Boyar (caste): Wikis

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BOYAR CASTE
Classification: O B C
Significant populations in: India / 15 Million
Language Regional Languages
Religion Hinduism

A boyar, also spelled boya meaning is Hunter or Warrior, denotes the leader of a group or head of a territory. Boya is called as Boyar in Tamil Nadu. They constitute the Kshatriya or Warrior class of India. They are believed to have originated from an ancient people called Kirata (Sanskrit: किरात) , a generic term in Sanskrit literature for people who lived in the mountains, particularly in the Himalayas and North-East India.[1]

Contents

Origins

Map of "Bharatvarsha" (Kingdom of India) during the time of Mahabharata and Ramayana. (Title and location names are in English.)

The Boya caste corresponds to the Kiratas people described in the Kirata-Parva and Vana-Parva of Mahabharata as comprising warriors, hunters and mountain dwellers. They belonged to one of the hill tribes who subsisted by hunting and maintaining small armies.

According to mythology the geographical position of the Kirata kingdom was near Nepal and Bhutan. In the Mahabharata, Bhima meets the Kiratas east of Videha. The dwellers of the Himalayas, especially the eastern Himalayas, were called Kiratas.[2] They are described as "gold-like", or yellow, unlike the Nishadas or the Dasas, who were dark.[3]

Kiratas are described in as being so powerful that even Lord Shiva is said to have taken the Kirata form.

Etymology of the Russian word "Boyar"

The Boyars migrated from Indo-Iran around 5th century BCE to the Indian sub-continent and in the 9th century to Turkey, Ireland and Romania. The use of the word "Boyar" in other languages, notably Russian and Bulgarian, is thought to be related to the Indian tribes who migrated via Turkey to Slavic lands.

The Russian word Boyar, is considered to be etymologically related to the Indian word, arriving in the Russian language via Turkic. It is thought to be composed of the roots bai("noble", distinguished) and ar ("a nobleman");[4]. Another explanation for the Russian term is that it originates from the Turkic title boila ("noble") which is attested in Bulgar inscription [5] and rendered as boilades or boliades in the Greek of Byzantine documents.[4][6]

History

In ancient Hindu scriptures, The Himalayas is referred as the "Kirant Desh" or "the Land of Kirants". ([4]) ([5])([6]).([7])


The term ‘Kirat’ is a corrupt form of kiriat, kiryat or kirjat which means a fort or town in Moabite language of Mediterranean region. When their number increased, they built many forts and towns and called them Kiriat-hime, Kiryat-yarim, Kirjath-arba, Kiryat-baal, Kiryat hujro, Kiryat-sanna and kiryat-sapher which indicate the meaning of the town or fort of the forest or the town of the god Baal, or the town of Books, or the town of palm trees. The residents of the above noted towns started calling themselves, “Kereti” which later became keratite or kerite tribe. The kereti people led a nomadic life and spread towards the eastern and north-eastern countries.

In 2400 BC, a branch of which came to Mesopotamia or Assyrian country, intermingled with the ashur people and formed one nation with them. Later they migrated to northern India and Himalayan region via Meydia and Nisa of Northern Persia with title of Kirat-ashur tribe. In Sanskrit texts Kirat people is included among Yavanas, Pallavas, kochas and Pulinda races. The Greek had also known the kirats by name Kirhadai. The kirat- Ashur were great hunters they preferred to live in mountainous countries of Kabul, Kashmir, Karakoram and all Himalayan Regions. There were certain principalities which were definitely styled as Nishada in the Epic and Alavaka in Pali texts and were doubtless of non-Aryan origin. [8]

The Biblical atlas and scripture Gazetteer of religious tract society of London proves that the ancient land of Ashur or Assura people situated on the east bank of river Tigris, bounded on the south by susa, the capital town of Elam or southern Persia. As a kingdom,it is often said to have been founded by Ashura or Assura, the second son of Shem and the second grandson of Noah, who on leaving Shinar or Babylon travelled northwards and found Nineveh, the capital town of Ashur land or Assyria in 2400-2300 BC.

The history of the Ashur people mentions that, they originated from Babylonia, but later on, received Semitic population and became on nation with them and they were called the Keratite or Kirat people.

In the book ‘ bharat ka brihat Itihas’ by pandit Bhargava mentions that the Assyrians or ashur kings ruled the Indian tribes. This fact is also proved in rigveda ( 10/99/10) that the Ashur kings had colonies in Indus valley and Saurashtra. Their ruler was Danavendra Aruru. They had a good connection with Mohenjo-daro and the Harappa civilization. This colonization existed for thousands of years before vedic period.

In 606 B.C the last king of Kirat-Ashur people of Assyria, sin-shar-ishkun, by name perished in the flames of his palace. Thus from the time, the kirat-Ashur people as a nation disappeared and their territories were divided by Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Persians, Turks and Indians. After many years, the Indian kirat-Ashur people were converted into Rajput Hindus for political reason. According to Richard Temple, the population now as the rajputs, are not of Aryan origin, but various descents, generally foreign, though sometimes aboriginal origin occurred during various invasions, a great number of miscellaneous tribes from the north and west had settled in India, each with its ruling family and its people, and thus were set up as clans held together by a highly developed sense of chivalry. The same process had taken place in the case of the more closely knit and more powerful of the aboriginal tribes.

By 7th century A.D, all these had become thoroughly hinduised and adopted Hindu law of “Right conduct”( Dharma). So all ruling families were taken into Aryan Hindu fold and became Kshatriyas. But those kirat-Ashur people who made their permanent settlement in the mountain region abided by their original culture and civilization.

Buddhist writers refer to other Yakkha principalities beside Alavaka. The Kirat vansvali mentions that after twelve generations, one branch of Kirat people migrated from Indo- gangetic plains to the Himalayan region and the other branch to Lanka or Ceylon to south.

The origin of the kirat people of Nepal can be traced back in combination of three races, According to Kirat Mundhum or tradition, three races are known by the names of Khambongbas or the Khambos, the Tangsangthas or the Mongols and Munaphens or the Chinese.

Kiratas or Kirants were indigenous people with very deft archery were brave and doughty warriors. Before the advent of the Kirants, there were Ahir and Abhir rule in the valley. Yalambar, the first Kirant King, overthrew the last king of Abhir dynasty Bhuban Shima. Thus, after defeating the last ruler of Abhir dynasty, Yalambar laid the foundation of the Kirata dynasty that lasted for about 1225 years. When Kirants occupied the valley, they made Matatirtha their capital. The Kirant kingdom during the rule of Yalambar had extended to Tista in the East and Trisidi in the West. It is said Yalambar had gone to witness the battle of Mahabharata between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. He was so brave and powerful that Lord Krishna beheaded him prior to the battle suspecting he might fight for the Kauravas. The Kirants revere him as the God King. In the chronicle of Banasawali, William Kirk Patrick mentions that "the Kirata rule existed from about 900 BC to 300 BC". During this long period, altogether 29 Kirata Kings ruled over the country'.

The twenty-nine Kings were : 1.Yalambar 2.Pari 3. Skandhar 4.Balamba 5.Hriti 6.Humati 7.Jitedasti 8.Galinja 9.Oysgja 10.Suyarma 11.Papa 12.Bunka 13.Swawnanda 14.Sthunko 15.Jinghri 16.Nane 17.Luka 18.Thor 19.Thoko 20.Verma 21.Guja 22.Pushkar 23.Kkeshu 24.Suja 25.Sansa 26.Gunam 27.Khimbu 28.Patuka 29.Gasti.

It was during the rule of Jitedasti, the 7th Kirant king, Lord Gautama Buddha visited the valley with his several disciples. He visited the holy places of Swayambhu, Suheswari, etc and preached his religious gospels. Kirants in the valley refused to follow his doctrine, but welcomed Lord Buddha and his disciples. It is also said that King Jitedasti had helped the Pandavas in the battle of Mahabharata. It shows, of course, a historical anachronism; because according to another legend, the battle Mahabharata had taken place during the regime of King Yalambar.

During the rule of the 4th Kirant King Sthunko about 2250 BC, the Indian Emperor Ashoka had his inscriptions engraved on rocks and a stone-pillar. The pillar known as Ashoka-pillar still stands in Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautama Buddha.

Emperor Ashoka also came to the Kathmandu Valley later. His daughter Princess Charumati accompanied him. During his stay in the valley, he built four stupas in four directions and one in the center of Patan. These monuments speak of the historical fact of Ashoka's visit to the valley. Another fact is he arranged his daughter Charumati's marriage with a local young Prince named Devpal. Prince Devpal and his consort Charumati lived at Chabahil, near the Pashupatinath temple area. Later, Charumati built the towers of Devpatan after the death of her husband in his memory. Charumati who later on became a nun also got erected a convent where she resided and practiced doctrines of Lord Buddha.

Buddhism, thus entered Nepal and flourished during the liberal rule of the Kirant dynasty. Like Buddhism, another religious doctrine Jainism was being preached the same time by Mahavir Jain in India. In this regard, Bhadrabhau, a disciple of Mahavir Jain came to Nepal in about 300 BC when the 17th Kirant King Jinghri was ruling. But comparatively, Jainism could not gain popularity like Buddhism in Nepal.

