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Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Preface
Abbreviations
Glossary
Part I: Understanding Nomadic and Denotified Communities
Chapter 1: Nomadic and Denotified Tribes: A Bird’s Eye View
Chapter 2: Stigmatized Communities in India: A Human Rights Perspective
Chapter 3: Tribes with Stigma: Historical and Legal Status
Part II: Status of Nomadic and Denotified Tribes under Colonial Rule
Chapter 4: Colonial Rule and Criminal Tribes: A Study of Criminal Tribes Acts in Andhra Pradesh, 1871-1965
Chapter 5: Establishment of Criminal Tribe Settlements in Andhra: A Historical Survey
Chapter 6: Tribes in Transition: A Study of Selected Denotified Tribes in Andhra Pradesh
Chapter 7: Colonialism and Ex-Criminal Tribes: A Profile of Lingala Settlement in Telangana
Chapter 8: Criminal Tribes Acts and Ex-Criminal Tribes of the United Provinces
Chapter 9: Historical Profile of Koravas and Koramars/ Korachas in Karnataka
Chapter 10: Policy Recommendations and the Status of Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic and Denotified Communities: A Brief on Karnataka’s Experience
Part III: Administrative Arrangements and Development Issues
Chapter 11: General Conditions and Administration in Settlements: A Case Study of Siddhapuram and Stuartpuram
Chapter 12: Fiscal Management of Denotified Tribe Settlements in Andhra Pradesh
Chapter 13: Economic Profile of Denotified Tribe Settlements in Andhra Pradesh: A Study of Siddhapuram Settlement
Chapter 14: Perceptions and Approaches to ‘Criminals’ and Non-Criminals in Madras Presidency: Colonial Bureaucracy, Missionaries and Settlement Managers
Chapter 15: ‘Criminal’ Tribes in the Princely State of Mysore: Measures of Surveilance
Chapter 16: Land Allotment and Cultivation: Andhra Pradesh
Chapter 17: Industrial Settlements for Ex-Criminal Tribes
Chapter 18: Developmental Challenges, with Special Reference to Andhra Pradesh
Chapter 19: Development of Nomadic/Denotified Tribes: Official Reports and Recommendations
Part IV: Health and Education
Chapter 20: Health Interventions by Missionaries: A Study of Ex-Settlements in Andhra Pradesh
Chapter 21: Education of Children: Madras Presidency Experience
Chapter 22: Erosion of Tribal Dialects and Cultural Forms: A Study of Yerukulas
Chapter 23: Life Skills Education and Human Capital: The Case of Tribal Children
Part V: Reform and Change in South India
Chapter 24: Tradition and Change: A Case of Waddars of South India
Chapter 25: Denotified Tribes in Andhra Pradesh: Social Reform and Rehabilitation
Chapter 26: Case Studies: Life Sketeches of Reformed Ex-Criminals of Stuartpuram Settlement
Chapter 27: Conclusion
Appendix
Bibliography
Index
Biographical Notes of Vakulabharanam Lalitha and Vakulabharanam Ramakrishna
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DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA Social stigmatization is a virtual curse imposed on certain Indian social sections by the colonial government as part of their contextual political strategies by late nineteenth century. The so-called denotified tribes (formerly known as ex-criminal tribes) in Indian society occupy this state-made category. Untouchability, on the other, was a Hindu cultural construct created and propagated by dominant upper classes. Legacy of these cultural/social and historical constructs continues till date in the country. According to the latest survey reports, India has 198 groups belonging to nomadic and denotified tribes: unorganized, scattered and utter nobodies. Social justice is alien to them and economic disempowerment eventually resulted in slavery, bonded labour and poverty. Public welfare measures pay scant attention to the issue of reform and rehabilitation of these sections and, they are made to suffer from an identity crisis today. Most of these communities are split under reserved categories: Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes. They rarely availed reservation facilities and other social welfare benefits which they are entitled to. A considerably large number of these communities are living in abject conditions: social, economic and political. The work tries to present a narrative detailing the conditions of denotified tribes during colonial and post-colonial India. And the undeclared wish in doing so is to seek the attention of those in policy-making and decision-making bodies under the Indian government. Malli Gandhi is presently working as Professor of History at Regional Institute of Education, NCERT, Mysore. His areas of interest are nomadic, semi-nomadic and denotified communities. He has published articles on criminal tribes, nomadic, semi-nomadic and denotified tribes in international and national journals. His earlier works on tribes include Development of Denotified Tribes: Policy and Practice (2006); Denotified Tribes: Dimensions of Change (2008); Tribes under Stigma: Problems of Identity (2009); Denotified Tribes: Retrospect and Prospect (2014); Educating Tribal Children: Issues, Concerns and Remedies (2014). Kompalli H.S.S. Sundar obtained his Doctorate from Central University, Hyderabad. His academic work is enriched by his experiences in social development sector. He was associated with two major social reform and rehabilitation drives in respect of denotified tribes and Jogini women undertaken by the reputed social reformer couple of Andhra, late Dr. Hemalata Lavanam and Lavanam. He has penned various articles, reports and academic monographs on the field work and represented the cause of reform and rehabilitation on various national and international forums. He has co-authored the latest biography on Hemalata Lavanam (as part of national biography series) published by NBT, Govt. of India.

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA Discrimination, Development and Change

MALLI GANDHI K O M P A L L I H. S. S. S U N D A R

MANOHAR 2019

First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 Malli Gandhi and Kompalli H.S.S. Sundar, and Manohar Publishers & Distributors The right of Malli Gandhi and Kompalli H.S.S. Sundar to be identified as authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Print edition not for sale in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan or Bhutan) British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-0-367-86182-7 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-01762-2 (ebk) Typeset in ITC Galliard Std 10/12 by Manohar, New Delhi 110 002

Essays in honour of VAKULABHARANAM LALITHA

and VAKULABHARANAM RAMAKRISHNA*

* For biographical notes see pp. 455-6.

Contents

List of Illustrations

11

List of Tables

13

Preface

15

Abbreviations

19

Glossary

21 PART I: UNDERSTANDING NOMADIC AND DENOTIFIED COMMUNITIES

1. Nomadic and Denotified Tribes: A Bird’s Eye View

25

2. Stigmatized Communities in India: A Human Rights Perspective

32

3. Tribes with Stigma: Historical and Legal Status

50

PART II: STATUS OF NOMADIC AND DENOTIFIED TRIBES UNDER COLONIAL RULE 4. Colonial Rule and Criminal Tribes: A Study of Criminal Tribes Acts in Andhra Pradesh, 1871-1965

75

5. Establishment of Criminal Tribe Settlements in Andhra: A Historical Survey

85

6. Tribes in Transition: A Study of Selected Denotified Tribes in Andhra Pradesh

105

7. Colonialism and Ex-Criminal Tribes: A Profile of Lingala Settlement in Telangana

115

8. Criminal Tribes Acts and Ex-Criminal Tribes of the United Provinces

121

9. Historical Profile of Koravas and Koramars/ Korachas in Karnataka

134

8

CONTENTS

10. Policy Recommendations and the Status of Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic and Denotified Communities: A Brief on Karnataka’s Experience

147

PART III: ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES 11. General Conditions and Administration in Settlements: A Case Study of Siddhapuram and Stuartpuram

157

12. Fiscal Management of Denotified Tribe Settlements in Andhra Pradesh

171

13. Economic Profile of Denotified Tribe Settlements in Andhra Pradesh: A Study of Siddhapuram Settlement

188

14. Perceptions and Approaches to ‘Criminals’ and Non-Criminals in Madras Presidency: Colonial Bureaucracy, Missionaries and Settlement Managers

197

15. ‘Criminal’ Tribes in the Princely State of Mysore: Measures of Surveilance

222

16. Land Allotment and Cultivation: Andhra Pradesh

229

17. Industrial Settlements for Ex-Criminal Tribes

240

18. Developmental Challenges, with Special Reference to Andhra Pradesh

257

19. Development of Nomadic/Denotified Tribes: Official Reports and Recommendations

277

PART IV: HEALTH AND EDUCATION 20. Health Interventions by Missionaries: A Study of Ex-Settlements in Andhra Pradesh

291

21. Education of Children: Madras Presidency Experience

303

22. Erosion of Tribal Dialects and Cultural Forms: A Study of Yerukulas

317

23. Life Skills Education and Human Capital: The Case of Tribal Children

337

9

CONTENTS

PART V: REFORM AND CHANGE IN SOUTH INDIA 24. Tradition and Change: A Case of Waddars of South India

349

25. Denotified Tribes in Andhra Pradesh: Social Reform and Rehabilitation

365

26. Case Studies: Life Sketeches of Reformed Ex-Criminals of Stuartpuram Settlement

386

27. Conclusion

426

Appendix

431

Bibliography

435

Index

447

Biographical Notes of Vakulabharanam Lalitha and Vakulabharanam Ramakrishna

455

Illustrations*

(between pp. 240-1) 1. Visit by AP Chief Minister, Jalagam Vengal Rao along with officials and reformer Lavanam to Stuartpuram Settlement (1974) 2. Photograph depicting the conditions of inhabitants of Stuartpuram Settlement (1974) 3. Interaction between Cabinet Minister and family members of Stuartpuram Settlement (1974) 4. Reformer Hemalata Lavanam with a family in Stuartpuram Settlement (1974) 5. Atheist leader and reformer Gora is seen addressing a community gathering in Stuartpuram Settlement (1974) 6. Reformer Hemalata Lavanam with a family in Kapparalla Tippa Settlement (1974) 7. Students from ANR College, Gudivada, Krishna district and youth from Stuartpuram Settlement during an NSS Camp organized by Hemalata and Lavanam in Stuartpuram Settlement (1974) 8. A community counselling session in progress with Hemalata Lavanam in Stuartpuram Settlement (1974) 9. Reformer Hemalata Lavanam in a community gathering with Minister and officials in Stuartpuram Settlement (1974) 10. Hemalata Lavanam seen with a reformed family standing in the local agricultural field during the time of paddy harvest on the land donated by AP Government near Romperu drain (1975) 11. Reformer Hemalata Lavanam visiting an agricultural field along with members from Kapparalla Tippa Settlement (1975) 12. Reformer Lavanam in the agricultural field near Kapparalla Tippa Settlement (1975) * Photographs collected from Archives of Samskar, Athiest Centre, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.

12

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

13. Reformer couple, Hemalata and Lavanam with the members of a reformed family of Stuartpuram Settlement and officials in the filed during paddy harvest (1975) 14. The first ever Criminal Reformation Conference in South India was organized by reformer couple, Hemalata and Lavanam at the Atheist Centre, Vijayawada. 15. Reformed ex-prisoners of KRIS (NGO), Stockholm, Sweden during their visit to reformed inhabitants of Stuartpuram colony as part of an official exchange programme sponsored by SIDA, Sweden. 16. Vallagi Isaku receiving agricultural implements (after surrender at the behest of reformer couple) at the hands of Cabinet Minister Narasa Reddy (1974) 17. Vallagi Isaku (surrendered in 1974) later became a Gospel Preacher. 18. Ms Kristin Bryhni, Chairperson of HAMU, Norway (partner agency in the reform and rehabilitation programmes in Stuartpuram) interacting with young girls from reformed families during one of her visits (2007) 19. Mr. Levi Fragell, former Chairman of International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and chief supporter of reform and rehabilitation programmes in Stuartpuram is seen with reformer Lavanam during an annual event in Stuartpuram colony (2009) 20. In a rare photograph taken during 2006, reformer Hemalata Lavanam is seen with those reformed inhabitants of Stuartpuram colony whom she helped in the process of voluntary surrender and mainstream rehabilitation

Tables

1.1: 3.1: 3.2: 9.1: 14.1: 15.1: 17.1: 20.1: 21.1: 21.2: 22.1: 22.2: 25.1: 25.2:

Number of Denotified and Nomadic Tribes in India Vulnerabilities of NTs and DNTs Most Vulnerable Denotified Communities in India Statement Showing Names of Koramar Villages in the State of Karnataka Measures Taken by District Collectors to Strengthen CT Settlements Tribes Declared as Criminal in Mysore under the 1916 CT Act Number of Christians in the Settlements Awards to Promote Good Health and Sanitation among Settlers Working of Educational Institutions in Various Settlements Recommendations of the Directors of Public Instruction Some Yerukula Words Spoken in Andhra and Telangana Regions Code Words Used by the Yerukulas Findings of the Baseline Survey on Four Decades of Social Reform in Stuartpuram Colony Salvation Army and Samskar – A Comparison of Approaches

27 64 65 140 203 224 254 296 305 313 326 329 382 384

Preface

IN THE AFTERMATH of 1857 revolt, the colonial rule had in place various measures that aligned and realigned Indian systems of governance (socio-economic as well as socio-political) and introduced policies that tried to clip Indian social groups. Economic, political and social factors weighed in favour of changing decisions of the colonial government. Events from mid-nineteenth century were crucial in Indian history as the period constituted a historical transition. Colonial revenue and economic policies after midnineteenth century were tailor-made to suit the contemporary situations. They had concomitant effects not only on systems of indigenous governance, but also on the social configuration of various Indian groups. The economic policies, in particular the colonial forest policies, either displaced or limited the natural rights of Indian tribes. To conveniently avoid legal entanglements and unnecessary friction, the colonial state declared a number of Indian tribes as ‘criminal tribes’ and confined them either to fetters or new habitat locations (known as criminal tribe settlements). Interestingly there was a historical coincidence between the enactment of the first Forest Act (1865) and passage of the first Criminal Tribes Act (1871). The Forest Act of 1865 was a precursor to the draconian Forest Act of 1878 which truncated the centuries-old traditional use by communities of their forests and secured the colonial government’s control over them. To further consolidate and legitimize their control over forests, the British successively passed the Forest Act VII of 1878 amended by Act V of 1890, Act XII of 1891, Act V of 1901 and Act XV of 1911. Like the Forest Acts, the colonial government had successive legislations in place dealing with the criminal tribes – the 1871 CT Act (first applied to Bengal and then to other regions), the 1911 CT Act (stigmatizing 198 communities across the country) and the 1924 Criminal Tribes Act (amended). In addition to the Forest Acts, the Criminal Tribe legislations put many an Indian tribe to untold suffering. Having lost control over natural habitats, social relations and familial bonds, members of criminal tribes across the country were made to suffer under the draconian laws of the colonial state.

16

PREFACE

India witnessed a strange situation where a law declared even newborn babies as criminals by birth. Till the dawn of independence the Criminal Tribes Act was in operation and was first repealed in 1947 by the Madras government. The free Indian state declassified these tribes and named them denotified communities and freed them from the forced tag of criminality. Official recognition for the denotified communities was to come later in the year 1952. The problem with most Denotified Tribes (DNT) is the issue of mainstreaming. It also means how best these people are allowed to participate in the socialization process. These are (mainstreaming and socialization) the benchmarks for further action plans. Once the families enjoy a comfortable acceptance into the surrounding society, the rest is easy for activists as well as researchers. It is imperative against this background to engage attention in mapping out the efforts of civil society (including organizations, individuals, leaders from DNT communities) and the police administration in trying to wean them away from delinquent habits and opt for a settled life. Otherwise the social dimension of the DNT problem would get complicated. There is hardly any official statistical information available on DNTs (not even the basic information on their population size). Therefore, there is a need to study the developmental programmes/ social security programmes introduced by the government for the rehabilitation of DNTs. Such programmes hardly reach the targeted groups because many of these tribes do not have permanent settlements. The present work analyses and weaves a historical account of the conditions of these communities in south India with particular reference to present-day Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and also Karnataka. At the outset, the work focuses on the implications of Criminal Tribes Acts, profiling of the conditions in settlements spread across the region, management aspects of the settlements, problems in rehabilitation and efforts of various agencies, post-Independence changes in the conditions of settlements, case studies of major settlements established by the colonial government, growth of education and problems, challenges of transition and development as emerged during the last few decades. The work presents a panoramic view of the conditions during the colonial and post-colonial eras within the gamut of transition, change and continuum. This volume is a contribution to the understanding of the problem of DNTs throwing light on all the major settlements. Also it serves as a reference

PREFACE

17

book to other scholars who would like to probe further into the conditions from a contemporary social perspective. There are five parts in the present study. Part I deals with issues such as understanding nomadic and denotified communities with a focus on topics like nomadic, semi-nomadic and denotified communities in India. Part II deals with the status of nomadic and denotified tribes under colonial rule. This section covers issues such as colonial rule and criminal tribes. Part III highlights the administrative arrangements and development issues. This section covers wide ranging issues such as general conditions and administration in settlements. Part IV deals with health and educational issues concerning the DNTs. Part V is devoted to reform and change in south India. The entire study is based on primary sources and contemporary records including vernaculars and field-study reports/surveys. We state with all humility at our command that we have made use of archival resources so far untapped. At the outset, we sincerely thank Sri P.S. Krishnan and his wife Dr. Shanta (former Professor, Department of Education, Zakir Hussain Centre, JNU, New Delhi) for their personal support in clarifying various academic issues involved in tribal development. We equally thank Dr. Bhupender Singh, IAS (former Secretary to Government of India), Dr. Shivanandan, IAS (former Secretary to Government of Kerala), Sri Madhava Rao, IAS (former Chief Secretary to Government of Andhra Pradesh) and Sri K.R. Venugopal, IAS (former Secretary to Government of Andhra Pradesh) for their moral support. We sincerely thank late Lavanam and late Dr. Hemalatha Lavanam (the pioneering social reformers and social activists in postIndependence south India) for their inputs, advice and support during fieldwork and preparation of draft for the current volume. We thankfully acknowledge the painstaking efforts of late Dr. V. Lalitha who collected rare archival material which we used in the reconstruction of the present narrative. We fondly recall our association with Dr. V. Rajagopal, Dr. V. Vamsicharan and Mrs. V. Vidya in encouraging us to complete this academic endeavour. We are indebted to all the village elders and inhabitants in the former settlements of Siddhapuram, Stuartpuram, Kapparallatippa, Sitanagaram and Lingala in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, with whom we had detailed interactions. Valuable information provided by them has been utilized for analysis in the current study. We immensely thank Sri Rafi Ahmad, Headmaster of DNT School (Kapparallatippa),

