South Indian castes/ tribes (numerically small): P

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This article is an excerpt from
Castes and Tribes of Southern India
By Edgar Thurston, C.I.E.,
Superintendent, Madras Government Museum; Correspondant
Étranger, Société d’Anthropologie de Paris; Socio
Corrispondante, Societa,Romana di Anthropologia.
Assisted by K. Rangachari, M.A.,
of the Madras Government Museum.

Government Press, Madras

Paccha (green).—An exogamous sept of Kamma. The equivalent Pacchai is a sub-division of Tamil Paraiyans, and of Malaiyālis who have settled on the Pacchaimalais (green hills). Pacchi powāku (green tobacco) occurs as an exogamous sept of Dēvānga. Pacchai Kutti is the name given to Koravas who travel about the country as professional tattooers, the operation of tattooing being known as pricking with green. In like manner, Pacchai Botlu is the name for Oddēs, who are itinerant tattooers in the Ganjam, Vizagapatam, and Godāvari districts.

Pachilia .—A sub-division of Oriya Gaudos.

Pada (fighting).—A sub-division of Nāyar.

Padahāru Mādala (sixteen mādalas).—The name, indicating the amount of the bride-price, of a section of Upparas. A mādala is equal to two rupees. Some say that the name has reference to the modas, or heaps of earth, in which salt was formerly made.

Padaiyāchi.—A synonym or title of Palli or Vanniyan, and Savalakkāran.

Padāl.—A title of headmen of the Bagatas.

Pādam.—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a sub-division of Nāyar. Pādamangalum or Pādamangalakkār is also recorded as a sub-division of Nāyars, who escort processions in temples. Mr. N. Subramani Aiyar writes that “Pādamangalam and the Tamil Pādam are recorded as a division of Nāyars, but they are said to be immigrants to Travancore from the Tamil country.” Pādam also occurs as an exogamous sept of Moosu Kamma.

Padarti.—A title of pūjāris (priests) in South Canara, and a name by which Stānikas are called.

Padavala (boat).—An exogamous sept of Dēvānga.

Padiga Rāju.—Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, as the same as Bhatrāzu. The Padiga Rājulu are, however, beggars attached to the Padma Sālēs, and apparently distinct from Bhatrāzus. The name is probably derived from padiga, a kind of vessel, and may bear reference to the vessel which they carry with them on their begging expeditions.

Padma (lotus).—A sub-division of Velama.

Pagadāla (trader in coral).—A sub-division or exogamous sept of Balija and Kavarai. The Pagadāla Balijas of the Vizagapatam district are described as dealing in coral and pearls. Pagada Mūkara (coral nose-ring) has been returned as a sub-division of Kamma. [454]

Pagati Vēsham .—A class of Telugu beggars, who put on disguises (vēsham) while begging.3 At the annual festival at Tirupati in honour of the goddess Gangamma, custom requires the people to appear in a different disguise every morning and evening. These disguises include those of a Bairāgi, serpent, etc.4

Paguththan .—A title of Sembadavan.

Paida (gold or money).—An exogamous sept of Māla. The equivalent Paidam occurs as an exogamous sept of Dēvānga.

Painda —A synonym of Paidi.

Pākanāti (eastern territory).—A sub-division of various Telugu classes, e.g., Balija, Golla, Kamsala, Kāpu, Māla, and Tsākala.

Paki.—Recorded by the Rev. J. Cain8 as a sweeper caste in the Godāvari district, members of which have come from the neighbourhood of Vizagapatam, and are great sticklers for their caste rules.

Pakinādu.—A territorial sub-division of Kamsalas and other Telugu castes, corresponding to Pākanāti.

Pakirithi.—Pakirithi or Parigiri, meaning Vaishnavite, is a sub-division of Besthas, who, on ceremonial occasions, wear the Vaishnava sect mark.

Pāl (milk).—Pāl or Pāla has been recorded as a sub-division of Idaiyan and Kurumba, and an exogamous sept of Māla. (See Hālu.)

Palakala (planks).—An exogamous sept of Kamma.

