The Arya Vaishya or Arya Vysya (also known as Komati) is a Telugu-speaking Indian caste. Orthodox Komatis follow rituals prescribed in the Vasavi Puranam, a religious text written in the late medieval times. Vasavi (Kanyakamba) is the kuladevi of the Komatis. The Komatis are divided into two sub-sects, the Gavara Komatis and the Kalinga Komatis.
History of Arya Vysya
The name Arya vysya came into use when the community elders registered the name of the community during the British census in 1905 of the erstwhile Madras presidency. The common and generic name of the community is Komati and were followers of Jainism and many of these practices still continue in the community like Ahimsa and Vegetarianism. Komati is a generic term for a trader in south and central India and arya vysyas are part of this community. Its common to confuse all Arya Vysyas as Telugu speakers since there are two Telugu speaking states and gives them more representation. In Maharashtra, their mother tongue is Marathi, in Orissa their mother tongue is Oriya, these people are fluent in Hindi as well and are also present in parts of Chattisgargh and MP
Telugu speakers are present in most parts of South and Central India since they were part of the historic Vijayanagar kingdom which existed much before the linguistic reorganization of states. In Karnataka and Tamil Nadu they have Kannada and Tamil as their mother tongue respectively, since all these states were clubbed in the erstwhile British Madras presidency they could speak Telugu/Tamil as well. Mahajan, Sahukar, Sheth, Gupta are common surnames in Central India used by AryaVysyas.
In Karnataka Shetty is used, Setty is used in Andhra, Chetty or Chettiar is in use in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They had a near monopoly on Trade previously in these regions and that’s not the case today and their economic condition has rather deteriorated drastically. Superstitions, lack of awareness, paucity of seed capital, less education, shortage of employment opportunities and ever increasing competition with no political, social and industry representation presents a dim future for this community. Hope things get better for the community as a whole!