18

PREFACE

Smt. Deta Pabe, Headmistress of Salvation Army Aided Primary School (Stuartpuram), Sri D. Hussain, Headmaster of Government Denotified Tribal Elementary School (Siddhapuram), Sri N. Peter Smiles, Headmaster of Government Upper Primary DNT School (Sitanagaram) and all the teaching staff working in the five DNT schools for providing necessary information and helping in the execution of research tools. We are indebted to all the parents in the DNT colonies, community leaders, and children in the selected schools whose help has gone a long way in formulating some of the valid conclusions in the book. We are grateful to District Education Officers, Mandal Education Officers and Mandal Resource Persons for their cooperation, information and timely help. We sincerely thank Prof. Podile Appa Rao, Vice-Chancellor, University of Hyderabad for all his support from our student days. We thank Prof. V. Ramakrishna (University of Hyderabad), late Dr. V. Lalitha (NIRSA, Hyderabad), Prof. P. Venkata Rao (University of Hyderabad), Dr. K. Sashidhar Rao (IASE, Hyderabad), late Prof. M.L.K. Murthy (University of Hyderabad), Prof. K. Lakshminarayana (University of Hyderabad) and Sri S.P.V.N.V. Bhadram (CMD, ICCS Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru) for their constant support, help and encouragement. We are thankful to the staff members of the National Archives (New Delhi), Tamil Nadu State Archives (Chennai), Andhra Pradesh State Archives (Hyderabad), Saraswata Niketanam Library (Vetapalem, Prakasam District), Gautami Granthalayam (Rajahmundry, West Godavari District), Jawaharlal Nehru University Library (New Delhi), University of Hyderabad Library, Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh (New Delhi), Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (New Delhi) and Anthropological Survey of India (Mysore) for providing necessary records and books. We are highly indebted to Sri Ramesh Jain and Siddharth Chowdhury of Manohar Publishers, for bringing out the volume in record time. KOMPALLI

MALLI GANDHI H.S.S. SUNDAR

Abbreviations

APSA CID CTA CTs DNTs ECE GO IFA IHEU ILTD ITC KBA NAC NCDNSNT NCERT NGO NMML NSS NT OBCs PWLD SCs SNT SSLC STs TCR & TI UEE VEC

Andhra Pradesh State Archives Criminal Investigation Department Criminal Tribes Acts Criminal Tribes Denotified Tribes Early Childhood Education Government Order India Friends Association International Humanist and Ethical Union Indian Leaf Tobacco Division Indian Tobacco Company Kannada Book Authority National Advisory Council National Commission for Denotified and SemiNomadic Tribes National Council of Educational Research and Training Non-Government Organization Nehru Memorial Museum & Library National Service Scheme Nomadic Tribes Other Backward Classes Public Works Labour Department Scheduled Castes Semi-Nomadic Tribes Secondary School Leaving Certificate Scheduled Tribes Tribal Cultural Research and Training Institute Universal Elementary Education Village Education Committees

Glossary

bottu burrakatha byragies dagdi waddars dera dongatanamu ganja jamedars kallumunta karivepaku karnam kathera katheravandlu killekyathas kuladevata kuladharma kurru lavani patta mamullu mannu waddars mattchakattu mettelu maistry modevi mucherikilas munsub murmura muyee namam oli patta pattapurani parra pusalavandlu

a powdered dot between the eyebrows ballad wandering mendicants stone dressers settlement/hut thieving an intoxicating herb rural police toddy pot curry leaf village accountant scissors pickpocket (adept in using scissors) leather/picture exhibitors presiding deity of a caste duty assigned by caste tribe landholding/deed bribe earth workers dacoit a pair of copper or silver toe rings head of a gang/group goddess of sleep nomadic and wandering Yerukulas village head rice-flakes gift giving mark on forehead (vertical or horizontal) bride price landholding title chief queen uncultivated land makers of glass-bead necklaces

22 salagapara takku waddars tangedu tandas thirtha vimuktajati

GLOSSARY

hoe or spade cheats bent grass tribal hamlets divine water denotified tribe

PA RT I

UNDERSTANDING NOMADIC AND DENOTIFIED COMMUNITIES

CHAPTER 1

Nomadic and Denotified Tribes: A Bird’s Eye View

NOMADS ARE ONE

of the early inhabitants of the earth. They are of different types – nomadic tribal communities who are wedded to the nature; nomadic tribal communities who are traditionally involved in begging; and people who have become nomads owing to the demands of modern life.1 The term nomad stands for one who is always on the move. Anthropologists have earlier identified pastoralists as nomadic tribes. Nomadism is defined as a way of life.2 Cambridge International Dictionary of English (1995) defines a nomad as ‘a member of a group or people who move from one place to another rather than living in one place all the time’. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines nomad as ‘a member of a tribe or people that moves with its animals from place to place and has no permanent home’. Nomad is also described as ‘one of a tribe that wanders about seeking pasture for their flocks’. Generally nomads are animal breeders, and move with their animals in search of new pastures. The National Commission on Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-nomadic Tribes (NCDNSNT), is of the opinion that ‘they may have a myth according to which they were settled at a place, but were constrained to move, and may consider that place as the one to which they would eternally belong, but this belief in an unchanging location where they emerged and, in some cases, to which they like to return, does not reduce their status as being nomadic’.3 Keeping in mind the notion of mobility, the committee has envisaged what it terms a continuum, the left pole of which is of nomadic societies and the right, of sedentary societies. There is a complex and shifting continuum between pure nomadism, partial nomadism, transhumance, and sedentary agriculture.4 The report also differentiates between nomadism from migration on the one hand and what is referred to as rotational living on the other hand. Migration is invariably linked to ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors – people are either ‘pushed’ out of their native areas to look for jobs elsewhere; or they are ‘pulled’ to cities and other places that have opportunities.

26

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

On the other hand, shifting cultivators, who have a rotational living within the same tract of land generally, cultivate a piece of land for a certain number of years. Once the production declines appreciably in the respective land, they move to another piece of land and cultivate it. A group (or society) of constantly moving (or migrating) people is nomadic, and the lifestyle and symbolic system the nomads have is known as nomadism.5 Semi-nomads are partial nomads; they have fixed habitations to which they return once a year, or when their occupational activities are expected to cease for a while.6 In recent times, with the help of the government, many nomadic communities have settled in some places. Nevertheless livelihood issues have forced these communities to be on the move for months together. These communities may be identified as semi-nomadic communities in the present discussion. Wandering for the purposes of hunting, cattle rearing, exhibition of traditional art, song and dance, and for begging constitute primary characteristics of nomadic tribes. Some of these tribes are very rich in folk arts. In fact, these communities were largely dependent on these art forms for their livelihood.7 For example, the Killekyathas are traditional practitioners of puppetry. Indian civilization is distinguished by an immense variety of social groups whose norms of life and thought differ very significantly from the norms and lifestyles of settled communities. Nomadic and semi-nomadic communities have enriched our traditions and culture by developing their own forms of expression and thought. They include musical instruments, songs, narratives, dances, costumes, rituals, theatre, artefacts and food-variety.8 Unfortunately, most of these are rapidly vanishing in the face of increasing sedentarization and urbanization of lifestyles. The nomadic cultures have remained away from the attention of scholars, art-collectors, and the general population of India. As a result, very little information about the lifestyles and mindsets of nomadic communities is available to us. Sociologists articulate that before the advent of transportation and communication, mobile groups served as useful adjuncts to sedentary societies. As occupational groups of hunters, trappers, blacksmiths, basket weavers and entertainers like puppeteers, acrobats, fortunetellers, singers and dancers, the nomads shared a symbiotic relationship with settled people. In return for their services, they were allowed to squat on the village commons and use resources such as water or pasture lands for grazing their cattle till they moved on to their next dera (settlement).9

27

NOMADIC AND DENOTIFIED TRIBES

Nomadic way of life did not evolve in a vacuum. For instance, the origins of Killekyathas or the leather-picture exhibitors can be traced back to as early as 1520. According to Verrier Elwin, tribals adopted nomadism as the most normal way of life owing to the needs of the time and their most peculiar modes of trades. Most of these nomadic communities have been closer to the tribal, or Adivasi communities in their social relations and cultural past.10 The Adivasis themselves have a remarkably rich heritage of songs, stories, dances and music. Moreover, they also have a very significant tradition of painting, sculpture and craft. However, these traditions have remained enveloped in languages which are now marginalized as languages without scripts. According to the United Nations, 20 per cent of the world’s population is nomads.11 As per the estimation of the National Commission on Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNSNT), there are 249 denotified nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes in India, accounting for approximately 13 crore of the Indian population. Among the states, Maharashtra tops the list with 73 nomadic communities. Karnataka, which is second in the list, is home to 56 nomadic communities. But presently most of these communities have been included in the SC/ST list of the Indian Constitution.12 The benefits of government’s affirmative action have not yet reached these communities. Even though nomadic communities make up about 7 per cent of India’s population, the most enlightened of the progressive sections of Indian society are barely aware of the plight of India’s nomads. The attitudes of the nomadic communities to sedentary civilization, their understanding of ecologies, their world views, social structures and social relations have all eluded understanding in the general intellectual and historical discourse in India.13 TABLE 1.1: NUMBER OF DENOTIFIED AND NOMADIC TRIBES IN INDIA

Tribes

Number of Communities

Total

Scheduled Scheduled Backward Caste* Tribe Class* A. Denotified Tribes B. Nomadic Tribes

235 65

47 30

207 165

489 260

Total A+B

749

* Many social groups orginally belonging to tribes are categorised under SC and BC groups across the country. A major demand voiced today is to shift them under ST category.

28

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

II Many studies have been conducted on denotified, nomadic and seminomadic tribes of India. Literature on the historical origins, deprivation, cultural heritage and socio-economic conditions of these communities is available for reference. Mahashweta Devi, G.N. Devy, Meena Radhakrishna, Sanjay Nigam, David Hardiman, David Arnold, Lakshman Gaikwad, Laskshman Mane, K.M. Metry, Y.C. Simhadri, V. Lalitha, Milind Bokil and Malli Gandhi have written about these communities.14 Some have published articles in journals and magazines focusing mainly on the question of denotified or criminal tribes. Tackling the question of identity crisis faced by nomadic and denotified tribes of India, Meena Radhakrishna in her writings brings out the plight of these nomadic and denotified communities in contemporary India.15 Lamenting on the socio-economic conditions of nomadic tribes or the so-called denotified tribes of India, Mahashweta Devi says their’s is a faceless existence.16 They are in India from ancient times, for thousands of years, yet mainstream India has continually refused to recognize them. The term ‘criminal tribes’ was concocted by the British rulers, and entered the public vocabulary for the first time when a piece of legislation called the Criminal Tribes Act was passed in 1871. With the repeal of this Act these communities were officially denotified in 1952. Intensive research on the issue shows that about 150 years ago a large number of tribal communities were still nomadic, and were considered useful and honourable people by members of the settled societies with whom they came into regular contact.17 Some nomadic communities also became cattle traders, herdspeople or sellers of milk products since they bred their own cattle for carrying merchandise. A large number of communities were officially declared criminal tribes from 1871 onwards.18 An important point is that the British government was able to summon a large amount of public support, including that of the nationalist press, for the excesses committed on such communities. Having been denied fundamental human rights, they have joined the floating population of the other poor who follow the contractors and go anywhere for a pittance. It is time that the census authorities take up the work of deciding on a procedure to count the DNTs as a distinct category.19 Similarly, police training academies will have to make special efforts to sensitize the new trainees to treat these communities with less brutality and greater understanding.20 The

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29

NCDNSNT which was set up under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, to study various developmental aspects of denotified and nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes in India submitted its report on 2 July 2008. It recommended that the same reservations as available to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes be extended to around 13 crore people of denotified and nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes in India and provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 be applicable to these tribes as well.21 The Government of Karnataka has accorded support for a scientific study of nomadic tribes. The Kannada Book Authority (KBA) took up a project to publish books on important denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes of Karnataka. In 2008 KBA came up with handbooks on 22 communities. Karnataka Sahitya Academy (KSA), Karnataka Janapada and Yakshagana Academy, Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Directorate of Census, State Backward Classes Commission, universities and other institutions have published books and reports about these communities.22 There have been a few important doctoral theses on some of these communities. In fact, the Kannada University Hampi has a dedicated Tribal Studies Department and K.M. Metry of the department made a significant contribution in recording folk ballads sung by Burra Katha Eeramma, a folk artist from the Budga Jangama community.23 The inevitability of employing media resources along with other important means, towards reaching out to these deprived communities is recognized at all levels.24

Notes 1. R.S. Mann, ‘Contact and Nomads: A Comparative Analysis’, in National Seminar on Indian Nomads, Anthropological Survey of India, Southern Regional Office, Mysore, 1978, pp. 7-8. 2. P.K. Misra and N. Prabhakar, ‘Non-Pastoral Nomads: A Review’, in Journal of Anthropological Survey of India, vol. 60, no. 2, 2011, pp. 165-215. 3. Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Report, vols. 1 & 2, 30 June 2008. 4. NCDNSNT Report, 2008, p. 22. 5. Ibid., p. 11. 6. Ibid., p. 12. 7. Ibid., p. 14. 8. Ibid., p. 16.

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9. National Commission on Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes’ Report, 2008, p. 50. 10. Verrier Elwin, The Baiga, John Murray, 1939, p. 31. 11. The Resist Initiative International, Branded ‘Born’ Criminals: Racial Abuses Against Denotified, Nomadic Tribes in India, Puri, February 2007, p. 47. 12. Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Report, vols. 1 & 2, 30 June 2008, p. 46. 13. P.K. Misra, ‘Study of Nomads in Research Programmes’, in Surjit Chandra Sinha (ed.), Cultural Anthropology and Allied Discipline, Calcutta: Anthropological Survey of India, p. 17. Also see, K.S. Singh, People of India: Quantitative Profile, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, p. 67. 14. Y.C. Simhadri, The Ex-criminal Tribes of India, New Delhi: National Publishing House, 1979; V. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes: Patterns and Transition, Madras: New Era Publications, 1995; Sanjay Nigam, ‘Disciplining and Policing the Criminals by Birth’, pts. I & II, in The Indian Economic and Social History Review, vol. 27, no. 2, 1990; Mahashweta Devi, ‘Time is Running Out’, in Budhan, DNT-RAG News Letter, Baroda, April 1998; Lakshman Mane, Upara: An Outsider (Autobiography) (Marathi), New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1997; Lakshman Gaikwad, The Branded (translated from the Marathi), Bombay: Orient Longman, 1998; Meena Radhakrishna, Dishonored by History: Criminal Tribes and British Colonial Policy, Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2001; Dilip D’Souza, Branded by Law: Looking at India’s Denotified Tribes, New Delhi, Penguin Books, 2001; Malli Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes: Policy and Practice, New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, 2006; K.M. Metry, Raj Gonds, Karnataka Nomadic Communities Study No. 11, Bengaluru: Kannada Pustaka Pradhikara, Kannada Bhavana, 2008; Milind Bokil, ‘Denotified and Nomadic Tribes: A Perspecitive’, EPW, 12 January 2012. 15. Radhakrishna, Dishonored by History, op. cit.; idem, ‘From Tribal Community to Working Class Consciousness: Case of Yerukula Women’, in Economic and Political Weekly, vol. XXIV, no. 17, 29 April 1989; idem, ‘Surveillance and Settlement under the Criminal Tribes Act in Madras’, in Indian Economic and Social History Review, vol. XXIV, no. 2, AprilJune 1992; idem, ‘Urban Denotified Tribes: Competing Identities, Contested Citizenship’, in Economic and Political Weekly, vol. XLII, no. 40, Issue no. 51, 22 December 2007. 16. Mahashweta Devi, ‘Hated, Humiliated, Butchered’, in Tehelka, 20 October 2007, p. 1. 17. G.N. Devy, Nomad Called Thief: Reflection on Adivasi Voice and Silence, New Delhi: Orient Longman, 2006, p. 10. 18. Radhakrishna, Dishonored by History, op. cit., p. 12.

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31

19. Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes, op. cit., p. 27. 20. Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Report, vols. 1 & 2, 30 June 2008, p. 45. 21. Ibid. 22. For details see, Kuppe Nagaraj, Dombidasa; Yellappa B.Himmadi, Chenna Dasara; Balagurumurthy and Pratap R. Bahuroopi, Budaga Jangams; Mallikarjun B. Manpade, Korama/Kroachas; Gurulingaiah and V. Nagappa, Kadugolla; L. Viswanath, Bailpattar; Jaganath M. Bailpattar, Bailpattar; D. Yerrappa, Alemari Kuruba; Lucky Prithviraj and H.P. Sikari Ramu, Pardhi; Chandrappa and Dushyantha, Handijogi; Kumuda B., Sushilappa, Hakkipikki; Janakal M. Rajanna, Dekaliga; Appaji S. Siddu and K. Chavadi Lokesh, Gosangi; Sannaveranna Doddamane, Shilikyatha; K.K. Jagadeesh, Dongrigarasiya; K.M. Metry, Raj Gonds, Bengaluru: Kannada Pustaka Pradhikara, 2008. 23. Balagurumurthy and Pratap R. Bahuroopi, Budaga Jangams, Bengaluru: Kannada Pustaka Pradhikara, 2008. p. 18. 24. Ms. Eramma, belongs to the ‘Budaga Janagama’ community, a nomadic tribe (Scheduled Caste) in Karnataka. She had mastered a form of storytelling based on mythological and social themes. She was a popular figure, not only in the state of Karnataka, but across the country. Having learnt the art in her early teens from her father, Ms. Eramma was instrumental in popularizing Burra Katha, which is popular in Andhra Pradesh. She also trained members of her family and community members to continue the tradition. The Hindu, Bellary, 13 August 2014.

