FACTOID # 2: Puerto Rico has roughly the same gross state product as Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota combined.
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
People who viewed "Mala" also viewed:


FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:



(* = Graphable)



Encyclopedia > Mala

The Malas are a large geographically dispersed caste found in Andhra Pradesh and several other states of India. They are a "Scheduled Caste" or "ex-untouchables" Caste systems are traditional, hereditary systems of social stratification. ... Andhra Pradesh: ఆంధ్ర ప్రదేశ్; Āndhra Prādesh), is a state in Eastern India and is part of the linguistic-cultural region of South India but is also considered Eastern and sometimes even Central India. ... Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are communities that are accorded special status by the Constitution of India. ...

They are a key part of the rural scene, being agricultural workers, and appointed in bygone days as village servants and village watchmen . The upper crust of the Malas in cities are taking to education in a big way and rapidly modernising. In andhra pradesh many of these urban Malas ought to be considered BC not SC.

Malas apart from being farmworkers there is only a small occupational subcaste, that of Mala weavers. They dont seem to have any artisanal speciality otherwise. The surnames and gotras of the Malas indicate some geographical locations like Reddibhoomi for instance.

The Mahars in neighbouring Maharashtra are akin to the Malas. Similar communities are found, the Mala-pahadiyas in Bengal and a similar caste in Tamil Nadu. There may be a link to the Mallahs of UP, who are ferrymen (river crossing boats). Overall, the Malas are still very poor labourers, but many have taken to education and have joined the middle class. The number of educated professional people with a Mala background, like doctors, engineers is rising steadily. There are many in government service. Long time Mala politicians are quite rich. There are very few Mala industrialists. Mahars constitute an important social group of Maharashtra state, India, and also of the adjoining Indian state of Goa. ... Maharashtra (Devanagari: महाराष्ट्र, literally: Great Nation) is Indias third largest state in terms of area and second largest in terms of population after Uttar Pradesh. ... Bengal, known as Bôngo (Bengali: বঙ্গ), Bangla (বাংলা), Bôngodesh (বঙ্গদেশ), or Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) in Bangla, is a region in the northeast of South Asia. ... Tamil Nadu (தமிழ் நாடு, Land of the Tamils) is a state at the southern tip of India. ...



Accurate history of the Malas in Andhra is not well known or thoroughly researched as yet. As far as neighbouring Mahars go, in the state of Maharashtra due to the military tradition of Shivaji, the Mahars who were village servants gave a good account of themselves as soldiers, fighting shoulder to shoulder with the upper caste Marathas and Kunbis. The Mahars suffered a setback during the later Peshwa times. But sufficient democratic military tradition remained, and they were recruited by the British as well. Later however they were barred from enlisting. After independence a Mahar regiment of the Indian army was raised, which is famous and existing to this day. (The thousands of known and unknown Mahars who sacrificed their lives made it possible for leaders like Dr. Ambedkar to emerge later.) Shivaji Bhonslé, also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhonslé (Marathi: छत्रपती शिवाजीराजे भोसले)( (help· info)) was the founder of the Maratha empire in western India in 1674 which was instrumental in the downfall of the Mughal Empire. ... Extent of the Maratha Confederacy ca. ... . ... The Maratha Empire at its peak in 1760 AD Statue of the great Baji Rao, near Shaniwar Wada, Pune The Peshwa (also known in Marathi as Peshwe) were Brahmin Prime Ministers to the Maratha Chattrapatis (Kings), who began commanding Maratha armies and later became the hereditary rulers of the Maratha... Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (April 14, 1891 or 1892 - December 6, 1956) was the most prominent Indian Untouchable leader of the 20th century. ...


The Mahars or Malas seem to hail primarily from the drier upland areas like the Deccan plateau. The Deccan Plateau is a vast plateau in India, encompassing most of Central and Southern India. ...

