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Kapu (caste)

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Castes of India

Classification Religions Language Populated States Warriors, Farmers, Landlords Hinduism,Christianity Telugu Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu,Karnataka

Kapu (Telugu ) refers to a community or social grouping found primarily in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The word Kapu or Kaapu in Telugu meansProtector. Kapus speak Telugu and are primarily an Agrarian community. They are also referred to by their caste title Naidu[1], which means leader. The Nayudu caste is said to be the same as the Kota sub-division of Balija caste to which Madurai, Thanjavur Nayaks , Vijayanagar kings and their provincial governors belong. The term Nayudu is the corrupt form of 'Nayak' which came into existence at the zenith of Vijayanagar dynasty. The Vijayanagar king apparently divided his kingdom into nine provinces and placed at the head of each a man of Balija caste(Kota Balija branch)and called him Nayak who became Nayudu eventually. Thus the term Nayudu(Naidu) had originated from Balija caste and synonymously used as title and caste name of Balija caste(Kapu/Telaga/Ontari)that comprises of 28% of the population of Andhra Pradesh. Recently few other castes in certain areas also started using the title. It is interesting to note that Rajamahendram (Rajahmundry) Kapu(Balija ) Naidus were the migrants from Nellore district, Cuddapah, Ananthapur, North Arcot and Chinglepet. [6] Some members of the Kapu community who worked in Telugu filmoccupations such as actor Chiranjeevi ( http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#Community?cmm=49882000 )and the related Allu family have become very famous in theTollywood industry. The Kapu community is also found in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra Orissa, Chattisgarh and some other Indian states. Kapu castes Balija, Telaga, Munnuru Kapu, Turpu Kapu and Ontari constitute about 28 percent of the population of Andhra Pradesh, making them the single largest community in the state. In the last decades of the 20th century, some of them have settled abroad, particularly in USA, UK, Bonaire,New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, singapore, Canada, Trinidad, Netherlands, Zimbabwe, Curacao, China, Guyana, Mauritius and Australia. Kapus were inhabitants of the Andhra region, people who migrated from the north, cleared forests for agriculture and built settlements. [2]

Kapu's are referred to as Kaampu in Ancient Texts

[citation needed]

Kapu are the descendants of the Kaampu tribe, an Indo-Aryan tribe [citation needed], which migrated from Kampilya, Mithila and Ayodhya,[citation needed] Ancient cities situated in the Gangetic Plains of North India spread across UP and Bihar.

The Migration seems to have occurred 2500 years back [citation needed] which coincides with the raise of the first Andhra Kingdom Satavahanas.

This migrant tribe initially settled down along the banks of the Godavari river [citation needed], cleared forests and built Settlements and Towns. To this day, a heavy concentration of Munnuru Kapus and Telagas are found on the banks of the Godavari in the districts of Godavari delta East Godavari and West Godavari, the Krishna Delta(Krishna & Guntur Dt), Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Warangal and Khammam.[citation


The settlement slowly spread among the geographical area of the three Shaiva Lingams of Draksharamam (East Godavari district), Srisailam (Kurnool district) and Srikalahasti (Chittor district) [citation needed].

This Settlement & Geographical Area was referred to as Tri-linga Desam in the Ancient Texts and the people who were settled in this region were called Telaga and the language spoken by them was called Telugu.

This settlement of Telagas started referring to themselves as Balija [citation needed] when the Balijas became quite prominent in the medieval period (around about 1000 CE) with their political and economic contributions from primarily the Setty Sub-Division of Balija.

The caste title of the Kapus, Naidu, which is a derivation of the word Nayaka (meaning "leader"), was first used during the era of the Vishnukundina dynasty, which ruled the Krishna and Godavari river deltas during the 3rd Century AD. [citation needed]

Kapus share their origins along with similar warrior/agrarian communities like the Kurmis of Bihar and UP and Kunbis/Marathas of Maharashtra and Vokkaliga of Karnataka. [citation needed]

The Kapus were primarily a military/agrarian community who took up military service and were into cultivation during peace time. Consequently the Kapu subcastes also evolved based on occupation.[citation needed]

Kapus engaged in trade were referred to as Balija. Balijas who took up military service and protected trading caravans were called Balija Nayakulu or Balija Naidu. [citation needed]

A significant number of Kapus have today diversified into industry, arts and academia. However, a substantial segment of the population are still farmers.


1 Sub Castes 2 Kapu o 2.1 Occupation o 2.2 Branches

3 Balija or Balija Naidu 3.1 Origins

o o o o
4 Telaga

3.2 Branches 4.1 Origin 4.2 Dynasties 5 Munnuru Kapu 5.1 Origin 6 Turpu Kapu 7 Turpu Surnames and Gothrams 8 Ontari 9 Naidu 10 Dynasties 11 Kapu Surnames and Gothrams [13] [14] 12 Political, social and cultural contributions to South India [16][17] 13 Contribution of Kapus/Balija/Telagas to literature 14 Kapus in the 20th century 15 Role in Politics 16 References and sources 17 References

[edit]Sub Note:


Telaga Munnuru Kapu Turpu Kapu Ontari Balija/Balija Naidu

Ayyaraka Patrulu, Venna Kapu, Kapu Savara, Konda Kapu and Reddy Subcastes (Dommari Kapu. Godugulanati Kapu, Ko Pedakanti Kapu, Pokanati Kapu, Sajjana Kapu, Velama Kapu, Yerlam Kapu), Perika Balija, Krishna Balija, Surya Balija(K Balija/Goud (Toddy Tappers) of Coastal Andhra, Mudiraj are not part of the Kapu/Balija/Telaga/Munnuru Kapu/Turpu Ka [edit]Kapu
The Kapu community in Andhra Pradesh is predominantly concentrated in the coastal districts, North Telangana and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh. They are also found in large numbers in Tamil Nadu,Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and Orissa.