When the 28th Kirant King Patuka was ruling in the valley, the Somavamshi ruler attacked his regime many times from the west. Although he successfully repelled their attacks, he was forced to move to Shankhamul from Gokarna. He had built a Royal Palace called "Patuka" there for himself. The Patuka Palace is no more to be seen, except its ruins in the form of mound. "Patuka" had changed Shankhamul into a beautiful town. The last King of the Kirant dynasty was Gasti. He proved to be a weak ruler and was overthrown by the Somavamshi ruler Nimisha. It brought to the end of the powerful Kirant dynasty that had lasted for about 1225 years.

After their defeat, Kirants moved to the eastern hills of Nepal and settled down divided into small principalities. Their settlements were divided into three regions; namely, "Wallo-Kirant" or "near Kirant" that lied to the East of Kathmandu, "Majh-Kirant" or "central Kirant" and "Pallo-Kirant" that lied to the far east of the Kathmandu valley. These regions are still heavily populated by Kirants. Many Kirant people moved to Indus valley in 300 BC in search of advanced civilization, where they were called as 'Boya' ( meaning : mountaineers / hunters / warriors). Also A village called Boya exists in Bhojpur District, Nepal.

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In South India

The Boya warriors migrated from Indus valley after the Sarasvati River dried up(Sanskrit: सरस्वती नदी sárasvatī nadī). sarasvati river is one of the chief Rigvedic rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rigveda (10.75) mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanas as well as the Mahabharata mention that the Sarasvati dry up in a desert.([9])

Boyas bounded to mountainous regions in south-eastern peninsula near Orissa-Andhra region. The original population of Boyas was mixed with various linguistic groups later as Telugu speaking community and spread to all southern states. These Boya warriors served as military regiment and chiefs between 10th century to 15th century in Chalukya, Chola, Vijayanagar and Hoysala empires.

Eastern Chalukyan empire’s court was essentially a Republic of Badami, and the administrative subdivisions were known as 'Boya-Kottams'. Boya-kottams existed across southern states right from 5th century according to Kakatiya inscriptions. Boya-kottams held assignments of land or revenue in different villages. Chola-Chalukyas used titles 'Udayar' or 'Odeyar' for chieftains at certain periods of time which included Boya Chieftains.

The Musunuri Nayaks were Boya and Kamma warrior chieftains in the Kakatiya army, who regained Andhra in 1326 from the Delhi Sultanate in the aftermath of the Kakatiya defeat. King Pratapa Rudra’s Kakatiya kingdom was ably served by seventy five chieftains called Nayaks. The Nayaks who belonged to various agrarian castes such as Boyar, Velama, Kamma, Reddy, Telaga, Balija, etc. were divided by mutual jealousy and rivalry but they are valiant cousins.

The Chitradurga Palaegar ( Polygar ) family was of the Beda or Boya caste and belonged to one of the hill tribes family who subsisted by hunting. According to one tradition, it appears that three Boya families emigrated from Jadikal-durga, in the neighbourhood of Tirupati, and settled at Nirutadi near Bramhasagara about 1475 A.D. They are said to have belonged to the Kamageti family. The son and the grandson of one of these, named Hire Hanummappa Nayaka and Timmanna Nayaka respectively. There were many battles in the reign of this Nayaka between Chitradurga and Harapanahalli, Rayadurga and Bijapur in all of which the Nayaka had splendid success. ([10])

Sri Krishnadevaraya was ruling over the Vijayanagar empire from 1509 A.D to 1529 A.D. Very well-known nayakas in Vijayanagar army was 'Boya Ramappa' and 'Tipparaju', the Boya chief of Pulivendakonda and the palaegars of Kotakonda-Kappatralla. This was in about 1562 A.D.

About 1517 A.D., Chitradurga Fort was given by Vijayanagar ruler to Boya chief. It became a tributary to Bijapur after fall of Vijayanagar. There were portraits of ‘A Boya of Rank’ a member of the royal caste (related to royal family) of Chitradurga Nayaks was documented by Colin Mackenzie.([11])

These princes and Boya chiefs were invariably valorous in battle, merciful and generous to their enemies, wise and discreet in their administration, far-sighted in their policy, thoroughly religious and orthodox in their belief and liberal to a fault. These powerful chieftains had some French engineers in their service and built very strong fortresses and other works of public utility as the standing monuments of their glory.

Chitradurga Fort

Rayadurg and Kalyandurg are the two important forts which were ruled by Boya Palaegars. The name Kalyandurg came from Boya Kalyanappa, who was a Palaegar in the 16th Century. Rayadurg was originally a stronghold of Boya Palaegar who were very turbulent during the Vijayanagar rule. Kalyandurg was under the rule of Sri Krishnadevaraya and was a part of Vijayanagar Empire.([12])

In 1786 A.D. Harapanahalli a town in Bellary District was in possession of a powerful Palaegar of the Boya caste. One of the descendants married a daughter of Palaegar of Chitradurga. The Palaegars at different times paid tribute to the Nizam, to Morari Rao of Gooty and to the Peshwa. The fort is deserted and now in ruins.

Later in 17th century Boyars distinguished themselves as smiths, sculptors, nobles, leaders, priests, landlords, temple sculptors, arm traders, and seafarers.

British era

As the fall of the Vijayanagar empire was followed by conflict between the British Indian rulers and the rulers of Hyderabad and Mysore, more such incidents took place over the Rayalseema districts, the warlords as well as any villager who could gather an armed group of boyas around them and carried a double premium: the battling armies wooed them, and the local people too needed their help to protect them against the marauding soldiers from outside the region. At the end, by the time the British brought the entire region into their control by the beginning of the 19th century, there was a residue of a social practice: men of the dominant sections would gather an armed gang around them to assert their power, enforce their writ in the village and fight off challengers to their power over society. While the palaegars were mostly of non-cultivating communities such as ' Boya ' and ' Patra ', the practice of establishing dominance and exercising power through the force of armed gangs became a characteristic feature of powerful landed communities, generically described as Kapu (husbandman) but mainly of the Reddy caste in recent decades. The British, who successfully put an end to the palaegars by a carrot-and-stick policy, found to their dismay that this residue continued to disturb their notion of rule of law. The Britishers christened the boya gangs as 'village factions', a name that continues to be used to this day.

Some got settled in Karnataka and later migrated to Maharashtra. Word 'Bhuyal' in Berad's language seems to have originated from Boya. though it is known in Maharashtra as Ramoshi-Berad, the name 'Ramoshi' is not older than 100–200 years. Innumerable Boya Berads sacrificed their lives in uprisings against the British. History knows very few names. The important are:

1820 -1831—Umaji Naik, Bhulaji, Pandu Naik—they rovolted in Pune, Nagar, Nasik, Satara, Solapur, Kokan. Most of participants in these rebellions were Ramoshis.

1817—Gokak, Pachapur regions in Karnataka, Nayaks organized and rebelled. They were mostly Berads. Revolt of Kittur Channamma and Sangoli Rayanna in Karnataka had mostly Berads.

1817—Trimbak Dengale's revolt in Pune by sardars in Peshaai - mostly had Ramoshi, Bhil, Koli etc.

1857 - Uprising of Rango Bapuji in Satara, rebelled in name of Chatrapati of Satara. Centres established for recruitment where Ramoshi Koli and Mangs were in majority. Two Madane Brothers of Ramoshi wadi (Koregaon Satara) and Nana Ramoshi of Kundal were blown by cannon. Many Ramoshis from Tasgaon in Bijapur Taluka participated.

1844-50—Tukaram and Mahankal, two sons of Umaji Naik revolted.

1857 - Berads of Village Halgali Dist. Bijapur Karnataka revolted against disarming act. 19 Berads were hanged at Mudhol.

1857— Raja Venkatappa Nayak of Shurpur Gulbarga District. A rebellion died in struggle,

1870—1880 Rebellion of Vasudev Balwant Phadake was participated by most of Ramoshis. Head was Daulati Naik, who died in fight against Capt. Daniel in Tisubai Hills. Hari Ramoshi was hanged at Jejuri and Berads at Mudhol.

1910—Veer Sindhur Laxman rebelled against Sansthanik at Jat anti-British, was killed by treachery. Vajya - Baijya - fought against Saranjamdar at Kukudwad District of Satara.

1942 - 'Quit India' movement and formed 'prati sarkar' - parallel Government. Most Ramoshis of Satara Sangali Pune Districts participated.

Boyas in medieval Andhra history

The Boyas are not a homogenous people. They are divided into several groups which are mainly occupational.

Among the Boyas there are two main divisions ; Uru boyas (village Boyas) and Myasa boyas (grassland Boyas) and each of the above categories is sub-divided into a number of exogamous groups such as Yenumula varu (buffalo men) Mandala varu (herdsmen),Puva varu (flower men), Meena varu (fishermen) and the like. Such a division among the Boyas does not appear to have been of recent origin but has been coming down from early times. It is in the early Eastern Chalukyan records of late 7th century A, D, which the earliest inscriptional evidence about the Boyas and their names suggest that even during that distant past, the Boyas were divided into occupational groups.

The Reyur grant 115 of Vishnuvardhana II (A. D. 673-'81) introduces names such as Manda Sarma, Kappa Sarma of the house of Alaboya, Koilboya, Manduboya and Pululurboya.

