Manai Telugu Chettiyars is a Telugu speaking community referring to people belonging to Hindu Vaishya.

Also known as 24 Manai Telugu Chettiyar, it is a Telugu speaking community referring to people belonging to Hindu Vaishya caste that migrated to Kochi for the trade of buffalo milk and milk products.

According to the oral traditions, their migration began some 150 years back, predominantly from the Pollachi region in Tamil Nadu. The community had migrates into Tamil Nadu centuries back. Currently there are about 24 Manai Telugu Chettiyar families residing in the area.

Since Kochi Municipal Corporation has imposed strict restrictions on animal husbandry within the city many cattle sheds were forced closed down. This move, along with the advent of packaged milk products, has forced the younger generations of the community to pursue other career options. 

For the older generations Kochi was only a place of business interest and hence most didn’t build homes here and many had farms and homes back in Pollachi. But the things ate beginning to change and the younger generations of Chettiyars are building permanent homes in Kochi while also strengthening their connections with Pollachi mostly through marriages.   

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION BY BIJU IBRAHIM: COMMUNITIES OF KOCHI

Places have souls and Mattancherry in the city of Kochi has a mystic one. Biju Ibrahim discovered this while documenting the lives of Kochi’s 38 communities through black and white pictures. Distinct in layers of identities – caste, faith, language, ethnicity and region – these communities have been welcomed over centuries and have, in turn, infused Mattancherry and Kochi with a rare and rich heritage. Historically, it has been home to Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus. The sea and port attracted sailors, traders from Arabia and Gujarat, preachers of Semitic faiths, colonisers such as the Dutch and Portuguese, political refugees and migrant labourers. A cross-section of India lives here in a radius of 5 kilometers. 

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AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER

BIJU IBRAHIM

He captures the essence of rustic geographies, the people who are now becoming archive of the earth, the mythic & mystery of spaces & places, alleys of now filled with the density of then or before.

ART ORGANISATION

URU ART HARBOUR

URU art harbour is a cultural hub situated at Kochi. URU seeks to be a space for collaboration and a continual hub for artistic, cultural, and intellectual exploration. Founded by Riyas Komu and Zoya Riyas.

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