Origin of Mogaveeras
Mogaveera Community
Mogaveera Habitats
Mogaveera Customs
Festivals Observed
Occupations of Mogaveeras
Mogaveera Organizations
Mogaveera Religious Practices
Prominent Mogaveeras
Interpretation of Data
Appreciation of Website / Book


Prior to Mogaveera
Scheduled Tribe Status
Meaning of Mogaveera
Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities
The Need for adopted term
Marine Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities
Acceptance of the term Mogaveera
Inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities
Other Backward Classes (OBCs)

Prior to Mogaveera

Earlier nomenclatures

The coastal fishermen were known as Mogera, Marakala, Bestha, Meenagara etc. because earlier fishermen use to live in small islands formed by rivers which are known as mogaru and  hence the name Mogera. Before the term Mogaveera was adopted, according to foreign traveler Buchhanan, Mogaveeras were referred to a Magayers. The other traveler scholar Thruston recorded that Mogaveeras were known as Mogers. According to Dr. Gururaj Bhatt, Mogaveeras were known as Mugers and Mugueyer. ‘ Mogaveera’ community was identified with ‘ Moga’ and ‘ yers’ in different combinations. 

Instances of Usage

These can be substantiated by the land records and the surnames of Mogaveeras recorded in their school leaving certificates. These can also be traced to a few Mogaveera organizations. For example, the original name of Mogaveera Vyavasthapaka Mandali, Mumbai in 1902 was Mangalore Mogera Vyavasthapaka Mandali, Mumbai and later changed to Mogaveera Vyavasthapaka Mandali . Similarly, at the time of apex body of Sarva Hobali Sangha of Mangalore Hobali and Barkur Hobali (Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahajana Sangha – DKMMS) was formed in 1926 and registered, the clause 3 of the Memorandum of Association states that this institution was formed for the benefit of Mogeras or Mogaveeras. (Ref.  Chapter “Mogaveera Organizations”). In the revised edition of its Memorandum of Association in 1960, the word ‘Mogera’ was omitted and only the term ‘Magaveera’ is used.  

Term Marakala

The term Marakala seems to have been derived from ‘ Mara’ means wood and ‘ kala’ means black. In the beginning, the boats used to be made by burning the wood inside the boat which resulted black surface inside. The word Marakala has also been interpreted to mean the people who use ‘ mara’ (wooden boat) as ‘kaalu’ (leg) while navigating in the water for fishing and transporting goods.

Term Bestha

The term Bestha may have been a derivative of Beepinu (Bhisana) an earliest way of fishing. Those who practiced fishing method of Beepinu or Bhisana were called Bestha .

Term Meenagara

The term Meenagara the prefix ‘Meenu’ means fish and ‘gara’ means those who catch fish. Therefore, Meenagara is a simple form which literally states that ‘those who catches fish’.

Meaning of Mogaveera

The word meaning of Mogaveera can be explained in many ways. One of the explanations is that the word ‘Moga’ in Tulu means the front and ‘veera’ means of a heroic man. Mogaveeras who are well built were in army and navy of the earlier rulers and this fact can be established beyond doubt. Therefore,the brave people who led the army/navy in front came to be known as ‘Mogaveeras’ . It is believed that the word Mogaveera was formally coined by late Shri Monappa Thingalaya and was readily accepted and used by the community.
Need for adopting term ‘ Mogaveera’

It is an admitted fact that Mogaveera community was poor and was looked down upon by other communities. It is also facts that as the above fishermen were known in different names, it was difficult to explain that all of them belonged to the same community. Further, The educated among the Mogaveeras wanted to have their own respectable identity. It is not out of place to mention here that educated people did not want to be identified as Marakala, Meenugara, and Bestha as they were not in the occupation of fishing.  It is also a fact that all our people became aware of their surnames. They started adopting their real surnames and stopped using Marakala, Meenugara and Bestha as their surnames. All these lead to adopt a common and respectable caste name. Such a search ended with ‘ Mogaveera’ .

