Collection 8

EAP 314 Collection 8

Location of the original documents:

Kongu Nadu

Number of digital images :

1248 digital images in TIFF format

Extent and Format of the original documents:

25 handwritten and printed paper documents, 12 notebooks, 1 copper plate.

Date range of the original documents:

1862-1943

Scope and content of the collection:

This collection consists of paper documents dealing with customary law, Madras Inam Commision as well as a small amount of miscellaneous papers. There are also 13 notebooks of various size and pages used by the document holder’s grandfather when he went for the ritual tax collection to different villages. This tax was collected from each Kongu Vellala Goundar household which came under his jurisdiction as Addenam (Religious head). The current holder received these documents from his grandfather as well as his father’s elder brother.

System of arrangement of the collection:

The collection is arranged in series: (1) Copper plate transcription, (2) Correspondance on customary issues, (3) Deed issued by the Inam Commision, (4) Miscellaneous Documents and (5) Ritual tax collection notebooks.

(1) Copper plate transcription

This series (1888) contains handwritten document which is a transcription from a copper plate which has apparently been lost. It describes how the three South Indian Kings (Chera, Chola, Pandya) did the Siva puja (ritual) and told the forefathers of the document holders to migrate to the Kongu Nadu region and continue the Siva puja for the local people.

N.B.: Caution must always be exercised regarding the authenticity of copper plates as fakes have been produced.

(2) Correspondance on customary issues

This series (1894-1943) contains handwritten correspondance to and by the Addenam on various issues customary issues such as his ritual status, doing away with a curse, breaking the traditional ties which bind him to the local people, etc.

(3) Deed issued by the Inam Commision

This series (1862-1869) contains deeds issued by the Madras Inam Commision  to the Addenam. Inam land was government land rented out for a minimal sum and which could be acquired by the tenant at a later period again for a minimal price.

(4) Miscellaneous Documents

This series (1924-1978) contains miscellaneous documents ranging from a school leaving certificate, thank you notice sent by the Addenam to the villagers for their support in a legal issue and invitation for the swearing-in of a new Addeenam.

(5) Ritual tax collection notebooks

This series (1920-1939) contains 13 handwritten notebooks concerning the different villages visited by the Sivagiri Addenam and the ritual tax collected from each household which comes under his jurisdiction. The Addenam would perform an important ritual, the Siva puja, for the Kongu Vellala caste people which they could not perform themselves and therefore he was entitled to collect this money from them. Each house paid 25 paise per month or Rs.3 per annum. The Addenam would travel himself to all the locations. Since this was very time consuming sometime he would collect the tax only once every two years and therefore collect at that time the tax for the two years. This ritual tax system is still in existence.