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Posted by Archa Renu Baburaj 

I was born in Kerala to a family belonging to the Ezhava caste. We were considered untouchables. My communist governed state once had a history of practicing extreme, excruciating untouchability. The Ezhava community was asked to keep a 32 feet distance from the Savarnas at all times. Touching or even approaching the upper castes (Namboothiri, Nair, Kshatriya) by a member of my caste was considered “polluting”. The women belonging to my caste were denied the right to wear a blouse because covering up your breast was considered a “privilege”. We were a middle-class family. This meant I had friends both from the marginalised castes as well the upper castes. And so did my parents.

Touching or even approaching the upper castes (Namboothiri, Nair, Kshatriya) by a member of my caste was considered “polluting”. The women belonging to my caste were denied the right to wear a blouse because covering up your breast was considered a “privilege”.

I always knew we were from an oppressed caste, thanks to my well-read mother. She filled me in with the history of oppression and subjugation. However, 8-year-old me felt ashamed of belonging to this caste; the priestly castes and other higher castes seemed classier and were perceived as superior. As a kid, I felt everything was perfect in my life except my caste and I carried this feeling with me for a very long time. An 8-year-old had a bad case of internalised casteism.

My parents are ardent followers of Sree Narayana Guru, one of Kerala’s greatest social reformers from the Ezhava community. They always hung a photo of him on the wall, a common practice for most Ezhava families. As a teenager, I resented this. It was a constant reminder that I was different from my posh upper caste friends (most of them had their caste surnames). I wanted their surnames. Teenage me would see their Facebook names and wonder what a fulfilling life I would’ve led if I was born into a Savarna family. I grew up but I did not necessarily grow out of the casteism ingrained in my brain.

Even though my family had a lot of upper caste friends, there were plethora of instances where they would casually crack jokes with casteist undertones. A very vivid memory of one such incident was when we went over to our family friends’ home who belonged to the Nair caste. They had portraits of their ancestors hung up on the wall (guaranteed to give you an eerie feeling). During dinner, my mother joked about the portraits giving her the chills. This did not go well with them. Another woman belonging to the same Nair caste quickly jumped in and replied, “Well you need a family legacy for that, we all know where your family belongs.”

Also read: Calling Out The Shit Upper Caste People Say

My mother, being the sweet often docile person, remained quiet. Everyone else awkwardly laughed it off and brushed it aside. This was not subtle. This struck a chord with me. As I pursued higher education, I had still not completely come to terms with my caste identity. When people asked me what caste I belonged to, I felt a sense of humiliation and gave them the answer used by most of my Savarna liberal friends today, “I do not have a caste. I do not see it.”

AS A TEENAGER, I RESENTED THIS. IT WAS A CONSTANT REMINDER THAT I WAS DIFFERENT FROM MY POSH UPPER CASTE FRIENDS (MOST OF THEM HAD THEIR CASTE SURNAMES). I WANTED THEIR SURNAMES. TEENAGE ME WOULD SEE THEIR FACEBOOK NAMES AND WONDER WHAT A FULFILLING LIFE I WOULD’VE LED IF I WAS BORN INTO A SAVARNA FAMILY.

Truth was, I did. I saw my caste as clear as day and I loathed it as much as I can and wanted to hide it from the world. Things did not change much when I started college except now my Nair friends thought I was Savarna just like they are. I never changed this false assumption. Isn’t this exactly what 8-year-old me wanted after all! Well, my “fairy-tale” didn’t last long as I realised this meant they would not filter their casteism, it wasn’t the subtle jokes anymore. My caste was made fun of, their blatant casteism was now straight on my face. This would range from my progressive Nair friends talking about how they are “lucky” their boyfriends were from the same caste to flagrantly making fun of our community and our past struggle against caste-based oppression and violation.

I want to apologise to the 8-year-old child, the teenager and the college student who felt like she belonged to a sub-class of human because of an extremely inhumane and oppressive man-made social hierarchy. Today, I am reclaiming the narrative. My ancestors did not fight caste with every fiber of their being so I could feel sorry for myself today. It took me almost 23 years to unlearn most of the casteism that was built into my DNA and shoved down my throat the minute I was born.

Also read: Where Social Justice Meets Mental Health: How Does Caste Matter?

It took me 23 years to tell the world I’m an Ezhava without an iota of shame and resentment. I am writing this for the 8-year-old child feeling ashamed, the teenagers from marginalised castes casually changing the topic when they are asked about their caste, for women like my mother who made every effort possible to make her child understand the implications of belonging to an oppressed lower caste. I hope this article helps and it is not 23 years too late for you. 


Archa is a final year law student keen on pursuing human rights law after graduation. She loves reading Ambedkar and drinking tea. You can find her on Instagram.

Featured Image Source: Governance Now

11 COMMENTS

    • *Yes Ezhavas are high in caste , culture and tradition.*

      Ezhavas were technically not in the chaturvarna system as owing they didn’t follow the Varna system which treated landlords, warrior community, vaidyar ( doctors) even agricultural workers all in sudra or below them even nairs were in the same condition, ezhavar were Kshatriyas since they acted as warriors and feudal lords, from the chera Kingdom. After the Brahmins came to Kerala they didn’t want ezhavar to take any advantage so they pushed them below lines.

      The chekavar a warrior section within the community was part of the militias of local chieftains and kings. There were also renowned Kalaripayattu experts among Chekavars!

      *As owing Kerala was the only state were landlords, kings, warrior sections, Ayurveda doctors were treated as sudra or below them. Kerala didn’t follow any varna system.*

      Ezhavas always worked with pride as well as being agricultural laborers, small cultivators, and liquor businessmen, toddy tappers some Ezhavas were also involved in weaving and some practiced Ayurveda. Ezhava pride dynasties such as the Izhathu mannanars.

      After the advent of Namboodiri brahmins, the Chera king accepted brahminical dominance during BC 2 to 1 and they implemented chathurvarna , Nairs were the servant for Namboodiri brahmins they are the real Shudras as well as they served as Devadasi ( prostitutes for Namboodiri ). They continue doing Devadasi Charya for Namboodiri Brahmins to get the wealth and upper caste status, their origin is from some part of Mysore but not defined yet. Father of Malayalam language Thunjathu Ezhuthachan told that Nairs were the only shudras in Kerala.

      Chekavars the warriors were not able to accept the immoral activities by Brahmins and not ready to do Devadasi Charya for Namboodiri Brahmins.

      *But those days there were many Ezhava families were into the Janmi status and Richer than Namboodiri’s* (eg . Aromal Chekavar and Unniyarcha – Puthooram Tharavadu / Aarattupuzha Velayudha Chekavar / Chirappanchira Panicker etc ) and many others. Ezhavar has warrior tradition serving as militants of Chera Kingdom

      Now the Ezhavas are one of the prominent and most forward majority castes in Kerala as everyone knows it is quite natural that others would be so jealous.

      As owing very feild the community have earned success eg Film industry , business , literature etc etc….

      The debate of nairs and ezhavars – IS ALWAYS WON BY PROUD EZHAVARS that is the fact.

      Below Nairs are in OBC according to the Govt. of India.