Acceptance of the term ‘Mogaveera’

Official recognition of Mogaveera was made in Madras District Manual about South Kenara fishermen as Mogaveera. It is also worth noting that the Central Government, Ministry of Social welfare, vide its Resolution dated 10th September, 1993 notified Mogaveera Community vide Serial No.87 (Entry No.B-41) to include in the list of ‘Other Backward Classes’ (OBC) and Government of Karnataka had also notified Mogaveera community as OBC and further notified that it is not included in the creamy layer.

Other Backward Classes (OBCs)

Framers of Indian Constitution have provided reservations to (i) Scheduled Castes (SCs) and (ii) Scheduled Tribes (STs). Reservation to OBCs was allowed after the submission of 2nd Backward Commission Report which is popularly known as ‘Mandal Commission Report’ w. e. f. 7th August, 1990. Culmination of the process is discussed under the head “Scheduled Tribes” later. The list of OBCs given by the Mandal Commission is known as ‘Central List’ and considered as indicative only. Please refer to Resolution No.12001/68/93 BCC(C) dated 10th September, 1993 which was notified in the Gazette of India Extraordinary Part I Section I dated 13th September, 1993. Under this notification “Mogaveera” community is listed as OBC and the extract is given hereafter.

Sr.No.in Central List.

Name of the castes/communities (Including sub castes/synonyms)In the common list of S.E.B.Cs.

Entry No.in State list.

Entry No. in Mandal list





Note: Mogaveera community is listed under Sr.No.87 which begins with Gangakula and Mogaveera is the 22nd sub-caste under this entry.

Creamy Layer in OBCs

To provide better representation to the socially and economically Backward Classes (SEBCs) within the OBCs, Central Government introduced a concept called ‘Creamy Layer’ among the OBCs who would be given preference within the list of OBCs. In other words, the candidates belonging to SEBCs would be given preference over the candidate belonging to ‘Creamy Layer OBCs’ in the appointment in Government jobs etc. The Central Government (Department of Personnel & Training) laid down criteria for creamy layer applicable to OBCs vide O.M. No.36012/22/93 Estt. (SCT) dated 8th September, 1993. Following the above criteria, Government of Karnataka (Social Welfare Department) vide its order No.SWD 150 BCA 94 dated 17th September, 1994 (Entry No.5(ac) recognized Mogaveera community as Category I OBCs (S.E.B.Cs) and vide their further order No.SKE-125-CA-94 dated 31st January,1995 exempted Mogaveera community from the purview of creamy layer. This benefit is available in Government employment and admission to educational institutions. Therefore, it is necessary to obtain OBC certificate stating that the people belonging to Mogaveera Community are exempt from ‘Creamy Layer’.

OBC certificate for Migrated Mogaveeras

In principle, OBC certificate stating that they are also exempted from 'Creamy Layer' should be available to the migrated Mogaveeras outside the state of Karnataka. However, it is learnt that authorities in the State of Karnataka have laid down certain conditions, such as, necessity for the Birth Certificate and proof of residence (Ration Cards etc,) issued in the State of Karnataka for granting such certificates. The OBC certificates issued are also not in proper format. Further, the migrated states (Maharashtra) etc. refuse to acknowledge the OBC status on several grounds. There were several Bombay High court decisions on this issue for and against the migrants. These issues need to be resolved.

Scheduled Tribe Status

Introduction: All the fishermen communities have common origin and common features. They have all lived near water resources, say, near lakes, rivers, sea etc. Broadly there can be two categories. The fishermen living in sea shore in Dakshina Kannada District (South Kenera) and Uthara Kannada District (North Kenara) have similar background and fishermen living away from sea shore near lakes, rivers etc. have different life style. There are more than forty-seven such communities identified on the basis of Karnataka Government’s notifications and circulars. These communities are treated as ‘Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities’.

Madras Presidency Recommendation

Dakshina Kannada District was part of Madras Presidency and it had recognized Mogaveera Community in the year 1942 as backward community and allotted certain employment opportunities to uplift their living standard.

Government of Mysore Recommendation

Government of Mysore before Government of Karnataka was formed in 1957, accepted that 34 fishermen communities known in different names, such as, Bestha, Gangakula, Gangamath etc. should be considered to belong to one community vide notification No.9192 – 248 dated 6th March, 1931.

