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Thursday, July 1, 2021

Ancestral village Dusi (Mamandur) 100 years ago ! ~ a historical perspective !!

மிக முக்கிய முன்குறிப்பு :   1970 களில்  பள்ளி நாட்களில் - எங்கள் தமிழ் வாத்தியார் கேட்ட முதல் கேள்வி :  சொந்த ஊர் ! - இது அன்று பெரிய தாக்கத்தை ஏற்படுத்தவில்லை.  சென்னை, திருவல்லிக்கேணியை தாண்டாத என் போன்றோர்களுக்கு எல்லாமே, திருவல்லிக்கேணி, சென்னை தான்.  2007ல் தான் (நினைவு தெரிந்து) நம் மாமண்டூர் கிராமத்துக்கு வரும் வாய்ப்பு கிடைத்தது.

இன்று சென்னை மாநகரில் வசிக்கும் பலர் - பல கிராமங்களில் இருந்து இங்கு வந்து குடியேறியவர்கள்.  அவ்வாறாக எங்கள் பூர்விகம் 'மாமண்டூர்' கிராமம்.  இது காஞ்சிபுரத்தில் இருந்து வந்தவாசி செல்லும் பாதையில் தூசிக்கு அடுத்து அமைந்துள்ளதால் 'தூசி மாமண்டூர்' என்று வழங்கப்படுகிறது.  இந்த தூசி  கிராமம் பற்றி 'தென்னிந்திய கிராமங்கள்' என்ற தலைப்பில் சென்னை பல்கலைக்கழத்தின் பொருளாதார பேராசிரியர்  கில்பர்ட் ஸ்லேட்டர் பதிப்பித்த நூலில் பி. கிருஷ்ணமாச்சார்யா என்பவர் எழுதிய உரையின் சிறப்பம்சங்கள்.  இந்த நூல் 1918ல் ஆக்ஸ்போர்ட் யூனிவர்சிட்டி ப்ரெஸ் வெளியிட்டது.   

இன்னமும் நமது மாமண்டூருடன் தொடர்பு உள்ளவர்களுக்கு இதில் உள்ள தகவல்கள் புதிதாக இல்லாமல் இருக்கலாம். புத்தகத்தை படிக்கும் போது - அதனது தகவல்களும், கட்டமைப்பும் என்னை பிரமிக்க வைத்தன.  தென்னிந்தியாவில் ஆயிரக்கணக்கான கிராமங்கள் இருக்க, நம்  கிராமத்தை ஒட்டியுள்ள, நம் கிராமத்துக்கு பெயர் காரணமான   தூசிமாமண்டூர் - 11 கிராமங்களில் ஒன்றாக இங்கே இடம் பெற்றுள்ளது மிக சிறப்பே ! - நமது ஊர் ஸ்ரீசுந்தரவல்லி சமேத ஸ்ரீலக்ஷ்மி நாராயணப்பெருமாளுக்கு இது சமர்ப்பணம்.

 


Dusi Mamandur where ??  :  There are many important places in and around Kanchipuram and as you travel from Kanchi to Vandavasi / Cheyyar, you would cross the SalaiKinaru (from where thirumanjanatheertham for Devarajar was brought), Iyengarkulam, Palar bridge, Dhoosi, you would come to the hamlet ‘Mamandur’ – known as Dhoosi Mamandur due to its proximity to Dusi. This village has a big reservoir and is about 3 km away from Palar and about 8-9 km away from Kanchipuram.   


The beautiful Mamandur village is in Venbakkam Taluk, Thiruvannamalai district – is known for its 7th century rock-cut temple and the huge lake .. .. on the left side from the bus stand – one can have darshan of the Temple and the roads leading to the village – on the right hand side there are lush green paddy fields leading to the Mamandur lake.  

The Battle of Wandiwash was a watershed in Indian history  that  cemented British supremacy in South Asia. On January 22, 1760, a British force led by Eyre Coote defeated a French force led by General Lally. .. our village is on way to Vandavasi from Kanchipuram !  Kanchipuram , Tiruvethipuram , Uthiramerur , Vandavasi are towns nearby Dusi. Narasamangalam (3 km) , Abdullapuram ( 3 km ) , Vadakalpakkam ( 3 km ) , Pallavaram ( 3 km ) , Namandi ( 4 km ) , Vembakkam (10km) are villages nearby Dusi. 

