Social Customs of Paliyan Tribal Women in Dindigul District

  • A Muniyandi Research Scholar (Part Time), Department of History, Madurai Kamarajar University, Madurai
Keywords: Kulams, Koottams, Veedus, Gothrams, paliyan, Kadars


Dinigul is a city in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the administrative headquarters of the Dindigul district. Dindigul is located 420 Km (260 mi) southwest of the state capital, Chennai and 100 Km (62 mi) away from Tiruchirappalli.

The social structure of the majority of the tribes in Madras state is founded on the concept of exogamy. Every tribe or sub-sect of a tribe is deemed to constitute a unit called an endogamous sect. within the unit, a number of sub-divisions are found and a person belonging to any sub-division is prohibited from marrying the same Sub-division. These sub-divisions are called exogamous sects and are more popularly known as Kulams, Koottams, Veedus or Gothrams. The idea underlying this division is that members of any one sect are the descendants of the same ancestor and, therefore, belong to one paternal group. There are a few tribes in Madras state who do not follow this pattern of division into exogamous sects. The prominent of them are the Palliyans, the Pulayans and the Kadars. These three tribes are believed to be very primitive and belong to the pre-Dravidian era.

The palliyans are a Tamil – speaking tribe found largely in the Palani hills, they are also found in the Srimalai hills, in Varushanad valley of Madurai district, in Kulithalai taluk of Tiruchirapalli district, and on the borders of the Western Ghats in Ramanathapuram and Tirunelveli districts, The Palliyans are generally short in stature, lean and appear famished. The women have oval faces. In this paper we are described about the social customs of paliyan tribal women such as marriage, birth customs, puberty customs and death customs in detail manner.

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