Heritage of Nagarathars

Heritage of Nagarathars

Origin of Nagarathars (600 AD – 1100AD)

Nattukottai Chettiars settled in the town of Kaveripoompatinam (Poompuhar) during the Chola Kingdom at the request of the Chola King. The main reason for the request was, Nattukottai Chettiars were bright business people.

Chettiars were successful seafaring merchants and traders and lived in the port city (Nagaram) of Poompuhar and wanted to be referred as Nagarathars to discriminate them form the Chetty traders who lived inland. They flourished and as successful businessmen, the wealth and wealth grew rapidly which caused jealously among many including the Chola King.

Love affair

During the rule of King Poovandhi Cholan, an incident occurred that happened to be the turning point for all nagarathars. The King fell in love (one sided affair) with a young beautiful nagarathar girl and wanted to marry her. But the girl and her parents refused.

The King was very stubborn, announced a wedding date and ordered to proceed with the marriage. When the king arrived at the brides’ place on the day of the marriage, he had a surprise, the girl, her parents and family members fled the past night. The King felt that it was an insult and vowed revenge against the complete Nagarathar community.

Pandya King’s Welcome

Unable to tolerate the torture of the Chola King, the Nagarathars decided to leave, but where? That was when the Pandya King came to their rescue. Recognizing their talents and their business acumen he welcomed them to his Kingdom near Madurai. Pandya king gave them collectively the land of Chettinad and this is where currently all the nagarathars have built their home and is spread across 80 villages.

Growth period (1100 – 1800AD)

During this period, the nagarathars flourished and continued their trade. They were very good bankers, and their business spread across South East Asia. When British conquered Burma, there was a great need for rice in Europe. An act that was passed during the British Rule gave the title of ownership to the Burmese if they grown the land and paid taxes. As a consequence of this act provided the locals to mortgage to buy seed and fertilizer but who financed them? This is where the Nagarathars came in; they were good in finance trade and offered very low interest rates. When Burmese failed to pay the mortgage, they acquired their lands.

Rise after the Fall

Fall of British Emprire, World war – 2 and Burmese freedom, all led to the lose of the nagarathars’ assets overseas and they had to return to the home land. already though they lost fixed assets oversea, they had transferred funds back to Chettinad. After the return, they started to invest massively in South Indian Industry that included Education, Engineering, Fertilizers, Film, Finance, Plantations, Publishing, Textile, etc.

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