Pālamala.—Pālama is recorded as a sub-division of the Kānikars of Travancore and Palamalathillom, said to denote the mountain with trees with milky juice, as an exogamous sept of the same tribe.

Pālāvili.—A gōtra of Gollas, who are not allowed to erect pālāvili, or small booths inside the house for the purpose of worship.

Pālayakkāran.—See Mutrācha.

Paligiri.—A sub-division of Mutrācha.

Pallavarāyan .—The title, meaning chief of the Pallavas, of the leader of the Krishnavakakkar in Travancore. Also a sub-division of Ōcchans.

Palle .—In the Telugu country, there are two classes of Palles, which are employed respectively in sea-fishing and agriculture. The former, who are the Mīn (fish) Palles of previous writers, are also known as Palle Kariyalu, and do not mingle or intermarry with the latter. They claim for themselves a higher position than that which is accorded to them by other castes, and call themselves Agnikula Kshatriyas. Their title is, in some places, Reddi. All belong to one gōtra called Ravikula.

The caste headman is entitled Pedda Kāpu,’ and he is assisted by an Oomadi.

In puberty, marriage, and death ceremonies, the Palles follow the Telugu form of ceremonial. There is, however, one rite in the marriage ceremonies, which is said to be peculiar to the fishing section. On the fifth day after marriage, a Golla pērantālu (married woman) is brought to the house in procession, walking on cloths spread on the ground (nadapāvada). She anoints the bridal couple with ghī (clarified butter), and after receiving a cloth as a present, goes away.

The fishing class worship the Akka Dēvatalu (sister gods) periodically by floating on the surface of the water a flat framework made of sticks tied together, on which the various articles used in the worship are placed.

Palli Dāsari .—A name for Tamil-speaking Dāsaris, as distinguished from Telugu-speaking Dāsaris.

Palli Īdiga.—A name given by Telugu people to Tamil Shānāns, whose occupation is, like that of Īdigas, toddy-drawing. Pallicchan .—A sub-division of Nāyars, the hereditary occupation of which is palanquin-bearing. In the Cochin Census Report, the Pallicchans are recorded as being palanquin-bearers for Brāhmans.

Pallikkillam .—An exogamous sept or illam of Tamil Panikkans.

Pālua .—A sub-division of Badhōyi.

Pambaikkāran .—An occupational name for Paraiyans, who play on a drum called pambai.

Pambala .—The Pambalas, or drum (pamba) people, are Mālas who act as musicians at Māla marriages and festivals in honour of their deities. They also take part in the recitation of the story of Ankamma, and making muggu (designs on the floor) at the peddadinamu death ceremony of the Gamallas.

Pammi (a common lamp).—An exogamous sept of Dēvānga.

Pāmula (snake people).—A name for snake-charming Koravas, and Jōgis, who, in the character of itinerant showmen, exhibit snakes to the public. The name also occurs as an exogamous sept of Māla and Yānādi.

Panam (palmyra palm: Borassus flabellifer.)—A sub-division of Shānān. It also occurs as a branch or kothu of Kondaiyamkotti Maravans.

Pāncha .—Pāncha, meaning five, is recorded as a sub-division of the Linga Balijas, and Pānchachāra or Pānchamsāle as a sub-division of Lingāyats. In all these, pāncha has reference to the five ācharas or ceremonial observances of the Lingāyats, which seem to vary according to locality. Wearing the lingam, worshipping it before meals, and paying reverence to the Jangam priests, are included among the observances.

Pānchāla .—A synonym for Canarese Kammālans, among whom five (pānch) classes of workers are included, viz., gold and silver, brass and copper, iron, and stone.

Pānchalinga (five lingams).—An exogamous sept of Bōya. The lingam is the symbol of Siva.

Panchāramkatti .—A sub-division of Idaiyan, which derives its name from the neck ornament (panchāram) worn by the women.

Pandamuttu .—A sub-division of Palli. The name is made by Winslow to mean a number of torches arranged so as to represent an elephant. The Pallis, however, explain it as referring to the pile of pots, which reaches to the top of the marriage pandal (pandal, booth, mutti, touching). The lowest pot is decorated with figures of elephants and horses.

