“You are related to the Malfoys!” exclaimed Harry.

“Yeah, well all pure blood families are interrelated”, said Sirius “You don’t have much of a choice if you let your offspring marry only pure bloods”

 

“Well, we really don’t have much of a choice nowadays, except let them marry whomsoever they may want to”, so comforted my mom her sister-in-law.

You see, one of my numerous cousins had just married someone of “Another Caste” (rolls eyes).

“Yes, but this is the first time”. She sobbed, “Till now no one from our vamsham has married one from another caste!”

“Really ? That means we are pure-bloods?” I said. (to general astonishment, of course these are all adults sitting here, discussing a seemingly important matter, and I was allowed here only because all the children were asleep and there was no one for me to baby-sit (glory be!)

“Pure-bloods?!?” blinked my sobbing aunt.

My mom gave me a “what-the-hell-are- you-saying” and a “clear-out-if-you-know-what’s-good-for-you” look at the same time.

Well, I did clear out, but I also did something more and here’s what I got after a bit of researching. (And I must say, the results were quite unexpected even for me).

So here goes:

The earliest Brahmins to arrive in Andhra were most probably sage Viswamitra’s students and progeny around 1200 BC.  South Indian kings showed respect and patronage for Brahmins and Brahminism since ancient times A group of Brahmins migrated approximately in the 13th and 14th centuries from Saurashtra towards south of Vindhyas and settled on the banks of River Kaveri in Tamilnadu and adopted Tamil language. These Brahmins are related to the Ayyars of Tamilnadu.  Later, some of these Brahmins migrated northward towards coastal Andhra to the River Godavari basin and henceforth were called Dravida Brahmins (That solves one more mystery: Why are some people in the south very fair – they were basically from the north)

Some of the Dravida Brahmins migrated to Andhra around 550 years ago from Tamilnadu.  The Dravida Brahmin group continued the migration deep into north coastal Andhra, settling at various places of their convenience and based on the locations they settled in, they were known under different sects. Aaraamadravidas are those Brahmins who settled and lived in gardens (aaraamas) initially. One other theory says that Aaraamadravidas are those who settled on the other (i.e. northward side) of the river Godavari. So by now, you must have guessed that I belong to the same. 😀 Don’t worry; I will not bore you guys with an entire history lesson about the other sects.
 Due to their expertise and learning, the rulers of Coastal Andhra gave not only refuge, but also gifts and rewards of lands and agrahaaras (villages) to the migrated Brahmins.

Aaraamadravidas are not big on perfoming yajna and yaagas like others Dravida Brahmins, but excelled in vedic studies, poetry and literature, medicine, music, astrology etc.

Ahem, now coming to the Pantulas, they are a very dominant part of the Aaramadravida sect. As far as the knowledge extends, the family existed more than 500 years and were probably desecendents of Viswamitra. Originally the family was called as the Voleti family. Being a large interconnected family, all the year round there were many deaths with the result that they could not celebrate the religious functions.(Usually in hindu families, when anyone dies, his/her family does not celebrate any festival or function till a year to show their mourning: called Sootakam)

Obviously, the elders must have thought that this is not done. And as such decided to separate in to two families.  One as VOLETI FAMILY and the other as PANTULA FAMILY and decided not to observe the births and deaths happening in the two families. Even today they are no marriage alliances between the two families. And these families are one of the few families who have not yet died out. The Rishis of the Pantula family are ANGIRASA VISHNUVARDHANA OURUKUTSA (i.e. they are my ancestors: father, son, and grandson)

 

Both Voletis and Pantulas are well known in Andhra Pradesh for their attainments in arts and culture. In the Voleti family there are a number of poets and musicians. In the Pantula family there are musicians, poets, astrologers and palmists. The family attained a good name with the Rajahs of Vizianagram for their honesty, sincerity and truthfulness in work

 

Gosh that’s nearly 600 years worth of history !!

And to think that I didn’t much like the sound of “Pantula”! I started showing a lot more respect to my surname since then, you bet!

 

P.S.: For more info follow these links:

http://www.vepachedu.org/manasanskriti/aaraamadraavida.html

www.pantula.com

Those of who are interested in the history of Andhra Pradesh(well we have a rich history dating from the Ramayana time check this out:

http://www.maharashtraweb.com/AndhraPradesh/AndhraPradeshhistory.htm

Even good old Wikipedia has some mighty good info on that topic so you can try checking that out.

 

Advertisements