      Vātti (Vātti Kuruppu, Pattu Kuruppu & Nantunni Kuruppu), Daivampāti (Brahmani), Pulikkal Nāyar (11) Chempukotti Nair (12) Otattu Nair (13) Puliyath Nair & Matavan Nair (14) Kalamkotti Nair & Anduran Nair – (15) Chakkala Nair & Vattakkatan Nair (16) Asthikkuracchi Mārār & Chitikan Nair (17) Chretty Nair, Mūtta, Taraka, Vaniya Nāyar & Ravāri Nāyar (18) Itasseri Nair (19) Chaliyan Nair(20) Maniyāni Nair(21) Veluthedathu Nair (22) Vilakkithala Nair.

      Some are in open category also.

      Koil Thampuran or Perumal (Rajah, Thampan, Thirumulpad.etc) (2) Samanthan Nair (Nambiar, Thampi, Thampurans, Thirumulpad, Adiyodi, Nedungadi.etc)(3) Kiryathil Nāyar & Vellāyma Nāyar (Nambiār, Kaimal, Kurup.etc) (4) Illathu Nair (Kartha, Thirumukom, Pillai etc) (5) Swaroopathil Nair, Menokki & Charna Nair (Menon, Menoky.etc) (6) Padamangalam Nair (7) Tamil Padam Nair (8) Pallichan Nair

      The Ezhavas are classified as an OBC in Kerala, for there agricultural and lower income people to uplift them, 40 % of ezhavars comes under obc creamy layer where no reservation is given to them as owing they earn above 8 lac. they are considered as open category.

      Our community contributed the max. to society and worldwide progress. its far better than any community in Kerala , its not only the toddy tapping and related business, who were just few in numbers, but we are proud of that too because we worked hard for our livings and success and not like what your community did for living everyone knows it well I am not discussing the ugly part of proud servant class, we r above 30 % people in Kerala with simple logic and common-sense how a whole community in the past will be in one occupation foolishness o, and same applies to nairs, not all nairs were servants to Nambudiris. But 80 % of people were in the servants class.

      Some of our prominent people: Thiyyas, Ezhavas.

      LITERATURE

      • Kumaran Asan[3] – also known as Mahakavi Kumaran Asan

      • Muloor S. Padmanabha Panicker[4] – poet and a prominent social reform activist

      • C. V. Kunhiraman[4] – founder of Kerala Kaumudi, journalist

      • O. V. Vijayan[5][6] – Indian author (Khasakkinte Itihasam) and cartoonist

      • S. K. Pottekkatt

      • Narayana Guru

      • Sukumar Azhikode

      • K.B. Vasanthakumar

      • Kovilan

      • Manjula Padmanabhan

      • C. V. Kunhiraman

      • O. V. Usha

      • M. P. Appan

      • P. Valsala

      • Muloor S. Padmanabha Panicker

      • M. K. Sanu

      • Perunnelli Krishnan Vaidyar

      • Velutheri Kesavan Vaidyar

      • Pallathu Raman

      • Moorkoth Kunhappa

      • Moorkoth Ramunni

      • Moorkoth Kumaran

      • Dr.K.Prasannarajan

      • Mayyanad K Damodaran

      • K. Sukumaran

      • A. Ayyappan

      • Potheri Kunjambu Vakkee

      • M. K. Sanu

      • M. Mukundan

      • Vellayani Arjunan

      • Dr.R.Gopimony

      • Perumbadavam Sreedharan

      • P. K. Balakrishnan

      • C. V. Sreeraman

      • K P Sudheera

      • U. K. Kumaran

      • A. P. Udhayabhanu

      • K.C.Padmanabhan

      • Ponkunnam Damodaran

      Some prominent business people*

      BUSINESS

      C.R. Kesavan Vaidyar Founder of Chandrika Soaps.

      Vellappally Natesan; ex-Railway contractor, owns a chain of restaurants.

      Gokulam Gopalan Founder of Gokulam Group

      *S.D. Shibulal One of the founders of Infosys;* served as MD for a period.

      Dilip Rahulan, Gulf-based NRI, owns Pacific Controls systems.

      M.P. Purushotaman Founder of Empee Hotels & Distilleries

      G. Mohandas Founder of South Park Hotel Group, TVM.

      Gopu Nandilath, chairman, Nandilath Group, Thrissur.

      Dr. Biju Ramesh, s/of Ramesan Contractor; family runs a string of business establishments in Thiruvananthapuram, including hotels and shopping complexes; acting president of Kerala bar owners’ association.

      T.R. Raghavan Founder of

      Elite Group, THRISSUR

      K.S. Chathunny Founder of Elite Group

      Vishu Bhakthan, New Rajasthan Marbles, Chirayinkil

      VP Nandakumar, chairman, Manappuram Group.

      Dr. M Anirudhan, Essen Nutrition, Chicago, IL, USA

      MP Ramachandran, Jyothi Laboratories.

      Dr. V.K. Jayakumar Founder of Sabarigiri Schools & Hospital, Anchal, Quilon.

      Dr. Sidhan, Founder of Medimix, Cuticura.

      M.P. Moothedath Founder of Sree Narayana Engineering Industries and main patron of the Sree Narayana Guru Samadhi Mandiram at Varkala

      Narayanan Ramachandran, chairman, Ganpat group.

      Gopalakrishnan, Elemecs wedding castle, Kayamkulam, Kannur.

      TD Rajan, chairman, Foam ‘N’ Foam, Chennai.

      K Somasundaran, Sri Ram Cashews, Kollam

      K Suresh, SV Cashew company, Kollam.

      Dr VP Sidhan, Cholayil Group

      Dr AV Anoop, AVA Group

      Ajit Balakrishnan, chairman, News | Rediffmail | Stock Quotes | Shopping

      Pratap Suthan, National Creative Director, Cheil Worldwide.

      Arun Balakrishnan, Chairman, MD, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation

      NK Padmanabhan Vaidyar, Nupal Remedies

      PV Chandran, chairman, KTC Group

      PV Gangadharan, director, India Vision TV

      Gunasekaran Madhavan, Founder, Electroplaters Association

      M Manikandan, director of General Group, Coimbatore

      PV Nidheesh, Director, Mathrubhoomi Printing and Publishing Co,Kozhikode

      CC Jayaram, Director, Mathrubhoomi Printing and Publishing, Kozhikode

      A Blan, chairman, KR Group, Tirur.

      Sivanandan, Maharaja Textiles, Kochi

      KJ Anup, Grihalakshmi Rice, Palakkad.

      KK Karnan, Nirapara Rice

      Vipin Gopal,

      Chandran Nandilath, chairman, Chandan Nandilath group, Thrissur.

      NB Laisan, MD, Central India Associates, Bhilai Steel Plant

      Priya Anoop, Director, Cholayil group

      PC Madhavan, co-founder, Jayasree group, Kozhikode;

      TK Narayani Amma, who started the Sree Narayana Vilasam Sadanam (SNV Sadanam) a working women hostel in Thiruvananthapuram; a pioneer in the field.