Pandāriyar .—Pandāriyar or Pandārattar, denoting custodians of the treasury, has been returned as a title of Nattamān, Malaimān, and Sudarmān.

Pāndava-kulam .—A title, indicative “of the caste of the Pāndava kings,” assumed by Jātapus and Konda Doras, who worship the Pāndavas. The Pāndava kings were the heroes of the Mahābhārata, who fought a great battle with the Kauravas, and are said to have belonged to the lunar race of Kshatriyas. The Pāndavas had a single wife named Draupadi, whom the Pallis or Vanniyans worship, and celebrate annually in her honour a fire-walking festival. The Pallis claim to belong to the fire race of Kshatriyas, and style themselves Agnikula Kshatriyas, or Vannikula Kshatriyas.

Pandi (pig).—Recorded as an exogamous sept of Asili, Bōya, and Gamalla. Pandipattu (pig catchers) and Pandikottu (pig killers) occur as exogamous septs of Oddē.

Pāndya .—The territorial name Pāndya, Pāndiya, Pāndiyan, or Pāndi has been returned, at recent times of census, as a sub-division of various Tamil classes, e.g., Ambattan, Kammālan, Ōcchan, Pallan, Vannān, and Vellāla. Pāndiya is further a title of some Shānāns. In Travancore, Pāndi has been returned by some Izhavans. The variant Pāndiangal occurs as an exogamous sept of the Tamil Vallambans, and Pāndu as a Tamil synonym for Kāpu or Reddi.

Panimagan (work children).—A name for Mukkuvans who are employed as barbers for members of their caste.

Panjai —Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a sub-division of Pāndya Vellāla. The name Panjai, indicating a poverty-stricken individual, is usually applied to mendicant Pandārams.

Panjāram .—Panjāram or Panchāramkatti is the name of a sub-division of the Idaiyans, derived from the peculiar gold ornament, which the women wear. It is said that, in this division, widow marriage is commonly practiced, because Krishna used to place a similar ornament round the necks of Idaiyan widows of whom he became enamoured, and that this sub-division was the result of his amours with them.

Panjukkāra (cotton-man).—An occupational name of a sub-division of Vellālas, who are not at the present day connected with the cotton trade. They call themselves Panjukkāra Chettis. The equivalent panjāri (pinjāri) or Panjukotti occurs as a Tamil synonym for Dūdēkula (Muhammadan cotton-cleaners).

Pannādai (sheath of the cocoanut leaf).—A sub-division of Vēttuvan.

Pannaiyān .—A title of Alavan.

Pannara .—A sub-division of Māli.

Pannendu Nāl (twelve days).—A name for those Pallis who, like Brāhmans, perform the final death ceremonies on the twelfth day.

Pannirendām (twelfth) Chetti.—A section of the Chettis.

Panta (a crop).—A sub-division of Kāpu and Yānādi. In the Gazetteer of South Arcot, Pan Reddi is recorded as a caste of Telugu-speaking ryots (Kāpus).

Pantala .—Recorded, in Travancore, as a sub-division of Sāmantan. The name is said to be derived from Bhandārattil, or belonging to the royal treasury.

Pantāri .—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, as synonymous with the Idacheri sub-division of Nāyar. Pantrantu Vītan is also there recorded as a sub-division of Nāyar.

Pappadam .—People calling themselves Pappadam Chetti are largely found in Malabar, living by the manufacture and sale of cakes called pappadam, which are purchased by all classes, including Nambūtiri Brāhmans.

Pappini .—A name for Brāhmanis, a class of Ambalavāsi.

Pappu (split pulse).—An exogamous sept of Balija.

Paradēsi .—Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a class of Malayālam beggars. The name indicates strangers (paradēsa, a foreign country), and is applied to the White Jews of Cochin, in connection with whom it occurs in Sirkar (State) accounts and royal writs granted to them.

