Friday, September 27, 2013

NAGARTHA VAISHYA - नागारथा वैश्य

The Nagartha or Nagarta are a Vaishya  caste of south India of merchants or agriculturalists. The Nagartha are a generally well-educated, economically sufficient forward community, and as such are not eligible for reservation benefits , the Indian affirmative action. Traditionally the Nagartha were merchants and sometimes farm owners who did not work their own land. Now, in addition to being merchants, Nagartha are bankers and work in the private sector.

The Nagartha live in the southern Karnataka districts of Mysore, Bangalore, Kolar, and Tumkur and in northern Tamil Nadu Most Nagartha live in urban areas.

Although they are not always considered as such by Brahmins and Arya Vaishyas, Nagartha consider themselves Vaishya. For this reason they practice Brahmin marriage and funeral rites. They are strict vegetarians and abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages. The honorific suffix added to their personal names is Setty.

Subdivisions

The Nagartha are divided into two main sects and a number of smaller sects. The Námadhári sect worship the god Vishnu and the Śiwáchár or Lingadhari worship Shiva. The Śiwáchár wear a lingam.

Traditionally the Nagartha culture practices endogamy, and marriages are within the specific sect, except that a Śiwáchár man may marry a Námadhári woman who then forsakes her family and culture. It was not culturally acceptable for Śiwáchár women to marry a Námadhári man. Modern practices are more flexible, particularly between Śiwáchár and Námadhári intermarriages. Námadhári eat only in the houses of Brahmins and Śiwáchár only in the houses of Jangams and Aradya Brahmins.

Nagartha were sometimes known as Ayodhyanagaradavaru since they migrated to southern India from Ayodhya a long time ago, although its use is now infrequent. While they are known as Námadhári Nagartha in Kannada-speaking Karnataka, in Tamil-speaking Tamil Nadu they are known as Ayiravaishyar, and the small population in largely Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh are known as theBeri Nagartha. Nagartha are also called Savira gotradavaru.

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