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This ethnographic profile offers insights into the cultural practices, historical background, and livelihoods of the Mahamalasar community residing in the inaccessible high forests of Palakkad District, Kerala. Numerically the smallest Scheduled Tribe community in Kerala, they are counterparts to the Mahamalasar community in the Anamalai Hills of Tamil Nadu.

Geographic Distribution

The Mahamalasar community is primarily distributed in the high forests of Palakkad District, Kerala. They inhabit villages in Muthalamada Grama Panchayat.

Demographic Details

As per the 2011 census, the sex ratio among the Mahamalasar community is 1000 females to 932 males.


Language and Social Organization

The Mahamalasar community speaks a dialect of Tamil. Their social organization includes a hereditary headman called the "Moopan" who leads and governs the community.


Due to their habitat in inaccessible high forests, the Mahamalasar community is engaged in food gathering and the collection of non-timber forest produce. They exchange these forest resources with petty traders from the plains for essential commodities like food grains and clothes.

Challenges and Constraints

The forest laws and the presence of wild animals in their habitat prevent the Mahamalasar community from engaging in any type of cultivation, making them heavily reliant on their traditional livelihood practices.

In conclusion, this ethnographic profile provides a glimpse into the unique cultural heritage and livelihood practices of the Mahamalasar community in Palakkad District, Kerala. As the smallest Scheduled Tribe community in the region, their traditional lifestyle centered around forest resources and exchange with traders from the plains highlights their resilience and adaptation to their challenging environment. Efforts to protect their habitat, preserve their cultural identity, and provide avenues for sustainable livelihoods are essential for the continued well-being and empowerment of the Mahamalasar community.

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