The Kapu community served during the medieval ages as warriors or protectors of villages and regions from bandits or invading forces. During times of peace, warriors who stayed close to villages served as village heads or practiced agriculture. During times of war, they served as soldiers, governors (i.e. Nayaks) and commanders in armies of many south Indian dynasties. The modern day Kapu community is predominantly agrarian, but a significant number have diversified into business, industry, arts and academia.

Some Kapu names are associated with occupations practiced during the medieval period.

Village and regional defence committees (Vuru Kapu, Pranta Kapu) Administration (Chinna Kapu, Pedda Kapu).During the time of Kakatiya dynasty the villages were under the rule of officials called "Ayagars" comprising of Peda Kapus,Karanams,Talaris etc. Protection of farms and livestock from bandits (Panta Kapu)

[edit]Branches Peddakapu Telaganati (Telaga) Chalukya Kapu Mungaru Mogali Mekala Pakanati (eastern territory) Simhapuri (Balija/Reddy) Velanati Oruganti Neravati Pedakanti (Narollu) Naagali Namadarlu Modikarlu Koraganji Makena Uggina


or Balija Naidu

Main article: Balija Balijas/Balija Naidu are kapus who are called as Balijas in Nellore and the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, all over andhra some kapu's call themselves as balija's. These were agrarians, merchants and warriors of the Kakateeya and Vijaynagara empire periods.According to "Gazetteer of South India" by W.Francis Balijas were more numerous in North Arcot than in any other Madras district [7] The term Balija is a Telugu derivative of the Sanskrit word, Bali and ja, . Balijas are the merchant branch of the Kapu caste, with subcastes based on occupation (members who are purely merchants use the title "Setty"). Balija's also have a warrior branch whose members use the title Naidu. Some Balija Naidu families were appointed to supervise provinces as Nayaks (governors, commanders) by the Kakatiya and Vijayanagara kings and, after these empires lost power, they continued to rule parts of southern Andhra Pradesh and northern Tamil Nadu independently. This includes the Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks, and the last rulers of Sri Lanka, the Kandy Nayaks, before the British occupied Sri Lanka. There is regional variation in the Balija community as to how they call themselves. In coastal Andhra, they call themselves Kapu/Telaga/Naidu, and in Rayalaseema they are referred to as Balija / Setty Balija / Balija Naidu / Naidu. In Telangana they call themselves Munnuru Kapu.

As per one theory the Balija branch of Kapus migrated from Balijipeta, Srikakulam District [3] and arose by social changes that occurred among some sections of Kapu Community. The Encyclopedia of World History states, Balijas were originally part of the great Telugu migrations southward into the Tamil country in the 15th and 16th centuries, Balija merchant-warriors who claimed these Nayaka positions rose to political and cultural power and supported an ethos that emphasized non-ascriptive, heroic criteria in legitimizing political power. The new egalitarian ethos made it easier for claimants from a variety of communities to succeed to political control". According to Velcheru Narayana Rao and Sanjay Subrahmanyam in "Notes on Political Thoughts in Medieval and Early Modern South India "The emergence of left-hand caste Balijas as trader-warrior-kings as evidence in the Nayak period is a consequence of such conditions of new wealth.This produces collapsing of two Varnas,Kshatriyas and Vysyas into one".(Page 204)[8] Veera Balaingyas were mentioned in Kakatiya inscriptions as powerful Tax collectors and wealthy merchants who were highly respected in Kakatiyan society and used the title Setty. They are previously known as ayyavolu/ihole kshatriyas/lords or the 500 Lords of Aynavole.

Kasturi Nayadu and Peda Koneti Nayudu of the Vasarasi family belonged to the Balija subcaste, and ruled some provinces. The first Rebellion against British Rule was launched by another famous Balija Nayak Katta Bomma Naicker in Tamil Nadu long before the Sepoy Mutiny in Bengal. The prominence of Balijas grew manifold with the raise of the Vijayanagar Empire with balijas becoming the basic power structure on which the Empire was built. This power seemed to have come from the fact that the Balijas controlled the Economic and Military fortunes of Vijayanagar.They were the wealthy Merchants and the Nayaks who controlled large number of Vijayanagar provinces. Vijayanagar emperor Krishna Deva Raya had a number of present day Kapu-Balija in his service. In Edgar Thurston's "Castes And Tribes of Southern India" and R.V.Russell's "The Tribes and Castes of Central Provinces of India", the ruling clans of Vijayanagar, Madurai and Thanjavur came from the Balija caste. According to Kante Narayana Desayi's, "Balijakula Charithra", Kings of Vijayanagar, Madurai, Thanjavur, Khandi (Kandy) and Thundeera (Gingee/Chenchi) were interrelated and belonged to Balija caste.

