PRESENT STATUS OF THE PIRAMALAI KALLAR TRIBE

A. SOCIAL STATUS

If all the pathetic social conditions of the Piramalai Kallar are submitted here no average person can continuously read without breaking down. It is true that various other communities were meted out with extreme injustice and hardship but certainly not to the scale and style, depth and width of the suffering of the Piramalai Kallars. The fact that despite documentation of large number of well intentioned human being about the pathetic socio-economic conditions, none of the policy makers and the government wanted to take affective affirmative action to improve the social-economic conditions of these primitive tribes. Perhaps, it is one of the largest living, open museum of human suffering, injustice and heart rending living conditions. However, in this report only to meet the so called official indicators the data on the socio Economic Conditions of the Piramalai Kallar has been compiled from the State, District and Block level statistical hand book. Though the Piramalai Kallars are living mainly in Madurai, Theni, and Dindigul and to some extent in Virudunagar District but also living in various Piramalai Kallar settlements near Kanchipuram, Chennai etc.. The living conditions of all the Piramalai Kallars are more are less same except the geographical differences. As there is no caste wise census readily available, it would be most pertinent to take the vital statistics of Usilampatti Block as representative statistics of Piramalai Kallars and compare the same with the District, State and All India data to assess the present conditions of the Piramalai Kallars. The data were compiled mainly from the published secondary sources of Government of Tamilnadu, Statistical Department, and primary data collected through filed survey by trained social investigators and published in leading papers and Magazines and a few personal stories of the worst victims of social backwardness and discrimination are also taken from the secondary sources and duly acknowledged.

Table -6

COMPARATIVE VITAL SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDIACATORS

Sl. No. Vital Socio-Economic Indicators Piramalai Kallar Madurai District Tamil Nadu India

1 Density (Population per Sq.Kms) (2011 Census) 247 823 555 382 2 Decadal Growth Rate (2011 Census) 18 17.95 15.6 17.6 3 Sex Ratio ( Females per 1000 Males) (2011 Census) 936 990 995 940 4 Percentage of Urban population 32 60.64 48.45 31.2 5 Birth Rate - 2011 (SRS) 18 17.2 15.9 21.8 6 Death rate - 2011 (SRS) 7.5 6.6 7.4 7.1 7 Infant Mortality Rate -2011(SRS) 31 21.2 22 44 8 Maternal Mortality Rate -2011 (SRS) 1.7 1.7 9 Literacy Rate - 2011 64.2 81.66 80.3 74 10 Percentage of persons BPL 43 25 11.2 21.9

Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt and Tamilnadu Statistical Hand Book 2013.

An analysis of the vital statistics of the Piramalai Kallar with the rest of the population of India as shown in Table 1 above reveals that as the land settled by them are highly dry and only 30 % of the land is under cultivation, the population density is not as high as in the rest of the district of Madurai where it is 823 persons per Sq.Kms but the same is only 287 persons per Sq.Kms which is less than the All India figure of 382 persons per Sq.Kms and which demonstrates that this region is one of the most backward region and hostile conditions for human living with result the concentration of the people is less than other parts of India and above all another reason for this phenomena of thin concentration of population is as there is no employment opportunities, large number of people have migrated to other Districts and States in search of jobs and livelihood. The following figure-1 shall depict the comparison better.

Figure -1

Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt and Tamilnadu Statistical Hand Book 2013.

As far as population growth is concerned despite prevalence of foeticide and infanticide, the population is higher mainly due to illiteracy and other social and economic factors such as poor economic conditions etc.

Figure -2

Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt and Tamilnadu Statistical Hand Book 2013.

