profession of teachers and priests. They sometimes also performed duties of
soldiers and administrators. This is confirmed from the narration of Domingo
Paes. Rajulu or rachavaru were generally associated with the ruling dynasty,
assisting them in matters of state and warfare. The rulers as well as generals
were actually Sudras, but called rachavaru on account of their position. As in
the case of other parts of south India, the Kshatriya varna seems to be absent
here. Matikaratalu or Vaishyas were the same as merchants who carried on
trade and commerce. Nalavajativaru or Sudras were mainly agriculturists, but
some of them carried on several other professions. They were not segregated,
although considered inferior.
    Barbosa’s account is very interesting but confusing. He says that villages
in the empire were inhabited by Hindus and few Muslims. There were
Kshatriyas, Brahmins and Virasaivas among the Hindus. He says that the
king belonged to the Kshatriya caste. Polygamy was practised by them and
their women observed sati. Brahmins were priests in charge of temple
worship. They were vegetarians and so were the Virasaivas who wore the
symbol of their god round their neck. Other castes like Vaishyas and Sudras
were also there. Jainas also formed an important section of the population.
Position of Women
Education and learning Gangadevi, wife of Kampana, wrote
Maduravijayam. Hannamma was a prominent school in the court of Prauda
Deva. Tirumalamma was a distinguished poetess in Sanskrit in the reign of
Achyuta Raya.
Employment According to Nuniz, a large number of women were
employed in royal palaces as dancers, domestic servants and palanquin
bearers. There were also wrestlers among them. Some women were also
appointed as accountants, judges, bailiffs, and watch women.
Custom of devadasis The practice of dancing girls attached to temples was
also in vogue. From the account of Paes, we learn that devadasis held a
highly respectable position in society, and were given land grants, maid-
servants, jewellery, etc.
Religion