Setty Balija: These were traders and merchants of the Kakatiya dynasty. There was mention of some very old trading guilds concentrated in Bellary, Karnataka. Historian's suggest this was the first branch in Balijas.According to Ananthakrishna Iyer in "The Mysore Tribes and Castes"the Gajula Balijas were also known as Setti Balijas and were considered a very respectable division and "Setti"was the common title applied to them. Balija Naidu: A derivation of the term Balija Nayakulu. This sub caste formed during the Kakatiya dynasty time, primarily to protect the Balija / Setty trading caravans from bandits. The current Anantapur Dt and Nellore Dt were ruled by Balijas. Gajula Balija/Sugavansi Balija: Myth is that Sivas wife Parvati made a penance in order to look beautiful for Siva and the person that brought her bangles was the ancestor of the Gajula Balija.

Gajula Balija is the largest sub-division of Balijas. Gajula Balijas attained this name as they were involved in manufacturing and selling bangles initially though they made their mark in various other fields later. Some Balija cultivators had migrated from Andhra and Karnataka lands to Western parts of Madura Country in sixteenth century during the reign of Madurai Nayaks. They had found employment in Madurai Balija Nayak dynasty and even got promoted as Poligars. Rajamahendravaram Balija or Musu Kamma Balija (named after a special ear ornament worn by women). According to Ananthakrishna Iyer in "The Mysore Tribes and Castes" Rajamahendram Balijas had originally migrated from Nellore,Ananthapur,Kadapa,North Arcot and Chengalpattu.

Balija ruling clans:

Araveeti Dynasty Madura Balija Kings Thanjavur Balija Kings Kandy Nayaks Channapatna rulers who ruled baramahal area Penukonda [4] Kalyandurg

Rayadurgam Chandragiri[4] Udayagiri Gingee Nayaks / Chenchi Nayaks/Thundeera Nayaks ) controlled Poligars: Land owners and tax collectors of Tamil Nadu where of Metla Rajulu

Metla Rajulu who ruled in Cuddapah and was the last pricely state to be captured by the British when Rayalaseema was Ceded to them by the Nizam after laying seize to the fort for a couple of months. The Metla Rajulu had alliances and married off their daughter to Sada Siva Raya of the Tuluva Dynasity which helped them establish and play a prominent role during the reign of the Tuluva and Araveeti Dynasities.Matli(Metla)Varada Raju , son of Somaraja was married to KRISHNAMMA, the sister-in-law of Araveeti Rama Rayalu and the second daughter of emperor

Sreekrishnadevarayalu. [9]. Matli Rajas were Telugu Chodas of Kadapa region (Pottapi Telugu Cholas) of which Matli Anantharaju who wrote Kakusthavijayamu was one of the famous kings. Matli Rajas were related to "Erra families" of Balija Naidu caste(Kapu/Telaga)who,(the latter) built fort in "Erragunta"in Rajampeta Mandalam of Kadapa region and were ruling as vassals. However disputes arose between Matli Rajas and the Erra families and the latter were driven out from Erragunta by the Matli families after having been defeated in the cockfighting. Susequently the Erra families(Baddena Maharshi gothram) migrated to Chittoor mandalam (Erravari Palem,Pedanayani Palem,Chandragiri,Vayalpadu,Udaya manikyam),Nellore area, Krishna area (Machilipatnam,Vadlamannada),Ardhavaram,and Uppuluru,near Bhimavaram (West Godavari district). Having seen the plight of Erra families and their nearest relatives Gandham families it was Kadim (Kadiam/Kadiala) Bapanna garu of Kapu caste in Uppuluru in 1730 A.D who had given shelter and all the encouragement to Erra families and Gandham families to settle down in Uppuluru , where they had progressed financially and politically. Note: 'Perika Balija, Krishna Balija, Surya Balija(Kalavatula), Vada Balija (Fishermen), Ediga Balija/Goud (Toddy Tappers), Setty Balija/Chettu Balija/Goud (Toddy Tappers) of Coastal Andhra are not part of Balija or Balija Naidu Caste. Refer to Balija for further Information

Main article: Telaga Telagas are the most Ancient Feudal Warrior/Agricultural clans of the South India, who practiced agriculture during times of peace. Modern-day Telagas continue in their traditional agricultural occupation, but also have diversified into other occupations.

[edit]Origin The origin of the Telagas can be traced to the Western Chalukyan expansion into the
Andhra region during the 1st century A.D. The term "Telaga" was a derivation of the word "Telingana". Andhra was referred to as Telingana in the ancient texts [citation needed] as it was the area that had three major Shivinsa-Arama's, thus was called TriLinga. The people living there were called "Telugus" and the language spoken by the people there was called "Telugu".

Another source of origin [citation needed] mentions that when the Chalukyas invaded
Andhra so in order to differentiate between the Native Commanders of the Tri-linga Desam from the commanders in the Chalukyan army the term Telugu Nayakulu was coined which eventually became Telaga Nayak/Naidu. The Telagas may have served as soldiers of the Western Chalukya rulers under Pulakesin [citation needed]. They formed the bulwark of ancient armies of the Deccan and South India like Cholas, Chalukyas, Kakatiyas, Vijayanagar and Nayaks. They seem to have a connection with the Eastern Chalukyas. The Vassals of Chalukyas entered into matrimonial alliances and ultimately established the Chalukya - Chola Dynasty[citation needed]. Another important dynasty of Telagas were the Telugu Cholas who were the first Andhra Kings to write inscriptions in Telugu. They ruled over the Palnadu, Velanadu and Renadu regions of Andhra Pradesh for most of the medieval ages. The Telugu Chodas formed the base on which Chalukyan Empire flourished and were the principal combatants of the Palanadu war/Palanati Yuddam. Telugu Cholas supported Bramha Naidu in this war against the Nalagam Raju.[citation needed] Other Telaga dynasties are mentioned below.

