd uses ancient syriac, follows jewish customs etc which are as of now in the modern times not followed seriously by the descendents whose ancestors were so staunch with regard to following their nazarani tradition.besides st. thomas would scarecly gain prominence in kerala if he had in the begining converted the lower castes.he gained foothold because of his say amongst a few upper caste hindu families who protected & supported him...........

John Mathew said...

Fascinating article! I look forward to reading more by Leslie Brown.

At any rate, the results of the Syrian Christian DNA project seem to corroborate some of your theory.

Looking forwards to reading more!

Anonymous said...

This is fascinating - thanks for posting all your research. I've been trying to do some family genealogy from South Africa - my known facts at this stage are that my great-grandparents and their friends family who emigrated circa were Syrian Christians from Travancore, surnames Joseph, Matthias and Devassy. They followed the Latin Rite in ZA (no eastern churches at that time, and only a few recently) so we are all Holy Romans now :( I'll check back to see if you're posting again - hope so!

DR,SAJ said...



Chitpavan brahmin demonstrates younger maternal component and substantial paternal gene flow from West Asia, thus giving credence to their recent Irano-Scythian ancestry from Mediterranean or Turkey, which correlated well with European-looking features of this caste. This also explains their untraceable ethno-history before 1000 years, brahminization event and later amalgamation by Maratha..... For Y-chromosomal polymorphisms, the frequency distribution of 10 Y-haplogroups: H, R1a1, R1a, R2, L, J2, C, K2, P* and F* was determined. R1a had very high frequency (32%) in Chitpavan-brahmin from “Konkan” as compared to <=5% in other castes. Indianspecific R2 and L accounts for 29.4% Dhangar and 17% Chitpavan-brahmin chromosomes respectively......Mitochondrial DNA diversity in 77 individuals as one haplotype each was shared within Maratha and Chitpavan brahmin respectively. M lineages had frequency of 67% in Chitpavan-brahmin. The other South-Asian specific diverse sub-clusters of R and U were also frequent in Chitpavan-brahmin (84%). Neolithic migration and very recent Western influence was seen more (14-15%) in Chitpavan-brahmin and Desasth-brahmin than the other two castes (Maratha and Dhangar)........ Haplotype diversities were highest (1.000 ± 0.017) in Dhangar and Desasth-brahmin while haplotypes were shared within Maratha and Chitpavan-brahmin. The studied groups did not share haplotypes among them....."


Anonymous said...

I thought it was a folklore until I tested my DNA and was shocked to find out that my Y DNA was more similar to present day populations in southern europe.

Anonymous said...

There is proof that atleast some of the syrian christians are of west asian descent. This is through DNA testing. Quite a few have jewish ancestry and then again few others are purely dravidian. So unless each syrian christian tests his DNA he cannot know his ancestry :). He may even have chinese heritage for that matter :O)

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely clear from Jagaveer's comment that he is the usual bloody northy gosai who always shows racism against their south Indian buddies.If Gosai's could proud of their Arian origin,then why cant we Syrian Christians of Kerala.Moreover,It is proven scientifically(DNA Test)that most of the Syrian Christian's hold a strong presence of western influence in both their genetics and in social rituals

Anonymous said...

Post : 22854

Actually Syrian Christians seem to be a mix of J2, L, H, R1 and R2 mainly. However the sample size might be too small to make a judgement. Here are the family tree dna results. More dna tests will have to be conducted to see if there is a influence from middle east. There appears to be considering the high amount of J’s compared to the local population. Lot of the J’s that have a detail test done seemed to be grouped in J2a4 which seem to be at a higher concentration in middle east. Nonetheless more detailed tests will have to be done with a huge sample size or more people will have to sign up for tests in family tree dna.

R1 – 25%, L – 25 %, J2 – 25% , R2 + H – 25 %

Anonymous said...

hello veliath,
you had said that the yanavas came over here,married indian girls and settled here.so,i had a doubt to clear in which caste that ladies was belonging.

Anonymous said...

this leads us to jacob or better known as israel.his father isaac was married to rebekka who was the sister of laban the syrian.she sent her son isaac to marry from th daughters of laban, her brother.
this here isaac now marries four syrian females.their offspring number twelve,the great joseph being one of them.tak

Anonymous said...

sorry i meant jacob instead of isaac

Anonymous said...

From a Non-Syrian Christian from Kerala.
Those who want to know abt the origin of Syrian christians of kerala (mappila nasranis) can visit WIKIPEDIA. It says clearly that the early St.Thomas converts in kerala were JEWS and any claim by them that they are "brahmin converts" was intented in getting higher social status in ancient times. It is proved by the fact that brahmins came to kerala from north a few years after the origin of syrian christians.
Also i would like to clear a few misunderstandings of non-malayalis: that syrian christians are NOT THE ONLY denomination of christians in kerala.
The NON_SYRIAN christians in kerala are: Latin Catholics (fishermen converts), NON-SYRIAN Roman catholics (both forward & backward Hindu converts), NON-SYRIAN Church of South India & Pentecost (forward & backward Hindu converts).
The exclusive syrian christians of kerala are: Syrian Roman Catholic, Knanaya, Kaldeya, Jacobite, Orthodox, Marthomite, Evangelic, and Bretheren.
There are Syrian and non-syrian members in Church of South India, Pentecost, Independent churches and Yehova's witnesses.

Anonymous said...

Surely what is now said is that the hebrews or israelites or jews are of syrian origin.They are born out of syrian mothers.The lord would have it no other way.Let us then refrain from anything else.

Anonymous said...

From a Non-Syrian Christian from Kerala (2.. continued).
Jews came to kerala coasts for trade right from the time of King Solomon. They had children with local women of dravidian origin and the descendents came to be known as "black jews". Also there were pure Jewish settlers who were known as "white jews" (pardesi jews). Together they constituted the sect of COCHIN JEWS. The pure ethnic jews in Kerala (white jews) discriminated the inter-bred jews (black jews). The black jews were not allowed to occupy front seats in their temples. Later a large portion of both black and white jews were converted to christianity by St.Thomas in about 8 AD. They came to be known as Nasrani Mappilas (more popularily as SYRIAN CHRISTIANS). A few of them continued to follow Judaism. This means that there were ethnic white jews and also the mixed race black jews among the early Syrain Christians. Later the St.Thomas
christians split into Syrian Roman Catholic (Syro-malabar & syro-
malankara), Malankara Orthodox, syrian Jacobite, Knanaya, Marthoma,
Evangelic and Bretheren. This explains for the wide range of physical traits among the syrian christians of kerala.
i.e. you can find very fair or very dark skinned persons, persons with
blue, brown or grey eyes among the syrian christians. Initialy white jews discriminated black jews, once they united to form syrian christians started discriminating the later Hindu converts of pure dravidian origin.

Anonymous said...

From a Non-Syrian Christian from Kerala (3.. continued).
India is a country of mixed races. There are people having ARYAN traits, pure DRAVIDIANS (the aboriginal Indians), people of mixed traits of aryan and dravidian, pure jews and mixed jews (syrian christians), people of Afghan origin (PATHAN muslims), people of Arab origin (certain muslims of North and mappila muslims of kerala), people of mangloid origin (south-east) and lot more. All of them are secretly proud of their own race, but what is more important is that we have a common country INDIA. This country does not belong to a particular race, but to all of us. You will be known to other country men not as an aryan, dravidian, arab or jew
but as an INDIAN. I know that some of my north indian buddies tend to discriminate south indians based on this aryan-dravidian difference. Such people kindly understand that pure ethnic aryans of europe will not treat you as equal to them. Westerners will not treat you as "whites" though you have a light skin tone. Similarly though dravdians have a darker skin tone they will not consider us "blacks" either. They consider us as INDIANS only. While the british were ruling India both north india and south india were under equal conditions of slavery. Recently Indians were attacked in Australia not on being a northie or southie, not based on if he is a sharma, kapoor, reddy, nair, or mudhaliyar. the criteria was simple "attack an INDIAN national". So it would be really nice if people in India practice equality against racism, communalism, regionalism and
i had spent a lot of time on research on the origin of different communities in India and I have shared my truthful knowledge on the topic of discussion so far. this is not meant to hurt or boost any community in particular. Thank you all for reading my 3 segments of posts.

Anonymous said...

From a Non-Syrian Christian from Kerala (4.. continued).
Jews were a nomadic race right from the time of the old testament of bible, like the Roma people (gypsies). And wherever they went and settled, became a threat to the aboriginals since they produced off-springs at an enormous rate (this was the main reason that led to the slavery of jews by the pharaoh of Egypt, according to the book of Exodus in Old testament). The same was the reason for the mass hatred against jews in Europe in the early 20th century before the World War. Adolf Hitler in his autobiography (Mein Kampf) suggested the same as the main reason why his support for jews in the early 1910's gave way to extreme malice towards them by the end of the 1910's. The history repeated itself and all of us know how the jews were subjected to inhuman and cruel treatment until 1945 during World War 2. Similarly the Portuguese also treated the Syrian Christians in Kerala badly due to their Jewsish ancestry during very ancient times. It is due to these massive hatred towards Jews right from the beginning all over the world that led to the creation of the theory of "converts from brahmins" and suppression of their Jewish ancestry. But historians have ruled out this claim citing that Syrian Christians originated in about 7 AD while brahmins came to kerala from north some years after that. Even now they claim to be Brahmin descendents, some of them because of pure ignorance, but most of them keep their Jewish ancestry as a secret knowledge to themselves. I know this because I have very close Syrian Christian friends and some of my relatives have married from syrian christian families.

