Friday, January 1, 2010




Vokkalathana in Kannada language means tilling land and Vokkaliga means one who tills land. The agricultural communities of south Karnataka are called Vokkaligas.
People belonging to Vokkaliga community are known as Okkalia of Utkala Kingdom. Many more people of different communities use Gowda as surname. Vokkaliga have names such as Gowda, Gowder, Gounder, Reddy, Rao, Naidu and Naicker as the title after their name in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and these names are being used in the modern time to identify the group to which a person belongs[2]
A Gowda, also spelled Gowdaru or Gauda or Nayaka( = Head / Chief) is the not a name of any caste. Gowda is a leader of a group or Head of Territory. The Gowdas claim to be Land Lords and Village Head Men and are known to be the dominant and powerful caste group in the Village.[1]
Vokkaliga Gowdas are known for their agricultural activities and recorded prosperity through cultivation. The common saying "Gowda chennagiddare ooru Chennagiruthe" means "When a Gowda is happy the whole Village is Happy". This implies the significance of the group among the Socio-Economic Groups.[1]

[edit] Other References

The Vokkaligars was neither a caste nor a cult in previous periods of history also succumbed to the influence of this system and became one of the dominant ‘castes’ in the Indian society which undergone several transformations and fractured into different sub divisions such as
  • Gangadkar/Gangatkar(ganga kshatriya)Vokkaliga
  • Kunchitiga Vokkaliga
  • Rodhagaru vokkaliga
  • Morasu Vokkaliga
  • Hallikar Vokkaliga
  • Reddy Vokkaliga
  • Gudi Vokkaliga
  • Grama Vokkaliga
  • Keeraikara Vokkaliga
  • Draupadi karagada vokkaliga
  • Kappu Vokkaliga
  • Namdhari Vokkaliga
  • Musuku Vokkaliga
  • Nonaba Vokkaliga
  • kotte vokkaliga
  • halakki Vokkaliga
  • Uppina kolaga Vokkaliga
  • Daasa Vokkaliga
  • Hosadevaru Vokkaliga
  • Jogi Vokkaliga
Kunchitiga vokkaligas literally means traditional and they were known for being conservative and ardent followers of traditions and were mostly farmers.
Rodhagaru vokkaligas mainly found in Tumkur(Mainly in Pavagada,Madhugiri,gowri bidanuru),Bangalore,chitradurga,davanagere,Haveri etc.The name rodhagaru has been derived from the name of goddess 'Rodhamma'.this temple is in rodham village near Penagonda belongs to andhra pradesh.
Namadhari Vokkaligaru mainly found in Malenadu region of Karnataka. (Mainly in Shimoga and Chikkamagaluru Districts). Namadhari Vokkaligas form a major population of Vokkaliga Community.
Gudi vokkaliga literally means guard or guest that perhaps related either to the duty of guarding the community or they were known for entertaining the guests and this division is an off shoot of one of the kula viz Gudioru [Gudi=guest, oru or avaru =company, also used to call a person in respectable way in their Kannada language].
