MEANING

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Click here to go to --> 02. MUTHARACHA
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Click here to go to --> 05. BUNT / BANT
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01. INTRODUCTION:

MUDIRAJA, MUTHURAJA and MUTHARACHA are three different names, which are commonly used to refer these people who belong to one of the kshatriya communities of South Indian peninsula. A detailed study of the origins of this community reveals that there are two primary lines of descendancy to the people of this community and each line projects a different meaning. Finally, both the lines declare only one sigle fact that the ancestors of these people were warriors and born village administrators.

In the feudal Hindu society, the Kshatriyas used to occupy the 2nd top slot in the hierarchy of four caste groups. As per the definition of MANU, who was believed to be the architect of caste codification of the Hindu society, it was divided into four major caste groups i.e. (i) Brahmana, (ii) Kshatriya, (iii) Vaishya and (iv) Shudra.

(i).The Brahmins: These were the people of literate class in the society and considered to be the head & brain of the society. In the feudal and medieval Hindu society, the entire knowledge was documented in Sanskrit and acess to the knowledge was primarily restricted to only Brahmins. The people of this caste being the only educated lot in the society, they were considered as the cream of the entire society and enjoyed respect and privillage in the society including patronage from kings. The education was thrown open to all the Indians irrespective of caste, creed, race and gender, only when the British came to India and established their colonial rule in India.

(ii). The Kshatriyas: These were the people of warrior class in the society and considered to be the hands and shoulders of the society. They were the people, who had the basic instinctive warrior qualities to fight the enemies and protect the common people in the society. Because of their position to impose their command & rule, they were able to gain some access to education and martial arts. The Brahmins, who were basically non-violent and peace loving in nature, taught martial arts & literature to Kshatriyas as part of special education to make them worthy rulers by protecting their citizens from internal and external enemies of the society. There were many kings like Krishnadeva Raya who were on the record as a renowned poets and literate persons.

(iii). The Vaishyas: These were the people of trade & commerce class in the society and considered to be the thighs of the society who used to organise and supply the material needs of the society. These were the business people who were expert finance managers and used to control and manage the economy of the society through financial investments, imports and exports.

(iv). The Shudras: These were the people of general services class in the society and considered to be the legs and feet of the society, who give firm support to the rest of the caste people in their activities. These were the people who accepted all types of skilled, semi skilled and unskilled jobs necessary to directly and indirectly support agricultural, transport, defence and other miscellaneous needs in the society.

MEANING OF MUDIRAJA, MUTHURAJA AND MUTHARACHA :

It will be quite appropriate to first take up the MUTHARACHA line of descendancy. It will take us to pre-historic times, when the entire India was full of thick forests and infested with aboriginal people, who used to move in the forests in search of food and fuel. They were the black Tribal Indians, who were broadly known as VANACHAR or VANAR during the times of Valmiky Ramayana. The bhils, gonds, koyas and kolis form the larger block of vanara population. The origin of MUTHARACHA can be traced to originate from these aboriginal Tribal Indians. They were warriors due to their primitive professions of hunting and fishing. They not only used to hunt wild animals for food but also used to protect their tribes men from the killer wild animals. Thus they became the natural rulers and administrators of their tribes men.

Vanachar => Vana(cha)r => Vanar

This was perhaps the word used by invading Aryans to refer the native people who used to live in the Indian subcontinent covered with thich forests (dandakaranya).




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02. MUTHARACHA:

The people of MUTHARACHA line of descendancy had their origins rooted with aboriginal Black Tribal Indians of central and South India. The thick central & South Indian forests, which were known as dandakaranya since the times of valmiky ramayana were the home land of several aboriginal Indian Tribes such as gonds, koyas and bhils. The people of these tribes, who had their genetic connection to Dravidian race ( Astro-African stock ), were greatly evolved in their socio-cultural practices and oriented their living based on principles of preservance of ecological and environmental balances. These aboriginal Indian tribals were mostly the Gonds, Koyas and Bhils who moved freely in the thick Indian forests and mostly known as VANARAs during the times of Valmiky Ramayana. Valmiky himself was a Bhil Raja and a dacoit turned Saint.

The vanaras were well known in India and around the world due to their association with Maha veer Hanuman, who reached Srilanka with the aim of rescuing Sita, the wife of Srirama from the clutches of demon Ravana. Hanuman was the General / Army Chief of Vanara King Sugreeva of Kishkinda Kingdom. It was concluded by historians that Hanuman was a superman of Dravidian warrior race, who worshipped the good virtues of Srirama. Bhakt Sabari and Hanuman of Ramayana times, and Ekalavya of Mahabharat times were all from the bhil community of dravidian origin. The koyas, bhils and Gonds most probably belonged to telugu-tamil-kannada speaking areas of South India. The mother tongue of Vanaras was a dravidian language having a mixture of Telugu, Tulu and may also be Kannada.

