Project Incharge: 
Dr. T. Senthil Kumar
Co-Project Incharge: 
Dr. S. Rajendra Kumar
Dr. Udhaya Kumar
Department: 
Computer Science Engineering
School: 
School of Engineering
Funding Agency: 
Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi

Problem Identified:

Irulas and Kurumbas are the prominent Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) in Nilgiri Districts, Tamil Nadu. They are isolated from the mainstream due to lack of basic infrastructure facilities. Both these tribes are surviving in utmost vulnerable conditions in the alienated places. Their settlements are located in Mudumalai Wildlife sanctuary that is geographically inaccessible and service deficient region. The long existing social and environmental problems affect tribes to lose their indigenous quality, cultural inheritance and traditional knowledge. It resulted the traditional-cultural values of these tribes are endemic. With this identified gaps, the project focused to preserve the traditional food practices. In the project, technology play a crucial role in promoting food recipes and creating employment for disadvantaged youth by marketing indigenous food products. Further the project includes skill development program for selected youth to be part of holistic sustainable development of these tribe communities.

Aim of the project is To promote indigenous food recipes of Irulas and Kurumbas and empowering the disadvantaged youths. Focused villages are Masinagudi and Ebbanad located in Mudumalai Wildlife sanctuary.

 The objectives of the project are:

  • Preserve traditional food crops and agricultural practices.
  • Promote sustainable agricultural practice by involving tribal communities.
  • Market indigenous tribal food recipes with help of Information and Communication Technology.
  • Employ disadvantaged youth in promoting, marketing and selling their food products.
  • Establish permanent food stall in tourist resort, forest guest house and other important tourist places.

Data collection:

Structured and semi-structured interviews were conducted with the Irulas and Kurumbas Vazhaithottam, Anaikkatti, Kaniyakumari and Siriyur settlements of Masinagudi and Ebbanad villages. Interactions take place with the village head, youth of the community, women, school principal and teachers to document the shift happening in the social life of tribal communities. The cultural differences, economical well beings, health approaches, food pattern and recipes of traditional food were discussed. The baseline data collection scheduled with household in such a way that it captured the details of socio-demographic status, agricultural practices, tribal culture, tribal food habits, forest dependency and wildlife conflict.

Research Findings:

  • The houses are mostly built by governments in all the settlements and that too concrete roof, the safety shelter is assured to these people by the authorities, above 86% of tribes in settlements are using toilets and major water source is from piped water connection provided by Government.
  • Tribes are wage Employees. Also the community involved in Agricultural and Animal Husbandry activities and income recorded is under 3000/month. Income from forest resources are poor. Few tribes are in State Government jobs and running their own business.
  • Tribes of these four settlements are marginal farmers holding land of 1-3 acres of land and 6% tribes owning the land of 4-6 acres.
  • Water availability for agriculture activity is moderate, most for the farmers are following rain-fed cultivations.
  • The villagers also shown interest on cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants in their lands. Also usage of traditional fertilizers such as Cow Dung and Cow Urine rampant among the tribe farmers.
  • Festival celebration taken place in temple premise, more than 13 clan gods named by the tribes. Idol worshipped by praying and sacrificial ceremony is not prevalent in these regions.
  • Traditional music instruments such as Trumpet and Drums are commonly used by the people. During cultural celebration they sing traditional songs.
  • Special food like Udral dal, Kakandu are prepared for puberty girls for their better health. Prenatal period, Munnai Geera and Muruga Geera and Neonatal period, Ragi Kannji and Sholam are prepared.
  • Samai and Thinai are commonly used traditional crops. During festival Ragi, Sholam, Honey, Pongal, Ellu, Sunal and Araisahat are commonly offered. At the time of the marriage Kali, Ragi and Samai food prepared and served to the celebrities.
  • The common food of tribes in day time are Saltram, Kali and Sauputtu. Kali, Altan and Ragi Dosa traditional foods also prepared at home taken along with other foods.
  • Few traditional products namely, Munnai Cheera Kali, Kanda Katturu and Poongami Keerai are used for medicinal purpose by tribal community.
  • The dependency on forest by tribe for leaf, fruits, seed and small timber. Kadambi, Oppai, Kalkkanji, Arappa species are used as fuels
  • Fruits of Sabbuttu Kalli, Thri Kalli, Oppai, Soodali and Elantha species are collected by tribes.
  • Food for the livestock generally meet out by the tribe grass collection and natural grazing activity.
  • The wildlife conflict is recorded in the month of January, April and December months. Number of occurrence ranged from 5 to >15 times.
  • Vegetative fencing is recommended by the few people. But majority of tribe agreed electrical fencing is more effective.

Publications

Title Authors Publishers
Community Development through Sustainable Technology - A proposed study with Irula Tribe of Masinagudi and Ebbanad villages of Nilgiri District T.V.Rajeevan.  S. Rajendrakumar* T. Senthilkumar S. UdhayaKumar P. Subramaniam Publisher - Springer Singapore, Indexed in Scopus Journal - Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing AISC series – ISSN 2194- 5357 ISBN - 978-981-15-0028-2 DOI-10.1007/978-981-15-0029-9
Deep Learning based Emotion Analysis Approach for Strengthening Teaching- Learning process in Schools of Tribal Regions T.Senthil Kumar*  S.Rajendrakumar T.V. Rajeevan Publisher - Institute of Advanced Scientific Research, Indexed in Scopus Journal - Journal of Advanced Research in Dynamical and Control Systems. ISSN - 1943023X Special Issue – 08 Volume 11  Pages: 621-635, 2019
A Collaborative Mobile Based Interactive Framework for Improving Tribal Empowerment  T.Senthilkumar* T. V. Rajeevan S. Rajendrakumar P.Subramaniam S.Udhaya Kumar B. Meenakshi Publisher: Springer, Switzerland,   Indexed in Scopus Journal - Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing ISBN 978-3-030-37218-7  DOI - 10.1007/978-3-030-37218-7

Development of Website and Mobile Application:

The details like, crop importance, food products, harvesting methods, nutrient quality and health benefits will be updated. Marketing of food products’ will be done through website, application and social media.

Project Investigator

Dr. T. Senthil Kumar

Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering,
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham,Coimbatore, India

Project Director

Dr. P. Subramaniam

Director, Tribal Research Centre,
Department of Tribal Welfare,
Government of Tamil Nadu,
Udhagamandalam, India

Project Co-Investigators

Dr. S. Rajendra Kumar

Assistant Professor, Centre for Sustainable Future,
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science,
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, India

Dr. Udhaya Kumar

Senior Lecturer, Cultural Anthropologist
Tribal Research Centre
Department of Tribal Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu
Udhagamandalam, India

Junior Research Fellow

Rajeev Ramakrishnan
Department of Computer Science and Engineering,
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham,
Coimbatore, India

Technical Assistant

Mrs. B. Meenakshi
Technical Assistant,
Department of Computer Science and Engineering,
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham,
Coimbatore, India

Project Assistant

P.Gunanithi
Tribal Research Centre

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