My dear brothers and sisters, you may wonder why the KAUNDINYA EDUCATIONAL TRUST is so particular to encourage the education of poor and meritorious students of only those castes, when there are more than 5000 castes in our country. Of course, your rationality may give you an answer that as no Non Government Organisation can afford to help all castes, the KAUNDINYA EDUCATIONAL TRUST might have selected only the above said five. The same rationality may further probe why five castes instead of helping one caste?
Here comes the need to clarify to the highly esteemed readers of this website. Of course, some of the progressive thinkers may feel that this caste system is unwanted, callous, treacherous & inhuman. Dear readers, I too have the same feeling. Then, you may ask me why you have initiated to register a trust to help only the above 5 castes, branded by the society with some names and with some rank in the society. Before answering all your questions, I request you to please spare a few minutes to go through the roots of the caste system in India in general and the above mentioned five castes in particular..
It is my request for you to please spare your valuable time to go through the details of the roots of caste system in India. Hindu society in India is divided into groups, known as castes, with varying degrees of respectability and circles of social interaction.
Many tried to define a caste, but in vain because no single definition is sufficiently enough to convey the meaning of the caste completely. However, we see the following features in the caste ridden Indian Society.
Division of society into segments : Castes are groups with a well developed life of their own and the membership was determined not by Selection but by Birth. The status of the person depends on the traditional importance of the caste in which he had the luck of being born. For example Brahmins & Dalits.
Hierarchy : Every caste in India accepts its rank in the society without any expressive open grudge against the higher ranking castes.
Restrictions of feeding & social interaction : There are well defined minutest rules and regulations as to what sort of food or drink can be accepted by a person and from which caste. For ex: The touch of a member of any caste lower than one’s own, defiles a person of the higher caste.
Civil and religious disabilities & privileges of the different sections : Segregation of individual castes in a village is the most obvious mark of civil privileges & disabilities.
Restricted choice of occupation : Every caste is assigned an occupation, or the other way, every occupation is assigned a caste. No caste would allow its members to take to any profession other than what is assigned & every caste does not allow others to enter into their occupation.
Restrictions on marriage :No caste is allowed to marry from other castes, including among the sub-castes & groups. Inter-caste or sub-caste marriages are strictly prohibited. Hence in a nut shell, the over all scenario of the Indian caste system tells that a man has no choice to be born in a particular caste, but it is just an accident. A person’s dignity & status depends by being born in a particular caste and it is accepted without questioning the system. Though there was harmony in civil life, this harmony was not the harmony of parts that are equally valued, but of units which are rigorously sub-ordinated to one another.
My dear esteemed readers, I request you to spare a few minutes of your valuable time to know the need for starting KAUNDINYA EDUCATIONAL TRUST. Whether we like it or not, the caste system in our country is rampant. It is specially seen in the rural India where 70 to 80 percent of the people still live in villages. Caste hierarchy, Untouchability, Separate drinking water wells, Separate coffee glasses- until plastic glasses are introduced because of modernization, non-entry of S.Cs & STs into Hindu temples, honor-killing of inter-caste marriages, domination of a few highly ranked caste people in the fields of Education, Politics, Bureaucracy, Judiciary, Industry, Cinema field, Journalism, Media (Both Electronic & Print) Land Lordism, Educational institutions and what not, is normally seen every where in India. This discrimination is seen since KRITAYUGA. In our Puranas, Kavyas and Itihasas like Ramayana & Mahabharatha, we see this discrimination. For ex: In Ramayana, Sambuka, a Sudra, was beheaded for taking penance ( Tapassu ) and in Mahabharata, Ekalavya was not only disallowed to learn Archery from Dronacharya, but also his thumb was taken as Gurudakshina, by Drona through conspiracy, though he didn’t teach him an ABCD of Archery.
All these things show us that the learning of Education in any form was forbidden to sudras due to Varna Vyavastha and we, Gowdas and its sub-castes (GESSY s), are not an exception. For thousands of years, we were kept away from education. After Independence, though opportunities are given to learn education to all people of India, Gowdas did not utilize them properly, because our elders, except a few, concentrated more on toddy tapping and some interested groups more on the superiority of their respective sub-castes, but funnily accepting the superiority of many castes above them.
Hence, my dearest Brothers and Sisters of Gowdas and its sub-castes(GESSY s), if we go through the social, economic, political, cultural and ruling system of so many generations or through the puranas, Mahabharata and Ramayana, about 95% of the people over thousands of years were not allowed Either To learn education or to rule the kingdoms”. Four varnas and thousands of castes were restricted to pursue their “Kula Vritti“ or “Caste Profession“ assigned by the social system. Due to this system, the fruits of development was enjoyed only by two sections i.e., (a) learned class (b) Warrior class. Opportunities provided to all sections of people after Independence were being snatched away by a few sections who shifted from their traditional occupations to education. Castes that stuck to their traditional occupations are still very backward. Gowdas(GESSY s) are one among such castes.