The aborginal people of Bhils, Gonds, and Koyas were one of the advanced civilizations in the Indian subcontinent before the arrival of Aryans from across Himalayas. Each village was a socio-political and admninistrative unit in Koya ( koliyan ) civilization and a group of villages was called MUTHA. Each MUTHA was ruled by kinship and their descendants in most organized and peacefull manner by transferring the ruling power to their next kin in the family hirarchy without giving any scope for struggle, death, destruction and wastage of valuable resources, which can other wise be used for common upliftment of the MUTHA. The people of kinship who used to rule MUTHA gradually evolved into warriors of ruling class known as MUTHARACHA.

MUTHA => An administrative unit consisting of a cluster or group of Villages.
RACHA => RAJA => RAYA => KING
RACHA => One who rules or administers a MUTHA
MUTHA + RACHA => MUTHARACHA => A class of People, who rules a MUTHA by kinship.

The Mutharachas seems to be the descendants of the same aboriginal Indian Tribal people who came close to Aryan Kshatriyas after the great war between Sahasrarjuna and Parasurama. These people who became one with the Aryan Kshatriya kings to increase the strength of kshatriya races against brahmins developed matrimonial alliances and gave birth to a new race of hybrid Indo-Aryan kings, who proved to be more deadlier than the Aryan warrior kings.

There is also one more distant possibilty for the origin of the name MUTHARACHA to be derived directly from word MUDIRAJA. The modification of the word MUTHARACHA from the word MUDIRAJA may be more of a grammatical in nature than any meaning. This can be explained from the combination of the follwing words :

(1) Mudi + Thaatha => Mutthaatha = Great grandson
(2) Mudi + Racha => Muttharacha > Mutharacha = Great kings

Racha is a perfect Telugu word, which is some times used in place of Raja by both literate and illiterate people. Racha means Raja and it is very commonly used in villages by illiterate village people.

Racha <=> Raja

Bhils, Gonds and Koyas are one and the same aboriginal people of Indian subcontinent and from whom warrior people of ruling class such as Koyarajas, Gondrajas, Kalchuris, and Mudirajas came into existence due to continuously changing socio-politicals events on the advent of Aryan influx into the Indian subcontinent.

Mutracha :
Muttaracha had a variety of modified names such as Muttirajulu, Muttarasan, and Mutratcha. The people of this caste is known by any one of these names in the Telugu speaking lands, and in the Tamil speaking country it is known as Muttirayan and also as Palaiyakkaran.

The Muttarachas are a Telugu Caste ane they are most numerous in Krishna, Nellore, Kuddapah( Kadapa) districts of Andhra Pradesh and also North Arcot districts of Tamilnadu. The Muttaracha warriors were employed by the Vijayanagar kings to defend their country frontiers, and were honoured with the title of Paligars (Palaiyakkarans). The word Muthracha is derived from the Dravidian roots - Mudi and Racha. There is also another derivation is from Mutu Raja, which means a soveriegn of some part of Telugu country. They eat animal meat , fowl and drink liquor. Some of them eat pork. They do not eat beef. The use honorific titles such as Dora and Naidu.

Mudi = Old or Ancient or Great
Racha = King

Dora = Lord or Sahib

The people of this caste are numerous in Hyderabad, Madras. They are also found in some numbers in Chanda (Chandrapur ) district of Central provience (present Vidarbha region). In Chand they took to the profession of masonary. They are Talaris or watchmen in Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. As servants they are considered very faithful and courageous. This may be one of the reasons why these people became well known as Bantlu. Bantu means servant and Bantlu means servants. Actually, they call themselves as Bantarasas or bant warriors. But because of their faithful services to the kings, the word Bant became synonymous to Servant.

In the North Arcot district, they are in great numbers in Chendragiri taluk. They are found all over the district as the village taliaris or watchmen. Because of this reason, this cate is often called Taliari caste. They proudly call themselves as paligars, and in Chendragiri as Doralu (Lords), because several of the Chittoor Palaiyams (Villages governed by Paligars) were in possession of members of their caste. They seem to have entered the country in the time of Vijayanagar kings, and to have been appointed as its kavilgars (Watchmen). The caste is usually esteemed by others as a low one. Most of its members are poor, even when they have left the profession of talaiari, and taken to agriculture. They eat in the houses of most other castes, and are not trammelled by many restrictions. In chendragiri $ they rarely marry , but form connections with women of their caste, which are often permanent, though not sanctioned by the marriage ceremony, and the offsring of such associations are regarded as legitimate.

( The Mutharacha men who used to live with women of their caste without marriage could possibly be the commando members of suicide squads employed by the Vijayanagar kings. )

In Nellore, Mutrachas are known as hunters, fishermen, bearers, palanquin-bearers, and hereditary watchmen in the villages. Some times, Mutracha or Mutrasan is known as a sub-division of Urali, and a title of Ambalakkaran . Muttiriyan is a Tamil form of Mutracha, and appears as a title and subdivision of Ambalakkaran. It is also observed that Tolagari is recorded as a sub-division of Mutracha. The Tolagaris are stated to be a small cultivating caste, who were formerly hunters, like the Palayakkarars. Most of the Mutrachas are engaged in agriculture. In the Karnool and other Rayalaseema districts, Mutrachas used to collect winged white-ants (flyinf termites = usillu), which they store in large pots as an article of food after drying them in sunlight. They are said to make use of some special powder as a means of attracting these flying white ants, in catching which they are great experts.