Paraiya Tāda .—Recorded, in the North Arcot Manual, as a name for those who are considered impure Valluvans. The name literally means Paraiya Tādan or Dāsari.

Pārasaivan. —A title of Ōcchans, who are Saivites, and priests at temples of Grāma Dēvatas (village deities). In the Malayālam country Pārasāva occurs as a title of Variyar, a section of Ambalavāsi. The word indicates the son of a Brāhman by a Sūdra woman.

Parēl Maddiyala .—Barbers of the Billavas.

Pārenga .—A sub-division of Gadaba.

Pariah .—See Paraiyan.

Parikimuggula .—Professional tattooing women in the Telugu country. The name refers to the patterns parika or muggu), which they carry about with them, as designs for tattooing or to be drawn on the floor on occasions of festival and ceremonial. Parivāra .—A sub-division of Bant.

Pariyāri (doctor).—A name given to Tamil barbers (Ambattan), who practice as barber-surgeons.

Pariyāta .—Five individuals were recorded, at the census, 1901, under the name Pariyāta or Parit, as members of a Bombay caste of washermen in South Canara.

Parvatha .—Parvatha or Parvathāla, meaning hill or mountain, has been recorded as an exogamous sept of Gamalla, Kāpu, Māla, and Mēdara.

Pāsi —A few members of this Bengal caste of toddy-drawers were returned at the Madras census, 1901. The name is said to be derived from pāsa, a noose or cord, probably in reference to the sling used by them in climbing palm trees. Pāsi, meaning coloured glass beads, occurs as a sub-division of Idaiyan, and the equivalent Pāsikatti as a sub-division of Valaiyan.

Pasu .—Pasu (cow) or Pasula has been recorded as an exogamous sept of Bōya, Māla and Mādiga, and a sub-division of west coast Pulayans, who eat beef.

Pasupula (turmeric).—Pasula or Pasupula is an exogamous sept of Bōya and Dēvanga. Pasupulēti occurs as a sub-division of Balija. See Arashina.

Patābonka .—A sub-division of Bonka.

Pātāli .—An occupational name applied to priests of temples and bhūthasthanas (devil shrines), and Stānikas in South Canara.

Pātha (old).—A sub-division of Īdiga, and a sept of Togata.

Pathanchitannāya (green pea sept).—An exogamous sept of Bant.

Pathi (cotton).—A sub-division of Kurubas, who use a wrist-thread made of cotton and wool mixed during the marriage ceremony. Also an exogamous sept of Gūdala and Padma Sālē.

Pathinettan .—The Pathinettan or eighteen are carpenters in Malabar, who “are said to be the descendants of the smiths who remained to attend to the repairs to the eighteen temples, when the rest of the community fled to Ceylon, as related in the tradition of the origin of the Tiyans”.

Paththar .—A section of Saivite Chettis, who wear the lingam, and have separated from the Acharapākam Chettis. They bury their dead in a sitting posture. A bamboo stick is tied to the kudumi (hair-knot) of the corpse, and the head pulled by its means towards the surface of the grave. Paththar is also a name given to goldsmiths by other castes.

Patnaik .—A title of Karnam.

Pātramēla .—Pātramēla, or Pātradēva, is the name of a class of dancing girls in South Canara. Pātramēla, Mr. H. A. Stuart writes is the name by which the Konkani Kalāvants (courtezans) are known above the ghauts.

Pātro .—The title of the head of a group of villages in Ganjam, and also recorded, at times of census, as a title of Alia, Kālinga Kōmati, Dolai, and Jaggala. The conferring of a cloth (sādhi) on a Pātro is said to be emblematic of conferring an estate. The Pātro, among other perquisites, is entitled to a fee on occasions of marriage. I am informed that, in the Ganjam Māliahs, if a Kondh was unable to pay the fee, he met his love at night beneath two trysting trees, and retired with her into the jungle for three days and nights.

Pātrudu .—The title, meaning those who are fit to receive a gift, of Aiyarakulu and Nagarālu.

Pāttadhikāri .—A class of Jangams, who have settled head-quarters.

