Adi Karnataka is a term used to refer to the members of one of the Kannadigas aboriginals who are primarily indigenous to the Karnataka state. In 1836 British traveller Mr. Kristopher Fellowman studied the history and contributed significantly to archive his research on the Adi-Karnataka dynasty, also called 'Samantha' and 'moola kannadiga kula' a once wealthy people.And belonging to the upper caste in Kshatriya's Kula (a ruling caste status of kings) centuries ago. Edgai---the left hand and Balgai---the right hand The Samanthas divided their roles and responsibilities into 'Edgai' and 'Balgai' sub-groups, which translated into left and right hands, respectively. While the Balgais comprised monarchs and administrators, the Edgais were made responsible for work like farming, hunting and state's security. Members of this samantha community hold the surname Varma, Raja in Karnataka. Adi Karnataka began to wane after the rise of Kshatriyas and arrival of British The Adi Karnataka's strength started weakening around the middle of the 17th century, The political rise of various Kashtriya communities. During the British rule, the foreigners allegedly joined hands with the Patils, Gowdas and Kurubas to defeat the Adi Karnataka clan and the number of its members got reduced alarmingly. In the early 19th century, the Samanthas were stripped of property rights and even driven out of their settlements and forced to live in caves and forests. Their women and children were forced into slavery after the males were killed and the practice continued well into India's independence. Many women, who still had some wealth, were forcibly married off in Gowda and Patil communities. Several communities still continue with the practices of the Adi Karnataka clan (ex: Gowda, Patil, Kuruba).
In 1950 after India's Independence, a survey was undertaken by the Govt of India to segregate the states and caste.Owing to their poverty, massively reduced numbers compared to 1800's and unique lineage, the Government of India decided to include Adi-Karnataka as a distinct caste and awarded them a Schedule Caste Status,a status which enables them to avail special privileges from the Government.
Adi Karnataka is not synonymous with Adi Dravida or Adi Andhra. Primary difference between the three being the language used in their lineage. Adi Karnataka people are Kannada speaking people and the Adi Tamil Nadu and Adi Andhra people are Tamil and Telugu speaking respectively and have vast differences in their lineage. You can find some Adi Karnataka people in Bangalore also, AK colony, srinivagilu, ejupura Bangalore 47
reference : http://sunnytimes.in/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=626
Also see Caste System in India
- Bayly, Susan (1999). Caste, Society and Politics in India from the Eighteenth Century to the Modern Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.2277/0521264340. ISBN 978-0-521-26434-1.
- Béteille, André (1965). Caste, Class and Power: Changing Patterns of Stratification in a Tanjore Village. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-02053-7.
- Ghurye, G. S. (1969) . Caste and Race in India. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-7154-205-5.
- Gupta, Dipankar (2000). Interrogating Caste: Understanding hierarchy & difference in Indian society. Penguin books. ISBN 978-0140297065.