Iyer

Iyer (also spelt as Ayyar, Aiyar, Ayer or Aiyer) is the title given to the caste of Hindu Brahmin communities of Tamil origin. Most Iyers are followers of the Advaita philosophy propounded by Adi Shankara. The majority reside in Tamil Nadu, India.

The title 'Iyer' was used as a designation for all Tamil Smartha Brahmins during the medieval period, during which they were organised into single community. However, during the 11th century, a breakaway sect formed a new community called "Iyengars", worshipping Sri Vaishnava.

According to popular tradition, Iyers were thought of as descendants of Indo-Aryan migrants from North India. However, a recent study has shown that the Aryan migration theory is a myth. Iyers are sub-divided into various sub-sects based on cultural and regional differences. Like all Brahmins, they are also classified based on their gotra, or patrilineal descent, and the Veda they follow.

Iyers fall under the Pancha Dravida Brahmin sub-classification of India's Brahmin community and share many customs and traditions with other Brahmins. In recent times, they have felt affected by reservation policies and the Self-Respect Movement in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This has helped encourage a large migration to other parts of India and the English-speaking world.

Apart from the prevalent practice of using the title "Iyer" as surname, Iyers also use other surnames as Sāstri or Bhattar.

Read more about Iyer:  Etymology, Population and Distribution, Subsects, Gotrās and Shākhas, Agrahāram, Language, Iyers Today, Social and Political Issues, Portrayal in Popular Media, Prominent Individuals

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