In ancient India, the guilds based on caste (kulamu) became a part of urban life. Artisans joined the guilds, which offered social status and security. Guilds provided education also. The guilds were centers of technical education. They restricted the membership to artisans of a particular craft. Technical knowledge of trades such as mining, metallurgy, weaving, carpentry etc. was maintained and developed by the guilds.
Caste courts or Kula peddalu (caste leaders) controlled the social and religious behavior of the guild or caste members, while Brahmins controlled the Brahminical religious education and behavior. The rigid caste system was supposed to provide security to the guild workers (and, of course, to protect the purity of the blood). Only members of a particular caste were allowed to work in a particular field. A potterís son used to continue his fatherís trade. The son learned from his father. Thus the trade secrets were protected. Guilds and cooperatives used various trademarks. The banners and insignia of the guilds were used in processions in the festivals for advertisement. The guilds provided gifts and donations, which were advertised in the inscriptions.
Today in Andhra Pradesh, the rigid caste system continues to exist and dominates the political landscape. Though there is no legal separation of castes on the traditional basis of work, the tribal tradition continues in social interactions such as marriages, family affairs and to a limited extent in religious vocation. Usually, a priestís son becomes a priest, though a potter may aspire to that position, legally. Modern crafts and industries, such as chemical, computer and software industries, which did not have a caste of their own owing to their recent origin, are open to all. In modern Andhra Pradesh and the Indian Union education, administration, industry and enterprise are not for everyone without any restrictions. The Government provides special previleges to some tribes and castes, through affirmative action.
In politics the kulamu (caste) plays a major role. Usually voting
preferences are determined by the caste of the voter and the caste of the
candidate. The Congress (Indira) party is dominated by Reddys and Telugu
Desam Party (TDP) is considered a Kamma party. Hence, the politics
in Andhra Pradesh/India may be considered caste or tribal politics. Even
the Telugu Associations in the United States are divided into several groups,
perhaps on the basis of tribe/caste.
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