      FILM INDUSTRY

      • Thilakan[7][8]

      • Mukesh (actor)

      • Sreenivasan (actor)

      • Manoj K.Jayan

      • O. Madhavan

      • Devan

      • Ratheesh

      • Amal Neerad

      • Anil Panachooran

      • Vineeth Sreenivasan

      • Parvathy Ratheesh

      • Dharmajan Bolgatty

      • Sandhya Rajendran

      • Divya PadminiVishwanath

      • Divyadarshan

      • Vijayakumari

      • Dhyan Sreenivasan

      • Deepu Karunakaran

      • Suchitra Karthik Kumar

      • Lakshmi Priya

      • Parvathy (actress)Thiruvoth Kottuvata

      • Anupama Parameswaran

      • Rajisha Vijayan

      • V. Gopalakrishnan (actor)

      • Shilpa Kavalam

      • Leona Lishoy

      • Sunny Wayne Sujith Unnikrishnan

      • Lishoy (Actor)

      • Vineeth Kumar

      • Biju Pappan

      • Nithya Das

      • Chippy (actress) Renjith

      • Kalabhavan Shaju

      • Gopi Sunder

      • Bijibal

      • Deepak Dev

      • Rahul Raj

      • Chandini Sreedharan

      • Deepthi Vidhu Prathap

      • chandni Shaju

      • Arjun Nandhakumar

      • Avanthika Mohan

      • Namitha Pramod

      • Joshiy

      • Sathyan Anthikad

      • Mamta Mohandas

      • Samvrutha Sunil

      • Malavika Wales

      • Nishanth Sagar

      • Gayathri Suresh

      • Gayatri Asokan

      • Harisree Ashokan

      • I. V. Sasi

      • Indrans

      • Jaya – Vijaya

      • Jishnu

      • Raghavan (actor)

      • K. P. Kumaran

      • K. R. Vijaya

      • K. S. Sethumadhavan

      • K. K. Rajeev

      • Kalaikkal Kumaran

      • Kalavoor Ravikumar

      • Kaviyoor Revamma

      • K. P. A. C. Lalitha

      • Kunjandi

      • Kuthiravattam Pappu

      • Rani Chandra

      • Lekshmi Pramod

      • Drishya Raghunath

      • Suchitra Murali

      • M. K. Arjunan

      • M. N. Thambi

      • Mala Aravindan

      • Malavika Manikuttan

      • Manjari Babu

      • K.G. Jayan

      • M. Night Shyamalan — Hollywood Director

      • Meera Muralidharan

      • Swasika Vijay

      • Mythili Balachandran

      • Narayanan Ramachandran

      • Nimisha Suresh

      • P. G. Viswambharan

      • Paravoor Bharathan

      • Padmaraj Ratheesh

      • Pramod Pappan

      • Pujappura Ravi

      • V. K. Pavithran

      • Rachana Narayanankutty

      • M.J. Radhakrishnan

      • Radhika (Malayalam actress)

      • Raghavan

      • Rajiv Anchal

      • Ramachandra Babu

      • Ramu Kariat

      • Ravi K. Chandran

      • Raveendran

      • Rani Chandra

      • Rima Kallingal

      • Akhila Sasidharan

      • Rekha Ratheesh

      • S. L. Puram Sadanandan

      • Sabari Chandran

      • Sadhika Venugopal

      • T T Sainoj

      • Saji Surendran

      • Saju Navodaya

      • Salim Kumar

      • Santhakumari (Malayalam actress)

      • Sanusha

      • Sanoop Santhosh

      • Sarayu (actress)

      • Shaji N. Karun

      • Shammi Thilakan

      • Shobi Thilakan

      • Sithara (singer)

      • Sneha Divakaran

      • Sonu Sisupal

      • Sreeja Chandran

      • Sreekala Sasidharan

      • Suja Karthika

      • Sundar Das

      • Surabhi Lakshmi

      • T. Damodaran

      • Vani Viswanath

      • V. K. Sreeraman

      • Vidhu Prathap

      • Vijayasree

      • Vivek Gopan

      SENIOR LEADERS

      C. Kesavan[9] – Former Chief Minister of the former princely state of Travancore-Cochin

      V.S. Achuthanandan former Chief Minister of Kerala; former Leader of Opposition; Chairman of Kerala State Admin Reform Commission.

      Pinarayi Vijayan, CHIEF MINISTER; former CPM Kerala State Secretary; Politburo member.

      R. Shankar, former Chief Minister.

      VM Sudheeran, Congress, former Assembly Speaker, KPCC President.

      KR Gouri Amma, former Communist leader, state minister, and present head of JSS party.

      Adoor Prakash, State Revenue Minister and head of Adur-based Yamuna Group.

      Vayalar Ravi – Indian National Congress leader and Union Cabinet Minister.

      Panniyan Raveendran, former CPI Kerala state secretary, former MP.

      Veliyam Bhargavan, former CPI state secretary (deceased)

      CK Chandrappan, CPI national leader (deceased).

      A Achuthan, MLA, Chittoor

      CB Chandrababu, CPI(M) leader, Alappuzha

      K Sadasivan, MLA, Kayamkulam.

      KP Rajendran, former Revenue Minister, Kerala.

      C. Divakaran, former minister, Kerala.

      Binoy Viswom, former minister, Kerala.

      Mullakara Ratnakaran, former minister, Kerala.

      K. Pankajakshan – RSP leader and Former Minister of Kerala

      Susheela Gopalan – former Industry Minister of Kerala (deceased)

      Varkala Radhakrishnan, former state assembly speaker.

      K Babu, Congress, state minister for excise and ports, from Tripunithura

      A Sampath, Member of Parliament, CPM.

      K Sudhakaran, Congress MP from Kannur

      P Karunakaran, CPI(M) MP from Kasaragod

      KP Dhanapalan, MP from Chalakkudy

      KK Viswanathan, former Gujarat Governor and ex KPCC president.

      CM Dinesh Mani, former Mayor, Kochi, CPI

      CH Kanaran, freedom fighter, trade union leader

      Azeekodan Raghavan, deceased, CPI(M) state secretary

      Veliyam Bhargavan, CPI former state secretary, deceased.

      K Pankajakshan, former all India general secretary of RSP.

      Prof TJ Chandrachoodan, all India general secretary of RSP

      PK Gurudasan, CPI(M) leader from Kollam who was labor minister under VS government.

      N N Krishnadas, former MP, CPI(M).

      VV Raghavan, former state minister.

      MK Raghavan, former minister, ex-general secretary, SNDP Yogam and SN Trust.

      CK Chandrappan, former MP and CPI state secretary.

      Dr EK Madhavan, former minister and Congress leader.

      K Thankappan, ex-member, Kerala Public Service Commission.

      CO Damodaran, first Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram.

      MK Hemachandran, former minister, ex PSC member,

      KP Viswanathan, former minister, from Thrissur.

      Advocate Sujanapal, a former minister.

      CK Nanu, a former minister.

      Thachady Prabhakaran, former finance minister

      CK Kumara Panicker, known as Vayalar Stalin, deceased.

      J Chittaranjan, trade union leader

      Krishnan Kaniyamparambil, former minister

      KP Prabhakaran, former minister.

      Babu Divakaran, RSP, former minister from Kollam, son of TK Divakaran.

      Nettoor P Damodaran headed the Nettoor Commission for Backward communities

      Arangil Sreedharan, former Union Minister.

      TK Ramakrishnan, was Kerala home minister, from Kochi.

      M Kamalam was the second woman minister in Kerala.

      MT Padma, was a minister in Kerala.

      Suseela Gopalan, was minister in Kerala, MP, and wife of AK Gopalan.

      Kadavoor Sivadasan, former state minister.

      TK Divakaran, who was PWD minister in EMS and Achutha Menon governments.

      PK Gopalakrishnan, former deputy speaker, Kerala Assembly

      E Balanandan, former Politburo member of CPI(M).

