Chettiars


Chettiars
   Or Chettyars, a caste of moneylenders from southern India (present-day Tamil Nadu State) who migrated to Burma in the late 19th century in large numbers and provided loans to Burmese farmers at high interest rates. When prices in the export-oriented rice economy deteriorated in the early 20th century, the large number of foreclosures meant that by 1936 about 25 percent of the crop land in major rice-growing districts of Lower Burma was in Chettiar hands. Naturally they were highly resented by the farmers, especially as the ranks of landless laborers swelled in the 1920s and 1930s, and rural sentiment against the Chettiars was a major factor in the 1930 Saya San Rebellion. Following the Japanese invasion of Burma in 1941-1942, most Chettiars returned to India. After 1945, they failed to regain their former economic influence.
   See also Indians in Burma.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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