The sex ratio among the Primalai Kallar is one of the lowest in the whole countries that too in a state where it is more than 995 whereas it is only 936 in the Usilampatti Block and similarly in another Bclok were also the poplution of Pramalai Kallr is more than 85 per cent, the sex ratio is only 904. The reason for the lowest sex ratio is mainly due to very low social status to women among the Piramalai Kallars, though orginally as in any other tribes women were given equal status in all respect but due to adverse living conditions in which this tribes were made to live, the practice of dowry system and extreme poverty , has lead to degeneration of the value sytem and all the anger against the main stream society due to continued discrimination and illtreatment, and the entire budren of unjust historical anger, are vent upon the women of Piramalai Kallars.

The level of suffering of Piramalai Kallar’s women is such that it is extremely challenging to be born as second girl child in the Piramalai Kallar Tribe and complete full cycle of life even as a first girl child because due to social backwardness number of savage practices are still continued.

Figure -3

Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt and Tamilnadu Statistical Hand Book 2013.

One such practice is female infenticide and foeticide which has been well documented by vatious national and international organisation ilke UNICEF and Inidan Counsel for Child Welfare (ICCW). The female infendicite is a practice where only the first girl child would be spared. If the family bears another girl child, the milky sap from an Oleander (Yerukkum) shrub or Cactus (Kalli) plant will be squeezed, mixed with castor oil and fed into the newborn's throat.�? and there are number of terrific other motheds. Female infant mortality rate (defined as mortality in the first year per 1,000 females born) in in Madurai, it was 70 and the figure in respect of the whole of Tamil Nadu was 44.3. Specifically, the early neo-natal female mortality rate (that is, death within six days of birth) in Madurai it was 43.4; and the State average was 24 during 1986.

The practice of female infendicide is well documented and reported in alsomst all the leading news papers and monthly. One such resporting was in the Frontline “Investigation: Scanning for death:In a region in Tamil Nadu where female infanticide is endemic, increasing instances of foeticide employing modern tools of medical technology raise a range of questions by ASHA KRISHNAKUMAR in Usilampatti Vol. 15 :: No. 25 :: Dec. 05 - 18, 1998) whereas it was recorded that “several sociological factors influence the preference for male children that is at the root of female infanticide and female foeticide. The heart-rending tale of Thedaselvam exemplifies some of them. Frail and anaemic, she had tried to abort her five-month-old foetus but her husband, who had lost both his legs in an accident, had prevented her. His overriding concern was that if she died owing to complications arising from an improper abortion, there would be no one to look after him and their eight-year-old son and six-year-old daughter: the family survives on the Rs.15 a day that Thedaselvam earns as a farm labourer. But Thedaselvam asked tearfully, "What will I do if this too is a girl? The expenditure we incur on a girl all through her life is enormous (there are six occasions on which ceremonies are to be performed for a girl).�?

Cradle babies of Piramalai Kallar Calotropis plant : POISONOUS SAP USED TO KILL FETUS

Apopular but crude and primitive abortion method adopted by the traditional midwives involves killing a fetus with the poisonous sap of the Calotropis plant that grows wild in the state.The mid-vein of an overripe leaf of the plant is carefully cut out with a pair of scissors.

The tip of the stiff vein is dipped into the sap squeezed out from a fleshy leaf of the plant. A thin strip of gauze is wound tightly around the tip of the vein and dipped again into the sap. It is then inserted into the pregnant womans vagina. Unhygienic, crude methods of abortions can cause serious medical complications to women. It could rupture and infect the uterus.The entire reproductive system of the affected woman can go for a toss.

The another such reporting is by S. H. Venkatramani – “Born to Die - Female Infanticide�? published in India Today vol 31, 15 (June 1986) 26-33. Whereas in a story of one poor famlity has been narrated.

Better for her to die now Chinnammal with her first daughter who was allowed to live “Normally, the day should have been one of great rejoicing for 35-year-old Kuppusamy and his 26-year-old wife Chinnammal, both agricultural workers in Chulive-chanpatti village in the Usilampatti taluk of Madurai district. It was a May morning of sparkling sunshine and Chinnammal, attractive and slim despite her pregnancy, was in labour inside her mud-and-thatch hut. In a few minutes her second child would be born. Her first, daughter Chellammal, 3, played outside.

