Sembinaadu is a place in Ramanadhapuram which was part of Cholzha Naadu during the Raja Raja Cholzhan period. The place got it’s name through some Pandyan maravar’s who helped the king Cholzha to protect thanjore from the invasion of Pandyans from madurai, while the king was plotting an attack on Srilanka. Since a large group of pandyan maravars helped the king to protect Thanjoore while his away on a war in Srilanka. To honour their gratitude and valour , the king conferred the prestigious Cholzha kingdom pattam which is “Sembiyan” to the these maravar groups first Leader the Sethupathy and their place in Ramanathapuram was called Sembinaadu .
This Sembiyan pattam was only used by the Cholzha kings initially.That day onwards, the maravars who hail from sembinaadu were known as Sembinaattu Maravars or profoundly known as Cholzha maravars. This way new subcaste was born in the Maravar Clan.Today among the maravar it’s known as the highest form of subcaste due to it’s rich history , valour and total strength (population).In ancient days , most of these maravars were part of the pandyan , cholzha and Chera Army. This group of Maravars found predominantly in Ramanathapuram and in the Southern districts of Tamil Nadu, such as Madurai, Theni, Sivagangai, Ramanathapuram, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Thirunelveli, Thoothukudi and districts of Tamil Nadu. They are also found in central districts of Tamil Nadu like Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Tiruchy.
They belong to the Surya Kulam like Esan Naattu Kallars. Unlike Kandayan Kottai Maravar’s Who belongs to the Chandra Kulam as they are known as Pandya Maravars. During the Pandyan Kula Vamsam, the properties were divided among the Sembinaatu Maravars and Kandayan Kottai Maravar’s, where most of the profitable properties went to the hands of KandayanKottai Maravars and due to this Many Pandyan Maravars became the Rich Landlords whereas Cholzha Maravars joined the Military of Cholzha , Chera and Pandyan. Many during the 18th and 19th centuries, most of the Sembinaattu Maravars were assimilated into the Tamil Padam Nair subcaste of the Nair community. The Maravar regiment of the Travancore army was known as “Maravar Padai”, which supplemented Nair Pattalam, the larger indigenous military unit. Tamil Padam Nair is recognized as a part of the Malayala Kshatriya social grouping.
Addition to this, it was standard rule those days, where no intercaste marriage was not allowed between Sembinaattu Maravars and Esan Naattu Kallars. Since it was considered as incest but today it is not practiced widely anymore. Another highlight of this subcaste is that, the udan Kattai eruthal(meaning entering into pyre along with the dead husband) is practiced widely in this community( this practice was temporarily abolished during the period of Maaravarman Sundarapaandiyan in 12th century). After the demise of Maravarman Sundarapandiyan the practice resumed back. During the british invasion, this practice was abolished completely in 1829.
Another Interesting Information about Sembinaattu Maravars are, Most of the Sethubathy’s Of Ramnad belong to the this subcaste of maravar. Even today since Sembinaattu Maravar’s Kilai are maternal, it is said that when the sethupathi’s dies without a legitimate son, the the throne goes to his sister’s son (same kilai as him). The most preffered Kilai for Throne is the Thanichha Kilai (one of the Kilai practiced in the Sembinaatu Maravar Clan.
For most of them the Pattam is “Thevar” but some uses other pattams like Nattar, Rayar,Pandiyar,Sembiyan and Thennavan.
The Kilai System practiced in this Subcaste :-
Kilai system ((branches)
*The Killai is inherited from mother. So a boy or girl will not marry in their same Killai. It is assumed that they are brother & sister.
Such a practice is no longer prevailing amongst other maravars.
a) Seetha Ramar Maravar Kilai
b) Nalu Kottai Maravar kilai
c) Katra Maravar kilai
d) Marikka maravar kilai
e) Picha Maravar kilai
f) Thondaiman Maravar kilai
g) Thanicha Maravar kilai
h) Karuputhra Maravar kilai
i) Karana Maravar
j) Nalukottai Maravar (most of the sethubathy’s belongs to this kilai)
Thevar Samugha Varalaru (1976) by Muthu thevar.