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Reddy Sangam

The Reddys were generally believed to have originated after the decline of the Rashtrakutas and the rise of the Kalyani Chalukyas circa 900 CE. The Kalyani Chalukyas appointed the former soldiers of the Rashtrakutas, who were  called as Raddis, as village chieftains. In due course of time, "Reddy" became the title  given to the village headman or chieftain. In a way it is similiar to the Gowdas in Karnataka.  During the Kalyani Chalukya period, the Reddy's  grew strong, taking control of all the villages, exerting their dominance, and this can be said to be the beginning.

It  was the rise of  the Kakatiya's  during the 12th century, that actually made them dominant.  The Kakatiya dynasty was founed by Prola, who quite often used the title "Reddy" in all his inscriptions. Under the Kakatiyas, the Reddy chieftains, were appointed as generals and soldiers, forming a major part of their army.  They also begin to carve out their own feudatories, and emerged as powerful chieftains in their own right. While paying tribute to the Kakatiya emperors, these chieftains were powerful in their own areas. They also acted as front line of defense against the Muslim invasions. They dominated the army, and also had their own clans, feudatories, that made them very powerful to contend with.

The fall of the Kakatiya empire, saw many of these Reddy chieftains, proclaim independence, and break away forming their own kingdoms. Prolaya Vema Reddy was the first king of the Reddy kingdom, who established his capital at Addanki( now in Prakasam district), At the peak of their glory, the Reddy kingdom covered  the entire coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema regions. They established forts at Kondavidu, Kondapalli, and later shifted the capital to Rajamahendravaram( now Rajamundry). They later lost out to the Gajapatis of Orissa and became part of the Vijayanagar empire later. Initially while there was a power struggle between the Vijayanagar rulers and the Reddy rulers, they later united against their common enemy, the Bahmani Sultans.

During the Vijayanagar era, the Reddys adopted the same strategy during Kakatiya rule, paying tribute to the emperor, maintaining their own private armies, which in turn assisted the Vijayanagar Army. Now having the title of Poligars, they controlled vast swathes of territory, which accounts for their spread in the Seema region. While part of the Vijayanagar kingdom, these Reddy Poligars were the masters of their dominion. They raised their own armies, collected taxes, which they paid to the treasury. After the fall of the Vijayanagar empire, again these Poligars became independent, began to fight among themselves, which in a way is the genesis of the notorious faction fights in Seema region.

It was the same in Telangana where the Reddys were first vassals under the Qutub Shah rulers of Golkonda and later the Nizams. They strategically aligned with the leading rulers, at the same time maintaining their own hegemony over their provinces. And this coupled with the fact, that they ruled over Coastal Andhra, made them the dominant community in the state. They were powerful financially possesing large amounts of land and having fought in wars, they had the muscle power too. After independence and formation of Andhra Pradesh, they naturally dominated the state political scene.  It was not just the Congress party, the Left too had some notable leaders like T.Nagi Reddy, S.Sudhakar Reddy, B.Narasimha Reddy.

Making up around 6.5% of Andhra's population, spread evenly across all regions, owning large tracts of land, plus years of ruling their own fiefdoms all combined to make Reddys the most powerful caste in Andhra.


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