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The Mudugar community, distributed in Palakkad district, is one of the three indigenous communities residing in the Attappady region. They hold a distinct identity due to their traditional right to climb the revered Malleeswaran Peak and light a lamp on the auspicious occasion of 'Sivaratri' day. The community has a unique dialect known as 'Muduga Bhasha,' which adds to its cultural richness.

Social Organization:

Mudugar society is structured around specific roles and positions. They have important institutions like the 'Ooru Moopan' (Headman), 'Bhandari' (Treasurer), 'Kuruthalai' (Assistant), and 'Mannukaran' (Soil Expert), which mirror the traditional social organization of the other two tribal communities in Attappady – the Irular and Kurumbar.



The Mudugar community practices settled agriculture, with certain elements of shifting cultivation. Traditionally, they cultivated crops like 'ragi,' 'chama,' 'thina,' among others. Additionally, they are skilled in collecting non-timber forest produce, which has been an integral part of their livelihoods. However, over time, their land holdings have been alienated due to a lack of knowledge regarding securing land documents.

Changes in Livelihood Patterns:

With the passage of time, the Mudugar community has seen changes in their livelihood practices. Many of them have transitioned into agricultural laborers, as agriculture and animal husbandry have gradually become subsidiary occupations. This shift can be attributed to various socio-economic factors.

Education and Sustainable Livelihoods:

The Mudugar community displays a positive attitude towards education, which can play a crucial role in uplifting their socio-economic conditions. Investing in education and providing necessary inputs to agriculture can help sustain their livelihood means and enhance their overall well-being.

Preserving Cultural Heritage:

As the Mudugar community embraces education and adapts to changing livelihood patterns, it is equally essential to preserve and celebrate their cultural heritage. Their customs, rituals, and language – the Muduga Bhasha – are integral to their identity and deserve recognition and protection.


The Mudugar community's endurance in the face of changing times is a testament to their resilience and adaptability. By providing educational opportunities and supporting sustainable livelihood practices, their cultural heritage can be safeguarded, and their contributions to the diverse tapestry of Kerala's tribal communities can continue to thrive.

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