The heartland of state of Andhra Pradesh houses a number of tribal communities who have settled down in every hook and corner of the region. As per the records of the anthropologists, these Yerukalas tribal community is considered to be the natives of the southern region of Indian subcontinent. There are quite a number of people of this Yerukalas tribal community who like to identify themselves as 'Kurru'. There are some people who are also called 'Yerukula'. It was named after the conventional profession of fortune telling (eruka cheputa) of the Yerukalas tribal females.
The origin of this Yerukalas tribal community has got a rich history behind it. As per the records of the anthropologists, the references of the Yerukalas tribal community can also be found in the great epic of Indian , popularly known as Mahabharata. It has been said that the mythological figure of Mahabharata epic called Yekalavya, who developed expertise in archery , had a belonging to the Yerukalas tribal community. More information also has been quoted by the anthropologists of the Indian subcontinent. According to them, Yerukalas adapted to the nomadic habitation since a long period of time. It is to be noted that this Yerukalas tribal community have always been the target of the threats and distrusts of some other tribal communities. Instances are also been cited by the experts. In the beginning of twentieth century, the British rulers have branded these Yerukalas tribal community as the ' criminal tribes' as per the rules of "Criminal Tribes Act 1871", the famous act promulgated by these Britons only.
In several parts of the southern Indian states, the people of this community are called with diverse names. For instance, the Yerukalas tribal community is better known as Kuruvan or Kuruvar in Tamilnadu, Korama or Koracha in Karnataka, Kaikadi in Maharashtra, Siddanar in Kerala and Kattu Naicker in Pondicherry. According to some of the anthropological records, this Yerukulas tribal community speak a dialect which is quite different from the famous language of Telegu in order to carry on conversation with each other and also with others.There are some experts who have mentioned that quite a few of these Yerukulas tribal community also have learnt to talk in other languages like Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. Just like many other tribal communities of the Indian territory, these Yerakulas tribal community have taken up diverse occupation over the years. The conventional occupations of Yerukalas tribal community are basket creating, mat threading, pig breeding, rope-creating etc. In the ancient period, majority of these Yerukalas tribal community have engaged in several trade businesses like grain and salt. These trades were carried on between the coastal regions of the Madras presidency and some of the remote districts as well.
As has been mentioned earlier, the Yerukala females have developed expertise in sooth saying and fortune telling. Some of these Yerukulas females also actively take part in numerous activities , to take for example, creating baskets with 'wild date leaves'. The Yerukalas are semi-tribal people who had been reluctantly granted status as 'Shudras'.
What is interesting is to note that under the influence of modern technology, many of these Yerukalas tribes have changed some of their original habits and livelihood. In the present day, many of these Yerukalas tribes have settled down in the countrysides. In this way, this Yerukulas tribal community are trying their best to ameliorate their condition and thus lead a better and comfortable life mainly by obtaining financial stability and undertaking education. (Last Updated on : 10-04-2012)
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