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Thursday, December 1, 2011

THE MALAIYAMANS


Twelve records in our collection make mention of chiefs
of the Malaiyaman family. Of these nine belong to the
period of Kulottunkachola-III ranging in date from his 14th
to  27th  regnal  years,  i.e.,  A.D.  1192  to  1205  and  the
remaining three to the period of his successor Rajaraja-III.
This family which ruled over the territory round about
Tirukkovilur in the South Arcot district, which later came
to be called Milatu or Malatu, was one of the ancient ruling
families of Tamilnadu, like the Atihyamans of Thakadur.
The chiefs of this family are mentioned in the Changam
works of the early centuries of the Christian era. Tirumutik
kari,  a  Malaiyaman figures  in  several  poems  of  the
Purananuru sung   by   Kapilar and Marokkattu
NappachalaiyarThis chief was celebrated for his patronage
to the poets of his time.

This is revealed by a poem of Kovur
Kilar by which he succeeded in releasing the children of the
Malaiyaman from a cruel death to which the victorious
Chola monarch (probably Killivalavan) had condemned
them.

It is interesting to note that Sundara-Chola (circa
A.D. 956-973) took for his queen a Malaiyaman princess
named Vanavan Mahadevi who perfomed sati at the king's
death. After this time till we come to the reign of Kulottunka-
I, this family seems to have been under eclipse due to the
fact that the Banas became the rulers of this area in Rajaraja-
I's time, and some others who called themselves Milatutaiyar
became  the  rulers  in  the  time  of  Rajendra-I. A  certain
Narasingavarman ruled the Maladu 2000 country in A.D.
1058 who built the Vishnu temple at Tirukkovalur (A.R.E.,
119 of 1900).
Among the important feudatories of Kulottunka-I (circa
1070-1120), the Malaiyamans of the hilly regions in the
North and South Arcot districts were one. They had their
headquaters at a place called Kiiyur. The members of this
family bore the title Chetiyarayar (king of the Cheti country
which  is  represented  by  the  hilly  area  round  about
Tirukkovilur, Kiliyur etc.). Some of them and some of their
subordinates ruled fromTirumunaippadi in the South Arcot
district. The  chiefs  of  this  family  continued  to  be  the
subordinates of Vikrama Chola. Kulattunka-II's reign was a
peaceful one. The Malaiyamans continued to serve him.
A number of chieftains of this family figure in the
inscriptions of the time of Rajadhiraja-II and Kulottunka
Chola-III, testifying to the fact of the increased influence
of this family during the period. Unlike the Banas and the
Katavas  who  rebelled  against  the  emperors,  the
Malaiyaman chiefs continued to be loyal subordinates of
their Chola masters. It may be mentioned here that several
such local families of chieftains gradually became powerful
in  their  areas  and  the  people  here  looked  to  them  for
favours  more  than  to  the  central  authority. This  trend
nadurally weakened the influence of the Chola kings, and
in the process paved the way for the interference of the
neighbouring kingdoms in the politics of Tamilnadu.
However, it was during the reign of Kulottunka Chola-
III, that the Malaiyaman chiefs seem to have been very
active as attested by the epigraphs of this period. As before,
they had Kovalur (i.e., Tirukkovilur) as their capital and
so  were  called  Kovalarayas.  But  the  other  title  of
Chetiyaraya, which they also used to bear assumed special
significance.  It  evidenced  the  new  tradition  that  was
growing then by which these chieftains sought to establish
a  connection  with  the  Haihayas  of  Cheti  country  at  a
time  when  all  ruling  chieftains  were  busy  finding  a
Puranuic pedigree for themselves. One of them is even
called Sisupalan. Numerous Malaiyaman chiefs figure in
inscriptions of Kulottunka Chola-III's time with similar
names, although each seems to be different from the other.
Among the chiefs mentioned in the epigraphs of the time
of Kulottunka Chola-III, two distinct groups are met with.
One group bears the title Malayarayan or Malayakularoyan
or Malaiyan and the other group bears the title Malaiyaman.
" It is also seen that the chiefs bearing the title Malaiyan etc.
were  generally  called  Karikala  Chola  Ataiyur  nadalvan"
while the Malaiyaman chiefs are said to belong to Kiliyur.
Further in more than one epigraph a Malaiyan chief and
a Malaiyaman chief figure together. This is known from
an epigraph of the 17th year (A.D. 1195) and from an
epigraph  of  the  19th  year  (A.D.  1197)  which  is  a
counterpart  of  the  previous  record, where  Malaiyan
Vinaiyvenran alias Karikala  Chola  Ataiyur  nadalvan  is
mentioned along with Kiliyur Malaiyaman Alakiyanayan