[edit]Dynasties Telugu Chodas. Metla Rajas of Kadapa region were Telugu Chodas who had matrimonial alliances with Sadasivaraya of Vijayanagar dynasty. Matli Varadaraju, the son of Somaraja of Matli families of Telugu Choda descent was married to Krishnamma ,

the second daughter of Vijayanagar emperor Sreekrishnadevarayalu.[10] According to Etukuri Balarama murthy in " Andhrula Samkshiptha Charithra" Telugu Chodas gradually came to be known as Kapus or Telagas. According to Etuki Balaramamurthy Kakatiya emperor Ganapathi Deva gave his second daughter "Ganapamba" in marriage with Dharanikota king "Kota Betharaju" of Telaga caste(Kapu)of Telugu Choda descent. As per Paula Richman In "Questioning Ramayana: A South Asian Tradition" a ruler by the name of Katta Varadaraju of Balija caste claimed descent from Karikala Chola.According to Kante Narayana Desayi in "Balija Kula Charithra" Telugu Cholas claimed descent from Karikala Chola. [citation needed] Velanati Chodas (Velanadu region, current E.G, W.G and Krishna Districts) Renati Chodas (Renadu regions, current Cuddapah, Kurnool Regions) [citation needed] Pottapi Cholas (Renadu regions, current Cuddapah, Chittor Districts)[citation needed] Konidena Chodas (Palanadu region, current Guntur, Prakasam Districts)[citation needed] Nannuru Chodas (Pakanadu region Current Anantapur District)[citation needed] Nellore Chodas (Nellore, Chittor, Chengalpeta and Cuddapah Regions) [citation needed] Kona Kings (Visakhapatnam, E.G, W.G regions, The name Konaseema is derived after these Kings) [edit]Munnuru


Munnuru Kapus are located primarily in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. They are a military branch of the Kapu community, who farmed during peace time. "Munnuru" means "three hundred". Since Kavarais call themselves the "Family of three hundred" it can be inferred that Munnuru Kapus and the Kavarais(Balija Naidus)are one and the same. The Munnuru Kapu functioned as interior palace guards in kingdoms such as those of the Tanjavore Nayaks, Devarakonda, and Nizam. Munnuru kapus were part of the Original migration which took place to the south India and settled along the banks of the Godavari from Nizamabad to the Delta regions in Coastal Andhra. Munnuru Kapus are also called Thota Balijas, Telugus, Telengas, Munnurwar, Telenga Kunbi and Thopatkari. They apparently moved to Chanda region from Telugu country travelling along Godavari and Pranahitha rivers. There was a professional rivalry that lasted for decades between the Munnuru Kapus and the Mudiraju community during the Kakateeya rule. The Mudiraj's were associated with the Devarakonda Velamas. According to R.S.Mugali in "The Heritage of Karnataka" the Munnurvar (the three hundred) were among the representatives corresponding to the members of a corporation of the cities in the 12th century A.D in Karnataka. According to the same author "Jagattamunnuru"(the three hundred of the World) was the name given to the village assembly of Niruvara under the Vijayanagar rulers.[11]

There are several stories regarding the origin of the "Munnuru Kapu":

King Ganapati Deva of Kakatiya needed support of agrarian communities from

coastal Andhra region during the establishment and expansion of the empire, since he had not established power over the Telugu Chodas (Telaga) and Chalukyas in that region. In order to bring legitimacy to their rule and to strengthen its roots, he requested the migration of three hundred families of Kapu / Telaga soldiers from the Kondavidu region of the current Krishna District. The descendants of those who migrated with three hundred families are called Munnuru Kapu. This migration occurred around about 900 years ago.

Queen Rudrama Devi of Kakateeya wanted to cultivate large tracts of the Telangana
region. A large migration of agriculturists from coastal Andhra region came after her alliance with the Chalukyan Prince (Nidadavole). Three hundred Kapu / Telaga families

were dispatched by the prince to bring these vast Telangana lands under cultivation. These three hundred families are called as Munnuru Kapu.

The Nawab of Hyderabad requested the Tanjavore Nayaks to send a battalion of his
best infantry and cavalry for his personal security. The Nayak dispatched three hundred Telaga men and their families from their imperial guard. The descendants of these three hundred families are now called Munnuru Kapu.

The Perikas community, found in Rayalaseema, recall fighting a great battle against
three hundred Balijas to prove their valor. As there was no community called Munnuru Balija at that time, it was likely to be the Munnuru Kapus who fought this battle (Kapus are referred to as "Balija Naidu" in Rayalaseema). Refer to Munnuru Kapu for further Information



Turpu in Telugu means east. The Kapus living on the eastern frontier of Andhra Pradesh called themselves Turpu Kapus. There have been some rulers of coastal kingdoms from this community. They were hard working poor and middle farmers. They are the majority in Srikakulam District, Vizianagaram District and Visakhapatnam District. Of late however the political awakening of this caste has led some representatives of this group to be more politically active.Even though they are majority in population,their dependence on agriculture made them a bit backward in the present society. But still they have a major role in present politics these days. Majority of the political leaders in any political party come from turpu kapu caste in this region.