The new-born cried lustily as it came into this world. It was a bonny child, fair of complexion, its eyes, squinting at the sunlight that filtered in. But when the mother laid eyes on her baby, tears welled up in her eyes. They were not tears of joy. Chinnammal had .seen the sex of the child: a girl. What crossed her mind was not the anticipation of the joys of motherhood but the trials that lay ahead. How could a family of daily-wage agricultural workers belonging to the Kallar group of the Thevar community afford to bring up and marry off two daughters? How could they, when thedowry demanded by bridegrooms was always astronomical? The couple had decided to have a second child only in the desperate hope that it would be a boy. But on this sunny day, the dream lay shattered.

There was only one way out of a lifetime burden of bringing up two daughters. And Kuppusamy decided on what they had to do. That evening he trudged — somewhat unsteadily — into a nearby field, plucked a handful of oleander berries that are known for their lethal poison, and returned home. Chinnammal mashed them into a milky paste and fed her crying infant with the substance. The parents then shut the small door of their hut, sat outside, and waited for the poison to do its work. Within an hour the baby began to twitch and tremble fitfully. Slowly she started spouting blood through her mouth and nose. The parents heard her whining. A few more minutes, and all was quiet. Chinnammal knew that everything was over. She quietly walked over to her mother's hut close by, dug up a little patch of ground inside, brought and buried the dead baby.�?

Poisonous oleander berries used to kill baby girls

“I killed my child to save it from the lifelong ignominy of being the daughter of a poor family that cannot afford to pay a decent dowry�?, Chinnammal said, as she sipped water to keep her voice from breaking. “But all the same, it was extremely difficult to steel myself for the act. A mother who has borne a child cannot bear to see it suffer even for a little while, let alone bring herself to kill it. But I had to do it, because my husband and I concluded that it was better to let our child suffer an hour or two and die than suffer throughout life.�? Kuppusamy, at first reluctant to talk, admitted later during an interview: I get Rs 13 a day as agricultural wages, on the days that I manage to find work. My wife gets Rs 6 a day. I cannot dream of decently marrying off two daughters. Killing girl babies due to fear of the dowry problem is very common in our Kallar community.�? Thus insulated from the scrutiny of government officials, politicians and social workers, the Kallars of Usilampatti remain the prisoners of their burdensome, savage traditions.

“We have no money to keep our daughters alive�? Annamal, 35, now a mother of five killed her first three daughters. "I had to kill," she says. "We believed if we killed a female the next child would be a male."

Gender disparity manifests itself in several other ways in a patriarchal society and contributes to the shaping of a mindset that perceives girl children as a "burden". Thus in 1992, the State Government acknowledged for the first time the seriousness of the problem of female infanticide. It introduced several schemes, including one under which parents could abandon "unwanted" girl babies in cradles kept in noon meal centres, primary health centres and orphanages; the babies would then be brought up in State-run orphanages. About 50 babies were thus found abandoned in Usilampatti. But the scheme fizzled out because many babies that were "adopted" by the State died.

Table - 7

Times of India, Chennai (times city P-8) Sep 24 2011

According to data compiled by the Social Welfare Department, 133 babies were found abandoned in cradles in Usilampatti and Salem between 1992 and 1996. Of these 70 died. Another scheme, under which the State Government was to invest Rs.2,000 in the name of every girl child born in poor households, was not implemented until 1997.

In a filed study conducted by SIRD an NGO in Madurai has revealed that the practice of dowry and practice of foeticide and infanticide is worst than the Dalits and other communities.

