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This anthropological documentation explores the cultural practices, social structure, and livelihoods of the Kudiya community, residing in Kasaragod District, Kerala. Additionally, the Melakudi subgroup of the community is also found in South Karnataka. The Kudiya people living in lowland areas are distinct from the Melakudi highlanders.

Geographic Distribution

The Kudiya and Melakudi communities are primarily distributed across several villages, including Paivelika, Puthige, Panathady, Enmakaje, Vorkadi, Meencha, and Belur, all within Kasaragod District.

Social Structure and Leadership

The Kudiya and Melakudi communities have a caste council of elders that plays a significant role in their social organization. Their headman is known as "Gurikara" or "Malemudiya," responsible for intervening in cases of transgressions of caste rules. Religious functions are officiated by a "Purohit" (priest).

Historical Livelihoods

Traditionally, the Kudiya and Melakudi people were hunters and gatherers. Over time, they transitioned into marginal farmers. They now subsist on rearing pigs, poultry, and cattle, while also working as agricultural laborers. Additionally, they have expertise in making baskets.


Development and Challenges

With a population of 911, the Kudiya community's development plans need to focus on family-based projects. Those living in remote and isolated areas often lack adequate infrastructural facilities, making it essential to address these disparities for their overall development.

In conclusion, this anthropological documentation provides valuable insights into the cultural heritage, social structure, and livelihoods of the Kudiya community in Kasaragod District, Kerala. Distinct from the Melakudi subgroup and historically transitioning from hunters and gatherers to marginal farmers, the Kudiya people have unique skills in basket making and subsist through agricultural activities. Focused development efforts, especially in remote areas, are essential to support their progress and enhance their overall well-being.

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