Marriage System of Malayali Tribes in Tamilnadu: With Special Reference to Pachaimalai Hills

C.Prem Naseer


The word tribe come from Latin word, “a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect

[1]”, typically having a recognized leader (Oxford English Dictionary, 1933).

According to Tamil Nadu Government, there are 36 tribes have been notified in Tamilnadu. (TN. GO, 1976). Among  the tribes, there have been six primitives tribes (Malayali, Kurumbas, Kanikaran, Kammara, Kota and Toda) are more endangered.Particularly, the Malayali is a scheduled tribe lives in Tamilnadu, like Dharmapuri, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Pudukkottai, Salem, Namakkal, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Tiruchirappalli, Karur and Perambalur districts[2]. According to 2011 census of India the population of Pachaimalai is 22,313 (1.9%). (Census of India, 2011). Most of them lives in the Salem and Trichy Districts.

They are preponderantly lives in rural areas with 99.83 %. They speak Tamil language and the Tamil script are used by them for both inter-and intra-group communication. Mostly they are non-vegetarians. Their staple food consists of ragi, rice, samai (a millet), jowar, horse-gram, groundnut and wild yams. Only the men consume local varieties of alcoholic drinks.

According to their marriage system, they are getting marriage at the age of twenty-one years, while the girls get married after attaining puberty. Spouses are generally acquired through negotiation. Instances of marriage through elopement and courtship have also been reported. Monogamy is common practice among them though polygamy is allowed. Divorce and remarriage of widow and divorced persons is permitted. Junior levirate and junior sorority also exist. Bride price (parayam) is paid in both cash and kind[3].

[1] Tamil Nadu. G.O., 1976.

[2] Census of India,2011.

[3] Interview with Tribal people of Naduvancheri, Pachamalai on, 25.7.2014.

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