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Kattunayakan are a designated Scheduled Tribe in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.[1]

The word Kattunayakan means the king of the jungle in Tamil. The Kattunayakan are one of the earliest known inhabitants of the Western Ghats, who are engaged in the collection and gathering of forest produce, mainly wild honey and wax.[2]

The members of this community are short, have black skin, and have protruding foreheads. The men wear short dhotis and half sleeved shirts. The women attach a long single piece of cloth round their body just below the neck, leaving the shoulders and arms bare. Child marriages were common before the 1990s, but now the girls marry after attaining puberty. Monogamy is the general rule among the Kattunayakan community.

Kattunayakan believe in Hinduism and have a language, which is a mixture of all Dravidian languages. The main deity of the tribe is Lord Shiva under the name of Bhairava. They also worship animals, birds, trees, rock hillocks, and snakes, along with the other Hindu deities.

Kattunayakan are non-vegetarians and are fond of music, songs, and dancing. They are also called Cholanaickan and Pathinaickans.

Kattunayakan in Kerala[edit]

Kattunayakan are one of the five ancient tribal groups in Kerala. They live very much in tune with Nature. Hunting and collecting forest produce are the two main means of living for the Kattunayakan tribe. However, the restrictions to protect native forest and wildlife have forced them to find work outside the forests. Although willing to work for very low wages, unemployment and poverty is very severe among the Kattunayakan. Another important factor for the tribe is the medicinal system and its close association with the culture. They use traditional medicines for common ailments, but they use modern medicines in an emergency. Even then they only use modern medicine after seeking consent from “God” by the chieftain or priest (generally both roles are taken by the same person), through a well-defined set of traditional rituals or poojas.


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21 news items

The Hindu
Sat, 06 Feb 2016 16:00:00 -0800

Talking to reporters here on Saturday, K. Ramkumar, president of the Federation said the five communities such as Irular (including Villi and Vettaikaran), Kattunayakan, Malaikuruvan, Yerukkula and Kuruman had been waiting for recognition as Scheduled ...

The New Indian Express

The New Indian Express
Sun, 09 Feb 2014 18:26:15 -0800

A division bench of justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass, which imposed the cost of `10,000, also directed the RDO to issue Kattunayakan (ST)community certificates within three days to two children based upon the community certificate already ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Sun, 09 Aug 2015 04:57:30 -0700

The meet has also urged the Union government to give the status of 'Primitive Tribe' to Chenchu (residing in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Irular (Tamil Nadu),Kathodi/Kathakari (Gujarat and Maharashtra), Kattunayakan (Kerala and Tamil Nadu), Thoda ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 22:17:03 -0700

A three-member team led by Dr. Oraon is on a three-day visit to Puducherry and Karaikal to study the proposal of the Puducherry government for identification of five communities including Irular, Kattunayakan, Malaikuruvan, Yerukkula and Kuruman as ...

The Hindu

The Hindu
Fri, 28 Mar 2014 03:41:00 -0700

The film on the Kattunayakan community has been handed over to the Tamil Nadu Empowerment of Nomads and Tribes NGO for use as propaganda material. Students speak: J. Rajangam: “The thoonga nagaram concept will cease to exist if the law ...
The Hindu
Sun, 27 Nov 2011 20:40:56 -0800

The petitioner was the son of a railway employee belonging to Hindu Kattunayakan, a ST community. The school records of his grandfather, service records and the community certificate of his father and the certificates of his close relatives proved his ...
The Hindu
Thu, 01 Dec 2011 07:39:30 -0800

There are 33 Scheduled Tribe communities in the State. Of the 40,1401-strong tribal population, 'Panian' community is the largest. The total population of the five primitive tribal groups – Koraga, Kattunayakan, Cholanaikan, Kurumba and Kadar – is 26,273.

Hindu Business Line

Hindu Business Line
Fri, 20 Jun 2014 02:08:42 -0700

The Kattunayakan — traditional honey gatherers — have not collected much honey this year because of fear of the forest department. Officials harass and threaten to imprison tribals who collect firewood and honey despite the Forest Rights Act (2006).

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