Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kannada Kuruba Gowdas of Tamil Nadu

Not many people know that a large population of Kannada Kurubas live in Tamil Nadu, the region surrounding the Nilgiri Hills all the way down the Western Ghats on the Tamil Nadu side. They have their distinct costumes and culture. The most important thing which differentiates them from the rest of the people of Tamil Nadu is thier language, they speak Kuruba Language a dialect of Kannada. Even though they have been Tamilised due to living in Tamil surrounding areas , they still manage to speak Kannada with a Tamil accent though.

According to some unofficial estimates their population is around 40 lakhs, which is a good number. These Kurubas are descendants of the Pallavas, after the fall of the empire they took shelter in the forests surrounding the Western Ghats, as a precaution and survival tactic from their enemies, this move of taking shelter in the foot hills of western ghats took their civilisation backwards from the peak during the Pallava Period. These Kurubas don't have any connections with their brothers in Karnataka, this link was lost long time ago and the Tamil Nadu Kurubas have developed their own traditions and culture, but the deities have remained the same. Some of them have married Karanataka Kurubas, but still remain out of the reach of mainstream Kurubas in Karnataka.

They have been long neglected by both the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments and are socially, economically and politically backward. But there are some promising signs from a few educated one who are taking up the cause of their people.

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