01 July 2007

The Tribe of Nilgiris

Panniyas Paniyas(which literally means "workers" in local usage) are found in Gudalur taluk and many more in Kerala. Paniyas were found to be coming under a subtle from of bonded labour. They were released from bondage and a few have been since rehabilitated in various schemes.

They are scattered throughout Gudalur Taluk and are one of the most backward tribal communities. Under an age old system, most of the Paniyas were working under local land owners for low wages with little or no liberty to work for others for competitive wages. After Independence, however, the majority of the Paniyas broke away from their masters and started working as casual agricultural labourers, bamboo cutters and estate labourers. The Paniyas, by and large, live in poverty irrespective of whether they are bonded or not. During 1976, 481 Paniyas in 252 families were freed from bonded labour and they have been rehabilitated in the Paniya Welfare Land colonisation Co- operative society and other schemes.


This tribal community is also found only in Gudalur Taluk. They are like Paniyas, farm labourers and their condition is no better than that of Paniyas.


The Kurumba houses known as "GUDLU" are temporary constructions in the forests. The traditional occupation of the Kurumbas is food gathering, like collection of honey and forests produce. Now, they are mainly engaged in agriculture and those who do not own lands work as casual agricultural labourers. The Kurumbas are had working people, but the economic condition of the Kurumbas is very poor.


  1. The Todas: