Are there proper Kshatriyas and Vaishyas in South India

Nov 2012
3,847
#1
We know Brahmins, OBC's, Dalits and Tribals exist in distinct forms. But what about Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. Communities like Rajus (proper Telegu Kshatriyas) are there any other in the 4 states? I mean to me the kingdoms of South India such as Chalukyas, Pandyas, Cholas, Vijaynagar, Kulashekaras etc. descendents should be Kshatriyas. But I am not sure if the caste of most of these kingdoms is well known in modern terms especially the Pandyas, Cholas etc.

Same with the traders I believe communities such as Pillai, Mudaliars, Gounder, Nadar etc. should fit with Vaishyas but somehow they dont get known as South India Baniya or Vaishya(for a lack of a better term). Someone please clarify why middle castes are not well defined in south
 

Aatreya

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
3,413
USA
#3
For most of South India there is only Brahmins and Sudras. A new group call "sat Sudra"(clean sudra) has also started appearing.
There is very much a Vaishya community called Shetty that is widespread in Karnataka and Andhra. Besides there is also a Vaishya community called Banajigas. There are Kshatriyas called Wodeyars and Arasus in Karnataka also.
 
Nov 2012
3,847
#4
There is very much a Vaishya community called Shetty that is widespread in Karnataka and Andhra. Besides there is also a Vaishya community called Banajigas. There are Kshatriyas called Wodeyars and Arasus in Karnataka also.
hmmm interesting as I said there are the Rajus as well in Andhra who claim Rajput descet. What about TN and Kerala are there Kshatriya and Vaishya (not of the degraded status)? What castes did Kulashekaras, Cheras, pandyas, pallavas and chola belong to?
 
Nov 2014
467
India
#5
We know Brahmins, OBC's, Dalits and Tribals exist in distinct forms. But what about Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. Communities like Rajus (proper Telegu Kshatriyas) are there any other in the 4 states? I mean to me the kingdoms of South India such as Chalukyas, Pandyas, Cholas, Vijaynagar, Kulashekaras etc. descendents should be Kshatriyas. But I am not sure if the caste of most of these kingdoms is well known in modern terms especially the Pandyas, Cholas etc.

Same with the traders I believe communities such as Pillai, Mudaliars, Gounder, Nadar etc. should fit with Vaishyas but somehow they dont get known as South India Baniya or Vaishya(for a lack of a better term). Someone please clarify why middle castes are not well defined in south
But for Raju of Krishna region, there are very few Kshatriyas in the south. There a few small communities in the south but they are later imports. In my own locality of south coastal Karnataka I know two communities of Kshatriyas.
1) Rama Kshatriyas.
2) Kote Kshatriyas.

Kote Kshatriyas mean Fort Kshatriyas, who came here during construction of mud forts. As the term Kshatriya is so rare here that; Kote Kshatriyas got turned into Kote Shrigars. Though Sherigars are a shudra caste who work in temples and also play musical instrument at the temple and are definitely no Kshatriyas.

As far as Vaishyas go, there are many communities of Vaishyas. In our locality carpenters and goldsmiths are Vaishyas. The above communities of Kshatriyas and Vaishyas do perform Upanayana and where holly thread. In Goa and coastal Karnataka there are Vanis of Goan origin, who are Vaishyas. Vani means business in Konkani.

I am not sure that Komti's are Vaishyas in true varna sence.
 
Nov 2014
467
India
#6
There is very much a Vaishya community called Shetty that is widespread in Karnataka and Andhra. Besides there is also a Vaishya community called Banajigas. There are Kshatriyas called Wodeyars and Arasus in Karnataka also.
As far as my understanding goes Wadeyers are kings from Kurba community.
 

Jinit

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
5,274
India
#9
We know Brahmins, OBC's, Dalits and Tribals exist in distinct forms. But what about Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. Communities like Rajus (proper Telegu Kshatriyas) are there any other in the 4 states? I mean to me the kingdoms of South India such as Chalukyas, Pandyas, Cholas, Vijaynagar, Kulashekaras etc. descendents should be Kshatriyas. But I am not sure if the caste of most of these kingdoms is well known in modern terms especially the Pandyas, Cholas etc.

Same with the traders I believe communities such as Pillai, Mudaliars, Gounder, Nadar etc. should fit with Vaishyas but somehow they dont get known as South India Baniya or Vaishya(for a lack of a better term). Someone please clarify why middle castes are not well defined in south
First of all from the early medieval times onwards even in north, people started to be identified by their caste or region instead of their varna, so it isn't surprising at all that condition was similar in south, too

Besides just like the Rajputs, many of the ruling lineages of south weren't Kshatriya or even Brahmin to begin with. However when they gained political prestige they sought to realign their social status, too, by employing various strategies. There are two strategies that were particularly common among the southern dynasties AFAIK. One was to claim the origin from mythical Yadus of Dvaravati (Dwarka) who then migrated to the south. Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas and obviously Sevuna Yadavas in addition to many subordinate feudatories of Rashtrakutas and Chalukyas and later on even Wodeyars associated themselves with Yadavas in such a way. Yadavas have unique position in Indian history in that they weren't proper Kshatriyas but thanks to their association with Krishna they had very high prestige. For someone who was from lower social class especially those from pastoralist groups (common in southern Karnataka in ancient times), claiming Yaduvanshi origin was thus a handy way to claim higher social status without generating much controversy. Another strategy was not to hide their Shudra origin but rather to glorify or justify their Shudra origin itself (Padmanayakas of Vijayanagara for instance). As neither of these two strategies confer the Kshatriya status (although they certainly bestow higher social status in Hindu society, it explains the relative absence of "proper" Kshatriya dynasties in south during later period. Of course there must be many more reasons, (for instance unlike the Rajputs, ruling lineages of south didn't survive for a very long either. Otherwise even Yaduvanshi Rajputs of north ultimately acquired Kshatriya status with passage of time), but this explanation atleast partly explains for the relative absence of "proper" Kshatriya lineages in south (if there was indeed relative absence of "proper" Kshatriyas in south).


As for the Vaishyas, groups like Vellalar held as much influence as Brahmin due to their wealth and power, but never sought to appropriate Vaishya status for themselves. This is somewhat surprising since had they really wanted, it wasn't a difficult task for them (although IIRC someone on the very same forum mentioned that they also claimed the same Yadu origin from Dwarka). Besides the availability of Sat Shudra claim meant that many groups even when they acquired high status didn't see any need to re appropriate their social status.

Chalukyas of south were btw Brahmins of Manvya gotra. Although I may be wrong here.
 

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