It is said that in some places, the relations between Mutrachas and Gollas (Velirs) are strained * . Both these warrior groups were chiefs in Kodumbalu region and had matrimonial relations too. On the occasions of marriage among the caste people of Madigas, some pan-supari is set apart for the Mutrachas, as a mark of respect.

* This coud be due to the reason that Velirs helped Vijayala Chola in dislodging Mutharaya king Perumbidugu Muttarayan from the seat of Tanjore. At that time Velirs and Cholas were the subordinates of Pallavas, and the Mutharayas were the subordinates of Pandyas. Pallavas and Pandyas used to fight their proxy was using Cholas and Mutharayas.

In consequence of the fact that some Mutrachas have been petty chieftains, they claim to be the Kshatriyas, and to be descended from Yayati of Mahabharatha.

There is a saying current among the Mutharachas that the Mutracha caste is as good as pearal, but became degraded as its members began to catch fish. According to a legend, the Mutrachas, being kshatriyas, wore the sacred thread (Jenhevu = Jandhyamu). Some of them, on their way home after a hunting expedition, halted by a pond, and were tempted by the enormous number of fish therein to fish for them, using their sacred threads as lines. They were seen by some brahmanas while thus engaged, and their degradation followed. In Telugu country, two divisions, called paligiri and Oruganti, are recognized by Mutrachas, who further have exogamous sects or intiperulu (surnames), of which the following are examples:

Palagiri Division
Avula = Cow
Arigala = A dish carried in procession
Busi = Dirt
Ella = Boundary
Guvvala = Doves
Indla = Houses
Iga (Eeega) = Fly
Koppula = Hair-knot


Oruganti Division
Katari = Dagger
Marri = Ficus Bengalensis
Nakka = Jackal
Puli = Tiger
Talari = Watchman
Thota = Garden
Uyyala = A Swing
Thumu = Iron measure for measuring grain

For more details about the origins of Mudiraj from Yayathi - Puru - Ravadeviraju, readers arequested to see web page "ORIGINS" in ths website MUDIRAJA.

Bobbili Telagas were originally Mutrsi born : These people take their name from a village "Bobbili" in the Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh where their forefathers rendered both personal and military service to the velamas who were once the sole occupants of the village. It is said that they were originally Mutrsi - born, but being soldiers and commamders of armies, they were elevated, in social rank, above the common folk and are at present known to enjoy as high asocial position as the Hajari and Racha Telagas. They veil their females and admit among them members of caste higher than themselves in social standing. Unlike other Telagas they practice both infant and adult marriages. Some of the members follow the occupation Patwegars, or silk weavers. They make good soldiers and are enlisted in the native armies.




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03. MUDIRAJA:

Some people say that Mudiraj means ancient king or old king. While this may be true to sme extent, there is a historical reason for calling these people as Mudiraj / Muthuraj.

It is now the turn to know the meaning from the angle of MUDIRAJA line of descendancy. It will take us to pre-historic and puranic times of Sahasrarjuna and Parasurama ( > 1300 B.C). The war that exploded much before Mahabharat and Ramayana times within the two classes of Aryan race after their entry into India upto the point of Mahishmati in M.P, lead to the creation of four blocks of caste ( chatur varna ) system in the Indian society and also to the creation of hybrid Indo-Aryan kings. Before the breakdown of Aryan community into two rival groups, there was no caste system neither with the Aryans nor with the Indian Tribals. The Mudirajas were from the same Indo-Aryan kings of kalabhra or kalchuri origin, who brought Jainism and Buddism to South India to counter and nullify the influence of brahmins and the caste system professed by them.

The people of this community, who mostly call themselves as MUDIRAJA seems to belong to North Indian line of descendancy , which has its roots to Aryan / Indo-Aryan lineage. The Indo-Aryan lineage becomes quite clearly visible through their accepted descent from kalabhras, who were in turn a stock of kalchuris of M.P in North India. The kalchuris, who were also known as haihayas or chedis in Mahabharata, were the descendants of the great king Sahasrarjuna, who ruled his kingdom from Mahishmati in M.P. Sahasrarjuna, who was the son of Kartavirya ows his descendancy to Yadu and then to Yayati. It was during the time of Sahasrarjuna that a great war broke out between Aryan Kshatriyas and Aryan Brahmins. The Aryan Brahmins, who massacred Aryan Kshatriyas for 21 times under the leadership of Parasurama created a greater havoc than Mahabharata war and sowed seeds for creating a new race of great kings of Indo-Aryan descent along with prophet based new religions such as Jainism and Buddhism.

The word MUDIRAJ is having a very specific meaning with reference to a very specific group of warrior kings of kalabhra descendancy in the South Indian Peninsula. The kalabhras are believed to be the descendants of kalachuri lineage. It was a proud Royal title assumed by the Indo-Aryan warrior kings, who while moving towards down South of South Indian peninsula convulsed, defeated, and uprooted the Adhirajas (great kings) of Chola, Chera and Pandya dynasties, who were ruling the present day Tamilnadu and Kerala regions.