Table -8

The Prevalence of Dowry and Infanticide among Piramalai Kallars

Name of the Community Dowry Harassment Practice of Foeticide/ Infanticide Yes No Yes No Piramalai Kallar 24 33 48 9 Dalit 12 27 27 12 Other castes 7 17 4 20 Source: Jeeva, M; Gandhimathi and Phavalam : Female Infanticide : Philosophy, Perspective and concern of SIRD - search Bulletin. July-Sept. 1998. 13(3). P.9-17.

Of the 57 Piramalai Kallar respondents suveyed, 48 shared that they were, Practicing Female Infenticide i.e 86 per cent and among dailts it is only 69 per cent. Simarly the dowry harrasess ment also more among the Piramalai Kallars i.e. 42 per cent and among dalist it is only 31 per cent. Thus, the social backwardness is very serve in the case of Piramalai Kallar than the Dalits. As a result the sex ratio is lowest in India. Female lnfanticide Among the Pramalai Kallars of Madurai, Tamil Nadu.While there is a history of female infanticide in the Indian sub-continent, the South has been in the main free of this tradition. It, therefore, came as a great shock when India Today (15 June, 1986) published a report on the existence of female Infanticide in Usilampatti Taluk in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu. The author cited interviews with doctors and common people, and painted a horrifying picture of poverty- stricken parents killing their new-born daughters out of fear of the expenses of rearing a daughter including the eventual dowry.

According to one doctor's estimate, over 95 per cent of women giving birth to daughters absconded immediately after the birth. "We can come to our own conclusion about the motive of absconding". The Usilampatti Government Hospital recorded an average of 600 female births in the Kallar group every year, out of which 570 babies vanish with their mothers. Hospital sources estimated that nearly 80 per cent of these become victims of infanticide. The article suggested that the practice was rampant in all the 300 villages of Usilampatti Taluk, that nearly 6000 female babies had been killed in the Taluk in the last decade (though very few had been recorded), that this was being practiced only amongst the poorer members of the community, and that the practice was essentially related to the dowry evil. "Family planning is yet to catch up with the Kallars". The press played a very supportive role in the campaign against dowry violence since the late 70s. However, it did not question why the practice of dowry had expanded and spread to communities which had never practiced it before, or had in fact practiced the opposite form of bride wealth or bride price. A study12 undertaken by the Census of India in 1961 had concluded that the majority of the Indian population still practiced bride price rather than dowry. As for the Kallarsor the Pramalai Kallars - the particular sub-caste concentrated in the Usilampatti Taluk-I shall depend on professional anthropologists and historians. Louis Dumont, who undertook a detailed study of this group in the mid-50S described them as mercenary soldiers, guardians of fields, houses and cattle in the employ of higher caste landowners, and traditionally believed to be shudras. A seventeenth century king had granted them some land. Over the next 200 years, some of them also acquired land 'deserted' by their employers. Dumont described them as traditional cattle lifters and burglars, whose thieving activities were reduced under British rule." A recent study by a Tamil historian, however, presents a somewhat different perspective. According to this account, Kallars were categorised as a tribe in the 20s under the Criminal Tribes Act which came into effect after the Kallars suffered their final defeat at the hands of the British in 1919 at Perungamanallur.

