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LIGHTS AND SHADOWS OF TRIBAL DEVELOPMENT IN KERALA: A STUDY ON THE MUTHUVAN TRIBE OF EDAMALAKKUDY TRIBAL SETTLEMENT IN IDUKKI DISTRICT

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Abstract:

Edamalakkudy, the first Tribal Grama Panchayath in Kerala was formed during the last delimitation of Local bodies in Kerala (2010). The Muthuvan Tribe is the community in Edamalakkudy and is one of the most isolated forest tribes in the state of Kerala. This paper is an attempt to discuss the origin, history and etymology of the Muthuvans of Edamalakkudy along with their language, dress and ornaments, food pattern, their special traditions in social organisations, life-cycle rituals, religion, political organisation, economy etc. This paper also tries to bring out some of the problems of tribal development in this area. The tribals have been the victims of colonial domination, illiteracy, ignorance, caste prejudice, poverty and isolation. Then contact with the advanced and civilized people brought them into a new market economy and exploitation-both social and economic in nature. Their self-sufficient economy disorganised due to land alienation, deforestation etc. So this paper tries to make a comparative study on the past traditional life and the present condition of the Muthuvans of Edamalakkudy Tribal Grama Panchayath along with some suggestions for their existing problems.

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