Kadaiyar (also spelled Kadayar) is a subcaste of Devendrakula Velalar an agricultural community found in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu[1] and Sri Lanka.[2] They are also known as Kadaisiyar.[3]


Kadaiyar is derived from the Tamil word kaṭai meaning "low" or "least" and the honorific suffix -yar denoting people.[4] The name might also be derived from kaṭai meaning "to mash" or "to grind" in reference to their traditional occupation as lime burners.[5] In colonial records are they known as Kaddeas, a corruption of Kadaiyars.[6]


The Kadaiyars belong traditionally to the Marutham Sangam landscape.[3] They are mentioned in Puram as involved in agriculture.[7]

They were one of the earliest Tamils to convert to Roman Catholicism along with the Paravars under Francis Xavier.[8]

As of 2017, the Kadaiyar were a listed as a Scheduled Caste in Tamil Nadu under India's system of positive discrimination.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Lok Sabha passes bill to place seven castes under Devendrakula Velalars in Tamil Nadu". The Hindu. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  2. ^ Nyrop, Richard F.; Studies, American University (Washington, D. C. ) Foreign Area; Army, United States Dept of the (1986). Sri Lanka, a country study. Headquarters, Dept. of the Army. p. 108.
  3. ^ a b Ramaswamy, Vijaya (25 August 2017). Historical Dictionary of the Tamils. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 371. ISBN 9781538106860.
  4. ^ "கடையர் | அகராதி | Tamil Dictionary". agarathi.com. University of Madras Lexicon. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  5. ^ McGilvray, Dennis B. (7 May 2008). Crucible of Conflict: Tamil and Muslim Society on the East Coast of Sri Lanka. Duke University Press. p. 371. ISBN 0822341611.
  6. ^ Indian Antiquary. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. 1971. p. 229.
  7. ^ Sen, Sailendra Nath (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization. New Age International. p. 207. ISBN 9788122411980.
  8. ^ Sivasubramaniam, K. (2009). Fisheries in Sri Lanka: anthropological and biological aspects. Kumaran Book House. p. 171. ISBN 9789556591460.
  9. ^ "Tamil Nadu". Ministry of Social Justice. 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2020.