Dumont as well as Pauline Kolenda comment on the great freedom enjoyed by women in this community. 'Patrilineages are important in the rural political domain, especially in connection with the traditional Organisation of courts and councils, but are not very powerful in controlling their members or resources in their domain". The community practiced bride price. The right of divorce was enjoyed by both men and women with considerable weight age in favour of women. Divorce initiated by the woman without the husband's permission involved the return of the bride price as in many other communities which follow this custom. But if the groom initiated divorce proceedings, he lost all the gifts given by his family to the bride's family. He also had to return all that he had received from the bride's family and still pay Rs.25 as compensations. Divorce rates as well as the rates of subsequent marriages were high. Such changes were especially high in the early years of a marriage, before the wife's jewelry became the husband's property and before the wife's family provided the household pots. Kolenda comments that in the combined dowry-bride-wealth system, husbands stood to lose hopes of future resources from the bride's family in case of divorce. Between Dumont's study in the 50s and Kolenda's in the 60s, we note the beginning of a change from bride price to a bride price-cum-dowry system. V. Vasanthi's study was undertaken in 1987, in direct response to the reports on female infanticide. She throws some additional light on the position of women in this community, and the manner in which it has been changing over the last few decades. Two of the eight clans (Nadus) were founded by women, who have been deified and occupy a position of great importance among Kallar gods" . The community still retains tales of women's martial valour including their participation in the final Kallar resistance against the British.Rapid agrarian changes, with the groups' "integration into the modernisingeconomy" of Tamil Nadu, accelerated after the completion of the Vaigal Canal system towards the end of the 50s. Irrigation and the green revolution technology brought great prosperity to a section of the community which had land near the Canal. Before the opening of the Canal "the entire Taluk was a vast arid tract. Agriculture hardly sustained the population which took to petty thieving and highway robbery as a way of life, an easy transition from the traditional role played by the Kallars as the mercenary hordes of feudatories. There were no big landowners and a near equal distribution of land existed".

The Canal system created "a degree of differentiation of the agricultural community" with the "rise of a middle peasantry' and simultaneously the'impoverishment of the lower levels of the peasantry'. Very high levels of land transfers and dispossession of the small peasantry are reflected in 'a big landless population among the originally land-owning community' joiningthe ranks of the scheduled castes who were until then the only landless groups. With the near total absence of any industrialisation In the area, the proportion of agricultural labourers in the rural population as a whole had almost trebled between 1961 and 1981. In the irrigated villages, the newly wealthy Kallar farmers, have also successfully entered other businesses(liquor and other contracts, cinema houses, transport etc.) despite the prevalent popular belief that this community is incapable of success in trading ventures, A sizeable section has also migrated to urban centres(mainly Madurai), taken to education and acquired considerable political influence. This was facilitated by the geographic concentration of the group. Vasanthi traces two processes that have rapidly destroyed the traditional high and near equal status of women in this community - their economic devaluation and the new values adopted by the upwardly mobile section. These have consequently had an impact on the community's social institutions and practices. Reduction from cultivator to wage labour status among women has been accompanied by wide wage disparities-in agriculture women earn Rs. 6 per day, while men get Rs 10-12, in quarrying, women may get between Rs. 10 and 12, while men earn Rs 25-35, in brick kilns, women's wages range between Rs. 6 and 8 but men's between Rs. 13 and 40. One of the main reason for such practices is extreme poverty. As stated in the above table the incidence and impact of povery on the Piramalai Kallars are very high when compared to rest of the population.

Figure-4

Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt and Tamilnadu Statistical Hand Book 2013.

The populous of the Piramalai Kallars are predominantly living in rural area. Despite rapid urbanization in the Madurai District and Tamilnadu during the last decade two decade from 1991 to 2011, the Usilamptii Block witnessed only a marginal increase in Urbanization. However large number of them have migrated to various cities of India as far as Jammu in the north and Assam in the East, mostly engaing in mobile Dosa shop working through out the day and at present struggling to compete with the large scale hotels and local people.

Figure -5

Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt and Tamilnadu Statistical Hand Book 2013.

Besides the general to the bacwardness of Piramalai Kallars in these vital indicators, the Piramalai Kallars are look down with contempt by evry one in other communinity and the government mechinary mainly due to the social stigma as Criminal Tribes. The Police offficers have a biase against the Piramalai Kallars where ever they live and large number of false cases are filed and put to unbearable torcher and in some cases, they force them to indulge in criminal activities. As the education level of the Piramalai Kallars are not sufficient enough to get them a job in the market the lumpen elelment use them in all kind of criminal activities and they had no other optition but to fall prey to such kind of exploitations. Even durng the recruitments of various services of central and state goverements, on reading the caste name of the individuals, they are rejected without assiging any reasons mainly due social stigma and deep rooted biase, prejudice and misconception of the so called social stigma of ‘Imaginaty, Imposed and invented�? brand of the criminal Tribes. There are number of individual stories that highly meritorious individuals are also denied jobs on the the ground of being criminal tribes whereas their mediocare counterpart from other communities were able to get the lucarative jobs. Thus the discrimnation and sufferings of the Piramalai Kallars are all pervasive and continuous for quite very long time.

