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Old September 23rd, 2014, 03:14 PM   #1

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Historical Terminology of "Telangana", "Telugu", and "Andhra"


This is meant to be a brief, informal essay on the terms "Telangana", "Telugu", and "Andhra", and their respective histories.

The term "Andhra" is not a native Dravidian word but is of Indo-Aryan origin, and is first mentioned in ancient Indo-Aryan literature. The first appearance of the term "Andhra" is in the Aitareya Brahmana, where it is used in reference to a non-Aryan dasu tribe living beyond the boundaries of Aryan civilization, with the Mutibas and Pulindas as there neighbors. The Buddhist text Samanta Pasadika makes of the term in a similar vein, describing the Andhra and Damila (Tamil) peoples as mlecchas living in the south, indicating that they were not in the fold of Indic civilization. The Andhras later occupy an important place in the Puranas, composed in the early medieval period, which describe both the Satavahanas and Ikshvakus as "Andhrabhritya" dynasties. Bharata in his Natyashastra and Vatsyayana in his Kamasutra use the term "Andhri" in reference to a native language spoken in the south, probably a distant ancestor of modern Telugu.

The above usages of the term, however, only describe a particular people or tribal/ethnic group, and not a geographic territory. The earliest usage of the term "Andhra" in reference to a particular geographic territory comes from the Mayidavolu inscription of Pallava Sivaskandavarman, dated to the fourth century CE, in which the territory around Dhanyakataka (Dharanikota) in the lower Krishna valley is designated as "Andhrapatha". This corresponds closely to the core territory of the Ikshvaku kingdom, which ruled in the third century. Later, the records of the Eastern Chalukyas (who were established in the early seventh century) use the name "Andhra" in reference to a broad region bounded by Kalahasti in the south, Mahendragiri in the north, Srisailam to the west, and the ocean to the east. This essentially indicates the region now known as coastal Andhra. While the southern and northern extents of this country are much the same as they are now, it is notable that "Andhra" did not extend further west than Srisailam, which lies at the meeting point of the three sub-regions of the Telugu-speaking zone (coastal Andhra, Telangana, and Rayalaseema). In other words, the "Andhra country" of the Eastern Chalukya period excluded the regions of Telangana and Rayalaseema, and was not a synonym for the whole Telugu-speaking country. It was a geographic term that most likely derived from the core political region established by the Andhra Ikshvakus, and was adopted by subsequent dynasties that ruled over the rich Krishna-Godavari delta.

A major turning point in this understanding of the term "Andhra" seems to have occurred about the turn of the millennium, in the 11th century. This century saw the emergence of classical Telugu literature, which until this time was restricted to inscriptions, with Nannaya being the first known Telugu author of note. It was Nannaya who first used the term "Tenugu" or "Tenungu" to refer to the language he was using - obviously, the direct ancestor of modern Telugu, with the modern spelling "Telugu" emerging in the 13th century with the poet Tikkana. This term, unlike "Andhra", was a Dravidian term indigenous to the region. However, the term "Andhra" was not forgotten, but rather identified with the term "Tenugu/Tenungu". The crucial link is the Nandampudi inscription of 1053, in which the term andhra bhasha (language of Andhra) is used as a synonym for the Tenugu language; the composer of this inscription was none other than Nannaya himself. The significance of this connection is that a geographic place-name (Andhra) was, for the first time in the region, being explicitly connected to the name of a language (Tenungu). Herein, then, were laid the foundations of the modern Telugu ethno-linguistic and regional identity.

It was mentioned previously that the Andhra country of the Eastern Chalukya period was essentially limited to the coastal region, and did not include the interior upland regions. What, then, was the identity of these regions? Since the seventh century, the regions of Telangana and Rayalaseema were under the influence of empires based in Karnataka and formed a part of the greater Kannada cultural zone, with Kannada inscriptions in these parts far outnumbering Telugu ones. This was the case until the 12th century, when the collapse of the Western Chalukya empire of Karnataka led to the rise of an independent dynasty based in Telangana, the Kakatiyas. The rise of the Kakatiyas coincided with the rapid displacement of Kannada by the Kakatiyas' native language, Telugu, as the main language of inscriptions in Telangana. However, the Kakatiyas did not refer to their country as "Andhra", using instead the term "Tillanga". This term appears in the Anumakonda inscription of Kakatiya Rudradeva, dated to 1163, where the Tillanga country ruled by Rudradeva is described as being bounded on the south by Srisailam, on the west by Kalyanakataka (the capital of the Western Chalukyas in northern Karnataka), and on the east by the sea. The term "Tillanga" or "Telangana" is probably derived from "Trilinga", referring to the land bounded by the three lingas or holy Shaivite shrines, located at Srisailam in the south, Kaleshwaram in the north, and Drakhsharama in the east. This is supported by the fact that an alternative name for Telangana up until modern times was "Moodugalingam", "moodu" being the native Dravidian term for "three" and the term thus having the same meaning as "Trilingam". Hemadri, the famous poet of the Seunas of Devagiri, likewise uses the term "Tillanga" in his Vratakhanda to describe the kingdom of Rudra, and moreover, the Kakatiya monarch is referred to as "Telungu-raya" (Telugu king) in the inscriptions of the Seunas.

