i happened to read your excellent post on Raja Raja cholan. It was a splendid one. You have neatly presented this article.

I have one clarification. How can we conclude that there were slaves during raja raja cholan. How did we decide agri labourers are slaves?

What is the diff b/w european slaves and the dalits of india?

The greek traveller megasthenes says that he could not see any slaves in india.. that is true.. how?

Bcoz, in india, the agri labourers have the freedom to change the masters.. they are not bonded slaves.. rather, they were just workers who have the freedom to live as a community and have their own festivals..

We can see this even now.. every village had their own worker class.. when a labourers from adjacent village come and attack the labourers of this village the vellala chief will go in support of his own labourer..

Similarly, when there is a problem with the vellala chief, the labourers will simply leave the village and go to any other distant village..

So, its wrong to compare european society with indian..

Another thing is that there is no land lordship in india like that of europe.. In europe, a whole region of lands are given as private property to a landlord.. ie, this landlord can do anything he want in his land..

However in india, the village agri lands are NOT private property of a single person.. the village chief will oversee village administration, and the vellala families will be alloted lands for them to work.. also, there is no concept of selling of lands on those days.. if a vellala family could not do agri, he should leave the land for other who can do it.

Could you pls share your opinion on the above?..

Regar ,

Dear Jayamohan,

I read with great interest your Thanjavur travelogue.I have visited these temples in the past and continue to visit whenever an urge drives me towards the temples in unified Thanjavur districts (now Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam).

What I observed during my visit was alienation of these temples from the local community. There is a disconnect. Vaishnavite temples are relatively well-maintained. Brahmins, Vellalas and other small communities that had close access to these temples had migrated to nearby towns, Chennai and other parts of the country. A few families, including that of nagaswaram and thavil players, stay there and continue to perform their duties for the meagre amount or paddy they get for their service. Most of the communities have nothing to do with these vedic temples. Of course they visit the temples, but they don’t have a sense of belonging to these temples.

Though it is inevitable in the age of changes, non-Hindus settled in these temples, have contributed towards the alienation. Whether it is Thiruvidamaruthur or Therezhundur or Mayiladuthurai or Kumbakonan you can notice the trend. In Therezhundur only a wall is dividing Kambar’s manimandapam from the Arabic college. Brahmins have sold their houses and left for Chennai and buyers are invariably Muslims. Thiruvidaimarudhur is known for its theruvazhagu (Thiruvarur for Therazhagu and Mannargudi for mathilazhagu). It is the birth place of Kottuvadhyam Sakaramarao, the teacher of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. Veerusami Pillai, one of the three nagaswaram players to get sangitha kalanidhi award was born here. He had a big house. When I went there in search of his house, I was shocked to see a TASMAC liquor shop functioning there.