Written by London swaminathan
Date: 13 December 2016
Time uploaded in London:-14-46
Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.
Most hard working, persevering farming community known as Kammavar Naickers live in South India. These people have several village settlements of their own in Tamil Nadu. There is a proverb about them and there is a story behind it.
The bridegrooms of the community are treated like royals by the fathers in law and one of these bridegrooms, while he was staying with at his rich father in laws house (he was a man with about 400 acres of land), at the time of the harvest, saw his father in law busily engaged with his men in cutting the stalks. On a certain day, while they were having a meal, the bridegroom asked his father in law,
“How many acres of land of stalks to be cut?”
“Several acres”, said the father in law.
“Well then, I shall be glad to be engaged in cutting the stalks from a hundred acres of land” , said the b
The following morning the b was taken by his father in law, and went to the field . Standing on an elevated ground, he pointed out with his finger the four boundaries of the acres of land in which the b consented to work. The father in law left the young man in the field and went home. There is unbearable heat in the months of April and May in India and unfortunately the task was taken in the month of April.
No doubt there was a great deal of good intention in him. He commenced to cut the stalks for fifteen minutes, but the heat was so severe that it melted his fat. His whole body began to perspire. The poor fellow felt altogether exhausted. He was like a dog inhaling and exhaling air through his mouth, his breath became short, but he kept up his courage for awhile. At about 10 am he returned home, having found himself quite unable to cut the stalks, even in a circumference of five yards!
In the house, his father in law was giving out that his son in law had undertaken the cutting of stalks from a large part of his lands. As soon as he saw him return, he was anxious to know how he had got on the field. The young man with shame replied that he was unable to cut the stalks to five yards, as the heat was so great and the day was burning hot. So, he politely asked his father in law to set apart only ten acres of land for him, and to leave the rest for the farm labourers to cut.
On the following day, the young man went at about 8 O’clock in the morning, to the field and remained there till nine, but found himself utterly useless even to cut the stalks for two yards. When he returned home at 10 O’clock, he informed his father in law, with great reluctance, that the distance of ten acres of land was too great, and so he would like to have it reduced to four. The other parts of the lands must be given to other labourers. The father in law readily consented to the request of the young man, who went to the field in the forenoon, and was cutting the stalks when his father in law came to him.
The bridegroom took a stick, drew a line, and asked his father in law to permit him to cut that part of the land only, and leave the rest to the farm labourers. Late in the evening his father in law came to see him. By this time the young man was quite exhausted, and lying prostrated under a thorn tree. He got up when he saw his father in law, and told him that he was unable to cut even the few yards which he had marked out, and so he begged his father in law to allow him to cut the distance of land which was marked out by turning his head around, practically a few stalks which stood under his foot. Hence arose the saying in this country – Mappillai Naicker thattai aruththathu pola, i.e. “As the bridegroom of the Naicker caste attempted to cut down the stalks’.
Source:Indian Village Folk by T B Pandian, Year 1897,London