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6000 Niyogi

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6000 Niyogi

Niyogis are a sect of Telugu Brahmins, from the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, who are predominantly speakers of Telugu language.

Theories of origin

The origin of Niyogi Brahmin community is descending from their ancestors originally from the northern as well as north-western geographical region of present day Afghanistan,Pakistan and India. [1] About six-thousand intelligent Brahmins, capable of administration, management with warfare skills were chosen to help Kshatriyas (ruling caste of India) in desperate need in defending the Indian country, by piloting the Royal vimanas (chariots) in war and in peace. There is a different opinion about the 6000 Brahmins as they were chosen by the merit for performing secular profession. Hence the origin of the word Aarvela (Telugu: Aar-vela = rishis count = 6000 rishis; Niyogi = a derivative of word 'Niyogimpabadda' in Telugu which means appointed). Niyogin in Sanskrit means "employed" or "appointed" or "assigned" and it is quite probable that "Niyogi"s were given this name because they accepted secular employment assigned to them.[2] In the later centuries they migrated to various parts of the country in pursuit of better and Greener pastures. Traditionally believed to have descended from Lord Parasurama avatar, Niyogis are those who gave up religious vocations (especially learning, teaching vedas which used to be the traditional vocation of Brahmins) and moved on to various secular vocations including military activities. So Niyogis of South India are similar to Bhumihars of North India who also gave up vedas and related activities. There is a lot of brotherhood between Niyogi and Bhumihar of whom many, though not all, belong to the Saryupareen Brahmin division of Kanyakubja Brahmins.[3][4] The descendants of these Brahmin administrators, after Parashurama stopped warring and became an ascetic sanyasi, gave the thrones back to the descendants of Kshatriyas who had survived because they and their ex-ruler parents and grandparents hid in the forests. By this time, having forgotten the ways intense Vedic practices, the Brahmin ex-rulers took to land-owning as a full-time occupation with the administrative experience they gained during the interruption of Kshatriya rule.[3][5] The Satavahana Vamsam (dynasty) that is said to have given the name "Andhra" to the present state was from Niyogi clan. Traditionally and even today Niyogis depend on, put emphasis on, and orient themselves towards modern education. As ministers in the courts of kings and zamindaars (landlords) as Palegallu feudal Lords, Niyogis earned a good name for their administrative abilities and progressive attitude (sarva dharma samanatha). Many of them were also village chief-officers like munsabs, talukdaars, and accountants, Karanams (Andhra) or Patwaris (Telangana) until recently.[6]


According to Jogendranath Bhattacharya, the word Niyogi is derived from Yoga, which means "religious contemplation" or "meditation", as opposed to Yaga, which means "religious sacrifice". Niyogin in Sanskrit also means "employed" or "appointed" and it is probable that Niyogis were given this name because they accept secular employment.

Current status

Niyogis, possibly even before the time of the Vijayanagara empire, gave up intense vedic lifestyle and took up various secular vocations such as scholars, administrators, ministers, social reformers. So they comprised a secular 'scholar' caste, but with the caveat that their traditions still required them to follow religious practices such as vegetarianism and some less intense rituals for prayer/puja in their own homes with their own families. In these modern times they haven't forgotten their heritage of the knowledge of the Vedas, and they still try to follow and understand the vedas with their implications in life. But since Niyogis aren't vedic scholars. Andhra state's Niyogis have counterparts in other states such as Chitpavans in Maharashtra, Mohyals in Punjab, and Tyagis and Bhumihars in many other parts of the Indian Subcontinent. [7][3]

Niyogis are dependent upon and put emphasis upon modern education, administration (Niyogis have traditionally been well represented in the local administration in Andhra Pradesh state), management (Diplomats, bureaucrats, Administrators and politicians) etc. A historical Telugu aphorism is Yendu Niyogimpavalenanna Niyogimpadagina vaadu Niyogi translated "Niyogi is the person who can be trusted for successful completion of the entrusted tasks" where Niyogi-mpa translates as entrusted and/or assigned. In the past, Niyogis were ministers in the courts of kings and feudal lords, zamindars and talukdars. Sometimes Niyogis were well-off farmers with ownership of land acreage holdings.They owned thousands of acres until the land ceiling act was introduced.These niyogis are a combination of the valour of the kshatriyas and the intelligence of a Brahmin, that made them a successful community in Andhra Pradesh. [8][3]

See also


Further reading

  • M.A. Sherring, Hindu Tribes and Castes as Reproduced in Benaras, Asian Educational Services, New Delhi, First ed 1872, new ed 2008.
  • Indian Economic and Social History Review 1987, Himanshu P Ray, 24: 443
  • Ancient India: a history of its culture and civilization, Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi, p. 166-170
  • A social history of India, by SN Sadasivan
  • Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya, Hindu Castes and Sects, Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, first edition 1896, new edition 1995.
  • The re-colonization of Eurasia during the Late Glacial Maximum.(Passarino et al.)
  • The expansion of the Kurgan people from the Pontic-Caspian steppe, which is associated with the spread of the Indo-European languages. (Semino 200)
  • Swami Sahajanand Saraswati Rachnawali (Selected works of Swami Sahajanand Saraswati), Prakashan Sansthan, Delhi, 2003.
  • Baldev Upadhyaya, Kashi Ki Panditya Parampara, Sharda Sansthan, Varanasi, 1985.
  • E.A.H.Blunt, The Caste System of North India, S.Chand Publishers, 1969.
  • Christopher Alan Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen, and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion, 1770–1870, Cambridge University Press, 1983.
  • Anand A. Yang, Bazaar India: Markets, Society, and the Colonial State in Bihar, University of California Press, 1999.
  • Castes and tribes of Southern India, By Edgar Thurston, K. Rangachari
  • Hopkins, Religions of India, p. 192 states: "As to the fees, the rules are precise, and the propounders of them are unblushing. The priest performs the sacrifice for the fee alone, and it must consist of valuable garments, kine, horses, or gold; – when each is to be given is carefully stated. Gold is coveted most, for ‘this is immortality, the seed of Agni,’ and therefore peculiarly agreeable to the pious priest".(kerf kerf kerf baderf)
  • Acharya Hazari Prasad Dwivedi Rachnawali, Rajkamal Prakashan, Delhi.

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