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Jennu Kurumbas/ Kattunayakar

11th April, 2024 Culture and Heritage

Jennu Kurumbas/ Kattunayakar

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  • Jenu Kuruba (J) B Ramesh, at 26, turned to music to express frustration against injustices faced by his tribe.

Jennu Kurumbas

Background and Identity

  • Designated scheduled tribe in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Known as Kattunayakar in Tamil and Kannada, meaning "king of the jungle."
  • Earliest inhabitants of the Western Ghats, primarily engaged in collecting forest produce like wild honey and wax.

Cultural Practices

  • Men wear short dhotis and half-sleeved shirts; women wear long single pieces of cloth.
  • Transition from child marriages to marriages after attaining puberty.
  • Monogamy is common within the community.

Achievements and Recognition

  • Indian documentary "The Elephant Whisperers" won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Film in 2023.
  • Follows the tribe's care for abandoned elephants.

Religion and Beliefs

  • Kattunayakars follow Hinduism and speak a language influenced by Dravidian languages.
  • Main deity is Lord Shiva, worshipped as Nayakkar under the name of Bhairava.
  • Also venerate animals, birds, trees, rock hillocks, and snakes alongside Hindu deities.

Cultural Affinities

  • Fondness for music, songs, and dancing.
  • Also referred to as Cholanaickar and Pathinaickars, reflecting diverse cultural aspects.


Q. Discuss the significance of indigenous tribes in preserving cultural diversity and environmental sustainability, with a focus on their role in the context of modern development and conservation efforts.