Pattan .—The equivalent of the Brāhman Bhatta. A name by which some Kammālans, especially goldsmiths, style themselves.

Pattanavada .—A synonym for the Mogēr fishing caste, the settlements of which are called pattana.

Pattapu .—Pattapu for Tulivāndlu is a name for Tamil Pattanavans, who have migrated to the Telugu country. Pattapu also occurs as a sub-division of Yerukala.

Pattar .—The Pattars are Tamil Brāhmans, who have settled in Malabar. The name is said to be derived from the Sanskrit bhatta. It is noted, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, that Pattar (teacher) has been recently assumed as a title by some Nōkkans in Tanjore. (See Brāhman.)

Pattariar .—Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as a Tamil corruption of Pattu Sāliyan (silk-weaver). Pattariar or Pattalia is a synonym of Tamil-speaking Sāliyans.

Pattegāra (headman).—An exogamous sept of Okkiliyan.

Pattindla (silk house).—An exogamous sept of Tōta Balija.

Pattola Mēnōn .—Recorded, in the Cochin Census Report, 1901, as a sub-caste of Nāyars, who are accountants in aristocratic families.

Pāttukuruppu .—Recorded in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as synonymous with Vātti, a sub-division of Nāyar. Pattu Sālē. —A sub-division of Sālēs, who weave silk (pattu) fabrics.

Pattuvitan .—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a sub-division of Nāyar.

Pavalamkatti (wearers of corals).—A sub-division of Konga Vellāla.

Pavini .—See Vayani.

Payyampāti .—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a sub-division of Nāyar.

Pedakanti .—Pedakanti or Pedaganti is the name of a sub-division of Kāpu. It is said by some to be derived from a place called Pedagallu. By others it is derived from peda, turned aside, and kamma, eye, indicating one who turns his eyes away from a person who speaks to him. Yet another suggestion is that it means stiff-necked.

Pedda (big).—A sub-division of Bōya, Bagata, Konda Dora, Pattapu, and Velama.

Peddammavāndlu .—A fancy name taken by some Telugu beggars.

Pedditi .—A sub-division of Golla, some members of which earn a livelihood by begging and flattery.

Pēgula (intestines).—An exogamous sept of Bōya.

Pekkan .—A division of Toda.

Pendukal (women).—A name applied to Dēva-dāsis in Travancore.

Pengu .—A sub-division of Poroja.

Pennēgāra .—Konkani-speaking rice-beaters in South Canara.

Peraka (tile).—An exogamous sept of Dēvānga.

Perugadannāya (bandicoot rat sept).—An exogamous sept of Bant.

Perum Tāli (big tāli).—A sub-division of Idaiyan, and of Kaikōlans, whose women wear a big tāli (marriage badge).

Perumāl .—Perumāl is a synonym of Vishnu, and the name is taken by some Pallis who are staunch Vaishnavites. A class of mendicants, who travel about exhibiting performing bulls in the southern part of the Madras Presidency, is known as Perumāl Mādukkāran or Perumāl Erudukkāran. Perumalathillom, meaning apparently big mountain house, is an exogamous sept or illom of the Kānikars of Travancore.

Pesala (seeds of Phaseolus Mungo: green gram).—An exogamous sept of Jōgi.

Pēta (street).—A sub-division of Balija.

Pettigeyavāru (box).—A sub-division of Gangadikāra Vakkaliga.

Pichiga (sparrow).—An exogamous sept of Bōya and Dēvānga. The equivalent Pital occurs as a sept of Māla.

Pidakala (cow-dung cakes or bratties).—An exogamous sept of Dēvānga. Dried cow-dung cakes are largely used by natives as fuel, and may be seen stuck on to the walls of houses.

Pidāran .—A section of Ambalavāsis, who, according to Mr. Logan “drink liquor, exorcise devils, and are worshippers of Bhadrakāli or of Sakti. The name is also applied to snake-catchers, and it was probably conferred on the caste owing to the snake being an emblem of the human passion embodied in the deities they worship.”