The following text is extracted and excerpted from ‘Economic Studies’ edited by Gilbert slater, MA, D.Sc,  Professor of Indian Economics, University of Madras,  Vol I – ‘Some South Indian villages’ – published by Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press in the year 1918 – more than a century ago.  (this is primarily about Dusi  village which is nearest and yielding name to our village and not specifically about Mamandur though !!)


In Jan 1913, Sir Theodore Morison delivered the inaugural Address of the Madras Economic Association, he suggested that economic enquiry in the Madras Presidency should begin with a sociological and statistical survey of a typical Indian village. Obviously too much stress must not be laid upon the word “typical.” No single village can be typical of the Presidency of Madras and the neighbouring States of Southern India. It can at best be typical of a particular district, and long acquaintance with the district is necessary to qualify an enquirer to decide which village is most typical. On the other hand the advantages of the method of study recommended by Sir Theodore Morison are obvious. Villages came before towns, and even in the most industrialized countries, where all economic questions tend to be studied from an urban point of view, it is well to be reminded that the economic life of a town or city cannot be understood without reference to the lands which send it its food and raw materials, and the villages from which it attracts young men and women. The importance of rural activities and of village life in India, in view of the enormous preponderance of its agricultural population over that engaged in mining, manufacture, commerce and transport, is not likely to be overlooked ; and least of all in Southern India, which has no coal mines and no great industries like cotton manufacture in Bombay and jute in Bengal.

On taking up my appointment as Professor of Indian Economics, in the University of Madras in December 1915, I determined to direct the attention of students towards the study of particular villages.   The introduction by Gilbert Slater concludes  ‘On the basis of preliminary inquiries, I drew up a “ Village Questionnaire,” as a guide to students in the investigation of their own villages ; and the following Village Surveys were worked out in the basis of that questionnaire’.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
Mamandur Veeravalli Srinivasan Sampathkumar
13th June 2021.

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North Arcot District :  Dusi  - by P Krishnama Acharya

The village of Dusi in the Cheyyar taluk, North Arcot district, is the headquarters of the Deputy Tahsildar, the Sub-Magistrate and the Police and Abkari Sub-Inspectors of the taluk. It is what is termed a ‘ firka, ’ a subdivision of a taluk, and it is shortly to become the centre of an office of the Sub-Registrar of Assurances.

The village occupies an area of nearly seven square miles. No forests are situated near it. It is situated on the southern bank of the river Palar. But the lands of the place are not directly irrigated by water from that river. It is about 30 miles from the sea-coast. A hill about five miles long is situated on the western border of the village. This hill is attractive as forming the eastern bank of the Dusi-Mamandur Lake, which is considered the biggest in those parts, occupying an area of more than 25 square miles, and supplying 36 villages with water for irrigation. In winter, when the lake is full, it is very picturesque, and the few Europeans stationed in the neighbourhood enjoy boating on it. There is a channel connecting the River Palar with it, whereby it is filled whenever there are floods in the river.

Without any great claim for excellence in regard to natural scenery, it can safely be said, that the village has a peculiar simplicity and charm of its own which is alike attractive and interesting.

Population—The total population of the village is 1,266 individuals in 251 households. There are nearly half a dozen castes in the village, such as Vaishnavite Brahmins, Saivite Brahmans, Sudras or Vellalas, Padials or Goundans, the carpenter and other artisans, and Muhammadans.  It puts the no. of Vaishnavaite Brahmans to be 64 families ! 

On the average there are about six persons in each family. There are 89 living children in the 66 Brahman families alone. According to the statistics of last year there were 23 births and II deaths. As every one in the village is expected to register any birth and death in his house within three days of its occurrence, to the village munsif, under pain of punishment for default, and as the village is divided into two hostile factions (one street against another), and members of either faction are ready to inform against members of the other, it is probable that the official record is accurate.

Land.—There are 517*35 acres of wet land, 221*13 acres dry, 1,180*53 acres of common pasture and waste. There is no land watered by wells, and no woods and forests, but there are scattered over the village about 2,826 trees (fruit and shade). Of the fruit trees the most important are mango (300), pomegranates (42), coconut palms (576), plantains (142), and tamarinds (618) which is a most useful tree, supplying the sour fruit essential for cooking purposes. The rest are shade trees. Chief among them aremargosa, aswatha and pursa. The coconut palms are mostly leased out for drawing toddy.