CHAPTER 2

Stigmatized Communities in India: A Human Rights Perspective

AFTER THE ATTAINMENT

of Independence, India was very keen on the development of weaker sections, especially tribal people. The main task before planners, administrators and politicians was the removal of social and economic inequalities and establishment of an egalitarian society. Their main concentration was on the accelerated development of tribals to enable them to catch-up with mainstream development. The programme implementation process of  the government was expected to improve their living besides their basic human rights.   There is an imperative need to study the status of basic human rights, administrative attitudes and violations of human rights by law-enforcing authorities in case of tribal societies. This will enable us to plan corrective measures for the promotion, development and betterment of conditions of life and liberty of various sections of the society. Protective laws and betterment of conditions of the poor shall occupy agendas for social development programmes. Unless their conditions are improved the status of human rights will not exhibit any signs of further progress. The tribals remain stigmatized, branded and dishonoured in the absence of legally responsive mechanisms. The subject of violation of human rights among the denotified tribes in India has not received the social attention that it requires. Nobody is a born criminal. Conditions that programmed some people into crime explain the situation and plight of these communities. An analysis of the violations of human rights of DNTs throws light on the role of police and administrative authorities over a period of time. Criminal behaviour is not hereditary and is due to unfriendly attitudes of society at large and law enforcing people in particular. Draconian nature of sections of law under Indian Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code and forest laws impacted their livelihood and identity.1   Historical research on criminal communities in India is a recent

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33

phenomenon. The phenomenon of crime is unexplored by historians and political scientists. The colonial government perceived the establishment of law and order as a social and cultural reform. Ranajit Guha stated that uprisings of peasants are invariably due to increase in crime.2  E.P. Thomson too raised the questions of crime and criminality.3 F.B. Robinson used the notion of social banditry while dealing with wild tribes of Bombay and the Deccan.4 David Arnold stated that grain looting and food riots in south India were due to the poverty and loss of livelihood of the poor.5 David Washbrook, Ronald Inden and Edward Said discussed at length the nature of colonial law, crime and criminal tribes.6 Colonial rule classified native population of India as wandering tribes, criminal classes and communities. Police records of the British Raj codified the behaviour of native population. The Chenchus of Hyderabad; Yerukalas of Godavari, Nellore, Guntur, Krishna, Bellary, and Kurnool districts; Korachas of Chittoor, Ananthapur, Cuddapah, Nellore and Guntur districts; Dommaras of Nellore district; Jogis of Nellore and Chittoor, and Kondadoras and Rellis of Vizagapatam district were declared as criminal tribes and communities of Andhra Pradesh.7 The colonial knowledge of Indian society was rooted in human endeavour, institutions, thought, democracy and capitalism, irrational practices of Hinduism and the caste system. A few contemporary official accounts described prevailing conditions in society including briefs about criminal tribes and communities.8 From the early 1860s, with the establishment of the provincial constabulary, the government began to set up police stations. Policemen received gifts from petitioners on functions or festivals.9 One hill man laments, ‘Our spiritual enemy, the enemy of our souls was the police. Spirit of our fathers helps us, save us from the government and shut the mouth of the police.’10 In some places the colonial government forced Adivasis to move into large settlements. They were forced into agrestic serfdom under the powerful cultivating castes. In the south, the Chenchus of Kurnool in desperation turned into bandits. Saunders, a police officer of Madras Presidency from 1917 to 1919, reports, ‘While there was no work, the Chenchus satisfied their hunger with little amount they get and leave nothing to their family members. Their way of living was hand to mouth existence.’11 Lieutenant Balmer in his letter to the Collector refers to Yerukalas and opines, ‘The crimes they are addicted to are dacoity, highway robbery and robbery; they are the most troublesome

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of our wanderers’.12 Nineteenth-century colonial economic policies severely affected communities which were involved in trading. The salt policy of the government crushed the trade of Koravas, Yerukalas, Korchas and Lambadas. The forest policies prevented free grazing of cattle owned by these groups and prevented them from collecting forest produce. Added to all these, there were frequent famines during 1866, 1876-8 and 1898 that were devastating in nature.13 The period witnessed unprecedented outbreaks of dacoity, food riots and looting of markets, cattle stealing, and so on. The Inspector General of Police observed in 1877 that ‘dacoity as the special famine crime was committed by hungry people, not ordinary criminals’.14 Thomas Munro, the then Governor of Madras observed that ‘There were several thousand men scattered over in our country, whose business from their earliest days has been robbery’.15 To put down crime, the colonial government took stern steps to arrest and punish these people. They could not forget their experiences with thugs and Pindaries. Biswas states that ‘it is very likely that the present “criminal” tribes of India are the offshoots of Thugs. After the creation of the Thugee department the wandering habits of these people were stopped.’16 The British, high-caste Hindus and police officers were unable to comprehend or sympathize with the lifestyle of the criminal tribes. Their peculiar social practices, consumption of alcohol, nature of food, and unwillingness to work were the main criteria in the making of criminal communities. Even women were referred to as rogues.17 The gypsy way of life and trading activities of these communities were described as vagrancy or lust for wandering. Colonial administrators considered that members of criminal communities looked different from ordinary human beings in their physical appearance.18 Around the last part of the nineteenth century, on the basis of increased rate of crime, the administration mooted the concept of hereditary crime. The concept of ‘once a criminal always a criminal’ was adopted by them. Some of them came under the category of beggars, receivers of stolen goods and cattle thieves.19 These tribes lead a vagrant life with no fixed abode. They wander about with their bag and baggage and pitch their tents on the outskirts of a village or a city or in some secluded place in search of food. William Sleeman of the Thugee Department writes: Large gangs from Hindustan and the Deccan used to rendezvous in these groves, remain in them for many days together every year, and carry their dreadful trade along all the lines of the road that pass by and branch off

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them, with the knowledge and connivance of the two landholders by whose ancestors these groves had been planted, I should have thought him a fool or a madman, and yet nothing could have been more true.20

A.O. Hume in 1885 regarded criminality among these tribes as the direct consequence of absolute hardship, and the intolerant and often brutal attitude of the police. He informed that . . . almost savages and utterly reckless of life, they are perpetually goaded into crimes. They are forbidden to rest even for a single day, no matter where. The moment the police hear of their arrival, they proceed to drive them away hounding them from village to village with hard words and harder blows from their own neighbouring Thana.21

The subordinate police played an important role in making more number of communities as criminals. False charges were framed by them according to their convenience. This was due to the fact that subordinate police officials were paid very low and were well aware of the potential chances of extortion of money from registered members of ‘criminal’ tribes. The police used to demand those under trials to report in the nearest police stations. However, the community members never actually reported to the police at the stated time (11 p.m. in the night and 3 a.m. in the morning). If the communities bribed them, they need not go to police station for roll-calls. The police played a very important role in the administration. Their morale was seriously undermined during the 1920s because of public hostility. Delegation of more powers to the police administration was resisted within the administration. Sometimes they used to register cases against people who were physically incapable of committing crimes. Even blind persons were listed as criminals under the lists of CT Act. Police officials were loyal to local landlords. Due to their enormous powers, the police inflicted severe punishments on the communities without trial. Acting on the complaints of rich sections of society and after receiving bribe the police used to commit atrocities on these communities. Women members too had to present themselves at the police station at 11 p.m. and again at 3 a.m. and were forced to sleep in the police stations. This put them in vulnerable situations. The police used the opportunity to molest the women of these communities. Members of these communities had to go to other places for labour, walking miles from their homes. The employers detained them for various reasons. This also gave the police a ground to enter their names in crime records.  Dadabhai Naoroji was amongst the early democratic thinkers who

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raised the issue of elevation of the depressed classes in Madras. He said that Madras had a large number of depressed classes and some of them were not allowed even to enter public places. To escape from the police and higher sections of society, the depressed people were driven to embrace Christianity, Buddhism or Islam.22 Madhusudan Das states: before a child be born with the impress of God’s innocence on his face, while he is actually drawing his mother’s blood in his mother’s wombs, the brand of the criminal is put upon him, that is the meaning of criminal tribes and that is what we have at the present day under the British government, thought the bright jewels on the crown of England earned by abolishing slavery in the world.23

II The assumption of ‘criminal’ classes originated with colonial thinking and measures of controlling certain communities. The result was the enactment of the first Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. The Act suggested various methods of surveillance and control.24 Prior to the enactment of Act XXVII of 1871 there was no special legislation to deal with ‘criminal’ tribes and they were governed by the ordinary law of the land. It was reported that the magisterial and police authorities had found it impossible to deal with criminal bands in India. Therefore, the Government of India enacted a special legislation and the 1871 Criminal Tribes Act was passed. According to Sections 5 and 10 of the Act, if the Government of India was satisfied, any tribe could be declared criminal under provisions of the Act. The district magistrates and the district superintendents of police had the authority to order ‘criminal’ tribe members to appear for registration and names of communities were published in the local gazette. Authority was vested with the local police to transfer any tribe from one place to another. Separate registers were made and kept with the district superintendents of police25 who used to add new communities and delete earlier registered communities using their discretion under law. The local police officials were given authority to inspect residences and villages. Under Section 17 of the Act, the local police was vested with the authority to establish and maintain reformatory settlements and separate children from their parents. The Criminal Tribes Act 1911 had its origin in the report of the Indian Police Commission. The commission laid down a principle that it should be the aim of every police system to obtain knowledge

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37

of criminal tribes and secure overall supervision on certain gangs addicted to crime. Registration, restriction of movements, settlements, schools and penalties were the main features of the Act. Registration attempted to keep track of the tribes under police surveillance in the communities where they lived. Settlement meant locating suspected people in a special place so that they could be more closely controlled by the police. Passes were issued to ‘criminal’ tribes to leave their respective places in which they were settled. Schedules were prepared. Personal identification marks, thumb and palm impressions were taken and kept in the register. Under Section 22 of the Act the local police had the power to designate any member in the family of criminal tribes as violator of the Act and imprison him/her. On the first conviction two years of jail term and for consequent conviction three years’ rigorous imprisonment were recommended. Under Section 17 of the Act the local governments were authorized to establish industrial, agricultural, penal and reformatory settlements. In Andhra Pradesh several such settlements were established between 1906 and 1917 – Seethanagaram and Stuartpuram settlements in Guntur district, Kapparalla Tippa, Kalichedu, Allur and Kavali settlements in Nellore district, Siddapuram and Lingal settlements in Kurnool and Mahaboobnagar districts, Bhumanna Gadda settlement in Chittoor district.26 Reporting to the police thrice a day was a routine instruction and, night checks were conducted by the police. Settlements were fenced with barbed wires. All India Jails Committee was appointed during the year 1919. It emphasized that settlements are those places where there is provision for economic development. The most successful settlements were placed in industrial places. Settlers were employed as labourers in industries, but workers were paid less.27 On the recommendations of the Jails Committee, the Criminal Tribes Act of 1924 was introduced. This Act too was preventive in nature and not corrective. No attempts were made to reform and rehabilitate criminals. Unjust punishments and sentences were meted out to them by the police. A thorough-going surveillance system was put in place by making every registered person report to the police and obtaining a pass to leave. They also had to furnish information about the purpose of leaving the village, place of residence, destination, and route of travel to the police. Section 23 of the Act declared that any person convicted once for any offence under IPC, and convicted for the same offence for the second time, would be punished with imprisonment for ten or not less than seven years and on a third or any subsequent conviction

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with transportation for life.28 The instance of getting a pass and reporting to the police led to bribery at the local level. B. Pattabhi Seetaramayya points out, ‘cattle that are sold and brought to the market, wild animals, worms that are trodden under the feet are not worse treated than criminal tribes’.29 V. Raghavaiah is of the opinion that ‘the Criminal Tribes Act destroyed domestic peace, embittered human life and led to false theory that once a criminal is always a criminal’.30 The Criminal Tribes Act of 1924 remained in force for about twenty-five years and failed in its purpose. Leaders and social reformers raised the question that the dubbing of a whole community as ‘criminal’ was a blot on Indian society. Following severe flak from civil society, the government introduced the Madras Restriction of Habitual Offenders Act in 1948. Freedom fighters like N.G. Ranga strongly fought for the total abolition of the Act. His main contention was that the Criminal Tribes Act used to suppress political workers in those days.31 The Act came into force from 29 April 1948. The then Deputy Inspector General of Police, Railways and Central Intelligence Department Madras noted, ‘the application of the Act was only to such criminals convicted of serious offences and criminal minded persons intended in the settlements. The Act became an effective instrument to the police to exercise their power of authority and control over many wandering communities’.32 Police officials often felt it a Herculean task to nab absconders in the scrub jungles and hilly areas. Under these circumstances, police persons registered a number of false cases against wandering communities and tribes under the category of criminal tribes.33

III The denotified communities were confined to settlements under the administrative control of the police and voluntary bodies. The police recommended the government to intern the extreme cases into the settlements where the inmates were treated by the police as incorrigibles.34 On the management of criminal tribe settlements there was a debate as to why the Christian missionaries alone should be given the management work of the settlements. The British government realized the successful work done by missionaries such as the Salvation Army, the London Mission, the Canadian Baptist Telugu Mission and other philanthropic agencies in trying to affect change among

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39

these people.35 Dadabhai Naoroji said, ‘the Salvation Army’s help has been requisitioned from time to time, is it Salvation Army or any other reforming body, the religious zeal is often a necessary element in pursuing difficult task of the people of this kind and winning them from evil ways’.36 William Booth Tucker, the founder of the Salvation Army was known for his missionary services and the organization soon established several settlements in India.37 The government kept these settlements under the control of missionaries and asked the police to supervise the settlements. This developed friction between police and the managers of settlements. The missionaries always complained that the police machinery was interfering in their work. The police used to suspect missionaries and denotified communities. The government recruited extra police staff to watch and supervise settlements.38 In every settlement there was a sub-inspector, one assistant sub-inspector of police and six constables. The sub-inspector and District Superintendents of the Police used to play a key role in settlement affairs. Police constables used to watch settlers regularly and take roll call three times a day. The District Superintendent of Police (DSP) used to transfer denotified communities from one settlement to another according to their discretionary powers. The cases of escapes and overstays of leave were more in number in these settlements. The District Magistrates (DM) suggested that majority of cases should be left to the police. Due to police persecution a large number of tribes left settlements and escaped to the neighbouring states and districts. Police personnel prosecuted settlers rigorously. One police officer said, ‘many a night we kept vigil watching for the out of views to walk into traps laid for them, and in many cases we were able to arrest them, but more often we failed’.39 The practice of issuing passes made some of the settlers abscond from settlements. From the police point of view settlements were running satisfactorily. It was for the benefit of the police department. Settlements were under the close control of the local police. They used to isolate communities and watch their activities and, controlled them in the settlements. They also restricted settlers’ movements systematically and maintained criminal records on them. The lurking threat of arrest by police made these communities accept cultivation and other occupations in these settlements.40 The police shared a close relationship with the denotified communities from the time the 1871 Act was introduced. The history of these communities was closely linked with the police. The police

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administration declared 192 communities as criminal tribes in India.41 Whenever the police investigated a crime the first suspect was always the member of a criminal tribe. These communities were criminals because the police never allowed them to come out of the web of crime. They did not have the chance to escape from police harassment. The acts of police were never questioned and these communities were often subjected to ill-treatment in the hands of the police.42 There was no sympathy for the settlers and many a police official believed that criminals were not poor. Courts never investigated killings and encounters by the police. Whenever the police come across these people they detained them illegally.43 The police keep the names of members in the lists of suspects or the most wanted persons’ list. They used to publish posters and paste them on walls for public display. Their photos were kept in railway stations, bus-stands and cinema theatres to caution public to be careful with these communities. The documents maintained by the police were always tampered with and fabricated.44 The law enforcers often forget they are also subject to punishment. One police official stated: ‘we are police. We always have enough reason to arrest and detain a person’.45 Since the days of the British, the way the police look at the denotified communities has remained the same as the way the denotified communities look at the police. Therefore, the vicious circle of mistrust between the police and the denotified communities must be broken. The attitude of the criminals will change when the attitude of the police changes. Compensation for any offence committed on the DNTs by the police is only a balm, not a cure.46

IV Democratic India raised hopes among various DNTs across the country about changes in their life and livelihoods. A case from south India illustrated how the hopes were pinned on independent government in India and how they were dashed in due course of time. The settlement colonists in Stuartpuram, Seethanagaram, Siddapuram, Lingala and Kapparalla Tippa in the state of Andhra Pradesh are mostly from the Yerukalas tribe. Many of the colonists inhabiting these settlements expressed their anguish over their plight. Their children could not get jobs because of the tag of criminality. Womenfolk were compelled to work along with their children to eke out a living in the absence of any assistance from the government.

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41

They also narrated that barring a few and rare examples (like the case of Samskar, a Gandhian voluntary agency working for DNTs in Krishna, Guntur and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh), neither the government nor the voluntary service organizations came forward to provide them help. Out of the 6,000 population in Stuartpuram settlement only 400 were working in the Indian Leaf Tobacco Company. According to the police records 80 per cent of them were hardcore criminals. Bank loans and self-employment schemes were not provided to them. The distressing factor was that the police booked false cases against the breadwinners for petty offences. When they were sent to jail the womenfolk worked as coolies and committed crime to keep their families going. They wanted to educate their children and go for gainful employment. Though some of the members are working in the railways, road transport corporation and public works department, police keep surveillance on them. Most of the young persons in the age group of 18-25 years had lost many opportunities because of police records. Even if job opportunities came their way, they are unable to make use of the opportunities due to criminal records in police stations. Some of them were over-aged due to the sentences imposed on them. They lamented that the government, police, revenue and the social welfare department officials were responsible for the state of affairs in the society.47 Prisoners released from jails were at crossroads. In one of the interviews one ex-convict stated, ‘I was sentenced for ten years imprisonment in the Simhachalam dacoity case. I was also convicted in the Banaganepalle bank robbery case. I am repenting for my past criminal life. I want to give a bright future for my children. I want to educate them.’ He brought to light the trials and tribulations of criminals in the hands of the police. He further said, ‘we lead a fearful life throughout. There are many hurdles that come in the way of our life. The government did not consider us for public employment. The police should behave with humanity. We want to settle down in our life. Police should take cognizance of the people who abet crime. We are living in the perpetual fear of police treatment. We want to lead a normal life with our family members.’ Ex-convicts in another settlement were thoroughly afraid of the thrashings given by the police. One of them said, police implicate us in theft cases which were not committed by us. We lack managerial skills to run a small business. Now we eke out our living by rickshaw-pulling, quarry work, loading trucks with sand, etc. Society looks

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at us with suspicion and the stigma of criminals cannot be erased easily from our life. Above all, the police haunt us to keep a track of our activities. They visit our houses, workplace frequently, harass us and summon us to the police stations. Police and the criminals are two sides of the same coin of crime.48 Policemen need to be educated at the lower levels so that they would not cause any threat to the public. We want training in carpentry, television cabinet making and other trades to enable us to stand on our feet. The government should provide us land with irrigation facilities and supply agricultural implements.

