Vallikada Panicker
(Oral History)
The family of Vallikkada Panickers were from Tamil Nadu. They were of Kshatriya caste who later embraced Christianity. Its members were experts in astrology, traditional medicine and martial arts. Even before they settled down at Avoli (now in Ernakulam district), they had become famous on account of their exploits in martial arts. They were not land lords, but tenants of Pazhoor Vadakkan Mana. However, owing to their abilities, they were well known and more influential than many local chieftains.

They followed many Hindu customs and dressed like high caste Hindus. In fact, Christians of Malabar coast followed many Hindu customs until the arrival of Portuguese in the Sixteenth Century. (It is likely that he belonged to the Nadar community of Tamil Nadu, many of whom had converted to Christianity. The preceptor of maritial art in the community had the title of Panikkan in ancient Tamil Nadu).

The Panickers faced problems with the Church when the Church started shedding Hindu customs under influence of the Portuguese missionaries and Rome. The Panickers refused to follow suit. This subsequently developed into an identify crisis as they were strictly not Christians and belonged to no Hindu caste. So, the men of the family decided not to marry "as they had no caste". It is possible that they would have faced difficulties in getting brides of equal status or solemnisation of the marriage in a Church or temple. They would have found marriage under such circumstances below their dignity.  However, two girls of the family were married off. The successors of one of those girls could be living today.

Roy's Home Page: June 2000