      Varkala Radhakrishnan, also known as Annan, former assembly speaker.

      A Sampath, CPI(M) member of Parliament.

      SCIENTISTS

      • Vainu Bappu

      GLOBAL CELEBRITIES

      Dr. KN Vainu Bappu – astrophysicist. An asteroid between Mars and Venus is named after him.

      Manoj Night Shyamalan, Hollywood director

      SOCIAL REFORMERS

      • Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker, original name Kalisseril Velayutha Chekavar[13]

      • Padmanabhan Palpu[14]

      • T. K. Madhavan

      ARTS

      • Kanayi Kunhiraman

      • Narayanan Ramachandran canvas painter

      • Prakash Anchal Design Editor, Gulf Today, UAE.

      • V. Sambasivan

      Some ECONOMISTS and DIPLOMATS

      • K. N. Raj

      • M K Bhadrakumar

      LEGENDARY CHARACTERS

      • Aromal Chekavar[1] – 16th century

      • Velupillai Prabhakaran

      • Kannappa Chekavar

      • Aringodar

      • Aromalunni

      • Kotakkad Kovilakath Puthuppanathu Mooppil Vazhunnor

      • Unniyarcha- 16th-century warrior[1]

      SPIRITUAL LEADERS

      • Narayana Guru[2]

      • Bodhananda Swamikal

      • Nataraja Guru

      • Karunakara Guru

      • Nitya Chaitanya Yati

      • Vagbhatananda Gurudevar

      Some of the EUCATIONISTS

      Dr PK Radhakrishnan, Vice Chancellor, Kerala University.

      Dr N. Babu, former vice chancellor of Kerala University.

      Prof MK Prasad, ex VC, Calicut University

      Dr TK Raveendran, ex VC Calicut University

      Dr Gangan Pratap, ex VC, Cusat.

      Dr P Chandramohan, ex VC, Kannur University.

      Dr CP Sivadas, Professor and Head of Department, English, Calicut University.

      Dr PKG Vijayaram, Professor and Head of Department of English, St Joseph’s College, Calicut.

      Dr PT Balan, Professor and Head of Department of English, Govt Arts and Science College, Kozhikode.

      Dr Chovi Gurukkal, Sanskrit Scholar

      SPORTS

      Aparna Balan

      Chitra K Soman

      Suresh Babu, former Olympian

      Bineesh K Shaji

      Mahitha Mohan

      BS Sreeharshan, football

      PK Priya, relay medalist, CWG, 2010

      P Prashanth, Cochin Tuskers IPL team bowler

      PR Sreejesh, Indian hockey team goalkeeper

      Some OFFICIALS

      KP Dandapani, Advocate General, Kerala High Court.

      TP Senkumar, Director General of Police, Kerala.

      B Dileep Kumar, ex Managing Director, Backward Classes Corporation

      CK Bharathan, retired, Chief Engineer, PWD, Sabarimala Master Plan.

      Gokul GR IAS

      Dr Chithra IAS

      Dr Harishankar, IPS

      DR R Prasannan (Late), Legislative secretary to Kerala Assembly.

      Kailas Nath, Senior IAS official, Gujarat Govt cadre.

      Dr. B. Ashok, vice chancellor of Kerala Veterinary and Animal Husbandry University.

      CO Madhavan, former Chief secretary to Kerala Govt,

      TN Jayachandran, former Additional Chief Secretary, Kerala Govt

      CK Chandrabhanu, former Chief Secretary, Kerala Govt

      MN Prasad, former chairman, Railway Board,

      KR Rajan, IAS, former district collector, Ernakulam

      MN Gunavardhan, Principal secretary to Kerala Govt, Water Resources.

      R Heli, former Director of Agriculture.

      S. Mohana Chandran, Joint Director (retired), Agriculture

      Mohanan Sukumaran, Superintending Engineer, PWD (Retired).

      AR Sankaranarayanan, formerly MD, Steel Authority of India

      M Sivarajan, former Principal Chief Conservator of forests

      Surendran, former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests

      KR Jyotilal, IAS, Secretary, IT, Kerala Govt.

      Dr MC Valsan, former secretary, Kerala Assembly.

      Sudhakara Prasad, Advocate General

      TM Manoharan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests

      (Vanvila) Surendran, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.

      R Sadasivan, IRAS, Member, Railway Board

      VR Rajeevan, Additional DGP, Kerala

      KG PremShanker, Transport Commissioner, Kerala

      Jija Madhavan Hari Singh IPS, DGP, Karnataka

      MK Devarajan IPS, Rajasthan.

      Dr VK Jayapalan, former director of Medical Education

      Dr Uma Dattan, former director of Medical Education

      This are few people in our community who are famous. they are many more.

  1. This is about the writer’s own self concept. I do not think other people,- Ezhavas or others, think like this. It is a society with competitive spirit. People compete individually and in groups. The writer seems to extremely sensitive to a statement such as family legacy. There are plenty of Ezhavas with family legacy also.
    It was also very common in Kerala not to wear blouses irrespective of caste. There are lots of references and information available. Thakazhi, newspapers such as Manorama, photos of that period etc.

  2. Thank you so much for this article. It was an eye opener for most people who live in a privileged society and are unaware of the struggles faced by fellow humans on the basis of their surname. I would expect more people to raise their voice against the harassment they have faced on the basis of caste, Creed, gender, etc. Because from the point of view of an oppressed, there is no question of credibility. Unlike many others who take up the social media platforms claiming to be victims of social injustice, though they’ve always been socially privileged and take up the space for sympathetic fame. I request the victims, the harassed and the oppressed to make their voices heard and we as a supportive society lend not only a ear but also a helping hand to them. Thank you Archa for this wonderful piece. I’m sorry you went through the unavoidable social stigma. Love and prayers to you.

    • you guys dont known how proud it feels to be ezhavar the history nair is very much low to us.

      actually nairs were enslaved by Brahmins in medieval times. And in all past.

      Nair did all types of underdog works for Brahmins in all kind.

      Below Nairs where salves to all caste.

      Vātti (Vātti Kuruppu, Pattu Kuruppu & Nantunni Kuruppu), Daivampāti (Brahmani), Pulikkal Nāyar (11) Chempukotti Nair (12) Otattu Nair (13) Puliyath Nair & Matavan Nair (14) Kalamkotti Nair & Anduran Nair – (15) Chakkala Nair & Vattakkatan Nair (16) Asthikkuracchi Mārār & Chitikan Nair (17) Chretty Nair, Mūtta, Taraka, Vaniya Nāyar & Ravāri Nāyar (18) Itasseri Nair (19) Chaliyan Nair(20) Maniyāni Nair(21) Veluthedathu Nair (22) Vilakkithala Nair. Samanthan Nair.

      Nair history.

      Yes, Nairs were Devadasi ( Prostitutes for Namboodiri Brahmins ), those days not only southern Kerala, whole kerala they were following Devadasi Charya they call it as Sambandham do not confuse with marriage. Nair’s were considered as Shudra by Namboodiri and Varma’s as per Chathurvarna system.

      Nair husbands will take their own wife to Namboodiri’s ( Naaduvazhi ) Mana for Devadasi Charya ( Sambandham ) Namboodiri would provide Jewellery’s and Money or Lands in return, some times Namboodiri would ask Nair people’s daughter for sambandham.

