Swaroopathil Nair

Swaroopathil Nair
Akkathu Charna Nayar photographed in 1909 C. E.
Regions with significant populations
Malabar & Travancore
Related ethnic groups
Kiryathil Nairs, Illathu Nairs, Samanthan Nairs, Samantha Kshatriyas

Swaroopathil Nairs or Charna Nairs were one of the subcastes belonging to the Nair community in Kerala. They were warriors of Samanta Kshatriya Royal Households known as Swaroopams. This subcaste is found only in Travancore. In Malabar, two related subcastes, Akathu Charna Nairs and Purathu Charna Nairs are treated as equivalent to Swaroopathil Nairs in caste hierarchy.


According to the 1891 Census, Swaroopathil Nairs composed around 9.2% of the total Nair population, while Akathu Cherna and Purathu Cherna Nairs accounted for 3.3% and 11.1% respectively.[1]


The highest of Swaroopathil Nairs were those included in the Paroor Swaroopam, who being originally Illathu Nairs have their purificatory rites performed by Maarans. It is believed that the Paroor Swaroopakkar once belonged to the Illam subdivision and were attached to the Karāttetattu Nampoothiri. After the fall of the Namboothiri, these Nāyars attached themselves to the Paroor Swaroopam, which succeeded the Namboothiri.[2]

The Ponnara Nairs, a smaller subsection among the Nairs of Chirayinkeezh (associated with the Sharkara temple) is usually grouped together with Swaroopakkar. Ponnara Nairs some times officiate as temple priests and therefore holds a higher position in caste system compared to the other subdivisions.[3]

Paricha Menons, a subdivision of Purattu Charna Nayar constituted the bulk of Zamorin's elite armed units. They form one of the top most divisions of Menon after the Menon Panicker subdivision of Kiryathil Nair.

Other notable subdivisions of Swaroopakkār in Travancore includes the Kaippizha, Pattāzhi and the Vempanāt clans.[4]

See also

External links

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