  • According to researchers like Ambedkar, the Mahars and similar communities were actually warriors of some defeated kingdom who were were pushed down in social status.
  • Another story is that the terrible 12 years' drought and famine of 1396 obliged the people to eat anything to survive. Some ate dead cattle, and this was noted by other people and they were then pushed down in the social scale from Kshatriyas (soldiers) to untouchables. They were disarmed but retained as village servants.
  • Some say they were Buddhists and persisted in retaining Buddhism after it had faded away, and were punished by the others who turned to new ideas or Brahmanic notions.
  • Some say exactly the opposite, that they were penalised by the Turkic sultans for stubbornly retaining their old Hindu ways.
  • The Malas may have been among the soldiers of the Seunas of Devagiri)
  • Another opinion is that the Malas-Mahars are not a single community but an amalgamation of several communities, with the common thread being those excluded from land ownership and status.
  • A large proportion is said to be derived from the various immigrant nomads like Sakas, Ahirs and Gurjars . These people were also hierarchical. The uppercrust became rajas and Rajputs while the humble horseman or shepherd nomad slowly became absorbed in the mahar or similar group.
  • There is also a deep connection of the Mala-Mahar to the Bhils of central India.
  • It possible that while there may have been additions over the centuries, the original Malas were a very widespread, large, specific pre-agricultural or primitive-agricultural food gathering hunting tribe, who found their way of life vanishing as the agricultural peoples slowly took over the countryside.
  • Finally when the forests were not sufficient to support them, the remaining Malas reluctantly joined the new agricultural society as labourers. The process is still at work, and can be seen among the Koyas in north Andhra Pradesh, for instance. Later on the various defeated and fleeing soldiers and horsemen and excommunicated peoples were sheltered by the Malas and admitted into the fold.

Interstingly, some, not all of the people depicted in the older section of Ajanta paintings resemble Malas and Mahars of today. It seems the Malas remember something of their past free, ruling status, so they nurse a grievance for their present low status. The community is found all over the Deccan. Kshatriya is the title of the Hindu military order. ... Buddhism (Pāli Buddhadhamma or Sanskrit Buddhadharma) is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, who lived in the 5th century BCE. Buddhism spread throughout the ancient Indian sub-continent in the five centuries following his death, and propagated into Central, Southeast, and... A Hindu (archaic Hindoo), as per modern definition is an adherent of philosophies and scriptures of Hinduism, the predominant religious, philosophical and cultural system of the Indian subcontinent and the island of Bali. ... Daulatabad (from Persian دولت‌آباد meaning Built by the Government), also called Deogiri or Devagiri, is a hill-fortress in Maharashtra state, India, in about 40 miles northwest of the city of Aurangabad in Aurangabad district. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The people of the Ahir tribe are traditionally cow herders and shepherds. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Rajputs (anonymous, c. ... Bhils are a tribal people of central India. ... Andhra Pradesh: ఆంధ్ర ప్రదేశ్; Ä€ndhra Prādesh), is a state in Eastern India and is part of the linguistic-cultural region of South India but is also considered Eastern and sometimes even Central India. ... Ajanta takes the name after the village AjinÅ£hā in Aurangabad district in the state of Maharashtra(N. lat. ...


As far as specific cultural elements are concerned, there is a link of the Malas to the deity Vetaal (also called Bhetal), dismissed by upper caste researchers as a "Goblin". But it is actually a deity of hunters of prehistoric times. Vetal is also depicted as a horse rider, so there seems to be a cavalry connection to the old Mala-Mahar. Vetal shrines are extremely common in the Deccan area, especially Maharashtra. In medieval times an important Vetala shrine was modified to become a well known pilgrimage centre for Hindus (Pandharpur). The name was modified to Vitthala. The annual convoys of pilgrims still traverse the old routes. During medieval times the reformers incorporated this shrine in their movements for social reform. A goblin is an evil or merely mischievous creature of folklore, often described as a grotesquely disfigured or elf-like phantom. ...

Similarly another old cultural element which could be linked to Mala-Mahars is the deity Khandoba, or sword bearing protector. Here also a hunting and warfare link is seen. Then there is some connection with the Parsurama cycle of legends, especially his mother Renuka. This group of legends is connected to the Yellama cult. Possibly the stories are a residual history of very long ago times, since they are shared by other old communities.

Modern Community

The Malas are generally healthy, well built, stocky, dark complexioned, with large heads and faces, well proportioned limbs etc.. They are very tough and capable of sustained physical work which few communities can match. Perhaps thats why they have a good sense of humour and are cheerful. The Andhra area was renowned for wrestlers and wrestling, locally called Malla yuddha. They are said to be unselfish, "have a helping nature" towards everybody, but slightly suspicous of intentions of the forward communites. They are very much attached to their community-caste.


