Classification Farmers, cultivators
Religions Hinduism
Languages Konkani, Malayalam
Populated States Kerala
Ethnicity Kunbis of Goa

The Kudumbi (Malayalam: കുഡുംബി, also referred to as the Kunubis, the Kurumbi, or the Kunbi) are traditionally a Konkani-speaking farming community residing in Kerala, India.[1][2] The majority of the group are farmers, laborers, and petty workers, settled across central and southern Kerala. Kudumbis are part of the larger KunbiKurmi diaspora, a generic farming community spread out over India, with the probable exception of only Jammu and Kashmir.


Goan legacy

The Kudumbi originate from the aboriginal Kunbi tribe of Goa, South West India. Kunbi, Velip, and Gowada are the prominent tribes largely settled in the southern Canacona administrative region of the state. They are of Proto-Australoid stock and are believed to be the original inhabitants of Konkan. These communities do not fall into either the Chaturvarna System or Pancham Varna like Scheduled Caste or Out Castes. Kunbi, Velip, and Gowada communities from Goa have historically been categorised as tribes by sociologists and historians. Social historians and researchers on Goa have emphasised that the customs, rituals, and religious patterns of the Kunbi, Gowada, and Velip communities are similar to the Gonda and Kol tribes and other descendant tribes in other parts of the country.

According to Goan historian Anant Ramakrishna Dhume, the Kunbi caste are modern descendants of ancient Mundari tribes. In his work, Dhume mentions several words of Mundari origin in the Konkani language and also elaborates on the deities worshipped by the ancient tribe, their customs, methods of farming, etc.[3] The Portuguese, who ruled over Goa for over 500 years, considered the Kunbi, Velip and Gowada communities as Tribu, which means tribes. The Central Government failed to extend the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order 1950 to the Union Territory of Goa, Daman, and Diu immediately after the liberation of Goa in 1961 and that was perceived as an injustice by many.[4][5] Kunbis are included in ST list in Goa state only in the year 2002.[6] It is mentioned in the book People of India by Suresh Kumar Singh, in the Anthropological Survey of India (2003), and in Gujarat (page 731) that the term 'Kunbi' is derived from kun, meaning "people", and bi, meaning "seeds". Fused together, the two terms mean "those who germinate more seeds from one seed".[7] In the book Caste and Race in India, author Sr. G S Ghurye has opinionated (page 31) the idea that "Kurmi, Kanbi and Kunbi perhaps signify the occupation of the group, viz., that of cultivation, though it is not improbable that the name may of tribal origin."[8]

In 1510 A.D, Goa was captured by the Portuguese general Alfonso Albuquerque from the Adil Shah dynasty of Bijapur, and Portuguese rule was established. In 1545 St. Francis Xavier, sent a letter to John III of Portugal, requesting an Inquisition to be installed in Goa. The inquisitor's first act was to forbid any open practice of the Hindu faith on pain of death. The Portuguese colonial administration enacted anti-Hindu laws to encourage conversions to Christianity. Prohibition was laid upon Hindu rituals as well. In all, over 42 Hindu practices were prohibited. All the people above 15 years of age were compelled to listen to Christian preaching or otherwise be punished. Several Hindu temples were destroyed as well. An order was issued for suppressing the Konkani language and making it compulsory to speak the Portuguese language. The law provided for dealing toughly with anyone using the local language. Following that law all the non-Christian cultural symbols and the books written in local languages were sought out to be destroyed. In the first hundred years, the Inquisition burned 57 alive at the stake and 64 in effigy. Others were sentenced to various punishments, totalling 4,046.[9] The Kudumbi were forced to migrate from Goa following religious persecution by the Portuguese during the said infamous Goa Inquisition. The Kudumbis, along with Gouda Saraswat Brahmins (Malayalam: ഗൌഡ് സാരസ്വത്), Daivajnas and Vaishya Vanis who wanted to preserve their religious and cultural identity, migrated from Goa along the west coast of India, primarily through sea voyages.

