administrative system of thiyyar

Thiyyars of North Malabar have a unique administrative system.Thiyyar had been a high level spiritual based culture which was based on their Family Kavu ,Kulam ,and Illam (Gotra ). Thiyyar had been their own self governing system.

Kazhakam is the central administrative system of Thiyyars.The Kazhakam is a traditional caste association exclusively for the Thiyyars in North Malabar. The process of urbanisation and social change has almost wiped of this historical institution from the rest of the region.

At present Kazhakams found in the Northern part of Kolathnad and Alladathnad (Northern part of Kannur and Kasargod ) are the following:

  • Kuruvanthatta Kazhakam at Ramanthali near Payyannur
  • Ramavillyam Kazhakam at Elambachi near Trikarippur
  • Nellikkathuruthi Kazhakam at Cheruvathur
  • Palakkunnu Kazhakam at Uduma near Kasargod .
  • Sasihitlu kazhakam at sasihithlu, Manglore
  • Kudroli koottakkala at kudroli, Manglore
  • Andalur Perumkazhakam, Dharmadam

Palott kazhakams of thiyya community are,

  • Azheekkod Palotu kazhakam,
  • Keecheri Palott Kazhakam,
  • Athiyadam Palott kazhakam
  • Thekkumbad Palott Kazhakam
  • Malliyottu Palott Kazhakam

These Kazhakams function independently in this region. The one lost Kottil of North Malabar was Andalur (near Tellicherry). Andalur Temple exists its elders,but it has lost its authority as a Traditional Kottil. Kazhakams are socio-religious organisations which include all members of the Thiyyars in their respective area. The meeting place of the elders for administering justice and associated with a central place for worship Such an astable is known as Kazhakam.In the traditional administrative system (Kazhakam) include a micro -level unit was called Tara. The affairs of the Tara were managed by 4 elders. The jurisdiction was only on the Thiyyars.The executive authority in a Tara was Kaikkolan or Tandan. A unit of 4 Taras constituted a Nalpadu. It was managed by a Nalpadi. A unit of 4 Nalpads organised a Kazhakam. A unit of 4 Kazhakams constituted a Perumkazhakam or Trikkuttam. The place where the Trikkuttam assembled was known as Kottil which would be a Temple. On very important caste and social matters, the Trikkuttam took decisions. It was an assembly of 64 elders from the respective Taras, 64 Tandans, 16 Nalpadis and 4 Kazhakam Achanmar or Fathers. Besides them, according to Kambil Anandan, 32 Kutipathis or elders and 16 Karanavar were elected to this assembly. The Achanmar have to wear Ceremonial dress or Kachila and take an auspicious sword on the occasion of their meeting. The lower units of the Kazhakam have also become defunct,but all traditional are attached to the Kazhakam. The important officials and priests of a Kazhakams are as follows:

  • 1) Anthithiriyan:- He is the priest who lights the sacred tamp of the Kazhakam shrine. He also perform, many rituals regarding worship of Gods and Goddess of the mantra in Kazhakam.
  • 2) Tandan:- He is known as Kaikkolan. He collects levy for shrine and execute, decisions of the elders.
  • 3) Karanavar:-They are the elders known as Achaninar who function like an assembly and decide important caste and Kazhakam nutters. They administer justice and control social relations when conflicts arise. They constitute the body of caste council.
  • 4) Velichappadan:-He makes oracles as 'possessed' by gods and goddesses. He takes the auspicious sword; representing the deities in ceremonial processions
  • 5) Kutakkaran:-He is a representative of the assembly. He executes the decisions of the assembly or elder, and participates in the activities of the Kazhakam. He wears a towel of black and red colour on his shoulder as an insignia. The flag of qKazhakkaran is also of the same colour denoting the ancient cultural legacy.
  • 6) Samudayi:- They are elders who help in taking important decisions by the Karanavar or Achanmar.There are also officials like Kutakkaran and Kalaynakkaran. A Kutakkaran holds the auspicious umbrella of god or goddess and participates in the Kutakkutthu, a ritual dance of the Sangam age. The Kalayakkaran brings auspicious toddy for rituals