However, just as the terms "Andhra bhasa" and "Tenungu" had become synonymous and interchangeable in previous centuries, so too would there be a convergence between the terms "Tillanga/Telingana" and "Andhra". This is again seen in the work of Hemdari, where the poet uses the term "Andhra" in reference to the country ruled by Queen Rudramadevi (who ruled about a century after Rudradeva), and an inscription of the 13th century describes the old Kakatiya capital of Anumakonda (near Warangal) in Telangana as the "ornament of the Andhra country". It therefore seems that as the Kakatiyas expanded from their base in Telangana into the coastal region and brought much of the Telugu-speaking country under their rule, the terms "Tillanga" and "Andhra" meshed together, whereas under the Eastern Chalukyas (whose rule was largely limited to the coastal region), "Andhra" did not extend further than Srisailam. The Srirangam inscription of 1358 describes the country of Tillangadesa as being bounded by Maharashtra, Kalinga, and the Pandya country, indicating an expansion of geographic definition (especially towards the south) since the time of Rudradeva three centuries earlier. The meshing together of these two regions is perhaps seem most clearly in an even later inscription, dated to 16 March 1589 from the Qutb Shahi period. In this inscription, which records the construction of an irrigation tank by the Sultan of Golkonda, the Sultan is described as the ruler of the joined "Andhra-Trilinga" country, indicating that both regions, while remaining distinct in a sense, were also recognized as part of a greater whole.

Last edited by civfanatic; September 23rd, 2014 at 03:50 PM.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 06:08 AM   #2
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Thanks for this post.

Yes,the name 'Andhra' is applied to cursed offsprings of Vedic Rishi Vishvamitra in the Aitareya Brahmana.Andhras also find mention in the Ashokan edicts I think.
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Old September 25th, 2014, 08:37 AM   #3

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That was quite informative and comprehensive !!
Thanks for letting me know 'my' History !!

But while there is sufficient inscriptions in the areas of Coastal Andhra and Telangana, the area of Rayalaseema does not find any significant mention in any of them.
Around which time did Rayalaseema come into the telugu speaking sphere !!?
Was it during the Vijayanagara or the Kakatiyas ?
I remember that Rudramadevi launched several campaigns to the south of Srisailam against the Nellore Cholas .
Was it Tamil that these Nellore Cholas used ?
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Old September 25th, 2014, 02:16 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kauchenvinci-0 View Post
That was quite informative and comprehensive !!
Thanks for letting me know 'my' History !!

But while there is sufficient inscriptions in the areas of Coastal Andhra and Telangana, the area of Rayalaseema does not find any significant mention in any of them.
Around which time did Rayalaseema come into the telugu speaking sphere !!?
Was it during the Vijayanagara or the Kakatiyas ?
I remember that Rudramadevi launched several campaigns to the south of Srisailam against the Nellore Cholas .
Was it Tamil that these Nellore Cholas used ?
Rayalaseema is an interesting case. It lies at the junction of the three great linguistic zones of South India (the Kannada, Telugu, and Tamil zones), and we find inscriptions of all three languages in this region during early medieval times. It was only during the 16th century under Vijayanagara that Telugu emerged as the dominant language of inscriptions throughout this region. Before this time, Kannada predominated in the Kurnool and Anantapur districts, while Tamil predominated in Chitoor district and the southern part of Nellore district, in coastal Andhra. The Kakatiyas themselves had quite a loose hold over Rayalaseema, with their direct influence only extending up to the northern part of Kurnool district and the eastern part of Kadapa district; Rayalaseema was a very dry, precarious, and hostile region full of fierce chieftains and warlords who resisted any attempt by a central government to impose authority, and it was from Rayalaseema that the Kakatiyas faced the greatest threat to the integrity of their kingdom (Ambadeva's revolt against Rudramadevi in the late 13th century). It should also be mentioned that Rayalaseema was quite underdeveloped before the Vijayanagara period, and this manifests itself in the scarce number of inscriptions compared to coastal Andhra and Telangana. During the period 1000-1150, for example, we have less than 50 inscriptions from Rayalaseema, but over 1000 from coastal Andhra and Telangana. However, during the period 1500-1650, we have over 800 extant inscriptions from Rayalaseema.