Some of the groups that fled Goa landed in coastal districts of state of Karnataka, that is, the Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts, and some groups voyaged further to Kerala.[10][11][12] One of these first exodus groups landed on the island of Cherai, near Paravur Taluk in the Ernakulam district of Kerala. They slowly migrated southwards from Ernakulam and settled in coastal areas including Kochi, (Cochin) Vypeen, North Paravur, Mala, Kerala, Kodungallur, Trichur, Kozhikode, Tellicherry, Kannur, Tripunithura, Alapuzha, Changanacherry, Kottayam, Thuravoor, Cherthala, Kayamkulam, Kollam, and Thiruvananthapuram. The largest Kudumbi settlement is in Vypeen near Kochi. They were experts in paddy cultivation, especially in the low-lying fields of the Kerala Backwaters, and they pioneered cultivation of the well-known "Chettiverippu" strain of paddy rice, brought from Konkan (ref. Castes and Tribes of South India by E Thurston, Volume 4, 1909).

Kunbis of Goa, ladies wearing dethli

The Census Report of India, 1961 – Volume VII, Kerala (page 210) refers to the Kudumbi community, and it is recorded that,

"As to the fact that they were originally inhabitants of the area north Goa, there can be no doubt for the language, the ornament and the mode of dress of the woman show striking similarities with the present inhabitants of that area, proclaiming common origin. They are believed to have traveled by country crafts and landed at the sea port of towns Kerala which accounts for their concentration in places like Cranganore, Cochin, Parur, Kayamkulam, Alleppey, Purakkad and Quilon".[13] A small number of the Kudumbi are also found in cities like Bangalore, Mangalore, Mumbai, and Delhi, particularly those members of the group who migrated from Kerala in search of better prospects and livelihood.

Early Cochin Princely State

No significant references are recorded about the Kudumbi Community in Kerala history. However tradition holds that Raja of Cochin gave the Gouda Saraswat Brahmins agricultural and other lands and certain other rights and privileges. The title of muppan was conferred on some respectable Kudumbi families by Rajas of Cochin to organise authority in each Kudumbi village.

According to the official census of 1901, in the pre-republic Cochin State, the Kudumbi were referred to as Kudumi Chetti or Idiya.[14](p369) In 1909, the Kudumbis were also referred to as Kudimmikars. Another popular name of the caste was Idiya (pounder) in reference to the occupation of pounding rice. Kadiya, derived from the word Ghadiyal (a person possessed), is a term of reproach.[14][15][16]

Kudumbis were agricultural labourers in the vast paddy fields owned by rich temples that were run by the Gouda Saraswat Brahmin community especially in Alapuzha, coastal areas of Ernakulam, and Kochi. Kudumbis once received a portion of their agricultural produce as payment for their labour on the lands owned by Gouda Saraswat Brahmins. Some made fireworks and others were enlisted as soldiers by the Chieftains of Malabar and used to maintain military training–grounds in many of their houses.[14](p106)

Kudumbis were secluded from mainstream Kerala society. Their culture differed from that of the Gouda Saraswat Brahmins.[17]

A group of Kudumbis may have migrated from Cochin to Travancore at the invitation of a Maharaja, Marthanda Varma and on arrival been given (free of tax) a coconut garden and land to grow rice. In return they were required to supply Avil to the palace and temple free of cost.[18][19]

In 1937, M. Krishnan (later known as Gandhi Krishnan) formed an organization called the All Cochin Kudumbi Association, whose members were Kudumbi students and youth living in Cochin. He then submitted a memorandum to the Maharaja of Cochin seeking educational fees concessions for Kudumbi students. Aware of the social and educational backwardness of the Kudumbi community, the Maharaja ordered that the Kudumbis of his state be classified as "depressed" class and granted them educational-fee concessions. Santhalyan Master (1908–1973) was nominated as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) in the legislative assembly of Cochin State. Santhalyan Master is the only MLC elected from the Kudumbi community.

The early 20th century saw a period of social, educational, and cultural upliftment of backward communities in Kerala led by reformers such as Sri Narayana Guru, Pandit Karuppan, Ayyankali, Chattampi Swami, Sahodaran Ayyappan, and Kumaran Asan. Inspired by these social reformers, Santhalyan Master and Gandhi Krishnan organised the Kudumbi community in a drive to eradicate illiteracy, superstitions, and caste discrimination.

