(Last Updated on : 08/04/2009)
Agriculture is considered the main occupation of the Reddi community but vocational diversification is also evident. They are in the mica business, undertake forest, timber and abkari contracts and deal in wholesale trade in jaggery, groundnut and onions. Many Reddis are also involved with the entertainment business, such as, films.
They are also represented in government service, particularly in the police, forest, revenue and agriculture departments. They do not work as labourers because of the memories of the suzerainty of their forbears in the 14th and 15th centuries.
The Reddis have no gotras nor can they trace their lineage to any of the rishis. Those who were once famous as fighters are farmers and are the backbone of the Andhra economy. Their community is cohesive and compact with a complex of rigid, built in, mutually exclusive ramifications with a rural bias. The subsections are best distinguished by the tools they use, the crops they raise, the methods of farming they favour, the wealth in terms of lands and cattle they own and the manner in which they utilise their leisure.
The Reddis are more influential than other communities in the villages. Because of their wealth and numbers, they dominate the affairs of all the panchayats. Most of the legislators from Telangana are Reddis. They constitute the ambitious, property-owing elite of the village. Their assets include acres and acres of arable land, flour mills, ginning institutions, vineyards, cinemas and real estate.
A practical, down-to-earth people, they make natural leaders. This community has produced many eminent people including: a president of India who was formerly Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Sanjiva Reddy.
Reddi women have held prominent positions in Indian society. Lakshmi Reddi who received the Padma Bhushan in 1956 was the first woman graduate in medicine and surgery from the University of Madras. This recipient of five gold medals was the founder of the Cancer Institute in Madras. She later went into politics, and represented India at several international conferences for women. Sarojini Pulla Reddi was the first woman mayor of the municipal corporation of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, assuming office in July 1965. Others such as Sudha Reddi and Yasoda Reddi have been educationists and members of Parliament.