Sujith Philipose said...

Dear non-syrian anonymous christian,

Your comments are as big as a blog post. I think you should elaborate your thoughts on a whole new blog itself, what say? :)

Thanks for stopping here though,

Anonymous said...

Dear Sujith Philipose,
From your name and comments I guess you could be one among those groups who might have got offended by my posts. But believe me, offending any group was not my intentions but wanted to help clear some misunderstandings using the facts that i acquired through rigorous reading. Anyway thanks.

Sujith Philipose said...

No David, I rarely get offended by comments. In fact I didnt even read them :)
You sound like somebody who is begging to be heard.

Anonymous said...

I have no comments if you are commenting about my posts without reading it, mr.philipose.... well done...:)


Abraham said...

I'm proud to be a syrian christian.

I'm more proud to be a malayalee.

But I'm even more to be an Indian. East or West India is the best!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Everybody is proud of their own ancestry. Syrian christians say they are proud to be so. Similarly other keralite christians will be proud of their dravidian & non-syrian origin owing to the fact that syrian christians are mostly and partly jewish, since jews were (and to an extend) are the most hated group worldwide. But too much of Anything is harmful. Being extremely proud of own ethnicity and looking down on others is not nice. This is applicable to both syrian christians and indigenous christians.

Yohan George said...

i am a so called Syrian christian and i don't believe in these claims........many claims to be of West Asian descent.....but i can confirm that i am of a Hindu descent.....my family had a temple in aranmula...according to locals and family history the temple is around 1500 years old...still it is known with our family name....according to our family history ,we became Christians around 1000 years back ......

Anonymous said...

@Yohan George:
that means that you are a very late convert to christianity among the syrian mappilas...
the original black&white (ie. swadesi&paradesi jews) jewish conversion took place in around 10 AD, which was some 2000 years back... which means your family got converted after some 1000 years of original conversion... and by that time, the myth of brahmin conversion (to get high social status) has been widely accepted and any converts from forward hindu castes had started accepted as "mappila nasranis"...

Anonymous said...

R1A,J2,R2 HAPLOTYPES ARE COMMON IN SYRIAN CHRISTIANS AND MANY BRAHMIN GROUPS. So the presence of J among the Syrian Christians is not a proof for the Jewish lineage of the community.

A.Yeshuratnam said...

There was a steady influx of Middle Eastern immigrants, Arabs, Persians, Syrians and others from Central Asia, long before the birth of Christianity and Islam. A very extensive trade and economic link existed directly between Kerala and the Middle East since time immemorial. The Jews claim that the first Jew arrived in Kochi in King Solomon’s merchant fleet (970B.C.). Logan assumes: “Perhaps as early as the time of Moses, the great Jewish law-giver, this commerce existed, for cinnamon and cassia played a part in the temple services of the Jews.” The Chinese and Arabs were among the prominent foreign nationals who traded with the Zamorin of Calicut. The Chinese had a small-fortified colony of their own in Calicut and it was known at that time as Chinakotta or Chinese fort. The immigrants were given the status of higher caste and they were allowed to enjoy the privileges of higher castes by the Zamorin and other kings of Kerala. St. Thomas would have converted these immigrants. . When Ibn Batuta visited the Malabar Coast he found merchants not only from Arabia and Egypt, but also from Zanzibar and Ethiopia and even Tunis. It is likely St.Thomas would have converted many of these immigrants. In a caste-ridden, superstitious and conservative society, it was impossible to get higher caste Hindus to marry the immigrants. The wives and concubines of the immigrants were from untouchable castes such as mukkuvas, pariahs and Ezhavas. Kerala rulers allowed the wives and children of immigrants to enjoy the privileges of higher castes. Conversion of the families of immigrants by St. Thomas is wroingly interpreted as conversion of Nambbooditris, although there were no Namboodiris at the tine of his arrival. Earlier texts such as Thomma Parvam are all not contemporary accounts of Ist Century A.D. but later accounts after a lapse of several hundred years, and therfore, are mere exaggeration, fabrication and imaginary. But it is a historical fact that, before the arrival of European powers, Christian immigrants and their native descendants of Kerala had links with Eatern Christianity that flourished at that time in Mesopotamia, Assyria, Syria (Aramea), Phoenicia and Egypt. The contact was only occasional due to difficulties in travel and political anarchy that prevailed in the Middle East. The arrival of Thomas of Cana with 400 men increased Christian population when he and his companions married local women belonging to untouchable castes. He is portrayed as a Jew by some Syrian Christian families, but Armenian records and Portuguese accounts categorically say that he was an Armenian merchant.
Most studies of social change in Kerala have focused on the institution of caste and the extent of social mobility of various castes. Syrians at the time of the arrival of colonial powers were landless and they were not even peasant cultivators. Political and social exigencies of the period compelled them to increase Syrian Christian population by large scale conversion of lower castes, outcastes and slaves by Metrans and church leaders. Syrian Bishop Mar Coorilos met Grant Duff, the Governor of Madras, at Calicut in January1882 and gave him a lengthy account of Syrians in Kerala. He told him, “This Christian community subsisted and gradually increased, both by its intrinsic elements and by the admission of new converts, from the people living in the neighborhoods of Syrian churches.” (Logan, Malabar Manual, p.197). So, even before the arrival of European powers, native Syrian church had converted many local people who were not Brahmins or Nairs but only lower castes (mainly coastal mukkuvas and Ezhavas) who were known as untouchables.

rps said...

i would think that there are brahimns converted. or some kings. but along with possibly jews that st thomas came and preached to them. then ancient time persian christians come in contact to malabar and we had east syrian traditions and then i think the jacobites came from syria, then their faded knanaya agenda or racism that i dont know. but the early syrian were orginal people later they locally married and populated . so therefore among the nasrani population a brahimn orgin look more middleastern or middleastern guys has more touch to classical songs. or anything happening because of intermarriages. we having some semitic touch and it can come though many marriages and some though father sides. so the brahimns traditons or hindu presence are there. passion of gold, milk and honey to infants, mangalysuthra and many more. but many has also syrian influences and our celebration of pessiah only seen in hebrew population and now in nasrani traditons.

Anonymous said...

Nearly all Indians came from outside if you examine their DNA. The Dravidian's came from the Middle east and have mixed with the Aryans. In today's world no individual is superior or inferior to another. Forget about caste, color as these are tools of the wicked. Enjoy one another s company whist you are alive as ones days are numbered

Anonymous said...

Accidently come across this site..it is interesting that the conversion of Nampoothiris are a proven hoax and still some Syrian Christians are hangs on that claim.
• Even though Romans, Arabs, Chinese and Abyssinians (north west Africans)have historic trade relations with Kerala cost and some of them married from the costal low castes like Mukhuvas(Fishermen),Ezhavas, Parayas,Parathar etc but AD 1st Century there were no Namputhiries and Nairs it is a proven fact.
• Secondly the higher castes will not convert because it will cause the loss of their social status
• It is happened in every society that when the castes became financially more independent affluent they will try to go up the social ladder using false claim and adopting the practices of higher classes, examples north Indian castes like Yadavas,Maratha kunbis , Ezhavas of Kerala etc.
• Same in the cases of Syrian Christians they were a landless peasant community doing small time merchants and brokers between foreign merchants before the arrival of European colonials. Even the 19th century 80% of land of Kottayam ( the area of wealthy Christians of present day Kerala) were belongs to Nairs, Christian art forms like “Chavuttunadakam”,Margamkali etc are a inferior copy of Caste Hindu arts.
• Claim of Namputhiri origin is based on some oral folklore of middle century like” Rambanpattu” the language used in these songs are “vattezhuthu” of 17th century. Interestingly most of the languages and word used in Christian households and Church are similar to “Paryas” the group leaders of “Parayas” and Syrian Christan were known as “Kaykkaran” and the beef eating habit of Christians and Prayas also very interesting.
• Almost 1000 years Kerala history is completely controlled by two blood related caste group that is Namputhirs and Nairs, Social authority was controlled Namputhuris and political authorities are in Nairs hand (all the Royals ,lords and most of the Warriors are comes from them)
• Christians achieved higher social status only recently after the arrival of European colonials they were the middle man of local rulers and foreign merchants ,places like Kollam,Vizhinjam,Kayamkulam,Alapuzha ,Kodungallur etc were their main centers,
• Kerala local rulers helped Syrian Christians in order to promote the trade, Shakthan Thampooran ,Raja Keshava Das etc helped them to settle trading centers in places like Thrissur, Alapuzha etc, when Anizam Thirunal Marthanda Varma defeat Ettuveetil Pillaimar,Kaymkulam,Vadakkancoore,Thekkankoore,Elayadathu Swarupam etc and destroyed the Nair feudal s and achived the policy of one King in one land and confiscated all the land as “Pandaram Vaka” latter Christians and some Ezhavas (Channanmar) borrowed the land and cultivated and became prosperous .
• Hard work, migration to high range areas and cultivating Rubber etc and migration towards Europe, America and Gulf as Nurses and skilled labors brought prosperity to the Christian Community now the followers of Jesus Christ (A Carpenter by Birth)wants to claim high origin. But proven facts are there to shatter their false claim.