Surnames and Gothrams

Surnames: Arisankala( http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#Community?rl=cpn&cmm=91048728 ), Dasari, Laveti, Meragani, Mamidi, Duba, Samantula, Arigela Gothrams: paidipala,Kurma, Nagula, Pasupuleeti

The Kapu Ontari community is concentrated in coastal Andhra Pradesh. They use the titles "Naidu" and "Dora". The Ontari were soldiers and special forces in Andhra Kingdoms who specialized in weapons. Their surnames start with names of weapons (e.g. Kattula (knife), Tupakula (gun or pistol), Kommula, (Bull Horns). The Kapu Ontari community are different from the (Bunt Ontari community (who were individual hand to hand fighters) and the Ontari of Mudiraj community, who are not part of the Kapu Ontari caste.

Main article: Naidu Naidu is a title commonly incorporated into the names of members of the Kapu community whose ancestors may have served as an army commander, governor, knight, baron, village headman or tax collector. It eventually became a hereditary title. "Naidu" is a Telugu derivation of the Sanskrit title for a head of a band of soldiers, who is known as Nayaka (i.e. protector). The first usage of the title "Nayaka" was by theVishnukundinas, who conferred the title "Danda Nayaka" on commanders. During times of war, rulers would call upon the local farmers to join the army. Amongst the Kapu community, some members who served became specialists in certain types of combat and were referred to asTelaga or Ontari Kapus. Some were given posts as commanders and given the title of Nayak/Naidu. At the conclusion of service, some were

rewarded by being given charge of territories and made responsible for tax collection, administration and security. Initially, the Naidus served only for so long as the rulers felt they were effective, but some declared independence whenever the central government became weak. They had their greatest influence in telugu society during the Chalukya, Kakatiya, Nayaka, Vijayanagar periods and had the greatest independent power following the fall of Vijayanagar in Tanjore, Madurai, Chenchi,Kandy at least until the Moghuls, Marathas and British took over. Basically although staunchly Hindu, over the centuries this large and proud community was involved in all aspects of society and developed their own social, economic and political structure outside of the rigid Hindu Varna system without developing the habit of preventing marriage between the factions. In the medieval times the Kakatiyas had many prominent nayakas, several from a Kapu background. Vijayanagar also had several Nayakas of Kapu, Telaga and Balija background. During the expansion ofVijayanagar Empire, the Nayak title was conferred upon non-Telugu speaking communities who served in the same function in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. This title is also being used by other communities in Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh. In southern Tamil Nadu, Balija's use the title Naicker. It evolved in the following manner during different phases of history. Nayaka --> Nayudu -->Naidu--> Naicker --> Naidoo Refer to Naidu for further Information

The following are some ruling clans associated with Kapu community.

Telugu Chodas Kona Kings Koppula Chiefs Korukonda Nayaks C.P. Brown mentioned that the Poligars of Anantapur belonged to the Balija Naidu community. Nellore was also ruled by Balija Naidus. Etukuri Bala Rama Murthi mentions in "Andhrula Samkshiptha Charithra" that the Cholas came to be called Kapu and Telaga. Some of their gotra [5](is a patrilineal classification and identification of a caste) is referred as "Cholla" or "Chola". These Kings were from the Chaturtha Kulamu (Source Palanati Veera Charitra) and Kasyapa is their gothram. In "Andhrula Samkshiptha charithra " Etukuri Balaramamurthy stated that Dharanikota king "Kota Betharaju" of Telaga caste(Kapu)of Telugu Choda descent was married to "Ganapamba",the second daughter of Kakatiya emperor Ganapathi Deva. In Balijakula Charithra, the Kotikam Kaifiyat states: " Sree Manmahaa mandaleshwara Achyuthadeva Mahaa Raayalayya vaaru Daivaprasaada labdavasaath chethanu, karunatho goodi Balija VarnaGarikepaati Vamsamuna Kalgina Sree Sree Viswanatha Naayaka gariki Paandya mandalaadhiraaju ane rendunnara koti dravya Raajyaanku sasthrothkamuga pattaabhisekham Vijayanagaramandu Cheyinchiri." According to Vijaya Kumari and Sepuri Bhaskar in their book "Social changes among Balijas", Sree Krishna Deva Raya belonged to Kapu caste. As per "Gazetteer of the Nellore district :Brought up to 1938 " by Government of Madras staff, the Desa section of Balija caste comprises the descendents of the Nayak kings of Madura, Thanjore and Vijayanagar. According to "The Mysore Tribes and Castes"the Vijayanagar Kings,Madurai and Thanjavur kings were Balijas(Banijagas)[12] According to G.S.Ghurye in "Caste and Race in India",the Nayak kings of Madura and Thanjavur were Balijas. According to "Questioning Ramayana: A South Asian Tradition" by Paula Richman, the famous Thanjavur king Raghunatha Nayudu belonged to Balija caste.

