Mala (caste)

Mala (caste)

Mala or Malla (different from the family/last name Malla from Andhra) is a social group or caste mostly from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Mala is derived from the Sanskrit malla, which means wrestler. They are one of the dominant Dalit castes in Andhra Pradesh, the other being Madigas.

According to Government of India census data from 2001, Malas constitute a total of 41.6 percent (5,139,305) of the scheduled caste population of the state. They are largely concentrated in the Coastal Andhra region. During the Adi-Andhra movement of the 1930s, several Mala caste people, including few Madigas, especially from coastal Andhra called themselves as 'Adi-Andhra' and were recorded in the census with the 'Adi-Andhra' caste name akin to Adi Dravida of Tamil Nadu. (Adi-Andhra is synonym word instead of using MALA or Madiga, in Adi-Andhra Malas are 90% and 10% belonged to Madiga caste). In the ancient times, Malas were mostly village watchmen or hardworking laborers. They were skilled workers too and were also recruited by the British Army because of their martial skills. Presently they don't have a specific caste profession and can be seen in many professions.

The Mahars in neighbouring Maharashtra are akin to the Malas and the two dominant dalit castes in Tamil Nadu, Paraiyar and Pallar, tend to claim the inter-relation with the Malas, Mahars and Pulayas.

Read more about Mala (caste):  History, Mala Christians, Current Conditions

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