Recommendations of various Commissions

The Commissions appointed to look into this issue, such as, Shri Kaka Kalekar Committee (1955), Justice Chinnappa Reddy, Shri L.H.Havanoor Committee (1972), Mandal Commission (1980) etc. and several Parliamentary Committee headed by Shri Lokur, Shri Debar, Shri Chandan etc., have also recommended that fishermen communities known in different names in different parts of the state should be treated alike and considered for the benefits of Scheduled Tribes.

Judgments of Supreme Court

Supreme Court Judgments in the cases reported in AIR 1980 Page 150 (Dadaji v/s Sukdev) and AIR 1985 page 1495 (Full Bench) also lays down similar principles supporting the claim of all the fishermen communities to be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes.

Government of Karnataka Recommendations

Government of Karnataka vide their order No.SWL-66/TC/A-86 dated 13th October, 1986 accepted the recommendations that 39 fishermen communities (Mogaveera community included) to be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes on the ground that these fishermen communities are one community and are known by different names in different parts of the state. The 39 names are part of the list given below in “Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities” and are not repeated here again.

Government of Karnataka’s circular letter

Government of Karnataka (Social Welfare Department), Bangalore vide their letter No.SWD/170/SAD/93 dated 10th November, 1996 addressed to Government of India (Ministry of Welfare, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi) has recommended that 39 fishermen communities (Mogaveera community included) which are considered as one community but known in different names in different part of the state needs to be included in the list of Scheduled Tribe is given first. The above issue is under active consideration of Central and State Governments.

Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities

The additional names which are appearing in the list of 35 communities given in order dated 17th September, 1994 are also incorporated in arriving at 47 names of the communities. For the purpose to differentiate the entries from Sr.No.40 to 47, are given in bold italic letters.

Bunde Besthar
Ganga Makkallu
Mahadev Koli
Mashala Fahar
Suryavanshi Koli
Machi Gabit
Gunde Bestha

Different classifications

Even though all the Mogaveera Brotherhood communities listed above are similarly placed, the Government classifications are different. A few are classified as Scheduled Tribe (ST), some are classified as Scheduled Caste (SC) and majority of them are classified as Other Backward Class (OBC)

Scheduled Tribes (ST) list published by the Government of Karnataka show fishermen communities, such as, Bhovi (Sr.No.23) and Moger (Sr.No.78) are S.Ts.

Scheduled Castes (SC) List include fishermen communities, such as, Gamit, Gamata,  Gavit, Machi  etc. and Koli Dhor, Tokre Dhor etc. (Sr.No.22) are S.Cs.

Other Backward Castes (OBC) list  includes fishermen communities, such as, Besthar & Gunde Besthar (Sr.No.8), Gabit, Gabbit, Gapit, Gaabit etc. (Sr.No.86). The fishermen communities, suchas Gangakula, Gangamakkalu, Gangamatha, Gangaputra, Gowrimatha, Ambig, Ambiga, Bestha, Kabbaliga, Kabbili, Kabber, Kabbera, Kharvi, Bhoi, Bhoyi, Boyi, Thoreya,Harikantra, Harakantra, Kahar, Meenagar, Mogaveera, Kharia, Sunnagar, Siviyar, Parivara, Galada Konkani etc. (Sr.No.87) are OBCs.

Similar castes identified differently

A glance at the above list shows that many communities belong to one and the same community. But, because of geographical location or due to manner of presentation, different spellings were used. For example, Gangamath, Gangamathastha, Gangakula, Ganga Makkalu, Gangaputa etc. belong to the same community. Similarly, Bhoyi, Bhoi, Boyi, Bhovi etc. belong to the same community. Further, Gabbit, Goabit, Machhi Gabit etc. appear to belong to the same community. In the same way, Bestha, Bunde Bestha, Besthar, Gunde Bestha etc. belong to the same community. A detailed study to collect all relevant data about all the brotherhood communities is necessary.