JOHNZ said...

to RPS Jews also had the tradition of wearing tally,it consisted of several gold coins.Our tally is not the Mangalyasuthram as you concieve.St Thomas converted Jews of cohen tribe who escaped during Assyrian invasion and demolition of the great temple of Jerusalem.These people are also known as Nazorines.kahns,Essenes.The aristocratic syrian christian families descended from them.They have levite gene which eplains to frequent priestly heritage claims of such clanss.You know ,their lifestyle is stricter than that of Brahmins.Actually brahmins copied their life style.Historians or people found their lifestyle similar to brahmins that's how the Brahmin theory emerged.Before 10th century there were no Brahmins in Kerala.Actually ,before coming to Kerala St Thomas converted Habans of Pakistan.Now there found only in some parts of Iran and Europe.It is astonishing to find that Pathans,Pasthoons and Afridis of Pakistan descended from the same Essene tribe of Syrian Christians as I mentioned. Even the Jewish admit that the syrian christians carries and they carry the same DNA.I belong to such a clan,but I am not a racist but happy to acknowledge that even before St Thomas we adored the living god ,THE TRINITY. FOR FURTHER EVIDENCES LOOK FOR BBC DOCUMENTS, ARTICLES OF GEORGE MENACHERY,MINI KARIAPPA(BOTH ARE RESEARCHERS).There are DNA test results that testify the claim.But that doesn't testify that all the syrian christians has the lineage.ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD ARE THE KIDS OF THE LIVING ONE GOD WHO LOVES US EQUALLY IF YOU FOLLOW THE RIGHTEOUSNESS.BUT GOD HAS SHOWERED HIS WISDOM UPON A FEW CHOSEN BECAUSE ONLY THOSE FOOLOW HIS COMMANDMENTS CAN KEEP HER AND THOSE SHOULD NOT FEEL PRIDE BECAUSE IT DOESN'T MEAN YOU ARE WORTHY ,IT IS PURELY HIS MERCY.

Anonymous said...

When St. Thomas visited Kerala and introduced Christianity, the early converts belonging to different grades in society on the basis of occupation were commonly called Christians. But the name Christian was changed to Nasrani when the Arabs came to Kerala. Muslims used the word Nasrtani in a contemptuous and derogatory manner. Christians and Jews were hated by Muslims in the Middle east and so they used the word 'Nasrani' in a derogatory and spitedul manner, as the Greeks called others 'barbarians.' Muslims quote the Koran to call Christians andf Jews as 'Nasranis.'
This is the basis of the verse.
1. " Jews say: 'Uzair is the son of God' and the Christians say: 'The Messiah, son of God'. Such is their saying with their mouths, they imitate the infidels saying earlier. Allah has cursed them, how are they to turn? "(Surat al-Tawbah: 30)
2. "Sesungguhnya been disbelievers are those who said: "Verily, Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary", when the Messiah (himself) said: "O Children of Israel, worship Allah my Lord and your Lord." Surely those who ascribe (something to) Allah, then surely Allah forbid him Paradise, and his place is hell, it is not there for people unjust helpers.. "(Surat al-Maidah: 72)
Nasrani is the word for all Christians , not Syrians alone, according to Muslims. Even today in the Middle East, Christians are contemptruously called Nasranis.

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

A clarification is to be made in Pattom's exposition. We cannot rule out the possibility of St. Thomas's visit to India. St. Thomas's presence in the palace of Gondopharnes is confirmed by the discovery of coins. Apart from numismatic evidence, the presence of Christian population in and arond Taxila is another strong evidence for the missionary activities of St.Thomas. Pope Benedict, historian and research scholar, would have probably doubted St. Thomas' visit to Kerala. But Thomas' missionary activities in the Persian region was never doubted by scholars. He probably would have extended his missionary activities beyond Taxila and come to Mylapore where he was killed. His followers would have come to Kerala to spread the gospel. Mylapore Christians were probably known at that time as St. Thomas Christians. Their missionary activities in Kerala in converting people and building churches would have been probably attributed to St. Thomas.
There is, of course. no eviidence for the conversion of Jews in Kerala. The very fact that Christian population was greater than White and Black Jews is an unassailable evidence that Jews were not converted. Portuguese and Dutch writers do not make any reference to Christian Jews in Kerala. The Dutch and English were Protestants and they supported missionary activities of Protetant missiionaries. Protestant missionaries did not find any Christian Jewish family in any part of Kerala to pursue their activites. White skin colour, like the Goans, was due to large scale intermarriage with the Portuguese. Albuquerque wanted to have loyal supporters in India. So he ordered the Portuguese soldiers and others to marry Hindu women. Their children married local Christians and the population multiplied. Portuguese ruled Kochi region for 150 years. During this long period several generation of children were born to increase Christian population.

Anonymous said...

Syrian Christian community of Kerala seems to be one of achievers. At least going by the present . The CEO, Wipro Technologies; The chief Minister of the State of Kerala; The Defence Minister of India; the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, The Indian High commissioner to London; the Booker prize nominee of Narcopolis whose book Narcopolis just got translated into German language; the youngest Padma shree award winner and the only Indian player in World Squash top ten; and now the man who has directed the biggest block buster in the history of Malayalam Cinema Drishyam. – all of them seems to be Keralites of Syrian Christian ancestry. It is natural that in a country like in india when you do well you believe you belong at the top of the social hierarchy. Although it is in the field of education that Syrian Christian community has made their mark, the whole of Kerala society has benefited from it.

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

In Kerala history there is absolutely no evidence of Nambudhiris or Jews becoming Christians. But Syrian Christians quote some customs and marriage rituals of Brahmins to claim Brahmin ancestry. The claim of Syrian Christians that tying of thali is a proof that they are descendants of Nambudhiris is not correct because untouchables such as Parayas, Pulayas, mukkuvas, vannans and others tie thali. Paul Roche gives this account of Paraya Catholic marriage: “The priest, though of higher caste, does not treat the Paraiya couple as untouchables. He blesses the couple and says Mass for them. The symbol of the wedding union is the thali. The thali is a gold medal on a yellow thin string. It is yellow because it is dyed with turmeric (Manjal). During Mass the priest blesses the thali and hands it over to the bridegroom who ties it around the neck of the bride. The priest also blesses two flower garlands and hands one each to the bridegroom and the bride who garland each other.”
Quite surprisingly, Syrian Christians also claim that Church built on the model of a Hindu temple is another proof for their Nambudhiri ancestry. But Paraya and Pulaya temples are also like Nair temples. Lamp, especially oil lamp, Kuthvilakku. Is lighted on all impotant occasions of Parayas, and this practice is also prevalent in some Syrian houses.
What separates Syrian Christians from Nambudhiri Brahmin and links them to lower castes is their lifestyle and food habits. Syrian Christian settlements were seen on the coastal area and thick jungles. But Nambudhiri settlements were inside villages, near temples and tanks.Syrian Christians like Parayas eat beef and pork. But Nambudhiris are vegetarians. Jews do not eat pork. Christian Jews in Israel and Europe do not eat pork. But for Syrians, pork is a favorite dish. In convents, sisters rear pigs to supply pork to Christians on important occasions such as Christmas, Easter and Anniversaries. Another important factor that separates Syrians from Brahmins is, Nambudhiris wear a sacred thread (poonool) which is conspicuously absent in Syrian Chrisdtians. Nairs followed matrinelial system but Syrian Christians like Parayas follow patrilineal system and their surnames are generally inherited from the father and property passes to the sons. To camouflage this, people like George Menachery claim, tat Syrian Christians are descendants of Nambudhiris, and if that is proved false, he would say that Syrians are descendants of Jews, and if that is proved false, he will say Syrian Christians are descendants of Assyrians. Menachery lives in a fantasy world thinking St.Thomas converted Nambudhiris to claim ‘nobility status’ without realizing the historical fact that there were no Nambudhiris when St Thomas came in the Ist century A.D. There is also no reference to the conversion of Chera kings. Nairs were also not converted, for Kerala history has recorded that Nairs used Syrian Christians to do free labour (oozhiyam) in their farmlands. In Jewish ih records kept by Koder there is no reference to Christian Jews.. So it is quite transparent that only lower castes who alone were available for conversion, were singled out for conversion. Those lower caste converts got superior status in society because during the 150 year rule of the Portuguese, the Portuguese elevated them by appointing them as soldiers, police. Brokers, accountants in their factories, planters of estates, merchants and traders, priests, teachers and trustworthy messengers and thereby elevated their economic and social status. The British opened schools and colleges for the lower caste converts and made them culturally superior to Nambudhiris and Nairs. Albuquerque policy of interracial marriage by which the Portuguese married Hindu women produced a race white in colour with good physical features.The Portuguese and the British elevated the Syrian community financially wealthy and educationally cultured far superior to Nambudhiris and Nairsof today.That is why Antony, Oommen Chandy, Kurien, Arundhadi Roy and Bobben occupy superior status.

jacob j said...

Mr Pattom Radhakrishnan clearly sounds like he is thoroughly misinformed about the History and origins of the Syrian Christians of Kerala (Nasranis). It must be understood that the so called 'upper caste' Hindus of Kerala have a problem with acknowledging the high status that the Syrian Christians have been enjoying in Kerala for many centuries. Mr Radhakrishnan's arguments represent a clever mixing of facts with fiction, much like the contents of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code.

Though there are no evidences for Jewish conversions to Christianity, there are concrete proofs for large scale migrations of East Syrian Christians from Persia and other parts of the Middle east to the Malabar coast, at least from the 9nth century AD. The 'Tharissapally Chepped' issued by the ruler of Venad (Kollam) to a group of Persian Christian immigrants in the 9nth century is a valid proof for that. The Christian traders set up trade guilds called 'Manigramam' which were encouraged and supported by the local rulers in order to boost trade and commerce in their kingdoms. There are extant copper plates that clearly confirm the existence of such merchant guilds in places such as Kodungallur, Irinjalakkuda, Kayamkulam etc. In fact, the ancient Syrian Churches that predate the arrival of European Colonial powers (Churches such as Aruvithura, Kanjirapally, Pala, Kuravilangad, Kudamaloor, Champakkulam, Mavelikkara, Thumapamon, Alengad, Ambazhakkad, Kothanalloor, Kadambanad, Niranom, Palayur, Kadamattom, N. Paravoor, Angamaly, Kaduthuruthy, Piravom, Vaikom and many other churches in Travancore-Cochin) had markets set up adjoining the Church compound, where trade and economic activity flourished. The land for the church and the adjoining markets were granted by local rulers under exemption of tax, signifying how the ruling classes supported and favored the Syrian Christian community for their contribution in trade and commerce. These markets, especially in the hinterlands of Kerala, were indeed a remodeled version of the larger and older merchant guilds (Manigramams) that existed in the coastal towns such as Kollam and Kodungallur. They traded timber and spices such as Pepper and ginger. This characteristic, along with corroborative evidences from DNA samples of the Syrian Christians (presence of the semitic J2 haplotype in the paternal DNA) point to an East Syrian/Semitic origin of the Community. Other characteristic features of the community prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, such as the extensive use of Syriac Liturgy in worship, clothing including Chatta, Mundu and Kunukku (which are clearly West Asian in origin) etc also point to the fact that the Syrian Christians have strong genetic and cultural links with the Persians/East Syrians, and have nothing to do with the indigenous lower castes as Mr. Radhakrishnan falsely alleges.

jacob j said...

2nd part

It was only by the 10nth and the 11nth century AD that Nairs began evolving as a dominant social group in Kerala, following the decline of the Chera empire (Refer to the works of eminent historian MGS Narayanan, who is a Nair himself). The Syrian Christians or Nasranis had already become established as a 'trading community' by then. The indigenous Parayas, Pulayas and other lower castes of Kerala such as the Izhavas made up the major chunk of the 'work force' of the Nair and Namboothiri Lords, who had evolved to become the principal land owning class of Kerala. There was absolutely no question of any relation between the oppressed 'slave Parayas' and the Nasranis who in essence played the role of 'Vysyas' or tradesmen in Kerala.

The conclusion that Mr. Radhakrishnan draws from his observation of the dietary habits of the Nasranis, relating them to the Parayas is thoroughly faulty. It must be understood that the Nasranis began using Pork meat in their diet only after the advent of the Portuguese (Europeans are fond of Pork meat, especially the Portuguese & Spanish). Another important observation that Mr Pattom Radhakrishnan fails to make is that, it is only the Catholic Syrians Christians (that too, of certain pockets such as Angamaly, Palai and Kanjirapally) who use Pork extensively in their diet, thus clearly indicating that it had come from the Catholic Portuguese who had considerable influence on the community. The Syrian Jacobites in many parts of Kerala however abstain from eating Pork meat. Usage of Beef in Nasrani cuisine was again a result of European colonial influence on the community. It must also be noted that many Syrian Christians families, especially in the erstwhile Cochin state were strict vegetarians till the early 20th century, pointing to their adaptation of Lifestyle in order to be compatible with the upper caste Hindu neighbors of theirs! Mr. Pattom seems ignorant of the fact that almost all the Hindus of Kerala, including the Nairs, eat beef today. Now, does it mean that they (the Nairs) too have possible links with the Parayas?? The Namboothiri story regarding the origin of the Nasranis may be false, but that doesn't make the Nasranis 'Paraya' converts'!!

I want to see how Mr Pattom Radhakrishnan is going to explain the traditional (Pre Portuguese) practice of observing "Pesaha" (Passover meal) by the Syrian Christian community. Will he argue that this too is a practice of the Parayas?? Well, for your information, the Syrian Christians of Kerala and the Jews are the only two groups on earth that celebrate the ritual MEAL of Passover (Pesaha) in their homes!

jacob j said...

Part 3

And regarding the "social and economic elevation": of the Syrian Christians with the help of Europeans- Mr Pattom seems to forget the fact that the Nairs too benefited greatly from the British, as they were educated in British run colleges in Madras and elsewhere, in order to serve them in administrative duties, supervisions, clerical works etc. (Don't forget how the British educated the Menons/Nairs of Palghat and the Malabar district, and then made use of them for oppressive governance over our country!). Ofcourse, the Syrian Christians too were initially educated with the help of the British run colleges, as is the case with every other community in the country, in the pre independent era. Come on, there was no other option for obtaining education in those times!

Today, the Syrian Christian community occupies the topmost position in the socioeconomic ladder of Kerala, as they lead all other communities in areas such as per capita income, per capita ownership of land, literacy rate, % of college graduates, Human development index, life expectancy etc. They are categorized as a "Forward Caste" by the Government of India, and is the largest forward caste community in the state, which is followed by the Nairs.

Theories of "Paraya and other low caste origins" of the Syrian Christians are nothing but baseless stories perpetuated by certain 'envious' Hindus, to degrade the Syrian Christians of Kerala. It is part of a larger conspiracy to mislead the world in their understanding of the origins and history of the community!!

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

Jacob j is banking on the false belief that there was a mass migration of Assyrians to Kerala at the time of persecution. There was no such migration. Even the invasion and migration of Bacterians, Scythian, Huns and other foreign tribes which happened from 5th century B.C. has been recorded. But the so-called migration of Assyrians is only an invented story by Syrian Christians. History is very clear that at the time of persecution, Assyrians fled to Iraq, Mesopotamia, Turkey and Persia, but not to India.

The oldest documentary evidence of a Jewish community in Kerala dates from 1000 CE, when a Jewish leader named Joseph Rabban received a set of engraved copper plates from the Hindu ruler of Cranganore. Although Jews came periodically from time to time, the total number was very small. There would have been 20 or 25 Jewish families. Jewish writers in Kerala says that there was no intermarriage between White Jews and Black Jews. It was not allowed. Then how could the Jews marry lower castes Syrians? Both White and Black Jews attended their respective synagogues and not Christian churches. So there were no Christian Jews.
It was only after the Portuguese showed favor to these oppressed community that they were trained to become merchants. It was during the Portuguese period, the professional names such as Panikkar (oil merchant), chettiar (merchant) Mudali (owner of a shop) etc.,were attached to some Syrian Christians.The word " merchant guild' was borrowed from the Medieval guilds in Europe by Syrians. In those days there were small shops and there were Syrian street vendors. Leslie Brown being a foreigner does not know the significance of these names. He was given false informtion by some Syrians that there was marriage between Nairs and Syrian Christians. Nair family history is replete with how Syrians were doing oozhiyam service in their paddy fields. Sakthan Thampuran and other Rajas used Syrians as soldiers only after the Portuguese liberated the untouchable Christians and made them army officers and soldiers.

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

Syrian Christians became forward caste because CMS missionaries to relieve the Christians from compulsory oozhiyam service in Nair and Nambudhiri paddy fields, plantain farms, wood chopping and other menial works even on Sundays without allowing them to attend church brought pressure on the Resident and Travancore government and removed Syrian Christians from backward community list. In the 1898 Census Report Syrian Christians were removed from Backward community list.

Rajan Rajiv said...

