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Population and Occupational Overview

The Kurichiyan community in Kerala consists of 16,952 individuals in the 15-59 age group. Out of this, 4,970 are students or not working due to various reasons. Agriculture is the primary occupation for 4,674 individuals, while 3,878 work as agricultural laborers. Additionally, 1,498 individuals are engaged in MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) projects, and 510 individuals are involved in animal husbandry. Approximately 2.98% of the population works in the government sector.


Cultural Divisions and Language

The Kurichiyan community is divided into four groups: 'Jati' Kurichiyans of Wayanad, 'Kunnam' Kurichiyans of Kannur, 'Anchilla' Kurichiyans of Tirunelli, and 'Pathiri' Kurichiyans who embraced Christianity in the early 20th century. The community speaks the North Malabar dialect of Malayalam, with elders using their own distinct dialect.

Historical Resistance and Traditional Structure

The Kurichiyan community has a history of resistance against British rule. Kurichiyan leader Thalakkal Chandhu, along with Pazhassi Raja, fought bravely with bows and arrows against the British between 1802 and 1805. The Kurichiya rebellion of 1812 further demonstrated their organized resistance. The Kurichiyans of Wayanad follow a joint family system called 'Mittom,' which can consist of 30 to 100 or more members. The elder male in a mittom is referred to as 'Poopan,' and his wife is known as 'Poopathi.' Their territorial head is called 'Nadu Moopan,' and they still adhere to customary laws and practices, although younger generations tend to form nuclear families.

Agricultural Expertise

Kurichiyans are renowned as the best paddy cultivators among the Scheduled Tribes of Kerala. They cultivate various species of rice, and their expertise extends to the cultivation of ragi, coffee, pepper, and arecanut. Both men and women actively participate in agricultural operations regardless of age. Additionally, the Kurichiyan community possesses expert knowledge in identifying medicinal plants for treating specific ailments.

In conclusion, this socioeconomic profile provides valuable insights into the Kurichiyan community in Kerala. Their historical resistance, traditional family structure, and agricultural expertise have contributed to their distinct cultural identity. While adhering to some customary practices, the community is also adapting to changes, such as forming nuclear families. Efforts to support their educational aspirations, preserve their cultural heritage, and improve their overall well-being are essential for their continued progress and prosperity.

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