Two groups of Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities

As already stated earlier, there can be two distinct groups among the Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities, i.e. (i) marine fishing communities and (ii) inland fishing communities. Mogaveeras, residing at Mangalore Taluka ( Dakshina Kannada District), Udupi and Kundapura Talukas (Udupi District) and Karvi, Konkan Kharvi, Harikantra/Harakandthra, Gabit, Ambiga and Mogers residing at Bhatkal, Honnavar, Kumta, Ankola and Karwar Talukas of Uthara Kannada District can be grouped as marine fishing group. The southern part of Mangalore Taluka ( Dakshina Kannada District), Bhovi community resides. Their presence extends to several talukas in the State Kerala.  The other Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities residing in interior districts of State of Karnataka can be grouped as inland fishing communities. The complete information about Mogaveera Brotherhood communities is not readily available now and complete details needs to be gathered.  However, the details of marine fishing group residing at Uthara Kannada District and inland fishing communities residing in the interiors of Karnataka State are given below. But, the information given below needs to be updated after obtaining complete details.

Marine Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities

To begin with, it may be stated here that some Karvi and Konkan Kharvi communities' members are also residing in Kundapur Taluka of Udupi District. These communities and Harikanthra/Harakanthra, Gabits, Ambiga and Moger are residing mainly in Uthara Kannada District .  The coastal talukas of Uthara Kannada are Bhatkala, Honnavara, Kumuta, Ankola and Karwar.  As already stated above, on the basis of information available, a brief write up is given about these communities.

Kharvi Community

This community resides from northern part of Kundapur taluka (Udupi District) and in Bhatkala, Honnavara and Kumuta, Talukas of Uthara Kannada District. On an estimate basis, there are about 1500 families of about 7500 people are residing in this region. Their principal occupation is traditional fishing supplemented by agriculture. One of the main organizations is Kharvi Mahajana Sangha, Bayndur.

Konkan Kharvi Community

This community resides from Marvanthe, northern part of Kundapur taluka, (Udupi District) and in all five coastal talukas of Uthara Kannada District . On an estimate basis, there are about 3500 families of about 17000 people are residing in this region. Their principal occupation is traditional fishing and boat building supplemented by agriculture. One of the main organizations is Konkan Kharvi Mahajana Sangha.

Moger Community

This community resides in Bhatkal, Honnavara and Kumpta talukas of Uthara Kannada District . On an estimate basis, there are about 3500 families of about 18000 people are residing in this region. Their principal occupation is traditional fishing supplemented by agriculture.

Harikanthra/Harakanthra Community

From the meaning of the words, Harikanthra are Vaishanavas (who worship Vishnu ) and Harakanthra are Shaivas (who worship Shiva). This community resides in all the five coastal talukas of Uthara Kannada District . On an estimate basis, there are about 6500 families of about 35000 people are residing in this region. Their principal occupation is traditional fishing supplemented by agriculture. Their principal organizations are Harikanthra Mahajana Sangha and Harikanthra Seeme .

Gabit Community

This community resides in Honnavara, Kumta, Ankola and Karwar talukas of Uthara Kannada District . On an estimate basis, there are about 3000 families of about 10000 people are residing in this region. Their principal occupation is traditional fishing and navigators of sea transports ( Pandi ) supplemented by agriculture. They have an organization known as Gabit Mahajana Sangha, Karwar.

Ambiga Community

This community resides in Honnavara, Kumta, Ankola and Karwar talukas of Uthara Kannada District. This community has close connection with Ganga Makkalu/Ganga Puthra communities residing inner part of State of Karnataka.   On an estimate basis, there are about 4000 families of about 18000 people are residing in this region. Their principal occupation is traditional fishing supplemented by agriculture. Their principal organization is known as Ambiga Vidhyavardhaka Sangha, Kumta.

Bhovi Community

According to Shri Amrutha Someshwar, Bhovi community is Maliyali Moya community and Mogaveera community is Tulu Moya community. Dr. Vani Narayana Uchilkar has written a scholarly thesis on Bhovi community known as “A Study of Bhovi (Moya) Samaja” in Kannada covering all aspects of this community which is in many ways similar to Mogaveera Community.

Inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities

Introduction: The State of Karnataka was formed by merging several districts where majority of people speak Kannada, such as, Bombay Presidency (Marathi speaking Maharashtra), Nijam’s State of Hyderabad (Telugu speaking Andhra Pradesh) and Madras Presidency (Tamil speaking Tamil Nadu) into erstwhile Maharaja’s State of Mysore and was first known as State of Mysore which was later changed into State of Karnataka. Therefore, inland Mogaveera Brotherhood communities have come from different geographical and linguistic back ground and were identified differently.

Bombay Presidency

Before formation of State of Karnataka, Kannada speaking people of districts of Dharwad, Uthara Kannada, Belgaum, and Bijapur were part of Marathi speaking State of Bombay (Bombay Presidency). In this region, communities of Koli, Mahadev Koli, Thokre Koli, Koli-Dhor, Ambiga, Mogera, Meenagara, Sunnagara, Thalavara, Thoreya, Harikanthra, Harakantha, Gabit, Kharvi etc. were residing.

Nijam’s State of Hyderabad

Similarly Kannada speaking people of districts of Bidar, Gulbarga, and Raichur were part of Telugu speaking Hyderabad State (Nijam’s State). In these districts communities of Koli, Koya, Rajakoya, Kabbaliga, Thalavara etc. were residing.

Madras Presidency

Kannada speaking people of districts of Dakshina Kannada , Bellary etc. were part of Tamil speaking Tamil Nadu (Madras Presidency). In these districts communities of Bestha, Ambiga, Gangeya Makkalu, Gangaputhra, Baakari, Mogaveera, Bhovi, Kharvi, Kahara etc. were residing.

Maharaja’s State of Mysore

In the old Kannada speaking Mysore State (Maharaja’s State of Mysore), districts of Bangalore, Mysore, Mandya, Chithradurga, Hasana, Shivamogga etc. Bestha, Parivara, Nayaka, Gangamatha, Gangakula etc. were residing.

Known by different names

Therefore, broadly speaking, inland Mogaveera Communities have different names due to their original habitats they come from. The other factor to be kept in mind is that all these communities lived near water resources. The information about the water resources where these communities lived can be related to the water resources referred to in the statistical data published by the Directorate of Fisheries (Fisheries Department) of State of Karnataka. The following data relevant for the year 2008 are given hereafter. 

Inland Fishery Resources

Sr. No.




Departmental tanks (>40 Ha achcut)



Gram Panchayat tanks (<40 Ha achcut)



Water spread area of tanks

2.93 lakh ha.


No. of Reservoirs



Water spread area of Reservoirs

2.67 lakh ha.


Length of Rivers

5813 km.


Length of Canals

3187 km.


Government Fish Production Centres



Government Fish Rearing Centres



Private Fish Production and Rearing Centres



Fishermen population



Active fishermen population



Fish farmers Development Agencies



Fishermen Co-operative Societies



Fishermen Co-operative Apex Federation



Fishermen training centres



Fish markets






Ice Plants



Cold Storages



Frozen Storages


For the year 2008 the total inland fish production is 143717 tons and valued at Rs.574.87 crores. The district wise fish production data is also published. Obtaining and studying the data relating to water resources given in Sr. Nos. 1 to 7 specific data about (i) 362 Inland Fishermen Co-operative Societies (ii) Inland Fishermen Co-operative Apex Federation and (iii) 224 Inland Fish Markets will give basic details about the inland Mogaveera Brotherhood communities.

Habitats near Water Resources

The main original habitats of inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities should be in the banks of the following rivers. They are rivers Karanji and Manjiya in Bidar District, rivers Bhīma and Kagina of Gulbarga District, rivers Bhīma and Krishna in Raichur District, river Tungabhadra in Bellary District, river Krishna in Bijapur District, river Malaprabha in Dharwar District and river Ghataprabha in Belgaum District. Further, the original habitats of inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities should be around the government controlled tanks and reservoirs. As already stated above, inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities can also be traced around the Inland Fishermen Co-operative Societies and Inland Fish Markets. In none of the studies, these aspects appear to have been taken into account.

