Regions with significant populations
Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka

Mudaliar (alternatively spelled: Mudaliyar, also Muthaliyar, Muthaliar, Mudali, Muthali or Moodley) is a title used by people belonging to various Tamil castes.[1] Castes using Mudaliar title speak Tamil as their native language. The title was mostly used in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka in medieval times as an honorary title to feudal land lords.[2]

A person of first rank in the Tamil Chola feudal society was bestowed upon top-ranking bureaucratic officials and army commanders in medieval South India with the Mudaliar title.[3] The title was primarily used by the Kaikolars, Karaiyars, Vanniyars and the Vellalars.[4][5]

The title was used in Sri Lanka as an administrative and military rank for the Sri Lankan Tamils by the European colonizers. They were known as Ceylonese Mudaliyars. The Sinhalese people used the equivalent term for Mudaliyar as Mudalige or Mudianse.[6]


The title is derived from the Tamil word "muthal" meaning "first" with the honorific suffix "yaar" denoting "people".[7] The title is used in the same sense as simply meaning "headman".[8]


  1. ^ Barnett, Marguerite Ross (2015-03-08). The Politics of Cultural Nationalism in South India. Princeton University Press. p. 236. ISBN 9781400867189. 
  2. ^ Minaev, Ivan Pavlovi? (1958). Travels in and diaries of India and Burma. Eastern Trading Co. p. 263. 
  3. ^ Irschick, Eugene F. Dialogue and History: Constructing South India, 1795-1895. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994. direct web reference:
  4. ^ Ramaswamy, Vijaya (2017-08-25). Historical Dictionary of the Tamils. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 229. ISBN 9781538106860. 
  5. ^ Pandian, Jacob (1987). Caste, Nationalism and Ethnicity: An Interpretation of Tamil Cultural History and Social Order. Popular Prakashan. p. 109. ISBN 9780861321360. 
  6. ^ Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland. Cambridge University Press for the Royal Asiatic Society. 1876. p. 302. 
  7. ^ Barnett, Marguerite Ross (2015-03-08). The Politics of Cultural Nationalism in South India. Princeton University Press. p. 236. ISBN 9781400867189. 
  8. ^ Katz, Nathan (2000-11-18). Who Are the Jews of India?. University of California Press. pp. 47-48. ISBN 9780520213234. 

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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