Current status

Many Kudumbis are expert in pandal (temporary building) or tent-erection work, and numerous temples call on their services during annual festivals. Kudumbis living around the Kerala backwaters are involved in large-scale shrimp farming, fishing and working in commercial aquaculture farms, while a few of them, especially those living around Vypeen own deep sea fishing boats. Small-scale Pappad/Pappadum manufacturing is undertaken by many Kudumbis, especially around Kozhikode and Alapuzha. Despite their classification among the Kerala's "backward" communities, in general their social backwardness remains unnoticed. Smt. K. R. Gowri Amma, a prominent figure in the communist movement in Kerala and Ex-Minister, in her autobiography narrates the backwardness of Kudumbi Community as:

In the socio-political and in educational fields, the Kudumbis are backward. Very few of them are educated and officers are scarce. Kudumbi women do not wear a blouse but wrap the sari, sarong wise about them. In 1936, an association of young Kudumbis was established in Cochin and later in Travancore. In 1951, the two associations merged into one. Yet they have not achieved their rightful place in society. They have demanded that they be counted as scheduled castes. In reality their lot is worse than that of the scheduled castes..[20]

A vivid description of the Kudumbi Community is available in Chapter 13 of the book Keralathile Stala Charitrangal, Eranakulam Jilla[21] It is noted by the learned author that the main agricultural laborers in the islands around Kochi have been from the Pulaya and Kudumbi castes. It is also observed that during the Portuguese period, a lot of people belonging to the Pulaya and Mukkuva castes were converted to Christianity. However Kudumbis adhered to their religion and language until the last leg.[21]

In 1956, with the formation of the unified Kerala State under the Republic of India, education-fee concessions given to the Cochin Kudumbis were extended to cover the Travancore and Malabar regions. For the last few decades, the community has progressed educationally and financially to some extent, thanks to the Land Reforms Act and educational concessions granted by the State Government. The community enjoys job reservation under Other Backward Classes OBC. The community is in the vanguard alongside other mainstream communities in competing to improve their social and economic status. There are a small number of elected representatives from the community in various gram panchayats (local self-governments), block panchayats and municipal corporations, especially in pockets where the community has a decisive voting majority.

The community is officially classified as being within the Socially and Economically Backward Communities (SEBC)[22] by the State Government. Many students have utilized the benefits of reservation legislation to improve their lives. A mass struggle and hunger strike were organized by the social organization Kudumbi Seva Sanghom (KSS) during 2006–2007, demanding a 1% reservation for Kudumbis seeking admission to various professional courses in Kerala. In 2008 the State Government finally acceded to the demand vide GO (MS)No.95/08/SC/ST dated 06.10.2008. Further, the Kudumbi community is totally exempted from the creamy layer.[23] Kudumbi Community is one among eight communities having hereditary occupations/calling, which had been excluded from the category of 'creamy layer' on account of its "Social Backwardness" as per GO (P) No.81/09/SCSTDD dated 26 September 2009.[24]

In the long run, this opportunity will help to remove the inherent social and educational backwardness of the community. The educated younger generation understands the value of education and voluntarily supporting the student community by organizing workshops, tuitions, scholarships, and monetary support. The once socially introvert and reserved community now actively participates in social, cultural, and political activities in their localities.[25] In 2014 K.V. Bhaskaran[26] contested as an independent candidate from Ernakulam parliamentary constituency in the Lok Sabha elections. He contested in the Lok Sabha elections to raise certain unfulfilled social demands raised by the kudumbi community during the last five decades.[27]

Caste status

Before independence, the Maharaja of Kochi, classified the Kudumbis of Kerala as a depressed class. However, after India became a republic in 1950, the name of the community was omitted from the list of Scheduled Castes. Repeated representations for inclusion of the Kudumbis in the Scheduled Caste list of the Kerala state were sent by Kudumbi seva Sangham, augmented with support from major politicians and notable people. Despite these efforts, inclusion of Kudumbi community in the SC/ST still remains unfulfilled.

In 1967, the Kerala state government recommended the inclusion of this community in the list of Scheduled Castes. In 1969, the parliamentary select committee visited Kerala for the ethnic study. They collected evidence from Govt. officials, local representatives and social workers. On 23 September 1969, the committee recommended the inclusion of the Kudumbi community in the Scheduled Castes list. The government accepted the recommendation and introduced an amendment bill including 42 communities in which Kudumbi community was listed twentieth. But due to some unfavorable events the above bill could not be passed in parliament.

