Dear Vikrama ji,In old Tamil literature and stone inscriptions till 18th century,we rarely find surnames/caste names. There were castes no doubt, but no caste-indicating surnames. In the Chola inscriptions, except Bhattars, others were simply mentioned by their personal names. Can anybody tell the caste of Pisiranthaiyar, Kambar, Arunagiri or Ottakkoothar from their names. I think that with the spread of British rule, the rulers might have encouraged/forced people to have surnames. Then our forefathers might have chosen glorious names. See all the caste names are glorifying. Mudaliar- being first, Chettiar- sreshti, the greatest, Iyer- the leader, Padaiyatchi- leader of army, Nadar- ruler of the country, devar- god. Was it part of the British divide and rule policy?
Nice to see you online. After a long time.
I think everyone was in a frenzy to change caste, assume "caste names", make varna claims, etc during the colonial period.
But the names themselves imo were not newly devised in the colonial period. Names are old. Caste-framework is old. But people constituting present-day varnas, people using "caste names" are new, imho.