Irula Tribe

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Recently, Mr Vadivel Gopal and Mr Masi Sadaiyan, both from the Irula community, were awarded the Padma Shri.

Key facts about Irula Tribe:

  • Irulas are one of India’s oldest indigenous communities and they are a particularly vulnerable tribal group.
  • They live primarily in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu, as well as in parts of Kerala and Karnataka.
  • They speak Irula, which is related to Dravidian languages like Tamil and Kannada.
  • Irulas have traditionally caught snakes and rats, but they also work as labourers.
  • Irulas' knowledge of snakes and snake venom is legendary.
  • From experience and instinct, the tribal people know where snakes hide.
  • They can even locate snakes based on their tracks, smell, and droppings.
  • The Irula Snake Catchers' Industrial Cooperative Society is a major producer of anti-snake venom (ASV) in the country.


Q1) What are the criteria to identify the particularly vulnerable tribal group?

The government of India follows a Pre-agricultural level of technology, low level of literacy, economic backwardness and declining or stagnant population criteria for the identification of PVTGs. 

Source: Bravehearts Vadivel and Sadaiyan shine a light for Irula cooperative