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Aryanisation of Kerala

  • The process of Aryanisation of the 'South India' began about 1000 BC and it reached a decisive stage by the 4th century BC.

  • The first batch of Brahmin immigrants came to Kerala in the 3rd century BC. This period coincides with the Mauryan age in north India. The Jains and the Buddhists also came to Kerala during the same period.

  • During the Sangham age (Gupta age in north India), the Kadamba kings invited large colonies of Brahmins and settled them in the Kerala and the Tulu countries.

  • Many Sangham works have Aryan influences.

    • Some of the Sangham poets were local Brahmins.

    • Vedic sacrifices were conducted by the Brahmins under the patronage of Chera kings.

    • 'Patittupattu' speaks of the Brahmins as well as the four Vedas.

  • In the 8th century AD, the Aryanisation of Kerala reached its climax. A major batch of Brahmin immigrants came and strengthened Brahmanism. According to traditions, six eminent Brahmin scholars came along with the immigrants, met the Buddhists in argument,completely defeated them and established the supremacy of the Vedic religion.

  • The Aryan influence increased considerably in the 9th century AD, by the works of reformers like Sankaracharya.

Impact of Aryanisation

  • Caste system was emerged. The Aryan immigrants were Brahmins. There were no Kshatriya or Vaishya immigrants. The immigrant Brahmins stressed on the importance of 'Chaturvarnya'.

  • The importance of Yagas and sacrifices increased. this increased the status of Brahmins.

  • Trade routes and commercial centres in north India became known to the merchants and princes. This increased the status of Kshatriyas (princes) and Vaishyas (merchants). They started to look their fellow men as inferior to them.

  • During the Sangham period, the communities like the Panas, the Vetas, the Kuruvas, etc. had a high status. After the Aryanisation, they were looked upon as low castes.

  • There was a change in the dietary habits of the people. The use of beef and liquor came to be looked upon as taboo.

  • Literacy level declined. Members of the lower castes were denied the right to education.

  • Dignity of labour was eroded. The social status of a person came to be determined on the basis of his occupation. Those who were engaged in physical labour were relegated to the lowest strata of society.

  • The status of women degraded. Female education was neglected. Child Marriage became common. Women were compelled to take family life. Women no longer enjoyed social freedom and equality. The life of the widows became harder.

  • Aryanisation resulted in the decline of of Buddhism and Jainism in Kerala. Brahmins defeated the Buddhists and Jains in intellectual arguments. It is also possible that the Aryans resorted to a policy of destroying Buddhist Viharas and images. Many broken and damaged Buddhist images were found from such places as Karumadi and Pallikkal.

  • Several temple arts and festivals were instituted.

  • Dravidian gods were accommodated in the Hindu religion. The Dravidian Goddess 'Kottavai' was accepted in the form of Kali, Durga or Bhagawathi. The Dravidian deity Sastha came to be looked as the son of Vishnu and Siva.

Quote (important for exam)

  • "The Aryanisation of Kerala was a slow but steady process which was effected in a subtle manner not by the force of arms, but by the arts of peace. It ended in the final submission of the local Dravidian races to the superior intelligence and administrative skill of the Brahmins from the North."


1 Comment

Jul 05, 2023

Thank you

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