The Home Department of Madras Presidency compiled the socio-economic status of all criminal tribes in the year 1939 and the same is enclosed as Appendix. Out of 89 criminal tribes, all most, all of them were able to get over the burden of the past by successfully improving their social and ecomonic status because of a host of advandagious factors i.e. i) the CT Act itself was not imposed in the entire community as vigoraously as in the case of Piramalai Kallars, ii) their livelihood was not deprived off; iii) they were already in the take off stage in respect of economic empowerment; iv) they are not tribals and they had been already integrated into the main stream of society whereas the Piramalai Kallars as a unique tribes and original aboriginals dispite their best effort to emulate the main stream culture, they failed mainly due to their core value of “each individual being a sovereign power�? and unable to accept the unjust pattern of the main stream society and the quality of tolerence to the ambiquity is also all most absent among the Piramalai Kallars. Though aparantly seemed to the rude and uncivilized but there is fine threat of respect for justice and primitive communisim and judicious humanism in every walk of the Piramalai Kallar’s life and they have built structurally rigid and functionally flexcible social institutions along with change in continuity but which require a special skill to understand and the main stream society failed to understand their unique culture and value system and rejected them as socially unfit and the result is vicious cycle of rejection-rebellion process and the outcome is they are lacking behind in the race to modernisation and social-economic advancement. Therefore affirmative action by constutitional safeguard shall go long way in mitigation the suffering of the Piramalai Kallars and integration with main stream while preserving their unique culture.

B. Economic Status

The mainstay of the Piramalai Kallar economy is agriculture. The landholding size of the farmers among the Piramalai Kallars is so small that it is impossible to undertake any commercial agriculture and thus the entire economy is subsistence economy. In fact, the concept of private property is alien to them even during the early part of the 20th century and whence everyone worked in the field and everyone was allowed to enjoy the produce and thus there was a kind of absolute primitive communism. But after the imposition of CT Act their entire livihood pattern is damaged irrevocably and forced to be asset less, skill less phycical labour. The deprival is so much so that many of them could even affort to have hue/an equipment to work in the filed and thus left unemployed or to look for deviant way of living. The following table shall reveal that almost 99 percent of the farmers are small farmers and out this another 65 per cent of farmers hold only less that one acre of the land which is not cacapable for producing any surplus produce for market and thus they are outside the reach of market.

Table-9

Size of Farm Holding (in acres) among Piramalai Kallars

S.no. size of farms (in Acres) Number of Farmers percentage

1 0.50-1 17990 65.06 2 1-2 3926 14.20 3 2-3 4356 15.75 4 3-4 878 3.18 5 4-5 264 0.95 6 5-6 108 0.39 7 6-7 90 0.33 8 7.5-10 18 0.07 9 10-20 18 0.07 10 above 20 4 0.01 Total 27652 100.00 Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt.

Figure -6

Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt.

As there is no institutional credit support to these farmers even to plough the land, they had to depend on momeny lenders. The money lenders inturn plough their lives and treat them as salves.