There are also two channels in the southern portion of the village. They are used for irrigation and drinking. The last and largest source of water-supply for the village is the Mamandur Lake, which has been mentioned before. In the hill adjoining the lake are several caverns, mandapams and temples, all ancient and each of them having an interesting and ancient history of its own. These are places of interest which have a deep meaning to the archaeologist; and these places are held in sanctity by the people of the neighbouring villages. People within a radius of about ten or twelve miles go there on pilgrimage.

Occupation of land and Agriculture—Tenancies.—Three-fourths of the land is let by the landowners on the “ varam ” or share system. One-fourth is let on lease. Under “ varam ” the tenant does the work under the personal supervision of the landowner. The tenant has to sow the land and reap the harvest for the landlord and in return for his work throughout the year, he gets a certain proportion of the produce. There are three landowners of the place who do not reside in the village but are employed in other parts of the Presidency. The lands of these also are managed and cultivated by their relatives in the village, who pay the kist and the tenant out of the produce and hand over the remainder to the owner either in paddy or its money equivalent.  

This is what is called the “kuthakai ” system. Here the tenant isfree from the landlord’s interference during the period for which the lease is taken. The lease is taken generally for one year and it may be renewed year after year. The landlord is at liberty to increase or reduce the amount of grain which he may claim at his tenant’s hands when he renews the lease. But the increase or reduction must not be made during the term of the lease.  There are 57 landowners who let land on “varam,” and about 410 acres of wet land are so cultivated.

There are about eight non-cultivating landowners, and they are employed variously. One is an Assistant Inspector of Salt and Abkari Department, another is a District Munsif, some are employed as petty officials in Madras. These eight landowners hold about 100 acres of wet land, and lease it on the “ kuthakai ” system.

The rents paid by the tenants are always in kind. Under the “varam” system, where the landlord supplies everything and the tenant supplies only labour, the tenant is entitled to one-sixth of the produce. Under the “kuthakai” system where the tenant supplies everything and cultivates the land at his own cost, the tenant will have to pay to the landowner 10 to 15 kalams* for every crop on every acre of land which he has taken on lease from the landlord. The amount of rent varies according to the fertility of the land. The selling price of wet land varies from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 2,500 per acre, the price depending on the fertility of the land, its accessibility from the village, and its proximity to the source of irrigation.

The land revenue for wet land ranges from Rs. 10 to Rs. 12 per acre,! this difference being due to the classification made by the * [One local kalam = 12 local marakkals = 48 Madras measures = 120 lb. and at present wholesale prices is worth about 5 rupees. The non-working landowner therefore receives from Rs. 50 to Rs. 75 per acre in rent, or from five to seven times the kist.—Ed.]

Of the two lakes which supply water for irrigation, the Mamandur lake supplies water for raising two crops every year with certainty. Therefore the assessment of the lands under the ayacut (irrigable area) of this tank is compounded, i.e., the assessment for first crop plus the assessment of the second, which is always half of the first, is totalled together and something is deducted from the total and the balance is fixed as the compounded assessment for two crops. 

All the wet lands are used for the cultivation of paddy. The dry lands are used either for cultivation of groundnuts and at times gingelly or sesamum, or as pasture. Eighty-three acres yield one crop per annum; 435 acres yield two crops per annum, one being harvested in May and June and the other in December or January. The old-fashioned Indian wooden plough drawn by two bullocks or buffaloes is used.It is not customary to transplant paddy. The usual method is to sow the seed broadcast in well ploughed land. After some time the weeds, which grow along with the crop, are all plucked out. But in 1916 one enterprising villager read some of the suggestions of the Agricultural Department and tried to apply them to his own land. He replanted the young plants in another well-ploughed field. Each plant was planted a yard apart from its neighbours to give it space to take root and grow well. This, of course, leads to an economy in the amount of seed. He used onlythe chemical manure of Messrs. Parry & Co. The paddy grew about 5 feet tall, taller than the growth in the neighbouring fields.

The sight of the field itself was interesting. It seemed one big dark mass. But after the harvest he complained that the produce of his fields was not in proportion to the labour and money he bestowed upon them. That method of cultivation was abandoned.