Akarasuran alias Irajagambira Chetiyarayan. This shows
that these two chiefs belong each to a different family, one
having its residence at Kiliyur and the other at Adaiyur.
The latter place being very near to Tiruvannamalai, the
family  residing  here  seems  to  have  been  known  as  the
Malaiyan family,  while  the  Kiliyur  chiefs  always  were
known as belonging to the Malaiyaman family.
Three  or  four  members  of  the  Malaiyan  or
Malaiyakularayan branch are known from the epigraphs
in  question. They  are  Ninraperumal alias Kulottunka
Chola Malaiyakularayan according to an epigraph of the
14th  year  —  A.D.  1192,  Munaiyataraiyan's  son
Tiruvarankamutaiyan alias Irajithi raja Malaiyakularayan
alias Tanmaparipalan as per an epigraph of the 14th year
— A.D. 1192; Malaiyan Vinaivenran alias Karikala Chola
Adaiyur nadalvan (epgraphs of the 17th year A.D. 1195;
of the 18th year - A.D. 1196; of the 19th year - A.D.
1197)  and  Malaiyan  Narasinka  panman alias Karikala
Chola Adaiyur nadalvan (epgraphs of the 27th year —
A.D.  1205).
As regards the three epigraphs of Rajaraja-III's time, the
chief mentioned in each of them is styled Malaiyaman. There
figures in the epigraph of the 17th year (A.D.1232-33) of the
king the chief named Kiliyur Malaiyaman (Periy)utaiyan alias
........ and also in the epigraph which has not preserved the
details of date and also the name Perya utaiyan. He is probably
connected  with  the  chief  named  Kiliyur  Malaiyaman
IraiyuranPekkautaiyan alias IrajarajaChetiyarayanmentioned
in the epigraph of the 18th year (A.D. 1196) of Kulottunka-
III's reign. Similarly the chief Kiliyurutaiyan Akarasuran
Tiruvannamalai perumal alias Iraja gembira chettiyarayan of
the epigraph of the 24th year (A.D. 1239-40) may be related
to Kiliyur Malaiyaman Alagiyanayan Akarasuran alias Iraja
kembira  Chetiyarayar  mentioned  in  two  records  of
Kulottunka Chola-III's period. In the epigraph of the 27th
year (A.D. 1204-05) of Kulottunka-III, one Akarasuran of
the same family is mentioned but without his proper name.
Whether he is identical with the other two chiefs mentioned
above is, therefore, not known.
ThecontentsofthenineepigraphsofKulottunkaChola-
III's  time  referred  to  above  are  interesting. The  chief
Ninraperumal was the donor of some jewels to the god as per
an epigraph of the 14th year. Tiruvaranga mutaiyan of the
epigraph of the 14th year, gifted nunda lamps to the temple.
Epigraph dated 17th year of the king and the epigraph dated
19th  year  contain  matters  relating  to  an  agreement  of
understanding  reached  between  two  groups  of  chiefs.
Accordingtotheformer,MalaiyanVinaiyvenran alias Karikala
Chola Adaiyur nataivan gave an undertaking of friendship
to Ki1iyur Malaiyaman Alagiyanayan Akarasuran alias Iraja
gembira Chetiyarayar and to Pirutivikankar. As per the second
record Malaiyaman Alagiyangyan Akarasuran alias Raja
gembira Chetiyargyan gave a similar undertaking to the other
two. It is interesting to note that the latter record is dated
two years later than the former.
The chief Vtnaiyvenran mentioned in the epigraph
of the 18th year (A.D.1196) gave lands to provide for
food  offerings  to  the  god; Vanakovaraiya  Malaiyaman's
son Pavanthirthan alias Akaracuran gave lands to the temple
as Tiruvannamalai nunda vilakkuppuram according to the
epigraph  of  the  25th  year  (A.D.1203);  and  as  per  the
epigraph  of  the  27th  year  (A.D.  1205),  Malaiyan
Narasinkapanman alias Kariklilachola Alaiyur nadalvan
gave lands as tirumadappallippurram.
Of the three inscriptions of Rajaraja-III's reign two of
the 17th year, A.D. 1232-35;and another one (date particulars
damaged) relate to the agreement of friendship and help
between two groups of chiefs. The third inscription of the
24th  year,  A.D.  1240  registers  a  gift  of  land  as
tirumadappallippuram by AkaracuranTiruvannamalaippuram
alias Iraja gembira Chetityarayan of Kiliyur.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION REVEALED  BY THESE EPIGRAPHS


Six of the twelve epigraphs examined above, deal with
compacts  between  chiefs.  We  have  referred  to  this
phenomenon while dealing with the same epigraphs under
the later Cholas.   As regards the vogue of this tendency
during the period of Kulottunka-III and his successors,
became much more general, and there can be no doubt that
we have here unmistakable evidence of the approach of the
end. The empire is dissolving into a number of warring
principalities before the eyes of the king, now no longer
powerful to enforce his will on his vassals who, though they
still own allegiance to him, generally act very much by
themselves and as best suits their divergent interests.