'Puluru' means 'grass' in Telugu and Pululurboya might have belonged to the Mysaboya sect. 'Manda Sharma' might be of Mandalavaru (herdsmen). 'Mandhu boya' means medicine man, whereas 'Koil boya' (temple man) means a priest.

The Koneki plates 14 of the same king give the name 'Pati sharma'. As pati in Telugu means flowerbed (Pati-fertile, mannu-soil), Pati sarma may be taken to have belonged to the 'Pulavaru Boya' section, It is further observed that Boyas do not engage Brahmins in their religious activities as they had their own priests 15, The Reyur record noted above mentions 'Koil boyas'. ‘Koil’ means temple and the 'Koil boyas' may signify the existence of priestly class among the Boyas as early as the 7th century A.D.

'Koil boya’s' consisted two gotras, one of 'Bharadwaja gotra' and the other of 'Gautama gotra' and thus the record suggests that there were different family groups in each of the Boya castes. Incidentally it may be noted that the Boyas appear to have been Saivite by faith. Siva is known as the god of Nishada. Curiously, the human form on the famous Gudimallam Linga, probably the earliest in South India assigned to 200 B.C, unmistakably betrays the physical features of Nishada. In this Kalahasti mahatyam, of Dhurjati, a Telugu poet of the 16th century describes Kannappa who worshipped Siva with his own eyes, as the son of a Boya chief.

In his short note on the Boyas, Dr. N, Venkataramanayya remarks "minor communities like the Boyas are occasionally mentioned in the inscriptions but (they) were far down in the scale of civilization and the part played by them is indeed very insignificant".

R N. Nandi on the other hand, holds the view, on the basis of the Eastern Chalukyan records that the Boya tribe was transformed into the caste of Boya Brahmins and for considerable time retained their identity In the same way as the Goragas or Saivite Brahmins But with a careful examination of the available epigraphy’s and evidence reveals that the Boyas played an interesting role in the political and social history of Medieval Andhra. It was a story of several sections of the Boyas giving up their aboriginal habits and entering into the fold of the neighbouring Brahminical social order, gradually rising in the scale of civilization and social ranking and getting absorbed not only into the priestly class but into the ruling class and the trading and agricultural classes as well, ultimately losing their tribal identity. But about the 7th century A D., the Boyas appear to have reaped the fruits of acculturation resulting from their nearness to and contracts with the neighbouring civilized societies in Andhra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The Eastern Chalukyan records of the 7th century A.D. suggest that the Boya priests emulated their counterparts in the Brahmincal society in mastering vedic learning and performing Vedic rituals. Most of them added the suffix Sharma to their names which may be taken to mean 'Vedic Scholar'. The Kondanagur plates 23 of Indravarma (A.D, 673) refers to Somayajula.

The Koil Boya of the above record suggests that the Boyas had built temples of their own and engaged priests for conducting worship in them. It was the period when Brahmanism developed into theism of the puranic type with temple as the centre of religion and there was brisk temple building activity in the Pallava and Chalukya kingdoms between which the Boyadesa was interposed. Again it was during this period devabhogas and brahmadeyas multiplied and the resultant compulsions of expanding agriculture and trade at almost imperative to admit the aboriginals like the Boyas into the fold of the peasant communities the Sudras of the Brahmanical system, Devotion or Bhakti which was the prime importance in sects of 'Saivism' and 'Vaisnavism', which were gaming widespread popularity through the propaganda of the 'Nayanmars' and the 'Alwars' was the philosophy of the Sudras or lower castes and it provided for their active participation in the temple festivities all round the year thereby working for their intellectual elevation and social ranking.

Politically the Boyas, by this time organised themselves Into twelve Kottams. The word Kottam is frequently met with in the Tamil inscriptions in the meaning of a sub-division of nadu. The word Kottam with a Song a means a fortress and each of the Kottams- 1 might have developed around a fortified town and under a chieftain. The Boya chieftains were known as 'Doras' or 'Simhasana Boyas'. Of all the twelve forts, according to the Addanki record of Pandaranga the general of Gunaga Vijayaditya (A.D. 848-891), Kottam appears to be the strongest and the most important. It is probable that the Boya kingdoms formed a loose confederacy under the leadership of the chief who held Kottam Kandukur was another stronghold of the Boyas. Both Pallavas and the Vengi Chalukyas coveted to occupy the Boyakottams, as a result of which they frequently changed hands, till about the middle of the 9th century, when Pandaranga destroyed the Boya strongholds and dispersed the Boyas.

Almost from the time of the foundation of the Vengi kingdom, the Eastern Chalukyas appear to have cast their greedy eyes on the Boyakottams. The very second king In the line, Jayasimhavallabha (A.D. 643-673) issued his Pedamaddali plates 30 from Udayapura, identified by scholars with Udayagiri in Nellore district 31 evidently in the Boya viharadesa. Jayasimha took the proud title Vijayasiddha (scorer of victory) and his Polimburu plates 32 were issued from Vijaya skandhavara (victorious war camp). But he was silent about the name of the king on whom he waged the war and scored the above victory. However it can be surmised that in his effort to expand his kingdom southwards, Jayasimha came into conflict with the Boyas, defeated their chief, but was silent about his name as he was too insignificant for him to be mentioned. With this victory of Jayasimha, the Vengi kingdom extended south- wards beyond the very heart of the Boyakottams. The records of the immediate successors of Jayasimha, Indravarma (A. D. 673), Visnuvardhana (AD. 673-81-) and Sarvabkasraya Mangi (A D. 673-705) suggest that they were left with the problems of consolidating the authority of Vengi in the newly conquered Boyakottams.

Ever since the conquest of Vengi (A.D. 616), the Chalukyas appear to have adopted the statesman like policy of winning the loyal support of Boya Brahmins by granting them Brahmadesham and Agraharam and through their good offices hoped to get the people of the region reconciled to the newly established Chalukyan 'authority. The successors of Jayasimha appear to have carried this policy into the Boyakottams It is in their records that we come across Brahmin The villages that were granted or in which these Brahmin donors were settled are situated in Karmarastra within the Chalukyan kingdom, but not far off from the Boya Kottams.

The names of most of the Brahmin donors were non Sanskrit as Badi, Pala, Jetti, Eddonde, Gabota etc(in Reyur grant). In several cases as in the Chandalur plates the donors are not mentioned by their personal names.

Village names with the suffix boya are used as the aliases. In the Koneki grant four beneficiaries are referred to merely by their proper names suffixed by Boya and seven are referred to merely as the boyas of different villages. But in the case of one of these four, the original Village name is also mentioned. Madisarma alias Patiboya is also characterized as Kummunurboya. Kummanur is identified with Konur in the Settenapalli Taluk, Guntur District (Kammarastra).

Among these Boya Brahmins the most popular gotras are Kaundinya, Bharadwaja, Kashyapa and Parasara. But it is strange these gotras are not recorded in many cases. Out of the 74 Brahmins in the Reyur grant 24 are without gotras. Five of the donors of the Chandalur record belong to the Kaundinya gotra and the sixth one belongs to Kalabava gotra. The word Kalabava does not sound like the name of a gotra though the Kalabavas are classed as a subdivision of Viswamitra. R, N. Nandi points out that Kalabava in Kannada and - Kalabava in Malayalam means a species of shrub bearing edible black berries. Kalabava might probably be identical with Carissa Carancia and it was the totem or as the symbol of a section of the Boyas.

The Kalabava gotra thus contains a clue to the aboriginal origin of the Brahmin family. The foregoing account reveals that the donors in the above grants with 'boya' suffix or alias were in fairly advanced stage of Brahmanisation.

Consistent with the Eastern Chalukyan policy, the officers in charge of the administration of the Boya Kottams encouraged the Boya Brahmins with land grants to settle down in different villages of Karmarastra almost adjacent to the Boya- viharadesa, as "a second line of defence 44 " to the Eastern Chalukyan authority.

As we do not come across Boya Brahmins in the subsequent records of the dynasty the only exception being that of the Bezwada grant of Chalukya Bhima it may reasonably be assumed that they gradually lost their tribal identity and merged with the traditional Brahmin families of the region, gaining thereby equality with them in ritual purity. The village names which they had earlier used as aliases were retained or changed into their surnames. It may be noted that most of the present day Brahmin families of Andhra have village names as surnames.

Caste Hierarchy in Kakatiya society

According to a medieval inscription in Kakatiya kingdom there was considerable fluidity or to bear more offspring among half of the male titled population.

An analysis of the variations listed confirms the existence of distinct social classes within which specific sets of titles circulated. One set are the secular 'Brahmans' who used titles 'Pregada', 'Mantri' and 'Raju' interchangeably. Only once did a person whose father have another status title 'Boya' entered into this exclusive category. A circumscribed royal or noble class in which the titles 'Maharaja' and 'Raju' rotated can also be distinguished. Two sons of 'nayakas' were able to be in this group, however ‘Setti’ (merchants-artisans) formed another fairly restricted set, with just one case of crossover (a 'Setti' father with 'boya' son). The most fluid of all were 'Reddi', 'boya' and 'nayaka' categories. 'Nayaka' and 'Lenka' fathers (a military title for Kamma) could have 'Reddi' offspring, while 'nayaka' could come from 'Reddi', 'boya' or 'Kamupati' (Head of army) families.