Grama vokkaliga is the vokkaliga community residing in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka. The phrase 'grama(ಗ್ರಾಮ)' refers to village (ಗ್ರಾಮ/ಊರು), the main profession is agriculture.
Kerraikarar vokkaligar were very honest and keep up their words as understood from the meaning of the name of the sect and their main occupation was cultivating ‘kirai’ (Amranthus leaves) and other vegetables.
Gangadiga Vokkaliga(Gangatkars) of Western Ganga Dynasty share their origin with the Thooran Kootam of the Kongu Vellalar Gounder caste of Tamil Nadu and migrated to Halebidu, near Hassan in Southern Karnataka. The Vokkaligas of the Mysore are mostly Gangadikars of endogamous division This community was further fractured into more than thirty castes in South India. They are Hallikkar, Alubalija Naidu, Arumudi, Basunadi, Belakavadi, Devaru, Dhandi-vandake, Eazhibkka, Ellamakappu, Gangala, Gowda, Kamma, Konganiga, Kumbi, Malava, Musuku, Moasureddy, Murlay, Namadhari, Nadavaru, Nunubha, Nunubhakappu, Okkulu makkalu, Osadevaru, Palayakottai Pattakkarars, Pandi, Pandaru bellakudi, Pammareddy, Pattikasalina, Reddy, Sathsappa, Summareddy, Uppinagonika and Varajha. The genetic, ethnographic, and historical studies have shown that the castes of the Hindu have been highly endogamous for several thousand years
Daupadi karagada vokkaliga, Chalukya kshatriyas,([Estern chalukya kshatriyas])who are chandra vamsha kshatriyas or 'vannela kshatriyas or vahnikula kshatriyas' in thelagu vannela means (BELADINGALU)they also known as Chalukya kshatriyas,Badami chalukya kshatriyas,western chalukya kshatriyas,agnikula kshatriyas and pandava kishkinde(krishna) vokkaligas they were having very close relations with ganga kshatriyas(gangatkar vokkaliga)agnikula kshatriya, vannyakula kshatriya, palli kappu reddy, vanne kappu reddy, Dharmaraju kappu reddy, raju kshatriya reddy, raju reddy, chalukya kappu. they are purely belongs to kannadigas who ruled almost south and north india and they split to different casts in different states in chalukya period in india
Distribution of Vokkaligas
The populations of Vokkaligas of different sub-divisions had settled down in the districts of Darwar, Davengere, Chitradurga, Bellary, Raichur,Tumkur, Kolar, Bangalore, Shimoga, Hassan, Mandya,chickaballapur, Uttara Kannada and Mysore of Karnataka State;Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh and Palaghat of Kerala State in South India. They hadalso settled down in more than 200 villages in the districts of Dharmapuri, Salem, Nilagiris, Coimbatore, Erode, Karur, Trichy, Dindigul, Madurai, Theni, Tirunelvelli and Kancheevaram in Tamil Nadu State of Southern India.
Among the different sub-divisions of Vokkaligas, Kunchitigas belong to about 35 Gotras(Kulas) out of 101 known (Veerakyathaiah, 2005). A large portion of vokkaligas are found in the districts of Chitradurga, Tumkur, Bangalore and Mysore in the state of Karnataka. They are also found in various cosmopolitan cities of Andhrapradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu States in Southern India. [1]

