Tribal Peoples in Kerala

Parayan

The Parayas are known as remarkable exponents of black magic. In the rural areas they used to be consulted on problems connected with theft and the Paraya magician was supposed to help recover the stolen articles. Some times they would conduct rituals of extremely demoniacal kind and even cause the death to the involved enemies.

Their favourite deity which gives them the super natural powers is named 'Purakkutty' whom they propitiate with offerings. The occupation of Parayas was making baskets and mats with bamboo and grass, and umbrellas with leaves of the Palmyra tree. Skinning the animals and selling their hides too was a favourite occupation. The Pulayas and Parayas belong to the labour classes. They were once treated as the sole property of their landlords. They were attached to the soil for all their work. But the owner of the soil had the right to sell them or transfer them to another land owner.

A Cheruman was bound to stand at a distance of 30 feet from a man of the Superior caste. He was not allowed to cross the prohibited distance and approach a village temple or tank, if this rule was broken, 'punyaham' or purification rite would inevitably follow. The Cherumars had to howl to produce a sound when they passed through the village roads, as a warning so that the others could avoid polluting themselves by keeping away.

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