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Many are also professional money-lenders, financers and in related fields similar to the Jews who took on to such professions in medieval Europe.
It may be recalled that the Nasranis who confronted the Western Christians described their way of life as ‘Marthomayude Margavum Vazhipatum’ or ‘The Way and Traditions of St. They said: “We follow the way of Thomas and you follow the way of Peter” to distinguish themselves from the western christians.Some are prosperous and own large masses of land in Kerala.They also take a prominent role in the educational institutions of Kerala and throughout India.Many Nasranis, even today, own large estates and engage in trade of rubber, spices and cash crops since as of old.Similarly, many others are hard-working agriculturists and farmers.Many Syrian Christian practices are distinctively eastern and early western missionaries found them primitive and ignorant in their point of view terming them as heretics.
The caste consciousness is prevalent till today among the Nasranis.
Beliefs such as those in astrology and horoscopes are also rarely prevalent.
Nevertheless the Hebraic or Jewish Heritage is also preserved to such an extent that the westerners, especially the Portuguese, termed the Nasranis as ‘Judaizers’ and also have been known to degrade their original Semitic customs and practices to a large extent.
Manner of Property Inheritance & Family life Nasrani society is strongly patriarchal and inheritance is patrilineal.
The father is the head of the family and is often called as ‘karnavar’, a title which is also given to the eldest male member in the family. The most notable is the age-old tradition, that the youngest son is given the family house (tharavadu veedu) where he stays with the parents which is in contrast to rules in almost all other communities in Kerala and is strikingly similar to ancient Hebraic/Jewish property inheritance pattern.
Thomas Christians were classified into the caste system in accordance with the Hindu tradition, with special privileges for trade, granted by the benevolent Hindu kings and were considered at par with the upper-caste Hindus of Kerala in nobility.