The word MUDIRAJA is a combination of two separate words i.e. MUDI and RAJA. It is well known to the entire world that RAJA or RAJU means a KING. The word RAJA clearly indicates that the people of this caste basically belong to Kshatriya block in the society. The people of Kshatriya, who belonged to ruling class in the feudal society had a wide and general acceptance of the public as rulers due to their inborn natural quality to fight enemies and administer the society.

Mudi + Raju => Mudiraju
Mudi + Raja => Mudiraja

The meaning of MUDIRAJU: Every one knows that RAJU means KING, but very few might have really bothered to know the true meaning of MUDI. The word MUDI is one of the common and root words in most of the Dravidian languages of South India i.e. Tulu, Telugu, and Kannada. The word MUDI means ADHI or MAHA in Sanskrit language and GREAT in English language.


MUDI = ADHI   (Sanskrit Language)
MUDI = MAHA  (Sanskrit Language)
MUDI = GREAT (English Language)

MUDI = ADHI = MAHA = GREAT
RAJA = RACHA = RAJU = KING

MUDI RAJAS = ADHI RAJAS = MAHA RAJAS = GREAT KINGS


The Mudirajas and their variants who ruled South India in the name of Vijayanagar empire came to be known as Maha Rayars ( Maharayars and Mutharayars )

The Analysis of word MUDIRAJU : The meaning of the word MUDI can be understood quite clearly and easily by analyzing the following few Telugu words, which are widely being used by most of the common people in day-to-day life.

Manumadu (Telugu) => Grandson (English)
Mudi Manumadu (Telugu) => Great Grandson (English)
Mudi Manumadu => Mudi + Manumadu => Great + Grandson =>Great Grandson

Thaatha (Telugu) => Grandfather (English)
Mutthaatha (Telugu) => Great Grandfather (English)
Mutthaatha => Mudi + Thaatha => Great + Grandfather => Great Grandfather

So, it becomes very clear from the above analysis that the word MUDI means GREAT.

MUDI = ADHI = MAHA = GREAT
MUDIRAJA = ADHIRAJA = GREAT KING

Mythological / pauranic interpretation for the meaning of mudiraja : There is also a legend in circulation among mudiraj community people which provides a mythological / pauranic interpretation for the meaning of Mudiraja. Readers may kindly refere to web page "Ankamma" in this website and see for chapter "RAVADEVIRAJU AND HIS DESCENDANCY FROM YAYATHI"




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04. MUTHURAJA:

The name Muthuraja is derived from the word mudi, meaning top most and raja, ruler. In Tamil, the people of MUDIRAJA are known as MUTHURAJA. In Tamilnadu, they are also known as Mutharaiyars, Mttiriyars and Mudaliyars. MUTHU is having a different meaning in Tamil language and it means PEARAL. These kings, who were the descendants of kalabhras created a havoc in the South Indian peninsula by driving away the kings of Chola, Chera and Pandya dynasties. They also relieved the defeated kings of Chola, Chera and Pandya dynasties from their royal title of Adhiraja (great king) and declared themselves as the real GREAT KINGS ( MUDIRAJA ). The word MUTHU came into use in place of MUDI by the great kings of Mudiraj origin. The use of word MUTHU in place of MUDI might have also come as a result of poetic expressions by the poets of royal court in course of time. The poets might have praised these warrior kings of kalabhra origin as great kings like PEARALS (MUTHU) among known precious stones.

MUTHU => PEARL
RAJA => KING
MUTHURAJA => PEARL like KING => KING as great as PEARL

The MUDIRAJAs , who defeated, uprooted and conquered the then great kings of outh Indian Peninisula not only grabbed their kingdoms but also grabbed their royal title ADHIRAJA and replaced it by MUDIRAJA for themselves. MUDIRAJA also has the same meaning as that of ADHIRAJA and they both mean GREAT KINGS.

MUDIRAJA => MUTHURAJA< = GREAT KINGS BR>
The word MUDIRAJA was a pure dravidian word and used in most dravidian languages even today. The word MUDIRAJA has the same meaning of ADHIRAJA. The MUDIRAJAS, who were believed to be the descendants of KALABHRAS were initially jains and then became buddhists when they became subordinate kings to Ashoka of Kalinga. They were well known for their anti-Brahminism tirade in South India and strong patronage to jainism and buddhism. The anti-Brahmin attitude of these Kalabhra kings might have prompted them to use the pure dravidian word MUDIRAJA instead of ADHIRAJA to designate themselves as the true and real GREAT KINGS of the South India in those days. In due course of time MUDIRAJA became the caste name for these GREAT KINGS and their descendants.

ADHIRAJA    (Sanskrit) =>GREAT KING (English)
MUDIRAJA    (Telugu  ) =>GREAT KING (English)
MUTHURAJA (Tamil    ) =>GREAT KING (English)

Mutharaya / Muthuraya / Maharaya:

A careful study of inscriptions, endowments recorded by the epigraphists during the times of Vijayanagar empire, give us certain clues that these kings were most probably related to Mudirajas / Muthurajas of present day South India.

It has been observed that there are many endowments and insciptions where many kings of Saluva, Tuluva and Araveedu dynasty who ruled Vijayanagar empire were referred as Maharayas.

