Villavars [cite book
first= Kanakasabhai
title= The Tamils Eighteen Hundred Years Ago
publisher= Asian Educational Services
isbn= 8120601505
] were the primary rulers among the Dravidians who once ruled the whole of IndiaFact|date=January 2008. Villavars(Bowmen) were archers who once emerged from the hunting clans of India. They were also known as Ezhinar or Eyinars in Chera(Present day Kerala) and Tamil countries respectively. The Bhil tribals, The Billavas of Tulunadu of Karnataka, The Villavar Clans of Kerala who founded the Chera Kingdom all are Villavars. The Ezhavas or Illavas of Kerala are also descendents of this Villavar tribe of Kerala. The Villavars of Kerala and Illavars of Sri Lanka after whom Eeelam or Heladipa is named were relatives. Alwar, Alvar, Aluvar or Alva are the titles shared by all the Villavar tribes.

Chera Kingdom

The Chera king had the title Villavar Kon indicating Villavar clans founded the ancient Chera Kingdom. The Emblem on the flag of Cheras was Bow and Arrow. The Chera kingdom was founded by the integration of various Villvar tribes such as Vanavar, Puraiyar, Velliar and Pazhuvettaraiyars. After the arrival of Nagas the Villavar(Ezhava) culture who cherished Patriarchy and Monogamy was replaced by Matriarchy with Polyandry as the norm. Soon around the 12th century the Chera dynasty came to an end when the last Chera King along with his relatives became a Muslim. In the later periods the Nagas dominated Kerala while the Villavar tribes were pushed down to occupy a lower stratum.

Travancore Venad

The Travancore kings, who descend from Ay kings (Yadava/Ayar) of Venad (Southern Kerala), who once had been under the suzernity of Pandyan kingdom and later under the Chera kingdom, had marital relationships with the ancient Chera kingdom. The Venad kings added the title Villavar indicating their Chera connections.

Pandyan Kingdom

The Minavars of Pandyan Kingdom was the allies of the Villavars. The Minavars (fishermen) had some role in the founding of the Pandyan kingdom at Korkai. The Mara Nadars or Nadalvars who were the main dynasty of the ancient Pandyan kingdom could be of Villavar stock too. The flag of the Pandiyan kingdom had fish as the emblem. Nadavas or Nadavars (Nadalvars) of Karnataka may have their origins from the Tulu Pandyan dynasty.Not present day nadar caste(shanar). The alupas (aluvar) a later day Tulu Pandyan kingdom had double fish as emblem. Enadhi or Enadi, Eyinan + Adi (ancient archer) a title used in the ancient Pandyan kingdom indicates the Villavar origins.

Villavars and Meenavars (minavar)

The Kalitokai, an ancient Tamil work, mentions the association of the Villavars and their allies Meenavars (fishermen) who fought a fierce battle (around 500BC to 1000 BC) against Nagas. The Nagas though Non Aryan lived in the North India and had heavy Aryan mixture. When the Villavars and Minavars were defeated by the Nagas in the Central India, the Present day Maharashtra, Chatthisgarh and Madyapradesh area was lost to the Villavars and Nagas occupied it. In the later days, Naga hordes moved southwards and infiltrated Southern India. [ [,M1# Villavar] ]

The Nagas

Nagas are Non Dravidians and non-Aryans and among the early inhabitants of India. They could be people from the Nairi or Naharin kingdom who migrated to India before thousand year BC. They differed culturally from the Classical Dravidians though they might have looked dark. Nagas founded numerous kingdoms in the North India who were friendly with the Aryans in the ancient times. Nahusha who became Indra, the king of Devas or Aryans was a Naga. However the Nagas, the proud rulers of ancient North India lost their position in the Aryan dominated areas, after they became Buddhists and were pushed to the lower echelons of the society. After the defeat of Villavars and Minavars at the Central India by Nagas some clans of Nagas moved into south India and got assimilated by the Dravidians.

Maravar, Eyinar, Oliyar, Oviyar, Aru-Valur and Parathavar

Maravar, Eyinar, Oliyar, Oviyar, Aru-Valur and Parathavar are believed to have Naga origins. Some Nagas founded kingdoms in Sri Lanka which was in turn renamed Nagadipa. They colonised Greater India, Indo China and South Asian countries and moved as fare as Philippines while establishing numerous kingdoms. Nagas seem to be more related to the Kalabhras or Kalapirars or Kalavar who invaded the Pandyan kingdom around 350 AD.

cythian Connection of the Nagas

After theSaka or Indo-Scythian people who invaded India in the second century BC some Nagas mixed with the Scythians especially at North India. They adopted the Matriarchy, Polyandry and other Scythian customs. Naga-Scythian tribe of Ahichatra, in Uttarpradesh near Nainital was invited by King Mayuravarma of the Kadamba dynasty in 345 AD along with their Brahmin overlords to settle down at Shimoga in the North Karnataka. During the Rashtrakuta invasions of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the eighth and ninth centuries the same Naga tribe, the Nairs or Nayars found firm roots in Kerala. Keralolpathi, Keralamahatmiyam and Kerala Purana state the story of Naga migration from north to south in the first millennium.

The North Indian Villavars

Rajputs regard the Bhils though tribals one among them. The North Indian Villavar clans might have been assimilated by the Rajputs. Until recently during the coronation of Rajput princes their foreheads had to be smeared by the blood drawn from the thumb of a Dravidian Bhil tribal to authenticate their authority.

Bhil Meenas of Rajastan

In the ancient times Rajasthan was ruled by a dynasty of Meenas which had the emblem of Fish like the Pandyan kingdom of the south. The Meena kingdom ruled the east of the river Jamuna roughly corresponding to the modern Jaipur and Alwar (ruler) areas. The meena kingdom (Fish kingdom) was called Matsya Kingdom in Sanskrit was mentioned in the Rig Veda. The Bhil Meenas could correspond to the Dravidian Villavar (Chera) and Meenavar (Pandya Kingdom)respectively and may descend from indigenous Dravidian rulers (Alwars) originally. Most of the Bhil Meenavas were aryanised even during the Vedic Period (1500 BC) and were considered as Vedic Tribes and had adopted Indo Aryan languages but a minority of the Bhil (tribal) Meenas still talk Dravidian as their mother tongue. Bhils and Meenas are included in theKshatriya Varna.In the later days the Bhils and Meenas mixed with the Pardeshis or Rajputs who were Scythian, Hepthalite or other Central Asian clans. The Scythian mixed Meenas and Bhils remain as Rajput subclans while the Meenas and Bhils who were displaced by the Scythian invaders and Muslims have mixed with the tribal Bhils and form the Bhil (tribal) meenas who still talk a Dravidian tongue and still considered as Rajputs.Bhil meenas are also found in parts of North eastern India and Sind area of Pakistan.

Fate of the Meenavars

Meenavars might have mixed with Parada or Paratarajas or Parvata Raja Kulam, an Indo-Scythian clan and got alienated from the Villavar and Nadalvar (Nadar) clans. Mudirajus or Mutharaiyar a Kalabhra aristocracy who once ruled Chera, Chola and Pandyan kingdoms as Muvendars regard Paratas as one of their own clan. Now at the present day, Meenavar caste has been spread up to eight divisions, the major tribes are Maravar and paravar(parathavar), who were ancient rulers of land and seas of Pandya kingdom. [ Parataraja]


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