According to "Literary Cultures in History" by Sheldon Pollock warriors/Traders from Balija caste acquired kingship of the Southern Kingdoms of Madurai and Thanjavur. According to "The Castes and Tribes of The Nizam's Dominions" by Syed Siraj Ul Hassan Kakatiya king Raja Prathaparudra belonged to Kapu Caste. According to Velcheru Narayana Rao and Sanjay Subrahmanyam in "Notes on Political Thoughts in Medieval and Early Modern South India" the left-hand caste Balijas emerged as trader-warrior-kings in the Nayak period. Garikepati is the last name of Madura Balija Kings Alluru is the last name of Thanjavur Balija Kings Chinthalapudi is the last name of Khandi (Ceylon) Balija kings. Chenchi is the last name of Chenchi Nayaks (Senji Nayaks/Genji Nayaks/Gingee Nayaks)


Surnames and Gothrams [13] [14]

Kapu/Balija/Telaga/Munnuru Kapu/Ontari/Turpu Kapu communities use the caste

title Naidu. Balija/Kapu/Telaga/ communities use the title Setty / Setti in their surnames to indicate that they are traders (e.g. Reminisetty, Polisetty [6], Perisetty, Pinisetty, Chennamsetti, Malisetty,Matlapudi, Sennamsetty, kesamsetty,tirumalasetty, nagisetty,tummalasetty, Sankarasetty, Bolisetti, Lakkimsetty, Bavisetty,Yeramsetty and Yengisetty) Munnuru Kapu/Telaga/Kapu/Balija communities use the suffix Reddy in their surnames in Telangana, Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra as they were rulers are that time. Kapus in Telangana area sometimes use the title Patel. In Telangana ,especially in Warangal area Kapus are also known as HAZARIS (Hazari is the prestigious title conferred upon Kapu as Kapu used to supervise 1000 horsemen during the period of Kakatiya dynasty (Example:Kapus with surnames Akula and Samudrala in Warangal area are Hazaris ). Kapus /Balijas/Telagas also use title Desayi or Desayi Chetti. In olden days Desayis commanded great respect from the subjects because of their esteemed position of representing justice of peace. As per Ananthakrishna Iyer in "The Mysore Tribes and Castes" almost every taluk in North Arcot had Desayi chetti belonging to Balija caste(Kavarai). Their family name used to be "Dhanapala", meaning "Protector of Wealth".

The name Gurusthulu is synonymous with Balijas as per R.V.Russell [15] Kapu and Balija communities also use the tite Rayudu in their names indicating
Vijaynagar affiliation and lineage. Telaga/Munnuru Kapu names usually have the Suffix Rao in Coastal and Telangana Regions. Kapu/Telaga surnames ending with the Neni (e.g.chittineni, Lakkineni[7]), which is a derivation of Nayakuni, indicate ancestors served as Mandaladheesulu/commanders under the Kakateeya dynasty. Some /Telaga/Kapu/Balija surnames end with the suffix Pati (e.g. Garikepati,Kandulapati, Pasupuleti), which indicates ancestors owned large tracts of land in medieval times. Chola-Chalukyas have used the title Udayar or Odeyar. Below is a list of common gothrams found largely in the Kapu community and is not a complete listing of all the Gothrams in the community since there are hundreds of surnames and Gothrams and it would be impossible to catlogue them. The link gives a list of few more Surnames and Gothrams [8]

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
7. 8.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Atreya Balla Chikkala Davuluri Vasishta Kashyapa Ikshwakula Ayodhya Polisetty Kamichetty Pydikondala Rakshakula Janakula Nayakula Raghukula Mahipala Mrutyunjaya Nagula Vamserla Mummidi





social and cultural contributions to South India [16][17]

History records of the Kapu community state that it lived in the area between the Krishna and the Godavari rivers. This community has prospered even before the Christian era had Telugu as the mother tongue. According to historians the Kapu community during later centuries spread into other regions developing the Telugu language and culture. It is evident that the Kapus were originally a peace loving community but due to onslaught of the invading forces from the north it formed itself into a force which protected its individuality by war. The ability to defend the cultural and religious fabric of the society from the invading forces allowed the Kapus to elevated themselves to superior status among all the other varnas all throughout the medieval ages. The Kapu caste through the Vijayanagaram Empire and through the various Nayaks played a significant role in the formation and expansion of the Telugu Empire and its culture throughout South India and Sri Lanka. Many inspiration leaders who have contributed greatly to the social, cultural and political aspects of South India came from this community.[9] Some of them contributed greatly to the freedom struggle and in the upliftment of the downtrodden by fighting hard against oppression and social evils. The most prominent among them are listed below:

This article may contain improper references to selfpublished sources. Please help improve it by removing references to unreliable sources where they are used inappropriately. (January 2010) Telugu Cholas Kings under whom the Telugu language flourished. Telugu speaking Nayaks of Vijayanagar, Tanjore, Madurai, Kandy expanded the Telugu empire and its culture to Southern most parts of India and Sri Lanka. Many of the Kakatiya chiefs belonging to the Kapu/Telaga/Balija descent protected the Telugu land from Muslim invasions. Katta Bomma Naiker the Poligar in Tamil Nadu was the first to revolt against the British in 1799. Kanneganti Hanumanthu led the anti-tax revolution in the Palnadu area and sacrificed his life to the bullets of Rutherford. Rao Bahadur Sir Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu Chief Minister of the Erswhile Madras Presidency. Marotrao Kannamwar Chief Minister Government of Maharashtra 1961- 1964.

The following links give you a brief overview and the contributions to all Fields of Social Life

Famous Naidus [21] List of Kapus [edit]Contribution

of Kapus/Balija/Telagas to literature

Lot of Kapu Nayak kings themselves being great poets enriched Telugu language by encouraging many Telugu poets. It was a common practice of the king's son to compose a Dwipada poem equating his father with "Vishnu" in Madurai and Thanjavur Nayak dynasties as per the "Literary Cultures in History" by Sheldon Pollack . Two views, one stating the king as the deity Vishnu and the other stating the king as the human being representing an aspect of Vishnu had surfaced during the period of Sreekrishna devaraya. They became more obvious when the warriors/Traders from Balija caste became kings of Madurai and Thanjavur dynasties in the seventeenth century. Poets may have been allowed to use Dwipada style with the subject of the court being the king himself. The following is the list of Balja Naidus that made enormous contribution to Telugu and Sanskrit languages.

