Tribal Sects of Nilgiris:

“KOODU” foresees the development of the Tribal sects of the commune to develop a even handed community. In the district of Nilgiris there are mainly five sects of the tribals who are mainly the Paniyas, Kurumbas, Kotas, Todas and Irulas. Details of the these tribal groups have been furnished below:



The Paniyan or Paniyas are found in southern part is India in the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu, the Paniyan tribal people, identified as a Scheduled Tribe and also as one of the six primitive tribal groups, are found only in the Nilgiri district, in the taluks of Gudalur and Pandalur. According to 2001 census, the total population of the Paniyans in Nilgiri District is 9121 (4532 males and 4589 females) and their literacy rates is 30.81 per cent. The term "Paniyan" literally means a "worker" is modified form of the Malayalam work Panikkar (Laborers). The Paniyan people resemble the African tribes in their curly hair and thick lips. The Paniyan speak "Paniya bashe" mixed with Malayalam and Tamil words. The Paniyan settlement is called as Paddi, represent a few huts built in rows in one corner of the agricultural farm.






These groups are names as Alu or palu Kurumbas, Betta Kurumbas, Jenu or Teen Kurumbas and Urlai Kurumbas. Alu Kurumbas are found in the taluks of Coonoor and Kotagiri, Betta Kurumbas and Jenu Kurumbas inhabit in Mudumalai sanctuary, Mullu Kurumbas are found in Pandalur taluk whereas Urali Kurumbas are distributed in the taluks of Gudalur and Pandalur. The Kurumbas settlement is called as mattam, represents cluster of many huts inside the forest. They are non-vegetarians. The Kurumbas are divided into two endogenous divisions, which are further divided into many clans. They practice cross cousin marriage. Their life cycle rituals are simple and they follow rigid pollution. They follow the custom of burial with elaborate funeral rites which differ according to sex, age and rank. They follow the patrilineal rule of succession. The Kurumbas are hunters, forest food gatherers, shifting cultivators, effective sorcerers by which they heal the diseases. Now the Kurumbas adapted labour work on the forms of coffee, tea and vegetable. A few Kurumbas also become experts in basket weaving. They recognize a community headman called "maniyagara" who presides the Kurumba tribal council. The Kurumbas were animists and totemists, now believe Hindu religion and worship "Kumba devaru" and "Karupade thayi".




On this earth, in India, Todas, a primitive tribal group, are found only in the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu state, As per 2001 census, the total population of the Todas is 1560(757 males and 803 females) and their literacy rate is 76.87 per cent. Todas are known by several names like Todas, Tuduvans, Toras and Todar. The name Toda is supposed to be derived from the word tud, the sacred ththudr tree (Meliosma simplicifolia) of Todas. The Government of India identified the Toda as one of the six Primitive Tribal Group (PTGs) of Tamil Nadu. Todas speak a dialect, which is an independent language of the Dravidian family. The Toda village is called a mund, means a herd of cattle's and peopleThe Toda community is divided into two endogamous divisions known as teivaliol and tartharol, which is further divided into fourteen exogamous clans. They avoid marital alliance within a clan. In the past, the Toda followed adelphic type of polyandry, a form of plural marriage, but now they strictly follow monogamy.





In India, Kota tribal group are found only in the Nilgiri District if Tamil Nadu and they inhabited only in seven villages. According to 2001 census, the total population of the Kota is 3122 (1548 males and 1574 females) and their literacy rate is 67.31 per cent. The Kotas are known by several names like Koter, Kotharu, Kothewar and Kohatur. Kotas are one of the six Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) of Tamil Nadu. The origin of the name "Kota" is derived from the Dravida root word "Ko" meaning Mountain. The Kota speak a dialect, mixed with the words of Kannade and Tamil words, Kota village is caked a KOKKAL, represent a linear type, forty to sixty houses, with three or four streets, called as keris. Kota traditional garment is known as "varad", a white bed spread cloth, is thrown around the body by men and women. Kadk, traditional ear-ring ornament are used both by men and women. They are non-vegetarians. The Kota have no broad sub-divisions but the most striking feature is their Keri system. Keri, a street acts as an exogamous unit and its decent is unilineal in the male line, which regulates the marriage pattern.




Irula or Irulas, a Scheduled Tribe, are one of the major tribes if Tamil Nadu and are distributed in twelve districts which includes the Nilgiris. The Irula total population in Tamil Nadu, according to 2001 census is 155606 (77942 males and 77664 females) and their literacy rates is 34.30 per cent. In Tamil Nadu, the Irula are known by several names as Irular, Iruligaru, Iruliga, Iruvan, Villiar, Kadu Poojaris etc, but the Irula people who are dwelling in Nilgiris district prefer to call themselves as "Irulas". The name Irula is supposed to be derived from the Tamil word "Irul" meaning darkness which may refer to their black skin complexion. The Government of India, identified the Irula as one of the six primitive tribal groups of Tamil Nadu. The Irulas in Nilgiri district have three social divisions known as Mudumars (southern Irulas of Kotagiri base), Kasabas (northern Irulas of Masinagudi base), Urali Irulas of Attapady (Karala) base. Irulas are further divided into seven exogamous groups called Kulams, which regulate their marital alliances.