Members of the denotified communities urged that they should be liberated from the fear of oppression, inferiority complex and the stigma attached to them. Narrating their problems, a settler said: no one wanted to lead a criminal life. Circumstances forced us to lead a wretched life. Due to our fate and poverty we are leading a wretched life. Even after the de-notification, we are still discriminated in our daily life. The police and public treat us with suspicion. What we need today is not anybody’s sympathy but allowing us to lead a dignified life like any other citizen in the country.49

Members of the denotified communities in Seethanagaram settlement and Kapparalla Tippa settlement50 seconded the opinions expressed by other colonists. Even after years of independence we have no freedom to participate in public life and integrate ourselves into the mainstream of social life. For the last 30 years we are trying to join in the mainstream of social life. The state government and the police are not extending their cooperation. We want the helping hand of the police and government. Our women and children are in a disadvantageous position. We should have the freedom to discuss about our experiences and problems with our elected representatives.51

M.V. Thomas, the then IG of Prisons once stated that the police in dealing with criminal tribes should adopt a rationale and humane approach. Another police official, P. Jagan Mohan, the then Additional Inspector General of Police felt that reformed criminals should not look at the police as their enemies. The community members in Siddhapuram requested the government to remove injustices imposed upon them. ‘We are always discriminated in our daily life. We are not creating problems to anyone. We do not harm others. Do not attach any stigma to us’, the sarpanch and settlers of Stuartpuram settlement pleaded the officials in this regard.52 Some ex-convicts in Bitragunta settlement narrated their tales of

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misfortune during interactions. They are emphatic in their criticism that police in particular and the society in general act as blocks in the process of smooth socialization. Another ex-convict stated, ‘the Police are known for corruption. They have no moral right to arrest and confine us to jails.’ They accused the police of instigating them to commit crimes. It was appealed that the government adopt a humane approach to their problems, remove the ban on jobs for ex-convicts and provide livelihood with suitable employment opportunities.  In Stuartpuram settlement some inmates narrated about their experiences with high-ranking police officers. Addressing 200 families of the colony one higher-grade police official said: I have come to your place on a specific mission of appealing to all of you not to resort to any criminal activities henceforth. I wish all the criminals in the settlements must eschew criminal propensities and join the mainstream. People shiver on hearing the names of the settlements. You are viewed with an eye of suspicion everywhere. Very recently 250 odd-history-sheeters have given up their profession of committing offences. I came to know that there are many people continuing your age-old profession and this has become a matter of great concern to all police. First of all, every one of you should surrender and leave your profession. Further, you should prevent your fellowmen from committing offences. If you cannot do that immediately inform the police about the activities of your neighbours so that action can be initiated. The welfare measures that the government is initiating will be considered only when all of you give up your activities.53

Some inmates in the settlements stated that there are child offenders who should be handed over to non-government organizations instead of being sent to juvenile homes. Children among the denotified tribes are at risk. There is an urgent need to protect children in difficult situations. If first-time offenders are sent to juvenile homes, there is every chance that they would continue on the same path and become hardened criminals. A former Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice (CJ) once said that, ‘in the families of denotified tribes women and children are the most disturbed lot. The constitutional guarantees have failed in case of the denotified communities. The enforcers of the constitution are not doing their job properly.’ Children too undergo a lot of trauma in the settlements. Circumstances sometimes force women from settlements to sell their children. A woman exconvict in Siddapuram stated that she had sold her 12-year-old son to a notorious gang in Bitragunta settlement for ī35,000. Her poverty

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forced her to take recourse to such a heinous act. The ex-convicts of Bitragunta settlement have ties with criminals in Mumbai. They take children to big cities to provide training in committing crimes and make them professionals. Selling of children to notorious gangs has the status of a ritual in the settlements. This is gross violation of child rights.54 Jayapal, an ex-convict in Stuartpuram settlement, is an interesting example. He was studying class three in the settlement primary school. He had a pet squirrel, which used to sit on his shoulder and accompany wherever he went. Tribals, being close to flora and fauna, develop intimate relationship with pet animals. One day a police constable asked Jayapal to leave the squirrel, but Jayapal did not yield to the pressures. The police forcefully took the squirrel from the hands of Jayapal. Jayapal in a fit of anger scolded the constable. The police took him to the station, kept him behind bars and beat him. He was not allowed to go home that day. The next day his father had to come and assure the police of right conduct by his son in future. His father scolded Jayapal at home, which was a turning point in his life. He could not attend school regularly because of the incident. His teachers, classmates and the neighbours began to treat him differently after that incident. Therefore, he left home and reached Mangalagiri. He started begging for food and money in the bus stand. The police caught him and admitted him in the Borstal School. One night he escaped from the school and entered a railway compartment and travelled without ticket. He was caught at Ongole by the Railway Police who booked a case against him. When he protested, the Railway Police told him that they would send him off very soon. Later the police implicated him in various cases. He was forced to turn himself into a criminal and became a menace to the railway authorities.55    There are also reports of how the police are perpetuating crime in the settlements. A women interviewed in Betapudi settlement stated that the police never allow them to stop theft. They want their mamullu (bribe). The mention of a dacoity anywhere in the state drives the police to look for settlement people even if they are not connected with it. Radio, TV and newspapers also emphasize the same. Real culprits are seldom punished. An ex-criminal in an interview gave a graphic account of this. Eenadu (a Telugu daily) carried a news item about a theft case that took place at Mangalagiri (Guntur district). It was reported that two young persons by name Sreenu and Venkataiah were involved, and that both belonged to Betapudi

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settlement. Unfortunately, the very mention of a place like Stuartpuram, Bitragunta, Siddapuram, or Seethanagaram is associated with criminal activity, and this shows the notoriety these settlements have assumed over time. An ex-criminal narrated how a police officer in Tirupati reported to the newspapers that the people of Stuartpuram had committed a dacoity and murder. Consequently they were arrested. But what actually happened was quite contrary to the police officers’ public pronouncement. In the CBI enquiry, it was found that criminal gangs of Maharashtra were involved in the crime. He elaborated on how the police used them as pawns in their game.56 There have been incidents where police officers had no option but to keep silent over some of the happenings at the field level. In one such instance in Stuartpuram settlement some women beat a police constable when he went there on duty to inquire about their menfolk’s involvement in certain crimes. It was a serious offence. The then SP of Guntur district went there to investigate the incident. The womenfolk gheraoed the SP and fielded him with several uncomfortable questions. He tried to pacify women but the latter challenged the police officer to go with them to the police station and see for himself the real facts. Accepting the challenge the police officer went along with the women to the local police station and found several saris, petticoats of the women and aluminium utensils used for cooking. The triumphant women looked at the police officer in utter disregard and said, ‘now you tell us whether the police are really civilized? When our men commit crimes, you are unable to catch them. You come and show your valour on women.’ The SP apologized to the women on behalf of the police force. But the incident made him think and he returned to Stuartpuram the next day and told the women he did not come as a policeman but as a fellow human being to help them.57 In another incident (August 2011), some Stuartpuram villagers went to Chintamani on some petty business. But the villagers of Chintamani hounded, attacked and killed three of them. The villagers of Stuartpuram demanded the police arrest the culprits and asked the government to pay compensation to the victims’ families. The victims were the sole breadwinners, so the families had no means to eke out a livelihood and educate their children.58 To the average citizen, the police are visible symbols of established order. Venugopal Rao said ‘of all services the policeman alone comes closest to the people, yet remains the farthest’.59 The police are often

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blamed for being inefficient, high-handed and aloof. N.S. Saxena pointed out: Corruption of any kind lowers the image of the police, destroys the officers’ own capacity for bold action, makes police-public cooperation difficult and thus directly and indirectly promotes crime. Another factor which lowers the image of the police is for the sake of showing sound statistical record the police register a large number of false cases. The third-degree methods used by the police, generally at the lower level, explain their inhuman behaviour and unsympathetic attitude towards these people. This attitude develops in them a negative attitude, which paves the way for the people to become hardcore criminals.60

Jaspal Singh, a police officer stated that ‘aloofness from society, fear of police, distance from the family made the “criminal” tribes cruel, stubborn and angry. They developed a feeling of hatred and suspicion.’61 Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India opined that ‘the policeman should not forget that he himself is a human being and he has to deal with human beings and in dealing with them he should always have his own humanity before himself’.62 The entire police administration should be streamlined and should be trained and equipped properly. Their qualifications and emoluments should be raised in order to be on par with the other jobs in the society. It is very essential to have a radical change in the functioning of the police department for taking up reformative activities. Any slackness on their part will encourage criminals to commit the most heinous crimes. The police had played their part satisfactorily but much more remains to be done by them. Welfare and development of denotified tribes at local levels largely depends on government and particularly the police.63

Notes 1. Milind Bokil, ‘Denotified and Nomadic Tribes: A Perspective’, Economic and Political Weekly, 12 January 2002, pp. 148-9. 2. Ranajit Guha (ed.), Subaltern Studies, vol. IV: Writing on South Asian History and Society, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985. 3. E.P. Thomson, The Making of the English Working Class, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963. 4. Frederick Bruce Robinson, ‘Adaptation to Colonial Rule by the “Wild Tribes” of the Bombay Deccan, 1818-1880’, University Microfilm, 1984.

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5. David Arnold, ‘Rebellious Hillmen: The Gudem-Rampa Risings, 18391924’, in Ranajit Guha (ed.), Subaltern Studies, vol. IV: Writing on South Asian History and Society, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985. Also see, ‘The Armed Police and Colonial Rule in South India, 19141947’, Modern Asian Studies, vol. XI, 1977. 6. David Washbrook, The Emergence of Provincial Politics: The Madras Presidency, 1870-1920, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976; Ronald Inden, Imagining India, Oxford: Blackwell, 1992. Also see Edward Said, Orientalism: Western Conception of the Orient, London: Penguin, 1995. 7. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to September 1916, Madras, pp. 1-2. 8. Sanjay Nigam, ‘Disciplining and Policing the “Criminals by Birth’”, Part I: ‘The Making of a Colonial Stereotype: The Criminal Tribes and Castes of North India’, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, 27:2 (1990), New Delhi: Sage, and ‘Disciplining and Policing the “Criminals by Birth”’; Part 2: ‘The Development of a Disciplinary System, 18711900’, The Indian Economic and Social Histroy Review, 27:3 (1990) New Delhi: Sage. 9. Guha (ed.), Subaltern Studies, op. cit. 10. Ibid., p. 4. 11. Government of Madras, Appendix to the Police Government Report, 1863, pp. 23-4. 12. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO. No. 1675, dated 2 December 1919, p. 3, TNA. 13. Meena Radhakrishna, Dishonored by History: Criminal Tribes and British Colonial Policy, Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2001, pp. 31-4. 14. Government of Madras, Report on the Administration of Police for the Year 1878-79, Madras, 1880, p. 4. 15. Government of Madras, Board of Revenue, Madras (Land Revenue Forests) Proceedings, Forest No. 48, 25 April 1917, p. 1. 16. P.C. Biswas, ‘The Ex-Criminal Tribes of Delhi State’, unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Delhi, 1960, p. 17. 17. Y.C. Simhadri, The Ex-criminal Tribes of India, New Delhi, 1979, p. 29. 18. Ibid., p. 18. 19. Ibid., p. 22. 20. W.H. Sleeman, Ramaseena and a Vocabulary of the Peculiar Language Used by Thugs, Calcutta, 1836, p. 20. 21. Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 1675, dated 2 December 1919, p. 9, TNA. 22. Ibid., p. 22. 23. Ibid., p. 23. 24. Government of India, Act XXVII of 1871.

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25. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlements of Criminal Tribes in Madras Presidency up to September 1916, Madras, p. 19, TNA. 26. Government of India, A Collection of Acts Passed by the Governor-General of India in Council in the Year 1911, Superintendent Government Printing, Calcutta, 1912, p. 17. 27. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in Madras Presidency up to January 1925, Madras, 1927, p. 17. 28. Government of Madras, Madras Criminal Tribes Manual, Criminal Tribes Act VI of 1924, Brought up to 31st March 1927, Madras, 1927, p. 7. 29. V. Raghavaiah, The Problem of Criminal Tribes, Delhi: Akhil Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh, n.d., p. 4. 30. Ibid. 31. Government of India, Report of the Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee, 1947, United Provinces of India, Allahabad, 1948, p. 17. 32. Ibid., p. 18. 33. Radhakrishna, op. cit., p. 58. 34. V. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes: Patterns and Transition, Madras: New Era Publication, 1995, p. 17. 35. Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 1675, dated 2 December 1919, p. 10, TNA. 36. Ibid., p. 8. 37. Booth Tucker and Jean Gold Frederick, Servant of India, London: St. Albans, 1964, p. 4. 38. Government of Madras, Public Works Labour Department, GO No. 2146, dated 28 August 1928, p. 9. 39. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 6170, dated 22 December 1938, p. 4. 40. Government of Madras, Law General Department, GO No. 1327, dated 14 February 1925, p. 4. 41. D’Souza, op. cit., p. 96. 42. Ibid. 43. Ibid. 44. Radhakrishna, op. cit., p. 48. 45. Malli Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes: Policy and Practice, New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, 2006, p. 84. 46. D’Souza, op. cit., p. 97. 47. Interview, Settlers of Siddhapuram Settlement, Kurnool District,  21 May 2008. 48. Interview, Ex-convicts, Stuartpuram Settlement, Guntur District, 15 June 2008.

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49. Interview, Yerukulas of Lingala, Mahaboobnagar District, 28 January 2006. 50. Interview, Katheras and Yerukulas of Bitragunta, Nellore District, 1 November 2007. 51. Interview, Yerukulas of Sitanagaram, Tadepalli, Guntur, 22 December 2007. 52. Interview, Yerukulas of Stuartpuram, Guntur, 15 June 2008. 53. Ibid. 54. Eenadu (Telugu daily), Kurnool, 10 June 2006. 55. Interview, Jayapal, Stuartpuram, 15 June 2008. 56. Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes, op. cit., p. 153. 57. Malli Gandhi and V. Lalitha, Tribes under Stigma: Problem of Identity, New Delhi: Serials Publications, 2009, p. 157. 58. Eenadu, Guntur, 6 August 2011. 59. Rao S. Venugopala, Facets of Crime in India, Bombay: Allied Publishers, 1967. 60. N.S. Saxena, ‘Main Reasons for Increase in Crime in India in Recent Years’, in Indian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 4, 1975. 61. Jaspal Singh, Reformation of Ex-criminal Tribes, Hyderabad: Jaya Singh Visuvathas, 1976, p. 3. 62. Rajendra Prasad, Extracts from a Speech Delivered at Kurnool on 19 August 1959, n.p. 63. Anand Swarup Gupta, ‘Police Reform in Retrospect’, in Indian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 24, 1978, p. 6.

CHAPTER 3

Tribes with Stigma: Historical and Legal Status

OFTEN FOREST TRIBES, being hunters and collectors of jungle produce led a nomadic life. They were less attached to the soil and were small in numbers. The British colonizers became aware of the great riches that lay hidden in the jungles and began to exploit them. Timber was cut and exported. Forest products were collected and sold. Railway lines and motor roads were built into the jungles. The government took control of the jungles and leased plots of forest to contractors.1 Some tribes were engaged in barter trade with the surrounding agricultural communities, exchanging forest produce such as herbs and honey, metal goods, tamarind, salt, clothes, honey and grain. Migrant traders like Banjars and Yerukulas passed through hills with their pack bullocks from coastal areas to Bastar and the Deccan.2 The colonial rule marks an important watershed in the ecological history of India. The rule was commercial in its nature. In the early decades of colonial rule, the state was indifferent to forest conservancy. A comprehensive piece of legislation to exclude customary use of forests which was prevalent over centuries in respect of rural population all over India was attempted. Different laws on nomadic and wandering gypsy tribes have been influenced by colonial considerations of political mechanism and economic needs. Colonial administrators believed that maintenance of law and order would be a mere exercise in vacuum unless better control was achieved over the indigenous population. It was therefore felt that a stray and shifting population could not be conducive to the so-called good governance and the colonial notion of Pax-Britannica. In order to achieve this, the colonial government, unlike in the West where legislation regulated incidence of crime, interception of crime in India was attempted even before the actual commission of the same, and the would-be-malefactors were confined to settlements. The wandering tribes without any fixed habitat became dubbed as ‘criminal’ and

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were set up in settlements. Moreover, the colonial criminal laws were never discussed at length either in parliament or in public for the fear of imminent repercussions.3 The colonial rule classified the native population of India in the first half of the nineteenth century. In the judicial, revenue, law, public works, home and police department records the British Raj produced a colonial archive of traditional, unchanging and gypsy population. Booth Tucker classified the population under six categories: the incorrigible, the habitual, the ordinary, the hereditary, juvenile criminals and habitual offenders.4 J.V. Stemphens, member of the Viceroy’s Council in-charge of law and order stated, ‘The special feature of India is the caste system, a family of carpenters will be carpenters, a century or five centuries, hence, if they last so long’.5 These tribes lead a vagrant life with no fixed abodes. They wandered about with their bag and baggage; pitched their tents on the outskirts of a village or a city or in some secluded places.6 History of the nomadic, semi-nomadic, ex-criminal or denotified tribes has not been studied properly by the colonial administrators. In fact, the rich history of these communities was studied very less. Forty per cent of the people in India were classified as criminal tribes. Fifty-nine sections were officially classified as CTs in the Madras Presidency and Nizam dominions. Researches into crime and CTs of colonial India mainly focused on the historical background of the Criminal Tribes Acts in Madras Presidency and the techniques adopted by colonial administration to control certain classes of people such as Dommaras, Jogis, Kilagudi Kallars, Korachas, Koravas, Nakkalas, Pamulas, Paraiyas, Valayas, Woddars, Yerukulas, Lambadas, Rellis, Paidis, Yanadis, etc. Social scientists paid scant attention to the problem of crime in India.7 Historical research into crime and criminal tribes in modern India is very recent. Historians focused on enforcement of colonial order and social protest movements. However, they did not focus much on matters relating to crime. Administrators like Hastings, Cornwallis, William Bentinck and William Sleeman penned treatises on crime and wandering tribes, but they largely followed the premises of the colonial administration. They perceived in their works the establishment of law and order in the nineteenth century. William Sleeman’s Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official, W.W. Hunter’s, England’s Work in India, F.S. Mullay’s Criminal Tribes and E.J. Gunthrope’s

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Notes on Criminal Tribes focus on origin and nature of wandering classes in a colonial perspective. D.N. Majumdar, S. Venugopala Rao, M. Kennedy, Syed Siraj-ul Hassan, Abdul Ghani and other scholars like B.S. Bhargava and P.D. Biswas published on criminal tribes. However, these works provide a brief account of lifestyles, religion and customs of those triebs in the country. They do not focus on political construction of the CTs in India. The colonial state was regarded as an agent of law and order and nothing more.8 To put down crime, the government took stern steps to arrest and punish people. They could not forget their experiences with Thugs and Pindharis earlier and ‘it is very likely that the present CTs of India are the offshoots of Thugs. After the creation of the Thuggee Department by the government, the migratory habits of these people were stopped and many of them subsequently settled in different provinces of India.’9 The history of crime is seen as an aspect of the establishment of law and order in the country. The establishment of law and order did not achieve the desired results to reform and civilize the underprivileged sections of people in India. Tribal revolts took violent form in some areas in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. The Adivasi revolts (fituris) were directly or indirectly related to forest grievances. The Rampa Rebellion in the agency area of Andhra Pradesh, the fituris led by Alluri Sitarama Raju and the revolts led by Gonds and Kolams revolved round disputes relating to the succession of the muttadari estates. Ranajit Guha observes that ‘the peasant uprisings were invariably preceded by an increase in crime rate in India’.10 The colonial forest policy prevented the free grazing of cattle owned by many tribal communities. Famines during the early British Rule were far more frequent. They witnessed unprecedented outbreaks of dacoity, food riots, house breaking, cattle stealing and so on. The Inspector General of Police in 1877 observed that ‘dacoity as the special famine crime was committed by hungry people not ordinary criminals’.11 In the late 1970s and 1990s, Hobsbawm’s Primitive Rebels and Bandits, David Arnold’s Dacoity and Rural Crime in Madras 18601940, Anand Yang’s Crime and Criminality in British India, David Hardiman’s The Coming of the Devi: Adivasi Assertion in Western India, Meena Radhakrishna’s Dishonored by History threw light on the causes of dacoity and crime in India. Hobsbawm stated that there were two types of non-conformists: classical outlaws who wreck vengeance and the Robinhood-type who were rebelling against land