The transverse of boundaries between these status groups also characterizes female donors in inscriptions. A woman whose father was a 'nayaka' but who was married to a 'Reddi'. Another had 'nayaka' husband but was the daughter of a 'boya'. A third woman was the sister of 'nayaka' and wife of 'Reddi'. Marriage patterns indicate much interchange among members of the 'nayaka', 'Reddi' and 'boya' status. Additionally, several 'nayaka' daughters became the wives of 'Raju's', 'Maharajah's' and 'Rautus' or 'Rao's'. [13]

SON FATHER
Maharaja
Raju
Nayaka
Reddi
Boya
Lenka
Pregada
Amatya
Bhatta
Bhakta
Dasa

Raju
Maharaja, Nayaka
Boya, Kamupati, Reddi
Nayaka, Lenka
Nayaka , Setti
Reddi, Boya
Mantri, Raju , Boya
Raju
Pandita
Setti
Reddi, Raju

Inscriptions from Kakatiya through Vijayanagar period in Andhra suggests an even more complicated picture in which occupational identity, an important component of caste, also played major role in the construction of social identities in ways that crosscut heredity. Thus the title ‘setti’ was used to identify diverse merchants and artisan communities across the south, while ‘Boya’ was as generic title that indicated herder, warrior and Chieftain. Today 'Setti' are called as 'Shetty', 'chetty' and 'chettiar'.

Boya sub-titles as Bedar / Ramoshi / Nayak / Palaegar

According to Rajguru of Sholapur princely state, Bedars or Boyas come from Tamil Nadu migrating to Karnataka during Vijaynagar rule. Names of 14 ancestors are known to him but not whereabouts. The last was 'goshti pid nayaka', a contemporary of Shivaji Maharaj. This means the history dates back to 800 years from Shivaji's known date of 1630 A.D.. Epigraphs of 8th to 11th century mentioning 'Boya - Bedar', as they were from the Hunter - warrior community who were called as 'Nayaks'.

During Vijaynagar rule, these Nayak kings were assigned duty of protecting province of Tungabhadra. After of fall of Vijaynagar, the kings of Sholapur became independent. They only came under Bijapur court for name sake. But the Bijapur court was always afraid of Beda Nayak Kings.

Later, during Maratha - Moghul conflict, Nayak kings played important role. After fall of Sambhaji and migration of Rajaram to Gingee, Moghul-Maratha conflict spread from Narmada to Tamil Nadu and from east to west coast. Moghul Emperors realized they were fighting with a hurt identity in 1695. But it was not possible to turn back. During this conflict, Bedar Nayaks played an important role. The families of all important Maratha Sardars and their treasury was in Vagana-gera (or Wakin-kheda), the capital of these Nayak kings. Therefore, King Aurangzeb had to fight his last battle of his life against Bedar Nayaks of Vagana-gera during 1705 - 06.

Today's Ramoshi in Maharashtra was earlier called as Boya, Bedar and Vedan. ([14]). Ramoshis of Maharashtra have come from mostly Karnataka and their surnames are same as Bedar-Ramoshi of Karnataka. Their original language is southern. They first got settled in Karnataka and later migrated to Maharashtra. Word 'Bhuyal' in Bedar's language seems to have originated from Boya. Though it is known in Maharashtra as Ramoshi-Bed, the name 'Ramoshi' is not older than 100–200 years.

1. Maharashtra -- Ramoshis are Bedars or Boyas. Ramoshi did not originate from 'Ram vamshi'. It is in use only for 200 years. Before that, they were called Boya or Bedar, as mentioned during rule of Peshawas.

2. Andhra Pradesh -- Boya, Boya Dora, Dorabidda and Nayakalu are the names in vogue. Dorabidda means sons of Sardars. Boya consider themselves as sons of Sardars (Warrior caste). In some texts they consider as valmiki or valmikas, meaning hunters where they not only hunted in the forests but also had process of crude agrarianism. Boyas were eminent bow men and contributed for archery forces called Nishadas. Tradition identifies Nishadas as a form of Siva as mentioned punjishthebhyo Nishadebhyascha Vo Namo Namah

3. Karnataka -- Names Bedar(nayaka), Valmiki nayaka are in vogue. Bedar was the word used by Muslims either to show the dauntless quality or may be inability to pronounce properly. Muslim books mention the word Bedar as powerful group.

4. Tamil Nadu -- Boyar, Naicker and Naidu are in vogue. Boyars were revenue collectors of villages and towns. Also their occupation was to maintain local armies.

Other titles

The Boya titles were split into Bedar, Nayak, Talwar, Nayakwadi, Nayakar, Palaegar etc. each having distinctive meaning in different regions.

1. Nayak and Nayakar - During Kakatiya and Vijayanagar rule in Andhra. A head of a region was called 'Nayak', and traditional 'vatandars' were called Nayakar. Akin to Deshmukh and Desais in Maharashtra, were Palaegar and Nayakars. Many Bedars became Palaegar on their own bravery. Nayak in Telugu means Owner or Head. Maybe this is origin of the word.

2. Nayakwadi - was the title of 'Killedar'. Those protecting outer walls of forts were called 'Nayakvadi'.

3. Talwar / Taliari / Talari - was name of Soldiers , Guards and Revenue collectors. For village policing, carrying the land revenue to treasury headquarters, the workers had to bear arms, so called 'Talwar' meaning sword.

4. Ganga Naik / Gangawaru - was the title given for Nayaks of Ganga Dynasty. Also Ganga waru or Gangaputra means sons of Ganga. Dev Vrat (Bhisma) of Mahabharata was known as Gangaputra. Some sections of Boya, Gangaputra, Agnikula Kshatriya castes consider themselves as part of Mudiraj community in some regions of Andhra Pradesh. Gangimakkalu are the same as Gangaputras.

5. Boya Palaiyakkarar (Polygar) - who was to administrate their Palaiyams (territories) from their fortified centers. Their chief function was to collect taxes, maintain law and order, run the local judiciary, and maintain a battalion of troops for the Kingdom.

6. Bhoyar / Bhoir - having titles such as 'Mahajan' and 'Patel' is a cultivating caste residing principally in the Betul and Chindwara Districts of Central India. The Bhoyar population are not found outside Central Provinces. They claim to be the descendants of a band of 'Panwar Rajputs', who were defending the town of Dharanagri or Dhar in Central India when it was besieged by Aurangzeb. Their post was on the western part of the wall, but they gave way and fled into the town as the sun was rising, and it was shown on their faces. Hence they were called Bhoyar from a word "bhor" meaning 'Revealing on dawn', because they were seen running away in the morning. They were put out of caste by the other Rajputs, and fled to the Central Provinces. The name may also be a variant of that of the 'Bhagore Rajputs'. And another derivation is from "bhora", a simple or timid person. Their claim to be immigrants from Central India has borne out by the fact that they still speak a corrupt form of the Malwi dialect of Rajputana, which is called after them 'Bhoyari', and their Birth or genealogy come from Malwa. But they have now entirely lost their position as Rajputs.

7. Boya palaegar - Palaegar meaning is tax collector and not palanquin bearers as in colonial time texts. The present Bangalore and Kolar Districts and their surrounding areas in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu were once ruled by Vokkaliga Gowdas (Okkaliyar of utkal tribe) and Reddy's as Generals (Dalavayis), Boya Palaegars, Vassals and Nada Gowdas under Gangas, Chalukyas, Nolambas, Rashtrakutas, Cholas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagar Emperors. ([15])

Other References

Kirata or Kirant of Himalayas

In ancient times, the entire Himalayan region was known as the 'Kimpurusha Desha', a phrase derived from a Sanskrit term used to identify people of Kirant origin or Kirat. These people were also known as nep, to which the name 'Nepala' is believed to have an etymological link. The earliest references to the Kirant as principal inhabitants of the Himalayan region are found in the texts of Atharvashirsha and Mahabharata, believed to date to before the 9th century BC. For over a millennium, the Kirant had also inhabited the Kathmandu Valley, where they installed their own ruling dynasty. This Kirant population in the valley, settled along with original Austro-Asiatic settlers. As time passed, those Kirant, now known as the Rai, Limbu, Yakkha and Sunuwar settled mostly in the present-day eastern Nepal and Sikkim, their Land east is called Kiratadesh.

Kirant refers to the Kiranti group or a Kirata confederation that includes the Rai, Limbu, Yakkha and Sunuwar ethnic groups of Nepal. They were the earliest inhabitants of Nepal. The Kirant follow their own religion, Kirant Mundhum which is distinct from Hinduism and Buddhism. Their holy book is the 'Kirat Mundhum'.

Kirant Rai people believe in a supreme male deity 'Paruhang', and a supreme female deity 'Sumnima'. Other deities they worship include Sakela, Sakle, Toshi, Sakewa, Saleladi Bhummidev, Chayabrung, Yokwa, and Folsadar.

The Kirant 'Limbu' ( meaning : archer) people believe in Supreme God 'Tagera Ningwaphuma', who is also known as the supreme knowledge. Ancestor Goddess 'Yuma Sammang' and God of War 'Theba Sammang' are second most important deities. 'Limbu' Clans and Tribes are said to be divided into the 'Lhasa gotra' those from 'Lhasa' of Tibet and 'Kashi gotra' those from 'Benaras' of Ganges.