The following table of socio economic indicators of Piramalai Kallars demonstrates that they are in the lower rung of the development in many respects. Of the total population of Piramalai Kallars 59.2 per cent are workers and among the women 46.1 per cent are in the work force which is highest in the country. These labours also engage only in agricultural activities, of the total workers 81.8 per cent of them are agricultural workers in contrast with negligible figure of 2.5 per cent in manufacturing industries. As stated earlier no single industries worth mentioning in the regions of the Piramalai Kallars and as the agriculture also mostly rain fed and the ground water level has also been depleted beyond recharge, there is large scale out-migration of to eke out their living and 0% in immigration into the regions of Piramalai kallars. As most of them are unskilled, they are employed only as unskilled labours in various plantation/mining/spinning units. Another pathetic phenomena is mainly due to extreme poverty, the children are made to work on the farm and off the farm at a tender age depriving their childhood rights and in worst cases, they are lent for few hundreds to work in various hazardous household snag manufacturing industries and where the children are being forced to work for more than 20 hours without rest and without adequate food and sleep. In fact, if all the true story of these unfortunate children is written, here, perhaps we shall become sleepless forever because, in fact, along with frying the snags they are being virtually fried and at time their limbs and at some other time their bodies are also fried and all these sufferings are being undergone, alas! only in the fond hope of survival and a better life in the future. In addition to the above, in terms of the infrastructural development also they are lacking behind in all respect. The level of penetration of modern telecommunication is far below the average of the rest of the state and even the conventional mode of communication also very in adequate. There is cold storage facilities to preserve whatever little market surplus produced by them and they have no access to institutional credit facilities and almost 85 per cent of them have not even visited the Banks. Whereas there were more than 270 cooperative societies for the Piramalai Kallars alone during 1940s but now for a population of over 1.5 lakhs there are only 5 co-operative societies. Health facilities also highly undesirable and patient-bed ratio is so low that there was in incidence that a quarrel between two patients from Pappapatti village of Usilampatti taluk took place for occupying one bed in the TB ward of the Taluk Hospital in which the one Periyakaruppan attacked one Balu and inflicted 108 broken bottle stab injury killing the said Balu on the spot. Thus, all the basic facilities are so scares to avail the same one must be even ready to die.

Table-10

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDIACATORS OF PIRAMALAI KALLARS

Sl. No. Socio-Economic Indicators Piramalai Kallar 1 Average size of household 3.4 2 Percentage of workers to total population 59.2 3 Percentage of female workers to total workers 46.1 4 Percentage of agricultural Labourer to total labourers 81.8 5 Percentage of workers in Manufacturing industries 2.5 6 Percentage of small and marginal farmer 95 7 percentage of net are sown to total geographical area 32.28 8 Number of post office per thousand population 0.39 9 Number of letter box 95 10 Number of residential telephone 654 11 Number of Nationalized bank 5 12 Number of scheduled Bank 1 13 Number of Primary Agricultural cooperative bank 5 14 Noon meal centers 88

Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt

C. Political Status

As the Piramalai Kallar is concentrating with winnable majority in only one constitution i.e. Usilampatti constituency with over 2,11,000 voters and all along they have been voting only for the candidates of All India Forward Bloc , they remain political orphan because the All India Forward Bloc never find any representation in the council of Ministers . In other constituency of Madurai, Dindigul and Theni districts comprising nearly 30 constituencies, they are present very significantly but they could not mobilize successfully to make their representation effective. Indeed, no representative of Piramalai Kallar had ever taken part in the decision making process either in legislature or in the executives. The participation of Piramalai Kallars in the higher administration is almost absent except one or two second/third generation individuals. The same is the case in Group A, Group B, Group C and Group D Services of both the central and state governments and only mode of assured job was recruitment in Kallar Reclamation as teachers and clerks numbering over 500 vacancies and as stated supra this also has been discontinued after 1999. Thus on the whole over 40 lakhs people of Piramalai Kallars remain as powerless, voiceless, asset less and lifeless.