There are some attempts without any inscriptional or literary evidences to establish the fact that St. Thomas converted Jews in Kerala. It is claimed without any evidence that there were Jewish settlements in Kerala from the days of King Solomonn It is true that Solomon's ships came to India but it was not for bringing Jews to settle in Kerala but for the purpose of trade. Guided by Phœnician pilots, manned by Phœnician sailors, Phœnicians and Jews sailed forth together on their distant voyages, into the southern seas. They sailed to India, to Arabia and Somaliland, and they returned with their ships laden with gold and silver, with ivory and precious stones, with apes and peacocks. It was a trading mission and Jews were not brought in the ships for staying permanently in India. In those days when the Jews were living in all comfort and luxury in their own country there was ne need for a Diaspora
Another claim of St. Thomas Christians without any basis is that they are the descendants of the Jews who came to Kerala during Diaspora. In their fanatical bid to disown their original caste of their own country and to appropriate for themselves the Jewish link they have been propagating the view that they are the progeny of the Jews of Diaspora. But the historical events of the period and the significance of Jewish Diaspora will prove their cunning attempts are nonsensical. The first Diaspora of the Jews in recorded history is the Baylonian exile. The Jewish Diaspora actually began in the year 597 BC with the seige and fall of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Known as the Babylonian Captivity, a significant portion of the population of Judea was deported to Babylonia, not to Kodungalloor in Kerala. A second deportation began in 587 BC when the First Jewish Temple was destroyed. In approximately 582 BC, the Babylonian governor of Judea was assassinated and many Jews fled to Egypt and not to Kodungalloor. According to some scholars this was a a third deportation. Many of those Jews never returned to Israel.The Diaspora continued with the Great Jewish Revolt, otherwise known as the First Jewish-Roman War, which began in the year 66 AD and ended in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem. After the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Jews during this diaspora fled to Babylonia, Persia, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, and the United States. There is nothing on record to say that they also caame to Kerala. What is more, St. Thomas was not anywhere in Kerala in 70 A.D. The oldest documentary evidence of a Jewish community in Kerala dates from 1000 CE, when a Jewish leader named Joseph Rabban received a set of engraved copper plates from the Hindu ruler of Cranganore. Since Rabban was treated with honor by the Raja, he was not a refugee but a rich merchant. Like the Portuguese, he would have established a factory in Kodungalloor to pursue his trade with the Mddle East. In all probability from that time onwards Jews would have come to Kerala in different phases through links with Joseph Rabban and his successors.

Rajan Rajiv said...

After the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 ce, the Jews spread throughout the Mediterranean world. A major community eventually formed in the towns of the Iberian peninsula. The Sephardim, from the Hebrew for Iberia (“Sepharad”), played a prominent role in the culture and economy of both Muslim and Christian Spain and Portugal. But in 1492, Spain's monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, ordered the nation's Jews either to convert to Christianity or to leave the country under pain of death. At least 50,000 Jews--some believe as many as 300,000--were banished from Spain. Known as Sephardim from the Hebrew word for Spain , the banished settled in the Ottoman Empire, North Africa, Yemen, Italy and they did not flee to Kodungalloor in Kerala, india. A website of Syrian Malabar Nasrani makes a fake claim that during Shepherdic diaspora Jews from Yemen who came to Kodungalloor are the ancestors of Nasrani Christians. The foolishness of this argument is quite obvious in view of the fact that the Shepherdic diaspora occurred because the Jews wanted to avoid forcible conversion to christianity.
Unlike other countries, only few Jews had come to Kerala. They (White and Black Jews) did not become Christians but remained Jews and worshipped in their synagogues and not in Christian churches. How foolish it is to claim phony geneaology for the Syrians from these Jews! Dr. M. Vijayalakshmi, in a paper presented at the South indian History Congress, has, after examining the Geniza documents of the Jews, pointed out that the Jews of Yemen who came to Kodungalloor were involved in trade and had depots in Kollam and Pantalyani Kollam. So they were not Christians but Jewish traders.
Why some haughty Syrian Christians are struggling hard to usurp the caste of others? Before Internet became popular, they used fake family history suchas Niranam Granthavari and manipulated dance songs to expropriate Namboothiri caste and Jewish race. They were not contemporary accounts when St. Thomas was in Kerala but produced in the 18th century. When Kerala historians such as William Logan, Elamkulam Kunjan Pillai, Kesavan Veluthat and M.G.S. Narayanan pointed out that there were no Namboothiris in the 1st century in Kerala, Syrians gradually gave up Namboothiri descent. Now the new infatuation is about Assyrian and Jewish descent. At the time of persecution, the Assyrians migrated to Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Persia and not to India. Even 5th century B.C. migrations of the Sakhas, Bacterians and Huns are recorded in Indian History. But there is absolutely no reference to assyrian migration. It is a new distorted invention of some Syrians. CMS Missionary diaries and Reports tell us about largescale conversion of untouchables and slaves in Kottayam, Mallappally, Mundakkayam, Kochi, Alappuzha, Kodukulanji, Chengannur, Mavelikara and other areas. At the Coonen Cross episode there were 200,000 people to take the pledge. Was it possible to get 50 Jews or 1000 Namboothiris from Mattancherry? So they were all lower castes. And yet, manipulated DNA is produced to show that a descendant of an Ezhava converted by Norton has Jewish blood. Why these tricks?

jacob j said...

@ Pattom Radhakrishnan - Part 1

Firstly, Pattom made a fool of himself when he stated that the Assyrians migrated to Iraq, Iran, Persia, Turkey and Syrian during the Persecution! I must say his ignorance is pitiable! See, the Assyrians were the native Syriac speaking Christians from the ancient region called Assyria that itself covers parts of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria! So I am now convinced that Pattom pretends big time to be a scholar in History, where he actually knows nothing!

Pattom also stated that there was NO assyrian migration to Kerala! Then he must explain to whom the Tharissapally Chepped was issued! And also the Irinjalakkuda plates. Will he say that they were a set of royal privileges and rights issued by the rulers to the 'untouchable converted Christians' as he alleges all Nasranis to be? Pattom must also see that one of the offers granted according to the Tarissapally Plates to the migrant Nasranis of Quilon was that of a set of Ezhava families to do Oozhiyam (free service) for the Syrian Christians! One can do a google search on Tarissapally plates if he wishes to verify it. See, I've mentioned this only because Pattom has been overly enthusiastic in listing down the names of all the Ezhavas who've gone to school, to prove that they are as good as the Syrian Christians in calibre.

jacob j said...

Pattom is also aggressive in establishing the fact that there are no connections between the Jews and the Syrian Christians, for which he presents some evidences. Come on, who's even saying that there's any connection between the Jews and the Nasranis? I never said that anywhere in my posts. I only said that the Nasranis of Kerala are the descendants of EAST SYRIAN (ASSYRIAN)/PERSIAN traders and refugees who migrated to the both the Malabar coast and the Coromandel coast in an erratic series of migration, starting at least from the 6th century AD (deduced from the Travelogue by the ancient Christian traveller -Cosmas Indecoplaestus) and going on till the 12lth/13nth century (Based on the accounts of Marco Polo, who clearly speaks of Persian Christian traders and their colonies along the South Indian Coast). If Mr. Pattom believes that there weren't any migrations from the Mediterranean to Kerala inspite of all the extant records confirming Assyrian/Persian migrations and consequent origins of the Syrian Christians, i wonder how he and his people could even open their mouth to speak about the 'Ezhava migration' from Ceylon, or the 'Thiyya migration' from Greece/Crete or even the legendary 'Nair migration' from Scythia when none of these celebrated theories are substantiated by the faintest of historical records.

I've already mentioned the evidences supporting the 'East Syrian' origins of the Syrian Christians in my previous post. Any one with a rational mind can understand for themselves from my posts that the Nasranis for sure have Mediterranean origins. I can't do anything if envious people like Mr. Pattom clearly turn a blind eye to the widely established truths regarding the origins of Nasranis!

Secondly, Mr. Pattom spoke repeatedly of the Syrians doing Oozhiyam for the Nairs! Well, this is so Laughable!! Pattom should simply do a google search on 'the Nairs' and find out from pages like Wikipedia on the relationship that existed between the Nasranis and the Nairs. The two castes mutually respected each other, and were both permitted to touch each other! (This can be seen on the Wikipedia page on the Nairs. Do have a look). No Nasrani did Oozhiyam for any Nair, as most of them were into trade and commerce. Plus, the Nasranis were TECHNICALLY EXCLUDED from the Caste System for the reason that they were Non Hindus, and so there wasn't anything like 'Compulsory labour' (Ooozhiyam) for them. Now, it must be understood that many Nairs were busy doing Oozhiyam for Nambuthiris (learn about the origin of Illathu Nairs) and for the Samanthans (learn about the origin of Akattu Charna/Purattu Charna Nairs). And yeah, the Ezhavas, along with the Pulayas and Parayas, constituted most of the 'labour force' of the Nair and Nasrani land lords of yore! My own family at Kottayam have several Ezhava dependent families who've been serving us for years!

jacob j said...

Every Malayali today knows the fact that many Hindus - irrespective of whether he is a high caste Nair or a low caste Ezhava, work under Syrian Christian masters. I can give examples of ancient Nasrani families around me that have appointed Nairs as their estate supervisors, writers and even laborers. I also suggest Pattom to read any of Thakazhy Sivasankara Pillai's novels on the plight of laborers in the Kuttanadu area. He will then get a clear picture of WHO did Oozhiyam for WHOM in the Paddy fields! So the 'Oozhiyam game' is simply a baseless claim by an ultra envious Pattom! Also, no British granted the Syrians any forward caste status. (It was the other way round, where the CMS missionaries tried to admit low caste Ezhava converts into the Syrian Jacobite church, but were largely unsuccessful due to resistance from within the church. They infact only contributed to degrading the traditional status of the Syrians!) The Syrians, by their socioeconomic performance grabbed this status (Remember that they surpassed all other castes in literacy, per capita income, and per capita ownership of land according to the Socioeconomic survey of Travancore, which was held in the year 1931) and this was also a continuation of the traditional status they had been enjoying in the society for hundreds of years, even before the advent of the European colonial powers!

