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Kuravars: A Brief Cultural History

‘Kuravar’ was the generic name given to hill/forest communities of the Deccan that practised shifting cultivation, food gathering and hunting. The kuratti or singi (female belonging to Kuravar community) and the kuravan or singan (male belonging to the Kuravar community) belong to the Kurinji (hill zone). The community’s activities involve fortune telling, bird and animal hunting and curing ailments through herbs found in their region. Due to the lack of ‘credible’ historical sources, there is difficulty in understanding hill and forest tribes in relation to the State during the later medieval period. No clear facts or figures exist for populations and languages of the Kuravars since this was a term loosely associated with many hill/forest people and communities. This module attempts as close a reading as possible of the cultural history and social position of this peripheral yet significant community.