Namboothiri Websites, Calicut, Kerala
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Namboothiris - An Exclusive Community

The Namboothiri community appears to have had a certain amount of exclusive characteristics. They never permitted nor accepted any one from outside the community within their fold. There is said to be no provision nor ritual procedure in the Saasthrams for such an absorption. Only quite recently has there been some instances through adoptions followed by performance of Shodasakriyas (Click here). Though staunch traditionalists have not approved of it, society in general has accepted it with some indifference. Strictly, one will be a Namboothiri if, and only if, both the parents are Namboothiris.

Historians have not been able to pinpoint the period of the first arrival of Namboothiris in Kerala. Those who were presumed to be here as early as the 2nd century (Sangam literature, Dandi, etc.), and in the later settlements (32 Graamams), may be called the original Namboothiris belonging to any of the ten types mentioned under classification (Click here).

The Tulu Braahmanans brought to North Kerala (today's Kasaragod & Kannur Districts) during the 17th century, many of whom were resettled in Thiruvithaamkoor (between today's Kottayam & Trivandrum Districts ), and the later immigrants from Tulu and Chola regions constitute the Saagara (Click), Samudra, Thonnoorukaar (Click), and Thukalasseri Bhattathiris (Click). Many of them were known as Embraanthiris. Most of them have, for practical purposes assimilated into the original Namboothiri community - practising rituals in the Namboothiri style, considered as equals, and even called Namboothiris, especially after the Temple-Entry Proclamation of the Maharaja of Thiruvithaamkoor in 1113 (ME). However, neither they nor those who retained the Embraanthiri and Potti surnames may participate as Rithwiks or helpers in the Yaagam of the "original" Namboothiris, though they may perform Yaagam themselves and in their own style.

Needless to say that the exclusivity and the sectarian boundaries are disappearing fast.

| Article No:1.1 | Last update of this article:27th August 2006 |
Article by : K D Nambudripad and P Vinod Bhattathiripad

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