INTRODUCTION

As handed over to generation to generation by word of mouth , our origin and history dates back to the days of Brahmanical hegemony in Kerala and Malabar region in perticular.In order to get a general idea of our origin, it is imperative that we examine the socio political history of our land and then conclude where our story (history) fits in.Hence an endeavour is made in the following paragraphs to narrate the major events in history that were responsible for the birth of Edakkad Nambiars or the Randillam Vargam.

BACKGROUND HISTORY

The Brahmins of Kerala are known as Namboodiris. Historical evidences as well as their own traditions suggest that they came from North India and settled down in Kerala, migrating along the west coast. According to legends mentioned in Keralolpathi and Grama padhati , Parashurama created the land between Gokarnam and Kanyakumari and settled Brahmins from Ahikshetra / Ahichatra in Panchaala into sixty-four Gramams (villages). It is stated that thirty two out of the sixty four gramams are in the Tulu-speaking region and the remaining thirty two, in the Malayalam- speaking region in Kerala. Edakkad a stretch of land in between  Malikaparamba in the east and Arabian sea to the west is an excellent piece of land for an aggrerian settlement.The Brahmin migrations were accompanied by serviles.TheBunts of Tulunadu and Nayars of Malabar are said to be the descendants of these serviles. The villages of these Brahmin migrants were organised around temples, which owned landed properties in large measure. In Kerala, the term Oor is applied to Brahmin settlement whereas non-Brahmin settlements were known as Cherikal. Committees known as Ooralar (The term Oor means village and Ooraalan/Ooraalar means villagemaster/masters)  managed these temples and the properties.Thus much of the agrarian land in Kerala was under the control of these thirty-two Gramams.Sree Oorpazhassi Kavu sould have been one of the temples of that era.Many  Nayar families acquired the Kanam (long term supervision rights and intermediary tenantship) from their Nambudiri Jenmis (landlords) in exchange of a lion share of the lands yearly produce.Thus  Namboothiris and to some extent the Nayars  soon become a significant economic, social and political force in th land. At this point in historythe Chera Perumals were ruling over Kerala. The Perumal's ruling council  comprising of Tali Adhikarikal (Brahmin counsillors from the four chief temples around the capital Mahodayapuram/Makotai and also representing the Gramams) helped him to administer the kingdom . The Perumal was entitled only to Vritti (maintenance) but not to Shadbhaaga (one-sixth of revenue) and he was to do everything according to the advice of the Namboodiris. The polity under the Cheras of Mahodayapuram was in reality a Brahmin oligarchy with theocratic character but within a monarchical frame. The defence of the Chera kings and their city meanwhile was entrusted to a group of Nayar warriors known as Ayiram (The thousand). This militia was also alternatively referred to as Onnu Kurai Ayiram (The thousand without the one) or Patinayiram (The ten thousand). The Nayars were as the Keralolpathi expressely says, the people of "the eye", "the hand" and "the order" and it was their duty to prevent the rights from being curtailed or suffered to fall into disuse. The Nayars therefore had as a guild, higher functions in the body politic than merely ploughing the rice fields and controlling the irrigated lands.The socio-political authority was thus  fragmented .During 10th century, there were extended periods of warfare between the Cheras and the Cholas during which male members of Nayar community had been liquidated by war on a large scale. This period is believed to have instituted Marumakkattayam (matrilineal succession) and Sambandham (loose marriage associations) among Nayars who were cheifly intermediate tenantry and militia so that Nayar women can choose to propagate her family through suitors superior to her that amuse her fancy or guarantee social ascension.

 

OUR HISTORY

 

As per legend, it should have been some time during the above mentioned period in history, that two Namboodiri youths who were scions of Mullapalli and Velloor illoms (prominent Brahmin families of Edakkad ) visited the fort at Balussery (peresenly in calicut district). Before returning from the fort, the two youths married ladies from the taravads of two nayar cheiftans (Kavullavan Nambiar and Vennapalan Kurup) and brought them to Edakkad. These new brides were settled in two separate residences at Kuliyambethu and Edupidikkeri respectively.Legend has it that, one day, when these ladies ventured in to the eachil grove nearby, they observed milk and blood overflowing from detached eachil leaves, and so immediately reported it to their Nambudiri husbands. The Nambudiri youths inferred that it is an omen that the spirit of Vettakkorumakan (the presiding deity of Balussery fort) had accompanied their wives and required to be enshrined within the existing temple precincts. The descendants of the two matrilinial stems of Kuliyambethu and Edupidikkeri, fathered by Mullapalli and Velloor illoms, later expanded in to eight separate taravads formed an endogamous sub-clan (referred to as Randu illom vargam) and inherited the proprietership of the Oorpazhassi Kavu and desam (Ooraima) from Mullapalli and Velloor illoms as a danam (gift). Each taravad referred to a family tracing descent from a common ancestress and with mudal sambandham (relationship of property )and pula sambandham (relationship of pollution). Since four taravads arose from Eduppidikkeri and the other four from Kuliyambethu, they formed two blocks with four sibling taravads in each block and considered their respective matrilineal stems (Kuliyambethu and Edupidikkeri) as their gothram. In essence, each block represented a wider matrilineal kin group that was knit by symbolic ties prominently in sharing birth and death pollution and a memory of common ancestor.Marriages within taravads of the same block were initially prohibited however in later years it was observed that  at any given time if a  death or birth occurs simultaneously in either blocks, the temple administration was jeopardized as none of the eight Ooralars were not able to officiate the temple proceedings. The predicament was presented to the then Raja of Chirakkal (Kolathiri) who proposed the adoption of a ninth family in to the ooralar conglomerate as a solution. As a result the ninth family (Kolathattil) was adopted as equivalent to the original eight matrilinial lines and included in the endogamous sub-clan and thus now we have nine Ooralar families as under:-
Meppad

Thyngoli

Chettianbrath

Keethari

Kaappiath

Keloth

Thykandi

Paarayil

Kolathattil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
The Karnavan, the eldest male member of each of the nine matrilinial Ooralar familiy on becoming the Ooralan ascends to his respective family post in the temple after a ceremony  referred to as Churika kettu or Chiriyettu.It is perfomed only once in the life time of an Ooralan and is the ceremony officiating him after royal permission.Nambiar men of the Randu illom vargam were addressed as Family name + achan or Kaikkor. The women were referred to as name + amma or family name + amma or as Moothamblakka.


Note: Edupidikkeri is the plot on the northwest of Meppad and south of Komath.  .The two adjoining houses by the name of Kuliyambethu and Kavullayil do exist on the ground and it is interesting to note that a small Kavu exists in Kavullayil till today and the chief diety is called Thondachen.