Raghunatha Naidu (Thanjavur king): Sangeetha Sudha, Ramayana Katha

Sangrahamu, Bharatha Katha Sangrahamu, Ramayanam,Parijathapaharanam, Nalabhyudayamu,Achyuthabhyudayamu, Valmiki Charithram. Vijaya Raghava Naidu (Thanjavur king, son of Raghunatha Naidu): Yakshaganas and composition of poems, Raghunatha Nayakabhyudayamu Mannaru deva Prabhuvu (Son of Vijaya Raghava Naidu):Vijaya Raghavabhyudayamu Pasupuleti Rangajamma (One of the queens of Vijaya Raghava Naidu): Mannarudasa Vilasam

Vemanayogi: Centum(Sataka) of verses Queen Ganga devi ( wife of Vijaya nagar prince Kumara Kampana): Madhura
Vijayam Mohanangi(daughter of Vijayanagar emperor Sreekrishnadevarayalu): Mareechi Parinayam (A Srungara Prabandham) Vijayaranga Chokkanatha Naidu (Madura king): Maghamahathmyamu, Sreeranga Mahathmyamu Samukham Venkata Krishnappa Naidu (Poet in the court and Army chief of Vijaya Ranga Chokkanatha Naidu of Madura dynasty): Jaimini Bharatham, Ahalya Sankradana Vilasam, Radhika Santhwanam, Saarangadhara Charithra. Thupakula Anantha Bhoopaludu (Poet and Dalavai of Vijaya Ranga Chokkanatha Naidu of Madura): Vishnupuranam, Bhagavatham,Ramayanam, Bharatham,Garalapuri Mahathmyam, Bhagavadgeetha. Nanne Choda Prabhuvu (Telugu Choda prince, son of Chodaballi of Pakanadu, and Poet): Kumara Sambhavam. Gudaru Venkatadasa Kavi (Poet's sur name is Gudaru and Gothram is Paidipala) : Balarama Charithram. Konidena Nagaya Kavi (Born in Yellammapeta in Kadapa district): Vedavedantha Sarasagraham, Ashtottara Sathakam, Brahmanarada Samvadam Chekuri Siddha Kavi ((Born in Yellammapeta, Kadapa district): Sreerama Karnamrutham, Dwadasa manjareesthavam, Chathurdasa manjareestavam, Venugopala sathakam, Vishnupuranam,Sreeranga mahathmyamu, Haribhakthamrutha saaramu. Macha Venkataraya Kavi (Born in Jalumuru, Visakhapattanam district): Vydarbhee Parinayam, Haribhajana Keerthana kruthi, Chennakesava Ramayana Sangraham, Chaya putra Sathakam, Mukhalingeswarodaharanamu,Rukmini Natakam, Droupadi vasthrapaharanam, Mayuradhwajopakhyanamu,Suddhandhra nirvachana niroshtya kusa charithram. Thumu Ramadasa Kavi (Born in Warangal): Rukmini Kalyanam, Gopika vilasam, Mitravindo dwaham, Kalidasu Natakam, Andhrapada nidhanamu. Tripurana Venkata Surya Prasada Rao (Born in Siddhantham in Visakhapattanam district): Nirvachana Kumara Sambhavamu, Raghu vamsamu, Kiratharjuneeyamu,Uttararama Charithramu, Raghudayamu,Indumati mandaramu, Rati vilapamu, Pathala khandamu, Moilu Rayabharamu, Sree Bhagavadgeethamruthamu Erra Venkata Swami: Vasthuguna Deepika Erra Ayyanna: Telugu Kavaathu Matla Anantharaju (Kadapa district, Telugu Chola descendent,related to Vijayanagar king Sadasiva Rayulu ):Kakustha Vijayamu Katta Varada Raju(Telugu Choda King, 17 th century):Sri Ramayanamu,Sundarakanda in Dwipada format with 47,140 lines(Recently published),Sreeranga Mahathmyam Baddena [Bhadra Bhupala Choda],(Telugu Choda Prince,vassal of Kakatiya queen Rudramadevi 13th century):Sumathi Sathakam Savaram Chinna Narayana:Kuvalayaswa Charithra Matla Varada Raju's grand son (Name not known):Kumudvati kalyanam See List of Kapus for More information...


in the 20th century

Though the Kapu community did have a great role to play in the various social, economic, political and cultural aspects of the Telugu society up until the 19th century, it has not enjoyed economic and political success after India's independence. They started getting

into a steady decline except for a few sections of the community who adopted to modern education and economic transition. The decline peaked during the 1970s and 1980s. Off late with economic liberalization and with the removal of License Raj and government monopoly on sectors, the community is slowly but steadily rebuilding itself.