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usurpers. Social banditry is a universal and unchanging phenomenon. Bandits live up to the expectations of poor. A bandit is regarded as honourable and non-criminal by people for whom he is doing great service though he is cut off from the society.12 Far from being confined to CTs, recourse to crime was frequent and widespread in rural society, especially in response to famine and high prices. David Arnold refers to grain looting and food riots in south India. These studies have raised many questions relating to crime and criminal tribes.13 India is a stratified society and marked by heterogeneity. Religion, region, territory, community, language and caste are social categories. Population in India is enumerated and classified into groups for various reasons. Several wandering communities were dubbed as criminals or gangs. The colonial ethnographers, criminologists, archaeologists and administrators wrote descriptive accounts of their social life. It was stated that ‘caste conceived as India’s essential institution, has been both the cause and the effect of India’s low level political and economic development’.14 In the lowest strata of Indian society, there were three classes of men who were as much depressed as any other class: the aboriginals, the criminals and wandering tribes. These people were sunk in ignorance, despised, degraded and persecuted.15 It was remarked that Hindus take little interest in these people and particularly all that has been or being done to elevate them is the work of missionary bodies. They were considered so unclean that they were not permitted to spit on the public way but had a pot suspended from the neck which they used as spittoon.16

Several theories have been developed regarding the origin and characteristics of the CTs. According to one view, they have descended from gypsies. But there is little evidence to show that they belong to the same stock as the gypsies of the present-day Europe or other parts of the world. Others hold the view that CTs owe their origin to aborigines, who had been displaced from time to time. Official accounts and narratives of the colonials damagingly represent certain poor sections of the Indian society as poisoners, pilferers, vagrants, habitual offenders, dacoits, robbers, cattle lifters and criminal gangs.17 The category of ‘criminal’ castes bears a different imprint and image in the minds of people. Malaviya said, ‘poverty is largely born of ignorance and oppression is its grandchild….Their ignorance makes them a prey to anyone who would exploit them and oppress them and the result is multiplied by crime and distress.’18 Madhusudana

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Das stated that ‘before a child is born …, while he is actually drawing his mother’s blood in his mother’s womb, the brand of criminal is put upon him.’19 The assumption of born criminality was deeply embedded in the structures of the colonial thought. The CTA of 1871 was not the first measure to deal with criminal classes. It was developed out of a number of coercive measures. Gradually, the CTA evolved into a general method of surveillance and control. The government used to deal with the individuals caught in criminal activities individually or collectively, first under Regulation XXVI of 1793, then under the Act XXX of 1836 and later under the Indian Penal Code of 1860. Legally until the year 1871, when the traditional behaviour on the part of certain tribes became a problem for the British government, no tribe as a whole was dubbed as CT. The wandering tribes were kept under continuous watch and vigilance.20.

II The first CTA passed in 1871 was applied in Bengal, United Provinces, North-West Frontier Province and Punjab. It was not extended to Madras initially. The application of the CTA of 1871 became difficult for the colonial administration due to practical problems in certain provinces. The Police Commission (1902-3) laid down the principle that it should be the aim of every police system to obtain knowledge of the predatory tribes and secure overall supervision on certain gangs addicted to crime. Soon a new CTA of 1911 was introduced by the colonial authorities in India. This new CTA was more comprehensive than the 1871 Act.21 The main features of the Act were notification, registration, restriction of movement, settlements, schools and penalties. It was stated that ‘if the local government had reason to believe that any tribe, gang or class of persons or a part of a tribe, gang or class is addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences, it may by notification in the local official gazette, declare that such persons or group was a Criminal Tribe’.22 There were two methods of dealing with these people – registration and settlements. Registration attempted to keep track of them under police surveillance in the communities where they lived. Settlement meant locating in a special place so that they could be more closely controlled. Certain passes were issued to the tribes to leave the place in which they were settled. Schedules were prepared. Personal

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identification marks, thumb and palm impressions of the tribe members were taken.23 The District Superintendents of Police, the commissioners of police, labour department, district magistrates, secretaries to the government, the inspector and the deputy inspector generals of police, railways, criminal investigation departments and the settlement managers were asked by the government to take strong measures against the vagrant and nomadic classes in Madras Presidency.24 Following the Criminal Tribes Acts there was soon enumeration and declaration of certain groups/castes as criminal tribes. For example, a total of 28 tribes living in 25 provinces were declared as CTs by the end of the year 1915 under the provisions of Sections 3 and 10 of the CTA in Madras.25 These tribes were: the Yerukulas of Godavari, Nellore, Guntur, Krishna, Bellary and Kurnool districts; Vayalpadu or Nawabpeta Korachas of Chittoor, Anantapur and Salem districts; Dasaris of Nellore, Kurnool, Guntur, Krishna and Godavari districts; Veppur Parayas of South Arcot district; Waddars of Kurnool, Anantapur, Cuddapah, Nellore, Krishna and Guntur districts; Togamalai Koravas, also known as Kepmaris, of Trichinopoly, South Arcot, Chinglepet, North Arcot, Salem and Cuddapah districts; Rudrapad Korachas of Bellary district; Dommaras of Nellore district; Korachas, Koravas, Yerukulas of Salem; Melurnad Koravas of Salem, Coimbatore, Trichinopoly and North Arcot districts; Korachas, Koravas Yerukulas or Attur-Kilnad Koravas of Salem, South Arcot and Trichinopoly districts; Nakkalas of Godavari district; Gandarva Kottai Koravas of Tanjore district; Vanganur Parayas of North Arcot, Chittoor, Chinglepet and Nellore districts; Jogis of Nellore, North Arcot, Chinglepet, Chittoor and South Arcot districts; a gang of Hired Assassins consisting of 28 persons frequenting in the districts of Cuddapah, Kurnool and Anantapur; Kilagudi Kallas of Madura district; Kondadoras of Vizagapatam district; Vellayankuppam Padayachis of South Arcot district; Kuttapa Kallas of Tanjore and Trichinopoly districts; Chattinad Valayas of Ramnad district; Rellis of Vizagapatam district; Sorikkampatti Kallas; Pusalapuram Kallas and Uppu Koravas of Madura and Tinnevelly districts of Madras Presidency.26 The district authorities of Madras and Nizam provinces adopted a variety of measures to control these people. Some of them were: establishing settlements, discharge of settlers from settlements, application of CTA, providing advances for the maintenance of settlers

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and settlements, imposing police administration in settlements, reclamation work, providing cooperative societies in the settlements, industries and other employment opportunities, education, grant of passes to leave the settlements, opening registers, construction of minor water dams and repairs of dams, providing agricultural advances, taking roll-calls, issuing orders with regard to supervision and control of criminals, issuing powers to transfer the CTs from native states, declaring certain classes as CTs in local gazettes, registering tribes under CTA, restricting their movements to specified areas, advances to the settlement managers for purchase of cattle, seeds, agricultural implements and cultivation expenses, providing medical and education contingencies, opening schools, conditional release of settlers, internment of CTs in settlements, notification of residence and change of residence of CTs, declaring prisoners’ homes and settlements as reformatory settlements, providing boarding schools, taking the experiences of the work on CTs in the then Nizam, Bombay, Punjab and United Provinces, passing orders on certain questions connected with the working of the CTA in the presidency, inquiring into the working of the CTA, payment of land cess in settlements, approving proposals submitted by the Salvation Army, appointment and transfer of managers from the settlements.27 The idea of the criminal settlements was first started in the Northern Province during the year 1868. The CTA of 1871 included the provisions of criminal settlements. These settlements were kept under the management of the Salvation Army, the American Baptist Telugu Mission, the Canadian Mission and other philanthropic agencies. The Salvation Army has been functioning in the settlements since 1882. The CT settlements in Madras presidency were started after the passage of the CTA of 1911. The main objective of the settlements was reformation of the CT members but not their segregation or confinement. The management of the settlements was handed over to the police and running of the settlement was kept in the hands of philanthropic organizations.28 Several settlements were established in the Madras Presidency for the reformation of the CTs. Sitanagaram Settlement was opened by the Salvation Army during the year 1913 for the Yerukulas released from the jails. Stuartpuram or Bethapudi Settlement was started by the Salvation Army during the year 1914. Kalichedu Settlement was started during the year 1911 by Ludwig for the Katheras or Dasaris of Nellore district. Kavali Settlement was started for the Yerukulas

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of Nellore district during the year 1912 by the American Baptist Mission. Bhumannagadda Settlement was started in 1913 for the Nawabpeta or Vayalpadu Korachas by the Salvation Army. Aziz Nagar or Kammapuram Settlement was also started in 1913 for the Veppur Parayas in South Arcot district. Stuartpet Settlement was opened on 20 December 1915 for the Veppur Parayas in South Arcot district. Palliyarpatti Settlement was opened during the year 1915 for the Gandarva Kottai Koravas in Tanjore district. Kulasekharapatnam Settlement was opened in 1916 for the Uppu Koravas of Tinnevelly district, while Siddhapuram Settlement was a voluntary settlement opened by the government for the Waddars during the year 1913. The Pallavaram Settlement was started in 1917 for Veppur Parayas in Chinglepet district and the Reformatory Settlement at Perambur was started by the Salvation Army in 1913 for the reclamation of certain prisoners. Bapatla Yanadi Voluntary Settlement was started during the year 1905 by the American Baptist Telugu Mission.29 Apart from the above settlements, the Nizam’s government also started various settlements in its dominions. Hankin and Vilayat Hussain started settlement schemes in the Nizam’s dominions. Lingala Settlement was established during the year 1917 for the Lambadas, Korachas and Yerukulas. Later Dommars, Kal-Waddars, Pardhis and Alagirs were settled. The penal settlement at Mannanore was started for the gangs of Waddars who used to escape from the Lingala settlement.30 The Bombay government also established settlements for the CTs in Hotgi, Sholapur, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Gadag, Hubli and Bellary districts.31 The Salvation Army requested the colonial government to permit the settlement managers to visit various settlements in the three presidencies and Nizam’s dominions to exchange ideas on their work. The British government always encouraged the managers to find innovative methods to control the movements of wandering tribes.32 The government used to pay the cost of visits of the managers even though it was a burden on the exchequer. The managers of Sitanagaram and Stuartpuram settlements stated that with regard to our requests for the grants to visit other settlements and CTs with the purpose of the observation and study of different methods of controlling, management and exchange of views on the various methods of reclaiming the CTs was conceded favourably by the Government. With regard to the going down to the South Mr. Ellis the Collector of Madura gave his opinion to the effect that the Kallar’s Movements have to be stopped

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immediately and the visits of the settlement managers would be immensely useful and instructive.33

The measures adopted by the Madras government were quickly followed by Bombay, Mysore, Hyderabad and the North-Western Provinces. The Method of surveillance was strictly followed by these governments to control movements of certain CTs.34 The provincial and district governments adopted a variety of measures. The police department became openly corrupt and rapacious.35 In order to control the movements of the wandering tribes, the Government of Madras introduced the system of registration. Personal history, avocations, occupations, births and deaths were systematically recorded. Various registers were kept in the settlements (Form P: Attendance Register, Form Q: Leave Register, Form R: Register of Births, Form S: Register of Deaths, Form T: Tribes Absent Without Leave from the Settlement, Form U: Tribes Removed from the Settlement, Form V: Register of Members Punished and Form W: List of Visitors to Members of Criminal Tribes).36 The cases of escapes and of overstays of leave were more in number in the settlements. The district magistrates suggested that a majority of these cases should be left to the managers to deal with. This was usually in connection with police prosecutions for escaping from the settlement or overstaying without passes. Marjori Banks, the then Salvation Army officer of Madras, asked the government to construct lock-ups in the settlements.37 Yerukulas used to abscond from villages every year and it was chiefly due to unemployment, domestic troubles or family disputes, slackness of work, strict supervision and harassment of police. Some male members used to absent themselves at midnight but returned in the morning. New forms were introduced in the settlements to facilitate identification of unregistered members. Managers were asked to maintain registers in which names and other particulars of all the members of Yerukulas were noted. They were required to register information about births and deaths and to report at regular intervals to the local police stations. Policemen used to go round colonies and take rollcall of all the members. The instance of getting a pass and reporting oneself to the police provided scope for local potentates to get free labour from the poor. This gave birth to bribery at the local level.38 The tickets of leaves, passes and registers virtually limited the movements of Yerukulas and other wandering tribes. A list of tribes was printed in local newspapers describing them

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as dangerous classes. Their foot prints, palm impressions and photographs were notified and kept in the public places to guard the public from their interactions.39 Judicial magistrates and law officers upheld the measures of police authorities. It was emphasized by local judicial authorities that strict supervision and efficient controlling mechanism was compulsory to control the Yerukulas, Waddars, Dommaras, Yanadis and Sugalis. Consequent upon this excessive powers were given to police authorities without providing any checks over the police administration. Courts did not question the brutality of police administration.40 British authorities and missionaries propagated that the kula dharma (caste duty) of Yerukulas was dongatanamu (thieving). Before going out on a housebreaking excursion or a raid on a peaceful village they used to pray to Modevi (goddess of sleep). They used to pray that heavy sleep might fall on their victims and that the police would not interrupt their operations. Routines like these turned them into criminal tribes under the colonial dispensation.41 Evidences from the various districts of Madras Presidency involving wandering tribes were insignificant and one IG of police observed in 1877 that ‘dacoity as the special famine crime was committed by hungry people, not ordinary criminals’.42 It was the particular attitude of police, moneyed class and rich sections of the society that made them criminals. The colonial government insisted that the police convert Yerukulas into loyal subjects.43 This was a vital aspect of disciplining and controlling them. Government adopted repressive measures and did not completely depend on the local and native police. The responsibility of reforming the Yerukulas was handed over to the Salvation Army and the American Baptist Telugu Missionary. The Madras government felt that the criminal law existing in the country was sufficient to discipline Yerukulas. The colonial state treated the Yerukula tribe as one of the criminal classes in Madras Presidency. But history of their crimes is virtually absent from various regional reports of the colonial government. According to some reports their crime was connected to seasonality.44 In Europe, social measures were adopted for upliftment of degraded classes, vagrants, tramps and criminals. In England an industrial school was maintained for the children of criminals and delinquents. In Switzerland, an education colony was formed at Witzwill, Berne, for vagabonds. France profited by the Swiss example. It was the same

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story everywhere with varying degrees of success. The picture, however, was quite different in India.45 The problem was not tackled seriously in British India and no scheme was launched for the elevation of aboriginals, wandering families and CTs. A regrettable indifference is noticeable among the authorities in all spheres of activities such as education, employment, social welfare, political rights and economic equality. On the other hand, the colonial authorities heavily depended on Christian missionaries and philanthropic enthusiasts.46 Government and the police believed that repressive measures alone would control the vagaries of life in the case of Yerukulas, Koravas and other tribes. But repression did not help them in leading a decent life in society. Obtaining an honest living was regarded as important by the government, but circumstances did not allow them to be honest. Yerukulas and Koravas depended on mobility to earn an honest living. Mobile life complicated their daily routines. Their wandering trade habits provided necessary social space for the colonial state to regard them as criminals and under the provisions of CT Act of 1911, the government restricted their movements to a region.47 The British government in Madras ordered the CTs to be interned in industrial, reformatory, agricultural and penal settlements. CTs petitioned the government requesting them to keep all the members of a familiy at one place. The colonial government often used to place men, their wives and children in different settlements. Managers of settlements were given powers to recommend cases of family transfers so that families could stay together at one place. The tribals had to pay bribe to the managers to recommend their transfer to higher authorities. Based on the request of tribes and on the merits of recommendation of settlement managers, the government was pleased to pass orders to intern family members of CTs at one place. Authorities registered the names of males, females and children with gang numbers and passed draft orders affirming the proposals made by commissioners of police. Commissioners used to publish notification and transfer orders in respect of CTs in the Fort Saint George Gazette. It was stated that ‘in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 16 of the CTA 1924, the Governor-in-Council is pleased to place the Yerukulas in the reformatory, penal and agricultural settlements in respect of which a notification has been published under Section 11 of the said act in the Gezette’.48 Rules framed in the CT Act were vague and cruel and caused great hardship to the members of nomadic communities. Many wandering

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members were prosecuted under Section 22(2) of the CT Act.49 They were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for not obtaining or providing themselves with G Passes whenever they left the village in search of livelihood.50 Prosecutions under the CT Act were very severe. The Act was applied to a number of cases with regard to movements of wandering tribes. The intention of the government was to restrict the application of the Act to specific cases in which it was necessary. The government instructed the officers to inspect police stations and scrutinize the need for prosecution of tribes under various sections of the CT Act. Often police authorities and officers of the labour department exhibited undue enthusiasm in implementing the CT Act.51 There are a number of parallels between the CTs and habitual offenders. Criminal tribe was a colonial construct; the phrase ‘habitual criminal’ is from the Victorian era. Notions of dangerous classes and habitual criminals evolved in England during the nineteenth century. They were the products of bourgeois social and political order. Thousands of working class people posed peculiar problems for the bourgeois. There was a contradiction between increased wealth and prosperity of the upper classes and the destitution of the working class. Crime, public disorder, vagrancy and immorality were the images used in case of predatory tribes. There were three assumptions with regard to the habitual offenders – they were not honest, industrious and hardworking people; they should be segregated from the general public. Separate coercive methods were required to deal with these sections of people. Segregation of these people was regarded as an effective means to deal with them. Government proceeded to deal with these sections of people on three basic considerations. First, all persons born in a particular group or caste were criminals from birth, because they take up their fathers’ profession. Second, once they are involved in law-violating behaviour, they will always continue to do so as they believe it to be a profession and third, because of continuous criminal practices they become hardened criminals. These three assumptions-led authorities to believe that the so-called CTs were dangerous elements of society. K.M. Kapadia stated: ‘As time passes the members of these tribes will realise the injustice done to them more and more and this position may turn them into permanent enemies of the society as well as the government’.52 In Madras, the Habitual Offenders Act came into force from

