[Advaita-l] Saurashtra

vadhula at yahoo.com vadhula at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 18 07:25:48 CST 2012

Sourashtrian Brahmins of TN perform upanayana, etc and have similar gotras. Many have Iyer and Iyengar surnames. Some are purohits and are veg. But many are non-veg. An anomaly is that are silk weavers. IMHO, many jaathis in South India that are weavers that belong to Vaishya or Shudra varna. Their language also has adopted words from Marathi,Telugu,and Tamil. Muslim invasion of Gujarat may caused migration down South.
Ravi Chandrasekhara

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On Jan 18, 2012, at 1:03 AM, "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:

> [was Re: [Advaita-l] Query regarding the birthplace of Bhaskararaya]
> On Sat, 17 Dec 2011, sriram wrote:
>> About Sourashtras -the word Sou indicates 100 in Hindhi-Rashtras indicate princely states.These states were integrated into Indian Union by Sri Sir Vallabhai Patel.There were 562 princely states in our country and it is to the credit of Sir Vallabhai Patel that these states joined the Indian Union.The Sourashtrians then migrated to South and are concentrated in Madurai District.They are known as pattu nool-silk thread- dealers.
> It is true that the peninsular part of Gujarat known as Kathiawad or Saurashtra (where my family is from incidently) contained many princely states which were atleast on paper not part of British India but to derive the word Saurashtra from them seems rather fanciful IMO.  For a start there were some 202 of them (out of the 500+ in all India) but nearly all only came into existence after the breakup of the Mughal empire and the sultanate of Ahmedabad and the word Saurashtra is much older than that. I have been told 2 etymologies, from Su + rashtra "the good country" or from Saura + rashtra "the country of the sun worshippers."  The area has a higher number of Surya mandirs[1] than other parts of India and the Saura influence is an important part of the local culture.  For instance our kuladevi Randala Ma is the wife of Surya Bhagawan.
> On Sat, 17 Dec 2011, vadhula at yahoo.com wrote:
>> I have heard of Sourashtran Brahmins of TN. Unlike Gujarati Brahmins,
>> many are non veg and are into silk weaving. Paradoxical ? Perhaps
>> Jaldhar Vyas can comment. They do undergo upanayana and many have taken
>> Iyer surname.
> All I know about them is from a small book written by the Gujarati historian I.R. Dave.[2]  In it he correlates many words of the Saurashtrian dialect with medieval Gujarati forms and therefore considers the idea of northern origin plausible.  I believe he also mentioned that the status of those Saurashtrians as Brahmanas was only settled in a series of court cases in the 19th century so more likely they are a community sui generis.
> [1] Modhera being the most famous example though only on the geographic outskirts of Saurashtra  see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modhera
> [2] "Saurashtrians in South India" I.R. Dave, Saurashtra University Press, 1976
> -- 
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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