The Irula Tribes of Nilgris: Anthropology of Development

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 16 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
tamil Selvan ELUMALAI, Department of Anthropology, University of Madras, India
Irulas are one among the thirty six communities from the state of Tamil Nadu scheduled under the ninth schedule of the Constitution of India (Basu, 2012).  These tribes are still cut off from the main stream society and they are more vulnerable among all those scheduled communities in the state of Tamil Nadu despite various efforts being taken by the state government for the betterment of their life. According to the census of India 2011 Irulas constitutes 1,74,224 in the total population of 1.21 billion. Report of the United Nations Development Programme India (2011) revealed that Human Development Index (HDI) of the Scheduled Tribes at all India level was estimated at 0.27, which is lower than then HDI of scheduled castes and non- Scheduled castes/Scheduled Tribes. In Nilgris district of Tamil Nadu where irulas are mostly concentrated in the places includes Udagamandalam, Coonoor, Kotagri, Gudalur taluks. Earlier they were engaged in hunting of wild life animals and gathering; presently most of them are engaged in agricultural and plantation labourers. The Government of India had a unique five year programme aimed at the overall development of the country in general and tribe population in particular named as Tribal Sub-Plan for the wellbeing of tribal people. Despite these efforts owing to the problem in implementation it was not fully achieved and they still remain in poverty, unemployment, indebtness, alienation, lack of basic amenities, healthcare and education. In light of this an attempt will be taken to understand the above mentioned life hazards of irulas in anthropological perspective since, they are contemporary to us. To realise the objective of the proposed study various anthropological techniques will be employed such as, participant observation, unstructured interview, and case study. The results of the study would substantiate the available literatures in the field of development anthropology.