CHENNAI: In the midst of the bustling Hindu Spiritual and Service Fair, a group of four managed to catch everyone’s attention as they paraded in all their glory. The group, three men and a young boy, were dressed in their traditional attire, while the group head held a sword and performed a type of martial art, the others also held weapons such silambattam sticks.
They identified themselves as Kallars from Madurai and claimed to be the direct descendants of the first settlers in India, who arrived from Africa. They also claim to be the sole group that continues to carry the same gene. “We have managed gene purity as we don’t marry outside 10 km of our homes,” said Siva Kallar, the lead performer.
After the parade, when they settled in their stall, devotees started to flood in as Siva blessed them and proceeded to speak about their exquisite lineage.
The Kallars, they claimed, had helped eliminate the British from their village by refusing to comply with their rules. Siva’s 20-year-old niece said that the community was known for banditry and had a massacre like the Jallianwalabagh tragedy where they were killed for their actions. “We still observe that day, April 3, when the massacre happened.”
“Before the judiciary came into existence, we dictated the law of the land and the villagers would come to us with their problems,” he explained. Even today that is their main occupation. “If someone reports something lost, it is our duty to find it. If we don’t, then we buy them the same thing with our own money,” he added.