Give an account of Nayankara system?
Kakatiya nayakas represented a class of political agents that the central government in Warangal could use to exercise their authority throughout their dominion. In contrast, the old nobles of the early Kakatiya state remained entrenched in their respective localities and governed as de facto independent rulers, opposing the central government’s drive to exercise more pervasive authority.
Naturally, in their drive to extend central state authority into new localities and into the countryside, the Kakatiya monarchs and their nayaka agents occasionally encountered resistance from entrenched local groups. This resistance came not only from local nobles, but also from local peasant groups and assemblies. An interesting case in point comes from the nayankara of Nayaka Erra-lenka in Konduri-sthala. An individual named Doddapotipeddi from Pinapadu village, located in Erra-lenka’s nayanakra, organized a protest against the taxes imposed by Nayaka Erra-lenka. As a result of the protest, Erra-lenka cancelled the taxes and recorded an apology to the local peasants. Thus, it seems that the agents of the central government and local groups occasionally clashed over the issue of taxation, as we see in centralizing states throughout the world and throughout history.
Nonetheless, it seems quite likely that the Kakatiya state in the 14th century was organized much more effectively than it was 100 years earlier. The old, powerful noble lineages like the Chalukyas and Kayasthas were reduced in power, and in their place, a new class of nayaka officers – largely of low, humble origins – emerged as the dominant subordinates of the new Kakatiya state. The modern-day dominant castes of Andhra and Telangana, including Reddis, Kammas, and Velamas, all trace their origins to these new Kakatiya nayakas of the late 13th and early 14th century. After the fall of Warangal to the forces of the Delhi Sultanate in 1323, these nayakas established their own states throughout Andhra and Telangana, and succeeded in driving out the Turks within a decade of the Kakatiya fall. Although a powerful, indigenous state like the Kakatiyas never again materialized in this region, the memory of the Kakatiyas and their institutions would live on until modern times (as, for example, in the 18th century Telugu chronicle Velugotivamsavali, which records the history of the shudra Velama chieftains, and begins by noting the Velama origins as nayaka officers under the Kakatiyas). In addition, as alluded to at the beginning of the essay, the institution of nayankara spread south in the 14th century to the new state of Vijayanagara, where it would further develop to become the dominant sociopolitical and military institution throughout South India.