Maha => Muthu => Mudi

Maharaya => Muthuraya => Muthuraja => Mudiraja

Mutharayar => Muthurayar => Maharayar

The kings of Vijayanagar who came under the influence of Brahminic culture with the decline of Buddhism in South India, were most probably referred by Brahman epigraphists as Maharayas to indicate the belongingness of these kings to the community of Muthurayas or Mutharayas.

The words Mutharaya or Muthrayars were preferred and specifically selected words for use by most Buddhist empigraphists of South India who were anti-brahmin in their attitude and also wrote most of their religious texts in pure Tamil language.

There was no difference in the community of kings who belonged to Muthuraya and Maharaya except that the Muthuraya kings were Buddhists by religion and the later Maharaya Kings accepted Brahminic Vaishnava path.

This once again proves that most of the kings who ruled Vijayanagar empire, the chieftains and other important tax collecting officials (Settis) were from Maharaya (Muthuraya) community.

The following are several references made by different writers, endowments and inscriptions to Vijayanagar kings where they were referred as Maharayas meaning Mutharayas or Mudirajas.

“Krishnadeva Maharaya had an young Son Tirumaladeva Maharaya. According to his wish, his brother Achyutaraya Maharaya became king of Vijayanagar Empire after him.”

“The Emperor Achyutaraya Maharaya made an endowment IV. 54 dated 26th December 1535 for the annual celebration in Tirumala of a new festival commemmorating the marriage of Sri Venkatesvara with Alarmel Mangai Nachchiyar, also called Lakshmidevi Mahotsavam.”

“Earlier to Sri Krishnadeva Maharaya (16th century) there is only one Telugu inscription of Saluva Mangideva Maharaya dated saka 1281 (No.237 T.T.) and two Kannada inscriptions, one of Vira Pratapa-Devaraya Maharaya dated saka 351 (No. 188 T.T.) and one of Saluva Narasimha dated saka 1389 (No.8 G.T.)”

There is an inscription dated 1628 in this Ranganatha Temple in Telugu. The English translation of this is "Be it well, When Rajadhi-Raja-Parameshwara Vira Pratapa Vira-Maha-Deva Maharaya seated in the Jewel throne was ruling the empire of the world”.

“Sadasiva deva Maharaya was recognised by every one as the real sovereign is shown by a large number of inscriptions, ranging from 1542 to 1568”

Copper plates give details of Maharayars of Vijayanagara kingdom :

Three ancient copper plates with etchings on the Vijayanagara kingdom have been collected from a Tirunelveli brass vessel shop. The plates, each weighing 2.636 kg, 21 cm in length and 18 cm in width, have been handed over by a numismatic inspector of Tiruchengodu, Namakkal district, to the Kongu Research Centre founder Pulavar S. Rasu.

Mr. Rasu said the etchings were written on August 29, 1544 (Tamil year, Salivahana 1466, Aavani), when the legal heir of Sri Krishnadevarayar ruled the Vijayanagara kingdom. The plates had details of the role of the Vijayanagara king, Achutha Deva Maharayar (brother of Krishnadevarayar).

His chief secretary, Mallappa Naicker, was in charge of Jayasinganadu (present Tirunelveli area).

Land to villagers

Mallappa Naicker, on the orders of the king, granted sites to 87 Brahmins at Munnerpallam village and 35,165 acres of land to villagers. Income from the land was divided into four portions and granted to 87 Brahmins, an Eswaran (Shiva) temple and for propagating puranas and teaching the Vedas.

The etchings say all Brahmins are Vaishnavites, but they visit the Eswaran temple.

The plates had details of several villages in the Tirunelveli area and of Tamil kings who ruled southern Tamil Nadu.

Muthuraiyar Magazine "Kattru" says, The Govt. of Tamil Nadu had issued a Government Order No. 15 dated 22.02.2006 regarding the following 29 subcastes are coming under Muthuraiyar community.


The above said GO was issued by the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ms. J. Jayalaitha in 2006 . Further, Mr. Thangarasu of Muthuraiyar Sangarm, Thiruvallur District, TN, also confirmed that the above 29 subcastes are under Muthuraiyar Community and he also toled that during ex Cheif Minister, Late M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) period, as requested by Muthuraiyar community representative to the Chief Minister of TN, M.G.R had established a Statue of Perumpidugu Muthuraiyar King in Trichy district, Tamil Nadu.




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05. BUNT / BANT :

The people of Telugu speaking Mudirajas are also known as BANTU (Bunt), BANTLU(Bunts). The counter part of Mudiraj people in the Tulu speaking region of Karnataka are also known as BUNTs. In a true sense BUNT means servant. The word "Bunt" in Tulu / Kannada language has its equivalent in Telugu and it is known as BANTU. The Vijayanagar empire was basically the power bastin of all bunt kings of Tuluva and Telugu origins. The Kurubas (Yadavas) too fall under bunt category. The Telugu speaking Bunts / Bants among Mudirajas supposed to be living in the areas of South and Sout-West of Andhra Pradesh, which are closely located to Tuluva regions of Karnataka.