Live-stock.—The village has: 260 oxen, 200 cows, 84 bull buffaloes, 92 cow buffaloes, 455 young of above species, 2 horses, 5 donkeys, 98 sheep, 64 goats, and 17 pigs. The villagers both buy and breed. They rely mainly on the cattle they breed themselves; not many are bought. They buy the more valuable oxen for road work. The quality of the cattle is pretty good, but the animals are usually small and light. Oxen and buffaloes are fed with straw and powdered husks. Cows are fed with grass, oilcake and cotton seed. Donkeys are fed on the waste lands. Horses are fed with grass and gram ; the sheep and goats feed upon the leaves of plants. The pigs live upon refuse ; they are not particularly cared for; powdered husk is their favourite food. Each family engages a cow-boy to look after the cattle. He is paid a small wage.

The village.—The village occupies an area of 28 acres 55 cents. Brahmans live in the western part of the village. This portion is called the “ agraharam.” The other castes live together and form a sort of semi-circle round the Brahman quarter, on its east, north and north-west sides. Most of the village houses are thatched. There are 180 thatched houses, 64 tiled houses and 7 terraced. Every house has a small garden attached to it, situated within the house compound and occupying the rearmost portion. The gardens are used for the cultivation of vegetable plants and small fruit trees. The chief plants cultivated are brinjals, pumpkins, drumsticks, beans, bandaikkai and chillis. The chief fruit trees are guava, pomegranate, plantain and coconut. 

It costs a man about Rs. 1,500 to build a house on a site 30 feet broad and 150 feet long, the house itself occupying about one third of the area. This sum includes the cost of the site which might be valued at about Rs.500. The maximum distance of cultivated land from the home of the cultivator is two miles. The tenants exchange lands in order to get their lands contiguous, if these lands belong to the same pattadar. 

There is no industry at all in the village excepting agriculture and the minor crafts of the carpenter and the other smiths. There are no weavers in the place. In some adjacent villages, the whole population carry on the weaving industry and they supply the neighbourhood with cloth.  In these villages  men and women work at their handlooms from morning till evening. The poorer weavers go to Conjeeveram every evening with their daily turnout and sell to the traders there so as to use their earnings for next day’s bread. Each weaver will on the average earn nearly twelve annas profit a day. Only handlooms are used, and it is noteworthy that the handloom industry is thriving well in these parts. Also in the village of Pillaipalaiyam, five miles from Dusi, about 2,000 families carry on this industry. 

Almost all the landlords have made savings. About 20 per cent of the savings is utilized as agricultural capital, about 10 per cent in savings banks, about 50 per cent on loans to neighbours, the rate of interest being about 12 per cent per annum on promissory notes, and about 5 per cent on jewellery. Nearly all the landlords are rich and they are not indebted to anybody. They have lent money to the ryots, who in return promise to be their tenants under the usual conditions, till they are in a position to redeem themselves from their bondage.

             The fish rent, i.e., the rent paid by the contractor who purchases the right to fish in the lake for one year, is one of the sources of communal income. Another source is the price obtained from the herd who is allowed to feed his geese on the lands of the villagers after the harvest. These geese belong to a neighbouring village. Again there are groves, the produce of which is sold and the sum divided among the villagers. The extent of the communal income for the village is Rs. 2,000 per annum. A portion of the money is spent on the festivals during the year. A smaller portion is spent in digging canals which have silted up. The annual expenditure on festivals is about Rs. 200. During festival days, the villagers arrange for a series of dramas, the expenses of which are met from the communal income. 

For Chitra Pournami, which falls in April, thousands of devotees come here to worship Lord Sri Devaraja who comes in procession  all the way from Conjeeveram. The Abishekam or Tirumanjanam performed to Him in Iyangulam is bothsacred and grand. This festival costs the villagers about Rs. 200, and they consider the occasion worth spending even more.

The general sanitary condition of the village is good ; cases of persons suffering from malaria are few, ill-health itself is rare. Cholera visits the village perhaps once in five years and its victims are few in number. There are no cases of plague. There are about five cases of tuberculosis. Though many are attacked by smallpox it seldom happens that even one or two cases become fatal. About half a dozen infants die per year in their first years. No case of snake-bite has proved fatal, at least during the past two years. But there are about a dozen cases of snake-bite every year.

All diseases are treated successfully by the native doctors with the help of herbs. The percentage of cures through such means excels the cure through even English medicines in every variety of treatment, whether surgical or medicinal. In the case of snake-bites, the person bitten is cured by the mere pronunciation of certain mantrams; it is not a superstition to be lightly spoken of, is the actualcase. And all men are cured of their poisonous wounds generally by means of these mantrams, the pronunciation of which itself has some scientific effect.