Pillai .—Pillai, meaning child, is in the Tamil country primarily the title of Vellālas, but has, at recent times of census, been returned as the title of a number of classes, which include Agamudaiyan, Ambalakāran, Golla, Idaiyan, Nāyar, Nōkkan, Panisavan, Panikkan, Paraiyan, Saiyakkāran, Sembadavan and Sēnaikkudaiyāns. Pilla is further used as the title of the male offspring of Dēva-dāsis. Many Paraiyan butlers of Europeans have assumed the title Pillai as an honorific suffix to their name. So, too, have some criminal Koravas, who pose as Vellālas.

Pillaikūttam .—Recorded, in the Manual of the North Arcot district, as a bastard branch of Vāniyan.

Pillaiyarpatti (Ganēsa village).—An exogamous section or kōvil of Nāttukōttai Chetti.

Pilli (cat).—An exogamous sept of Chembadi, Māla, and Mēdara.

Pindāri .—In the Madras Census Report, 1901, fifty-nine Pindāris are returned as a Bombay caste of personal servants. They are more numerous in the Mysore province, where more than two thousand were returned in the same year as being engaged in agriculture and Government service. The Pindāris were formerly celebrated as a notorious class of freebooters, who, in the seventeenth century, attached themselves to the Marāthas in their revolt against Aurangzīb, and for a long time afterwards, committed raids in all directions, extending their operations to Southern India. It is on record that “in a raid made upon the coast extending from Masulipatam northward, the Pindāris in ten days plundered 339 villages, burning many, killing and wounding 682 persons, torturing 3,600, and carrying off or destroying property to the amount of £250,000.” They were finally suppressed, in Central India, during the Viceroyalty of the Marquis of Hastings, in 1817.

Pindi (flour).—An exogamous sept of Māla.

Pinjāri (cotton-cleaner).—A synonym for Dūdēkula. Pinjala (cotton) occurs as an exogamous sept of Dēvānga.

Pippala (pepper: Piper longum).—An exogamous sept or gōtra of Gamalla and Kōmati.

Pīsu Perike .—Perikes who weave gunny-bags.

Pītakālu (dais, on which a priest sits).—An exogamous sept of Oddē.

Pittalavādu .—A Telugu name for Kuruvikkārans.

Podapōtula .—A class of mendicants, who beg from Gollas.

Podara Vannān .—The Podara, Podarayan or Pothora Vannāns are washermen of inferior social status, who wash clothes for Pallans, Paraiyans, and other low classes.

Podhāno .—Recorded, at times of census, as a title of Bolāsi, Gaudo, Kālingi, Kudumo, and Sāmantiya. The Sāmantiyas also frequently give it as the name of their caste.

Pōgandan .—A synonym of Pōndan.

Pōkanāti .—Pōkanāti or Pakanāti is a sub-division of Kāpu.

Poladava .—A synonym of Gatti.

Pon Chetti (gold merchant).—A synonym of Malayālam Kammālan goldsmiths.

Pon (gold) Illam.—A section of Mukkuvans.

Pōndan .—“There are,” Mr. H. A. Stuart writes, “only twenty-eight persons of this caste in Malabar, and they are all in Calicut. These are the palanquin-bearers of the Zamorin. They are in dress, manners, customs, and language entirely Tamilians, and, while the Zamorin is polluted by the touch of any ordinary Tamilian, these Pōndans enjoy the privilege of bearing him in a palanquin to and from the temple every day. Now there is a sub-division of the Tamil Idaiyans by name Pogondan, and I understand that these Pogondans are the palanquin-bearers of the Idaiyan caste. It seems probable that the founder, or some early member of the Zamorin, obtained palanquin-bearers of his own (cowherd) caste and granted them privileges which no other Tamilians now enjoy.”

Pondra .—Pondra, or Ponara, is a sub-division of Māli.

Ponganādu .—Ponganādu and Ponguvān have been recorded, at times of census, as a sub-division of Kāpu. A corrupt form of Pakanāti.

Ponnambalaththar .—A class of mendicants, who have attached themselves to the Kaikōlans.

Ponnara .—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a sub-division of Nāyar.