Bunt = Bantu (singular)
Bunts = Bantlu (plural)

Bantu => Servant
Bantu => Follower

The bunts in Tuluva region say that they were bunt rajas of medieval times and they were also known as buntaru. They were also mostly chieftains similar to mutharachas in Eastern Ghats of South India.

The word BUNT or BANTU was very ancient in its origin connecting to Hanuman of Ramayana times. The great dravidian warrior and chief commander of monkey army was known as "Rama Bantu". Surprisingly Hanuman belonged to Hampi of Telugu speaking areas of Bellary districts which are also very close to Tuluva and kannada regions, and which are infested with BUNT population. Even the Telugu and Kannada scripts look alike, pointing to a grand truth that Vanaras were the BUNTS / BANTS whose language was the mother language of all the three languages i.e Telugu, Tulu and kannada in the puranic times.

In a practical sense,RAMA BUNTU (Hanuman) means, the follower of Sri Rama. In other words, all the bunts were mostly warrior people belonging to kolis, bhils, gonds, etc. and belonging to Telugu and Tuluva speaking regions of South India and particularly from TulaNadu and TeluguNadu.

Even the commanders and subcommanders who commanded the monkey army against demon Ravana under the supreme command of Sri Rama were all BANT / BUNT warriors in majority. Most probably, the subcommanders / chieftains of monkey warriors who helped Rama in his fight against Ravana in the rescue operation of SITA used to call themselves as Rama Bunts / Rama Bantus as a matter of great pride for themselves. This word BUNT / BANTU might have continued to be used to give a separate special identity to the local people and their chieftains in the region of Andhra, Tuluva & Kannada since the times of epic Ramayana. As it was explained in one of the pages in this site, Hanuman was not only Telugu speaking man but also a Muthuracha / Bunt warrior of ancient origin.

Rama bantu => Servant of Rama => Follower of Rama
Rama Bantlu => Servants of Sri Rama => Followers of Rama

Hanuman was not only a Dravidian Tribal belonging to Telugu speaking regions, but also belonged to a community that has connection to fishing profession. In some version of Ramayana, there is a reference about his son by name Matchyavalaka or Matchyavallabha. Here Matchya means Fish and Matchyavalaka means son of a fish. It may be a silent pointer to the fact that Hanuman was a koli (Mudiraj) warrior having married to a koli girl for whom Matchyavalabha was born.

Matchya => Fish
Matchyavallabha => Son of a Fish

In Mudiraj Caste, we can come across some people having "Bantu / Bunt" as their Gotra name. "Koli" is also another gotra name among Mudiraj caste people.

Further deep study of BANT / BUNT reveals, the direct connection of the word "BUNT" to VANARAS. This once again confirms the grand fact that all the present BUNTS / BANTS were the descendants of VANARAS.

Bantara => Banta => Bant
Bantara => Banta => Bantu

How to prove that Buntu means Vanara ?

Van => Ban = forest
Vanara => Vanachara => Vanjara => Banjara
Vanjara = Banjara = The men who moves in the forests

Banjara => Bant(z)ara => Bantara => Bantaru
Bantaru => Bantu => Buntu = The men who moves in the fores

Banjara => Band(z)ara => Bandara => Bandar
Bandar = Monkey (The animal which moves in forests)

Elugu Bantu = The bear which moves in the forests.
Rama Bantu = The forest men who moves along with Sri Rama
Rama Bantu = The vanara warriors who follows Sri Rama

The Mudiraj / Bant / Bunt warrior people who were living in the region of Hampi and their related warriors people in Telugu and Tulu regions were the original bants / bunts.

Bantus were foot soldiers in Kakatiya Kingdom :
Among the war bands that were closely associated with Kakatiyas, the retinue of Gundaya Nayaka figuresin three different inscriptions from Magatala town in Mahabubnagar district, where it was apperently garrisoned. Gundaya Nayaka, a subordinate of Kakatiya Prataparudra who held the position of "Gaja Sahini" (commander of elephant troops), had nayakas under him who acted as officers (pradhani). The bulk of his soldiers, however, were divided into the two basic ranks of rautu and bantu. On two occassions when tithes were assessed, Gundaya Nayaka's rautus were assigned a far higher rate of contribution than were the bantus. Since a second war band associated with another Kakatiya nayaka in Warangal district followed the same practice in their donation, the division of men into a higher class of rautu and a lower-ranking category of bantu must have been widespread . Rautu invariably meant "horse riding warrior" , so in these contexts bantu may have signified "foot soldier".

Some Kakatiya bantus were not members of organised war bands but instead seem to have been stationed in small numbers in the country side.

The reality of an overlord's dependence on his subordinate has been noted in an analysis of the relationship between the Vijayanagara emperor and Vishvanatha nayaka, the lord of Madhurai. Elsewhere bantu may have just meant a warrior or soldier who had sworn a personnel oath of allegiance to some one, since several nayakas attached to non-Kakatiya rulers call themselves their lord's bantu.