Everyone, whether he is a Brahman or non-Brahman, especially the former, rises up early, goes inspecting the fields and bathes in the channel water at 6-30 or 7 a.m. Every man washes his own clothes, and so he always wears very clean though cheap clothes. Drinking-water is got from the channels. The channel water is free from any mud or dirt- It is healthy and sweet. The villagers also bathe in the same channel. But as the water is flowing, bathing and drinking the same water is not considered insanitary.

Education.—There is only one school in the village, a small building situated at the end of the Brahman quarter of the village, capable of accommodating about 150 children of various castes studying up to the fourth standard. Arithmetic, kindergarten, nature study, vernacular and a little English are taught. It is a primary board rural school maintained by the villagers out of fees with the help of a small Government grant. The teaching is done by a master and his assistant who are matriculates and who have received training in the Government Training School, Saidapet. The master is paid Rs. 20 and his assistant Rs. 15 per month. It was at first a free school, but now a small fee is charged.

There are about 61 boys and 22 girls attending the school this year, aged from five to ten years. In the Brahman quarter more than 60 per cent of the inhabitants both male and female read and write the vernacular. Among the non-Brahmans about 25 per cent of the males are able to read and write the vernacular. No non-Brahman female can read. About eight or nine individuals can read, write and speak English. There is only one pundit in the village who is well versed in the Vedas and other Sanskrit books. There are about three persons who have taken the degree B.A., and are employed elsewhere. Twenty-four boys have proceeded to advanced schools elsewhere, but no girls.

Of those who have passed through Secondary schools there are about half a dozen Government servants (District Munsif, Deputy Collector, Salt Inspector, etc.). Some are continuing their education. One is in the pass B.A. course and another in the Honours, about two are in the Intermediate. The rest have discontinued and are quietly reposing in their village homes. It is a credit to the village that one of its sons is the State pandit in Mysore and is considered a profound scholar of Sanskrit. There are about 200 books in the village ; all religious, either written in Sanskrit or Tamil. The villagers are all very orthodox.

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Overall, the book presents our village in high esteem in so far as Education, sanitary conditions, agriculture and the culture of the people.  We can be proud of Dusi village and perhaps the same was the condition of Mamandur too.  The editor of the book  - Gilbert Slater (1864 – 1938) was an English economist and social reformer of the early 20th century.  He was born in Plymouth,  studied economics and worked as a professor. In 1909, he was appointed principal of Ruskin College. From 1915 to 1921, Slater served as the Professor of Economics at the University of Madras. Slater died in 1938 at the age of 73.

Slater was the  first Professor of economics and head of the new economics department of the University of Madras which was founded in 1912.  Slater had learnt the Tamil language and was ready for his new assignment.  Slater was nominated to the Madras Legislative Council in 1921 and served for a year until his return to the United Kingdom in 1922. During his term in the council, he recommended the appointment of a committee to investigate the feasibility of the adoption of a common script for the whole Presidency. Slater's motion was, however, defeated by a huge margin.

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4 comments:

  1. மிகவும் சிறப்பாக உள்ளது. ஒரு (நம் )கிராமத்தின் அமைப்பு, நீள அகலம், விவசாயம், ஆட்சி முறை, கல்வி, அங்கே வாழ்ந்த மக்கள், மற்றும் கால்நடைகள். அவற்றின் வளர்ப்பு, நீர் நிலைகளின் அமைப்பு, வரதர் காஞ்சியிலிரிந்து எழுந்தருளி கொண்டாடியது வரவு மிகவும் விரிவாகவும், சுவராஸியமாகவும் எழுதப்பட்டு உள்ளது. சரித்திர பாடம் போலவும் உள்ளது (for those who are interested in history like me). எதுவுமே விடுபடவில்லை. Great!!

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  2. very proud to know that this blog is narrating about my native village that too by a foreigner.

    comments by a member in Mupural Family

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  3. என் பூர்வீக ஊரைப்பற்றி அனைத்து விவரங்களும் உள்ள பொக்கிஷம். இதனை கண்டுபிடித்த பகிர்ந்ததற்கு உ.வே. சம்பத் குமார் அவர்களுக்கு நன்றி.

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    Replies
    1. Sir, while your comments makes me feel happy - it would have been better, if the same is posted with your identify ie., Name & place ! - Thank you

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