The KIRTADS[28] submitted a report stating that the Kudumbis should be included in the Scheduled Caste list.[29] After his election on 23 March 1987, and when challenged in court, K. Karunakaran, former chief minister of Kerala, supported inclusion of Kudumbis in the list.[30] United Democratic Front (UDF)had assured to use maximum pressure on the center for including the Kudumbies in the SC list.[31][32] However the legitimate claim of the Kudumbi Community stands in the ST list and not in SC List. On 10 March 2008, Veerendra Kumar, member of parliament (MP) of the 14th Lok Sabha, writer and chairman and managing director of Mathrubhumi press, made mention before the parliament under rule 377 concerning the classification of the Kudumbis. He pointed to the community's poverty, low level of literacy, and lack of ability to take any important government position.[33] On 4 May 2012, K. P. Dhanapalan MP, also made a special mention to the parliament about the classification of the Kudumbis.[34] In December 2011 in New Delhi, and on 30 May 2012 in Kochi a public protest was organised by supporters of the rights of the Kudumbi, including the Janathipathiya Samrakshana Samithy (Association for Defence of Democracy, J.S.S.) to demand inclusion of the community in the list of Scheduled Castes.

In her autobiography, political activist, K. R. Gowri Amma wrote,

"In the socio-political and in educational fields, the Kudumbis are backward... They have demanded that they be counted as scheduled castes. In reality their lot is worse than that of the scheduled castes."[35]

Kudubis of Karnataka (who were migrated from Goa and settled in the coastal districts of Kartaka) are non – scheduled tribes . They are also suffering from problems including non – recognition as a tribe in Karnataka (Caste Practices and influences Affecting Tribals – A Case study of Kudubis of Karnataka by Dr. Y Ravindranath Rao)[36][37] Kudubis of Karnataka has also urged state government to include them in the Scheduled Tribe list.[38][39]


The Kudumbis speak their own dialect of the Konakani Language, which closely resembles original Goan Konkani. Kudumbis colloquially refer to Konkani as Kudumbi Bhaash (mother tongue of the Kudumbi). The older generation still prefers to speak this pure "Kudumbi Bhaash". Many among older generation can sing folk songs in Kudumbi Bhaash dedicated to Kurumba-Bhagavathy. Due to prolonged socio-economic pressures to maintain a bi-lingual format for verbal communication, Konkani has shifted towards the Malayalam language. This change is more pronounced among Kudumbis. For many decades there was no unified official script for Konkani until 1987 when it was declared the official language of Goa with Devanagari as its official script. As a result, many Kudumbi prefer Malayalam script for written and oral communication. There are a number of scholars in the community who have contributed significantly to Konkani literature in Kerala while Kudumbi Seva Sangham has regularly participated in all India conferences, forums organised by Akhil Bharat Konkani Parishad, Goa, and similar organisations. To nurture the Konkani language among Konkani-speaking communities, teaching in Konkani began in three government schools located around the Western Ernakulam district where there is a sizable Kudumbi population in 2009. Many students participate in Konkani poetry recitations during annual cultural competitions organised by Kudumbi Seva Sangham. Kudumbis living around Vypeen, Kodungallor, North Paravoor, and the Trichur district speak the purest form of Konkani compared to other localities in southern Kerala. Konkani is regarded as the Amma Bhaash (mother language) and Malayalam as the Pootah Bhaash meaning the language by which one earns a livelihood. Kerala Government has recently initiated steps to recognise Konkani speaking community as a Linguistic minority in Kerala. As a pioneering step taken by the Kerala government,[40] Konkani Sahitya Academy- Kerala was inaugurated in Kochi on 2 March 2013. It comprises 21 nominated members from various Konkani speaking socio-cultural groups in Kerala. It also includes the nominees from Kudumbi community.

