Tuesday, April 6, 2010
TRIBAL COMMUNITY IN KERALA
Most of the tribes of Kerala state belong to the famous family group of Dravidians, they have got similar traits and body stature. In fact theses tribes of Kerala have got dark complexion and quite short in height. Also they are well built with flat nose. These tribes of Kerala, grow their hair long and also tie the hair locks.
The mountainous parts of Kerala are inhibited by tribes namely Urali tribe, Paniyan tribe, Kapu tribe, Kanikkar tribe, Kadar tribe etc. They are reckoned as the descendants of the Negrito race.
Cultural exuberances of these tribes of Kerala are rightly being highlighted in diverse aspects. House building, rituals, norms bore resemblance to the tradition and ethnicity of the tribal culture. Maximum of these tribes of Kerala build their settlements in the dense forest grounds and also on the top of the mountains. The houses of these tribes of Kerala are closely built so that these tribes of Kerala can depend on each other and thus maintain cordial relations. Due to the rugged topography of the region, these tribes of Kerala remain undisturbed by any kind of invasion from the foreigners, especially the Aryans. This is one of the factors why these tribes of Kerala have maintained the originality intact. Influences of the modern day times hardly have brought about any changes in their life styles and in socio-economic scenario of their tribal society.
As per the observations of the anthropologists of the Indian subcontinent, these tribes of Kerala have developed ardent faith on religion and spiritualism. They live in groups and depended mostly on nature for all their needs. Almost all the tribes of Kerala follow religion, which is centered round Animism etc. They appeased devils for sickness and calamities. Besides there is a plethora of local gods and goddesses, whom majority of these tribes of Kerala revere and show immense respect and veneration. Worship of Amman or goddess Kali and Ayyan or Ayyappan was quite common. Moreover, there are few tribes of Kerala amongst whom ancestral worship is prevalent. Festivals and fairs are part and parcel of the culture and tradition of these tribes of Kerala. Especially during the festive seasons, the whole population of the tribes of Kerala get enthralled by the music, dance and get engross with the mood of frenzy and jubilation.
One of the tribes of Kerala is Eravallan which speaks in a beautiful language of Irula, and belongs to the famous Dravidian language family. Another tribe, Paniyan tribe resides in some parts of Wayanad, Kannur and Malappuram. The word `Paniyan` signifies `worker`. There are various occupations that are practiced by this tribal community including Podu or shifting cultivation which this tribal people have adapted to over the years. In the entire social perspective of this Paniyan tribe, marriage has been feted with loads of excitement mostly in the presence of the village priest, who is popularly known as chemmi.
Pulaya tribe falls into the list of the tribes of Kerala. Mainly due to the wealth of several art forms, namely, Chimmanakal, Margam, Kali, eminent anthropologists have held this tribal community in high esteem. The people of this tribal community were believed to be the rulers of the region of Kerala. They are the followers of Hinduism and also believe in magic and spirits. Kadar Tribe of Kerala has a rich heritage of adapting the profession of food collection and some of them are the practitioners of art and culture.
Majority of the Knaikkar tribal people has a tradition of practicing unique rites and rituals at the time of celebrating wedding and also death.
In Kerala, the Ulladan tribes reside in every corner of districts namely, Idukki, Kottayam, Pattanamthitta and Quilon. Another tribal community named Malasar Tribe are oriented towards religion is rightly being emphasized by its various gods and goddesses of local origin, namely, "Mallung, Kali and Mariamman". Some other tribal communities of Kerala include the names of Mannan, Urali, Kammara, Kapu, Kondareddis, Kurumba, Malamalasar, Marati etc.
Festivals, dance and music are the integral part of the life style of these Mannan tribes. Mannan tribes believe on a plethora of hill gods and goddesses. Most of this Mannan earns their livelihood by gathering sandalwood and rose woods from forests. In order to show better administration and control, these Manna tribes have chosen two representatives, namely, Thalaivar and Kani.
In addition to these tribal communities there are some tribal groups that form the tribal society of Kerala. Among them the name of Urali tribal community can be stressed. Just to evade the hassles of heavy taxation and also the possible plundering of the soldiers of Tipu Sultan, this Urali tribe had taken shelter in the core of the dense forests in Kerala. Moreover, hundreds of Kammara tribes can be located in districts of Kerala and also its culture and tradition being rightly exuberated by the style of their ornaments and apparels. Moreover, in Karala , the whole community of Kapu tribes can be segregated in to several gothrams , namely, Janakula, Mahipala, Paidipaala, Raghukula, Kasyapa, Dhanunjaya. Another tribe namely, the Kondareddis tribe is one of the very old tribal communities who exist in Kerala and the Kurumba tribe is known for their art of sorcery as well as several practices of Hinduism.
Apart from these tribal communities, various other tribes are scattered in the land of Kerala. The name of Malamalasar tribal community has got a place in the `Encyclopaedia of Indian Tribes (1989)` for their enriched culture and tradition. Marati tribe is one of the primitive tribes of Kerala with a population of about 22,196. Some other tribes of Kerala are Koraga, Kota, Kudiya, Melakudi, Kurichchan, Kurumans, Maha Malasar, Malai Arayan, Malai Pandaram, Malakkuravan etc.