TRIBES

 

The Paniyas:A vast majority of tribes in Kerala State hail from the Paniya tribal sect. About 71.95 percent of the tribal population is found in Wayanad alone. The Paniyan means 'worker' as they were supposed to have been the workers of non-tribes. Gone are the days when Paniya settlement had a headman called 'kuttan' appointed by the land lord. Next in rank to Kuttan was the 'Mudali'or head of the family. Both 'Kuttan' and 'Mudali' are called 'Mooppanmar'. Monogamy appears to be the general rule among the Paniyas. In marriage bride price is practised like many other tribal communities. Widow remarriage is allowed. The Paniyas have only a crude idea of religion. Their major deity, is called 'Kali"is belived to be malignant and so powerful. They also worship Banyan tree. They hesitate to cut such trees and if anyone attempts to cut them, they fall sick.

 

The Adiyas:The Adiya , like the Paniya , is one of the slave tribal sects in Kerala. In the nuclear Adiya family the husband is the head of the household. Bride price is given to the parents of the bride from the groom. Divorce, widow marriage, etc., are permitted polygamy is also practised. Even if their women commit such offences they are allowed to undergo purificatory ceremony known as 'Kalachu Veypu' to join their community back. The Adiyas call their wanton women as 'Chullachi'. The Adiya tribal community is divided into 20 classes called 'Mandu'. The head of the Mandu is called 'Chommikkaran'or 'Peruman'.

 

The Kurichyas: The Kurichyas of Wayanad have a great martial tradition. They constituted the army of Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja who engaged the British forces in several battles. The descendants of those warriors are still expert archers. The excellence of Kurichya archery has been exhibited recently, at various centres. The Kurichyas are the most developed among the adivasis and they are small land owners. The art performed by Kurichyas is "Nellukuthu pattu"


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