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29 April 1948. Its aim was to control criminals who take to crime as a profession. Rules under the Act were published in the Fort St. George Gazette dated 22 November 1949. The then DIG of Railways Police and Central Intelligence Department, Madras, noted, ‘the application of the Act is very limited. The Act has application only to such criminals – convicted of serious offences and criminal minded persons interned in the settlements. The Government of India published an All India Habitual Offender’s Bill which is an effective instrument to exercise better control over the criminals’.53 N.G. Ranga fought for the repeal or abolition of the CT Act and upliftment of CTs. Two Bills were passed in the Central Legislative Assembly. The first Bill was sponsored by Venkatsubba Reddiyar who was a Member of the Legislative Assembly. The second Bill was floored by N.G. Ranga. He proposed to repeal Sections 10, 11-14, 17, 19, 20, 22-5 of the CT Act.54 There was a debate on the proposals made by N.G. Ranga and some members opposed his stand on the repeal of certain clauses from the Act. It was stated that Ranga’s proposal amounted to willing to wound but afraid to strike; it sought to retain the husk of the CT Act and remove its kernel. In a special penal legislation such as the CTA, the only justification can be the absolute necessity of provision of coercive and restrictive measures for the protection of society. If these are to be deleted or diluted, as Ranga’s Bill proposesed, the raison d’être of the Act disappears.55 Various states in India took steps to repeal the Criminal Tribal Act. The Madras government was the first to do so in 1949. The Indian government appointed a committee in 1949 to study the usefulness of the law. It expressed a view that the Act was against the spirit of the Constitution and the Act was repealed in 1952. With the repeal of the Act, many communities and families were legally set free from the draconian colonial criminal law.56 At present the status of CTs in the eyes of law is the same as any other Indian. After Independence various committees recommended that suitable steps should be taken for the amelioration of the CTs. The government is now involved in initiating necessary steps to alleviate the hardships of these groups of people. In spite of all the facilities provided by the Government of India, the social position of the CTs remains the same as before. The stigma still haunts them. These people are unable to free themselves from the social bondage.57 It is unfortunate to call a whole tribe, clan or family as CT. There is

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no country in the world where all the people of a social group are dubbed anti-socials and reported to practice crime as an occupation. The deductive logic, therefore, could be that the notion of CTs is false. Criminal castes and tribes appear only in colonial society but not in India at any period of time. The idea of CTs was transplanted in India by the colonial administrators. The colonial interpretation of Indian society was associated with the Victorian notion of criminal classes. The idea of CTs is at best a myth or a metaphor.58

III Being aboriginals, the nomadic and denotified tribes people are like any other residents of this country. Often times they are landless, homeless, illiterate, unorganized and scattered. It is true that the existing reports on these communities have failed to provide any clear picture or to get any substantive data so far. Although national and state commissions have conducted studies on notified/denotified tribes and backward communities, the endeavours have not been successful or as expected. Commissions, committees and studies have strongly suggested that nomadic tribes are the most deprived and oppressed sections in comparison with other Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes. These studies have also recommended the formation of a separate commission to study the socio-economic and educational conditions of these most vulnerable sections of India. The British government notified these communities as criminals. Members born into these nomadic tribes were stigmatized as ‘born criminals’. In 1952 the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed and the communities were denotified. However, most of these denotified tribes have not found a place in the SC/ST list of the Indian Constitution because at the commencement of the Constitution in 1950 they were still considered criminals inhabiting various settlements (open jails).59 Since inception, these nomadic tribes have been vulnerable and susceptible to atrocities led by the state and other communities. Majority of these communities are economically poor, socially and educationally backward and do not have any assets of their own. These are closed communities, stigmatized, stereotyped as criminal tribes and are often associated with certain traditional occupations such as snake-charming, begging, bear dancing, puppetry, acrobatics, and so on. They are further victimized by the policies and enactments

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of union and state governments in India.60 Being the most vulnerable among the vulnerable tribes, their traditional occupations are crippled due to the following legislations: t t t t t t t t

Prevention of Beggary Act, 1959 Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 Excise Act, 1944 Drugs and Magic Remedy Act, 1954 Prohibition Act of 1989 The Cow Protection Act, 2005 The Environmental and Bio-Diversity Conservation Act, 1999

The above enactments have forced some of these vulnerable groups to indulge in illegal activities. The National Commission for NT/ DNTs has conducted a rapid survey taking into consideration various parameters. The NTs and DNTs comprise approximately of 13,51,25,018 people; 57 per cent of them stay in temporary tents. Though NT/DNT communities are spread over SC/ST/OBC categories they have not benefited from the facilities given to the respective categories. As per the rapid survey conducted by the National Commission for NTs and DNTs, Table 3.1 depicts the vulnerability of these communities.61 Table 3.2 contains a list of the most vulnerable denotified communities across the country.62 TABLE 3.1: VULNERABILITIES OF NTs AND DNTs

Issue Families without BPL cards Landless families Residing in temporary tents Residing in jhuggis + tents Families without access to burial grounds Families without ration cards Home deliveries Absence of birth certificate Absence of death certificate Using unsafe water No access to health services No access to micro-credit No access to two square/day meals Rate of harassment by police Sexual abuse of women by others

Percentage 94 98 57 69 28 72 50 58 82 80 61 94 21 88 25

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TABLE 3.2: MOST VULNERABLE DENOTIFIED COMMUNITIES IN INDIA

Name of the Community Bandiwaddar Berad Bauria Bhampta Chapperband Chhara Dang-Dasar Girni-Waddar Javeri Johari Kaikadi Kalluwaddar Kanjar Kanjar Bhat Mannuwaddar Nat Neikmakkallu Neiwadi Nirshakari Pamlor Pardeshi Bhampta Pardhis Pharechari Sansia Takanakar Takar Talwar Tudug-Waddar Uchila Yerukula

State of Domicile Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh Karnataka Haryana, Punjab Karnataka Karnataka Karnataka Karnataka Bijapur, Karnataka Karnataka Karnataka Karnataka, Maharastra Andhra Pradesh Karnataka Karnataka Bijapur, Karnataka Gujarat Karnataka Karnataka Andhra Pradesh Karnataka Karnataka Shakapur, Gulbarga, Karnataka Karnataka Haryana, Karnataaka Karnataka Karnataka Karnataka Karnataka Karnataka Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka

IV A recently-conducted field study in Andhra Pradesh tried to explore conditions of a few important DNT communities in the districts of Nellore, Prakasam and Kurnool. The communities covered were: Nakkala and Mondibanda communities (Nellore); Shikaris (Kurnool) and Pamula, Katikapari, Dommara, Mondibanda and Boya (Prakasam).63 The Nakkala community is one of the most socio-economically backward communities in the district of Nellore and it is currently

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included in the list of Other Backward Classes of Andhra Pradesh. Nakkala is traditionally a hunting community although its members have lost touch with it in the modern era. They moved from Madras State 60-70 years ago to Subedaripeta and do not intend to go back. They are multi-linguistic but prefer to converse in Nakkala language at home and with their community people. They live in makeshift tents, huts, mud houses and sheds without basic facilities like roads, drinking water and sanitation. Their livelihood mainly depends on petty trading and they generally migrate with their families to Orissa and Bengaluru city. Their migration also covers a few important towns in Andhra Pradesh like Bandar, Gudiwada, Bapatla and Tenali. Due to their historical and traditional background they are used occasionally to catch stray dogs and monkeys by the municipal/ district authorities. Other activities they engage in for survival are trading of petty items such as combs, mirrors, dolls, etc. These activities are performed mostly by women and, children in trains plying between Nellore and Chennai and vice versa. They are also involved in the collection and sale of waste or used materials such as iron and other metals. Nakkala children do not attend schools and job-holders are scarcely found in the community. Even though they are designated as an OBC, reservation benefits are out of their reach due to their migratory habits and mobile character.64 The Mondibanda community in Nellore district has its own castebased culture, customs, norms and practices. Violators of judgements by caste heads are expelled from the community and locality. Mondibandas are mostly daily-wagers. In addition, members of the community take up petty trading of plastic items, cosmetic items, dolls, and combs, sale of waste material and metal scrap. Most of them are landless and do not possess livestock and household assets. They too belong to the OBC category but lack of awareness held them back from accessing various public welfare schemes. At present Mondibandas are slowly getting accustomed to the habit of sending their children to schools and colleges. But what prevents them most is poverty and non-availability of schools in nearby localities.65 The Shikari community of Kurnool district is found in places like Shikaripeta, Pasupula, Orvakallu and Bangarupeta. Their condition is by and large the same across these villages. They are traditional hunters, forest produce gathers and nomadic people. During the British regime they were included in the criminal tribes’ list and thus labelled as criminal tribes, thieves, robbers, trouble-makers, uncivilized

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and unhygienic people. All these accusations still seem to exist and continue to haunt them. Malnutrition, widespread unemployment, lack of housing, sanitation and health problems characterize their socio-economic status. Majority of the families subsist on begging, and children are deployed for this job. Although a few children are enrolled in schools most of them are irregular owing to the activity of begging. College education is almost invisible. Destitution and the tag of criminality are discouraging their children in the field of education. They lack employment opportunities in the open labour market, and are prohibited from working in hotels and individual households. Indeed, they get no employment offer from others due to their historical lineage as criminal tribes. As a result, they have started trading in illicit liquor which has now become a major source of income. Using the traditional skills in music, young members of the community are presently engaged in drum-beating or providing musical bands for various social events. This has recently emerged as one of the prime income sources. Their OBC status is of no great avail as most of the members are not properly educated to take up public jobs or assignments. A major problem they face today is constant harassment from the police department and report that most of the accusations are false. There are still cases pending against them.66 The Pamula, Katikapari, Dommara, Mondibanda and Boya communities in Prakasam district are different in terms of culture, customs, language, social norms and practices but have commonality in poverty, destitution, backwardness and discrimination. The socioeconomic conditions of four of these communities (Pamula, Katikapari, Mondibanda and Dommaras) are abominable and are a cause of concern. In comparison, the Boyas are in better position since their numbers influence vote-bank politics. The basic problems these communities face are malnutrition, lack of housing, drinking water, sanitation, schools and health-care centres. Most of them are landless people inhabiting areas like Kanigiri in Prakasam district for more than six decades. Interestingly most of them have voter identity cards and do not possess ration cards, caste certificates, MGNREGS job cards and Aadhar cards. Majority of them beg for food and are involved in domestic drudgeries in the households of local landlords. Like the Nakkalas, the Boyas are also involved in selling combs, mirrors, hair adornments, dolls and plastic items as street vendors. Males from these communities get no work due to their social

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background but females do get work in landlords’ houses. Begging is a major problem with many of these communities whose direct effect is seen on the enrolment of children in schools. Most children do not get into schools due to pressures at the domestic level. Members of the communities lead isolated lifestyle and get excluded from mainstream society. Their OBC status does not help them in any of the public schemes or employment. They seek ST reservation so that they may get additional benefits from the government. There are a number of incidents of human rights violations against them by others.67

Notes 1. David Arnold, ‘Rebellious Hillmen: The Gudem Rampa Raising 18391924’, in Ranajit Guha (ed.), Subaltern Studies I: Writings on South Asian History and Society, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1982, p. 16. 2. Malli Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes: Policy and Practice, New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, 2006, pp. 3-4. 3. The free market invariably worked against the poor and market mechanisms discouraged farmers. The raise of prices caused bread riots. The low standard of living, the misery of people developed an arena of class warfare. E.P. Thompson, ‘The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century’, in Past and Present, no. 50 (February 1971), pp. 76-136. 4. Booth Frederick Tucker, Criminocurologly or the Indian Crime and What to Do with Him: A Report of the Work of Salvation Army among the Criminal Tribes, Habituals and Released Prisoners in India, London: John Randall (Books of Asia), 1912, pp. 12-13. 5. Government of India, Report of the Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee, United Provinces of India, 1947, 1948, p. 31. 6. W.H. Sleeman, Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official, London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1915, p. 130. 7. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in Madras Presidency up to September 1916, Madras, 1917, pp. 3-4. 8. W.W. Hunter, England’s Work in India, London: Nabu Press, Smith Elder & Co., 1881; Frederick S. Mullay, Note on Criminal Classes of the Madras Province, Madras: Supt. Govt. Press, 1912; E.J. Gunthorpe, Notes on Criminal Tribes, Bombay: Supt. Govt. Press, 1882. 9. Freitag Sandira B., ‘Crime in the Social Order of Colonial North India’, in Modern Asian Studies, 25, 2, 1991, pp. 234-6. 10. Guha (ed.), op. cit. Also see, Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiah (ed.), The

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Freedom Movement in Andhra Pradesh, vol. 3: 1921-31, Hyderabad: The Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of Andhra Pradesh, 1965. 11. Government of Madras, Madras Police Administration Report for the Year 1877, Madras, 1878. For example, out of 980 reported cases of dacoity in 1876 in Madras, only 132 were committed by criminal tribes and in 1877 only 283 out of 1695 cases were committed by them in India. 12. E.J. Hobsbawm, The Primitive Rebels: Studies in Archaic Forms of Social Movement in the 19th and 20th Centuries, New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1959; Arnold, op. cit.; Anand A. Yang (ed.), Crime and Criminality in British India, Association for Asian for Asian Studies by the University of Arizona, 1985; Meena Radhakrishna, Dishonoured by History ‘Criminal Tribes’ and British Colonial Policy, Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2001. 13. David Arnold, ‘Dacoity and Rural Crime in Madras, 1860-1940’, in Journal of Peasant Studies, vol. 6, no. 2, January 1979. 14. Sanjay Nigam, ‘Disciplining and Policing the “Criminal by Birth”, pt. I: ‘The Making of a Colonial Stereotype: The Criminal Tribes and Castes of North India’, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, vol. 27, no. 2, New Delhi: Sage, 1990. 15. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 1675, dated 2 December 1919, pp. 40-1. 16. Ibid. 17. Paupa Rao M. Naidu, The Criminal Tribes of India, No. II: A History of Korawas, Erukulas or Kaikadis, Madras: Higginobothams, 1915, p. 5. 18. Government of Madras, Home Department GO No. 1675, dated 2 December 1919, pp. 42-3. 19. Ibid. 20. V. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes: Patterns and Transition, Madras: New Era Publications, 1995, pp. 27-8. 21. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to January 1925, Madras, 1927, pp. 1-2. 22. Government of Madras, The Madras Criminal Tribes Manual, Madras, 1924. 23. Government of Madras, Madras Criminal Tribes Manual 1927, Criminal Tribes Act VI of 1924, brought up to 31 March 1927, Madras, p. 6. 24. Government of Madras, Madras District Gazetteers, Cuddapah District, Madras, 1930, p. 15. 25. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency upto September 1916, Madras, 1917, p. 2. 26. Ibid., p. 3.

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27. Government of Madras, Home Department (Judicial), GO. No. 2615, dated 13 December 1917, pp. 1-5. 28. Ibid. 29. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to January 1925, Madras 1927, pp. 14-15. 30. Report on the Administration of the District Police of H.H. the Nizam’s Government for the Year 1325 Fasli, 7 October 1915 to 5 October 1916, p. 3. 31. Government of Madras, Public Works and Labour Department, GO No. 1764 L., dated 19 August 1932, pp. 2-3. 32. Government of Madras, Public Works and Labour Department, GO No. 1452 L., dated 24 June 1935, pp. 1-2. 33. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 3953, dated 20 July 1939, pp. 1-2. 34. Government of Madras, Madras Criminal Tribes Manual 1927, Criminal Tribes Act VI of 1924, brought up to 31 March 1927, Madras, p. 7. 35. Frederick Tucker, op. cit., p. 12. 36. Government of Madras, Law (General) Department, GO No. 2008 L., dated 21 December 1926, p. 2. 37. Government of Madras, Home Department (Judicial), GO No. 1592, dated 3 August 1917, pp. 1-2. 38. Government of Madras, Public Works and Labour Department, GO No. 2470 L., dated 24 November 1932, pp. 2-3. 39. Nigam, op. cit. 40. Lalitha, op. cit., p. 38. 41. Gandhi, Denotified Tribes, op. cit., p. 57. 42. Government of Madras, Report on the Administration of the Inspector General of Police 1877, Madras, 1878, p. 30. 43. Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 1299, dated 30 June 1913, pp. 1-12. 44. Ibid. 45. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 1675, dated 2 October 1919, pp. 4-5. 46. Rishiram Gupta and J.S. Mathur, Social Pathology of Denotified Tribes in ICSSR Research Abstracts Quarterly, no. 3, issue 1, 1973. 47. Government of Madras, Public Work and Labour Department, GO No., 2371 L., dated 17 September 1931, pp. 1-2. 48. Government of Madras, Home Department, Memorandum No. 4140 c/36-3, Home, dated July 1937, p. 2. 49. Government of Madras, Public Work and Labour Department, GO No. 2470 L., dated 24 November 1932. 50. Ibid.

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51. M. Gandhi and V. Lalitha, Tribes Under Stigma: Problem of Identity, New Delhi: Serials Publications, 2009, p. 45. 52. K.M. Kapadia, The Criminal Tribes of India, in Sociological Bulletin, no. 182, 1952. 53. Government of Madras, Administration Report of Habitual Offenders Settlements for 1949-50, Government Central Press, Madras, 1951, p. 13. 54. Government of Madras, Administration Report on Habitual Offenders Settlements for the Year 1951-52, Madras, 1953, p. 41. 55. Government of Madras, Administration Report on Habitual Offenders Settlements for the First Half Year 1953-1954, Madras, 1955, p. 35. 56. Ibid., p. 36. 57. Dilip D’Souza, Branded by Law: Looking at India’s Denotified Tribes, New Delhi: Penguin, 2001. 58. V. Raghavaiah, The Problems of Criminal Tribes, Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh, 1943. 59. Gandhi, Denotified Tribes, op. cit., p. 27. 60. Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, vol. 1, 30 June 2008. 61. Ibid. 62. Ibid. 63. Gandhi, Denotified Tribes, op. cit., p. 134. 64. V.S. Deep Kumar, K.M. Reddy and T. Ramachandraiah, ‘Distribution of ABO and Rh (D) Blood Groups among Three Endogamous Groups of Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh’, Comparative Psychology and Ecology, 1982, vol. 7, issue 4, pp. 227-9. 65. H.V. Nanjundayya and L.K.A. Iyer, The Mysore Tribes and Castes, vol. IV, University of Mysore, 1928, pp. 217-24. Also see, Edgar Thurston, Castes and Tribes of Southern India, vol. I, p. 146, & vol. V, pp. 71-3, New Delhi: Cosmo, 1975 (rpt.) 66. Government of India, Census of India, ‘Ethnographic Notes, No. 8. Ethnographic Notes on Yerukula or Koracha (Scheduled Tribe), Boya, Nirshikari and Pardhis (Denotified Tribe) and Bala Santhosa (Nomadic Tribe), vol. II, Andhra Pradesh, part V: B, Delhi: Manager of Publication, 1970, p. 203. 67. K.S. Singh, People of India, AP, vol. XIII, pts. 1-3, New Delhi: East-West Press (ASI), pp. 371, 555, 865, 1367.

