The Karkathar community now is generally a middle class agricultural community which clustered certain areas in the cholanad; the members of that community occupy whole areas in Tanjavur district in the Sirkali, Mayuram, Kumbakonam and Nannilam taluks; large areas in Karaikkal, in Nagappattinam and Papanasanam taluks; whole areas in the Chidambaram and Vriddha- chalam taluks of South Arcot district; large areas in Udayar- palayam, Thiruchi, and Lalgudi taluks in the Tiruchirapalli district; they occupy large pockets in the Tirunelveli, Tenkasi and Ambasamudram taluks of Madurai district and Sattur, Srivil- liputtur and Aruppukkottai taluks of Ramanathapuram district. The first world war had dislodged them from their pinnacles and sent them job hunting and settled them in, urban areas like Madras, Tanjavur and Thiruchirapalli.
We shall refer to the mention of the Velalar in some books of the first millennia after Christ. Manimekhalai has been quoted below. The word Velanmai which we take to mean as agriculture, was interpreted as benevolence, helping others, in the early period. The Kural says that the householder's business in life is to feed the guests and help others. Another book says, "He is a Velala who would not take his food, keeping the guest hungry outside". This has been praised as the real characteristics of the velalar in subsequent literature.
The early lexical work, Divakaram equates Karalar and Velalar with Sudra, in accordance with the belief of those times. On the same basis, it defines the duty of the Velalar as six; tilling the soil, tending the cattle, trade, music, weaving and service to the twice-born.
During the later years, many different classes began calling themselves Velalar. The Karkathar, who were the only Velalar in the pre-historic past, gave rise to many divisions which were Velalar and yet called themselves by different names.