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Hindu In Kerala

Hinduism is one of the main religions followed by Keralites. Hindu in Kerala comprises nearly half of the population of Kerala. The state contains a long list of ancient and sacred temples dedicated to different Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Nambudiri, Nair, Ezhava, and other Dalit castes form the major population of Hindu religions in Kerala. Hinduism has undoubtedly shaped Kerala, and Kerala has in turn left its mark on Hinduism. Population of Hindu in Kerala are very high compared to other religions. Some religions had influenced the Hindus in Kerala and people worshipping those religions in Kerala.

Kerala Hinduism, the world's oldest religion dates back to about 5000 BC. For many Keralites, The most popular temples among Kerala Hindu are Vadakkunnathan Temple, Guruvayur Temple, Sabarimala, Sree Poornathrayesa Temple, Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple, Chottanikkara Temple and Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Hindus in Kerala usually cremate their dead at the southern end of their house. Various practises of Hinduism In Kerala are unique and are not followed in other parts of India. Marriages amongst Hindus in Kerala are a very simple affair as compared to other parts of India. Kerala Hinduism is a way of life and is based on the belief of Sanathana Dharma. The Hindus worship the Supreme Being under three forms: Brahma - the creator, Vishnu - the savior, and Shiva - the destroyer.

Hinduism in Kerala is the indigenous religion which makes up about 57% population of the state according to the 2001 census. Hindus in Kerala usually have a lower birth rate and a higher death rate compared to the general population. Kerala has several ancient Hindu temples. The Hindus of Kerala are getting to be a minority community in their native land, is not a secret any more. Different castes in Hindu religion are:-

Kerala Brahmins

Brahmin is a name used to designate a member of one of the four varnas in the traditional Hindu society. The English word brahmin is an anglicised form of the Sanskrit word Brahmana. Traditionally Kerala Brahmin were fire-priests, seers and philosophers who adhered to different branches of Vedas. The Nambudiri Brahmins are known for their rigid orthodoxy and sense of caste and purity (Shudham). There are five subdivisions within the Nambudiri caste: The Tampurakkal are the highest in status, the Adhyas, who are temple priests and who form an endogamous subcaste with the Tampurakkal, the Visistas, the Samanyas and the Jatimatras. Pushpaka Brahmins or simply Pushpakas are a class of Brahmins in Kerala. They carry out the various activities of the temple, though not actual priestly activities. Pushpakas lived on the income of the temple and were under its care.

Kerala Nair

Nair in Kerala refers to not a unitary group but a named category of castes, which historically embodied several castes and many subdivisions, not all of whom bore the Nair title. Historically these people lived in Kerala. Kerala Nairs lived in large family units called tharavads that housed descendants of one common ancestress and could consist of 80 or more members. A people of Malabar coast of India that are probably Dravidians with Aryan admixture. Nairs are an integral part of Kerala's culture and have a long and illustrious history. Kerala Nairs are a warrior class (a martial nobility). They are similar to the samurai of Japan. The word Nair is either derived from the Sanskrit word Nayaka (leader) or Naga (snakes, which the Nairs worshipped). The Nairs in Kerala class name also encompasses Menon, Panicker, Kurup, Pillai, Unni, Unnithan, Kartha, Thampan, Kaimal, Nayanar, Thampi, and Nambiar. Nairs are the savarna hindus who constituted the warriors, landed gentry and yeoman of Kerala. Nayars are the largest and most important section of the society of Kerala.

Ezhava in Kerala

The Ezhavas are a community with origins in the region presently known as Kerala. In the northern parts of Kerala, Ezhava caste is also referred to as Thiyya. Sociologically, Ezhava caste has never found a place in the four-tier caste system of the Hindu community. Ezhava in Kerala form the most numerous ethnic group (40%). Today Ezhava in Kerala make up a major community. Ezhavas were considered a backward community, because of their position outside the Hindu four-fold caste hierarchy and their unwillingness to cater to the needs of the upper caste Brahmins and royalty. Sree Narayana Guru, the greatest social reformer that Kerala has seen, was primarily responsible for the uplift of the Ezhava community. The origin of the word Ezhava is often disputed. The most plausible explanation is that it means people from Ezham (Sri Lanka). Ezhavas were mainly Buddhists who made a part of the caste ridden Brahminical culture when the Brahmin missionaries arrived from north India and established their power.

Dalit in Kerala

Dalit in Kerala also called Outcaste, is a self-designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as Untouchables. Dalits are a mixed population of numerous caste groups all over South Asia, and speak various languages. While the discrimination based on caste system (not caste system itself) has been abolished under the Indian constitution, some people claim that there is still discrimination and prejudice against Dalits in South Asia. On behalf of Indian People’s Tribunal on Untouchability, we are pleased to invite you to be part of panel of Jurists for the public hearing on the untouchability practices within the country. Untouchability practices are a reality that the Dalits in Kerala have to face everyday in almost every sphere of life. It has become imprinted in the deeper social psyche of the Indian society, in that it stands more or less ignored or is being treated as quite natural.

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