Saw Ronin 47 movie.It is a legend based on real incident in Japan in the early 18thCentury where after avenging their master’s death, 47 Ronins(Masterless Samurais) lay down their life by committing martial suicide considered a noble opportunity for a Samurai.
This prompted me to write this. Again my intent is not to glorify a particular caste/race as superior.I am not for that theory. Since I did found a lot of interesting facts I felt compelled to share.
Sometime back i was doing a bit of reading about Mukkulathor race in Tamilnadu. Mukkulathor literally means Three clans- and is comprised of Maravar,Kall,Ahampadiyar .They are martial race/warrior race of Tamilnadu.
They are also referred to as Thevars/Devars literally meaning -Belonging to the sky/Celestial.Devas are celestial beings according to Indian scripts.(Well that’s another interesting thought which may force me to do research in the lines of Erich Von Daniken).
They made up the armies of the ancient Kings of Chera,Chola and Pandya.(There is also a theory that Kings of Chera,Chola and Pandya were also Thevars).There were lot of things which are strikingly similar to Japanese Feudal system which prompted me to write this.
Like Japan’s Bakufu,Tamilnadu also had a lot of areas for local governance. They were called Palayam which was under Palayakkarar.Palayakkarar is nothing but a Shogun(Governor).Each Bakufu has a lot of smaller areas which are taken care byLords/ Master Samurai.This is something like Kaval Karar which does the protection of a village from invasion.
(Polygar Wars an important war British fought against resistance were actually against Palayakkarars-anglicized as Polygar)
Like Samurais the Mukkalthors also always carry a Sword and shiel and they never did agriculture. Both races job was only protection during non-war time and be part of the army during war.
And the commonality does not end there.
The heroes and godlings of Tamil martial culture were worshipped widely throughout rural Tamilnadu. In Japan, the Samurai nurtured the values of kyuba-no-michi (the way of the bow and horse). Samurai warriors described themselves as followers of “The Way of the Warrior” or Bushido. Bushidō is defined by the Japanese dictionary Shogakukan Kokugo Daijiten as “a unique philosophy (ronri) that spread through the warrior class from the Muromachi (chusei) period. From the earliest times, the Samurai felt that the path of the warrior was one of honor, emphasizing duty to one’s master, and loyalty unto death”.
In the Tamil country, Maram was the martial ethos of the warrior castes.
Each Samurai would avenge their masters death and would lay down their life by committing martial suicide.
Similarly Tamil Martial Race had different kind of Martial Suicides which are documented in old literature of Tamilnadu.
Avippali, Thannai, Verttal, Vallan pakkam, Pun Kilithu Mudiyum Maram and Marakkanchi: the forms of martial suicide and suicidal battle of the warrior as the ultimate expression of his loyalty to his commander. These six forms of martial suicide are defined as described by various literary works .
Pulla Vazhkai Vallan Pakkam – the martial attitude of the warrior who goes forth into suicidal battle is mentioned by Tholkappiyam. The other works refer to it as Thannai Verttal. Thannai Verttal also refers to the suicide of a warrior on hearing that his king or commander has died (Purapporul Venpa Malai). Punkilithu Mudiym Maram is the martial act of a warrior who commits suicide by tearing apart his battle wound.
The Avippali form of martial suicide as the ultimate expression of loyalty to one’s commander, is deeply embedded in the Tamil psyche. Senchorru-kadan (the debt of red rice) is a phrase that is widely used today by Tamils as an expression of loyalty. One frequently hears of it in a popular Tamil song. The phrase sands for the ritual of partaking of rice by which Maravar and other Tamil military caste warriors bound themselves to their king or commander to die in suicidal battle for him, or to commit suicide on the day he was slain. Of Avippali, the Puraporul Venba Malai ([verse] 92) says, “thinking of nothing but the red (blood) rice the Maravar give their life as offering in battle.”
It was interesting to see so much similarity between the warrior class of two different countries.Both almost suffered the same fate. The westerners understood that these races comes in their way of ruling the countries.In the movie Last Samurai it is shown that the westerners influence the then young emperor with a help of Japanese who is his counsel in the pretext of modernising their army.Samurais were kind of made outcast in their own land and lost their importance.Same thing happened to the Tamil Martial race as after the Polygar wars they were not allowed to carry arms and deprived of their status.They were delisted and deliberately avoided.From being a martial race they were falsely implicated as criminal tribes. Though they did all this many people from this race joined in large nos in INA founded by Netaji.Probably certain characters are ingrained and its hard to be forgotten.
So indeed there should have been some connection because most of the feudal systems of ancient civilizations were pretty much similar.
PS:I googled that though there is no such thing as Samurai now though they are some descendant they don’t use that title anymore, Mukkulathors continue to remain and to an extent continue to shape the formation of Government.
And still they continue to worship their Gods in village who were no one but Kavalkarars (Village Protectors-their previous roles) who were known for their heroics.
They also remain till date a predominantly homogenous group with very little traces of other races which has been proved by DNA studies aswell.
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