Kirata were believed to be from Lunar race, the neolithic stones was associated with cult of fertility, Ancestor of worship, Theory of sacrifice and worship of 'Phallus' (Shiva Lingam). Yoni later associated with saivate and shakti cults in Hinduism. One of the remarkable facts, which has not received recognition from authorities is that of Kiratas religious doctrines and artistic ideas associated with megalithic cultures is greatly inspired by Jain, Buddhism, Hindu religion with philosophy and art. ([16])

Religious text references

In Yoga Vasistha 1.15.5 Rama speaks of Kirateneva vagura, "a trap [laid] by Kiratas", so about 10 B.C. , Boya hunters were thought to be as jungle trappers, the ones who dug pits to capture roving deer. The same text also speaks of King Suraghu, the head of the Kiratas who is a friend of the Persian King, 'Parigha' in context of Mahabharata.

Boyas or Bedars were none other than Vanaras of Kishkinta kingdom of Ramayana times in South India. These were the 'Vanara warriors' who were controlled by 'Sri Rama' in the war against Demon 'Ravana' of Sri Lanka to rescue Sita. Boya and Valmiki are the names in vogue they consider themselves as descendents of 'Valmiki' a Sanskrit writer.

The most famous Kiratas in Hinduism are the 'Kirata avatar' of Lord Shiva, Lord Buddha and sage Valmiki, writer of the Ramayana.

Lord Shiva disguised as Boya hunter

Statue of Lord Shiva in 'Boya' Attire

During the reign of sixth kirat king Humati hang, Arjuna, the son of pandu of Indra prastha had visited Indrakil Parvat or the hills of the Eastern Kirat country. Bharawi has mentioned about a fight with a kirat feudal chief in the hilly forest of Eastern Nepal. When Arjuna came to know that his combatant was as strong as Mahadev or great god, he addressed him as Mahadev or great god and begged him pardon for his mistake of taking him as an ordinary man and humbly prayed him for blessings to acquire Pashupatastra. When Arjuna was late in returning from Indrakil Parvat, all the Pandavas accompanied by Draupadi and Dronacharya came in search of him to the Himalayan region.

According to Hindu texts Boya hunter is the only form of Lord Shiva in which He appeared black in color. Arjuna wanted to get the peerless weapon 'Pasupatastram' from Lord Shiva for the battle of Mahabharata. He left the other four Pandavas, went to the forest and did austere tapas for getting the boon of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was satisfied with his prayer, wanted to give the 'Pasupatastram' to him, but wanted to play a bit too. He took the form of a Hunter with Shakthi as Huntress. That time a demon by name 'Mookasura', who was in the form of wild pig came to kill 'Arjuna'. To kill the wild pig Arjuna fired an arrow from the front, at the same time the Hunter, Who is none other than God Himself, attacked it from the back and killed the pig. Arjuna mocked at the Hunter for firing the arrow from the back. Having great pride of his valor, he was angry at the Hunter because He aimed at his prey. The Hunter responded that attacking an animal from the back is not against rules of hunting. An argument broke out. They decided to fight deciding who was more valorous between them. The Hunter cut the string in Arjuna's bow with His arrow in the fight! Angered and excited, Arjuna started wrestling. He couldn't match the Lord, and the Lord enjoyed his fighting. At one point of time in wrestling Arjuna held the foot of the Hunter. As the Lord is pleased when somebody catches His holy feet, He stopped wrestling appeared with Parvati revealing Who He is. Shocked Arjuna pleaded for forgiveness, as he was trying to fight with the Supreme out of his ignorance. However the God, Who is pleased by devotion, blessed him and gave him the invincible 'Pasupatastram'. (In some books it is told that Arjuna couldn't fight with the Hunter, he started worshiping the Shiva Lingam. To his astonishment he found the flowers he offered to the Lingam on the head of the Hunter. Then he prostrated before the Hunter and the Lord revealed Himself). Poet 'Bharavi' has written in Sanskrit a great poem on this incident. The poem is called ' Kiratarjuniyam '. 'Kirata means hunter or a Boya' also same detail can be found in Mahabharata.

Lord Shiva and a Boya devotee in Skanda Purana

Siva who dwelled in Kailasa (Kailas range in Tibet) is mentioned as assuming the disguise of a Kirata and fighting with Arjuna in high-Himalayas (3-39,49). Siva sometimes assumes the form of Kiratas, Pisachas and Savaras, or that of any exotic tribes (13,14)

A Boya Hunter who owed money to his King went to the forest for hunting without paying his debt. There he set up traps and waited on the top of a tree. While waiting, he plucked the leaves and dropped them below. As time passed, four deers were trapped in the net and the Hunter was about to kill them. At that time, they all pleaded to let them off for that day and promised to return the next day. The Boya Hunter obliged their request and the animals returned the next day exactly as promised. The Boya Hunter was shocked and was so impressed with their honesty. But at the same time was ashamed of himself, since he left the kingdom without paying his debt to the King. Years later, the Boya Hunter died and his soul reached Kailasam (Heaven). He wondered how he got there. A voice appeared and told him that he unknowingly plucked Bilva leaves from the tree and dropped them on the 'Shiva Lingam' below all night without taking any food or water on a Shivarathri night, and thus made it to 'Kailasam'. Such was the power of worshiping the most merciful and generous 'Sarveshwara' on Shivarathri Day!. One can get 'Moksha'(Salvation) by staying awake on Shivarathri night and worshiping Lord Shiva knowingly or even unknowingly !

Boya Kannapa or Kannappa Nayanar

'Boya Tinnadu' who is also known as 'Bhakta Kannappa' is one of the Alwars in Shaivism. A youth from Boya caste became a great devotee of shiva and attained such eminence as to join the galaxy of Nayanars. There stands a shrine for this great Bhakta in the magnificent temple at Sri Kalahasti on banks of Swarnamukhi river.

Boya Temples

1. 'Boya ' temple exists amidst Jain temples at Lunawa Nagar. It is believed that the temples were built in 14th Century. Lunawa Nagar is situated at the foot of Aravali range of mountains of Rajasthan, 16 km east of Falna railway station. ([17])

2. ' Vijay eswara Swami ' Temple - The Vijayeswara temple is set on the Indrakiladri hill near Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The installation of Vijayeswara is said to have been done by Arjuna, to commemorate his victory with Lord Shiva in the form of 'Kirata' (hunter). ([18])

3. ' Boyar Gudi ' (South East of the Aihole Village) at Aihole-Pattadakal, Bagalkot District, Karnataka was built in 14th Century for the Boyar community worship. Many more temples were constructed in Andhra-Orissa region by Boya Chieftains. ([19])

4. ' Jasma Devi ' Temple was built in memory of Jasma Devi of the Ode Tribe. It was built in 12th century is situated at Pattan railway station, near Baroda in Gujarat State.

5. 'Boyakonda Gangamma' Temple situated near Diguvapalli in Chowdepalli mandal near Chittoor, Andhrapradesh. About centuries ago ‘Boyas’ and ‘yelikas’ lived in the forest area around the hillock. They stood up and resented the repressive and rule of the nawabs. They retaliated against the Muslim soldiers and chased them. Then Golconda Nawab rushed additional troops to crush the revolt. Boya tribals could not withstand the onslaught of the Muslim army and field into the forest and prostrated near the hillock and prayed Almighty to save them. The spirit of the Goddess ‘Shakti’ descended from the hillock and shielded the tribals and crushed the Nawab’s army.

The Boya cave Temple in Thailand

In early 6 century AD. the belief in Hinduism was widespread in this South East Asia. All Avatars of Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna sculptures were discovered there. The encounter of sculptures is the indication of Hinduism influence which includes the belief in 'Siva-lingam' in the society. This belief was transmitted from ancient Khmer to Thailand through the northeastern route. So it is not unusual that in this modern day to find Lord Shiva still being worshiped as in the Boya cave.

'Guheshwara' is a name of 'Lord Shiva', and means Lord of the Caves. 'Lord Shiva' lived in a cave in the Himalayas on Mount Kailash so his presence within a cave is a way to pay respects to 'Lord Shiva'. In 'Wat Tham Boya' in 'Nakhon Sawan', Thailand. The cave is known as Boya Cave and is located in Khao Luang Forest Park which has a large out cropping of lime stone hills, which are filled with many caverns. 'Wat Tham Boya' sits at the base of one of these hills with a very long stair case which ascends the steep hill and finally reaches the entrance to Boya cave. ([20])

Replicas of Boya arrowheads

War Tactics of Boya warriors

The Boya were inducted into the armies of the Vijayanagar empire because of their skills in archery. They used various kinds of bows and arrows including bullet arrows. They used two type of arrows The ‘potu ammu’ (male arrow) for smaller range targets and the ‘penti ammu’ (female arrow) for longer range targets. Also newer techniques were incorporated with the use of spears and sharp weapons which were used only in hunting games.

Inscriptions about Boyas

Inscription in Vijay eswara temple, Vijayawada of the 9th century A.D., in the usual Telugu script. The inscription is strangely recorded from bottom upwards. Its purpose is to say that a certain Thrikoti Boyi or Trikoti Boya, the son of Kaliyama-Boya of Pechchevada, set up the pillar as a commemoration of his own fame, in order to secure distinction for his race. The Thrikoti Boyi is identified in the inscription with a Guhyaka Yaksha, who in Dwaparayuga was directed by Indra to direct Arjuna to Indrakila hill, where Arjuna should worship the Lord Siva in order to obtain Pasupatha Astra from him.