The Kapu community were slow in adopting the modern techniques of cultivation,
education, business and politics. The richer sections of the community primarily in Coastal Andhra took part in the renaissance but to a larger extent the middle farmers from Rayalaseema and Telangana could not take advantage of this because of not being blessed with natural resources like their coastal counterparts. This resulted in a drastic decrease in education among the community in Rayalaseema, Telangana and North Andhra resulting in poverty. Although socially still a forward community, lack of Government support by the way of political representation, reservations, welfare measures made the some sections of the Kapus economically deprived. They currently have only about 5% representation in government jobs and services despite being about 20.5% of the state population. They have only about 48 members representing both the Parliament and Assembly seats which does not represent the numbers the community has in the state. It is of the opinion that both the major political parties, the Congress and Telugu Desam did not equitably allocate assembly seats to Kapus as per their population. For instance, Balijas, even after being a majority in the Rayalaseema districts have hardly any MLAs representing them in the State Assembly.[10] The lack of strategic or collective decision making and disinclination to join politics are believed to have had a detrimental effect on the community. Off late, however, they are trying to consolidate their representation in elected bodies. A large number of Kapus have diversified into business, industry, arts and academia both in India and abroad. There are also a number of budding entrepreneurs who have succeeded in different fields.


in Politics

The community has the credit of Producing Chief Ministers for 2 Different States and has played a very Active role in shaping the Political Landscape of the Southern Indian States. 1. Rao Bahaddur Sir Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu Governor Madras Presidency (19361937) Chief Minister of Madras Presidency(1937) 2. Marotrao Kannamwar Chief Minister Government of Maharashtra (1961 1964)


and sources

Important information about Kapu origins can be obtained from Balijapuranam in the Chennai library.

Balijavaaru Puraanam, or Vamsa-Prakaasikai and Naayudugarla Samsthana-Charitram (A brief sketch of the O Nayudu Community), written and compiled by the help of the Legend of Coimbatore, Sri Selam Pagadaala Narasi Munnuru Kapu Kulabhyudayamu A Book on Historical Details of Munnuru Kapu Community written by Sri Munnuru Kaapu Samaakya Adyakshulu Questioning Ramayanas - by Paula Richman The Literary Cultures in History - by Sheldon I Pollock Further Sources of Vijayanagara History By K A Nilakanta Sastry Penumbral Visions - by Sanjay Subrahmanyam

Andhrula Sanghika Charitra (Suvarnam Pratapa Reddy) Caste & Class Articulation of Andhra Pradesh [22] Social status of Kapus in Hindu Varna system [23] Social Changes among Balijas (by Vijaya Kumari and Sepuri Bhaskar) Caste and Race in india (by G.S.Ghurye) District Gazetteer: Cuddapah by Brackenbury [24] Religion in Vijaya nagara Empire (Konduri Sarojini Devi) - History in Telugu - Kapu History - History in English - All about kapu community Balijakula Charithra (by Kante Narayana Desayi) Kerala information [25] http://www.gfbv.ba/index.php?id=155 (6) http://www.indo-european.nl/cgi-bin/response.cgi?root=leiden&morpho=0&basename=%5Cdata%5Cie% The Madura Country (James Henry Nelson) Hindu Castes And Sects (Jogendranath Bhattacharya) (9) http://infomotions.com/alex/?cmd=search&query=balija - The Warrior Merchants - by Mittison Mines India's Silent Revolution - By christophe Jaffrelot Social Change in Modern India - by M N Srinivas The Trading world of the Tamil Merchant - by Kanakalatha Mukund Gazetteer of the Nellore District - by Government of Madras Constructing the Colonial Encounter - by Niels Brimnes [26] The Political Economy and Commerce - by Sanjay Subrahmanyam The World of the Weaver in Northern Coromandel, C.1750- C.1850 by P. Swarnalatha http://books.google.com/books?id=KrICwjXaC3gC&pg=PA105&lpg=PA105&dq=munnurvar&source=bl&o q5k&hl=en&ei=ewBZSombG5aMtgeDr4TdCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4

http://books.google.com/books?id=P_t3zmwNQVwC&pg=PA366&lpg=PA366&dq=gurusthulu&source=bl& KA_NDLPzH4d5TpPjLslUk4&hl=en&ei=xxpZSqDXGoGftgf79pXdCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resn http://books.google.com/books?

id=zseCqGFRpyQC&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=balija+nayadus&source=bl&ots=TehV QAoqs&sig=5DwkZ8qRJ6hQQZEbcmPWDY1tYGE&hl=en&ei=VF7XS7_1LIT78Abs9N2uB Q&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CCsQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f =true http://www.thehindu.com/mp/2010/01/04/stories/2010010450770600.htm http://www.thehindu.com/thehindu/mp/2002/08/12/stories/2002081200230300.htm http://beta.thehindu.com/arts/history-and-culture/article60965.ece http://www.kapumatrimony.com/balija-telaga-munnuru-naidu-turpu/surnames.php http://books.google.com/books? id=myK8ZYEIu4YC&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=matli+varadaraju&source=bl&ots=WlhO uTnfEj&sig=CRlnzOr0qpcXTwlQq2n4HbhilUo&hl=en&ei=5Gz7S9qbHoP7lwemsLzdDw &sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=ma tli%20varadaraju&f=false


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

^ [1] ^ [2] ^ [3] ^ a b [4] ^ Gothra ^ polisettyfamily - Welcome to polisetty's family ^ Buy Apple iphone online | best shopping offers in UK ^ KAPU Surnames and Gotralau ^ [5]

^ http://books.google.com/books?id=r-ffeWmj2JUC&printsec=toc&dq=subject: %25.18 Balija+(Indic+people)%25.18&output=html

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