A research study by name “caste in different modules” undertaken recently by professor Rajesh Shukla , Suneel Jain and Preetee Kakkar, Correlated backwardness and illiteracy. They found that though the Scheduled Tribes population in India is 8% , their share in the National Income is hardly 5.2%. The percentage of all other forward castes is 34.1 and their share of national Income is 45%. They attributed four factors for this unequal distribution of wealth and inequalities of income. They are 1. Level of education, 2. Level of employment, 3. Region of residence, 4. Level of Caste hierarchy.
You all know very well that a highly educated boy or a businessman with higher incomes from O.B.Cs, S.Cs & S.Ts are preferred by the so called developed forward caste people. This means that education & financial stability help inter-caste marriages, thereby leading to the eradication of INHUMAN GRADATION OF caste system in course of time. Hence our main motto is to eradicate caste system. This can be done by putting efforts to help the poor and down – trodden among our own caste people, because we cannot help all people in India. Moreover, the so called developed people are still helping their own people. In this process, our efforts will help in the long run to develop our people and initiate the eradication of treacherous and inhuman caste system. No doubt, this will not happen in a decade or two, but may take hundreds of years. But let us all who are fortunate enough by God’s grace, (educationally & economically) help our caste people to come up in the society.
This is the intention of our KAUNDINYA EDUCATIONAL TRUST which was registered on 06.05.2005, in Guntur to help the poor and meritorious students of Gowda, Settibalija, Ediga, Sri Sayana and Yaata,in both Andhra and Telangana states. On the occasion of every scholarship distribution day Sri Y. Satyanarayana, Additional Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Retired ( a personality development expert & well-wisher of our trust) Speaks on how to develop one’s own personality to achieve higher goals in life, in addition to the Motivational Messages by many IAS, IPS, IRS Officers.
A brief explanation of the roots of Gowda, Ediga, Settibalija, Sri Sayana and Yaata in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States is given below.
People belonging to toddy tapping as a profession are named as Gowdas in general and its sub-castes in different regions are called Ediga, Settibalija, Sri Sayana & Yaata. Of course, the percentage of Gowdas engaged in this profession at any point of time is hardly 20.
However, let us know in which region they are named as what caste and why, though all of them are being assigned the same profession.
1. GOWDA : A village head is called Gowda. A few people from this caste tap toddy from the palm, date and coconut trees as a family profession. They are concentrated in districts like Sri Potti Sriramulu Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, East, West, Visakhapatnam and the whole of Telangana State.
2. EDIGA : It is a Dravidian Eezhava word and it conveys a man who taps the palmira, coconut and date trees and lives on selling the toddy. Gowdas are called by the name Ediga in Rayalaseema districts like Kadapa, Kurnool, Chitoor and Anantapur, though a few are found spreading in other districts also.
3. SETTIBALIJA : Gowda or Ediga caste in East Godavari was not given its due respect, where kshatriyas and kapus dominated in the caste Hierarchy. This was noticed by Sri Dommeti Venkata Reddy (a Gowda) who stayed a long time in Rangoon and came back to spend in his own district. Having revolted against the ill-treatement meted by the upper castes in the district, he gave a thought to change the name of his caste. Then he changed the name of GOWDA to Settibalija in 1920 and started propagating “Education and Economic Development”are the only assets for self respect in the society. He not only started schools, but also one or two hostels for the poor & Meritorious. Since then with Sri Dommeti Venakta Reddy (Gowda) spirit behind them, changing the original name of Ediga to Settibalija, started their development in all fields. But, this development did not spread to other districts. In my observation settibalija community after the change of name from Ediga as a whole developed in all fields like education, industrial, political, trade & business when compared with the rest of the Gowdas in the state. This is a welcome change. Ofcourse, it does'nt mean that one should change ones own caste to develop in the society. This information is just to bring the facts to your notice. But, the present generation is not aware of this fact and are thinking that these two castes are different, each one feeling superior to the other. This is painful and I hope leaders will not create more gap for their self interest. But I appreciate the GESSY organistaion, the future hope of Gowdas & the highly educated youth of our state, who took the cause of education, Eco. Development and unity of Gowdas, Settibalijas, Edigas, Sri Sayana and Yaata of the state of Andhra Pradesh.