Boyas often appear in kakatiya-period inscriptions as the persons who are entrusted with livestock endowed to temples, Donating perpetual lamp Nanda deepa and as Military chieftains. The meaning of Boya has changed considerably with the passage of time.([21])

In Addanki, near Nellore inscription of Panduranga 848 A.D the landscape and surrounding is mentioned as Boya Kottamulu. Its is also called as Boyavidu. In 15th century inscriptions it is also mentioned as Boya vihara desamu. Hence historical perspective of the boya land presents the same as Boya Kottamulu, Boyavidu and Boya vihara desamu.

During the 7th century various inscriptions from South India mentions about Boya-Brahmans In Kondanaaru grant of Vishnuvardhana-II dated 673 A.D, The boyas organized themselves into a massive social entity by sanskritising themselves and called a few members as boya-brahmans. This is indicative of not only the attempt of the boyas to organise into sociological and political unit; to extent further into plains and also to come into contact with neighbouring groups. As result of this interaction they claimed some of the Brahmanical values in neighbouring society to have superimposed in their community. ([22])

During Vijayanagar period, women incorporated the status titles of their husband into their names as with 'Peda Potana Boyusani', the wife of 'Peda Potana Boya' the Aristocratic class.

By 18th century, the label 'Boya' was used for Telugu speaking community in the Kurnool-Anantpur region, resembling the Kannada speaking Bedars, who were associated with hunting and often served in local armies.

Political, Administration and Planning in 9 A.D

The Boya communal growth certainly calls for settled way of life. Though they were primarily nomadic or by inheritance they identified themselves with the region. They integrated sectors as political unit like Rajya (kingdom), Desa (Province), Sima (region) and Vidu or Bidu ( settlements) This indicates the entire Boya viharadesa was divided into twelve Boya Kottams. This could be found in the regions of Nellore and Prakasam districts.

Besides the evidence and records and the tradition refer to a cadre called Simhasana-Boyas. The role of the simhasanaboyas is clear from the prefix that they were the ruling class. like Nare Boya, one of the ancestors of the koppula family, stand as lively examples to understand the significance of such ruling class.

Boya marriage tradition titles

Owing to promiscuous unions, the following classes spring into existence :

1. Swajathee Sampradayam: Pure Boyas, the offspring of parents who have been properly married in the proper divisions and sub-divisions.

2. Koodakonna Sampradayam: The offspring of a Boya female,who is separated or divorced from her husband who is still alive, and who co-habits with another Boya.

3. Vithunthu Sampradayam: The offspring of a Boya widow by a Boya.

4. Arsampradayam : The offspring of a Boya man or woman, resulting from co-habitation with a member of some other caste.

The Swajathee Sampradayam should only marry among themselves. Koodakonna Sampradayam and Vithunthu Sumpradayam may marry among themselves, or with each other. Both being considered illegitimate, they cannot marry Swajathee Sumpradayam, and would not marry Arsumpradayam, as these are not true Boyas, and are nominally outcastes, who must marry among themselves."

Books about Boyas

Gingee or Chenji Nayaks were Boyas. Chitradurga & Rayadurga Nayaks were also Boyas according to Andhra Pradesh Zamindaries and Samasthanams book written by 'Acharya Thoomati Donappa'.

Boyar Symbol

'Boyar symbol' in Russia is similar to Mysore state symbol 'Ganda Berunda'

Gandaberunda image seen at Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Mysore

File:Boyar symbol.png

The Gandaberunda (also known as the Berunda) is a two headed mythological bird of Hindu mythology thought to possess magical strength. It is used as the official emblem by the Karnataka government and it is seen as an intricately sculptured motif in Hindu temples.

A roof sculpture depicting a Gandaberunda is found on the roof of the Rameshwara temple in the temple town of Keladi in Shimoga District. The Gandaberunda was used by the Odeyar or Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore as the Royal emblem. The Karnataka Government adopted this symbol as the state symbol.

Boyar in medieval Europe as Landlords and Peasants

In Europe around 5th century the Boyas migrated from Indus valley only to be found as nomadic craftsmen, prisoners of war, or else captive entertainers. Later they were inducted as soldiers. During various wars and raids they migrated into remote regions of the world and carried titles such as 'Boyari' in Turkey, 'Boyash' in Romania, Serbia and 'Boyar' in Russia and Bulgaria. Slowly they became land owners, Feudal lords and Nobles. ([23]) ([24])

The Term 'Boyar' or Bolyar in medieval Bulgaria, Walachia and Moldovia denoted a community of the privileged upper class. The boyars were originally just military men but as society became more settled they gradually became land holders. Boyar status did not necessarily denote great wealth, since "little" Boyars existed as well as great ones. A boyar could own just fraction of village or ten villages. Great boyars occupied the highest military and administrative offices in the state, whereas petty boyars held lesser positions. They met in an assembly of the land to discuss important matters and thus became sovereign or caretakers, who essentially retained posts for longer time became upper class people of Bulgaria and the Romanian principalities. The peasants who did the actual work of farming paid boyars in crops, services, and sometimes in cash as well.

The word "Boyar" is of Turkic origin, introduced into the Balkan peninsula by the Bulgarians in the 7th century. As the Turkic speaking Bulgar conquerors became Slavicized, they joined with the Slavic clan chiefs to form a single upper class known as Boyars. The Boyar word apparently entered Romania during the 9th-10th centuries when the ruling class dominated Dacia. In all of Europe, the only people who call their nobles Boyars are Bulgarians, Romanians, Lithuanians, and Serbians. These noble Boyars were very much recognized as aristocratic people. They were members of the upper stratum of medieval Russian society and state administration during the 10th–12th century. Boyars constituted the senior group in the prince's retinue (druzhina) and occupied the higher posts in the armed forces and in the civil administration. They also formed a Boyar council, or "Duma", which advised the prince in important matters of state.

The "Boyer" title and name owes a great deal to research originally developed in the book American Boyers, published by the Association of American Boyers, which was first published in 1915 and is now in its seventh edition. The more distant beginnings of the Boyer family have been traced to the Celtic tribes who wandered through Europe near the beginning of the Christian era. One of these tribes, known as the "Boii," settled in the area known as Cisalpine Gaul. In 2005 this was northern Italy, Austria and southern Germany. Along with their allies the Helvetians, the Boii were conquered by the Romans; some attribute the work to Julius Caesar in 58 B.C., others to Augustus in 15 B.C. Apparently the Boii were then allowed to settle in the land of the Aedui, who were other allies of the Helvetians, in what is now the area of central to eastern France. Then they moved eastward, and in 488‑520 A.D. they were reported along the valley of the Danube, possibly in what were known as the Roman provinces of Vindelicia and Noricum.

One account of the 'Boii' says they "were certainly a new and composite social aggregate." Most likely they were descendants of the Marcommanni, Quadi and Narisci, tribes of the Suevic or Swabian race, with possibly an intermixture of Gothic or Celtic elements. They were called the Boiarii, Baioarii, Baiowarii, Bawarii, or Baiuwarii, words probably derived from Baja or Baya, Boya as corruptions of Bojer ( Boyer ), and given to them because they came from Bojerland or Bohemia ( Czechoslovakia). Of most lasting significance, it is said that the 'Boii' gave their name to Bavaria. The Bavarians and the Bayer are regarded as the same.

In the fighting over western Europe over the centuries, the Boiarii were said to owe allegiance to the Ostrogoths, then the Franks, then Charlemagne, and after his death to the kings of the Franks and the Germans. The first mention of the Bavarians occurs in a Frankish document of 520 A.D.

In the ultimate dispersion of the Boiarii, the family name was given various spellings which continue down to this day. In Germany, the spellings include Bayer, Baier, Beyer, Beier, Byer and others. In Austria, it is Boiar. The Russian is Boyar, although that word appears to have referred primarily to the highest stratum of Russian nobility up to the 18th century and does not seem to have been a family name. In England, it is usually Bowyer. In Scotland, it is Boyers. In France, it is usually Boyer.

Tradition and Culture

As per Hindu tradition the following rituals are compulsory,

Namakarana (Naming ceremony)
Karnavedha (Ear-boring ceremony)
Annaprashana (First solid food-feeding)
Chudakarana (Tonsure; removing impure hair)
Vidyarambha (Teaching alphabets)
Vivaha (Marriage)
Antyeshti (Last or funeral rites)

South Indian Wedding with ritualistic part involving a priest.

Boyar caste consists of many Gotra's or Kulam's. The Kulam or Gotra or Illam is intended to mean the father's family and ancestry. Marriage by members of the same gotra is traditionally prohibited. The custom is intended to prevent inbreeding as well as to broaden the influence of each gotra through marriage alliances. Gotras are used as surnames in Andhra region which gives quick identity.

Wedding events

Porutham (Horoscope - Matching) - Examination of the horoscopes of the bride and bride-groom makes it possible to ascertain whether there is agreement between the two, and the union will be propitious.

Betrothal ceremony - Once the agreement of both parties are over. An engagement or reception takes place in front of family members and close relatives.

