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COMMUNITIES IN KOCHI

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37: NAIRS

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Nairs is an indigenous Hindu caste, which is anthropologically defined as named category of castes rather than being a single caste. They form a considerable swordsmen and military caste from the west coast of India.

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36: PANDITHAR

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Pandithar is a Hindu community that has roots in Madurai region of Tamil Nadu. According to the oral accounts of the community, they were traditionally practitioners of indigenous medicine, who were invited by the King to settle in Kochi.

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35: SARASWAT NON-BRAHMINS

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Saraswat Non-Brahmins is a Konkani speaking Hindu community from Goa. Saraswat traditionally were Temple artists. The women in the community were not allowed to get married and were forced to dedicate their lives to the temple.

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34. MARWARI BRAHMINS

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In Kochi, they are a small community who have migrated from various parts of India in the recent past. Marwari Brahmins in Kochi, like other Marawari speaking communities are a traders and entrepreneurs.

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33: KUTCH MEMON

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Memon is a community of Muslims that migrated to Kochi from the Kutch area in Gujarat during the early part of the 19th century. Even though they migrated into Kochi from Kutch their roots can be traced back to Sindh region in Pakistan.

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32: TAMIL CHETTIYAR

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Chetti is a surname is a common surname used by mercantile agricultural and land owning Hindu castes in South India. Chettiyars in Kochi is a Tamil speaking Hindu community who are mostly petty traders.

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31: EZHAVA

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Ezhava is one of the biggest castes in Kerala. The name has historically used to refer to people who were involved in a variety of jobs. They were considered belonging to the lowermost strata of the Hindu caste system.

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30: MALABARI MUSLIMS

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Malayalam speaking Muslims in Kochi identifies themselves as Malabari Muslims. Even before the colonial times Kochi had a healthy trade relationship with the Arabs. Most of them, in the recent past have been manual labours and petty traders.

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29: LATIN CATHOLICS

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It is believed that their conversion to Christianity happened during the colonial age. Presently they are one of the most influential communities in the region. There are no historical records highlighting the kind of profession that they were engaged in.

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28: TAMIL BRAHMINS

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Tamil Brahmin community is believed to have migrated from Thirunelveli in Tamil Nadu to Kochi approximately three centuries back. Despite being a class of priests, it was trade and business that brought them into Kochi.

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27: AGGARWALS

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Aggarwal is community of Hindu traders that during the course of history has migrated to various parts of the world mostly in search of business opportunities. In Kochi they are mostly into trading of spices, grains and rubber. They are a multi lingual.

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26: DAKHNI MUSLIMS

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Dakhi Muslims could have settled in Cochin during Tippu Sulthan’s multiple invasions of Kerala. Their forefathers were soldiers in the Sulthan’s army. The community has four sub communities which are Sayyeds, Mugals, Pathans, Shiekhs.

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25: TULU BRAHMINS

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Tulu Brahmins migrated from Tulu speaking regions of South India which include regions in Kasargode district of Kerala and Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka. There are approximately 20 Tulu Brahmin family in the area.

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24: CHAKKLIYARS (SAKKLIYARS)

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Chakkliyars (Sakkliyars) is a Dalit community of manual scavengers that migrated to Kochi during the 20th century from areas bordering Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. There are about 90 families in Rameshwaram Colony near Fort Kochi.

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23: KANNADIGAS

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Kannadigas is a small community that migrated to Kochi from the Kasargode district of Kerala. Most of them has the surname Hegde, which literally mean chieftain of the fort, suggesting that their predecessors belonged to a warrior clan.

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22: MANAI TELUGU CHETTIYAR

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It is a Telugu speaking community belonging to Hindu Vaishya caste that migrated to Kochi for the trade of buffalo milk and milk products. Their migration began some 150 years back, predominantly from the Pollachi region in Tamil Nadu.

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21: VANIYAR

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Vaniyar is a Hindu community of agricultural labourers from Tamil Nadu. But in Kochi they were mostly into the extraction of food oils, mostly sesame and coconut oils. Vaniyar migrated to Kochin from Madurai region in Tamil Nadu.

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20: KUTCH LOHANAS

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Lohanas are a Hindu trading community who believed to have migrated into Kochi from Gujarat. Jhulelal there are three distinct cultural groups in Kochi. They speak Gujarati, Sindhi and Kutchi languages. It is estimated that there 65 Lohana families in Mattacherry.

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19: KUTCH JAIN

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Followers of Jainism established a strong Jain culture in Cochin, they had trade connections with Kochi since 14th century. Jains have traditionally been a business community and most members continue to be so even now.

