ETHNONYMS: Bhumanchi Reddi, Kapu, Kil Reddi, Motad Reddi, Paknat Reddi, Pandava Reddi, Panta Reddi, Raja Reddi, Suryavanisa
The name "Reddi" is also the name of a section of Kapus, landowners of the Telugu country, who hold high-ranking positions in Hindu society and from whose martial branch the Reddi kings of Rajamundry are believed to have sprung. The number of Reddi clans is so great that a complete count is impossible. The information provided here pertains to the Reddis who live within Andhra Pradesh. The present habitat of the Reddis is the section of the Eastern Ghats that stretches from the confluence of the Mackund and Goperu rivers southward across the great Godavari gorges to the fringe of the deltaic plain between the Godavari and Kistna rivers. The Reddis' habitat can be divided into three distinct zones: the hill settlements, the riverside settlements, and the settlements of the Andhra Plains. The Reddis are essentially hill people; they make their home high in the valleys of the main ranges, on the slopes and spurs of the foothills, and in the narrow gorges of the Godavari. There is little variation in material culture and house construction among the many groups of Reddis; these features all remain more or less constant in occurrence and design. The language most prevalent is Telugu.
Berries, cucumbers, ripe fruit, and young tender maize are eaten raw. Most other foods are roasted, stewed, or made into gruel. A popular way of preparing meats is by roasting. The meats most commonly used are rats, mice, squirrels, small birds, and lizards. Meat, most vegetables, and fish are cooked in a highly spiced stew called kura. When serving meat stewed in this way the liquid is strained off and served separately. The most economical and most often eaten item in a Reddi household is javoa, a kind of gruel. It consists of flour made from grain, pulses, sago pith, dried mango kernels, or dried mushrooms cooked in a large pot of water.
Men and women do not remain single in Reddi society except in cases of serious and lasting illness or mental deficiency. Marriage age for boys is between 18 and 20; this is when a boy is first considered able to do the full work of a man. According to Reddi tradition neither the boy nor the girl voices an opinion in the selection of a mate. In the 1940s, prepuberty marriage was becoming quite popular, but now it is not so common—and indeed is illegal.
Fūrer-Haimendorf, Christoph von (1945). The Reddis of the Bison Hills. London: Macmillian.
Fūrer-Haimendorf, Christoph von (1982). Tribes of India: The Struggle for Survival. Berkeley: University of California Press.