      Another popular immoral tradition in Kerala those days among nair community was Sambandham would happen inside Namboodiri Mana, nair husbands would take their own wife for Sambandham then husband would stand outside Mana by keeping one single Lamp in front of the Mana wife would go inside with Namboodiri. This is for understanding for outsider’s that they are not supposed to come inside Mana if there is a single lamp also Nairs were treated as Shudras by Brahmins and Varma’s hence they were not able to enter inside Namboodiri Mana, Namboodiri would let nair girls to get inside mana only for Sambandham purpose.

      Basically Namboodiri people were trying to do sambandham with many other caste ever since they arrived in Kerala during AD 1 to 2 century’s those who were not ready for prostitution they would get degraded by Namboodiri Brahmins in terms of Caste and another social status. Those who are ready for prostitution they would get money and land, positions in the society, etc.

      This is how all Namboodiri community got into the disaster, at present-day Kerala hardly you find Namboodiri Brahmins we find many people are in such a difficult living condition.

      As per history, Namboodiris arrived from outside Kerala, ever since they arrived Chera King ( People who have Varma surname in Kerala but not every varmas are from royal family ) accepted Brahminical dominance and gave all power to them as they belong to Brahmin then they implemented Chathurvarna system like all other places in India.

      There were many movies and Serials with regards to this Devadasi Charya

      ( Eg- Arapatta Kettiya Gramathil, its quite different but mainly shows prostitution by Nair community )

      I would like to highlight one thing that as per Kerala history every one except some tribal people others were migrated from different part of India. There was no Chathurvarna system in Kerala until BC 2 to AD 1.

      After the advent of Namboodiri brahmins, the Chera king accepted brahmnical dominance during BC 2 to 1 and they implemented chathurvarna, Nairs were the servant for Namboodiri brahmins they are the real Shudras as well as they served as Devadasi ( prostitutes for Namboodiri ). They continue doing Devadasi Charya for Namboodiri Brahmins to get the wealth and upper caste status, their origin is from some part of Mysore but not defined yet. Father of Malayalam language Thunjathu Ezhuthachan told that Nairs were the only shudras in Kerala.

      Yes Ezhavas are high in caste , culture and tradition.*

      Ezhavas always worked hard with pride as well as being agricultural laborers, small cultivators, and liquor businessmen, toddy tappers some Ezhavas were also involved in weaving and some practiced Ayurveda.

      Ezhavas were technically not in the chaturvarna system as owing they didn’t follow the Varna system which treated landlords, warrior community, vaidyar ( doctors) even agricultural workers all in sudra or below them , ezhavar were Kshatriyas since they acted as warriors and feudal lords, from the chera Kingdom. After the Brahmins came to Kerala they didn’t want ezhavar to take any advantage so they pushed them below lines.

      The chekavar a warrior section within the community was part of the militias of local chieftains and kings. There were also renowned Kalaripayattu experts among Chekavars!

      *As owing Kerala was the only state were landlords, kings, warrior sections, Ayurveda doctors were treated as sudra or below them. Kerala didn’t follow any varna system.*

      Ezhava pride dynasties such as the Izhathu mannanars.

      Chekavars the warriors were not able to accept the immoral activities by Brahmins and not ready to do Devadasi Charya for Namboodiri Brahmins.

      *But those days there were many Ezhava families were into the Janmi status and Richer than Namboodiri’s* (eg . Aromal Chekavar and Unniyarcha – Puthooram Tharavadu / Aarattupuzha Velayudha Chekavar / Chirappanchira Panicker etc ) and many others. Ezhavar has warrior tradition serving as militants of Chera Kingdom’s

  3. I was with you until the last paragraph. Doesn’t it make more sense to disown your caste identity ( which has no basis in reality and was made to subjugate) rather than embracing it and hence still letting the caste system live on? Can you share more about why you consider yourself an ezhava even now? I’m genuinely curious, don’t mean to offend.

    • Hi Chaitius. One thing I had to come to terms with is the fact that no matter how many class ladders your climb, your caste will always be a part of who you are. I couldn’t get rid of it. And after internalising all the shame for years, it brought me peace to just come to terms with it and own it. I’ve learnt that regardless of what I consider myself as (disowning it or not), it’s still going to be a part of me in the eyes of society because casteism is alive and thriving. I did disown and say “I don’t have one”. But I think that is a luxury confined to Savarnas whose caste doesn’t affect their daily life. No offence taken. Thank you for asking.

      • your history is not right girl, i belong to proud ezhava community ,the nairs always did underdog work of brahmins, to get upper caste , the real sudars of Kerala , we worked with pride in all areas, we are multi professional caste population. our caste system of Kerala is much different , even nairs ever considered untouchables do u know that, i am sure this is fake account handled my some sudars nair.
        history is here .- you fool be a proud ezhavar ,

        Yes Ezhavas are high in caste , culture and tradition.*

        Ezhavas were technically not in the chaturvarna system as owing they didn’t follow the Varna system which treated landlords, warrior community, vaidyar ( doctors) even agricultural workers all in sudra or below them even nairs were in the same condition, ezhavar were Kshatriyas since they acted as warriors and feudal lords, from the chera Kingdom. After the Brahmins came to Kerala they didn’t want ezhavar to take any advantage so they pushed them below lines.

        The chekavar a warrior section within the community was part of the militias of local chieftains and kings. There were also renowned Kalaripayattu experts among Chekavars!

        *As owing Kerala was the only state were landlords, kings, warrior sections, Ayurveda doctors were treated as sudra or below them. Kerala didn’t follow any varna system.*

        Ezhavas always worked with pride as well as being agricultural laborers, small cultivators, and liquor businessmen, toddy tappers some Ezhavas were also involved in weaving and some practiced Ayurveda. Ezhava pride dynasties such as the Izhathu mannanars.

        After the advent of Namboodiri brahmins, the Chera king accepted brahminical dominance during BC 2 to 1 and they implemented chathurvarna , Nairs were the servant for Namboodiri brahmins they are the real Shudras as well as they served as Devadasi ( prostitutes for Namboodiri ). They continue doing Devadasi Charya for Namboodiri Brahmins to get the wealth and upper caste status, their origin is from some part of Mysore but not defined yet. Father of Malayalam language Thunjathu Ezhuthachan told that Nairs were the only shudras in Kerala.

        Chekavars the warriors were not able to accept the immoral activities by Brahmins and not ready to do Devadasi Charya for Namboodiri Brahmins.

        *But those days there were many Ezhava families were into the Janmi status and Richer than Namboodiri’s* (eg . Aromal Chekavar and Unniyarcha – Puthooram Tharavadu / Aarattupuzha Velayudha Chekavar / Chirappanchira Panicker etc ) and many others. Ezhavar has warrior tradition serving as militants of Chera Kingdom

        Now the Ezhavas are one of the prominent and most forward majority castes in Kerala as everyone knows it is quite natural that others would be so jealous.

        As owing very feild the community have earned success eg Film industry , business , literature etc etc….

        The debate of nairs and ezhavars – IS ALWAYS WON BY PROUD EZHAVARS that is the fact.

        Below Nairs are in OBC according to the Govt. of India.