Telugu and Tulu languages might have originated from the language of Vanaras of Kishkinda :
Some experts point about Tulu being part of Telugu family. For example in Tulu numbers - "Eight" is enuma in Tulu and enimidi in Telugu. However it is "entu" in Kannada, "ettu" in Tamil/Malayalam). The root langauge of Proto- Kannada- Malayalam branched out of Proto-Dravidian in Maharashtra region. This clan migrated along West coastal region. Tulu branched out because of Telugu family language influence. Then Kannada branched out as it spread inland from coastal region. Then Proto-Malayalam-Tamil clan continued their journey along Kaveri river and Tamil branched out in Tamil region.

Another example is communities in this region - about Shetty surname. The people of this community belong to, "Banta". In Telugu region, Bantu was an erstwhile suicide squad(Now, members of this community are called Mudiraju). This suicide squad of bodyguards was a common feature in South Indian region. In Telugu region they were called Bantu, in Kannada region they were called Garuda, in Malayalam region they were called Chaver and in Tamil region they were called Tamizh. They were the last rung support in an army(or for a feudal chieftain), I believe. Curiously, a Tulu community name finds an echo in Telugu region.

Tulu people used the word 'bant' or 'bante' initially for trusted person specifically a body guard who can be trusted. Initially 'bant' was a profession of trusted security guards especially for kings and chieftains before becoming a caste indicator. Koti Chennayya from billava caste were professional bants (=body guards) for Ballala chieftains according to Pad-danas. Since a large number of Tulu farmers, (okkaliga/nadava) were professional bants during the Tulu history, the word was subsequently attached to them as a caste indicator.

The intersting conclusion is that many south Indian languages ( at least TuLu, Kannada and Telugu ) have this word bant / banta / bantu in them that mean the same or have similar shades of meaning.

The dictionary says bantu = A soldier, an armed attendant, a police officer, a servant; In Telugu langauage, the names normally ends with U and preferably with - Du, Mu, Vu, Lu. Accordingly, the word BANT transformed into BANTU. Bant actually means an employee of a king i.e normally a soldier or an interior palace guard - but becasuse of their utmost faithfulness and loyalty towords their masters and jobs, the BANT word became popular to these people as servants who opted for domstic jobs in the houses of rich people. Thus the actual meaning of Bant had undergone a great change.

Bant (Tulu), banta (Kannada) and bantu (Telugu) all these words basically imply the same meaning that is a reliable assistant and / or bodyguard. The Telugu meaning of Bantu, a suicide squad, is only expansion of the basic meaning. In early days, Bantu meant a professional bodyguard who can be relied upon. Possibly, this profession was practiced by some Bantu persons who migrated from their original homeland due to adverse living conditions. Subsequently, the word Bantu meant any reliable bodyguard. Thus the word Bantu became an indicator of a profession. the Sanskrit word bhata could have been derived from the word bantu/ bant. The Sanskrit word bhata means a soldier or guard; without connotation of any of the reliability, bodyguard tags implied in the said South Indian languages.

Bants are also known as Nadavas. It is said that the Nadava are mentioned in a 13th century inscription for the first time in Tulunad area. It was the period when Tulunad was under the suzerainty of Vijayanagar kingdom. Possibly, Vijayanagar administrators referred to local cultivating community as as nadava to distinguish from the soldiers brought along with them from Vijayanagar mainland. Presently, Nadava are a Kannada speaking community widespread in Uttara Kannada. According to the Nadava sources, about five centuries ago, five Nadava families migrated from Kundapur area and settled around Ankola and Gokarna in Uttara Kannada district.

Webmaster
By Kokolu Anka Rao
Date -14/10/2005
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

Balijas were descendants of Mudiraj bants (Bantlu) :
It is understood that one of the earliest basic professions of balijas was trading. Hence, the Balijas are doubtedly the descendants of banjara trading community of North India. These Banjara trading community people in North India are known as Bania / Banajigas. These banajigas are known as balagigas , baligigas , and balijas.

It appears that the warrior class balijas / kapus were once part of the Telugu Bants ( Bantlu ) of Mudiraj community and slowly got separated into a distinct community at a later stages due to various political and professional reasons.

Sri Krishna Deva Raya was a Telugu speaking Bunt whose father Narasa Nayaka was a Tuluva Bunt from West Coast of South Indian Peninsula. Telugu speaking bunts are known as Mudiraj. But Balijas strongly Krishnadevaraya as a member of their community. But Telugu Balijas are never known as bants. Then, how the great emperor Krishna Devaraya was a Balija ?. But Balajigas or Balijigas or Balijas of Karnataka are known as bunts.

Hence, the Balijas claim that Sri Krishna Deva Raya was their caste member, most probably belonged to bant sections of Mudiraj community. The balijas also be considered as the descendants of Bali chakravarty, who was bana king of banjara race. The bali and Sibi names are widely prevelent among Mudiraj and cholas. The Kapus are believed to be the Telugu Cholas. Kaduvetti Muttarasa who ruled Kodumbalur region was a Bana king but assumed Muttarasa title. Kaduvetti Muttarasa could also be a bunt Mudiraj.

Banajara => Banijara => Balijara => Balija
Banajiga => Balajiga => Balijiga => Balija
Banajiga => Banijiga => Balijiga => Balija
Banajiga => Banadiga => Badiga
Banajara = banijara = Lambadi = Lambadigal

The kannada people of badiga community also seems to be the descendants of banajigas of North India. There is a novel on Naika Banijara to prove that most of the Naika / Nayaka titles were used by banjara / koli descendants.