[edit] History

The Yelahankanadu (14 km (8.7 mi) from Bangalore) Prabhus were Gowdas or tillers of the Land. They belonged to Morasu Vokkalu sect, the ancestors of which were migrants from Morasunadu near Kanchipuram (on the Bangalore–Madras Highway). Fourth in succession from Rana Bhairave Gowda, founder of the dynasty of Avati Nadu Prabhus and great grandson of Jaya Gowda, who established separate dynasty, is the famous Yelahanka Nadu Prabhus, Kempe Gowda I who ruled for 46 years commencing his reign from 1513. Jaya Gowda accepted the sovergnity of the Vijayanagar emperor.[2]
The Gangadikar/Gangatkar Gowdas were the Vokklaigas in other parts of Karnataka. The name Gangadicara, which is derived from the word Gangawadi–kara, meaning the inhabitant of Gangawadi is a relic of Ganga Dynasty Rule and has since survived in this part of Karnataka.[1]
Kempe Gowdas of the Morasu Vokkaliga sect, were great rulers who were concerned in the welfare of their subjects and spent lavishly in the construction of tanks, agraharas (suburbs of Brahmins), temples and forts. The Vokkaligas rendered great service in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry and soldiery. Kempegowda I conquered Sivaganga principality, 30 mi (48.3 km) from Bangalore on Bangalore–Poona Hwy. Next, he annexed Domlur which is on the road from Bangalore to Old Bangalore Airport. Within this vast forest area, in 1537, he erected a mud fort and built the Township of Bangalore.[1]
Kempe Gowda I (1510 - 1570), whose ancestor had immigrated from Kancheepuram to the neighborhood of Bangalore due to a personal feud with the chief of Kancheepuram established the city of Bangalore under the Vijayanagar empire. The document describing the city as he conceptualised it, written in Telugu the commonly spoken language of this region, is still preserved. This language is still spoken in the villages of Bangalore, Yelahanka, Devanahalli, Doddaballapur, Hoskote, Anekal and Hosur districts.[2]
Kempe Gowda I next annexed Ulsoor and Hesaraghatta. Bangalore's four main streets of the Old Bengaluru Pete, the Chickpete and Doddapete leading to Ulsoor gate, the Sondekoppa gate, the Yelahanka gate and the Anekal gate were laid. Kempe Gowda shifted his capital from Yelahanka to Bangalore. Vijayanagar Emperor Achuta Raya granted Kempe Gowda I the neighboring villages of Begur, Jigani, Varthur, Kengeri, Banavara and Kumbalgode, besides many other hamlets yielding a revenue of 30,000 varahas. Kempe Gowda I built the cave temple of Gavi Gangadhareswara at Gavipur, the Bull Temple in Basavanagudi, the Kempambudhi Tank and the Dharambudhi Tank. His successor, Kempe Gowda II, built the Ulsoor Lake, the Karanjee Tank, the Sampangi Tank, the Someswara Temple of Ulsoor, the famous four Kempe Gowda Towers and the Ranganatha Temple in Balepete, Bangalore.[1]
KempeGowda is a renowned name and is duly honoured by naming the prime locations of Karnataka in his name. A statue of Kempegowda I is erected in the city centre, in front of the Bangalore City Corporation office.[3]
It is a fact that being the Ruler he promoted the upliftment of the backward classes and built colonies such as Thigalar Pet, Kumbar Pet for specific backward classes to ensure their welfare.[1]
There is an inscription in old Kannada,dated 1628, in the Ranganatha Temple, the English translation of which is "Be it well, When Rajadhi-Raja-Parameshwara Vira Pratapa Vira-Maha-Deva Maharaya seated in the Jewel throne was ruling the empire of the world: When of the Asannavakula, the Yelahanka Nadu Prabhu Kempanacharya-Gauni's grandson Kempe Gowdas son, Immadi Kempegaunayya was ruling a peaceful kingdom in righteousness". With the decline of the Vijayanagar Empire, the eclipse of the rule of Yelahanka Nadu Prabhus took place at the dawn of the Seventeenth century.[1]

[edit] Vokkaliga Organisations

There are several Vokkaliga organisations serving the community .
Vokkaligara Sangha : The Vokkaligara Sangha was founded in the year 1906 to promote social, cultural and educational aspirations of the agricultural community of the erstwhile Mysore State.Vokkaligara Sangha has it head quarters in Bangalore and has many affiliated regional sanghas. Today, Vokkaligara Sangha is one of the premium Community Organisation in Karnataka State and serving the Vokkaliga community in different areas. Sangha owns reputed educational institutions like Bangalore Institute of Technology, Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) etc.[citation needed]
Vokkaligara sanga has well structured election system . Elected members handle key roles in Sangha's activities and Sanga owned institutions .Elected members serve as community representative of their region.[citation needed]
Vokkaligara Parishat of America (VPA):VPA was established in 1991 and located in Illianos, USA . VPA is dedicated to assist and promote literacy, cultural, educational, social, economic, health of rural farming community. VPA is serving the North American Vokkaliga Community. VPA is also involved in various Charity works.[citation needed]

[edit] Community today

Vokkaligas once known for their successful agricultural activities now have diversified in to different fields with mild to moderate success.
Since the early days Vokkaligas have played a very vital and dominant role in Karnataka Politics and also Union Politics.
Mr. K.C. Reddy and Mr. Kengal Hanumanthaiah prominent among them were the Presidents of Mysore Pradesh Congress and after freedom became the Chief Ministers of Mysore State. Sowcar Channaiah and Mr.Nagaiah Reddy also became Presidents of Mysore Pradesh Congress, Mr. Kadidal Manjappa another freedom fighter also became the Chief Minister of Mysore State for a period of two months until the reorganization of States till Mysore State became of part of Karnataka. The former Prime minister of India, H.D. Deve Gowda belongs to this community.
The renowned Kannada poet Kuvempu, who advocated the Universal Humanism (Viswamaanava) concept, is a Vokkaliga. The members of the Vokkaliga community have made a mark in all fields.
They are active members in Politics,Bureacracy,Art,Literature,Technology,Business and sports.
Even to date Karnataka Politics is controlled by the Vokkaliga Leaders.