4. SRI SAYANA : “Sri” has many meanings. One of them is “Sura”or “madhuvu”. It is a drink called toddy tapped from Palmira, coconut and date trees, which make people to enjoy, loosing rationality for a little time. Sayana means to lie down and sleep. Sri Sayana conveys that the people who tap toddy and sell it to people making them happy & joyful. History tells that king Asoka after embracing Buddhism, sent all his soldiers to spread Buddhism. This army (Sainyam) was named by him as Sri Saina”or “Sri Sena”. The Sri Sayanas who settled in the district of Srikakulam have the origin of Sri Senas, sent by the Emperor Asoka to spread Buddhism. This explanation was given by Sri Suravaram Pratap Reddy in his social history of Andhras.
5. YAATA OR SAGADI : Presently our country is mainly protected by Army, Navy and Air force. In ancient days, kings used to have four types of forces to protect their kingdoms. They are “RATHA”(Chariot) “GAJA” (Elephant) “TURAGA”(Horses) and “PADAATHI” (Soldiers on foot).
Chariots are also called “Sakatas”. People who used to run chariots or Sakatas are called SAGADIS.Vijaya Nagar empire was invaded by Mohammadan Kings. Ganga Vamsa Kshatriyas used to be (Samanta) subordinate kings of Vijaya Nagar kings. They fought against Mohammaden kings and being defeated by them, they fled away to the nearby jungles to save themselves. They used to live on fruits and roots. Wherever the fruits and edible roots are not available, they used to cut the heads of Palmira and date trees and eat the softest part available in it. In this process, they found the trees oozing some juice and they collected it and found tasty and enjoyable.
Since then, they took up this as a profession. This information was collected by me from the thesis of M.Phil of Sri G.Anajaneyulu Gowda.
I know the web reader may be reading about his own sub-caste. But dear gentleman, “ We are all one and the only one
“ “ARE WE NOT ONE” IN MANY WAYS!?
“YES” WE ARE ALL “ONE”! SEE HOW?
My dear enthusiastic readers of the web site about KAUNDINYA EDUCATIONAL TRUST, I feel that I am very clear in selecting these five castes because they are all only one in origin and the marriages among Gowda, Settibalija and Edigas are very common.
A.P. GOVT. G.O. WISE “WE ARE ONE”
To be more clear bout the oneness of these sub-castes, we find in the Report of the Backward Classes Commission “Submitted to and accepted by the A.P. Govt. In this report, in page 158, Appendix-4, socially and educationally backward classes schedule B, it was stated that Gowda, Ediga, Settibalija, sri Sayana, Yaata or Chegidi belong to the same profession. It is found in item No.4 and page No. 160. However, Yaata caste is kept in BC-A.
ELDERS WISH - WISE “WE ARE ONE”
Later, with the involvement of all our Gowda leaders of our state, led by Sardar Gowthu Latchanna, who is highly respected not only by Gowdas and all other castes of Andhra Pradesh but also by all political parties in India, persuaded the A.P. Govt. to issue a G.O. branding Gowda, Settibalija, Ediga, Sri Sayana & Yaata, as Gowdas. Subsequently, a G.O. was issued by A.P. Govt. on 11-12-1997 with G.O. No.16.
GOWDAPURANA - WISE, “WE ARE ONE”
To the pride of honour of our Gowdas, we have a purana called Gowda Puranam. Gowda Puranam says that Brahma the creator, while travelling to kailasa on his Hamsa Vaahana, was sweating on his forehead. Brahma rubbed his forehead with his finger and was about to throw the sweat away, both the earth & sky shivered conveying that they can not bear it. Brahma asked Vayudeva to throw it Seven Seas away. But vayudeva threw it in the pond where Goddess Parvathi used to take bath. Then the sweat did not absorb in water. At the same time, a Mahatma was born with Sirshasana i.e., head down and feet upwards. Seeing this Mahatma, Goddess Parvati asks sage Narada to explain it to her. Narada comes to know from Three Murthies ( Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara ) that he was born out of God Brahma’s sweat. As he was also born on Karthika Poornima, he was given the name of Kaundinya. When he was asked to come out of the pond, he asks for a boon to have progeny without marrying a woman. Otherwise, he rejected to come out of the pond. Then all the three Gods blessed Kaundinya by chanting Adiveda, Amaraveda and Saamaveda. Kaundinya was blessed with 5 sons by name Adi Gowda, Amara Gowda, Veda Gowda, Vipra Gowda, Pungama Gowda and a daughter Nilambari.
All the sons were given good education by the Gods. And they were given the kalpa VRIKSHAS ( Palm, Coconut, Date) and asked them to produce SURA and supply to all Gods. Hence we can conclude, purana wise also all people who hail from the main profession toddy tapping, belong to one origin.