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18: KUTCH BHATIA

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Kutchi Bhatia is a Hindu community that traces its lineage back to the Kutch area in Gujarat. The historical records suggest that they were once a sword-wielding warrior clan. But in Kochi they were mostly trades and entrepreneurs.

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17: GUJARATI BRAHMINS

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Gujarati Brahmins is a Gujarati speaking Hindu community that migrated into Kochi a couple of centuries back. Priests by caste, they are a community of traders and entrepreneurs in Kochi. They are a relative minority within the Gujaratis.

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16: GUJARATIS BANIYA

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Gujarati community nclude followers of both Hindu and Jain religion, who migrated from Kutch and other areas in Gujarat. According to a 2009 directory published by the Kochi Gujarati Mahajan, there were 650 Gujarati families in Mattancherry.

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15: TELUGU NAIDUS

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Naidu is believed to be an honorific title conferred upon those who have served in the king's army. According to the oral history, Naidu's in Kochi are the descendants of those who came as a part of the Tippu Sulthan's army and stayed back.

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14: TAMIL VANNAR

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Vannar is a Hindu caste referring the community of washer men. They are believed to have migrated into Kochi during the colonial times. It is believed that the King brought the Vannars to fulfil the demand for laundry services.

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13: TAMIL VISHWAKARMA

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Vishwakarma is a Hindu caste referring of craftsmen and artisans. They believed that they are the descendants of Lord Brahma, the creator of all worlds. The Vishwakarmas in Kochi trace their root backs to various places in Tamil Nadu.

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12: BOHRA MUSLIMS

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Bohra Muslims came to Kochi from Gujarat via Alappuzha. They are the only Muslim community in Kochi that follows Shiite Islam, one of the two major Islamic sects. The name Bohra evolve from in Gujarati word Vehru, which means the trade.

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11: THANGALS

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Before the advent of the European forces, Kochi had robust trade relationships with the Arabian Peninsula. The Thangal family, which traces its lineage all the way back to Prophet Muhammed is a proud bearer of this Arab legacy.

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10: MALABARI JEWS

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Kochi was once home to a thriving Jewish population. It is believed that the forefathers of Malabari Jews were from Babylon who initially settled in Muziris which then was a happening international port. After destruction of port, they migrated to Kochi.

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09: FOREIGN JEWS

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Kochi is home to both Malabari and Foreign Jewish communities. According to the oral traditions, it was the destruction of erstwhile Muziris port that led the Jews to migrate into Kochi. Upon reaching Kochi, the King gifted them a place to settle.

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08: ANGLO LUSO INDIANS

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Luso Indians are of Indo-Portuguese origin. Before the arrival of the Dutch, the Portuguese were in power in Kochi. The Luso Indian race was born when Portuguese men, who took the long and hazardous journey to Kochi married local women.

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07: KASHMIRIS

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As political turbulence in Kashmir heightened in the early 90s many decided to migrate to other parts of the world. For some of them Kochi became an option as during those time the place was slowly developing in a tourism hotspot.

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06: KONKANI SONARS

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Also known as Daivanja Brahmin, is a Hindu caste working as goldsmiths. Their forefathers, like the other Konkani speaking communities fled Portuguese inquisition and settled in Kochi. They made ornaments for all irrespective of caste and religious differences.

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05: KONKANI VYSHYAS

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Konkani Vyshyas is a Hindu trading caste which descended from Goa. They are settled mostly in Fort Kochi area. The half a mile stretch that the community inhibits has seven temples which play an important role in the social live of Vyshyas.

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04: KONKANI KUDUMBI

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Kudumbi is a farming community that has its roots in Goa. They are different from the other communities they are the only non-vegetarian Konkani community in Kochi. It could be possibly be this community that introduced Pokkali cultivation.

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03: NAINAS MUSLIMS

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Nainas are a Muslim community that claims Arab descend. According to the oral legends, the forefathers of the Nainas came from a place named Ninavah, a small town near Mosul in present day Iraq. They have retained traces of their Arabic origin.

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02: VELLALA PILLAIS

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Vellala Pillais community traces their lineage back to Kumbhakonam in Tamil Nadu. It is believed they migrated to Kochi from Kozhikode. The members believe the present day Pillais are the descendants of those who migrated to Kochi with Muthaliyar.

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01: GAUD SARASWAT BRAHMINS

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Gaud Saraswat Brahmins traces its lineage back to the Konkan coast. Multiple historical records suggest, they are the descendants of migrants from Goa during 16th to 18th centuries, fleeing forceful religious conversions by the Portuguese.

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Meet the Artist: BIJU IBRAHIM

URU ART HARBOUR

Biju Ibrahim captures the essence of rustic geographies, the people who are now becoming archive of the earth, the mythic and mystery of spaces and places, broken vessels and torn fabric, alleys of now filled with the density of then or before.

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