Monday, December 26, 2011

Vaniya Chettiar - वनिया चेट्टियार तमिलनाडु की प्रमुख वैश्य जाति

Vaniya Chettiar

Vaniya Chettiar is a subcaste of Bania Vaishya Chettiars prominently seen in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Their major professions are oil and groceries.

They are also known as Ganiga in Karnataka & amp; Gandla & Teli because of similarities in profession of these two castes Vaniyambadi (near Vellore-Ambur) was originally a Vaniya Chettiar town. Now most of the Chettiars have moved to neighboring towns.

In Tamil Nadu, Sizable numbers of this caste can be found in the Coimbatore,Erode,Vellore,(ARCOT-632503),Madurai,Paramakudi, Dharmapuri,Krishnagiri, Cudalore, Periyakulam, Thirunelveli & Kanyakumari and Villupuram districts (basically erstwhile undivided Arcot/Chengalpattu Districts) though not in large enough numbers to command a vote bank.

People of the community in small towns in these areas can still be found running Chekku (oil press); these are now mostly electric rather than bull driven.

While some sections of the community have taken to education in the past couple of generations and made a mark as IT pros, entrepreneurs and business men with their traditional business acumen have been very successful others still find studies a difficult task (business mind being the regular excuse).

Late R.K.Shanmugam Chettiyar, free India's first finance minister, the late prime minister of India, Moraji Desai and the current chief minister of Gujarat Narendra modi belongs to this community.

The South India Vaniya Chettiyar Education Trust (SIVET) College at Medavakkam on Tambaram Velachery road is one of the many educational institutions run by the community. There is an engineering college run by this Vaniya Chettiyar community members under the organisation Social Justice Foundation and their engineering college is known as MG College of Engineering.

This community is predominantly associated with Oil extraction/business and later to general business. From ancient time in India, vegetable oils were obtained by crushing oilseeds in village, using an oil-press - or Ghana or chekku.

In Sanskrit literature of about 500 BC there is a specific reference to an oil-press, or Ghanis, chekku although it was never described (by Monier-Williams, M. 1899. A Sanskrit-English dictionary, Delhi, India, Motilal Banarsidass. Reprinted 1963).

In olden times oil was extracted by crushing and grinding oil seeds in a wooden drum or of stone drum called chekku, usually of 1 meter diameter on which a heavy cylindrical wooden log is placed for rotation. This log is attached through a shaft to which an ox was harnessed. The ox moves in circles and rotates the heavy log in the drum. In this process the oil seeds are crushed and ground and the oil oozes from the seeds and gets collected at the bottom of the wooden drum. This extracted oil comes out of the wooden drum through a wooden canal which is fixed to the hole at the bottom of the drum. Some were using one ox and some two oxen for harnessing the mill.

Vaniya community live in small town-areas and are still found running Chekku (oil press); these are now mostly electric rather than bull driven.


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