Telugu people

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Telugu people
తెలుగు ప్రజలు
Total population
c. 81.6 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
 India 75,002,856[2]
Related ethnic groups

The Telugu people or Teluguvaaru (Telugu: తెలుగువారు) are a Dravidian ethnic group that natively speak Telugu. The majority of Telugus reside in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and town of Yanam in Union Territory Pondicherry. There is also a significant Telugu population in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Telugu language is the most spoken language in South India, the third-most spoken language in India[3] and the fourth most in the Indian subcontinent, following Hindi, Bengali and Punjabi.



Andhra in Indian epic literature first appears at the time of the death of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 232 BC. This date has been considered to be the beginning of the Andhra historical record. Various dynasties have ruled the area, including the Satavahana dynasty, Sakas, Andhra Ikshvakus, Eastern Chalukyas, Pallava dynasty, Pandyan dynasty, Chola dynasty, Telugu Cholas, Kakatiya dynasty, the Bobbili, the Vijayanagara Empire, the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda, and the Nizams of Hyderabad.[4]

The term Kalinga has been historically relevant to this region, incorporating northeast Andhra Pradesh and modern day Odisha. Buddhist references to Andhras are also found.[5]


The first great Andhra empire was that of the Satavahanas,[6] who came to power when the last Kanva emperor Sisuman, was assassinated by his prime minister Sipraca, of the Andhra tribe. They reigned for 450 years and the last was Puliman or Puloma the pious, who after conquering India put an end to his life by drowning himself in the holy waters of the Ganges river, after the example of his grandfather. Because of this king, India was called Poulomeun-koue, the country of Puliman by the Chinese. While in the west the inhabitants of the Gangetic provinces were denominated Andhra Hindus[citation needed]. The Satavahana rulers are said to have been held in the highest veneration all over India[citation needed]; and their fame was extended to the Malay Archipelago, the Maharajas of India being a favorite subject of Malayan poetry.[7]

Andhra, Karnataka and Maharashtra states observe the same new year day, this calendar reckons dates based on the Shalivahana era (Shalivahana Saka), which begins its count from the supposed date of the founding of the Empire by the legendary hero Shalivahana. The Satavahana king Shalivahana (also identified as Gautamiputra Satakarni) is credited with the initiation of this era known as Shalivahana, the Salivahana era begins its count of years from the year corresponding to 78 AD of the Gregorian calendar. Thus, the year 2000 AD corresponds to the year 1922 of the Salivahana Era.


Telugu is a South-Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, India, where it is an official language. Early inscriptions date from 575 AD and literary texts from the 11th century, written in a Telugu script adapted from the Bhattiprolu alphabet of the early inscriptions.




Kuchipudi is a famous Classical Indian dance from Andhra Pradesh, India.


  • Male
  1. Uttareeyam or Pai Pancha (Angavastram or veil)
  2. Pancha (Dhoti)
  3. Jubba (Kurta) The top portion
  4. Lungi (Casual dress)
  • Women
  1. Cheera (Sari)
  • Girls
  1. Langa Oni (Half sari)
  2. Parikini (Long skirt or skirt below knees and a blouse)


Important festivals celebrated by Telugu people include:




Geographical Distribution of Telugu-speaking people in British India and other Provinces circa 1935
Geographical Distribution of Telugu-speaking people in British India and other Provinces and States circa 1935
Distribution of Telugu-speaking people in British Raj and other Provinces and States circa 1935

(Source: 1935 Galletti's Telugu Dictionary.[8] See map.)

12 years prior to 1947 Independence from British.

12 years prior to creation of 1947 Madras Province.

13 years prior to creation of 1948 Hyderabad State. (Note: prior to it, it was called princely state of Hyderabad)

15 years prior to creation of 1950 Madras State.

18 years prior to creation of 1953 Andhra State.

21 years prior to creation of 1956 Andhra Pradesh.

79 years prior to creation of 2014 Andhra Pradesh & Telangana.

