Re: Where does this Subba Rao come from?

D. Sreenivasa Rao (dsr@VNET.IBM.COM)
Tue, 05 Aug 97 16:05:26 -0400

:>Does(n't) 'Rao' have some maharAshTrian overtones?

Yes, I recently learnt that it might. A friend of mine told me about
this book on the history of guntur area from 1780 to 1850.  When that
area moved from under french rule to british rule, maratha brahmins
formed a layer between the locals and the rulers. Records would be
translated from telugu to marathi and then from marathi to english.
Maratha brahmins were specifically "imported" by British, perhaps as
part of their divide-and-rule strategy.

It is likely that the elite in coastal andhra area wanted to imitate
the more succesful (atleast better ingratiated to the rulers) marathas
and hence adopted the suffix Rao, which was already in wide-spread
use among the marathas by then. That also probably explains why Rao
goes beyond caste boundaries, and the title 'Rao Saheb' was invented
by the British to skim off the batten elite.


ps: I am trying to find out the exact title and author (Frykenberg?) of
    the book. Anybody on the net know?