And lastly, who is even asking Pattom for the list of successful Ezhavas? He says that i stated that the Syrian Christians occupy the "top positions" in the society. Well, everyone can actually see that i never said that anywhere in my posts. I wonder how Mr Pattom assumes things, on top of making false allegations regarding the Nasrani origins! I only stated the FACT that the Syrian Christians outclass all other communities (including the Nairs) in areas such as Wealth (both land wise and per capita income wise), Education, standards of living, HDI etc. Pattom should go and fight with the Statistical department if he has a problem with that! And Pattom should also know that the list of successful people from the Syrian Christian community would be many times the size of what he put up in his post!

jacob j said...

Part 4

Pattom has yet again exposed his folly (& ignorance) through his Comments on the 'Pesaha'. He makes authoritative statements on the Passover (or Pesaha) saying that it is the same as EASTER!! Oh God... I hope Syrian Christians are listening!

Any infant can now understand that Pattom Radhakrishnan is just blabbering. He fails to understand the basic difference between Easter and the Passover. He also adds to his laughable statements by saying that the Passover doesn't coincide with the Jewish Passover!! My request to Pattom is to stop bulshitting like this so authoritatively on this blog, and instead do some serious homework on Christianity before he comes up with his next polemic!

PS: @ Rajan Rajiv - your polemic will be answered soon!

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

The occupation of Kerala by the Portuguese for 150 years and their open partiality to the local Syrian Christians is the real reason for the claim of superior caste and race status (Nambudhiri and Jew/Assyrian ) by Syrian Christians. Till then they were an oppressed community without any social or economic status. The Persian missionaries who came periodically, as in the case of Ceylon and China, did not marry local converts. All converts who followed foreign religions were called by the natives as Mappillais (Christians and Jews) and Moplahs (Muslims). The Syrian Christians submiitedd before Vasco da Gama in 1502 and the Coonen Cross episode took place only in 1653. So the Syrian Christians lived in cordial relationship with the Portuguese for more than 100 years. The Franciscans were the first Roman Catholic priests to arrive in Kerala, and , though, they detected Nestorian heresies lurking in the liturgy and books of the Syrian Church, they taught them genuine Christian theology. All Syrian Christians attended Latinized Catholic church. Young Syrians were given training in a seminary which the Portuguese founded at Kodungalloor. The Portuguese colleges set up by the Franciscans at Kodungalloor and the Jesuits at Vaippicotta and Kochi served as a springboard to make heretical Nestorian Syrians to become active Catholics. These colleges taught Syrians Latin and Portuguese and in this way they represent the beginning of the literary status that Syrians acquired which made them culturally superior to Nambudhiris and Nairs. This also gave them a passage to foreign countries. Albuqurque encouraged Portuguese soldiers, officials and other workers in the ships and factories to marry local Christians and Hindus which gave good physical features and color to the offsprings. They were given equal rights with the whites in the municipality created by them in Fort Kochi. They were also given high military and civil posts, and some were even ennobled. Appointment of Syrians as army and police officers instantaneously elevated them above Nambudhiris and Nairs, for they could not only control them but even arrest them. This is the reason for the claim of superior status, although in Hindu caste hierarchy they are lower castes even today and they are not allowed to enter temples.

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

The British did not give forward caste status. But CMS missionaries brought pressure on British Residents and removed Syrian Christians from Backward Caste list to exempt Syrian Christians from Oozhiyam service which was compulsory for all backward castes. Read Travancore History and find out the year Syrian Christians were removed from Backward Caste list. Even a fool will know that on population basis Syrian population is grater than Jews and Nambudhiris, and their claim to this caste and race is ridiculous. You are mixing ancient Christian history with lower caste Syrian converts to claim Jewish and Assyrian descent.This is applicable to all Christians for they too can trace the origin to Jerusalem. In Malabar Basel Mission converted many tribals. Can they claim German origin? Assyrian and Jewish claim for Syrian converts is lauhable.

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

You have said: "He says that i stated that the Syrian Christians occupy the "top positions" in the society. Well, everyone can actually see that i never said that anywhere in my posts."

Read what you have stated:"Today, the Syrian Christian community occupies the topmost position in the socioeconomic ladder of Kerala, as they lead all other communities in areas such as per capita income, per capita ownership of land, literacy rate, % of college graduates, Human development index, life expectancy etc."

jacob j said...

Foolish Pattom is shaming himself again and again! Come on, even a baby would understand that the "TOP POSITION" i was talking about was in reference to the SOCIOECONOMIC parameters such as Per capita income, Literacy rate, per capita ownership of land and other factors that determine the progress and forwardness of a society, and not about the "literal positions" in the society like collectors, lawyers, doctors etc. Read my statement again if you all want!

:"Today, the Syrian Christian community occupies the topmost position in the socioeconomic ladder of Kerala, as they lead all other communities in areas such as per capita income, per capita ownership of land, literacy rate, % of college graduates, Human development index, life expectancy etc."


jacob j said...

How long will our "Envious" pattom go on parroting the same old lies that have already been refuted long ago?? Pattom, don't you have anything new to say, except the same old points for which you've been given clear answers??

Pattom speaks about how the Europeans mixed with the local Syrians in Kerala, resulting in the emergence of fair complexion and good physical features of the Syrians! Well, if Pattom choses to stick to this shameful allegation of his, he should also know about how most Nairs in Kerala got their fair complexion. The previously untouchable ancestors of the Nairs (Nareae - an untouchable dravidian hill tribe, as mentioned by Pliny the elder in the 1st century) slept with random fair bodied Nampoothiri men, and gave birth to a hybrid Race called the Nairs! Well, the entire state of Kerala knows about this!!

I repeat, THERE WAS NO OOZHIYAM done by any Syrian Christian (Mappila) to the Nairs.

jacob j said...

@ Pattom Radhakrishnan,

Pattom are you out of your mind? Don't you understand English?? I said the Syrian Christian community AS A WHOLE "outclass" every other caste-community in the state in the fields of Literacy rate, per capita ownership of land, per capita income, % of college graduates, life expectancy, Human development index etc. NOW DID YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEANT?? Man, I feel like a fool telling you the same things over and over, to make you understand this simple statement!!

Now if you still tell me you didn't click what i said, i will plainly assume that you are pretending to not have understood it!

Now, no one is interested in reading the exhaustive list of "all ezhavas who've gone to school". Even a dumbass knows the fact that the Ezhavas as a community (i repeat, as a community that comprise some 25 % of the Malayalee population) stand far behind the Syrian Christians and the Nairs in terms of literacy, per capita income and every other parameter that defines Human development. This present condition of theirs, is simply a continuation of their deprived and impoverished past, not forgetting the fact that they were pure 'untouchables' who toiled all their lives for their Nair and Syrian Christian lords! Face the fact, Pattom!

And don't lie about Ooozhiyam service by the Syrian Christians. None of them (except a few Ezhava converts by the missionaries in and around Malappally, Kayamkulam, Mavelikkara, Chengannoor and Kumarakom who attempted admission in the Jacobite Syrian church, but were rejected by the original Syrian Nasranis) did Oozhiyam service ever.

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

Malankara Syrian Christians also belonged to the local cate system. The first actual record of Kerala appears in the inscriptions of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (269-232 B.C.) The Dravidians, an ancient people from the Mediterranean, were one of the earlier inhabitants of Kerala. Racial and ethnic history of Kerala shows many races such as Negrito, Proto-Australoids, and the Mediteranean. Mediterraneans form the main element of present Dravidian population of Kerala. Malankara Syrian Christians were not imported from Syria. They were also locals. Can the Christians converted by Basel Missionary Socity claim that they are not local caste but limked to Germany? In the same manner some Persian missionaries converted some locals but they did not marry local lower caste women. As in the history of conversion by Persian missionaries in Sri Lanka and China, Persian missionaries who came to Kerala did not marry the locals and they did not settle permanently in Kerala. When the Portuguese came to Kerala, they could not see a single Persian missionary. Churches were managed by illiterate local priests who preached heretical ideas mixed with Nestorian and Hindu beliefs. Another distortion of Kerla history by some Syrians is that there was a mass migration of Assyrians at the time of persecution in the Middle East. But Church history is quite explicit that In 341, the Zoroastrian Shapur II ordered the massacre of all Christians in the Persian Sassanid Empire. During the persecution, about 1,150 Assyrian Christians were martyred under Shapur II. When there was persecution in Persia, Christians fled to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and they did not come to Kerala which was very distant and was having a different culture. Thomas of Cana was not at all involved in Shapur II's persecution and the claim that he brought 472 families, a bishop, several priests, 400 laymen etc., at the time of prersecution was a story invented by some Syrians who became rich and influential during Portuguese rule. Even Vasco da Gama did not bring his wife on Portuguese ship. How could Thomas of Cana bring women and families in long voyages rickety ships? Moreover, the Bishop in Persia at the time of Shapur's persecution was Yohanan bar Maryam of Arabela, and he is totally unaware of Thomas of Cana and the emigration of Christians from Persia. This Thomas of Cana story was invented in the 18th century by some family history writers like Niranam Granthavari to claim Jewish or Assyrian descent to lower caste converts elevated in status by the Portuguese. Buchanan tried his best to trace the alleged copper plate given to Thomas of cana,, but failed, although other copper plates given to the Jews were found. Later some fake plates called chepped were artificially produced without any authentic source regarding their origin. The earliest document bearing on the history of the Jewish community is the pair of copper plates which record a grant to the lrader of the Jews, Joseph Rabban in A.D. 379. The privileges given to Jews were copied in the alleged grant given to fictitious Thomas of Cana. Buchanan tried his best to trace the alleged copper plate given to Thomas of cana,, but failed, although other copper plates given to the Jews were found. Later some fake plates called chepped were artificially produced without any authentic source regarding their origin.