        Vātti (Vātti Kuruppu, Pattu Kuruppu & Nantunni Kuruppu), Daivampāti (Brahmani), Pulikkal Nāyar (11) Chempukotti Nair (12) Otattu Nair (13) Puliyath Nair & Matavan Nair (14) Kalamkotti Nair & Anduran Nair – (15) Chakkala Nair & Vattakkatan Nair (16) Asthikkuracchi Mārār & Chitikan Nair (17) Chretty Nair, Mūtta, Taraka, Vaniya Nāyar & Ravāri Nāyar (18) Itasseri Nair (19) Chaliyan Nair(20) Maniyāni Nair(21) Veluthedathu Nair (22) Vilakkithala Nair.

        Some are in open category also.

        Koil Thampuran or Perumal (Rajah, Thampan, Thirumulpad.etc) (2) Samanthan Nair (Nambiar, Thampi, Thampurans, Thirumulpad, Adiyodi, Nedungadi.etc)(3) Kiryathil Nāyar & Vellāyma Nāyar (Nambiār, Kaimal, Kurup.etc) (4) Illathu Nair (Kartha, Thirumukom, Pillai etc) (5) Swaroopathil Nair, Menokki & Charna Nair (Menon, Menoky.etc) (6) Padamangalam Nair (7) Tamil Padam Nair (8) Pallichan Nair

        The Ezhavas are classified as an OBC in Kerala, for there agricultural and lower income people to uplift them, 40 % of ezhavars comes under obc creamy layer where no reservation is given to them as owing they earn above 8 lac. they are considered as open category.

        Our community contributed the max. to society and worldwide progress. its far better than any community in Kerala , its not only the toddy tapping and related business, who were just few in numbers, but we are proud of that too because we worked hard for our livings and success and not like what your community did for living everyone knows it well I am not discussing the ugly part of proud servant class, we r above 30 % people in Kerala with simple logic and common-sense how a whole community in the past will be in one occupation foolishness o, and same applies to nairs, not all nairs were servants to Nambudiris. But 80 % of people were in the servants class.

        Some of our prominent people: Thiyyas, Ezhavas.

        LITERATURE

        • Kumaran Asan[3] – also known as Mahakavi Kumaran Asan

        • Muloor S. Padmanabha Panicker[4] – poet and a prominent social reform activist

        • C. V. Kunhiraman[4] – founder of Kerala Kaumudi, journalist

        • O. V. Vijayan[5][6] – Indian author (Khasakkinte Itihasam) and cartoonist

        • S. K. Pottekkatt

        • Narayana Guru

        • Sukumar Azhikode

        • K.B. Vasanthakumar

        • Kovilan

        • Manjula Padmanabhan

        • C. V. Kunhiraman

        • O. V. Usha

        • M. P. Appan

        • P. Valsala

        • Muloor S. Padmanabha Panicker

        • M. K. Sanu

        • Perunnelli Krishnan Vaidyar

        • Velutheri Kesavan Vaidyar

        • Pallathu Raman

        • Moorkoth Kunhappa

        • Moorkoth Ramunni

        • Moorkoth Kumaran

        • Dr.K.Prasannarajan

        • Mayyanad K Damodaran

        • K. Sukumaran

        • A. Ayyappan

        • Potheri Kunjambu Vakkee

        • M. K. Sanu

        • M. Mukundan

        • Vellayani Arjunan

        • Dr.R.Gopimony

        • Perumbadavam Sreedharan

        • P. K. Balakrishnan

        • C. V. Sreeraman

        • K P Sudheera

        • U. K. Kumaran

        • A. P. Udhayabhanu

        • K.C.Padmanabhan

        • Ponkunnam Damodaran

        Some prominent business people*

        BUSINESS

        C.R. Kesavan Vaidyar Founder of Chandrika Soaps.

        Vellappally Natesan; ex-Railway contractor, owns a chain of restaurants.

        Gokulam Gopalan Founder of Gokulam Group

        *S.D. Shibulal One of the founders of Infosys;* served as MD for a period.

        Dilip Rahulan, Gulf-based NRI, owns Pacific Controls systems.

        M.P. Purushotaman Founder of Empee Hotels & Distilleries

        G. Mohandas Founder of South Park Hotel Group, TVM.

        Gopu Nandilath, chairman, Nandilath Group, Thrissur.

        Dr. Biju Ramesh, s/of Ramesan Contractor; family runs a string of business establishments in Thiruvananthapuram, including hotels and shopping complexes; acting president of Kerala bar owners’ association.

        T.R. Raghavan Founder of

        Elite Group, THRISSUR

        K.S. Chathunny Founder of Elite Group

        Vishu Bhakthan, New Rajasthan Marbles, Chirayinkil

        VP Nandakumar, chairman, Manappuram Group.

        Dr. M Anirudhan, Essen Nutrition, Chicago, IL, USA

        MP Ramachandran, Jyothi Laboratories.

        Dr. V.K. Jayakumar Founder of Sabarigiri Schools & Hospital, Anchal, Quilon.

        Dr. Sidhan, Founder of Medimix, Cuticura.

        M.P. Moothedath Founder of Sree Narayana Engineering Industries and main patron of the Sree Narayana Guru Samadhi Mandiram at Varkala

        Narayanan Ramachandran, chairman, Ganpat group.

        Gopalakrishnan, Elemecs wedding castle, Kayamkulam, Kannur.

        TD Rajan, chairman, Foam ‘N’ Foam, Chennai.

        K Somasundaran, Sri Ram Cashews, Kollam

        K Suresh, SV Cashew company, Kollam.

        Dr VP Sidhan, Cholayil Group

        Dr AV Anoop, AVA Group

        Ajit Balakrishnan, chairman, News | Rediffmail | Stock Quotes | Shopping

        Pratap Suthan, National Creative Director, Cheil Worldwide.

        Arun Balakrishnan, Chairman, MD, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation

        NK Padmanabhan Vaidyar, Nupal Remedies

        PV Chandran, chairman, KTC Group

        PV Gangadharan, director, India Vision TV

        Gunasekaran Madhavan, Founder, Electroplaters Association

        M Manikandan, director of General Group, Coimbatore

        PV Nidheesh, Director, Mathrubhoomi Printing and Publishing Co,Kozhikode

        CC Jayaram, Director, Mathrubhoomi Printing and Publishing, Kozhikode

        A Blan, chairman, KR Group, Tirur.

        Sivanandan, Maharaja Textiles, Kochi

        KJ Anup, Grihalakshmi Rice, Palakkad.

        KK Karnan, Nirapara Rice

        Vipin Gopal,

        Chandran Nandilath, chairman, Chandan Nandilath group, Thrissur.

        NB Laisan, MD, Central India Associates, Bhilai Steel Plant

        Priya Anoop, Director, Cholayil group

        PC Madhavan, co-founder, Jayasree group, Kozhikode;

        TK Narayani Amma, who started the Sree Narayana Vilasam Sadanam (SNV Sadanam) a working women hostel in Thiruvananthapuram; a pioneer in the field.

