top of page



There are historical records of migration of Maharashtrians in small numbers to the South  over several centuries. But, three major military reasons gave further impetus to these migrations.  They were :-

1.  the collapse of the Vijayanagar Empire in 1535

2. the military expeditions of the Generals of  Bijapur Sultanate during 1630s to 1680s. and

3. establishment of the Tanjore kingdom by the Marathas in 1675    


​In the wake of the collapse of the Vijayanagar Empire in 1565 there was a small migration of the elite and others (which included Marathi speakers also) to the Southern areas like Ginjee, Madurai and Tanjore. These were vassal provinces of Vijayanagar.  

The military expeditions by the Generals of the Bijapur Sultanate around 1630 to 1660 contributed further to the migration of Marathi speakers to the South. Shivaji's father Shahaji was a General of the Bijapur army. He was awarded the Jagir of Bangalore in 1638. Till 1687 the Jagir was with the Marathas.


In 1641 Vedaji Bhaskar Pant, a General under the Bijapur Sultan was granted the Jagir of Arni in the present Thiruvannamalai district of TN. The Jagir continued till after India's independence. It was abolished with the implementation of the Zamindari Abolition Act in 1956.

These military expeditions left in their wake small communities of Maharashtrians in many districts of Southern India. The conquest of Tanjore by Venkoji contributed substantially to the migration of Marathi speakers to the South.

Travancore was not ruled by any Dakshini Maharashtrian. But from 1814 to 1904 ten Diwans of that Kingdom were DMs from Tanjore / Kumbakonam. They contributed substantially to the all round growth of that country. Some of them were outstanding administrators of the highest order.

Over a period of 300 to 400 years the migrants gradually lost contact with Maharashtra and they started integrating with the linguistic ethos of the South, more particularly with that of Tamil. Their language came to be called Tanjore Marathi (TM) with a heavy admixture of Tamil accent, words, syntax and grammar. TM has now shrunk to become a community language spoken only at home. With over three centuries of disconnect with the mainstream Marathi, TM became an alien language to the Marathi speaking people of Maharashtra also.


The Marathi speaking community in the South spread to almost all districts of present day Tamil Nadu and to a few districts of Karnataka, A.P, Telangana and Kerala. 

To get a more detailed historical perspective of DMs in South India please click any of the following buttons.

Rise of the Maratha Power
bottom of page