Poruvannurkāran —A class of carpenters in Malabar.

Pothoria .—Pothoria or Pothriya, meaning stone, is the name of a small class of Oriya stone-cutters in Ganjam, who are addicted to snaring antelopes by means of tame bucks, which they keep for the purpose of decoying the wild ones. They employ Brāhmans as purōhits. Marriage is infant, and remarriage of widows is permitted. The females wear glass bangles.

Pōthu .—Pōthu or Pōthula, meaning male, occurs as an exogamous sept of Dēvānga, Mēdara, and Padma Sālē; and Pōthula, in the sense of a male buffalo, as a sept of Mādiga.

Potia .—Recorded, in the Madras Census Report, 1901, as Oriya mat-makers. They are said to be immigrants from Potia in Orissa, who call themselves Doluvas. The Doluvas, however, do not recognise them, and neither eat nor intermarry with them.

Potta (abdomen).—An exogamous sept of Bōya.

Potti (Tamil, worshipful).—Stated, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, to be the name applied to all Kērala Brāhmans, who do not come under the specific designation of Nambūtiris.

Pouzu (quail).—An exogamous sept of Dēvānga.

Powāku (tobacco).—An exogamous sept of Māla.

Poyilethānnāya (one who removes the evil eye).—An exogamous sept of Bant.

Pradhāno (chief).—A title of Aruva, Benāiyto, Odia, Kālingi, Kēvuto, and Sāmantiya.

Prānōpakāri (one who helps souls).—A name for barbers in Travancore. In the early settlement records, Pranu occurs as a corruption thereof.

Prithvi (earth).—An exogamous sept of Dēvānga.

Puchcha .—Puccha or Puchcha Kāya (fruit of Citrullus Colocynthis) is the name of a gōtra or sept of Bōyas, Kōmatis, and Vīramushtis, who are a class of mendicants attached to the Kōmatis. The same name, or picchi kāya, denoting the water-melon Citrullus vulgaris, occurs as a sept or house-name of Panta Reddis and Sēniyans (Dēvāngas), the members of which may not eat the fruit. The name Desimarada has been recently substituted by the Sēniyans for picchi kāya.

Pudamuri (pudaya, a woman’s cloth; muri, cuttings).—Defined by Mr. Wigram as a so-called ‘marriage’ ceremony performed among the Nāyars in North Malabar. (See Nāyar.)

Pudu Nāttān (new country).—A sub-division of Idaiyan.

Pū Islām .—See Pūtiya Islām.

Pūjāri .—Pūjāri is an occupational title, meaning priest, or performer of pūja (worship). It is described by Mr. H. A. Stuart as “a name applied to a class of priests, who mostly preside in the temples of the female deities—the Grāma Dēvatas or Ūr Ammas—and not in those of Vishnu or Siva. They do not wear the sacred thread, except on solemn occasions.” Pūjāri has been recorded as a title of Billavas as they officiate as priests at bhūtasthānas (devil shrines), and of Halēpaiks, and Pūjāli as a title of some Irulas. Some families of Kusavans (potters), who manufacture clay idols, are also known as pūjāri. Pūja occurs as a sub-division of the Gollas. Some criminal Koravas travel in the guise of Pūjāris, and style themselves Korava Pūjāris.

Pula .—A sub-division of Cheruman.

Pūla (flowers).—An exogamous sept of Bōya, Padma Sālē and Yerukala.

Pūlān .—Barbers of Tamil origin, who have settled in Travancore.

Pulavar —A title of Ōcchan and Panisavan.

Pulayan .—See Cheruman and Thanda Pulayan.

Puli (tiger).—Recorded as an exogamous sept or gōtra of Balija, Golla, Kamma, and Mēdara. The equivalent Puliattanāya occurs as an exogamous sept of Bant.

Puliakōdan .—A class of carpenters in Malabar, whose traditional occupation is to construct oil mills.

Pūliāsāri .—A division of Malabar Kammālans, the members of which do mason’s work (pūli, earth). Paravas who are engaged in a similar calling are, in like manner, called Pūli Kollan.