Pattom Radhakrishnan said...

You have said: "Every Malayali today knows the fact that many Hindus - irrespective of whether he is a high caste Nair or a low caste Ezhava, work under Syrian Christian masters. " Kerala history and missionary records affirm that Syrians were Ezhava converts. When converted Ezhavas were raised to a higher status by the Portuguese, they employed Nairs and Ezhavas. The Kochi municipal area was exclusively reserved by the Portuguese for converted Christians. They employed hindu Ezhavas and nairs as servants. Today rich Ezhavas employ Brahmins and Syrians in their firms. Visit Nandilath G super bazaar chain, you will see many Syrians and Brahmins working there.

You have said: "I also suggest Pattom to read any of Thakazhy Sivasankara Pillai's novels on the plight of laborers in the Kuttanadu area. He will then get a clear picture of WHO did Oozhiyam for WHOM in the Paddy fields!" There also you have exhibited your ignorance. Thakazhi deplores the condition of poor laboreres doing oozhiyam service.
You have said:"Firstly, Pattom made a fool of himself when he stated that the Assyrians migrated to Iraq, Iran, Persia, Turkey and Syrian during the Persecution! I must say his ignorance is pitiable." You have demonstrated your foolishness. Iraq, Iran, Turkey were separte countries and they are still separate countries.
You have said: " None of them (except a few Ezhava converts by the missionaries in and around Malappally, Kayamkulam, Mavelikkara, Chengannoor and Kumarakom who attempted admission in the Jacobite Syrian church, but were rejected by the original Syrian Nasranis) did Oozhiyam service ever." I am glad you have fianlly accepted Syrian Christians are Ezzhava converts. You are wrong in saying " a few Ezhava converts," for there were en masse conversions. Syrian Christian centres of today were once Ezhava, and other untouchable caste areas.
You have wrongly stated that Jacobites did not allow CMS Christians to join them. But in reality, Jacobites left their churches and joined CMS and Mar Thoma churches. You say that CMS has lower caste converts. Just go through the marriage register kept in CMS (CSI) churches, and you will see how many Jacobites have been craving to marry CMS boys and girls.
Rev. C.Y.Thoams says in his book, Madhya Kerala Diocese, "Due to the impact of the work of the C.M.S. among the Syrian Christians, soon after the separation with them, several Syrian Christians who were attracted towards the reformation joined the Anglican Church. In certain cases, the whole Syrian parishes joined with the missionaries. Therefore, the missionaries began to serve them as parish priests too.5

In 1840, Bishop Spencer of Madras, who succeeded Bishop Daniel Corrie after his death in 1837, made his first episcopal visit to Malabar soon after the Archbishop of Canterbury had put the congregations of Travancore under the Episcopal oversight of the Bishop of Madras. Thus the Anglican Church was fully established in Travancore in 1840. By 1840's missionaries started systematic evangelism among the non-Christians, especially those of the lower classes. In 1848 Baker reported that he baptized thirty five individuals. He again speaks: "They have been Chogans. Two I had rescued from slavery very accidentally."6 In 1850, Rev. J. Hawksworth wrote, "The visible success of this mission during the past half-year has been almost exclusively among the 'heathen" 7

Sujith Philipose said...

Guys! : I think many of you need to grow up and look at things in a broader (unified) perspective.

Let me make one thing clear: these blog posts are neither about SyrChr-superiority nor about ethnicity-based discussions. The authors are trying to understand and fit the jigsaw puzzle that is the Syrian Christians; its not about who is positioned better than whom.

And please... No sword-fights on somebody else's lawn :)

jacob j said...

Dear Sujith,

I totally understand what you mean, but it seems highly difficult for me to keep silent when envious devils like Pattom Radhakrishnan who have absolutely nothing to do with Christianity or the Syrian Christians, come up with strange and fabricated theories on the origins of the Nasrani Christians. Anyways Sujith, allow me to post this one last comment, and I'm done for life! Pardon me & Thanks.

@ Pattom,

Pattom, Whom are you trying to fool? You think the readers of this blog easily get carried away by your 'long scholarly-looking comments' on the origin of the Syrians? You are wrong Pattom! People are cleverer than you think!

Let me refute all your claims and allegations systematically. And this is going to be my last round of debate with you, as i now know that there's no point in continuing this debate with you - a person who continues to stick shamelessly to allegations that have long been refuted and exposed through my previous comments!

1. You reiterated your nonsensical claim that 'THE PERSIAN/ASSYRIAN MIGRANTS NEVER INTERMARRIED THE LOCALS'. Now let me reiterate my answer: 'What do you think is written in the THARISAPALLY COPPER PLATES' issued by the ruler of Venad, to the Persian migrants of Manigramam? Well, these plates are still preserved in their original form, and are authenticated by secular Historians like L.K Anantha Krishna Iyer, A. Sreedhara Menon and M.G.S Narayanan, who believe that the Syrian Christians are the descendants of Persian immigrants who intermarried the local Malayalees. Refer to their works if you want to verify this. Now, most migrations, especially the ones in the distant past weren't always recorded in History due to various reasons. But one can draw inferences on such migration theories & subsequent assimilation, by analyzing the socio-cultural elements and traditions (such as the traditional clothing, language, cuisine, art & architecture, folklore etc) that are absorbed into various communities.

jacob j said...

part 2

Also Pattom, the very word "Mappilai' meant a 'Foreign groom' or an 'outsider'. The same term was used to refer to the Moplah Muslim community of North Kerala, as they too trace their paternal ancestry to foreigners - the Arabs, who married local Malayalee women of Malabar. Hindus including Nairs and Namboothiris traditionally referred to the Syrian Christians as 'Mapillas', and this continues in some places up to this day! Had the Syrian Christians been converted Ezhavas as you allege, the Nairs & the Nampoothiris who would be aware of it would never have called them 'Mappilais'!

2. You said it was impossible for Thomas Cana to have brought families (including women & children) in rickety ships in those days! Pattom, this is heights of ignorance! Then how do you think the Parsis of Bombay and Gujarat managed to migrate from Persia with their families, in the 7nth/8th century? Oh sorry, they must have arrived here in aeroplanes!

3. How dare you say that the 'SYRIAN CHRISTIANS WERE CONVERTED EZHAVAS WHO WERE RAISED IN STATUS BY THE PORTUGUESE'? How blatantly can you lie Pattom?? I challenge you, can you cite a single evidence supporting this despicable claim of yours?? WELL, YOU SIMPLY CANNOT! There's absolutely no text with the faintest of evidence on this! So, don't ever try coming up with such disgusting theories. Also, it was not just in Cochin Municipality that the Syrian Christians enjoyed preeminence, but also in rural pockets of Travancore-Cochin such as Irinjalakkuda, Trissur, North Paravoor, Kunnamkulam, Angamaly, Cherthala, Kuttanad, Kottayam, Kothamangalam, Palai, Kanjirapally etc, where they were found to be above the Nairs in socioeconomic status. Many Nair & Syrian Christian family records dating back to the 16nth/17nth centuries are replete with accounts substantiating this. Remember that the Ezhava laborers in Central Travancore referred to their Syrian Christian masters as "Thambra' meaning 'Lord'! You may confirm this from Thakazhy Sivasankara Pillai's books depicting Life in Kuttanad. (Kuttanad had both Nair Thambraas & Mappila Thambraas, of which the latter where more prosperous and influential!)

Alan Donald said...

The Aryan Invasion Theory

Since the mid 19th century it has been claimed that Aryans migrated into India, around 1800 BC-1500 BC, possibly waging war against the declining Harappan civilization. The Rig-Veda describes warfare and struggle for control of territory, but whether this resulted from a migration or not is unclear. However the archaeological and historical record can be interpreted to indicate a gradual migration around the end of the 2nd millennium BC of Indo-Aryan speakers to the east from the vicinity of Kurdistan. Nevertheless, the evidence is weak. It is also possible to argue that the Indo-Aryan speaking cultures had much older roots in the area. At any rate, modern India is divided into two main language families, one Indo-European, its speakers possibly linguistic descendants of Aryans, and the other Dravidian, its speakers possibly linguistic descendants of the Harappans.


