Noms de famille et noms de pays
Terroir natal dans les noms de famille malayalis


തറവാട് taṟavāṭụ

Le nom du Taravad est à la fois et simultanément le nom d'une famille indivise (lignée) et le nom d'un pays ou terroir natal.

[Ancienne version, depuis regrettablement expurgée]

Most of the family names are of obscure origin, but many have geographical origins – e.g., Vadakkedath (from the North), Puthenveetil (from the new house), Akkarakaran (from that coast), Chirayath Chazhukaran (Chirayath family who migrated from Chazhoor), etc. Traditionally the full names followed one of the following patterns:

1. Family name followed by the given name followed usually by the caste name or title. This was the common pattern (for men and women) among the upper-caste Hindus, especially of Malabar and Cochin. Examples: Mani Madhava Chakyar (Mani is the family name or tharavad name, Madhava(n) is the given name and Chakyar is the caste name), Vallathol Narayana Menon (Vallathol is the family name or tharavad name, Narayana(n) is the given name and Menon is the caste name), Olappamanna Subramanian Nambudiri, Erambala Krishnan Nayanar, etc. Sometimes the caste name/title was omitted, e.g., Kannoth Karunakaran (where the caste name Marar has been omitted). In the case of women the caste name/title was, traditionally, usually different, for example "Amma" was used for "Nair", "Andarjjanam" was used for "Nampoothiri", "Varyasyar" for "Varyar", "Nangyar" for "Nambiar" "Kunjamma" for "Valiathan/Unnithan/Kartha," e.g., Nalappat Balamani Amma whose brother was Nalappat Narayana Menon, and Savithri Andarjjanam (a renowned author). Quite often the family name will have more than one part to it, e.g., Elankulam Manakkal Sankaran Namboodiripad, Madathil Thekkepaattu Vasudevan Nair, etc. The family name is usually initialled, the given name is sometimes initialled (never when there is no caste name following) and the caste name (if present) is never initialled. This is completely arbitrary. So we have as common forms Vallathol Narayana Menon, C. Achutha Menon, E K Nayanar and P. Bhaskaran (here Bhaskaran is the given name; the caste name, Nair in this case, has been omitted).

2. Family name followed by Father's given name followed by Given name. This is common among the rest of the population. For example most traditional Christian names followed this pattern. Usually the Family name and Father name were initialled. In case of (Hindu) women "Amma" was frequently used (as in the previous case). Examples include K M Mani, K G George, V S Achuthanandan, K R Gowri Amma. Many Palakkad Iyers (Kerala Iyers) use an adaptation of this convention by replacing the Family Name with the name of the "gramam" (village). Example: Tirunellai Narayanaiyer Seshan (T N Seshan), where Tirunellai would be the village name, Narayanaiyer is the Father's given name and Seshan is the given name; or Guruvayoor Shankaranarayanan Lalitha abbreviated as G. S. Lalitha.

3. Given name followed by Title. This is common particularly among Syrian Christians in the old central Travancore area, where the king (Maharaja) or the local ruler (Raja or Thampuran) used to assign some titles to select families. Examples include Varghese Vaidyan (Vaidyan), Fr. Geevarghese Panicker (Panicker), Chacko Muthalaly (Muthalaly), Avira Tharakan (Tharakan), Varkey Vallikappen (Vallikappen), etc. (Many Christian names such as Varghese or Ghevarghese are of Aramaic/Syrian origin.)

4. Given name followed by Father's name as surname and the Initial taken from Mother's name. This is a common trend nowadays where both the mother's and father's names are found with the given name. Example: L. Athira Krishna. Here the mother's name 'Leela' finds mention in the Initial and the father's name 'Krishna' is taken as Surname.

5. Much of these traditional naming patterns have now disappeared. The family names are usually not included nowadays (this can probably be attributed to the decline of the joint families or tharavads). The most common patterns nowadays is to have given names, followed by the father's given name (patronymic, e.g., Sunil Narayanan or Anil Varghese) or caste name (e.g., Anup Nair). It is also not uncommon for the village of origin to be used in lieu of the family name, especially in South Kerala, e.g., Kavalam Narayana Panicker, where Kavalam is a village in Alappuzha (Alleppey) district. [C'est le cas de Thakazhi, nom du village et nom de famille de l'écrivain.]