A traditional wedding is usually performed in the presence of a Hindu Priest who chants Sanskrit slokas. Main point of a typical wedding is the tying of Mangalsutra - a small gold ornament (the design can vary based on a number of factors - caste, region, community and family tradition) tied in a yellow thread or strung in a Gold, silver or beaded chain on the neck of the Bride. She will retain this until the end of her life or her spouse's.

Muhurtham ( Lagnam ) - An Auspicious time with respect to couple's Astrological sign and also with reference to ' Panchangam ' the event takes place, with following programs,

' Panigrahanam ' - The bride's hand is held by groom in a ceremony,

' Pratigna Karanam ' - Exchanging of solemn vows,

' Parikrama ' - Circum-ambulation of the Holy Fire or ' Agni ',

' Saptapathi ' (praying seven sages) or visualizing 'Arundathi' (worshiping sun) are all part of the elaborate ritualistic traditional south Indian Weddings. At the end, there is a grand lunch offered to the guests.

In general Boyar community worship Tirupati Lord Venkateshwara, Lord Shiva, Lord Subramanya, Mariamman, etc and primarily consider their blessings on all occasions.

Boyar Gotra's

Gotra is a term applied to an ancestor or an originator through whom a particular family, rather a race of humans have been originated. A Gotra is the lineage or clan assigned to a Hindu at birth. In most cases, the system is patrilineal and the gotra assigned is the gotra of the person's father.

Lineage segment within an Indian caste, indicating common descent from a mythical ancestor. Marriage by members of the same gotra is traditionally prohibited. The custom is intended to prevent inbreeding as well as to broaden the influence of each gotra through marriage alliances.

A common mistake is to consider gotra to be synonymous with cult or 'Kula'. A 'kula' is basically a set of people following similar rituals, often worshipping the same God (the Kula-Devata - the God of the cult). Kula has nothing to do with lineage or caste. In fact, it is possible to change one's Kula, based on his faith or ista devtha.

Boyar caste consists several Gotras(Kulams) which has same meaning in Telugu and Tamil language. These gotras are believed to be shared from Kapu (caste).

Gotra's

In Telugu

The following are examples of exogamous septs among the Boyar and Odes:

Alkunta
Burasu or Oorsu or Poola ( Flower )
Bantula ( Soldier )
Bandi ( Cart )
Bandollu ( Rock )
Cheemala ( Ants )
Cheruku ( Sugar )
Dandu ( Army )
Deringula
Gandikota
Gampa ( Basket )
Goddali ( axe )
Idakotta ( Break-down )
Janjapu or Kunchapu ( Sacred Thread )
Jeri Bothula or jadebila ( Centipede )
Kotala ( Fort )
Koniali ( Clown )
Mekala or Makali ( Herdsmen )
Nalla Bothula ( Good )
Peetalu ( Strength )
Panthikottu ( pig-killer )
Pasupu ( Turmeric )
Rajulu ( Prince )
Santhalu ( Fair )
Thapta ( Drum )
Thatichettu ( Palymra )
Uppu tolla ( Salt )
Vallapu or Bellappu ( Jaggery )
Vemulu ( Neem )

In Tamil

Aalam Kulam ( Banyan Tree )
Eecham Kulam ( Palymra Tree )
Dhandu Kulam ( Army )
Dyarangam Kulam
Karumbu Kulam ( Sugar cane )
Komali Kulam ( Clown )
Manjal Kulam ( Turmeric )
Nallam Kulam ( Good )
Poosam Kulam ( Flower )
Raja Kulam ( Prince )
Raasi Kulam ( Luck )
Semavar Kulam ( Ants )
Theku Kulam ( Teak Tree)
Vembu Kulam ( Neem Tree)
Uppu Kulam ( salt )

In Kannada

Akshantala (Rice grain)
Arashina (Turmeric)
Huvvina (flowers)
Honna (gold)
Uppu ( salt )

Common gotras found in other castes for example :-

Dandu (army) — A sub-division of Idiga, and an exogamous sept of Boya and Kapu.
Gandikota. — A sub-division of Kamma.

Boyar Caste Titles

  • Boya / Boyan / Boyar / Boyer
  • Boya Naidu / Nayakar / Nayaka / Naicken
  • Boya Palaegar / Palaiyakkarar / Palegara
  • Talwar-Boya / Talari Boya / Taliari Boya
  • Kirat Bhoi / Kirataka / Bhoi

Naidu Title

The Naidu or Nayudu is a title used by many Telugu speaking community like Balija, Bestha, Boya, Gavara, Golla, Kapu, Mutracha and Velama. A Tamilian, when speaking of a Telugu person bearing this title, would call him Naiker or Naicker instead of Naidu. However, Naidu essentially refers to Balija, Gavara and Kamma. Naidu is a community mainly concentrated in Vishakapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh.

Boyar sub-castes

The Boyar caste is the oldest caste. There are many divisions and sub-divisions in Boya communities and in course of time many sub-communities and sub-groups have come out of their tribal boundaries and have mingled with the on-coming communities namely Kshatriyas and Brahmans as well as business community (Vaishyas) brought in by the ruling dynasty from South and North as explained in Kakatiya society.

Boya Brahmans : Boya's after giving up their aboriginal habits and entered into the fold of the neighbouring Brahminical social order, gradually rising in the scale of civilization and social ranking and getting absorbed not only into the priestly class but into the ruling class and the trading and agricultural classes as well. During Vishnuvardhana II Reign (A. D. 673-81) 'Koil boya’s' were priests later they incorporated Brahmanism principles along with priestly functions in temples and became Brahmans. In Chalukya period the Boya Brahmans named their town settlements as Brahmadesham and Agraharams. Among these Boya Brahmins the most popular gotras are Kaundinya, Bharadwaja, Kashyapa and Parasara. Today they are just called as Dravida-Brahmans. (In Proceedings of Indian History Congress, Millennium session 2000, Kolkata session). .([25]).

Boya Gauda : Holalkere in Karnataka was an important Jain settlement in 10th century. The present town seems to have been founded in 14th century by 'Boya gauda', under the protection of Chief Doddanna Nayak. Today they are called as 'Gowda'. Many Hyderabad - Karnataka and Bombay - Karnataka region gowdars were previously Boya - Bedars.([26])

Bhoi - The etymology of the word ‘Bhoi’ is aboriginal tribe . It is supposed to be a telugu word, derived from Boya. Generally they are water carriers. ([27])

The Telugu Bhoi’s comprise two sub-castes, Besta and Gundlodu, It appears to have originally sprung from same stock, but have subsequently broken up into endogamous divisions by reason of their long occupation of different tracts of land.

In Maharastra, the Bhoi are the palanquin bearers or doli carriers there are altogether 22 sub-groups namely Zinga Bhoi, Pardesh Bhoi, Raj bhoi, Kahar Bhoi, Gadia Bhoi, Dhuria Kahar Bhoi, Kirat Machwa Bhoi, Hanzi, Jati, Kewat, Dhiwar, Dingar, palewar, Macchindra,Havadi, Halhar, Gadhav Bhoi, Khodi Bhoi, Khare Bhoi and Devra.

In Gujarat, the Bhoi consists seven sub-groups namely Bhoiraj, Dhiman, Zinga Bhoi or Kevat-Bhoi, Macchindra Bhoi, Paleshwar Kirat Bhoi, Kahar Bhoi, Pardeshi Bhoi and Shrimali Bhoi.

Beldar : Od, Sonkar, Raj, Larhia Karigar, Matkuda, Chunkar, Munurwar, Thapatkari, Vaddar, Pathrot, Takari. The term Beldar is generically applied to a number of occupational groups of more or less diverse origin, who work as masons or navvies, build the earthen embankments of tanks or fields, carry lime and bricks and in former times refined salt.

Bhovi : The Bhovi’s of Karnataka are actually a combination of three subgroups. The ‘Kallu Bhovi’ are the stonecutter caste, the ‘Mannu Bhovi’ are the earth working caste, and the ‘Uppar Bhovi’ are the salt and lime quarry workers. The Bhovis' main language is Telugu, but they can speak Kannada. They also engage in agriculture, though this is a secondary occupation. Only a minimum percentage are city-dwellers.

For Bhovi's, it's normal to marry one's uncle or aunt's son or a daughter. It's common for a Bhovi man to marry two sisters. The Bhovi peoples have their own patron deities and have their own guruji Siddha Rameshwara of Sholapur, Sri Sharanaswamiji of Bagalkote Bhovi peeta and Sri Immadi Siddarameshwaraswamiji of Chitradurga Bhovi peeta, a great reformers. Sri Sharanaswamiji of Bagalkote Bhovi peeta made many community developments from 14 century in building of tanks and shelters.

It is known thar Mudiraju / Mutracha people were engaged in guarding granite quarries during medieval times. The reason could be that these people were known to be the best for soldier and commando jobs. It also appears that the Mudiraju people who had their origins in Bhil- Koli dravidian block of tribes were closely associated in stone cutting, stone grinding and other such jobs. Bhovis are closely related to Mudiraju in connectiong with fishing and granite mining. Pardhis / Parthians who are also variants of bhils too engage themselves in such jobs. The Bhovis are experts in cutting granite rocks and in almost all granite quarries in the state they work as bonded labourers. Bovis or Boyis are closely related to Bedars in their origins. The Telugu Boyas of Andhra, the Tamil Vedans of Tamil Nadu, are closely related to Bedars & Ramoshis of Maharastra. The Mogaveeras and bovis are also one and the same people in their origin and belonged to fishing community.

