Thursday, April 2, 2009


it occurred to me to do a google search on my mum's birth place.... panaikkulam, ramanathapuram, tamil nadu, india. search results....

Panaikkulam is a big village located in the eastern part of Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu, India. The inhabitants of this village are primarily Tamil Muslims.

The history of Panaikulam is known for the past 200 years only. Before that, there seems to be no recorded history. From the oral information collected from the old people and with the help of a will document written by one of the descendent in the family of first migrants, it is known that Tamil speaking Muslims migrated from adjacent parts of Ramanathapuram (e.g. Kothakottai, Udaichiyarvalasai) to a place with pond and lot of palm trees. They named it as Panai (meaning the palm tree) kulam (meaning the pond). This pond (now called as pugaloorani) served as the water source for the people and their cattle. Slowly the migrated population moved towards the inner parts of the village and established a mosque (now called as Jumma Mosque) for praying.

The migrations continued from the adjacent villages of Ramanathapuram and Panaikulam became a Muslim village. Some of the migrants used handlooms to weave the cloths and made business out of it. After some time, the mosque was built up using natural stones. It is indeed a very rare architectural beauty. During the nineteenth century, opportunities present in Malaya (now called as Malaysia) attracted Panaikulam people and many of them went to Malaya to earn money. They mostly settled in Penang in business like money exchangers and restaurant workers.

The primary language spoken by the people of Panaikulam is Tamil. Even though the accent is similar to that of the Tamil spoken in rest of Tamil Nadu, it has unique words probably borrowed from Arabic, Malay and Urdu. Certain peculiar words like nadayam (for slipper) and aanam (for curry) are used.

Food and cuisine
The food habits practised by the Panaikulam people have similarities with Srilankan Tamil Muslim cuisine and Malay cuisine. For example the foods like vatlappam, Idiyappam are probably from Sri Lanka.

Popular persons
• Thiru A Anwer Rhazza B.Sc., Ex-Minister for Labour, Tamil Nadu Government.[6]
• Haji Mastan - The birthplace of Haji Mastan appear to be Panaikulam. But there is no strong eveidence to support this.


  1. "Haji Mastan - The birthplace of Haji Mastan appear to be Panaikulam. But there is no strong eveidence to support this."

    1) I have read his interview with "India Today" in the late 80's and he said to the interviewer to ask questions in Tamil. Saying that he mentioned he is from Panaikulam.

    2) I know one of his closest friends in Bombay.

    3) If you happened to watch the bollywood movie "Once upon a time in Bombay" you will find it starts with a place called 'Panaikulam'. not the real panaikulam though.

    Feels funny why I should vouch for this gentleman with this informations?

    1. i would love to know who Haji Mastan is, shall google him... and i will definitely try to watch once upon a time in Bombay...

    2. by the way, how did you happen to reach my blog... was it a coincident?

  2. Could be a coincident but I think it was curiosity that brought me here. I was surfing the net to do a study on a very common Malay colloquial expression 'mamak' and the prevalence of this slur in modern day usage. And, voila ! The article your cousin sent you came up. The reason I am hanging out here is I notice your passion to blog what is in your mind and soul .And it is a rare situation to see a 'mamak' girl of this caliber in a Malaysian Indian Muslim social context. So there you go. Count me in as a 'Fan from world apart'

    1. it is an honour... thank you for your compliments... i hope to write more and of better quality...insya Allah.

  3. "i would love to know who Haji Mastan is"

    He has relatives in Malaysia as well. Your paternal grand father's generation would know him very well. There are still a few of them surviving some where in Penang. I know in the heydays of Haji Mastan Mirza when a handful of his immediate family members from Malaysia who went to Bombay to kiss his hands ala Godfather style. Very interesting isn't it? I have been to just the outside gate of his mansion in Bombay. It was a different time then.Later i wa s told he would meet anyone who went to see him. I think I have given you enough info about Janab Haji Mastan Mirza. Watch the movie. It's "Once upon a time in Mumbai" not Bombay. There is some truth in it but the rest is bollywood stuff.

    1. i am sure my father would know him too. will have a chat with him too. my dad is a great historian and will be able to relate to me Haji Mastan's history.

      he is a Mirza? i know some Mirza family here in Malaysia but i had always thought that Mirzas are North Indians... oh well, time to read some more....

  4. Wish to hear the story on Haji Mastan from your father's perspective one of these days.

    'Mirza' in his name could be just for posterity sake. Remember he was the undisputed don of the Bombay underworld and the uncrowned king of bollywood once upon a time. So a sprinkle of glamour wouldn't have hurt anyone.

    Most probably it would have been 'Pitchay' 'Packeer'or 'Sakkarai'. These were the common names of Tamil Muslim males of his generation.

    A lot of North Indian Muslims and Urdu speaking Muslims of South India identify themselves with class/status/caste by their last name eg Syeds , Ashrafs, Ajlafs, Arzals, Modis, Lodis and many more. I am sure these people are believers of the Prophet's(pbuh) Sirah , as well.

    Do "read some more" you will understand better the realty around you.


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