PA RT I I

STATUS OF NOMADIC AND DENOTIFIED TRIBES UNDER COLONIAL RULE

CHAPTER 4

Colonial Rule and Criminal Tribes: A Study of Criminal Tribes Acts in Andhra Pradesh, 1871-1965

YERUKULA, YANADI, LAMBADI and Dommara are considered as nomadic tribes in Andhra Pradesh. These tribes had to migrate from place to place, from state to state in order to eke out their livelihood. They acquired expertise in handicrafts and petty business. Their lifestyle today has transformed. However, we can still see traces of nomadism among them. The cultivation practice adopted by them in the recent past in some places is a hallmark of change among them.1 An effort is made to study the need for regulation and control of the criminal tribes and passing of certain regulatory Acts called Criminal Tribes Acts (CTA) between the years 1871 and 1965. In addition, life patterns of the branded tribes under the CTAs are also discussed. The study closely looks into the major changes or the deviations that took place under the CTAs and the reasons that motivated the British to pass these Acts. The nineteenth-century colonial economic policies disturbed the occupations of a number of communities. Specific policies of the administration severely affected communities which were involved in trading. The salt policy of the government had a severe bearing on the trade of Koravas, Yerukulas, Brinjaries and Lambadas in Andhra Pradesh.2 The colonial forest policies prevented free gazing of the cattle owned by these groups and the collection of forest produce. The Chenchus of Hyderabad, to quote an example, were badly affected by the forest laws.3 In desperation they turned into bandits.4 Like Chenchus, many other groups were also badly affected by these forest policies.5 Lieutenant Balmer in his letter to the Collector dated 22 May 1865 stated that the Yerukalas are addicted to dacoity and highway robbery. They are the ‘most troublesome of our wanderers’.6 There were widespread and severe famines in 1866, 1876-8 and 1898. These years witnessed unprecedented outbreaks of dacoity, food riots and looting of markets, house-breakings, cattle-stealing,

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etc.7 The IG of police observed in 1877 that ‘dacoity as the “special famine crime” was committed by hungry people, not ordinary criminals’.8 In 1825, Sir Thomas Munro, the Governor of Madras, observed that there were several thousand men scattered over in the country, whose business from their earliest days had been robbery.9 The development of roads and railways further destroyed their business activity and in turn they lost their traditional means of livelihood.10 Mackenzie, in his book writes, ‘the Yerukulas were originally merchants’. Their forefathers carried salt, grain and other commodities inland on the backs of the pack animals, but in the march of progress came rail, roadways and transportation was taken out of their hands. Their living was gone, they knew no trade and they resorted to crime. It was easy for them to steal and run away, as they knew every road and by-pass of the country side.11 These tribes led a vagrant life in the jungles, hills and deserts with no fixed abodes. They wandered about with their bag and baggage and would pitch their tents on the outskirts of a village or a city or in some secluded place.12 In the absence of any substantial means of living, these people depended on begging, cattle lifting and crop stealing.13 In earlier times, they felt that their life was much easier. But gradually with the advance of civilization they realized the real situation and faced hardships in the day-to-day ‘criminal’ life. Conversion to Christianity as a means of controlling crime is doubtless overrated by both missionaries and some public officials and underrated by many police officers. Crime among the underprivileged is not so much a problem of a specific group as a disease of the social organism. There were a large number of supernumeraries in the tribal areas with the coming of Christian missionaries in India. There were four main reasons for the conversion of Yerukulas and Waddars into Christianity: the changed lives of outcaste converts; the loss of faith in Hinduism; the influence of schools and churches; and to liberate themselves from the criminal laws.14

II To put down crime, the British government took stern steps to arrest and punish these people. They could not forget their bad experiences with Thugs and Pindharis.15 The British, high-caste Hindus and police officers were unable to comprehend or sympathize with the lifestyle of the nomads. Their peculiar social practices, consumption

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of alcohol and ‘inferior’ types of food, laziness and unwillingness to work were the criteria in branding them so. References were made to women of these communities who were described as rogues.16 A gypsy way of life, necessitated by earlier trading activities, came to be described as vagrancy or a lust for wandering. There was a view amongst the British that the criminal tribes looked different from ordinary human beings in their physical appearance.17 Around the last part of the nineteenth century, on the basis of increased rate of crime, the administration mulled about the concept of heredity among criminals. Instead of being considered as wandering tribes they were classified as criminal tribes. The number of these tribes (branded as criminal in nature) increased in the due course of time.18 Several theories have been advanced regarding the origin of these criminal tribes. According to one view, they have descended from the gypsies. It was held by some that the criminal tribes owe their origin to the aborigines, who had been displaced from time to time by the incursions of the inhabitants of Central Asia.19 The government used to deal with the individuals caught in criminal activities individually or collectively, first under Regulation XXVI of 1793, then under the Act XXX of 1836 and later, under the Indian Penal Code of 1860.20 Thus, legally until the year 1871, no tribe as a whole was dubbed as criminal tribe. When the control the traditional criminal behaviour on the part of certain tribes became a problem for the British government, they felt it necessary for preventive and deterrent purposes to treat the entire tribal group legally as a criminal tribe. In this way all the members could be kept under continuous watch and vigilance. Gangs of thugs used to travel by road in the guise of merchants and ordinary travellers and, on finding opportunities used to strangle, plunder and kill innocent travellers. 21 Sleeman writes, ‘large gangs from Hindustan and the Deccan used to rendezvous in these groves, remain in them for many days together every year and carry their dreadful trade….’22 The operations went on until 1853 when thuggee was eradicated and by 1860, suppression of these pirates was completed.23 After complete suppression of the Thugs and Pindharis, the English turned their attention to the nomadic and gypsy tribes roaming in India.24 It is difficult to enumerate all the tribes declared as criminals. The report of the All-India Inquiry Committee enumerated 136 of them besides various mixed groups declared as such.25 A report prepared by the Tribal Cultural Research and Training

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Institute, Andhra Pradesh, cited 59 sects as denotified tribes of Andhra Pradesh.26

III The main aim of the 1871 Act was to keep an eye on the activities of the Criminal Tribes. The Act also aimed to control crime and help the members of criminal tribes to reform and rehabilitate themselves. The provincial governments were authorized to declare any group of people whom they suspected to be incorrigibles as criminal tribes.27 It was in this Act that the phrase ‘criminal tribe’ was first coined. The system of registration had begun. The Act was applied to the whole of north India, North-Western Frontier Provinces, the Punjab and Avadh.28 It provided for the maintenance of a register in which the names and other particulars of the tribe were written. Some of them were required to report at regular intervals to the police station.29 It was discovered that the families of these men were usually involved in criminal activities. If the men were thrown into prison, their families either had to continue their depredations or suffer great financial and emotional stress.30 The authorities found that criminals who were released from prison were worse than before. As a result of the experience gained, the Act was amended in 1897. In 1897, the colonial government passed another Criminal Tribes Act. It permitted the local governments of India to establish and maintain settlements for children of criminal tribes.31 In these settlements they were taught to work. Instructions were given to lead an honest life. Children were sent to schools. It was hoped that such steps would bring about a complete change. If any family failed to furnish the required information they were liable to punishment. They were forced to remain in the settlement until the authorities were fairly certain that they could be trusted to remain honest and law-abiding citizens. Enhanced penalties for repetition of offences and breach of rules were provided. As the desired goals could not be achieved by the Act of 1897 another Act was passed in 1911. The main features of the Act were: notification; restriction of movements and, settlements and schools and penalties.32 If the local governments had reason to believe that any tribe, gang or class of persons or a part of a tribe, gang or class is addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences, it may, by notification in the local official gazette, declare that such

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person or group was a criminal tribe.33 There are two methods of dealing with these people – registration and settlements. Registration attempted to keep them under police surveillance in the communities where they lived.34 Settlement meant locating members in a special place provided they could be more clearly controlled than by registration.35 Certain passes were issued to the criminal tribes to leave the places in which they were settled.36 Schedules were prepared. Personal identification marks, thumb and palm impressions of the tribe were taken into consideration. The main difference between the Acts of 1871 and 1911 was that the Act of 1871 was only applied to certain provinces in northern India, but 1911 Act was applied to the whole of India.37 On the recommendations of the Indian Jail Enquiry Committee, the Criminal Tribes Act was again amended in 1923. It was applied to the whole of British India in 1924. In many aspects, the 1911 Act was found defective and contained many loopholes. In aim and intent, it was preventive and not corrective. There was provision for separating children from the parents and giving them proper education. But there were practical difficulties too. Intermixing the parents and children will add new problems with a few more additions like unjust punishments and sentences.38 Section III of the Act empowered the local government to declare any tribe as a criminal tribe, if it had reason to believe that they were addicted to the commission of nonbailable offences. Sections 4 and 5 empowered the district magistrate to make a register of the members of the criminal tribes living within his jurisdiction. Section 16 of the Criminal Tribes Act provided for the establishment of industrial, agricultural and reformatory schools for criminals. It empowered the local government to place any tribe in any type of settlement. Section 23 of the Criminal Tribes Act declared that any person belonging to this category convicted once for any offence under the Indian Penal Code, specified in Schedule 1, if convicted for the same offence for the second time, will be punished with imprisonment for ten or not less than seven years and on a third or any subsequent conviction with transportation for life. Though the act remained in force for about eighty years, it failed in its purpose. Leaders and social reformers realized that the dubbing of a people as criminal tribe was a blot on the Indian society. Nehru stated in 1936 that ‘I am aware of this monstrous provision of Criminal Tribes Act which constitutes a negation of civil liberty. Wide publicity should be given to its working and an attempt made to have the Act

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removed from the statute book’.39 B. Pattabhi Seetaramayya pointed out that ‘cattle that are sold and brought in the market, wild animals that are hunted out of villages, worms that are trodden under the feet are not worse treated than criminal tribes’.40 Criticizing the Criminal Tribes Act, Vennelacunty Raghavaiah stated that it ‘destroyed domestic peace, embittered human life and led to the false theory, i.e. once a criminal is always a criminal’.41 Thakkar Bapa remarked that ‘the Criminal Tribes Act is disgracing our statute book’.42 The Madras Habitual Offenders Act 1948 came into force from 29 April 1948. It aims at the control of the criminals who take to crime as a profession.43 The Government of India published an All India Habitual Offenders Bill which was an effective instrument to exercise better control over the criminals. N.G. Ranga strongly fought for the repeal or abolition of the Criminal Tribes Act in Madras Presidency. He said the Act was used to ‘suppress political workers’ in those days.44 Two Bills were passed in the Central Legislative Assembly. The first Bill was sponsored by Venkat Subba Reddiyar and the second was sponsored by N.G. Ranga. The latter proposed to repeal Sections 10, 11, 12, 13, 17 and 18 of the Act.45 The Andhra Pradesh Habitual Offenders Act 1962 formulated some rules: the superintendent of police shall from time to time, examine the cases of individuals residing in the area within his jurisdiction; a register would be maintained in the settlements which would be placed in the custody of the superintendent of police; every registered offender would be supplied with a certificate of identity; every registered offender shall give his certificate of identify for examination or inspection when required by any police officer. Every registered offender shall report at the nearest police station, the district collector or any officer, authorized by him on his behalf may at any time order the finger and palm impressions, footprints and photographs of any registered offender to be taken; with this Act, if any habitual offender is found outside the area, to which his movements have been restricted, he may be arrested without warrant by a police officer; if a registered offender is arrested or convicted, the certificate of identity shall be treated as his personal property and dealt with accordingly; when a village headman receives information that a registered offender of another village has spent a night or part of a night in his village without a certificate, he shall promptly inform the station house officer. Any registered offender who intends to leave the house in which he is residing, between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

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has to inform the village headman of the date and time at which he intends to leave the house and return and the place to which he is going.46 Various states in India took steps to repeal the Criminal Tribes Act. The Madras government was the first to take steps to repeal the Act in 1949. The Indian government appointed a committee in 1949 to study the usefulness of the law. It expressed the view that the Act was against the spirit of the Constitution. The public also moved and as a result the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed in 1965. With the repeal of the Act, about 22,68,348 persons in the country were legally set free. The committee also recommended that suitable steps should be taken for the amelioration of the problems of criminal tribes after the repeal of the Act. The stigma still haunts them. These people are unable to free themselves from social bondage.47

Notes 1. Nagabhushanacharyulu Chirravuri, Adimavasulu, Tenali, 1949, p. 60. 2. Government of Madras, Administrative Report of the Forest Department, Madras Presidency for 1889-90, Madras, Tamil Nadu Archieves, p. 27. 3. Government of Madras, Development Department, GO No. 1634, 6 December 1922, Tamil Nadu Archieves, p. 1; Also see Welfare of Chenchus-Kurnool district, Material Conditions, Progress for 1959-60, Kurnool, 1961, pp. 1-5. 4. Firishta, the Mughal chronicler, wrote that Chenchus were ‘a wild mountainous people ... lived on honey, roots and flesh of wild animals and had a language not in the least understood by the plain folk’. See Tour in Hyderabad, Pamphlet No. 11 (by the Secretaries of Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh), New Delhi, 1950, p. 3. 5. Proceedings of the Chief Conservator of Forests, Proceeding No. 321, (Press), 15 July 1932, p. 4. 6. Hukumnamas and Papers Relating to Sriharikota Yanadis, vol. 1, in A Selection of Papers from the Old Records of the Nellore District, Nellore, 1915. 7. Parthy Jagannath, ‘Social Basis of Banditry and the Criminal Tribes Act’, in Social Science Probings, vol. 1, no. 4, December 1984, p. 497. 8. Meena Radhakrishna, ‘From Tribal Community to Working Class Consciousness: Case of Yerukula Women’, in Economic and Political Weekly, vol. XXIV, no. 17, 29 April 1989, pp. 2-3. 9. Jagannath, op. cit., p. 494. 10. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to September 1916, Tamil Nadu Archives, p. 19.

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11. M.E. Mackenzie, The Mud Bank, Pennsylvania, 1894, p. 60. 12. They felt that if they committed any offence and left the local territory, apprehending them would be very difficult. The agencies for detecting crime were not properly organized. Even if the absconding persons (criminals) returned to the same place after a few years, it would be difficult to recognize the culprits and establish their guilt. Thus they were secure as circumstances were favourable. See Elwin Verrier, The Aboriginals in Oxford Pamphlets on India Affairs, No. 14, Bombay: Oxford University Press, 1943, p. 1. 13. Pickett J. Waskom, Christian Mass Movements in India, New York: The Abingdon Press, 1933, p. 297. 14. Ibid., p. 298. 15. They gathered in gangs to roam across the subcontinent for three or four months of every year. They spent the balance of the year in home villages appearing as ordinary peasants. Sleeman wrote, ‘while I was in the civil charge of the district of Narsingpore no robbery or theft could be committed without my becoming acquainted with it nor was there a robber or a thief of the ordinary kind in the district, with whose character I had not become acquainted in the discharge of my duty as magistrate’. Quoted in Sandria B. Freitag, ‘Crime and Social Order of Colonial North India’, in Modern Asian Studies, vol. 25, 1991, pp. 234-6. Sleeman grouped them in five categories. For other details see P.G. Shah, Vimukta Jatis: Denotified Communities in Western India, Bombay: Gujarat Research Society, 1967, p. 23. 16. A. Balmer, the then Superintendent of Police, Nellore, stated that the Yerukulas were constantly moving in Nellore district. They made a descent from Cuddapah and Kurnool. A close watch could be kept on their encampments. These people united the occupations of salt and grain carriers with robbery and had friends and agents in every part of the country. Three-fourths of the dacoity and robbery in this district was caused by Yerukulas. In consequence of their roaming habits, the speed with which they travelled, the friends they had in all districts, their connections with different gangs, it would be difficult to watch and observe these people. See Appendix to the Police Government Report, 1863, Government of Madras, Tamil Nadu Archives, 1896, pp. 24-5. 17. Muhammad Abdul Ghani, Notes on the Criminal Tribes of the Madras Presidency, Madras, 1915, p. 246. 18. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 1675, 2 December 1919, p. 2. 19. David Macritchie, Account of the Gypsies of India, New Delhi: New Society Publications, 1962, p. 62. 20. V. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes: Patterns and Transition, Madras: New Era Publications, 1995, p. 12. 21. W.H. Sleeman, Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official, Delhi:

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Humphrey Milford, 1915, p. 651 (1st pub. 1844). Also see, Taylor Meadows, The Confessions of a Thug, New Delhi: Asia Educational Services, 1988, p. 70. 22. William Sleeman, Ramaseena and a Vocabulary of the Peculiar Language Used by Thugs, Calcutta: G.H. Huttmann, 1836, pp. 32-3. 23. Ibid., p. 50. 24. W.H. Sleeman wrote, ‘the system is destroyed, the profession is ruined, the guild is scattered never again to be associated into a great corporate body. The craft and mystery of the thuggee will no longer be handled down from father to son’, ibid., p. 143. 25. Some of the criminal tribes in Bombay Presidency were Berad, Bhamptus, Bauriah, Bhars, Pasis, Bhils, Chapparbands, Dharalas, Kaikadis, Kolis, Lamanis, Mang Garudia, Minas, Sansia and Waddars. Bhamptus travelled all over India and committed thefts in crowds. Bauriahs were expert burglars. Bhars and Pasis committed murders. Chapparbands were wanderers and they took to coining. Kaikadis were house-breakers, Kammis local thieves. Katkaris were crop stealers while Mangs were experts in passing off brass ornaments for gold. Mang Garudis were beggars. Marwar Baoris disguised themselves as sadhus. Minars were burglars while the Pardhisare were noted for hunting and poaching. Waghris were addicted to theft and cheating. See Report of the Criminal Tribes Act Enquiry Committee, Bombay, n.d., pp. 12-25. Forty-seven tribes were notified under the Criminal Tribes Act in the United Provinces and some of them were Parsis, Doms, Banjaras, Haburas, Chambars, Nats, Aherias, Bantu, Borya, Sansias, Karwals, Hindu Gosains and Lodhas. Majority members of criminal tribes were Hindus. Gujars, Bhars and Kewats belonged to Scheduled Castes. See Report of the Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee, United Provinces of India, Allahabad, 1948, pp. 2-4. 26. These tribes are: Telaga Pamulas, Konda Doras, Boyas, Yanadis, Dommaras, Yerukulas, Budabukkalas, Lambadas, Waddars, Donga Dasaries, Pedda Boyas, Nirshikaris, Dong Urkorchas and Kanjarbhatt. See Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Hyderabad, No. 1185 / CIB/58, dated 27 February 1958, AP State Archives. 27. See Criminal Tribes Act Enquiry Committee Report, 1871, Delhi, 1871, p. 1. 28. V. Raghavaiah, The Problems of Criminal Tribes, Nellore, 1943. 29. Government of Madras, The Criminal Tribes Act Enquiry Committee Report of 1911, Madras, Tamilnadu Archives, 1912, pp. 1-2. 30. Report of the Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee, United Provinces of India, 1947, Allahabad, 1948, p. 5. 31. The term ‘children’ includes all persons under the age of eighteen years and above the age of four years. Act No. 11 of 1897, Madras, Tamil Nadu Archives, 1898, p. 1. 32. Ibid.

