Malacca Chitty Tamil Community in Malaysia
Topic started by Ananthan (@ dialin080.csrv.uidaho.edu) on Mon Aug 12 03:36:11 .
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.
Malaysia is a multiracial society. Malaysian Indians, majority being Tamils who migrated to Malaysia between 1900-1950, are about 2 million out of the 22 million people in Malaysia. In addition there about 50,000 Sri Lankan or Jaffna Tamils who also migrated to Malaysia around the same time.
However the unique Tamil community is the Malacca Chitty. The Malacca Chitty (not Chettiars)community in the state of Malacca (or Melaka) in Malaysia who now number around 2,000 people, is unique in that they migrated from the Tamail nadu region around 1420-1500 AD, when the Malacca Kingdom flourished.
The Malacca Kingdom was founded around 1400 by Parameswara, a hindu prince from Sumatra (in present day Indoinesia). The Malacca kingdom subsequently became a muslim sultanate with the son of Parameswara becoming a Muslim with the introduction of Islam by Indian Muslim and Arabic merchants.
Malacca was then was visisted by numerous traders from India and China, with some Tamil hindu merchants establishing a settlement and also entering into the administration of the Malacca Sultanate.
Later Malacca fell into the Portuguse, Dutch, British, Japanese, British again and finally gaining independence within Malaysia in 1957.
During these period this small Tamil community known locally as the Malacca Chitty survived by adapting itself in adopting the local Malay language, dressing and food. They retained their Tamil names and the hindu practices that they brought with them in the 15 Century. The oldest functioning hindu temple in Malaysia built in 1700s belongs to the Melaka Chittys. With the fall of Malacca sultanate the Malacca Chittys became farmers.
I am sure there are many unique Tamil communities in other parts of the world who have adapted and blended themselves and are peacefully coexisting with the majority of the people. There is a big Tamil community in Medan, Sumatra Indonesia having Tamil names but msot of them speak Indonesian Malay language. There is also a small Tamil community in the Phuket Island in Southern Thailand. Interestingly there is now a famous fire walking ceremony at a temple in Phuket - I wonder if it was started by the Tamils there.
I would like Tamils to take more interest of such unique communities, visit them as tourist, support them, study them because they may give alot of insight how to survive in the future. I know anthropology does not pay well but that is the profession, Tamils are lacking in order to study these unique people.
- From: sanka (@ 126.96.36.199)
on: Mon Aug 12 05:08:57
Thank you for the article.I have also heard of a similar community in Colombo.They are also called chitty.Could someone from this community throw some light.This type of info will of be of immense help to prove that tamils were mercantile class of people who traded with the ancient kingdoms of that time.There is evidence of their influence in the cultural lives of the present day people of South East Asia.Can someone more informeds elaborate on this .Thank you.
- From: Sathuragiri vEL (@ 188.8.131.52)
on: Mon Aug 12 09:23:04
Thanks for the info. Though i have heard about Malacca Chittys, the rest is a news to me. As a beginning, we can request our fellow hubbers in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to write about these tamil groups. I am sure Dr.Jaybee and Raveen can throw more light on this.
- From: Venki (@ proxyle01.ext.ti.com)
on: Mon Aug 12 10:33:50
This was discussed earlier and can be found in the archives.
Here is a link on MELAKA CHITTY: http://www.geocities.com/mlkachittii1u2/index.html
For More: Try 'Overseas Tamil Chetti communities'
- From: Ananthan (@ siva.for.uidaho.edu)
on: Mon Aug 19 16:33:37
Thanks alot fot the great site.
There is alot of lesson we could learn from this old community. I am sure some form of low impact tourism will benefit this community.
- From: Mrs Maran Raja (@ )
on: Fri Sep 12 22:17:02
Glad to know that there are interest from you all about the Melaka Chitty's.Although I am not a chitty myself but I have been married to one.Their culture is unique and its quite amazing how the assimilation took place.They speak the malay language,wear kebaya and cook malay food but their believe in hinduism is still strong.For more info please visit the Chitty Museum in Kampung Tujuh, Gajah Berang Melaka.
- From: Senthil (@ 184.108.40.206)
on: Sat Sep 13 00:31:44 EDT 2003
Studying those people is important. At the same time, we should do something to bring them back to their (our) original culture and language. Culture may be different but language is the main identity for Tamils.
An organization may be formed to perform these activities by the volunteers. Fund may be raised from Tamil Nadu Government and Tamil industrialists.
- From: :) (@ d150-40-7.home.cgocable.net)
on: Sat Sep 13 09:01:56 EDT 2003
"At the same time, we should do something to bring them back to their (our) original culture and language"
Why should they deny their Malaysian heritage?
- From: thamiz (@ bbcache-9.singnet.com.sg)
on: Sat Sep 13 12:55:29 EDT 2003
Let no Tamilian degrade themselves without knowing what is what
- From: raja (@ bbcache-9.singnet.com.sg)
on: Sat Sep 13 12:56:49 EDT 2003
How many of u know abt malay script?
- From: Senthil (@ 220.127.116.11)
on: Sun Sep 14 00:59:09 EDT 2003
///we should do something to bring them back to their (our) original culture and language.///
I am not mentioning only about Malacca Chitties. I am talking about all Tamils who had abondoned their own language and cuture. They may be belongs to South Africa, Fiji, Mauritius, Reunion, Guyana, Trinidad, Thailand, Indonesia or even inside India like in Manipur.
Tamil language is our unique identity. Tamils can be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Brahmin, non Brahmin, Dalit. But their mother language should be Tamil.
- From: DINESH PILLAY (@ mlk-cache1.jaring.my)
on: Sun Mar 21 08:42:20
I am a MELAKA CHITTY if you want to chat with me e-mail me at DINESHTHEPRANKSTER@yahoo.com.
- From: smsureshbabu (@ dsl-tn-18.104.22.168.touchtelindia.net)
on: Thu Nov 4 13:13:29
- From: nisa aziz (@ 202-58-80-12.uitm.edu.my)
on: Wed Jan 12 02:03:03
no related images
- From: Malaysian Tamilan (@ 22.214.171.124)
on: Fri Jan 21 21:00:42 EST 2005
'The oldest functioning hindu temple in Malaysia built in 1700s belongs to the Melaka Chittys'..Where did u get this information? Care to tell me where the hell is this temple is? How come no other Indians in Malacca knews about this?
Im a Malaccan but i dont know such 'truth' exists..
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