The Paniyas, Kattunayakans, Mullukurumbas and Bettakurumbas of the Gudalur valley – Tamil Nadu

The Gudalur valley in the Nilgiris is home to four distinct indigenous communities – Paniyas, Kattunayakans, Mullukurumbas and Bettakurumbas. | Read more >>

Source: Cultural Diversity | At the Edge of Existence
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Date Visited: 15 February 2022

[…] In the old days each hill had one Karnavar (traditional elder). If there was no fire for 4 or 5 years, then, just before the monsoon the Karnavar would gather all the old people, and call the spirits. They would ask them what to do since all the animals were leaving the hill for better forests. Sometime the spirits would say to wait, but sometimes they would say to start a fire. They would often even tell our people where to start the fire.

The Karnavars then had to go all around the hill with their drums, announcing to all the animals where and when they were going to start a fire. The belief was that the animals would all take the advice and move away from that hill. Now days of course we don’t believe that animals can understand anything. But anyway drumming through the forest for a week will scare them all away. After that they would start a fire to open up the forest. Within a week or so it would definitely rain, and then the forests would be healthy again. […]

Source: Fire on the mountain,run run run! | At the Edge of Existence
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Date Visited: 15 February 2022

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