Sankethi people

The Sankethi people are a South Indian Smartha Brahmin[2] community located in Karnataka, India, mostly in villages in the south of the state. They speak a Dravidian language known as Sankethi, which is related to Tamil and Kannada.[3] Their traditional occupation is agriculture, engaging in the cultivation of crops such as areca nuts (also known as betel nuts), palm nuts, tobacco, bananas, and coconuts. The community has traditionally adhered to Advaita Vedanta and maintains the ancient practice of avadhanam, as well as having a long tradition in Carnatic classical music.

Sankethi people
Total population
c. 25,000[1]
Regions with significant populations
Languages
Sankethi language
Religion
Hinduism
Related ethnic groups
Tamil people, Kannada people

The two largest Sankethi groups initially settled predominantly in Kowshika village near Hassan, Karnataka and Bettadapura, Mysore district, and becoming the Kaushika and the Bettadapura communities, respectively.[4]

HistoryEdit

Sankethis venerate a woman known as Nacharu, respectfully called Nacharamma. The appended -amma marks her status as the figurative mother of the Sankethi people, who led them out of Sengottai after mistreatment at the hands of the local Brahmin orthodoxy. Keshaviah refers to her as "... a solitary Brahmana woman leading some 700 or 800 Brahman families from what was their home from time immemorial ...".[5] He also says that "At Alwargurchi, ... we met two very old Brahmanas of Vadama sect who ... afforded additional independent testimony to what we had from so many of our own sect".[6] Several tellings of the story exist within the Sankethi community, as such the exact details are difficult to ascertain.[citation needed]

Migration and other historyEdit

According to Dr. B.S. Pranatartiharan, a researcher in Sankethi studies and writer, the first wave of migration of Sankethis was in 1087 CE and was prompted by the Nacharamma episode.[7][2] The date of 1087 CE for the first migration suggests that Sankethis fled during the time of the Pandyan Civil War. There is also evidence, according to an inscription preserved in a museum in Shimoga, that the Sankethi community received a land grant from the king of Vijayanagara in 1524 from Krishnadevaraya in recognition of Vedic scholarship.[8]

A schism emerged in the early 20th century as many Indians began to go to Britain in pursuit of higher studies. The more conservative members of the community were strongly against their sons leaving India for study, citing prohibitions against Brahmins traveling by sea. B. K. Narayana Rao sought to study medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, and ignored the elders' objections.[9] He opened doors for Indian medical postgraduates to study in Europe, and also modernized Indian eye care in Mysore.[10]

ReligionEdit

The Sankethi community is considered a fairly orthodox Hindu community, having mostly Vedic rites as a part of daily practice, though they do have certain culturally specific practices such as angaḍi habba, vāraturave and kanū habba.[11] Pranatartiharan also reports that Sankethis also have a large variety of family deities, including grāmadevatas like Māramma and Dyāvamma.[12] This is attributed to Sankethis' dissociation from work in temple services, as Sankethis are typically not priests (even in temples which they have built themselves).[13] The Sankethis also have a community deity, known as Vāṇiyamma, who is said to appear in people's dreams and give them sacred missions.[14] Furthermore, the Sankethi community has been open to outside influences, freely incorporating previously not practiced rituals like Caṇdī Homa, which earned the censure of other Brahmin communities for indulging in vāmācāra practices.[15]

The Sankethi community also has an atypical relationship with maṭhas, being historically exempt from paying gurudakṣiṇa to the Śṛṅgeri Śaṅkarācārya due to multiple purported occasions in which Kaushika Sankethis in particular are remembered to have preserved Śrṅgeri Maṭha's reputation without having been formally tied or subordinate to it.[16]

CuisineEdit

Sankethi cuisine is not especially distinctive from other southern Karnataka cuisine, though there exists a definite influence from Tamil Nadu and Kerala cuisines. For example, shavige, a popular Sankethi dish is highly similar to idiyappam from Kerala, but is often flavored like sevai from Tamil Nadu. Sankethis by and large are vegetarians, so their cuisine consists entirely of vegetarian dishes. There is also avial and kutu, two other popular dishes in the Sankethi community, which are also found in Tamil cuisines. Due to their migratory history, influences from all over South India are evident.[citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Satish, DP. "Karnataka: Brahmins Sacrifice Sheep, Drink Country Liquor at Yajna". News18.
  2. ^ a b Ramachandran, C. N. (16 June 2011). "Trailing a tiny bunch". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  3. ^ Nagaraja, K.S. (1982). "Tense in Sanketi Tamila Comparative Note". Bulletin of the Deccan College Research Institute. 41: 126–129. JSTOR 42931419.
  4. ^ Chatterjee, Rajeswari (2003). Lifescapes of India: Religions, Customs, and Laws of India (PDF). Frandsen Humanities Press. p. 45. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 December 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  5. ^ Keshaviah, M (1936). Life of Nacharamma (History of Her Migration). https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.367350: Sree Panchacharya Electric Press. p. 44.CS1 maint: location (link)
  6. ^ Keshaviah, M. (1936). Life of Nacharamma (History of Her Migration). https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.367350: Sree Panchacharya Electric Press. p. 74.CS1 maint: location (link)
  7. ^ Pranatarthiharan, B.S. (2010). ಸಂಕೇತಿ: ಒಂದು ಅಧ್ಯಯನ (Sankethi: A Study). Samudaya Adhyayana Kendra.
  8. ^ Viswanathan, Trichur S. (4 April 2013). "Tale of two villages". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  9. ^ "NASA - Fostering the global Sankethi community". www.sankethi.org. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Mysore's visionaries". Deccan Herald. 17 September 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  11. ^ Pranatarthiharan, B.S. (2010). ಸಂಕೇತಿ: ಒಂದು ಅಧ್ಯಯನ (Sankethi: A Study). Samudaya Adhyayana Kendra. pp. 171–173.
  12. ^ Pranatartiharan, B.S. (2010). ಸಂಕೇತಿ: ಒಂದು ಅಧ್ಯಯನ (Sankethi: A Study). Samudaya Adhyayana Kendra. pp. 173–175.
  13. ^ Pranatartiharan, B.S. (2010). ಸಂಕೇತಿ: ಒಂದು ಅಧ್ಯಯನ (Sankethi: A Study). Samudaya Adhyayana Kendra. pp. 176–177.
  14. ^ Pranatartiharan, B.S. (2010). ಸಂಕೇತಿ: ಒಂದು ಅಧ್ಯಯನ (Sankethi: A Study). Samudaya Adhyayana Kendra. p. 177.
  15. ^ Pranatartiharan, B.S. (2010). ಸಂಕೇತಿ: ಒಂದು ಅಧ್ಯಯನ (Sankethi: A Study). Samudaya Adhyayana Kendra. p. 173.
  16. ^ Pranatartiharan, B.S. (2010). ಸಂಕೇತಿ: ಒಂದು ಅಧ್ಯಯನ (Sankethi: A Study). Samudaya Adhyayana Kendra. p. 15.

External linksEdit