Traditions and culture

The Kudumbis have a cultural heritage derived from their ancestors, the Goan Kunbis, Its worth mentioning that Marathi Saint and poet Sant Tukaram were Kunbis who lived in the Maharashtra state. Every Kudumbi family makes an annual pilgrimage to Tirumala - Tirupati to seek the darshan (glimpse of the deity) of Lord Venkateshwara, offer their [Anguvanna] (preserved Hundi collection), and pray for the family's prosperity. Kudumbis also conduct the Satyanarayana Puja to commemorate special occasions in their temples. This puja (Hindu observance) is also conducted in many Kudumbi households. Kudumbis have adopted Shakti/Devi-puja (mother goddess) as a part of their religious tradition. Kudumbis worship Kurumba-Bhagavathy of Kodungallor as their Kuldevta (mother deity). The Kochu Kodungallur devi (goddess) temples at Changanacherry and Kollam prove the devotion and historic connection of the Kudumbis with the Kurumba-Bhagavathy. Legend says that Kurumba-Bhagavathy had protected the Kudumbi community during the exodus from Goa. Kudumbis from all over Kerala annually visit the Kurumba-Bhagavathy temple, preferably on the 1st day of Makaram in the Malayalam calendar, equivalent to January–February in the Gregorian calendar. Many Kudumbi women also offer the Suhasini puja to the devi on the same day in this temple. They also participate in the Onnam Talapoli (a traditional right given to Kudumbis to conduct the first Talapoli on this day). The occasion is also an informal matrimonial gathering for many Kudumbi families. Marriage alliances are negotiated by the elders for their children and grand children and many marriages are fixed.

Konkan cuisine features Gessi, a spicy dish made from chickpeas, Kala chana, Kadala parripu (in Malayalam), and chonno (in Konkani) served during community functions. Patravaado is a leafy vegetable dish, which is highly nutritious and tasty. It is prepared from the large leaves of the root vegetable colocasia, taro, or chembu (in Malayalam). Items made from "avil" or beaten rice, are also popular.

Traditionally, the Kudumbi follow a patriarchal system within the family. The bride's maternal uncle is given a special honor during various marriage ceremonies. The pre-marriage ceremony starts with the engagement, which is nowadays conducted at the girl's residence. In few localities the parents invite the local community members for the traditional Bommsaru. During the Bommsaru the marriage is formally announced and all are invited en masse. Prior to the official engagement or ring exchange, nowadays a non-ceremonial function is conducted at the boy's house. This is a mutual get together where the would-be relatives from both sides get acquainted. It is also a visit by the girl's party in her future home. After the engagement, the boy's party haa to honor the maternal uncle of the girl and get his formal consent for the marriage. This custom is also called mallam-ponno (visiting uncle's house). Prior to the marriage ceremony, the ceremony called sakkido is conducted, which involves five noble men (called sajjari or chow-gule) from the bridegroom's locality visiting the bride's house. They give her dressing materials and some traditional items as gifts. In former days when the marriage was held at the bridegroom's house, after the visit of the sakkido, the bride was supposed to be handed over respectfully to bridegroom's family. The marriage is officially completed by tying the traditional mangalsutra or thaali and finally by performing the saptapadi (seven steps). Unlike the Keralite Aalila thaali (resembling a Pipal leaf), the traditional Kudumbi thaali is a round golden locket containing the ensign of goddess Mahalakshmi with two black beads tied to it. The recent trendy hybrid thaali is the Aalila thaali with the ensign of the goddess Mahalakshmi, found widely used by the younger generation.

Marriage is now a one-day affair, which asserts an individual's social and financial status especially among the neo-rich, a practice gradually being emulated by lower income groups. Most Kudumbi marriage customs are camouflaged by local customs and in practice are few. The dowry system which was unheard-of in the community, has become a necessary social evil in many Kudumbi marriages. The recent trend of marrying a non-community partner is fast catching up, especially found among the creamy layer or professionals. Preference of economic prosperity over the cultural identity and scarcity in getting matching alliances in the nearest localities are the possible reasons for this trend. Though not alarming now, it might lead to social imbalance, affecting the identity of the minority status of kudumbis.

Seemantham (also known as pulikudi or jawana) is performed during the seventh month of pregnancy. On an auspicious day, relatives of both in-laws visit the pregnant lady. A special item called polli (in Kudumbi) and seven types of sweets are distributed. Elder women and in-laws then bless the lady for a good progeny.

According to the Kudumbi tradition, the naming ceremony for a newborn baby is called shetti although this has now been replaced with the local tradition of irupattiettukettal. The ceremony takes place on the 28th or 56th day after the child's birth – the first time that the nakshatram (star) of the child repeats according to the Malayalam calendar.

