THE KSHATRIYA RAJUS
Raju is a Telugu variation of the Sanskrit word Raj and Raja meaning King. Prince or Lord, Raju is used to refer to the Telugu Kshatria Caste in Andhra Pradesh. Kshatriya Rajus are said to be descendents of ancient Royal dynasties like Eastern Chalukyas, Chalukya-Cholas, Vishnukundina, Gajapati, Chagi, Paricheda and kota Vamsa. Over the centuries they have been called by various alternative names that signified their military status.
During the British Raj they were known as Ratsas and Rajavars, which means of or belonging to the caste of Ratsawars (Raja Caste), using the title of Raju. Raju’s concentrated mainly in the coastal Andhra region with pockets in the Rayalaseema, North Arcot and Rajapalayam of Tamilnadu, Bellary of Karnataka and Ganjam of Orissa.
In the last few decades, significant population of Rajus have migrated and settled in US and UK. Rajus use Raju or Varma in the Andhra regions and Deo in the Orissa regions as an agnomen for their last name. Varma in Sanskrit means Armor, Protection and Deo in Sanskrit means God or Lord. In Telugu tradition, the family name is written first followed by the given name and then the caste title. For example Alluri Sita Rama Raju, a prominent freedom fighter in the mid 19th century, is interpreted as Sita Rama of the Alluri family and Raju for Kshatriya caste. Similarly name of Penmatsa Ram Gopal Varma, a prominent Bollywood and Tollywood movie director-producer, is interpreted as Ram Gopal of the Penmatsa family and Varma for Kshatriya caste.
- Mr. H.Devan, Rajukkal Sangam - Chennai