        FILM INDUSTRY

        • Thilakan[7][8]

        • Mukesh (actor)

        • Sreenivasan (actor)

        • Manoj K.Jayan

        • O. Madhavan

        • Devan

        • Ratheesh

        • Amal Neerad

        • Anil Panachooran

        • Vineeth Sreenivasan

        • Parvathy Ratheesh

        • Dharmajan Bolgatty

        • Sandhya Rajendran

        • Divya PadminiVishwanath

        • Divyadarshan

        • Vijayakumari

        • Dhyan Sreenivasan

        • Deepu Karunakaran

        • Suchitra Karthik Kumar

        • Lakshmi Priya

        • Parvathy (actress)Thiruvoth Kottuvata

        • Anupama Parameswaran

        • Rajisha Vijayan

        • V. Gopalakrishnan (actor)

        • Shilpa Kavalam

        • Leona Lishoy

        • Sunny Wayne Sujith Unnikrishnan

        • Lishoy (Actor)

        • Vineeth Kumar

        • Biju Pappan

        • Nithya Das

        • Chippy (actress) Renjith

        • Kalabhavan Shaju

        • Gopi Sunder

        • Bijibal

        • Deepak Dev

        • Rahul Raj

        • Chandini Sreedharan

        • Deepthi Vidhu Prathap

        • chandni Shaju

        • Arjun Nandhakumar

        • Avanthika Mohan

        • Namitha Pramod

        • Joshiy

        • Sathyan Anthikad

        • Mamta Mohandas

        • Samvrutha Sunil

        • Malavika Wales

        • Nishanth Sagar

        • Gayathri Suresh

        • Gayatri Asokan

        • Harisree Ashokan

        • I. V. Sasi

        • Indrans

        • Jaya – Vijaya

        • Jishnu

        • Raghavan (actor)

        • K. P. Kumaran

        • K. R. Vijaya

        • K. S. Sethumadhavan

        • K. K. Rajeev

        • Kalaikkal Kumaran

        • Kalavoor Ravikumar

        • Kaviyoor Revamma

        • K. P. A. C. Lalitha

        • Kunjandi

        • Kuthiravattam Pappu

        • Rani Chandra

        • Lekshmi Pramod

        • Drishya Raghunath

        • Suchitra Murali

        • M. K. Arjunan

        • M. N. Thambi

        • Mala Aravindan

        • Malavika Manikuttan

        • Manjari Babu

        • K.G. Jayan

        • M. Night Shyamalan — Hollywood Director

        • Meera Muralidharan

        • Swasika Vijay

        • Mythili Balachandran

        • Narayanan Ramachandran

        • Nimisha Suresh

        • P. G. Viswambharan

        • Paravoor Bharathan

        • Padmaraj Ratheesh

        • Pramod Pappan

        • Pujappura Ravi

        • V. K. Pavithran

        • Rachana Narayanankutty

        • M.J. Radhakrishnan

        • Radhika (Malayalam actress)

        • Raghavan

        • Rajiv Anchal

        • Ramachandra Babu

        • Ramu Kariat

        • Ravi K. Chandran

        • Raveendran

        • Rani Chandra

        • Rima Kallingal

        • Akhila Sasidharan

        • Rekha Ratheesh

        • S. L. Puram Sadanandan

        • Sabari Chandran

        • Sadhika Venugopal

        • T T Sainoj

        • Saji Surendran

        • Saju Navodaya

        • Salim Kumar

        • Santhakumari (Malayalam actress)

        • Sanusha

        • Sanoop Santhosh

        • Sarayu (actress)

        • Shaji N. Karun

        • Shammi Thilakan

        • Shobi Thilakan

        • Sithara (singer)

        • Sneha Divakaran

        • Sonu Sisupal

        • Sreeja Chandran

        • Sreekala Sasidharan

        • Suja Karthika

        • Sundar Das

        • Surabhi Lakshmi

        • T. Damodaran

        • Vani Viswanath

        • V. K. Sreeraman

        • Vidhu Prathap

        • Vijayasree

        • Vivek Gopan

        SENIOR LEADERS

        C. Kesavan[9] – Former Chief Minister of the former princely state of Travancore-Cochin

        V.S. Achuthanandan former Chief Minister of Kerala; former Leader of Opposition; Chairman of Kerala State Admin Reform Commission.

        Pinarayi Vijayan, CHIEF MINISTER; former CPM Kerala State Secretary; Politburo member.

        R. Shankar, former Chief Minister.

        VM Sudheeran, Congress, former Assembly Speaker, KPCC President.

        KR Gouri Amma, former Communist leader, state minister, and present head of JSS party.

        Adoor Prakash, State Revenue Minister and head of Adur-based Yamuna Group.

        Vayalar Ravi – Indian National Congress leader and Union Cabinet Minister.

        Panniyan Raveendran, former CPI Kerala state secretary, former MP.

        Veliyam Bhargavan, former CPI state secretary (deceased)

        CK Chandrappan, CPI national leader (deceased).

        A Achuthan, MLA, Chittoor

        CB Chandrababu, CPI(M) leader, Alappuzha

        K Sadasivan, MLA, Kayamkulam.

        KP Rajendran, former Revenue Minister, Kerala.

        C. Divakaran, former minister, Kerala.

        Binoy Viswom, former minister, Kerala.

        Mullakara Ratnakaran, former minister, Kerala.

        K. Pankajakshan – RSP leader and Former Minister of Kerala

        Susheela Gopalan – former Industry Minister of Kerala (deceased)

        Varkala Radhakrishnan, former state assembly speaker.

        K Babu, Congress, state minister for excise and ports, from Tripunithura

        A Sampath, Member of Parliament, CPM.

        K Sudhakaran, Congress MP from Kannur

        P Karunakaran, CPI(M) MP from Kasaragod

        KP Dhanapalan, MP from Chalakkudy

        KK Viswanathan, former Gujarat Governor and ex KPCC president.

        CM Dinesh Mani, former Mayor, Kochi, CPI

        CH Kanaran, freedom fighter, trade union leader

        Azeekodan Raghavan, deceased, CPI(M) state secretary

        Veliyam Bhargavan, CPI former state secretary, deceased.

        K Pankajakshan, former all India general secretary of RSP.

        Prof TJ Chandrachoodan, all India general secretary of RSP

        PK Gurudasan, CPI(M) leader from Kollam who was labor minister under VS government.

        N N Krishnadas, former MP, CPI(M).

        VV Raghavan, former state minister.

        MK Raghavan, former minister, ex-general secretary, SNDP Yogam and SN Trust.

        CK Chandrappan, former MP and CPI state secretary.

        Dr EK Madhavan, former minister and Congress leader.

        K Thankappan, ex-member, Kerala Public Service Commission.

        CO Damodaran, first Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram.

        MK Hemachandran, former minister, ex PSC member,

        KP Viswanathan, former minister, from Thrissur.

        Advocate Sujanapal, a former minister.

        CK Nanu, a former minister.

        Thachady Prabhakaran, former finance minister

        CK Kumara Panicker, known as Vayalar Stalin, deceased.

        J Chittaranjan, trade union leader

        Krishnan Kaniyamparambil, former minister

        KP Prabhakaran, former minister.

        Babu Divakaran, RSP, former minister from Kollam, son of TK Divakaran.

        Nettoor P Damodaran headed the Nettoor Commission for Backward communities

        Arangil Sreedharan, former Union Minister.

        TK Ramakrishnan, was Kerala home minister, from Kochi.

        M Kamalam was the second woman minister in Kerala.

        MT Padma, was a minister in Kerala.

        Suseela Gopalan, was minister in Kerala, MP, and wife of AK Gopalan.

        Kadavoor Sivadasan, former state minister.

        TK Divakaran, who was PWD minister in EMS and Achutha Menon governments.

        PK Gopalakrishnan, former deputy speaker, Kerala Assembly

        E Balanandan, former Politburo member of CPI(M).

        Varkala Radhakrishnan, also known as Annan, former assembly speaker.

