Kamma Caste –An Introduction

Kamma Community/caste, which is just around 4-5% of combined population of two Telugu speaking states Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is one of the most prominent communities in terms of wealth, influence, pull, intellect, and generosity. Nevertheless, geographically Kammas are not widely spread across the two states as their presence is confined to limited districts. In Andhra Pradesh they are predominant in Krishna, Guntur, Prakasham, Godavari Districts, Ananthapur, and Chittoor, as well to a partial extent in Nellore and Kurnool. Vishakhapatnam being the business center with a good number of state and central enterprises, Kammas migrated to the district headquarters for greener pastures.

In Telangana they are one of the chief social classes in Khammam, Nizamabad, and Warangal. Hyderabad being the state capital of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, people from all parts of the state migrated to Hyderabad and connecting Rangareddy district and do Kammas. In most of the constituencies and municipal divisions in Hyderabad, Kammas are still a deciding factor when it comes to the fortunes of contestants in elections. Other districts of Telangana i.e. Mahabubnagar, Adilabad, Karimnagar, and Medak have a limited spread of Kammas.

Kammas in Tamilnadu

During the Vijayanagar reign Kammas along with other Telugu speaking castes migrated to Tamilnadu in large numbers. Today Kammas are present in all northern, southern, and western parts of Tamilnadu and as per the state’s official estimate the total number of Kammas present is around 40 Lakhs. This figure is nearly equal to the sum of Kammas combined in AP and Telangana. Even after ages of migration the Kammas still speak in Telugu at homes though they are not equipped with writing and reading skills. Eminent as Naickers or Kammavar Naidus, along with other Telugu castes, Kammas are also addressed as Vadugars in Tamilnadu.

Kammas in other States:

There are couple of ancient proverbs that depict the hardworking nature of Kammas and their proficiency in agriculture. One such proverb ‘Even land fears Kammas” (భూమి కూడా కమ్మవారికి భయపడుతుంది) distinctly conveys how this social class, which is basically dependent on agriculture for generations, put land to effective use for deriving optimum output and doing rare experiments. The other saying often quoted “A community that is seen where water is present” (నీటి వనరు ఎక్కడ ఉంటె కమ్మవారు అక్కడ ఉంటారు) historically proved that Kammas in search of water and fertile lands left their home lands and travelled distances. We can see manifold Kamma families in adjoining states of Karnataka (Bellary, Gangavati, Kolar, Chikballapur, Bangalore and a few other areas), Orissa, and Maharashtra (Vidharbha Region) who specifically moved for cultivation. Wherever this community went, they earned respect in the local population and societies with their hard work and social standards.  

In the last 3-4 decades Kammas in large numbers migrated to other countries for advanced education and better business opportunities. Though the substantial relocation happened to USA, Canada, Australia, and UK, other countries like Germany, France, New Zealand, and Middle East. 

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