History of Kallas Community
History of Kallas Community
The backward tribes, Kallas, who were the very first settlers, in Tamilnadu, the successors of the Chola Kings have participated in the rulings and also served in their military. In due course of time, Tamilnadu has witnessed the regimes like Muslim Sultans, Vijaya Nagara rulers, Bhamini Sultans, Maratiya rulers, Nayakas and then British regime. Because of these frequent changes of the rulers, the Kallas were compelled to give up their jobs like political and military administration. They served long term in the military because they could not get the jobs other than the military. So they were forced to participate actively in some unlawful activities.
The Tamil kingdoms couldn’t oppose the English because they are very strong in their intellectual subtlety and modern ammunitions; this would eventually lead them to dissolve their military.
Is any inclination to them to choose the unlawful deeds?
No, because of the military dissolution, the men who were in the service have lost their jobs and also get frustrated. The soldiers who owned lands could engage themselves in the agricultural works whereas the rest were compelled to take up the unlawful activities such as robbery and theft.
Criminal Tribes Act (VI of 1924)
The Britsh Goverment introduced the criminal tribes act (VI of 1924). This act affected the innocent kallas community. The entire cast suffered lot that can be expressed in words. According to this law there are 89 casts like kallas, maravas, piramalai kallaas, valaiyar, kepmari, agamudaiyars that come under the purview of the law.
(Criminal Tribes Act 1871)
The British constituted this act; this act was framed by James F. Stephen.
The gist of this act:
‘’Tribes whose ancestors were criminals from time immemorial, like weaving, carpentry, we speak of professional criminals. Destined the caste to commit crime and offend law. The whole tribe should be exterminated, like Thugs’’.
The version clearly shows the British government’s view to curtail the whole tribes without taking any precautions about the welfare of these tribes. The notorious dacoits and robbers namely ” Thugrees ” played havoc in North India during 17th century. They became a headache to the British Government as they were challenging the Government. The British empire then decided to eliminate them. So they introduced an act called ” Criminal Tribes Act 1871. The Government could permanently eliminate all the 3000 dacoits with the help of this Act. After achieving success, the Government extended these rigorous acts to the Southern parts with some amendments. This act is known as Criminal Tribes Act (VI of 1924).
Under this act, (CTA as amended in 1911) the power of the District Collector was enhanced to declare, which castes were to be decided as the criminal tribes. According to the act of 1871, whenever a caste was to be declared criminal under the purview of this act, the local authorities would assure the sustenance of the people as earlier. In spite of this, act 1911 omitted the above said clause.
Sub-clauses of the act 1911
i) This act adjudicated the powers to the Magistrates and the Dist. Collectors and also the subordinate officers. This sub- clause enhanced powers to the authorities that due to which the castes would be included in this act.
ii) Proclaimed men or women criminals, under the act, would be enrolled in the Police registers, and they would be the closely watched persons, by the Police Officers.
iii) This act forbade the men, women or an individual or the whole castes to move the Judiciary to challenge the orders of local authority for including them in the list of criminals.
iv) The people who were marked as the criminals in the Police registers were not entitled to enjoying the civil rights as the common man.
v ) If a person refused to be assigned as criminal or neglected or in control, it might be a punishable offence.
After, the declaration of the District Collector, to whom the members of the Kallar community in the criminal publication list might get registration in the concerned police station, with his or her thumb impressions. This practice challenged the self-respect of the innocent Kallar communities. They got aversion on these rigid rules. This triggered torch in Perungamanallur revolution.
This realized in India that the various branches were derived from the main cast, having their own customs and practice. For instance, in Tamilnadu so many castes and sub-castes prevailed. However, the Kallar caste titled as common, in spite of this, they have been identified in various sub sects. The sub-sect Piramalaikallar deviated from the main caste and also having the separate conventions.
Even now a days, in their marriages the bride-groom is decorated with jasmine- veiled and does the horse riding procession. They also have the practice of sunath like Muslims.
One who is reading this can easily understand that there are various sub sects in the kallars.
Those, who are having the lands and who pay the taxes are respectable persons in the society. But it is not common for all. However, the people who took up job of theft and robbery for their day to day survival didn’t get the respect as the farmer. It is important to know that the British Government had mistaken overlooking their officer’s advice. In this matter, the Government independently took decisions without any consideration or discrimination for including all people in the criminal list. This added fuel to the Perungamanallur revolt.
Anyone familiar with the history of modern India is likely to be aware of April 13, 1919; of General Dyer and of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call the Perungamanallur killings, which took place on April 3, 1920, as the south Indian Jallianwala Bagh.
The black pillar with a burning torch on top in Perungamanallur tells the heart rending story of villagers who fought for their rights against an Act.
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