are differences of opinion about the origin of Nair community.
One argument is that Nairs are descendents of Nagas, once
a mighty group of India. Nagas were the oldest and strongest
group lived in India before the Aryan insurgency. They were
in India even before the era of Ramayana. They were
warriors in the Mahabharatha battle and mention to
this effect was seen in Harivamsa and Vishnu Markandeya
epics. The Surya and Soma dynasties were related
to the Nagas. There is mention in Ramayana that Nagas witnessed
the sea crossing of Hanuman. The Nagas ladies were far famed
for their beauty. There is a story in Mahabharatha
that Arjuna during his journey met with Uloopy, a beautiful
Naga girl and at once fell in love with her and later married
– a painting
the Mahabharatha battle the Nagas became more
powerful. It was Nagas who killed the King Parikshit.
There is historical evidence to believe that Nagas inhabited
in all suitable places even from time immemorial. Their
capital was Thakshasila. Their rule extended
from Thakshasila to Assam on one side and from
South India to Ceylone (Sri Lanka) on the other. The
Nagas who came to Kerala became Nairs.
Snake worship is a special feature of Nairs. There were Sarpakavus
(snake parks) attached to almost all the Nair Tharavads.
Nair ladies and men had a habit of combing and tying their
hair just like a serpent’s head. Nairs followed matrilineal
woman tying hair like
Girls pounding paddy
the advent of Namboodiris, an organized war-like group of
people exercised supremacy over Kerala. Their origin was
unknown. Owing to the worship of Naga (snake), this set of
people came to be known as Nagas. They exercised control
over Adivasis, put them to hard fieldwork and made
them slaves, says K.M.Panicker (Keralathile Swathanthrasamaram).
William Logon has recorded in the Malabar Manual that Nairs
were the Dravidian settlers who conquered Malabar and became
Kunhikuttan Thampuran in his book ‘Keralathil’ firmly ascertains
that Nairs are same as Nagas.
Sri Vidyadhiraja Chattambi Swamikal has reproduced some
old ballards calling Nairs and Nagas in his book ‘Pracheena
Keralam’. He in his work ‘Pracheena Malayalam’,
has reproduced the following details about Nagas found in
the old vattezhuthu records.
“Nags wearing caps made of areca nut and wooden shoes with
long moustache and hair, with beams inforehead and sword
in hand, and moving elegantly were
treated with respect by all country men. The Nags treated
‘dharma’ as all in all. To them it was their life, their
organs, their Gods, their knowledge, their very existence
and all in all”.
Sri Chattambi swamikal also quoted some other information
about Nagas. Wherever Nagas were mentioned special mention
about their forehead was made. This shows that they were
devoted shoats or worshippers of Lord Siva. They believed
in the gospel of Dharma. They were the followers of shiavet
movement. They became Nairs later. These shoats in course
of time became the followers of brahmnical faith. Brahmins
treated the Nairs as Sudras. Therefore, it is proved beyond
doubts that Nairs were a group of people who recognized
the supremacy of the Brahmins.
Enkilo akkadaludayavan Nakathan
Maarallow aakunnthu, avarkallo
Aadi kaalathe varunan oru nootettu
Katham kondu thara muzhuvanum koduth
Kaithidame karuvaana nakathare
Maithidame meni yaana nakathare
Poithidare podiyuakkum nakathare
Etthissyum pukal konda nakathare
Chithi mutthi kaikonda nakathare
Villali veeranana nakathare
Viruthiketty padai vellum nakathare
Pullane vellam tharakkum nakathare.
meaning of these songs reproduced from the old Keralolpathi
is as follows:
belongs to Nagas. In legendary times Varuna gave them 108-
katham land (one katham roughly 5 miles).
Nagas had strong physique and beautiful body. The thieves
feared them. Their fame was far spread. They were expert
in using bow and arrow. Participation in battle is a hallmark
of their cult. They were a fearless group of people who
attained mukthi through tireless efforts, courage and determination.
Pillai says that Nagas were the group of people who moved
to southwards from North India during pre-historic times.
They became the Nairs of today.It
is difficult to trace the origin of the word ‘Nair’ which
might have a connection with snake - worshippers, known
at one time as Nagas. Some are of opinion that the ancestors
of the nairs were a sect of snake worshipping Scythians.
They came to India through northwest border and settled
down indifferent parts of the country. According to K.P.Padmanabha
Menon, Keralan or Cheralan who ruled
Kerala centuries ago, brought Nagas and permitted to settle
here and these Nagas were later were known as Nairs and