Pulikkal .—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a sub-division of Nāyar.

Puliyan .—A sub-division of Nāyar.

Puliyattu .—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as synonymous with Pulikkappanikkan, a sub-division of Nāyar.

Pullakūra (pot-herbs).—An exogamous sept of Īdiga.

Puluvan .—The Puluvans have been described as “a small tribe of cultivators found in the district of Coimbatore. Puluvans are the learned men among the Coimbatore Vellālas, and are supposed to be the depositaries of the poet Kamban’s works. One authority from Coimbatore writes that the traditional occupation of this caste is military service, and derives the word from bhū, earth, and valavan, a ruler; while another thinks that the correct word is Pūruvan, aborigines. Their girls are married usually after they attain maturity. In the disposal of the dead, both cremation and burial are in vogue, the tendency being towards the former. They are flesh-eaters. Their customs generally resemble those of the Konga Vellālas.”

The Puluvans call themselves Puluva Vellālas.

Pūnamalli .—The name of a division of Vellālas derived from Poonamallee, an old military station near Madras. Pūni. —A sub-division of Golla.

Punjala (cock, or male).—An exogamous sept of Dēvānga.

Pūppalli —See Unni.

Puragiri Kshatriya. —A name assumed by some Perikes.

Puramalai, Puramalainādu or Piramalainādu .—A territorial sub-division of Kallan.

Puranadi .—Barbers and priests of the Vēlans of Travancore, who are also called Vēlakkuruppu.

Purattu Charna .—A sub-division of Nāyar.

Purusha .—See Jōgi Purusha.

Pūsa (beads).—A sub-division of Balija. A sub-division of the Yerukalas is known as Pūsalavādu, or sellers of glass beads.

Pūsāli .—A title of Ōcchans, or pūjāris (priests) at temples of Grāma Dēvatas (village deities).

Pūsapāti .—The family name of the Mahārājahs of Vizianagram. From the Kshatriyas in Rājputāna people of four gōtrams are said to have come to the Northern Circars several centuries ago, having the Pūsapāti family at their head. The name of the present Mahārāja is Mirza Rājah Srī Pūsapāti Viziarāma Gajapati Rāj Manya Sultān Bahādur Gāru.

Pūshpakan. —A class of Ambalavāsis in Malabar and Travancore. “As their name (pushpam, a flower) implies, they are employed in bringing flowers and garlands to the temples.” See Unni.

Puthukka Nāttār (people of the new country).—A sub-division of Idaiyan.

Pūtiya Islām .—Pu Islām or Pūtiya Islām is the name returned mostly by Mukkuvans, in reference to their new conversion to the Muhammadan faith.

Putta (ant-hill).—An exogamous sept of Kamma, Kuruba, Māla, Mēdara, and Padma Sālē. ‘White-ant’ (Termites) hills are frequently worshipped as being the abode of snakes.

Puttiya .—A sub-division of Rōna.

Puttūr.—Recorded, in the Travancore Census Report, 1901, as a sub-division of Nāyar.

Puzhi Tacchan (sand carpenter).—The name of a small section of Malabar Kammālans.


1 Journey through Mysore, Canara and Malabar, 1807.

2 Section III. Inhabitants. Madras Government Press, 1907.

3 Madras Census Report, 1901.

4 See Manual of the North Arcot district, 1, 187.

5 Gazetteer of the Vizagapatam district.

6 Hobson-Jobson.

7 Madras Census Report, 1901.

8 Ind. Ant., VIII, 1879.

9 An Indian Olio.

10 Anthropos, III, 1908.

11 Ind. Ant., XXX, 1902.

12 Madras Census Report, 1891.

13 Christianity in Travancore, 1901.

14 Gazetteer of the Trichinopoly district.

15 See Nelson, the Madura Country, II, 4—7, and Coimbatore District Manual, 477.

16 Original Inhabitants of Bharatavarsa or India.

17 Gazetteer of the Madura district.

18 Op Cit.

19 Madras Census Report, 1891.

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