Ode : The word Vodde or Odde is said to be a corruption of the Sanskrit Odhra, the name for the country now called Orissa, and the people are ordinarily supposed to have emigrated from the Uriya country. Besides Telugu, they are said to speak a peculiar dialect among themselves.They are a strong and hard-working class.

About Ode settlement in south the following brief accounts are given in the Nellore, Coimbatore, and Madurai are: —

Nellore — Odes are called as 'Vaddera' are the tank-diggers, quarry owners and contractors. few are engaged in the trade.

Coimbatore — Odes are thickly populated , migrated for great demand in irrigation wells, ghat roads of Niligiri Hills and construction of houses. Today they are found to be contractors and traders.

Madurai — Odes are generally tank-diggers and earth-workers. They are Telugus, and are supposed to have come southward in the time of the Nayyakkans. Possibly Thirumalai Nayakar invited them to dig out his great Teppakulam, and assist in raising gopurams of Meenakshi Temple.

Karnataka - Migrated for great demand in construction of Dams, Hydro electric projects, Reservoirs, Check dams, Roads and Office buildings. Especially in construction of Krishnaraja sagar, Vani Vilas sagar , Bhadravathi, Hemavathi, Lakkavali, Chikhole, Shivanasamudra, Jog Falls, Almatti and Vidhana Soudha. People settled in the same places after completion of projects.

Vada Balija : A subcaste of the Balija based in Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and East Godavari district, a community of sea-faring traders and merchants. Some sections of Boya, Gangaputra, Agnikula Kshatriya castes consider themselves as part of Mudiraj community in some regions of Andhra Pradesh.

Viswa Karma Boyar : A community at Okkarai Village in between Thurayur and Sobanapuram 70 off km Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu are experts in Stone carving, the craftsmen community settled more than two centuries ago, are specialised in the making of wooden temple cars. The artistic and brilliant panels containing figures of Gods and Goddess, which adorn the great temple cars are made and distributed to various temple in the region.

Boya sub-castes and gotra can also be found in Lingayat, Gowda, Gounder, Reddy, Kuruba, Kunbi, Besta, Kamma, Rajus, Kapu, Mudaliyar and Chetty communities.

Other Sub-Groups

During the medieval times, the state corresponding roughly with now-a-days Orissa passed under the various names such as: Utkala, Kalinga, and Odra (Udra) Desa. The state boundaries varied from time to time and were sometimes much larger. These land names are associated with peoples. The Okkala (Okkaliar), or Utkala , the Kalinga, and the Odra or Oddaka were mentioned in literature as tribes. Ancient Greeks knew the latter two as Kalingai and Oretes. Eventually, the names got identified with the territories later classified with occupation. The land was inhabited by semi-Hinduized tribes (shabaras) in the hinterland, a group of farming Brahmins (halua brahmuna) who practised invincible Tantra method near Jajpur area (the place of Goddess Biraja), and people of other castes and trades as well. For centuries before and after the birth of Christ, Kalinga was a formidable political power, extending from the Ganga river to the Godavari river. Approximately between the 11th and 16th centuries, the name was twisted; the name Odra Desh was gradually transformed into Uddisa, Udisa, or Odisa, which in English became Orissa. The language of Odisa came to be known as Oriya. The important Deity of Odes is 'Jasma devi'.

The Ode tribes migrated to Gujarat around 12th century for construction of temples in which they are more specialized. People who supplied stone and lime for construction work of Temples, Tanks and Wells were termed as Bovi, Oddar, Vaddera, Uppara, sagara and Waddar in Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The word 'Bhovi' is a corrupt form of 'Bhavi' which means 'well' in Kannada, it also means 'earth-digger'. They have been involved in the digging of wells. There is a confusion of 'Boya' a 'Kshatriya' caste and 'Bovi' a 'shudra' caste mix-up there is no proper evidence in which period this has taken place, but some gotras are common. Many castes in Andhra pradesh have shared common gotras. This may be one of the reason for mix-up in remote regions in different periods. Thus various irrelevant castes has become sub-caste of Boya.

These may be part of Boyar communities also a sub-caste of other caste or community and some have common gotras / surname through out India.

  • Bhoi / Bhoir
  • Bhoyi / Boyi
  • Bhovi / Bovi
  • Bhoyar / Bhuyal
  • Beda / Beldar / Bedar / Bendar / Bendre
  • Besta Boya / Maratha Bhoi
  • Chauhan / Chavan
  • Odde / Ode / Oudh
  • Odde Raju / Odde Razu
  • Odeya / Ottan
  • Pawar / Powar
  • Vadde / Vaddera / Vaddi
  • Vadde Raju
  • Vada Balija
  • Vadde Reddy
  • Waddar / Wadkar / Waddera

In the Mysore Census Report, 1891, that " the Odde caste divides itself into two main branches, the Kallu and Mannu Vaddas, between whom there is no social intercourse of any kind, or inter-marriage. The former are stone-workers and builders, and more robust than the latter, and are very dexterous in moving large masses of stone by rude and elementary mechanical appliances. They are hardy, and capable of great exertion and endurance. The Kallu Vaddas consider themselves superior to the Mannu Vaddas (earth diggers). Unlike the Kallu Vaddas, the Mannu Vaddas or Bailu Vaddas are a nomadic tribe, squatting wherever they can find any large earthwork, such as deepening and repairing tanks, throwing up embankments, and the like. They are expert navvies, turning out within a given time more hard work than any other labouring class.

In the Madras Census Report, 1901, it is stated that the two main divisions of Boyas are called as Pedda Boya (big) and Chinna Boya (small) respectively, and, according to another account, the caste has four endogamous sections, Pedda, Chinna, and Myasa. Sadaru is the name of a subdivision of Lingayats, found mainly in the Bellary and Anantapur districts, where they are largely engaged in cultivation. Some Bedars who live amidst those Lingayats call themselves Sadaru. According to the Manual of the North Arcot district, the Boyas are a "Telugu hunting caste, chiefly found above the ghats. Many of the Poligars of that part of the country used to belong to the caste, and proved themselves so lawless that they were dispossessed. Now they are usually cultivators. They have several divisions, the chief of which are the Mulki Boyas and the Pala Boyas, who cannot intermarry.

According to the Mysore Census Reports, 1891 and 1901, "the Bedas have two distinct divisions, the Kannada and Telugu, and own some twenty sub-divisions, of which the following are the chief: Halu, Machi or Myasa, Nayaka, Pallegar, Barika, Kannaiyyanajati, and Kirataka.

At recent times of census, the following occupational sub-divisions were : — Kallu or Rati (stone-workers) and Mannu (earth-workers), Manti or Bailu (open space), between which there is said to be no inter-marriage. The endogamous sub-divisions Nata-puram and Uru (village men), Bidaru (wanderers), and Konga (territorial) were recorded. ' Beri ' was given as a sub-caste, and 'Odderazu' as a synonym for the caste name. In Ganjam, Bolasi is said to be a sub-division of the Oddes. The caste titles are Nayakan and Boyan.

Epics

Boyar Today

The people of warrior race who were the erstwhile professional warriors lost their identity with the collapse of powerful local kingdoms. Those warrior soldiers who managed to retain their control over large tracts of lands became zamindars, administrators, farmers, etc. The rest of them were gradually forced to become Backward Class ( BC ) and Other Backward classes ( OBC) people without any fixed / organized profession in their hands.

Boya / Boyar caste comes under OBC in Central List. In Tamil Nadu & Kerala as BC, Andhra Pradesh as BC ( Group 'A') and Karnataka as BC ( Category I ).([28])

Today an estimated population of Boyar community is more than 4 million spread throughout India and other countries. Comprising State leaders, Administrative officers, Politicians, Scientists, Entrepreneurs, Industrialists, Financiers, Doctors , Accountants, Lawyers, Professionals, Engineers, Academicians, Businessmen and Traders diversified in various professions with average to high income, dwelling in all cities.

Registered Associations

  • BOYAR MUNNETRA SANGAM in Tamil Nadu State

Chennai, Coimbatore, Erode, Madurai, Trichy, Salem, Tirupur and Pollachi.

TNBMWT, JASMA BHAVAN, Opp Eachanari Temple, Chettipalayam, Pollachi Road, Coimbatore.

TNBMWT, S.A.P Residence Building, Municipal Office Road, Tirupur.

  • VADDERA YUVATHA ABHYUDAYA SAMITHI ([29])

VYAS, Nagendra nagar, Habsiguda, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh,

  • KARNATAKA BHOVI WELFARE ASSOCIATION

KBWA, JASMA BHAVAN, Jasma Bhavan Road, Millers Road, Bangalore, Karnataka.

KBWA, JASMA BHAVAN, Austin town, Ashoknagar, Bangalore, Karnataka.

References & Sources

References

  1. ^ ([1]) ([2])([3])
  2. ^ (Chatterji 1974:30)
  3. ^ (Chatterji 1974:31)
  4. ^ a b Vasmer's Etymological Dictionary (Russian)
  5. ^ 9th century stone inscription from Bulgaria mentioning boyars (boila)
  6. ^ CONSTANTINE PORPHYROGENITUS, DE CERIMONIIS AULAE BYZANTINAE, II, 46-7

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