Marathas Ancestors Kings, Maharattirar Of Kolhapur Sangam Literature

Weapons used by Maratha Soldiers

‘The Duke of Wellington, after defeating the Marathas, noted that the Marathas, though poorly led by their Generals, had regular infantry and artillery that matched the level of that of the Europeans and warned other British officers from underestimating the Marathas on the battlefield. He cautioned one British general that: “You must never allow Maratha infantry to attack head on or in close hand to hand combat as in that your army will cover itself with utter disgrace” Lee, Wayne (2011). Empires and Indigenes: Intercultural Alliance, Imperial Expansion, and Warfare in the Early Modern World. NYU Press. ISBN 978-0-8147-6527-2. Pg. 85

Such is the fear instilled by the Marathas, invaders baulked at facing them in battlefield.One of the most ferocious fighters , Marathas were essentially Farmers as well in ancient days.Though various theories are put forth about Marathas Origin, we shall look at the references found about Marathas in Tamil Literature. Foreign writers have gone about writing about the origin of Marathas in a peculiar fashion, trying to interpret things from the prism of caste and from the angle of their pre conceived notions. Never for a moment they have tried to explore Indian sources to understand Marathas antiquity.Nor have they attempted to find out whether there is any reference to them in Indian literature, like Tamil.Being one of the earliest , it has wealth of historical information which no other western source can provide.If one takes the help of Tamil along with Sanskrit and Prakrit, we can rewrite Indian history, which is presented to us now is totally false and prejudiced.

The Marathas belong to warrior class and were Kings of Smaller Kingdoms and they were known for their valour and their commitment to keep up their word.There were initially four Groups in Tulu,Konkan, Karnataka and Kolhapur in Maharashtra.They were the Vadukas. Read this.’.Mauryan forces were defeated by Pandyan King Ariyappadaikadantha Nedunchezhiyan in the west coast of India,( in and around Mangalore).Kosars were regional SThirumogur, 12 km from Madurai.atraps who were ruling from the Northwest of Tamil Nadu that is they were ruling from Konkan, Tulu and Kongu Nadu( around Coimbatore ,Tamil Nadu) generally.At the time of Mauryan invasion,they were on the side of Mauryas.The Mauryan forces ,along with Kosars,entered the area through Mangalore Pass with their Chariot Forces and they used the Vadugas ( who are ruling areas near Tirupati).These forces were defeated at Mogur,now called Thirumogur is one of the 108 Sacred Vaishnava Sthalas.’

  • Tamil literature, Kosars were mentioned as west Vadukas with their origin as Kolhapur near GoaErattar were a branch of Kosars who became Maha Rattirar (Prakrit) or Maharashtrans (Sanskrit). Historian Burnell confirms this.
  • Kosars were called Nar Kosar or Nanmozhi Kosar in the third Sangam literature. Nannul or Tholkappiam notes them as Kannadam (Kannadigas), Vaduku (Tulu), Kalingam (Oriya) and Telugu people. Kamba-ramayanam Payiram says Kosars were Vadakalai (Prakrit), Thenkalai (Tamil), Vaduku and Kannada people. Kosars were truthful to their kings and were called ‘Vai-mozhi Kosar’ (truthful in keeping their words).
  • The Mathurai Kanchi 508-09 & 771-74 records them as:

“Poyya Nallisai Niruththa punaithar, Perum peyar Maaran Thalaivan Aka, Kadanthadu vai val Elampal Kosar, Eyaneri Marabin Vai mozhi ketpa” and “Pazhayan Mokoor Avayakam vilanka Nanmozhi Kosar Thontri yanna”.

  • The Pandyan dynasty‘s Nedunchezhian’s army head was Mohoor Pazhayan Maaran. Kosars were present in his army. They followed Maran’s words in battle and were honored for their job in his court.
  • Elampal Kosar (young Kosars) were present in the armies of the Cheras.
  • Silappatikaram says Kon kilam Kosar were present in the KoArmMarumakkathayamyngu (Kongu Nadu).
  • The Prakrit form of Vai-mozhi Kosar is Saththiya Putthirar and Asokan inscriptions call the Vadukus by this name. This might refer to the children born out of the system.
  • The Akananooru 15, 2-7 records:

“Thokai Kavin Thulu nattu anna Varunkai Vampalaith Thankum panpin Cherintha Seri Chemmal Moothur”. (Then captured Kudaku Nadu and Erumai Nadu and settled in Tulu Nadu with Moothur as their capital).

# Erumaimadu refers to Land of Mahishasura now in Mysuru area of Karnataka.

The ancestors of Marathas were spread in Dravida Desa,in Three Great Tamil Kings’ armies as Special Protection Forces, called Kaikkolars,Suicide Squad to protect Kings ( Rajaraja Chola’s Kaikkolars Unit was famous).They were also spread in Konkan,Tulu, Coimbatore area Orissa,Andhra( near Tirupati).They belong to ancient Tamil Clan and worshipped Murugan, Subrahmanya.I shall write more on this and Marathas in Ithisasa Mahabharata.

Modern research has revealed that the Marathas and Kunbi have the same origin. Most recently, the Kunbi origin of the Maratha has been explained in detail by historians Richard Eaton and Stewart Gordon. Marathas who were distinguished from the Kunbi, in the past claimed genealogical connections with Rajputs of northern India. However, modern researchers demonstrate, giving examples, that these claims are not factual. Modern scholars agree that Marathas and Kunbi are the same. Anthropologist J. V. Ferreira writes: “The Maratha claim to belong to the ancient 96 Kshatriya families has no foundation in fact and may have been adopted after the Marathas became with Shivaji a power to be reckoned with”. Gordon writes how the Maratha caste was generated from the Kunbis who served the Muslim rulers, prospered, and over time adopted different customs like different dressing styles, employed genealogists, started identifying as Maratha, and caste boundaries solidified between them. In the nineteenth century, economic prosperity rather than martial service to the Muslims replaced the mobility into Maratha identity. Eaton gives an example of the Holkar family that originally belonged to the Dhangar (shepherd) caste but was given a Maratha or even an “arch-Maratha” identity. The other example, given by Susan Bayly, is of the Bhonsles who originated among Maratha and Kunbi populations of the Deccani tiller-plainsmen.Similarly, scholars write that the Shinde( also known as Scindia[) Maratha clan originated from the Kunbi caste and the Scindia’s founder was a servant of the Peshwa who would carry his slippers….According to Jeremy Black, British historian at the University of Exeter, “Maratha caste is a coalescence of peasants, shepherds, ironworkers, etc. as a result of serving in the military in the 17th and 18th century”. They are dominant in rural areas and mainly constitute the landed peasantry. As of 2018, 80% of the members of the Maratha caste were farmers.

Marathas are subdivided into 96 different clans, known as the 96 Kuli Marathas or Shahānnau Kule.The general body of lists are often at great variance with each other.There is not much social distinction between the Marathas and Kunbis since the 1950s

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