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The Chitty
Chitty
are a distinctive group of Tamil people
Tamil people
found mainly in Melaka
Melaka
and Singapore, who are also known as the Indian Peranakans. As of today[when?], their population stands at 2,000. The Chitty/Chetti community is largely from the Coramandel Coast of South India
India
and are devout Hindus.

Contents

1 Language 2 History 3 Appearance 4 Religion 5 Culture 6 Dress and lifestyle 7 Notable Chitty 8 See also 9 Notes 10 Further reading 11 External links

Language[edit] Like the Peranakans, the Chitty
Chitty
speak a Malay patois, which is mixed with many Tamil loan words. Many of the Chitty
Chitty
are unable to communicate in Tamil fluently. History[edit]

Chitty Museum
Chitty Museum
in Melaka.

Historical records stated that the Tamil traders from Panai in Tamil Nadu settled down in Melaka
Melaka
during the sovereignty of the Sultanate of Malacca. Like the Peranakans, they later settled down and freely intermingled with the local Malays and Chinese settlers. However, with the fall of the Malacca Sultanate after 1511, the Chitty
Chitty
eventually lost touch with their native land. Under the administration of the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonizers, the Chitty
Chitty
eventually began simplifying their culture and customs by adopting local customs. This can be evidenced in the architecture of the Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple, which was built by Thaivanayagam Pillay, the leader of the Chitty
Chitty
people, in 1781 after the Dutch colonial government gave him a plot of land. The traditional Chitty
Chitty
settlement is located at Kampung Tujuh along Jalan Gajah Berang, which is also inhabited by a small number of Chinese and Malays as well. Many of the Chitty
Chitty
have since found jobs in Singapore
Singapore
and other parts of Malaysia. The ethnic identity of the Chitty
Chitty
is nearly lost. As many of them are assimilating into the mainstream Indian, Chinese, and Malay ethnic communities culturally, this small but distinct group of people that has survived for centuries is now on the brink of extinction. Exhibition of Peranakan
Peranakan
Chitty
Chitty
history, antiques and culture can be seen at the Chitty Museum
Chitty Museum
in Chitty
Chitty
Village, Melaka, Malaysia. Recently in 2013, there were controversies of development at the expense of demolishing part of Kampung Chitty, a historical and cultural village.[1] A proposal to construct a condominium, a hotel and a road cutting through the village are seen as a threat affecting the residents and a temple built in 1827.[2] Appearance[edit] The Chitty
Chitty
are a mixed people. Although they ethnically consider themselves to be Tamil, of Southern Indian origin and mostly of dark complexion, the Chitty
Chitty
appear to have varying degrees of Southeast Asian and Indian appearance. This resulted from the fact that the first Tamil settlers took in local wives, since they did not bring along any of their own women with them. Over time, the Chitty
Chitty
gathered physical features that were less Indian and more Malay-looking. Some Nairs from Kerala region of South-western India
India
are classified as a sub category of Chitty's even though they are fairer skinned with features that are distinctive to the Tamils and Telugus. Religion[edit]

Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple
Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple
in Melaka.

The Chitty
Chitty
are a tightly knit community of Saivite Hindus,[3] worshipping in their three temples. Gods such as Ganesha
Ganesha
and Shiva
Shiva
are worshipped in full gaiety. Hints of Taoist
Taoist
and Islamic
Islamic
influences are also evident in their religious rituals. As staunch believers of the Hindu
Hindu
faith, the Melakan Chitty
Chitty
community still upholds their religious ceremonies. They observe Deepavali, Ponggal, the Hindu
Hindu
New Year, Navratri
Navratri
and other traditional Hindu
Hindu
festivals that are celebrated by Hindu
Hindu
groups in Malaysia. However, the Chitty
Chitty
do not participate in Thaipusam
Thaipusam
in at a grand level like most Hindu
Hindu
groups. During the month of May they have a similar festival to Thaipusam
Thaipusam
in their local temple called Mengamay. One celebration that is unique to the Chitty
Chitty
community is the Parchu festival. It is celebrated twice a year with Parchu Ponggal
Ponggal
(Bhogi) observed the day before Ponggal
Ponggal
in January and Parchu Buah-buahan during the fruit season between June and July. Culture[edit]

Chitty
Chitty
Village in Melaka.

Culturally, the Chitty
Chitty
have largely assimilated into the Malay culture with some Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese influences, although certain elements of Indian culture do remain. This is especially true in the case of marriages, where offerings of fruits and burning of incense are used. In the case of food, Malay spices, ingredients and the way of cooking have largely supplanted the Indian style. Chinese cultural influence is also evident, especially in the case of ancestral worship. Religious objects used for conducting rituals were also used by the Chinese. The Chitty
Chitty
are also influenced by the Chinese to some extent in their ceramics works of art. Simplification of Tamil architecture among the Chitty
Chitty
is also present. Distinct from the Tamil, who have a complex Dravidian Temple Architecture in the Pallava
Pallava
style, that displays beautifully carved out sculptures of the Hindu
Hindu
gods in many rows, the Chitty
Chitty
temple tend to only have one row of these, or a picture of one single god in each of the three rows, as evidenced in the Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple, built by Thaivanayagam Chitty
Chitty
in 1781. Dress and lifestyle[edit] Most of the Chitty
Chitty
have adopted the Malay costume. In the case of men, a comfortable sarong and Malay shirt may be worn, although a songkok may also be worn. Women, on the other hand, wear a similar costume that are similar to the Peranakan
Peranakan
Nonya. Alongside their Chinese and Malay neighbours, the Chitty
Chitty
live in Kampong houses. Pictures of Hindu
Hindu
gods and Indian names can be seen just outside their houses, as their descendants tend to adopt Indian, rather than Malay surnames. A typical Chitty
Chitty
home is distinctly marked by mango leaves arranged in a row, dangling from above the front door. Chitty
Chitty
temples are also adorned this way. This is the old tradition still followed in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
from ancient period during functions. Notable Chitty[edit]

Raja Mudaliar Nathaniel Tan

See also[edit]

Peranakan

Notes[edit]

^ "Now, development threatens historical site in Malacca". The Malaysian Insider. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2014.  ^ "Road through Kg Chitty
Chitty
could destroy homes". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 14 February 2014.  ^ Shiv Shanker Tiwary & P.S. Choudhary (2009). Encyclopaedia Of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
And Its Tribes (Set Of 3 Vols.). Anmol Publications. ISBN 81-261-3837-8. 

Further reading[edit]

Dhoraisingam, Samuel S. (2006). Peranakan
Peranakan
Indians of Singapore
Singapore
and Melaka: Indian Babas and Nonyas - Chitty
Chitty
Melaka. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 981-230-346-4. 

External links[edit]

Tamil Dravidian Architecture

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