The harsh fact of non representation of DNTs can be guaged from the White Paper on job reservation by the Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi tabled in the Assembly of Tamil Nadu in July 2000. Going by this White Paper of the State government employees, the percentage of BCs, ranging from 61-55 to 55-46 in groups A+B and C+D in 1992/1999, was well above the 30 per cent reservation fixed for them; whereas the corresponding figures for the MBCs, the lower strata of the BCs, eligible for 20 per cent reservation, were 10-16 and 13-15. The representation of the SCs and the STs, eligible for 18 per cent and 1 per cent reservation, was broadly similar to that of the MBCs. That is, 9-13 and 20-18, and 1-0.4 and 1.5-1 respectively. Of the 10 share in the government job the ratio of DNTs are almost negligible.

D. Educational Status As explained earlier, though the Piramalai Kallars had evolved various robust social institutions, they could not evolve any system of educational institutions not even a dormitory type among the Piramalai Kallars. As a result they remained mostly illiterate till 1920s. Whence, the establishment of schools exclusively for Piramalai Kallars under the Kallars Reclamation Scheme and some well intentioned Christian Missionary Schools in the Regions of Piramalai Kallars, the rays of modern education spread into the Piramalai Kallar Nadu.

Table -11

Literacy rate among Kallars as per 1921 census

Sex Population Literacy Percentage Men 259428 42223 16 Women 274544 144 0.1 Total 533972 43665 8 Source: Venkatasamy Nattar, N,.M. Kallar Sarithiram, Jeyam & Co, Trichirappalli, 1923, P 136.

However, the table of data above reveals that the literacy among the women was almost zero and the overall literacy is only 8 per cent but this is also not true reflection of Piramalai Kallars education status because the data includes more advances Kallars of other regions also.

In fact the Britishers’ thrust of welfare measures was on educating the Piramalai Kallars and the first mission mode project of Kallar Reclamations schools were established and at the end 1940, there were 60 schools but after 60 years of Independence the number of school for Piramalai Kallars are very few. For a population of 1.5 lakhs in Usilampatti Block there are only 7 High schools and 6 Higher Secondary Schools.

Table-12

Number of Schools for a Population of more than 1.5 lakhs for Usilampatti Block Piramalai Kallars in 2011

S.No. Level of schools Number of Schools Total trained and non-trained teachers

1 Pre-primary schools 5 26 2 Primary Schools 64 201 3 Middle Schools 20 183 4 High Schools 7 198 5 Higher Secondary Schools 6 78 6 Matriculation Schools 4 73

Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt

Even in these schools most of the teachers are non-trained and thus there is no quality education and the infrastructural facilities also very poor as funds are not allotted from the main accounts of department of education but allotted only from the Kallar reclamation scheme for whom only very nominal fund is allotted and 90 % of the funds are used against only the revenue expenditure and thus no new schools/building/hostels and not even repair and renovation works are taken in time as a result number of buildings have become beyond economical repair. Thus even now the level of literacy is less than the national, state and district average and the glaring contrast con be seen between the Piramalai Kallars and District literacy levels.

Similarly the ratio of higher education among the Piramalai Kallars is also appalling.

Figure -7

Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt

Health Status

In all the indictors of the health viz. longevity, morbidity, mortality, infant mortality, maternal mortality, and patient doctor ratio etc. the Piramalai Kallars are extremely backward mainly due to social and cultural backwardness and partly due to poor health and sanitation facilities in the regions of Piramalai Kallars. The Infant mortality rate in the region is much less than the healthy figures of a healthy state and district as depicted in the following figures.

Figure -8 Source : Usilapmatti Block, Statistical Handbook 2011-2012, Madurai Dt

Over all Status

An objective study of various socio-economic indicators discussed supra manifestly reveals that the Piramalai Kallars are in the bottom scale of all the indicators and above all due to their socio-economic backwardness, they have been leading an inhuman life and they are not only victims of the so called purity-pollution principle but also the heavy burden of ‘imagined, invented and imposed’ criminal tribes indelible social stigma and consequent discrimination in every walk of life in general and in jobs and social participation in particular.

Therefore immediate statutory intervention is required to integrate them into the main stream society and have rightful place in the larger society.