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Rajan Rajiv
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Rajan Rajiv commented on a post on Blogger.
In Kerala history there is absolutely no evidence of Nambudhiris or Jews becoming Christians. But Syrian Christians quote some customs and marriage rituals of Brahmins to claim Brahmin ancestry. The claim of Syrian Christians that tying of thali is a proof that they are descendants of Nambudhiris is not correct because untouchables such as Parayas, Pulayas, mukkuvas, vannans and others tie thali. Paul Roche gives this account of Paraya  Catholic marriage: “The priest, though of higher caste, does not treat the Paraiya couple as untouchables. He blesses the couple and says Mass for them. The symbol of the wedding union is the thali. The thali is a gold medal on a yellow thin string. It is yellow because it is dyed with turmeric (Manjal). During Mass the priest blesses the thali and hands it over to the bridegroom who ties it around the neck of the bride. The priest also blesses two flower garlands and hands one each to the bridegroom and the bride who garland each other.” 
Quite surprisingly, Syrian Christians also  claim that Church built on the model of a Hindu temple is another proof for their Nambudhiri ancestry. But Paraya and Pulaya temples are also like Nair temples.  Lamp, especially oil lamp, Kuthvilakku. Is lighted on all impotant occasions of Parayas, and this practice is also prevalent in some Syrian houses. What separates Syrian Christians from Nambudhiri Brahmin and links them to lower castes is their lifestyle and food habits.  Syrian Christian settlements were seen on the coastal area and thick jungles. But Nambudhiri settlements were inside villages, near temples and tanks.Syrian Christians like Parayas eat beef and pork. But Nambudhiris are vegetarians. Jews do not eat pork. Christian Jews in Israel  and Europe do not eat pork. But for Syrians, pork is a favorite dish. In convents, sisters rear pigs to supply pork to Christians on important occasions such as Christmas, Easter and Anniversaries. Another important factor that separates Syrians from Brahmins is, Nambudhiris wear a sacred thread (poonool) which is conspicuously absent in Syrian Chrisdtians. Nairs followed matrinelial system but Syrian Christians like Parayas follow patrilineal system and their surnames are generally inherited from the father and property passes to the sons. To camouflage this, people like Gigi Thomson claim, “"We are supposed to have been part of the Hindu nobility before St Thomas converted us, so many consider themselves a cut above the rest.” Gigi Thomson lives in a fantasy world thinking St.Thomas converted Nambudhiris to claim ‘nobility status’ without realizing the historical fact that there were no Nambudhiris when St Thomas came in the Ist century A.D. There is also no reference to the conversion of Chera kings. Nairs were also not converted, for Kerala history has recorded that Nairs used Syrian Christians to do free labour (oozhiyam) in their farmlands. So it is quite transparent that only lower castes who alone were available for conversion, were singled out for conversion. Those lower caste converts got superior status in society because during the 150 year rule of the Portuguese, the Portuguese elevated them by appointing them as soldiers, police. Brokers, accountants in their factories, planters of estates, merchants and traders, priests, teachers and trustworthy messengers and thereby elevated their economic status. The British opened schools and colleges for the lower caste converts and made them culturally superior to Nambudhiris and Nairs. Albuquerque policy of interracial marriage by which the Portuguese married Hindu women produced a race white in colour with good physical features.The Portuguese and the British elevated the Syrian community financially wealthy and educationally cultured far superior to Nambudhiris and Nairs.of today.
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Research fellow. Sociologist and cultural theorist.
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