possible to take the first two meanings, for the Valafijiyar being a mercantile community andthe V t1dc!pa being a mercenary body we cannot say that one is descended from the other. The meaning 'elders' seems to be more appropriate. But here, too, the Valafijiyar cannot be taken to be the elders inthe physical sense. They appear to have been regarded as the leaders ofthe T!af1dc!ras, as Paranavitana. baa rendered, and seem to have been elders inthe social sense. This relationship becomes clear if we look at the social structure in South India in this period. In the eleventh andthe twelfth century, andin fact till recent times, the various castes oftheDravidian areas were divided into two major sections called the Iei (Left Rand) andthe Valañkai (night Hand) The Vjatkk!ra inscription under discussion attests to the presence ofthe members ofthese two sections inCeyloninthe twelfth century Certain mercantile communities were considered to be the heads or leaders ofthese sections. In the case ofthe Valki 1 the N.udia andthe Valafijiyar were among the leaders while the Iikai had 153 1. B.A.Saletore, Social and Political Life inthe Vijayanagara Empire, II, p. 68 ff. 2. S.Paranavitana, 'The Polonnaruva Inscription of VijayabThu I', p. 337.
the 1a1r,rattir as one oftheir leaders The V1?ri- were often considered to be of a higher social atatus than the IaI%kRi Although the ffaikk ra forces inCeylon were drawn from both sections, as they admit in our inscription, the Nabltantra division, who alone call the Valafijiyar their m±taik4, appears to have been drawn from the Valkii. This assumption is further strengthened by the fact that the 'Nakaratt.r 4ir' are referred to as those who accompany the atantra The phrase Nakarattr baa been translated by Paranavitana as the 'Nakarattir and others'f' But literally uiffr means 'those included', from uflitu meaning 'include'. The phrase would, therefore, mean 'those included (in a group) with the Nakarattir'. This seems to be a reference to the Iafi1tai leaders. The reason why this group is mentioned as those who accompany the Z4ahitantra must be the subordinate position held by them inthe presence ofthe ValAksi. The leaders of both sections were invited for the meeting ofthe aik1ra.g obviously because the latter were drawn from both seetions oftheDravidians. 1. E.G., XI, p. 61 ofthe text ; The Imperial Gazetteer of India, XVIII, pp. 198-199. 2. B.A.Saletore, 2• cit., p. 68 ff. 3. See supra, p. 151 k. See supra, p. s5S