Who are Kadars?


08:24 AM

1 min read
Who are Kadars? Blog Image


The recent death of a Kadar tribesman in Tamil Nadu’s Anamalai Tiger Reserve in an elephant attack has left the indigenous community and conservationists in shock as Kadars are known to co-exist with wild elephants for ages.

About Kadars:

  • The Kadars are a small indigenous tribal community in South India.
  • They reside along the hilly border between Cochin in Kerala and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
  • They are traditional forest dwellers who depend on forest produce for sustenance.
  • They do not practice agriculture, building shelters thatched with leaves and shifting locations as their employment requires.
  • They prefer to eat rice obtained in trade or as wages rather than to subsist on food of their own gathering. 
  • They have long served as specialized collectors of honey, wax, sago, cardamom, ginger, and umbrella sticks for trade with merchants from the plains. 
  • Kadar have a symbiotic relationship with nature, and they believe in the coexistence of Kadar and Kaadu (forest). 
    • The Kadar have traditional protocols to ensure the sustainable use of forest resources.
    • Every practice of resource collection—be it honey, firewood, resin, or herbs—is designed to allow time for regeneration.
  • Their population was estimated at approximately 2,000 individuals in the early 21st century. 
  • They speak the Dravidian languages of Tamil and Kannaḍa
  • They worship jungle spirits and their own kindly creator couple, as well as local forms of the Hindu deities.

They are listed as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) in Kerala, but not in Tamil Nadu.

Q1: What are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG)?

PVTGs are a more vulnerable group among tribal groups in India. These groups have primitive traits, geographical isolation, low literacy, zero to negative population growth rate and backwardness. Moreover, they are largely dependent on hunting for food and a pre-agriculture level of technology. In 1973, the Dhebar Commission set up a separate category for Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs). In 1975, the Centre identified 52 tribal groups as PTGs. In 1993, 23 more groups were added to the list. Later, in 2006, these groups were named PVTGs. Currently, there are 2.8 million PVTGs belonging to 75 tribes across 22,544 villages in 220 districts across 18 states and Union Territories in India.

Source: Conflict with pachyderm pathways