One Mr. Buddiga Adi Narayana who wrote “SAMAGRA GOWDULA CHARITRA” from a Hindi book Adi Gowda Deepika pages 121-124, the purana of Gowdas says that one demon king by name TRIPURASURA used to wage war against Devatas and used to tease Rishis. In this process , unable to bear the violence of the Asurars, god’s king Indra fled away to Himalayas and hid himself not to be seen by Asuras. The rest of rulers of 8 sides (Ashta Dikpalakulu) could not do their duties normally. As a result there was a famine in Bhooloka and people suffered from hunger & starvation. Then all other Maharishis prayed Atri Maharishi, requesting him to save the people of Bhooloka. Being satisfied with their prayers, he has CHANTED a mantra “OM GOWDASYA SIVAYA SWAHA”. With this MANTRA, a handsome man with many arms (Ayudhas) around him was born, he being the brain child of Atri Maharshi. He was named as "Kaundinya” and he was ordered by Atri Maharishi to help the people by providing food, water and medicines.
Being ordered by his father, he came to Bhooloka and provided many medicinal plants, food crops, fruits and tasty juices from Palmira, coconut and date trees to keep the pople happy and joyful. Thus Kaundinya saved all the people of the earth.
Kaundinya got married to “Mayakanya”, the daughter of Satyavati, and begot four sons by name “Kaundilya” ”Ayudharmudu””Homaaksha”and “Devaasraya”. These four sons are called Deva Gowdas with Kaundinya Gotra. Since then the Deva Gowdas started receiving 6 Gotras by name 1. Atri Gotra, 2. Kaundinya Gotra, 3. Kundilya Gotra, 4. Ayudhama Gotra 5. Homaksha Gotra and 6. Devasraya Gotra.
All the above 6 Gotrikas were being called as Deva Gowdas and Siva Gowdas. These gotrikas used to utter Gowda Mantra and squeeze the juice from coconut, palm and date trees and provide it to Garuda, gandharva, Taksha, Siddha, Naga, Kinnera, Kimpursha. In turn the Gowdas were being respected and appreciated by one and all.
Having read this, “you believe it” or “do not believe” or “simply laugh at it”. (Nammakandi, Nammandi or Navvukondi) But, believe that we all have same origin, either through purana, or through history or through the Govt. GO issued through the involvement of our great leaders.
As though this discriminative caste system is not sufficient, people among different sub-castes, having the same origin, started feeling superior by evolving some changes and making it a separate group. Gowdas are not an exception to this type of feeling superiority among their own sub-castes, having the same origin. They have not yet realized the meaning of the proverb "united we stand and divided we fall".
My Dear Brothers and Sisters, “ it is inhuman to “discriminate’, ‘ill-treat’ and assign ‘ a rank’ to a person belonging to a particular caste”. We have been seeing a Brahmin helping the Brahmin, a Vysya helping the Vysya, a Reddy helping Reddy and a Kamma helping Kamma. Ofcourse, they do help others also, but prioritize with a strong “WE” feeling. But to our own surprise, we hardly see people of Gowdas helping their own people. I don’t say this percentage is zero but very negligible. Once a Gowda man develops, he very much remembers his Palmira tree (TAATI CHETTU) culture, forgetting that he has a moral responsibility to develop his own needy and down-trodden people. You may be WONDERING what this TAATI CHETTU CULTURE is ?! This tree grows to greater heights, but does not give shade to not even a single man. Kindly “Do not say it is giving Toddy”! You know it not only harms others, but also our own kith and kin. But see a mango tree, it not only provides shade to a tired man but also gives sweet fruits to a hungry man. The so called developed castes whom I have already mentioned have been doing this not only in India, but also outside India (TANA & ATA).
I don’t mean Gowdas should help only Gowdas. We should learn to help everyone in need, irrespective of caste, colour, creed and race. But prioritization has become the need of the hour, atleast until such time that the caste system is eradicated. KAUNDINYA EDUCATIONAL TRUST Initiator and Founder Chairman Dr.E.V.Narayana’ only mission is to achieve this GOAL. That is the reason why we are encouraging the poor and meritorious students of other weaker section of the society.
Dear brothers and sisters, whether we like it or not, we are branded a particular caste without our concern & consent. This brand name of Gowda has bestowed upon us the boon of BC (B) reservation. I think almost all of the educated have enjoyed the fruit of this caste reservation in the educational institutions either in the form of seat or in the form of fee concession or in the form of scholarship. There is nothing wrong in enjoying the benefits provided by Govt. But, I appeal to my ‘branded caste’ people to pay back to the caste by helping our own people to develop in the society through education. No doubt, education is not for white collar jobs alone. One can select any lucrative or remunerative employment and utilize the opportunity in the best way possible, instead of swimming in the sea of poverty and ignorance.