Now it has become clear that the people of balija / kapu caste were once part of Mudiraj Bantu sections. There is also a ONTARI section of people who were present in both Mudiraju and Kapus / Balijas. Further, there are also several surnames of Tuluva bunts which are common to both Mudiraj and Balija communities today. This stands as a strong proof that Telugu Mudiraja bants and Tulu speaking bunts are one and the same people.

Some common Mudiraju - Balija (Kapu) surnames list :



Some look alike (similar) common surnames among Balija / Kapu <=> (Mudiraj) surnames list :


Lingamsetty, Siddamsetty, Loksetty are also some of the surnames of Mudiraj which look similar to those of Kapus with trading links. Gangireddy, Yamareddy are some of the surnames of Mudiraj having Reddy title and indicate that their ancestors were village heads. Such surnames are also there in kapus.

There are some common / look alike surnames which can be seem among Telugu Mudiraj bants <=> Tuluva Bunts and they are as mentioned below :



The sanskrit word 'vanijya' was pronounced in Gujarati as Vanajara, in Rajastani as Banajara, in Urdu as Banjare, in Hindi as Banzara, in Marathi as Banjari. A Vanjari or a trader seems to be occupational description, is etymologically identical with Vanijya which means trade or commerce. These tribes were in the past engaged in carrying grains and supplies for armies, before the time of cart-roads and railways.

Banachara => Banjara => Banajira => Banajiga
Banajiga => Bania
Banajiga => Bana
Banajiga => Banaji => Banij => Banijya
Banijya <=> Vanijya = Trade / Businees

The term "Banij" meaning trader or perhaps from "Baniji" , meaning pedlar's pack is used in the west of Punjab, as a generic term for pedlar is derived from Banjara. Indeed it is to be feared that in that part of province persons have been shown as Banjara in consequence of their occupation only.

Most Baniyas and Vaishyas had their roots in dravidian warrior races at one time. These people who belonged to warrior communities became specialised in trade and business and helped in keeping the royal treasuries filled with money which was required by the kings. The political or ruling power that does not bring money to the ruler has no meaning in human society. So the business men and traders in the ancient times were from the royal palaces and closely related to king community. There are some surnames of vaishyas and baniyas which one can come across in mudiraj and other warrior communities. Some vaishyas also worship Goddess Ankamma who is widely known as Goddess of Mudiraj.

As per the central list of backward classes in Karnataka, certain communiies names are clubbed as one at state Sl. No:14 and central list no. 167 and they are - Balija, Balajiga, Banajiga, Bale Balajiga, Dasa Banajiga, Naidu, Bogam Teluga, Telaga Balija, Teluga Banajiga, Setty Balija, Setty Banajiga, Kasban, Mannu r/ Munnar, Mutrasi, Matracha, Janappan, Balegara, Lingayat Balegala / Baleshettaru. Badigas are the original tribal settlers of Nilgiris. Badigas and Banajigas seems to be related people at their racial roots. Aadi Banajiga is one more name of Banajigas which is not seen in this list and they lift palanquins Muharram rituals in Karnataka. Banajigas are also there in Andhra Pradesh who are traders and they speak Telugu.

This aspect of clubbing all these communities into one group brings out the hidden fact that Balija and Mudiraja communities are rooted in Bantaras / Banjaras. Banajigas are lingayats in Karnataka.


Banjara a synomym for Vanjari. Brinajari a synomym for Lambadi.Banjara, Brinjari, Lambadi, Lamane, Vanjara, Gohar, Herkeri (Carnatic), grain and salt carriers, cattlebreeders and cattle dealers, found all over the country but especially over the districts of Warangal and Adilabad, which abound in rich pastures (A.P), Lamadi/ from Lamban - length- which has perhaps probable reference to the long line or train in which their bullocks move. Guguria Banjaras take their name from trading in Gugur - a kind of gum. Sukali is referred to, as a name of Lingayat (Sukali Setti) whose trade of fire wood selling was very prosperous and was taken by Banjaras when they came to Southern India.

Webmaster
Date :28/12/2007
Nagpur, Maharastra

The Nativity of MUDIRAJAS : The MUDIRAJAS were professional fighters, commandos, sharp shooters, experts in martial arts, warriors, and kings of South India during feudal and medieval times and originally belonged to the regions surrounding Thirupathi hills (vengadam), Uplands of Karnataka (pampa) and Dandakaaranya (Daccan) which spread across the four states of South Indian Peninsula i.e. Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka and Maharastra.

The people of Mudiraja, who belong to the lineage of kalabhras and kalchuris came from M.P via the route of chattisgarh, Maharastra, Karnataka, Andhra and finally to Tamilnadu.

Their Indian Tribal blood relations, who freely mixed with Aryan Kshatriyas are believed to belong to the block of Bhils, Gonds, Koyas & Kolis of Maharastra, Gujarat, Rajastan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jarkhand, Orissa, Andhra and Karnataka.


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