Kamma Caste History

 Kamma caste is a South Indian Dravidian caste. Thousands of years back some Dravidian language speaking groups came to India and settled here. Dravidians were originally living in upper Egypt and came to india through Mesopotamia, Iran, and Baluchistan.

These Dravidian Groups settled in various parts of India. Some dravidian groups settled in South India and Some groups settled in Deccan and Central India before 1500 BC. After Aryans invasion around 1500 BC one Dravidian Group came to Krishna river valley and settled in Krishna,Guntur and Prakasam Districts. They were predominent in that area. During Satavahana Kings Rule some budhists came and set up Budhisam & Karma teaching schools. With that these Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam Dists. were called as Kammarastram/ Kammanadu. After that the ruling class people in Kammanadu were called as kammanativaru / Kammavar.

Kammavaru found largely in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Starting from the 1960s, a sizable number have emigrated to other parts of the world, particularly to the Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

Kakatiya period

In prolonged battles with Muslims between 1296 and 1323 CE. thousands of Kamma Nayakas perished along with others, in the defense of Warangal. A group of nobles formed in opposition to Muslim rule and were led by a Kamma called Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka, although details of the circumstances surrounding his rise are uncertain. Also uncertain are the methods used that enabled some limited amount of success for the venture, which saw the rebels defeating the Muslim armies in some battles and disrupting their cohesion in the region. The nobles were able to assert control in the Godavari area, over which Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka became ruler from 1325 until his death in 1333. He left no children and was succeeded by a cousin, Kapaya Nayaka, who governed until 1368 and attempted further to expand the Hindu rule. He took control of Warangal from Malik Maqbul in 1336 and thus also of a wider swathe of eastern Telangana that was governed from there. He also tried to support other rebels in surrounding areas, although in the case of aid given to Jaffar Khan — also known as Alauddin Baharnan Shah the outcome was that his ambitious, unscrupulous and emboldened fellow rebel turned on him. Several military engagements with Khan followed over a period of years, during which Kapaya Nayaka had to cede various forts and territories. His weakened position was exploited by the Reddis and the Velamas, the latter of whom caused his death in battle at Bhimavaram and ended the period of Kamma rule.

Vijayanagara period

After the death of Kapaya Nayaka, many Kammas migrated to the Vijayanagara kingdom. During the reign of Sri Krishnadevaraya Kammas belonging to thirty seven gotras were living in the city of Vijayanagar. Kamma Nayaks formed the bulwark of Vijayanagara army and were appointed as governors in many areas of Tamil Nadu.Their role in protecting the last great Hindu kingdom of India was significant.

Golkonda period

The Kammas were largely reduced by the status of peasants in the post-Kakatiya period.The Vijayanagara kingdom underwent very difficult times after the battle of Tallikota in 1565. Pemmasani Nayaks, Ravella Nayaks and Sayapaneni Nayaks steadfastly helped the Araviti kings in keeping the Muslims at bay. It took another 90 years to consolidate the Muslim power in Andhra country with the capture of Gandikota in 1652. Kamma nayaks migrated in large numbers to the Tamil region. During the Golkonda period, the Sayapaneni Nayaks (1626–1802) ruled Dupadu region as vassals of the Golkonda sultans.

The British gained control of Andhra by 1788 from Golkonda Nawabs. Another Kamma principality during Golkonda period was Devarakota with Challapalli as its capital. Its ruler, Yarlagadda Guruvarayudu was subdued by Abdullah Qutb Shah in 1576. His successors ruled as vassals of Golkonda till the French took over in 1751 and later the British in 1765.

Modern history

Kamma landholdings were consolidated, and their influence consequently increased, by the introduction of the ryotwari system as a replacement for the zamindari system in the 19th century.

Construction of dams and barrages and establishment of an irrigation system in Godavari and Krishna River deltas by Arthur Cotton was a great boon to the Kamma farmers. Availability of water and the natural propensity for hard work made the Kammas wealthy and prosperous. The money was put to good use by establishing numerous schools and libraries and encouraging their children to take up modern education

The Kammas of Southern Tamil Nadu have also excelled in the cultivation of black cotton soils and later diversified into various industrial enterprises, particularly in Coimbatore and Kovilpatti.

Kamma Population - A study:

As per our estimates it is nearly 67 lacs in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Andhra-Telangana = 40 lacs
Rayalaseema-Karnataka = 15 lacs
Tamilnadu = 12 lacs