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Fostering education has always been one of the main agenda of the Association.


Way back in the year 1922,some of the Karkathars living in Madras came together and they decided to form an Associ- ation of Karkathars.Thiru Rathinam Pillai,an Educationalist of those days took the lead in forming the Association and also was elected the first President of the Chennai Karkathar Association.

The initial enthusiasm waned during the subsequent per- iod and there was a lull in the activities of the association for some six years. Again Thiru Rathinam Pillai re-formed the association, framed a constitution and had a body elected for the governance of the Association. With great vision he also saw to it that the Association so formed was registered under the societies act.


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.


About Us

Karkathar (Kar-cloud, Kathar- protector) means protector of clouds in Tamil.[1] They are also called as pillai which means son in Tamil.In ancient past, it is said, that people were starving to death because there was no food for the masses . To redeem people from hunger and poverty Goddess Parvati created persons of Karkathar Vellala caste to save people from hunger by teaching them the nuances of agriculture and water management.

As these Vellalas were created by Goddess Parvati they are referred to as Pillais, sons of Parvati.Even today some of the Karkathars use Pillai as a suffix to their name ; but the younger generation is wary of using caste titles.Nowadays people belonging to other castes also use Pillai as a suffix to enhance their social status. A Karkathar Pillai can easily be identified with his Gotra name, which is unique to them .

Karkathars are a sub-caste of Vellalar. The word Vellalar is from the term Velanmai which means cultivation.As the preeminent occupation of the Karkathars is agriculture they are known as Karkatha Vellalas.In the Poonagari Brahmi inscription of Jaffna, Srilanka the precursor of the word Vellala,vela, was found inscribed.The inscription is dated to 2nd century BCE.

They used the water sources more effectively to irrigate and cultivate the lands for agriculture.Most of them were landlords, so they don't work on lands but supervise the works. It was a pride among the karkathars to have land in the past; which was their status symbol.