The below map shows the distribution of dominant languages used in written records during the 11th and 12th centuries, before the Kakatiyas began their great expansion. As you can see, Kannada predominates in western Telangana and Rayalaseema, while Tamil predominates in southeastern Rayalaseema. The core of Telugu literary culture was in the lower Krishna valley, in modern Guntur district and northern Prakasam district:

Click the image to open in full size.


During the period of Kakatiya dominance from the late 12th to the early 14th century, we see a considerable expansion of the Telugu literary zone, with Telugu inscriptions completely displacing Kannada ones in Telangana. We also see many more Telugu inscriptions in Kurnool and Kadapa districts. However, Kannada continued to be used in Anantapur district, while Chittoor district as well as southern Nellore district were strongholds of Tamil:

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by civfanatic; September 25th, 2014 at 02:25 PM.
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Old September 25th, 2014, 08:49 PM   #5

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Then I think we can safely presume it was the Vijayanagara emperors who united the present day Telugu speaking territories ! I suppose it was also during this time that the Cultural sphere of Telugus was extended into the other Regions like that of Thanjavur nayakas domination in heartland of Tamil lands .
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Old September 26th, 2014, 04:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
It should also be mentioned that Rayalaseema was quite underdeveloped before the Vijayanagara period, and this manifests itself in the scarce number of inscriptions compared to coastal Andhra and Telangana. During the period 1000-1150, for example, we have less than 50 inscriptions from Rayalaseema, but over 1000 from coastal Andhra and Telangana. However, during the period 1500-1650, we have over 800 extant inscriptions from Rayalaseema.
We have atleast 50 inscriptions from Rayalseema in a span of 150 years, I do not think there are even 10 inscriptions from Bihar in 350-200 BC but given sizes of cities, Bihar was more developed than even core areas of Vijaynagar, the largest city of Bihar during this time was Pataliputra which had an area of 3500 hectares which is larger than even Vijaynagar. Point is that I agree that Rayalseema was less developed than Coastal Andhra but to use number of inscriptions recovered as a mark of prosperity is just incorrect.
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Old September 26th, 2014, 11:46 AM   #7

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Thank you for the info.
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Old September 26th, 2014, 11:47 AM   #8

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Originally Posted by civfanatic View Post
Rayalaseema is an interesting case. It lies at the junction of the three great linguistic zones of South India (the Kannada, Telugu, and Tamil zones), and we find inscriptions of all three languages in this region during early medieval times. It was only during the 16th century under Vijayanagara that Telugu emerged as the dominant language of inscriptions throughout this region. Before this time, Kannada predominated in the Kurnool and Anantapur districts, while Tamil predominated in Chitoor district and the southern part of Nellore district, in coastal Andhra. The Kakatiyas themselves had quite a loose hold over Rayalaseema, with their direct influence only extending up to the northern part of Kurnool district and the eastern part of Kadapa district; Rayalaseema was a very dry, precarious, and hostile region full of fierce chieftains and warlords who resisted any attempt by a central government to impose authority, and it was from Rayalaseema that the Kakatiyas faced the greatest threat to the integrity of their kingdom (Ambadeva's revolt against Rudramadevi in the late 13th century). It should also be mentioned that Rayalaseema was quite underdeveloped before the Vijayanagara period, and this manifests itself in the scarce number of inscriptions compared to coastal Andhra and Telangana. During the period 1000-1150, for example, we have less than 50 inscriptions from Rayalaseema, but over 1000 from coastal Andhra and Telangana. However, during the period 1500-1650, we have over 800 extant inscriptions from Rayalaseema.


The below map shows the distribution of dominant languages used in written records during the 11th and 12th centuries, before the Kakatiyas began their great expansion. As you can see, Kannada predominates in western Telangana and Rayalaseema, while Tamil predominates in southeastern Rayalaseema. The core of Telugu literary culture was in the lower Krishna valley, in modern Guntur district and northern Prakasam district:

Click the image to open in full size.