Part of Fishermen Community

The inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities are at best part of larger fishermen communities and partly dependent on agriculture for supplement their income. The statistical data (2008) of Directorate of Fisheries, Government of Karnataka show that total number of inland fishermen at 491508 and active fishermen at 116858. As these figures represent all fishermen communities, it cannot be taken as the figures representing inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities. However, it can be taken as indicative and assume that a large number of the people belonging to inland fishing communities residing in the State of Karnataka are inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities.

Broad Grouping

After going through the available data and information, for the purpose of narrating the information about the Inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities, I feel, for the purpose of understanding these communities can be divided into three groups on the basis of their presence (spread), approximate number of people in the group and their original occupation pattern. For the sake of convenience, the groups are (i) Koli community with its variants, (ii) Kabbaliga community with its variants and (iii) Gangamath with its variants. 

Koli Community

From the lists of Scheduled cast and Other Backward Classes given in the report of Mandal Commission and subsequent lists prepared by each State Governments, we can find that Koli community is present in almost all states of India. They may be known in their variant names but have well organized at taluka, district and state level in all major states of India. They have a national level apex body at New Delhi. Even though exact statistical data about the population of Koli community is not available, it can be safely concluded that this community has the largest number of people belonging to inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities.


Koli community is known differently in different parts of the country. Originally, they were hunter and marginal fishermen with primitive tools. Then they have engaged in agricultural activities. Later they were engaged in transporting the people across the river or water bodies and transportation of goods. Before the wooden boats came to be used, they had primitive and indigenous means of transport which gave they names, such as, Thokre-Koli, Dhor-Koli, Mahadev-Koli etc. In course of time, it is possible; many sections of the community may have adopted other activities which are different from the original occupations. It is also possible as large numbers of bridges across the rivers were built and road and rail transport systems developed, the importance of people and goods being transported on the water bodies declined and they were compelled to adopt other occupations. 

Religious Practices

In the beginning, all inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities appear to have accepted the nature worship, Daivasthana (Bhoothasthana) along with worship of Ganga Maatha and Lord Shiva. There were large numbers of Devi Temples (Mahalaxmi, Durga Devi, Mahakali etc,). Later, main line Hindu Gods became their centre of worship. A few also converted into other religions, mainly Christianity.

Kabbaliga Community

Kabbaliga community which has large presence in southern states of India has considerable presence in the State of Karnataka. Originally they too were hunters, fishermen and agriculturists. In addition to the above they were practicing the occupations of preparation and sale of lime (Sunnagara), preparing and selling of salt, guardsmen in Panchayats etc. They were also skilled fighters and were employed by local rulers in their armies. They were also good logistic supporters during time of peace and war. Their religious practices were similar to Koli community and are not reproduced here.

Gangamatha Community

Gangamatha with all its variants were originally known as Bestha community and the nomenclature of ‘ Gangamatha’ was said to have been granted by Maharaja of Mysore on a petition made from the community. There are still some organizations/institutions, roads and areas are identified as Bestha in small towns. Ganga Putha, Ganga Puthra, Gangeya Makkalu, Gauri Makkalu etc. are the variants of this community. According to some writers, Ambiga, Ambi, Ambigara, Jalagara, Jaalagara, Bestha, Bhunde Bestha, Bharikera, Bhaarikera etc. are Gangamath communities. The early occupations and religious practices were similar to Koli and Kabbaliga communities. However, the people of Gangamatha community are now well educated and good presence in Government and private employments. They have also presence in professional field and business. Further, this community has been well organized and has organizations/institutions at all levels up to state level in States of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Sources of Information

It was difficult to get information about Inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities. Shri B. G. Ambigera (Katageri) M. A. BEd. (Lecturer) who has not only provided information but also gave reference to others who can give information. Dr. Nagubai B. Bulla, M. A. BEd., Phd., University of Gulbarga who has provided extracts of the Book ‘ Karntaka Budakattugalu’ of Dr.Chennanna Walikara. I had the benefit of some articles published in ‘Gangamatha’ monthly edited by Smt. Ambika Jalagar. The information provided is elementary but included here for the benefit of people who may not know anything about the Inland Mogaveera Brotherhood Communities.

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