Sakkiliar also Chakilli, Sakkili and Arunthathiyar are one of the most marginalized social groups or castes from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. Along with Pallar and Parayar, they form the largest Dalit group. They are believed to have moved from Andhra Pradesh into Tamil Nadu along with other Telugu speakers. The Indian census of 2001 reported the Arunthathiyar population to be 771,659 and the Chakkiliyar population to be 777,139. (pdf)

Primary function

Along with social groups associated with those who wash clothes for other Dalits, Arunthathiyar are one of the most backward castes. Arunthathiyars are the major population around 70/- of the total dalit population in Tamil nadu. They are around 50% of total dalit population in northern and south-eastern parts of Tamil nadu but forming more than 100/- of total population of Dalits in western parts of Tamil Nadu. . . At some point in history, a whole class of people across India have been forced by violence and religious sanction into this vital role. In this aspect they have similar castes across India. The most notable one is Chamars, mathigasChandala and of North India.

Arunthatiyar are used as general agricultural across Western and Northern Tamil Nadu.

They are usually accorded a place that is apart from the main village as the other Dalits. Many place names in India and Sri Lanka are named for this community.


With the migration of many rural workers to urban areas, . aruntahthiyar are the rulars of the ancient india. in ramayanam also the bharathan is rular .and arunthathiyar are freedam fighter like madurai veerar .ondiveerar . muthu pagadai were fight againgt the english rulars Arunthathiyars are basically agricultural laburors along with other dalits. Further many state and central govt. Programs have been specifically geared towards upgrading the material culture of this group. Further there is no conversion

In the Tamil diaspora

There are Sakkilar found in Tamil and Sinhalese speaking regions of Sri Lanka. They were brought by the British to work in the teas estates, (see Sri Lanka Tamils (Indian origin)). Most probably they are also found in traditionally Tamil migratory communities across the world.

Sakkili as a derogotary term

Sakkili is a term used by certain Flame Warriors from Sri lanka, partisan to the Sinhalese nationalistic cause in the current civil war to describe all Sri Lankan Tamils (native) and has been noted by sociologists.

Due to the negative connotation associated with this world the community has changed it name to Arunthathiyar using Sanskritisation myths of origin from a daughter of a mythical Brahmin sage named Arundati. Another marginal group namely Pariahs too have changed their name to Samabavas.

See also


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