During the period of Kakatiya dominance from the late 12th to the early 14th century, we see a considerable expansion of the Telugu literary zone, with Telugu inscriptions completely displacing Kannada ones in Telangana. We also see many more Telugu inscriptions in Kurnool and Kadapa districts. However, Kannada continued to be used in Anantapur district, while Chittoor district as well as southern Nellore district were strongholds of Tamil:

Click the image to open in full size.
I saw this maps or a similar post before. Not sure if it was you are someone else
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Old September 26th, 2014, 06:44 PM   #9

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Originally Posted by Ajanbahu View Post
We have atleast 50 inscriptions from Rayalseema in a span of 150 years, I do not think there are even 10 inscriptions from Bihar in 350-200 BC but given sizes of cities, Bihar was more developed than even core areas of Vijaynagar, the largest city of Bihar during this time was Pataliputra which had an area of 3500 hectares which is larger than even Vijaynagar. Point is that I agree that Rayalseema was less developed than Coastal Andhra but to use number of inscriptions recovered as a mark of prosperity is just incorrect.
The figure of 3500 ha for size of Pataliputra comes from a quotation by Arrian and has no archaeological support whatsoever. George Erdosy gives a figure of 1350 ha for Pataliputra, which is about the same as that of Aztec Tenochtitlan. Raymond Allchin gives a higher estimate of 2200 ha for the total area enclosed by outer ramparts, and a figure of 340 ha for the central urban core surrounded by the city moat. Besides Pataliputra, there is no other city of Mauryan-era India which is greater than 300 ha in size, while we can give many examples of such cities from medieval India or even from Aztec Mexico.

We can certainly use the quantity of inscriptions as an indicator for socioeconomic development. Basically, it is only regions with advanced agrarian economies that produce large numbers of inscriptions (there is no exception), because the production of inscriptions presupposes the existence of a literary class, which presupposes social stratification and specialization, which presupposes surplus production from agriculture. The act of issuing inscriptions is the most visible remnant of the exercise of political authority in pre-modern india, and areas that produce high concentrations of inscriptions are always areas with intense political and economic activity.

It is true that a region can have an advanced agrarian economy and intense political and economic activity without producing large number of inscriptions, but then there should be some other evidence that proves this. However, whenever a region is part of a larger macro-region that is characterized by high epigraphic production (which is the case with medieval South India), then levels of epigraphic production in that region compared to other regions in the same macro-region can tell us a lot about the relative levels of socioeconomic development.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bharata View Post
I saw this maps or a similar post before. Not sure if it was you are someone else
I have posted these maps once before. You may be thinking about this post:
Why did Maharashtra become Aryanized, but not Telangana or Karnataka?
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Old September 27th, 2014, 02:12 AM   #10
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The figure of 3500 ha for size of Pataliputra comes from a quotation by Arrian and has no archaeological support whatsoever. George Erdosy gives a figure of 1350 ha for Pataliputra, which is about the same as that of Aztec Tenochtitlan. Raymond Allchin gives a higher estimate of 2200 ha for the total area enclosed by outer ramparts, and a figure of 340 ha for the central urban core surrounded by the city moat. Besides Pataliputra, there is no other city of Mauryan-era India which is greater than 300 ha in size, while we can give many examples of such cities from medieval India or even from Aztec Mexico.
Pataliputra is not like other sites of Mauryan India where you have hills and plains surrounding ramparts like in Vidisha or Mahasthangarh, the quote of Arrian is not supported by archaeology because it is impossible in our case, the scholars you quoted are themselves heavily in disagreement with each other but this is not case for other sites where we know areas quite easily. When literary evidence is contradicted by archaeology, it is other thing but when archaeology does not support any literary evidence, it is quite different matter and this is due to nature of archaeology and site in a given case.
No archaeologist can tell us even reasonably correct area covered by ramparts of Pataliputra and then all we need to do is to assess correctness of quote of Arrian. Megasthenes also tells us that there lived 4 lakh people in Chandragupta's city which tallies well with 3500 hectares of area and mentions 570 bastions and 64 gates all of which are consistent with large size of Pataliputra, it is consistency that should matter not author himself so Abul Fazl's mention of more than 4 million soldiers is not considered inreliable because of he giving separate figures for each king supplying x number of armed men and then adds them.
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