The Irulas of the Dravidian Group
- July 31, 2016
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Dravidian Tribes
Irula or Irulas, a Scheduled Tribe, are one of the major tribes in two south Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In
Tamil Nadu they live in the Nilgiris, Coimbatore and Erode districts. In Kerala they live in the Palakkad district and
Attapady and Walayar panchayats.The Irulas are sub-divided into the following groups; Poongkaru, Kudagar Kalkatti, Vellaka, Devala and Koppillingam. 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.
Traditionally, the main occupation of the Irulas has been snake and rat catching. Generally they were descendants of gypsies but later they began to live in huts made of bamboo. Irula settlement is called as aral, represent many houses built contiguous to each other. They also work as labourers (coolies) in the fields of the landlords during the sowing and harvesting seasons or in the rice mills. The Irula marriage and funeral ceremonies are simple. Marriages are followed by feast and dance.Typical man wears a short piece of cloth around the waist and a towel on his shoulder, woman wears thundu, (a piece of cloth) around the waist in combination with the modern blouse. They speak Irula, a dialect which is a south Dravidian language of the Tamil-Malayalam sub group.