Sub-sects in Kamma Community – Based on MarriageRituals, Lifestyle, and Traditions

In the previous article we have explored how Kammas were divided historically into different sub-sects based on their economic status and financial strength. Let us now analyse how they were divided based on their lifestyle, marriage rituals, and social customs.

The British census 1981 mentioned that there were around 9 categories of Kammas that include Pedda Kamma, Godachatu Kamma, Illuvellani Kamma, Bangaru Kamma, Vaduga Kamma, Kavali Kamma, Gandikota Kamma, Gampa Kamma, and Macha Kamma. Nevertheless, the latter two categories ceased to exist today. The census further illustrated that all the categories doesn’t have an equal geographic spread and a specific category was majorly confined to one area. For instance, Bangaru Kamma were found in North Arcot (Tamilnadu) and Vaduga Kamma in Coimbatore region (Tamilnadu). The first three divisions were predominantly found in Krishna, Guntur, and Anantapuram districts.
Gampa Kammas: Historians say this classification emerged from a marriage ritual where the bride was brought to the dais in a basket (gampa). Thus the name ‘Gampa Kammas’. There was another version that says Gampa Kammas were China Kammas and Goda Chatu Kammas were Pedda Kammas. As mentioned previously Pedda Kammas were largely settled in Krishna district and even today majority of surnames seen in Krishna district are related to Pedda Kammas.
Goda Chatu Kammas: ‘Chatu’ denotes hiding place. Though the exact reason behind this name is not known, as per the historians, Kammas those who didn’t expose their women and followed gosha system were said to have gained this name. The census mentioned this segment of Kammas was majorly found in Chengelpet and Acot in Tamilnadu.
Illu vellani (Illu Vedalani) Kammas: As the name signifies those Kamma women who were not habituated to go out or to fields gained this name. This sect of Kammas were found in Nellore, Ananthapuri, and Krishna districts.
Edama Paita Kamma or Kudi Paita Kamma: The Telugu word ‘paita’ is derived from ‘Payi-eda which means the upper part of the chest. The part of the
saree used to cover ‘pai-eda’ has over a period of time gained the name ‘paita’ or ‘paita-kongu. Those Kammas who were habituated to put this paita-kongu on the right side of upper chest were called ‘Kudi Paita Kamma’ and those who put it on the left hand side were called ‘Edama-Paita Kamma’.
Also there were some sects categorized on the habits of carrying water. This segmentation was commonly found in Godavari districts. Conventionally, there were common resources for water in villages i.e. channels or tanks or pumps. Those Kammas who used to carry water in Kavidis (Kavidi, a specially shaped piece of wood (stick) that has the arrangement to carry water in pots on either side) were called Kavidi Kammas. Other sects in this category were Gudas, Eredis, Uggams, and Rachas. Eredis used to carry water on pack bullock, Uggams with pots in hand; racha kammas involving two persons to carry one pot. Also there are Kammas who carried pots on Water or on shoulder.
The name Vaduga Kammas was primarily found in Tamilnadu and Vadugu means Telugu. Probably this name was given by Tamilians to the Kammas who migrated to Tamilnadu and made it their home. Bangaru Kammas were those who wore gold nose ornaments.
Centuries back these classifications in the community existed and marriages were also not permitted between these sects. For instance, Pedda Kammas used to marry among themselves and were against giving their children’s hand to families of Chinna Kammas. However in today’s Kamma society we can’t see these differences explicitly. Marriages among Kammas irrespective of their sub-sects have become common decades back. We the team at are bringing these articles only to educate our readers on how our progenitors lived decades and centuries back and how we evolved. Keep reading and don’t forget to comment on the content.
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