In 1935, about 80 million people spoke a Dravidian Language. Telugu was the third of the languages of India at the time, only after Hindi and Bengali. Dravidian was the fifth world-group after Chinese, English, Russian and Hindi, some notable statistical comparisons.
  • Madras Presidency accounted (17,782,898) for the most number of Telugu speakers of all the States and Provinces of British India and Princely States. Many more Telugu speakers from the Madras Presidency had migrated to princely state of Hyderabad, princely state of Mysore, princely state of Tranvancore, Bombay Presidency, Central Provinces, Burma (only Telugu migrants from Madras Presidency as Burma and Madras were full states and therefore citizens of British India), Cochin, and other places mostly as Educationists, Civilian and Government workers, Shop keepers, Coolies and Farmers, Temple Priests and workers.
  • State of Hyderabad was administered by a British Resident of Madras Presidency from 1795 onward and several Telugu people from the Madras Presidency migrated to cities such as Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Warangal, Medak, Nagpur, Aurangabad etc on the behest of the Nizam (Farming communities mostly to cultivate land) and as British India (as Madras Presidency was part of it) govt workers (to assist the Resident).
  • About 67-70% of the total Telugu speakers lived in Madras Presidency and 25-26% of the total Telugu speakers lived in state of Hyderabad.
  • At the time, the entire Telugu population of just Madras Presidency was 17,782,898 which was 3,346,750 more than the entire (along with other linguistic speakers) population of the state of Hyderabad which was 14,436,148 (which included 6,972,534 Telugu population, the rest being Kannada, Marathi, and Urdu, etc populations).
  • Four coastal districts (E.Godavari, W.Godavari, Krishna and Guntur) of the Godavari and Krishna Delta in Madras Presidency accounted for 6,089,795 (French Yanam not included) Telugu speakers, roughly the size of the entire Telugu speakers in state of Hyderabad.
  • Telugu population of just Coastal Andhra accounted for 10,860,286. Telugu population of entire eastern coast (Coastal Agencies & Plains, and East Coast minus East Central) of Madras Presidency accounted for ~11 million.
  • Six deccan districts (Kadapa, Kurnool, Banaganapalli, Bellary, Sandur and Anantapur) and Chittoor district in Madras Presidency accounted for 3,949,410 Telugu speakers, which statistically is more than half the size of the Telugu speakers of the districts of deccan state of Hyderabad.
Natural Division or District District Population Telugu Speaking Percentage
Ganjam 2,411,619 897,378 37
Vizagapatnam 3,607,948 2,509,535 70
East Godavari 1,920,582 1,833,109 95
West Godavari 1,223,056 1,195,296 98
Krishna 1,254,208 1,184,246 95
Guntur 2,035,660 1,877,144 92
Nellore 1,486,222 1,363,578 92
TOTAL 13,939,295 10,860,286 78
Kadapa 949,397 836,124 88
Kurnool 1,024,961 874,878 85
Banaganapalli 39,218 30,352 77
Bellary 969,774 305,775 32
Sandur 13,583 2,485 18
Anantapur 1,050,411 837,267 80
TOTAL 4,047,344 2,886,881 71
Madras 647,230 124,649 19
Chingleput 1,655,115 319,946 19
Chittoor 1,447,103 1,062,529 73
North Arcot 2,266,989 317,765 14
Salem 2,433,972 416,224 17
Coimbatore 2,445,064 529,640 22
South Arcot 2,454,507 184,334 8
TOTAL 13,349,980 2,955,087 22
Tanjore 2,385,920 68,429 3
Trichinopoly 1,913,245 215,460 11
Pudukkottai 400,694 12,250 3
Madura 2,195,747 383,689 17
Ramnad 1,838,955 197,019 11
Tinnevelly 2,046,907 176,960 9
TOTAL 10,781,468 1,053,807 10
Nilgiris 169,330 9,482 6
Malabar 3,533,944 16,330 0.4
South Kanara 1,372,241 1,025 .07
TOTAL 5,075,515 26,837 .5
Total Madras Presidency 47,193,602 17,782,898 38
14,436,148 6,972,534 48.4
6,557,302 1,030,926 15.7
BURMA (1935)
COCHIN (1935)
Total Other Provinces & States 8,590,829
GRAND TOTAL 26,373,727


Telugu is the third most spoken language after Hindi and Bengali in India.[9] Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are the principle resident states for Telugu people.

Telugu people form the majority speakers in South India with over 71 million speakers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, this is followed by 3.7 million in Karnataka and 3.5 million in Tamil Nadu making them the second largest language groups in those neighboring states.[10]

In Karnataka, Telugu people are predominantly found in the border districts with majority in Bangalore city; in Tamil Nadu, Telugu people who migrated during the Vijayanagara period have spread across mostly in Western districts and Northern Districts, with highest[10] concentration in Coimbatore District.

