This section is from the book "Some Contributions Of South India To Indian Culture", by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar. Also available from Amazon: Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture.
The period with which we are concerned in this portion of South Indian History is coeval with the position of the dominance of the Andhras in the Dakhan and over the empire of the Mauryas. The question would naturally arise whether these Andhras had anything to do with South India. As far as the material available to us goes they do not appear to have been brought into direct connection unless we could interpret the hostile Aryas who figure in the history of many of the Tamil rulers as indicating the contemporary Andhra sovereigns of the north; as in the case of the Chera who defeated the Aryas, and the elder, Pandya, the hero of the Silappadhikaram who claims to have defeated the Aryas as well. There is a more precise reference to the Kannar in the Tamil classic Silappadhikaram. This term could be rendered Karnas and they are clearly stated to be "the hundred Karnas." Whatever the significance of the hundred may be by itself, it is doubtful if we could regard it as the equivalent, even by mistake, of the Satakani or Satakanis of the Dakhan.
These last, however, have left us a few inscriptions among the earliest of which is a Prakrit inscription of the second century A. D. This is in a pillar at Malavalli in the Shikarpurl taluk of the Shimoga district, recording a grant by Haritiputra-Satakarni for the god Isvara of the village. The next inscription comes from the same taluk2 and is on a pillar standing in front of the Pranavesvara temple. This record states that the God Pranavesvara had been worshipped by Satakarni and other kings. Near the town of Chittaldroog itself some recent excavations unearthed several lead coins of the Andhras and their Viceroys. The Prakrit inscription on the Malavalli pillar is followed by an inscription of the early Kadamba king, Kakutsthavarma dated by the late Prof. Kielhorn, about the middle of the sixth century. The inscription (Shikarpur 176) known as the Talgunda pillar inscription contains the further reference to this Kakutsthavarman and gives him credit for the construction of the tank in front of the temple. This Kakutsthavarman was a contemporary of the Guptas and seems to have entered into a matrimonial alliancel with them. During this period therefore the Andhra power stretched southwards as far as northern Mysore. Their frontier extended southwards on the eastern side as far as the south Pennar at one time as their ship coins found in that region would enable us to infer. Generally speaking however the Andhra power came into touch with the Tamils on the northern frontier marked by Tirupati and Pulikat. The wild people called Vadukar by the Tamils must have interposed between the Tamils and the Andhras. It was probably to keep guard over this somewhat dangerous frontier, one capital of the Andhras was located at Dhanakataka near Amaravati in the Guntur district. This would mean that the Krishna in this region constituted the normal southern frontier of the Andhras. This position of the Andhras and the interposition of the tribes of Vadukar between them and the Tamils, raises the question whether the Andhras of to-day, the Telugu-speaking peoples, can lay claim to any affinity with the imperial Andhras of the two centuries on either side of the beginning of the Christian era. The evidence available to us at present does not seem to warrant a categorical answer one way or the other. The Andhras are described as Aryan people who had given up the Aryan customs and practices in religion, in other words mlecchas or even Vratyas. In the Mahabharata the region of wild tribes is said to have intervened between the Andhras and the Tamil country which constitutes at the present time the heart of the Andhra country. It is a well known phenomenon in history that people still in tribal organisation keep moving forward from place to place and give their name to the districts that they may occupy for the time being. Their name certainly attaches itself to the locality where they effect something like a permanent settlement. Even other people that come and settle in that locality afterwards take their name from the district rather than give their name to the district. The present-day Andhras are undoubtedly Andhras in the sense that they occupy the Andhra country, but whether they are the legitimate successors of the Andhras by race is more than can be postulated on the evidence available to us so far. Unless the reference to the Aryas in Tamil literature be to the Andhras of the Dakhan1 (or the imperial Andhras if they ever rose to that dignity), it may be safely stated that the Andhras as such do not find mention in Tamil literature. There is a chieftain known by the name Aay-Andiran. The second word of this name is rendered Andhra by some. It is just possible that it is the Tamilised form of the word Andhra.2 It would be unsafe, however, to assert that the Andhras as such came and settled in the south. This position is made still more difficult by the reference to the Vadukar, which term occurs very often in the literature of this period. Vadukar is the present-day vernacular name for the Telugu-speaking people in the Tamil country, but they are described in this body of literature as still in the savage stage of frontier tribes living as marauders. They are located in the region immediately to the north of the Tamil frontier of Pulikat and Tirupati. This would seem to preclude the equation that the Tamils regarded the Vadukar and the Andhras as one. Hence for the time the question has to remain open whether the Telugus of the present day as a body should be traced to the Vadukar or to the Andhras.
1 Shikarpur, 263, Ep. Car., Vol. VII. 2 Ibid, 176.
1 Mr. Rice would date the record in the third apparently on the ground that Kakutsthavarman claims to have entered into marriage alliances with the Guptas, that is, according to him Samudragupta, who came as far south as Kanchi in his southern conquest This is hardly necessary; but the boast would bo pointless if we date the record at a period when the Gupta power was on the decline. The fifth century would be a better date.
1 There is some ground for this equation Arya-Andhra, as the Tamil Lexicon Divakaram gives among the synonyms of the term Arya, the word mlechchar. This last cannot mean here the foreign barbarian in the face of the statement these were Ksatriya Vratyas. The term is here used in the sense indicated in the Sutapatha Brahmana as those who changer into 1 in pronunciation. This phonetic peculiarity is a feature of the Andhra country, as is exemplified in the Asoka Inscriptions.
2 If the term Andar used to designate shepherds, comes from the Sans. Andhaka (a Tamil derivation seems impossible) there is justification for this interpretation. The term Andiran is used in the compound in contradistinction to the term Eyinan in Aay-Eyinan, undoubtedly donoting the caste or tribe from which ho came. The two names would stand Aay, the shepherd and Aay, the hunter.
It thus seems clear that the Tamil country remained a compact territory with a well-defined frontier in the north inhabited by wild tribes, who were kept under control, separating the Tamil country from the territory of the Andhras. This Tamil country remained the asylum of the orthodox Brahmanical religion, which was able to hold its own as against the sister religions of Jainism and Buddhism within its own territory. During the four or five centuries of its history from the period of Asoka onwards the Tamils seem to have set themselves up in opposition to the systematic propagation of Buddhism under the imperial influence of Asoka himself. This apparently it was that caused the perpetual hostility between the Buddhist Ceylon and the Tamil country set over against it particularly the Chola country. This attitude of hostility would naturally have continued when the Andhras succeeded to the empire of Asoka and his successors in the south. So the Andhras were kept out of the Tamil country on the northern frontier. The Tamil country therefore remained the land of freedom in point of religion, and Brahmanism seems to have received the countenance, if not the active support, of the rulers and the body of the people as a whole. Hence the development of Brahmanism here was on the more natural orthodox lines which do not exhibit the ever-recurring reorganisation necessitated by the impact of foreign invaders and hostile religions. In the course of this evolution of Brahmanism there appears to bave been a stage of orthodoxy when sea-voyage was not held to make a Brahman fall from his high estate - Manu's objection seems to have had but a restricted applicability; but the Koetei epigraphs seem to make even the restriction of feeble force, as a prohibition of sea voyage for the Brahman. That the emigrants apparently started from the Pallava country and not the Tamil country proper may be significant of the fact that these were followers of Baudha-yana and not of Apastamba.