        A Sampath, CPI(M) member of Parliament.

        SCIENTISTS

        • Vainu Bappu

        GLOBAL CELEBRITIES

        Dr. KN Vainu Bappu – astrophysicist. An asteroid between Mars and Venus is named after him.

        Manoj Night Shyamalan, Hollywood director

        SOCIAL REFORMERS

        • Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker, original name Kalisseril Velayutha Chekavar[13]

        • Padmanabhan Palpu[14]

        • T. K. Madhavan

        ARTS

        • Kanayi Kunhiraman

        • Narayanan Ramachandran canvas painter

        • Prakash Anchal Design Editor, Gulf Today, UAE.

        • V. Sambasivan

        Some ECONOMISTS and DIPLOMATS

        • K. N. Raj

        • M K Bhadrakumar

        LEGENDARY CHARACTERS

        • Aromal Chekavar[1] – 16th century

        • Velupillai Prabhakaran

        • Kannappa Chekavar

        • Aringodar

        • Aromalunni

        • Kotakkad Kovilakath Puthuppanathu Mooppil Vazhunnor

        • Unniyarcha- 16th-century warrior[1]

        SPIRITUAL LEADERS

        • Narayana Guru[2]

        • Bodhananda Swamikal

        • Nataraja Guru

        • Karunakara Guru

        • Nitya Chaitanya Yati

        • Vagbhatananda Gurudevar

        Some of the EUCATIONISTS

        Dr PK Radhakrishnan, Vice Chancellor, Kerala University.

        Dr N. Babu, former vice chancellor of Kerala University.

        Prof MK Prasad, ex VC, Calicut University

        Dr TK Raveendran, ex VC Calicut University

        Dr Gangan Pratap, ex VC, Cusat.

        Dr P Chandramohan, ex VC, Kannur University.

        Dr CP Sivadas, Professor and Head of Department, English, Calicut University.

        Dr PKG Vijayaram, Professor and Head of Department of English, St Joseph’s College, Calicut.

        Dr PT Balan, Professor and Head of Department of English, Govt Arts and Science College, Kozhikode.

        Dr Chovi Gurukkal, Sanskrit Scholar

        SPORTS

        Aparna Balan

        Chitra K Soman

        Suresh Babu, former Olympian

        Bineesh K Shaji

        Mahitha Mohan

        BS Sreeharshan, football

        PK Priya, relay medalist, CWG, 2010

        P Prashanth, Cochin Tuskers IPL team bowler

        PR Sreejesh, Indian hockey team goalkeeper

        Some OFFICIALS

        KP Dandapani, Advocate General, Kerala High Court.

        TP Senkumar, Director General of Police, Kerala.

        B Dileep Kumar, ex Managing Director, Backward Classes Corporation

        CK Bharathan, retired, Chief Engineer, PWD, Sabarimala Master Plan.

        Gokul GR IAS

        Dr Chithra IAS

        Dr Harishankar, IPS

        DR R Prasannan (Late), Legislative secretary to Kerala Assembly.

        Kailas Nath, Senior IAS official, Gujarat Govt cadre.

        Dr. B. Ashok, vice chancellor of Kerala Veterinary and Animal Husbandry University.

        CO Madhavan, former Chief secretary to Kerala Govt,

        TN Jayachandran, former Additional Chief Secretary, Kerala Govt

        CK Chandrabhanu, former Chief Secretary, Kerala Govt

        MN Prasad, former chairman, Railway Board,

        KR Rajan, IAS, former district collector, Ernakulam

        MN Gunavardhan, Principal secretary to Kerala Govt, Water Resources.

        R Heli, former Director of Agriculture.

        S. Mohana Chandran, Joint Director (retired), Agriculture

        Mohanan Sukumaran, Superintending Engineer, PWD (Retired).

        AR Sankaranarayanan, formerly MD, Steel Authority of India

        M Sivarajan, former Principal Chief Conservator of forests

        Surendran, former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests

        KR Jyotilal, IAS, Secretary, IT, Kerala Govt.

        Dr MC Valsan, former secretary, Kerala Assembly.

        Sudhakara Prasad, Advocate General

        TM Manoharan, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests

        (Vanvila) Surendran, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.

        R Sadasivan, IRAS, Member, Railway Board

        VR Rajeevan, Additional DGP, Kerala

        KG PremShanker, Transport Commissioner, Kerala

        Jija Madhavan Hari Singh IPS, DGP, Karnataka

        MK Devarajan IPS, Rajasthan.

        Dr VK Jayapalan, former director of Medical Education

        Dr Uma Dattan, former director of Medical Education

        This are few people in our community who are famous. they are many more.

  4. Dear Archa, you are 23 and I am 46 & hailing from a Thiruvananthapuram based orthodox ezhava family. I am not sure why you feel inferior to other castes, especially against Nair caste which is shoodra according to varna system.

    I think, most of the ezhavas who migrated to other parts of India and world seldom teach their children about the history, origin of Ezhavas, about the social status they have enjoyed prior Brahmins migrated to Kerala and created the new social order by influencing the ruling parties.

    We are tend to hide behind second names those invite some kind of ridicule from self declared “Kshatriyas” who are actually belonging to shoodra caste(s). I’ve had Varma (Real Kshatriya), Brahmins friends & couple of times the insults based on caste were only from nairs, when others never mentioned caste (most probably by knowing that they truly belong to upper castes without keeping on claiming it at every other occassion or by insulting others).
    I think, they spew hatred based on the realization that the means through how made a social status were NOT that straight forward & under the varna classification where exactly they are listed (Madhavikutti Amma wrote how she felt ashamed when her neighbors (Who were Brahmins from Andhra) in Kolkatta told her she was a shoodra. So, bear it, NOT even Nairs feel that proud about “being” upper caste always).

    Once a colleague who has a surname “Kurup” asked me why I was late to work and whether it was because I was busy tapping toddy (a profession still carried out by ezhavas in certain ares of Malabar & few other places). I smiled and told him and said I was waiting by the side of the road watching a sedan leaving his home. That’s it. His face lost color & he never dared to pick on me with such casteist comments. As he himself was putting in a laughing position, I avoided commenting anything further. I was able to go with a tit for tat because I “knew” few facts about the Kerala’s history.

    We all know that the caste system in India is evil & that sometimes one will face the discrimination. If someone hurts your pride using caste as a weapon, hit them where it hurts even though by doing that you are stooping to their levels.

    Before concluding, I suggest you to do better researches, facts finding before posting something like this article that invites lot of hatred towards each other (referring to few other comments & my own statements where I am paying back my colleague who insulted me…)

    All the best

  5. Please understand the fact that Ezhavas were one of the most culturally vibrant castes before 1900.

    Majority of Ayurveda vaidyars were Ezhavas…for instance Itty Achutan..

    Ezhavas were Kalarippayattu experts…For instance…the Lord Ayyappa learned Kalarippayattu from Ezhava master of the Cheerappanchira family, Muhamma Alappuzha. Many Ezhavas served in the army of the kings.

    Ezhavas’ arts: Arjuna Nritham, Poorakkali, Makachattu, Aivarkali etc.

    Proud to be an Ezhava. Quite proud. I am an Ezhava youth of the eastern part of Kottayam. I got my caste pride from my grandfather Raman Ittiathy and from my mother Valsala Devi.

    I love my caste Ezhava quite a lot.
    Om Shivoham.

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