Tamil Nadu to no longer refer to Vannars as ‘Salavai Thozhilalar’

The community will no longer be referred to as laundry workers and the perceived traditional profession will be delinked from the name

Published: 06th October 2022 11:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th October 2022 11:26 AM   |  A+A-

Caste, OBC, Caste Census

Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government has dropped referring to Vannar community as ‘Salavai Thozhilalar’ (laundry workers) in the Most Backward Communities’ list to delink the name of the community from its perceived traditional profession. “A person from any community can be engaged in any profession. Hence the name of the profession was delinked from the community’s name,” said an official.

An order and a gazette notification amending the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of seats in Educational Institutions and appointments of posts in the Services under the State) Act, 1993 (Tamil Nadu Act 45 of 1994) was issued by the Department of Backward Class, MBC and Minorities Welfare recently. 

For reservation under MBC category--- Agasa, Madivala, Ekali, Rajakula, Veluthadar and Rajaka --- are clubbed under the common title ‘Vannnar’, except in Kanniyakumari district and Shencottah taluk of Tenkasi district where the community has been accorded Scheduled Caste (SC) status.

The working-class community initially referred to as ‘Vannan’ in the Backward Classes list was renamed as ‘Vannar’ during the DMK regime in 1971.As per official data, 252 castes are listed as OBCs under three categories --- BC (143 castes), MBC (41 castes) and Denotified Communities (68 castes).  

M Muniyandi, secretary, Vada Chennai Salavai Thozhilar Munnetra Sangam, said, “People of Vannar community are now engaged in various professions including agriculture. Move to dissociate a traditional profession from the caste name deserves appreciation. However, hundreds of people in Chennai engaged in laundering clothes for decades are awaiting government support in improving dhobikhanas and getting housing pattas.”

In October last year, based on Chief Minister M K Stalin’s instructions, the Greater Chennai Corporation renamed two ponds in Ambattur and Thoraipakkam as Vannakulam from Vannan Kulam to remove caste from the name of the waterbodies. 


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