A period of ten days is observed in mourning for the deceased. After that, the last rites or shraaddha and spindi ceremonies are performed on the twelfth day and led by the eldest son of the family. According to a priest or astrologer's advice, the shraaddha ceremony may involve a homa, or fire sacrifice, in which offerings are made to the ancestors and to the gods to ensure the deceased has a peaceful afterlife. Thirteen noble men from the locality, preferably non-blood relatives who have already performed last rites for their departed parents, are honoured with a feast and given alms. They bless the bereaved family and pray for the eternal peace of the departed soul. Thereafter all the nearest relatives and local contacts participate in the feast. The traditional Kudumbi shraaddha ceremony is in accordance with the authorized Hindu sacred text – Guruda Purana.

After one year, the same rites are conducted on the same day also known as orsikkau (in Konkani). Some visit holy places like Aluva or Varkala to bury the mortal remains of the deceased in the river or sea shore and thereby finish the last rites. The Kudumbis of the Alapuzha, Kollam, and Kottayam districts give more prominence to the spindi ceremony conducted on the 12th day, whereas those from the Ernakulam and Trichur districts give more prominence to the sanjayanam (immersion of ashes) ceremony conducted on the 3rd to 5th day after death. This a typical example of the cultural diffusion found in Kudumbi customs. Unlike the kerala tradition, as per Kudumbi traditions, the grandchildren of the deceased are not supposed to perform any last rites if their parents are alive. Nowadays many of them go for the Nalambalam pilgrimage, a visit to four temples dedicated to four Brothers of Lord Sri Rama, on a single day during the month of Karkidom (Malayalam calendar).

Cultural diffusion and language convergence

For decades the Kudumbi led a socially secluded life. During the late 19th century in Kerala, when a socio-cultural revival took place in many backward communities, the Kudumbi opened themselves up to mainstream socio-cultural and economic developments. Unfortunately, newer socio-economic and cultural changes in the community spurred a slow reverse cultural diffusion.[19] This has created a language shift among the younger generation, who now prefer to speak Malayalam to Konkani, with Malayalam also used for written communication. The convergence of the Konkani and Malayalam languages is more pronounced among the Kudumbi. Unlike their Konkani peers, Kudumbis have no spiritual Guru or pontiff, no central authority and no dominant figure in the community. As a result, many Kudumbi customs have regional disparities and many have vanished from its cultural ethos altogether. Mainstream peer influences compelled many to blindly adopt the local or dominant socio-cultural values. But in spite of this cultural diffusion, funeral rites (antyesti) rites and some religious ceremonies (poojas) are widely conducted according to Kudumbi customs.

Kudumbi temples

Traditionally, many Kudumbi localities have their own devili (temples) that are owned by a trust, committee, or family from the local community. Most of the Kudumbi temples are dedicated to Devi or Vishnu, although a few of them to Lord Shiva. Following the exodus to Kerala, the Kudumbi were unable to maintain contact with their Goan brethren such that for decades the Kudumbi have absorbed other local cultures into their ethos. Unlike other Konkani-speaking communities, the Kudumbis do not have any traditional kuldevtas (family deities) in their temples. They are built using traditional Kerala temple architecture and follow the rituals, customs traditions, festivals, and pujas in the Kerala thantric tradition. The pujarii or priests in Kudumbi temples are usually Gouda Saraswat Brahmins, Nampoothiris or Ezhavas, and few temples have priests from the Kudumbi community. Kudumbis worship Sri Kurumba Bhagavathi of Kodungallor as their kuladevi. The annual festivals in Kudumbi temples may last for three to ten days. The women offer a traditional puja popularly known as Suvasini or the Suhasini Puja, which is performed exclusively in Kudumbi temples. In order to commemorate special occasions, the Satyanarayana Puja is conducted in some Kudumbi temples.