Ancient Iranians used the term Aryan to describe their lineage and their language. Darius the Great, King of Persia (521 - 486 BC), in an inscription in Naqsh-e-Rostam (near Shiraz in Iran), proclaims: "I am Darius the great King... A Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan, having Aryan lineage...". The name Iran is a modern cognate of Aryan meaning the Land of Aryans. The term has become a term of art in the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Zoroastrian religions.

The Aryan tribes in the Indian subcontinent called their land Arya varta or Aryan expanse / Aryan land. When the ancient Persians lived in the Inner Asian Steppes and moved south into today's Iran, they named the place Airyanem Vaejah, or The Iranian Expanse, and today the word survives as Iran. Many present day Iranian boy and girl names reflect this ancient relation: names like Aryana, Iran-dokht (Aryan Daughter), Arayn, Aryan-Pur, Aryaramne, ...

Aryan race and genetics (Archaeo-genetics)

Contemporary anthropologists, who believe in the existence of an ancient Aryan race, now generally have the opinion that its closest descendants today are North Indians and Persians, and not the Germans. That is, if the Aryans existed, they were certainly not the Nordic Germans and English.

The recent advances in Archaeo-genetics have some interesting results for the Aryan invasion theory, but are still in the early stages. Genetic study shows that Indian population as a whole has little similarity to other areas of supposed Indo-European settlement, indicating there was no mass settlement from outside. Indian maternal DNA is generally similar right across the country indicating that the mass of population has been in place there for a long period.

More recent results from a 2003 study show that, Indian tribal and caste populations derive largely from the same genetic heritage of Pleistocene southern and western Asians and have received limited gene flow from external regions since the Holocene. It also found that the Haplo group R1a gene previously associated with Indo-Europeans is also found in significant amounts in certain tribal populations, and may have even originated in India. These results not only put a big question mark on the Aryan Invasion Theory, but point to the fact that the Aryans and their Vedic civilization were indigenous to India.

shame on you guys ..idiots do you think you guys look like eurpoeans ..?doesnt matter north indians or south indians ..

Anonymous said...

Dear Jacob J,
Can you please share your contact details with me. I can provide you a real scoop on how history was manipulated by our earlier historians to give prominence to one community in one important field of innovation.

devaprathapraja said...

Syrian Christians were clubbed with lower castes and they had to do oozhiyam (bonded labour) service in Temples and Nair ,Namputhiri agricultural lands . Travancore History archive says: Dewan Peishcar Reddy Row was appointed Dewan in Kanni 993 M.E. (September 1817 A.D). Having attained the object of his ambition, he with the help of Col. Munro, the British Resident , tried to distinguish himself in his new office. Several enactments were passed in the form of Royal Proclamations relieving the people from obnoxious imposts and restrictions. Chief among them were:- The Christian ryots were relieved from their Oozhiyam service of all description connected with the Hindu religious ceremonies. They were also exempted from attending to public work on Sundays.

devaprathapraja said...

The claim for the existence of Nambudiri Christian settlements in Thiruvalla was a mixture of fable, hearsay and calculated false propaganda which has made even foreign writers think that it was a fact of history. It is a stark reality that it was due to large scale conversion of untouchables, especially Ezhavas that Christian settlements arose in those areas. Logan points out that the Nambudhiri settlements were mostly in the Calicut, Ernad, Walluvanad and Ponnani taluks of Malabar, and in the Cochin territory in North Travancore. No Nambudiri family of pure birth had settled to the south of the Kollam River in the 1st century AD. Francis Day and Samuel Mateer also affirm that the Travancore Rajas have “in vain tried every means in their power to induce them to reside there.” It is quite improbable, therefore, that Nambudiri settlements existed in Thiruvalla area when St. Thomas or at a later period when Thomas of Cana came to Kerala. Missionary records give us an idea of how new settlements of lower caste and untouchable Christians came into existence in different places and how those converts were tutored to assume for themselves the status of higher castes just to escape persecution by upper caste Hindus. As S.N. Sadasivan, an eminent research scholar who has gone through missionary records, points out: “From the beginning it was the practice of the converts to leave their native village and settle down in a place normally few miles away or as a distant station as possible and to take up avocations other than that of their caste for intelligible reasons. It has enabled them to conceal their past, sever from their close relations and claim a status better than that of their unconverted brethren still struggling to stand up against their neighbouring caste-Hindus, in the new environment they had chosen. The first missionary who understood this social value of this mobility and anonymity was Joseph Peet who always for the safety of his converts from slave caste sent them to other places where they could make new claims and build up a better image for themselves.”

John Paul said...

The contributors of this blog affirm that West Asians traders of ancient days contributed to the genetic make up of the Syrian Christians of Kerala. But they appear to get stung when someone calls a spade a spade and does not hesitate to describe in plain words how this gene mixing took place.So they conspire and gang up to get the comment deleted from this site.Now, they have to say whether or not the Syrian Christians are the Mulattoes and Coloureds of Kerala.If not, then who are the Syrian Christians of Kerala? White settlers from Europe? Ashkenazim Jews who got stranded on their way to Israel? Expatriate Iranians who ran away from oppression by the various Despots? Rather than being equivocal and deliberately ambiguous in their position they can go ahead and make still further spurious claims by choosing their origins from any of the above groups exactly as the quack-historians among them have been labouring for a long time now to establish a Brahmin heritage for the Syrian Christians. Nobody prevents them from going on tom tomming the exalted Highness of their Clan! But the contributors seem to prefer to agree that gene mixing between West Asians and natives occurred in ancient Kerala but want the resulting population ie., the Syrian Christians to be recognized as blue blooded, high born ones.Come on,you cannot have the cake and eat it too.

jacob j said...

@ John Paul,

When did you start using decent language in your post? How come the sudden change?

Anonymous said...

Now Jacob J will thinking "it was like chanting vedas into buffalo's years".
Btw Syrian Jacobites don't eat pork.

John Paul said...

One cannot help laughing while reading the vacuous comments posted by Mr. ‘Anonymous’(from diction and style, it seems this one is the “Non-Syrian Christian” variety “Mr.Anonymous” out of the two ‘ M/s Anonymous’ of this Blog’s commentariat) . The comments seem to be products of a juvenile mind which enjoys parading inane fallacies as logic. The latest example:‘Syrian Jacobites do not eat pork’ (So, they were Jews earlier)! One can build any number of arguments using similar fallacies. Example: Humans eat leaves. So, they must have been goats earlier. Or, airplanes have wings and fly like birds do. So, airplanes too could lay eggs like birds. The scope for such fantastic constructs is endless. Earlier too, Mr.’Anonymous’ had posted original ‘great’ideas of similar kind for the knowledge of us poor souls! One wonders what other brilliant ‘logic’ will pop up from Mr.’Anonymous’ next time!

Further, he bellows in broken translation a proverb unique to folk Malayalam under the apparent impression that the proverb highlights the fruitlessness of teaching a buffalo lessons which the beast will naturally be unable to comprehend. Though ineptly articulated, the mockery is targeted at persons who posted comments earlier. Actually, the ‘buffalo’ of the Malayalam idiom is an animal that is about to be slaughtered and the ‘vedam’ is all about an ostensibly Muslim butcher uttering God’s name in his attempt to comply with the religious injunction that only the meat of animals butchered in the name of God is fit for consumption(halal meat). These utterances of the butcher could sound pointless to those who are not bound by such injunctions; hence the aforesaid Malayalam proverb was coined and used to signify any act that has no practical use. Mr.’Anonymous’, like some other ill informed people, thinks that the proverb is about someone chanting and trying to teach a Buffalo the essence of the ‘vedas’ (Hindu scriptures).So much for his contextual understanding of common sayings.

As for the author and other participants of this Blog; “you gladly put up with fools being wise yourselves” ( St.Paul, 2 Corinthians 11. 19). ‘Thinkers’ like Mr.’Anonymous’ who develop ‘logic’ of the above kind are sometimes of use to serious Bloggers. It is not only because such ‘thinkers’ write blunders which are harmless to the extent of entertaining readers and stimulating their sense of humour but also because the childlike innocence and dull simplicity of the former’s views set much needed contrasts in terms of sobriety and thus highlight the depth and subtleties of more serious discussion.

So, to suffer fools is not that bad an idea after all!

Anonymous said...

Apart from waging hidden wars, you pattom or any other hindu can say all these directly to a Christian? hehe no. you know that you are lying. You hindu see your face in mirror and look the face of a Christian, you will understand the difference.

George Jacob said...

Hello Folks,
Pattom Radhakrishnan's claim of a High Caste status for Nair community has been debunked by his fellow Hindus in the url below. Who was doing oozhiyam? Not a peep from pattom. Unlike pattom, the Hindu response in that site shows tolerance of a "normal" Hindu in Kerala to other religions.

Please read the full blog as it went out of context from the original subject.
What a fall from glory. He forgot the saying, "The higher you climb, the louder the thud" (i.e when you fall) As pattom hid the real status of Nairs and lied to us, why should anyone in this site believe anything he says?