In Maharashtra Telugu population is over 1.4 million, followed by 0.7 million in Orissa. Other states with significant population include West Bengal and Chhattisgarh with 200,000 and 150,000 respectively.[10][11]

Rank State Population Census 2001 Telugu Native Speakers % Population of the State Population Census 2011 Telugu Native Speakers  % Population of the State Population (30th Sept 2017)[2]
1 Andhra Pradesh 75727541 (Undivided state of Andhra Pradesh of before 2014) 49,386,799 52,380,243
2 Telangana -- 35,193,978 38,042,884
4 Tamil Nadu 62,110,839 72,138,958 75,844,451
3 Karnataka 52,733,958 61,130,704 65,426,566
5 Maharashtra 96,752,247 112,372,972 119,581,739
6 Orissa 36,706,920 41,947,358 44,912,901
7 West Bengal 80,221,171 91,347,736 96,775,592
8 Chhattisgarh 20,795,956 25,540,196 28,125,421
9 Puducherry 973,829 1,247,953 1,356,199
10 Andaman and Nicobar Islands 356,265 380,581 414,057

The overseas Telugu diaspora numbers more than 800,000 in the United States, with the highest concentration in Central New Jersey (Little Andhra[12]).

Natural Disasters[edit]

Important natural disasters affecting the growth of population of Telugu speakers.

Date Major Event (Loss in more than 1000 lives) Location Death toll (estimate)
1787 AD Cyclone Coringa, Madras
1832-33 AD Great famine: Immense numbers, reckoned by hundreds of thousands,

especially in the districts of Masulipatam and Guntoor, were swept in the

great famine of 1833.[13]Loss of revenue in Guntoor district: Rs.2,27,00,000[14]

Districts of Masulipatam and Guntoor, Madras Presidency, British India At least 200,000, but probably more.
1839 AD A severe cyclone battered the Godavari district on May 10, 1832, and,

again in 1839 when over 30,000 people were killed.

Godavari District, Madras Presidency, British India More than 30,000
1864 AD 5th November Masulipatam Cyclone[15] Masulipatam, Kistna District, Madras Presidency, British India Approximately 35,000
1933-34 AD Guntur famine or Nandana Famine: Ravaged all the Telugu districts of Madras

Presidency, but the worst affected was Guntur district where one-third to one-half

of the total population were said to have died.[16]

Mr.Dauders said, "this was the most serious famine which has occurred since

the British occupation (i.e., up to that time), and from the fearful loss of life which

took place in the Guntur District on the occasion, the scarcity became generally

known as the Guntur famine".[17]

Districts of Guntur, Anantapur, and Bellary, Madras Presidency, British India More than 1,000,000 (calculated based on the population of just the Guntur district at the time)
1977 AD Andhra Diviseema Cyclone of 14-20 November 1977. Maximum wind speeds

of 200km/h. Storm surge 5 meters high. Regions affected: E.Godavari, W.Godavari,

Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts. Thousands dead and Hundreds of

thousands displaced. 40 percent of India's food grains destroyed. Cost of damage

was estimated at 500 Million USD.[18]

Diviseema, Krisna District and Nizampatnam/Peddapalli, Guntur District, 1956 Andhra Pradesh and other coastal districts. More than 14,000 killed (numbers could reach 50,000 depending on estimates.)


Notable Telugu people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Telugu population figure worldwide". Ethnologue. August 2008. 
  2. ^ "Census of India". Archived from the original on 13 May 2010. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  3. ^ "Nearly 60% of Indians speak a language other than Hindi". The Times of India. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Srihari, R. (1984-03-05). Proceedings of the Andhra Pradesh Oriental Conference: Fourth session, Nagarjuna University, Guntur, 3rd to 5th March 1984. The Conference. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  6. ^ Burrow, Thomas (1984-03-05). Collected Papers on Dravidian Linguistics. Annamalai University. Retrieved 2011-08-19. 
  7. ^ Conder, Josiah (1828). The Modern Traveller: A Popular Description, Geographical, Historical, and Topographical of the Various Countries of the Globe. James Duncan. p. 141. 
  8. ^ Cadilhac, Arthur Galletti di (1935). Galletti's Telugu dictionary: a dictionary of current Telugu. H. Milford. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c
  11. ^
  12. ^ [1] Accessed June 18, 2017.
  13. ^ Mullens, Joseph (1854). Missions in South India. W.H. Dalton. 
  14. ^ Mackenzie, Gordon (1883). A Manual of the Kistna District in the Presidency of Madras. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120605442. 
  15. ^ The Popular Science Monthly. D. Appleton. 1878. 
  16. ^ Raychaudhuri, Tapan; Habib, Irfan; Kumar, Dharma (1982). The Cambridge Economic History of India. CUP Archive. ISBN 9780521228022. 
  17. ^ The Baptist Missionary Magazine. 1899. 
  18. ^ Daly, Patrick; Feener, R. Michael (2016-03-29). Rebuilding Asia Following Natural Disasters: Approaches to Reconstruction in the Asia-Pacific Region. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781316538920. 

External links[edit]