The term Antyaja generally mean people who are born as hybrids from the so-called lower-varṇa(s) (varna; caste) such as the Śūdra (Sudra). In Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), there are mentions of soldiers belonging to Antyaja varṇaand Nīlakaṇṭha, the commentator has said that the communities like Kaivarta and Bhilla, who dwell at the peripherry of a state, are Antyaja people. It is further said that the soldiers belonging to Antyajavarṇa are very courageous, and they go tothe battlefield, without thinking of their life.
However, Antyaja does not only denote the Kaivarta and the Bhilla people. Manu has given a verdict not to live in places infested by the Antyaja people — nopasṛṣṭe’antyajairnṛbhiḥ
Here, Kullukabhaṭṭa (Kullukabhatta) has given the explanation — Antyaja denotes all lower-order like the Caṇḍāla (Chandala). In another śloka (sloka; verse) of Manusaṁhitā (Manusamhita), the term Antyaja is used to mean all lower varṇa(s) from the Śūdra to Caṇḍāla.
In Atrisaṁhita (Atrisamhita)– the Antyaja people have been classified in seven categories — Rajaka (those who wash and dye clothes), Carmakāra(Charmakara; tanners); Naṭa (nata; actors), Buruḍa (Buruda; those who work upon bamboo-made things), Meda (one tribal community in modern Karnataka, also known as Medara) Kaivarta (the fishing folk) and the Bhilla.
In the Mitākṣaraā ṭīkā (Mitakshara tika;the annottion called Mitakshara) of Yajñavalka Smṛiti, this śloka of Atrisaṁhitā has been mentioned as a śloka by Āpastamva, but according to the commentary of Aparārka, this is a śloka attributed to Arti. Elsewhere in a citation given in the Mitākṣarā of Yājñavalkya Smṛti, a division is made between the Antyaja and the Antyāvasāyī (Antevasayi), and there are seven categories under both the types. Under the Antyāvasāyī category, there are Śvapaca (Swapacha; those who consume dogs’ flesh), Sūta (Suta), Māgadha (Magadha), Kṣattā (kshatta) and Āyogava (Ayogava). From this citation, attributed to Aṅgirā, it is clear that though the Sūta, Māgadha and Vaideha people were not considered that marginal in society, particularly in this case, the author of the Smṛti-text has been obsessed with the concept of caste-sanctity.