According to Kerala tradition, the ceremony of Talapoli, as a procession of ladies carrying oil lamps accompanied by chenda (percussion instruments) or tappu melam, can be seen during the festivals in these devi temples. The traditional haampu (multi-stacked portable brass lamp or a similar stone lamp) found in a number of Kudumbi temples is lit on special puja days. Votive items made from Aval (puffed rice) or beaten rice and jaggery are still offered as prasadam in many Kudumbi temples. Holi, the festival of colors, is celebrated in many Devi temples by the Kudumbi. During this festival, "Kamadeva" (Bodhan) the symbolic entity of "Kama" will be burnt to fire, purifying the life of all who participate in the festival. There will be a procession on the streets where all the participants will be applying colour each other, dancing with songs sung in Kudumbi language. Youngsters and children go in a group, pour yellow water from the pot kept in front of every house, and finally gather at their local devili temple.[41] In the night there will be a special group dance by women (fuguda) by gathering in a circle and clapping and doing brisk movements. After this there will be delicious dinner and food will be offered to souls. Even Kudumbis of Karnataka, who had migrated from Goa along with their brethren in Kerala and other places continue to celebrate their traditional festival 'holi' by preserving their own unique culture.[42][43]


Holi, Onam, Vishu, Navarathri, Ashtami Rohini, Sivarathri, Nagapanchami and the Mandala Puja are some of the festivals celebrated by the Kudumbi. Onam and Vishu are Kerala festivals which have been adapted as Kudumbi traditional festivals. These festivities all have regional variations.

Social organizations

Kudumbi Seva Sanghom (KSS), Kerala Kudumbi Federation, Kudumbi Seva Samiti, Kudumbi Samajam, Kudumbi Karayogams, and Kudumbi Mahajana Sabha-Vypeen are the social organizations representing the community in Kerala. KSS is the predominant organization representing the majority of Kudumbis in Kerala, and it supports the social, educational and cultural uplifting of the community.

Educational institutions

See also


  1. Loes Ch. Schenk-Sandbergen (1988). Poverty and survival: Kudumbi female domestic servants and their households in Alleppey, Kerala. Manohar Publications. p. 37. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  2. Georges Kristoffel Lieten; Olga Nieuwenhuys; Loes Ch. Schenk-Sandbergen; Werkgemeenschap Zuid-Azië (1 June 1989). Women, migrants, and tribals: survival strategies in Asia. Manohar Publications. p. 124. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  3. Dhume, Anant Ramkrishna (1986). The cultural history of Goa from 10000 B.C.-1352 A.D.(see pages 53, 94, 83, 95)
  4. Parliamentary Committee Observation /recommendation regarding inclusion of Gowada, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Communities of Goa in the list of Scheduled Tribes
  5. Parliamentary Committee Observation /recommendation regarding inclusion of Gowada, Kunbi, Velip and Dhangar Communities of Goa in the list of Scheduled Tribes
  6. Caste system in Goa
  7. Singh, K.S.; Lal, R.B.; Anthropological Survey of India (2003). Gujarat. Anthropological Survey of India. ISBN 9788179911044. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  8. Ghurye, G.S. (1969). Caste and Race in India. Popular Prakashan. ISBN 9788171542055. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  9. Goa Inquisition
  10. Tribal Tradition and Change: A study of Kudubis of South India, by Dr. Y Ravindranath Rao.
  11. Rao, Y.R. (2003). Tribal Tradition and Change: A Study of Kudubis of South India. Mangala Publications. ISBN 9788188685004. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  12. "IUAES AAS ASAANZ Conference 2011". anthropologywa.org. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  13. The Census Report of India (1961). Vol. VII, Kerala, p. 210.
  14. 1 2 3 Thurston E. Castes and Tribes of South India. 1909, Volume 4.
  15. Menon M. Census of India – 1901– Volume XX A- Cochin Part II Imperial Tables p76 – 78.
  16. Anantha L and Iyer K. The Cochin Tribe and Castes. Diwan, Bahadur, 1909 Volume 2 Chapter 14 p386.
  17. Larsen K. "Faces of Goa and Kudumbi: a journey through history and cultural evolution." Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 8121205840, 9788121205849.
  18. Marthanda Varma (1706–1758). Travancore State Archives records.
  19. 1 2 Thampuran R. "Convergence and language shift: a case study of the Kudumbis of Kerala." Ciil-ebooks website.
  20. 'Atmakatha', by K R Gouri Amma
  21. 1 2 Sri. V V K Valath (1991). Keralathile Stala Charitrangal, Eranakulam Jilla. Second Edition, 2006, published by Kerala Sahitya Academy.
  22. SEBC list of Kerala State Govt
  23. GO(MS)No.95/08/SC/ST dated 6 October 2008
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