Some very preliminary info on Kapu or Kaapu community of Andhra Pradesh
'Kaapu' or kapu means 'protector' and usually it is taken to be protector of a village or region. (uuru kaapu, praanta-kaapu, palle-kaapu, etc). Maybe it was a post, a title in ancient times. The Kapus are the bedrock of Andhra Pradesh. They form the largest community in AP, but as a matter of fact this is a broad grouping and regionally they seem to be of different stocks. All the same it appears they were earlier inhabitants than most other farmers here. According to old tradition the king lists refer to kapus ruling in earlier times. Some kapu sections merge into the Reddis (another title) in parts of Andhra Pradesh. They could be the descendants of the very early agriculture- introducing immigrants, who cleared forests and founded villages and towns. This could be either neolithic or megalithic from archeology point of view, or early aryan -buddhist from culture point of view.
In my humble opinion the Kapus and similar associated communities in India have the best claim to be descendants of the old Aryans. . I mean they are descended from the early aryans who spread all over India with their iron ploughs and implements and colonised forested areas a very long time ago. Interestingly, similar ancient darker complexioned farming---herding communities in eastern UP, Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa, even Tamilnadu (!) would be likely to be the genuine aryan descendants, not the usual fair upper caste Indians who mostly seem to be linked with more recent arrivals like iranian sakas and kushans and hunas. Sorry if it initially goes against your ideas, but this is the most likely thing. (you have to be detached when examining these matters. Disclaimer for the cranks :-- I'm not kaapu). According to some friends some sections of the kapus are de-mobilised soldiers of old dynasties who turned to agriculture for a living.
Roots:--Since it is a diverse , large, geographically well spread group there is no one root. Many sections resemble people of Rajasthan and Haryana particularly the darker complexioned rajasthanis ( for instance some bhatti rajputs).
Today most are farmers. On the whole they are sturdy, tall, sharp featured, usually dark brown in complexion. Many of today's Kapus strongly resemble people in Chalukya and Chola paintings, especially the girls. Mrs Pulikesin looks like today's Naidu auntie in Nalgonda or Adoni or Vuyyuru. ( or anywhere in AP...most of the folks featured in old paintings are sharp featured and dark complexioned....). We're trying to get a good picture of the ancient paintings.
The Kapus are particularly cheerful and of a sunny disposition. Many Kaapu friends said their people in rural areas were mostly farmers but inclined to be lazy, fond of toddy and good food and minor gambling. They also said they were also inclined to get into fights all the time, but were basically good natured happy go lucky folk with a great sense of humour.
I've seen that they consider themselves as just "the people", no fancy airs at all. In fact they ARE the people, if numbers are any indication. )
There are many sections among the Kaapu. It seems this community is actually the mother grouping for several others who got differentiated down the centuries and started a separate sub regional kaapu grouping. The Reddis share some affiliation to Kaapu, too. Curiously in recent times some Kaapus have managed to get themselves classified as "backward community" ---so as to get some benefits from Government. There is nothing particularly backward about them. They are basically farmers today but seem to take easily to technical-industrial subjects. There are several educationists among the community, and businessmen with a kapu background too have prospered. They are quite prominent in films, too. A common surname is Naidu, the name is derived from Nayaka, (kakatiya commander-warlord, later Vijayanagar commander and governors. The naidu surname in Tamil nadu and south andhra pradesh is found among kammas too).
In recent times there has been a series of attempts to combine politically as a group but has not crystallised effectively. Some Kaapu friends I asked said they dont care, it is beneath their dignity and dont want to participate in the political games played by small communities.
Note: Friends, I've recd some over enthusiastic emails, I'd like you to please keep in mind this roots thing is based mainly on cultural history. Dont jump to "casteist" "genetic" conclusions.
© by v ramchandra rao all rights reserved.