They are at a total loss to understand why they face discrimination, since as far as they know they have not harmed anybody, but in fact toiled hard for the benefit of all. The more perceptive of the community understand it is an old method to keep down wages of agricultural labour. The condition of farm labourers (who are mostly scheduled castes) is very bad, especially in dry zone areas. The farmworkers in irrigated areas are slightly better off.


Several pioneering members have taken to education after tackling great discrimination. Many far sighted forward caste people, Christian missionaries gave them a boost, but the Malas put in the required effort. Overall the community today clearly understands education is the key. "Maaku sakti ledu saar" (We cant afford it, referring to childrens education) is the refrain heard over and over again especially in rural areas. However the womenfolk are showing great determination, utilising all avenues, and it is only a matter of time. The unskilled farm labourers are gradually migrating to the towns and picking up technical subjects as best as they can, and joining the service workers and industrial workers. Some save up money to buy small farms but these are a very small number. The affirmative action programs mandatory on the Government have also helped a very large number to "rise" especially the educational programs. Some members have benefited by joining the various bureaucracies. The youth in cities is keen to take up modern methods like computers, but still lack a bit in confidence in themselves.

Mala-Madiga Conflict

The Malas are said to be followers of the Reddys and by extension the Congress. This has its roots in the landholdings of the Reddys, where Malas are said to be traditionally employed. Curiously the Malas who are the subject of senseless discrimination from the upper castes, are also culprits of the same mean activity. Reddy is a social group or caste found mainly in the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India. ... A congress is a gathering of people, especially a gathering for a political purpose. ...

Unfortunately the Malas look down on the Madigas and traditionally had no use for them, and there is a history of clashes with the Madigas, who are another large SC community of south India. The educated members of the Malas and Madigas regret such a thing should exist but admit this is so. It is not a creation of the "Wily Brahmins", but is derived from a tribal rivalry which existed before any upper caste ever came into existence. The conflict today is actually fueled by the Madigas assertion that the Malas have cornered most of the social benefits of affirmative action programs. Madiga is a combination of Maha-Adiga, meaning greatest (Maha) and earliest (Adiga). ...

Christian Conversion

A section of the Malas also turned to Christianity but after noticing the same old caste games, shifted to Protestantism instead. They are prominent in the Church of South India, for instance and have made very good use of the educational programs. For some reason the Malas were never attracted to Islam in a big way. Perhaps it was because the sultans realised their tax revenue ultimately came from the agricultural labour and wern't enthusiastic about reducing this. Even today large portion of the crops in India is derived from SC labour. A map of South India, its rivers, regions and water bodies. ...

Overall, at least in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the Mala-Mahar are forging ahead very rapidly. They are very deeply attached to the works of Dr. Ambedkar. But few malas have taken to Buddhism in Andhra pradesh. The Mala quarters in villages generally have a statue of Dr. Ambedkar.

Andhra communities

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Kapu is a caste in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh. ... A prominant Vysya caste from Andhra Pradesh Categories: | ... Madiga is a combination of Maha-Adiga, meaning greatest (Maha) and earliest (Adiga). ... Mangali or Nayee Brahmin (Barber/Hairdresser) The institution of barber is a very old one in India. ... The Mudiraju community is found in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as well. ... Raju is the title used by members of the only Hindu Kshatriya caste in Andhra Pradesh, India. ... Reddy is a social group or caste found mainly in the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India. ... Telugu Brahmins are members of the Indian Brahmin caste whose native language is Telugu. ... Velamas are one of the older feudal castes or social groups in Andhra Pradesh, India. ...


  • [1]

  Results from FactBites:
Mala Beads for Meditation (1275 words)
The mala beads are moved in rhythm with the breath and the mantra, so that both-sleep as well as excessive mental distraction-are prevented by this action upon the beads.
The mala may coil on the floor with the hand resting on the right knee or used with the hand concealed in the Mala Bag.
Mala bags are also used to conceal the mala while doing japa (reciting your mantra) while moving the beads.
  More results at FactBites »



Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m