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33. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to September, 1916, Madras, 1917, p. 1. 34. Government of Madras, Collection of the Acts of the Indian Legislature and the Governor General for the Year 1924 (Act VI of 1924), Delhi, 1925. 35. The earliest criminal tribes’ settlement in Andhra Pradesh was established by the American Baptist Mission at Kavali in the year 1912. Before, there was a settlement at Kalichedu in Nellore district for Dommaras and Katheras (1911). Sitanagaram settlement was established by the Salvation Army in the year 1913. Siddhapuram settlement was a voluntary settlement established in the year 1914. Stuartpuram settlement was established in the year 1914 by the Salvation Army. Bhummannagadda settlement was an agricultural settlement intended for the Nawabpeta Korchas. Chintala Devi settlement in Nellore district was established in 1914. The Nizam’s government opened a settlement for the Donga Waddars, Yerukulas and Chenchus at Lingal in Mahaboobnagar district in 1917. 36. Government of Madras, Madras Criminal Tribes Manual, Criminal Tribes Act VI of 1924 brought up to 31st March 1927, Madras, 1927, p. 1. 37. Ibid. 38. Quoted in Raghavaiah, op. cit., p. 11. 39. Ibid. 40. Ibid. 41. Government of Madras, Administration Report on Habitual Offenders Settlement for the First Half Year 1953-54, Madras, 1955, p. 6. 42. Raghavaiah, The Problems of Criminal Tribes, p. 24. 43. Malli Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes: Policy and Practice, New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, p. 73. 44. Ibid. 45. Government of India, Report of the Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee, United Provinces, Government Central Press, Allahabad, 1947, p. 110. 46. Y.C. Simhadri, Denotified Tribes: A Sociological Ananlysis, New Delhi: Classical Publishing House, 1979, p. 45. 47. Y.C. Simhadri, The Ex-Criminal Tribes of India, New Delhi: National Publishing House, 1979, p. 67.

CHAPTER 5

Establishment of Criminal Tribe Settlements in Andhra: A Historical Survey

SOCIOLOGISTS AND ANTHROPOLOGISTS

use the term ‘criminal tribe’ to designate social and ethnic groups who indulge in criminal activity. These tribes are found in almost all parts of India. Crime is their way of life. The total population of these criminal tribes in India was estimated in different states to be approximately 13 million people.1 In all the important districts of Andhra region in the erstwhile Madras Presidency were present tribes with criminal propensity. Almost all the criminal tribes had very primitive styles of living, some of them still remaining in the food gathering or hunting stage or pastoral state.2 These tribes were known as criminal tribes as both men and women who are born into them took to crime. At the dawn of the twentieth century there was enough number of persons who were reported to be involved in crime. For example, the strength of wandering criminal gangs on the last day of the year 1912 consisted of 847 males, 754 females and 1,090 children, of whom 175 males and 3 females were in jail and 63 males, 75 females and 130 children were out of view.3 The problem of dealing effectively with criminal gangs received careful attention of the British government. Various proposals for the application of Criminal Tribes Act to certain gangs were submitted to the government. Progress was made in settling them at Kalichedu in Nellore district. This settlement was started in 1911 and contained 39 members, all of whom belonged to CID Gang No. 1 (Katheras). During the year 1912 some other gangs, viz., the gangs bearing numbers 11 (Donga Dasaris), 5 (Yerukalas) and 7 (Dommaras) and a few more unregistered gangs of Jogulas and Yanadis were induced to join the settlement. The total number increased to 1930. A majority of them were employed at the mica mines by M/s Brandit & Co. A school was established for children.4 Another settlement was established in October 1912 at Kavali in

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Nellore district under the management of the Rev. Bullard of the American Baptist Mission.5 The inmates were Yerukalas who belonged to registered gangs numbers 5 and 10 and the number of men, women and children at this settlement at the end of 1912 was 152. Mrs. Bullard and Miss Bullard were associated with Rev. Bullard in the adventurous task of managing the settlement and arranging training sessions for the inmates in handicrafts such as weaving and fibre cleaning. Towards the close of 1912, government sanctioned the establishment of an industrial settlement at Sitanagaram in Guntur district by the Salvation Army.6 The settlement commenced in the year 1913. Section 10(b) of the Criminal Tribes Act, notifying residence, was applied to all the registered members of these tribes. There were altogether five settlements notified under Section 16 of the Criminal Tribes Act.7 Outbreak of the First World War led to the closing of mica mines owned by M/s Brandt & Co., at Kalichedu. It was a severe blow to Kalichedu settlement. The agricultural settlement at Bethapudi in Guntur district was also in existence at the end of 1914, though it was not considered to be a criminal tribe’s settlement. It was also managed by the Salvation Army. This was called a good conduct settlement. Men who behaved well at Sitanagaram were being sent here and those who misbehaved were retained.8 Cooperation between public and police was almost non-existent. Government announced rewards to the public, so that they could seek others’ cooperation in a better manner. An industrial home for children of these criminal tribes whose movements were restricted under Section 12 of the CT Act was started at Perambur in 1914 under the management of the Salvation Army. In the same year, Siddhapuram settlement was established in Kurnool district with 112 members (30 men, 40 women and 42 children). The settlers earned fairly good wages. A school was established for the children.9

I The establishment, progress and change in the settlements were responding to the management measures adopted by Christian missionaries in most of them. A brief look at the evolution of settlements in the Telugu-speaking regions of south India unfolds various historical dimensions.10 Establishment of the Kalichedu settlement had an interesting

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anecdote. A large Kathera gang was raided by police in the territories of the Nizam and brought to the settlement near Nellore town. As suitable employment could not be found for them, they began to live on charity and got demoralized. Ludwig, the supervisor of mica mines managed the settlement efficiently. The uncertainty of agricultural profits made it into a non-agricultural settlement. The police used to maintain another small settlement of Dommaras at Kalichedu, comprising nearly 40 households. The Katheras, however, were responsible for 95 per cent of the dacoities committed in the nearby vicinity. The settlement at Kalichedu continued till the end of 1912 and it had a population of approximately 1,000 people.11 The Kathera tribe was an endogamous sect of the Devangas and a subdivision of the Badabas. Kathera is a Telugu word meaning ‘scissors’. These people were known as Katheravandlu meaning ‘scissors people’ (symbolizing pickpocketing). The appellation seems to have been given to them because they frequented fairs and festivals and busy railway platforms setting knives and scissors. The appellation was purely a local phrase in vogue in Nellore district for this class of professional pickpockets. Katheras are loyal to one another and form one of the worst criminal classes of south India and it is probably because of their character, that their names do not appear in census reports.12

II Kavali settlement in Nellore district commenced in October 1912 with 152 inhabitants. It was established as a settlement for Donga Yerukulas of Nellore district and was on a purely voluntary basis by Rev. Bullard of the American Baptist Mission. The Mission and Baptist Church were organized at Kavali in 1894 under Rev. Bullard. In the year 1912, he, with the permission of police authorities, took charge of 20 Yerukula families and opened an industrial Yerukula settlement. The Gospel preacher wanted to keep all of them under his direct supervision so that he could experiment and rehabilitate them until the mission achieved its goal. He provided them with looms, warping machines and a building to work and store the materials. He planned to start a silk factory but it did not fructify due to climatic reasons. In due course of time Kavali settlement had to face enormous problems. None of the Yerukulas were accustomed to any kind of settled labour. They were by nature lethargic and added to this, their

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nomadic habits rendered them unfit, generally, to any remunerative work.13 The settlers at Kavali were subjected to strict discipline and the wages given to settlers were inadequate. The settlement was disciplinary and probationary in nature and the work that was available there was almost entirely manual or wage-labour work. Commissioner of Labour, Moir probed into economic conditions at Kavali during 1921 and reported unsatisfactory conditions on two grounds: a far too rapid increase in the strength of the settlement and an unjustifiable optimism regarding the agricultural possibilities of the settlement. According to Moir, reduction in strength was the only solution to the problem. Government decided to convert the settlement into a penal or reformatory settlement. Only incorrigibles were kept at Kavali and the rest were transferred to Allur swamp area where the agricultural department provided tractors for ploughing swamp lands.14 In December 1916 Kavali Settlement transferred some of its settlers to Bitragunta where the Bitragunta Reformatory Settlement was commenced in January 1917, as well as a subsidiary settlement at Allur. In 1919 the settlements had a strength of 1,860 members of whom 138 were at Allur, 363 at Bitragunta and 1,058 at Kavali. The rest were in prison or on leave. The process of transferring of wellbehaved settlers from Kavali to the new settlements continued without any hassles. In addition, the government accepted a proposal of the then district magistrate to transfer 75 families to the experimental settlement, 50 of whom had to be sent from Kavali and the rest from among the best behaved settlers at Kalichedu. This agricultural settlement at Bitragunta was declared to be a part of Kavali Settlement and was under the supervision of Rev. Bowden who worked hard to make Yerukulas self-respecting and self-supporting human beings. The colonial government believed that education of settlers’ children was the best possible way to solve the problem of reclaiming human goodness in criminal tribes. Rev. Bowden wanted a separate settlement subject to certain conditions: incorrigibles should not be allowed to escape; for the repeat escape of a settler his family should be sent to the panel settlement; no community food was to be allowed.15 The reformatory settlement at Kavali was transferred to Bitragunta with effect from 1 April 1933. Government took control of it from the American Baptist missionaries in 1934. With the repeal of Criminal Tribes Act the inhabitants were set free in September 1948 and the

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settlement office was abolished and records were handed over to the district police office. Bullard, his wife and daughter took charge of 20 Yerukula families and opened an industrial Yerukula settlement at Kavali. Minor industries such as weaving, fibre work, market gardening, stone quarrying, basket-making and, tile manufacturing were introduced. Progress was slow. It was difficult to find remunerative and profitable work on account of the nature of soil and the Yerukulas were found wanting in skilled work. Despite best efforts in agriculture, the settlement was unable to develop as a self-supporting unit. The strength of the settlement at the end of 1915 was 257 men, 244 women and 330 children. Out of a total of 831 persons 743 were present in the settlement. The rest were either shifted to work on plantations or transferred to the Stuartpuram Settlement. By 1949 the settlement office was abolished and the outpost at Bitragunta was converted into a permanent police station.16

III The Salvation Army took up the task of formation of settlements for reclamation of criminal tribes during the year 1910. A small settlement was formed at Sitanagaram on the banks of river Krishna in Guntur district. In the beginning, some Yerukula women whose husbands and relatives were in jail were placed in the settlement. During the year 1912, the then British government sanctioned an amount of ī5,000 as a special non-recurring grant to the Salvation Army to start the settlement; 84 acres of land was also provided free of cost with occupancy rights. The government had permitted the Salvation Army to adopt persuasive methods to settle Yerukulas and, in the event of failure of persuasive methods, provisions of the CT Act might be rigorously applied to settle down Yerukulas in Sitanagaram.17 The government in its earlier notification had declared Yerukulas living in Godavari and Guntur districts as belonging to a criminal tribe. Their movements were restricted under Section 12 of the CT Act of 1911. Sitanagaram Settlement was situated in Guntur district, between 15o 18 and 16o 50 of the northern latitude and 79o and 8o 55 of the eastern longitude. It lay on the south bank of River Krishna that emerges from a corridor in the Palnad hills and empties into the Bay of Bengal. It was bounded by Prakasam and Nellore districts in the

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south and in the west by Prakasam and Krishna districts. Krishna delta is an alluvial plain that is highly congenial for food as well as cash crops. Even in those days cash crops like tobacco fetched foreign exchange from Britain, America, Soviet Russia and East European countries. The main line of the railways, joined by subsidiary lines at Vijayawada, connected the district with the leading industrial, commercial and other popular centres of India. The Grand Trunk Road, running from Calcutta (Kolkata) to Madras (Chennai) passes through Guntur. Physiographically, Guntur district may be divided into three distinct regions, viz., main land, costal belt and delta region. Besides the three principal castes of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, the Shudras comprised both advanced and backward classes in addition to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Lambadas, Yerukulas, Yanadis, and Chenchus were wandering tribes, all living in their own settlements in close proximity to forests and speaking their own dialects.18 Sitanagaram settlement shared the advantages of Krishna district, being located on its borders. Geographical factors of these two districts contributed to a great extent to the success of settlements of the criminal tribes. A nucleus was formed at Sitanagaram by keeping some women belonging to the Donga Yerukulas whose male relatives happened to be lodged in prison. In December 1912, the Madras government sanctioned a grant, both recurring and non-recurring, to the Salvation Army to assist the undertaking. Major Mackenzie of the Salvation Army took charge of the Sitanagaram Settlement. The main occupation provided for Yerukula families in the settlement was quarrying. But the settlers were not accustomed to hard labour. They did not take up the work.19 The government considered quarrying as a salutary form of employment. This work was introduced to bring discipline and industrious nature among settlers. The government sanctioned ī10,000 during the year 1914 for the development of the quarrying industry in the settlement.20 The local manager of the Salvation Army had a different perception. He was of the view that hard work could be performed by able-bodied people. Since there were some men and women who were unfit to do quarrying, there was no other work on which they could be usefully employed. He provided hand-spinning and handloom weaving which proved to be most suitable occupations for the settlers. Training was given in hand-spinning and handloom weaving. This provided the settlers

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with sufficient work. Khadi cloth was produced. The department of labour purchased cloth for the current initiative and also supplied to Scheduled Caste families in the vicinity of the settlement. Government found existence of enough marketing facilities for khadi cloth produced by the settlers. It fixed the selling price of clothing. Soon settlers in the settlement diversified their activities with help and support from the Salvation Army. Small-scale industries such as socksmaking for the police department, mat-making and weaving of Madras handkerchiefs were established.21 Land to an extent of 84.06 acres was also given at Sitanagaram to the Salvation Army, free of charge, with occupancy rights, free of assessment.22 The government recommended that persuasive methods should be adopted with the Donga Yerukula settlers and in case those methods failed, they could apply the provisions of the Criminal Tribes Act.23 The persuasive methods having failed completely in their case, the criminal tribes settlement was established in the year 1913 with a handful of men released from jail. Section 12 of the Act restricted the movements of these people. The Yerukulas of Godavari and Guntur were brought under the provisions of the Criminal Tribes Act. Their number became unmanageable and therefore the British government established another settlement at Bethapudi which came to be known as Stuartpuram Settlement subsequently.24 Sitanagaram village was selected for the establishment of a settlement for Yerukula families for some valid reasons. The village was surrounded by agricultural area and cultivation was easy in the alluvial plain. It lay between Guntur and Krishna and had the advantages of both the districts. Vijayawada town (a part of Krishna district) was very near to the site and hence it would have the benefit of urban influence on the newly-settled dwellers. Railway lines passed near the village and it was easy for the government to bring people from different places and settle them here. The famous Buckingham Canal which connected presidential capital, Madras was found very useful to carry goods. In October 1915, Sitanagaram Settlement was divided into two parts, Sainayapuram and Kondapet each being placed under the management of the local Salvation Army officer. The division, a part of internal administrative arrangement was made for effective supervision.25 To begin with there were 49 settler families with a total population of 271 people in Sitanagaram Settlement.26

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Name of the Tribe

No. of Families

Population

Yerukula Yanadi Mala Reddi Padmasali

40 1 5 2 1

228 10 16 11 6

Total

49

271

All those families that were interned in Sitanagaram Settlement were discharged from the purview of the Criminal Tribes Act and were asked to leave the settlement. In the initial stages, there were a large number of escapes from the settlement. The Deputy Inspector General of Police, Railways and Criminal Investigation Department were entrusted with the general supervision and control of all the settlements in Madras Presidency. Fear of visitation of floods and indolent habits kept the settlers away from taking full advantage of the agricultural land granted to them and it was reported in 1916 that they were dependent mainly on quarry work. An elementary school was established by the Salvation Army in April 1913. A night school was also opened. The weaving section attached to the school possessed five looms that provided employment to pupils who attended the school. Other cottage industries such as mat making, smithy and carpentry were introduced in due course of time.27 Conditions in the settlement during the year 1917 were discouraging. The settlement had to grapple with two successively serious epidemics during the year: cholera and small pox. Settlers became restless and began to abscond in large numbers.28 The government, dissatisfied with the working of the settlement decided to abolish it. There was a rethought later. It was suggested that the strength of the settlement might be slowly depleted and inmates might be periodically transferred to other favourably situated settlements. In the year 1919 the Labour Commissioner took charge of all the criminal tribe settlements. There was a marked decline in the incidence of crime. Economic distress was found to be directly proportional to the incidence of petty crimes.29 The year 1921-2 was marked by special efforts of the government to send children to school. General behaviour of the settlers was reported to be so satisfactory that 14 families were released from the settlement as a reward for their good conduct. The released persons were asked to go to their native places. Paradoxically, however, they remained in the settlement even after their release. They developed

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an emotional attachment for the settlement and were afraid of going back to their native places because they did not have any property to bank on. More importantly, they were already employed in the settlement, working on trades like weaving, carpet-making, dressmaking and other miscellaneous jobs that kept them busy throughout the year. These conditions discouraged them from leaving the settlement even after they were allowed to go.30 The conditions in Sitanagaram Settlement during 1934 contributed to the increase in crime. The economic depression of the 1930s was further aggravated by the failure of crops. Systematic and intensive attention was paid to wandering criminals. In 1937, there was a slight improvement in the economic situation. There was considerable amount of employment in most parts of the presidency. Effective control exercised by the anti-crime measures, cooperation of village vigilance committees, interest shown by members of the public, valuable services of the criminal intelligence branch and the concomitant change in the attitude of criminal tribes contributed to an appreciable decrease in crime. In addition, Donga Yerukulas and some of the Kanjar Bhat families were restricted to Sitanagaram settlement.31 School at Sitanagaram was upgraded to an upper primary school in 1946. In 1948, the law and order situation was well under control although there was some increase in petty crimes. The abrogation of the Criminal Tribes Act, premature release of criminals from prison, deteriorating economic situation, widespread labour and agrarian unrest were considered the main causes for the increase in petty crimes. Dacoity, robbery, house-breaking and other petty crimes too exhibited a slight increase. Other districts too reported similar conditions where settlements were in operation. For example, by 1949 there was an increase in the total number of crimes by about 5 per cent. Pursuant to the introduction of prohibition, moral and material well-being of settlers improved. Health and hygiene of settlers were considered satisfactory due to the establishment of rural dispensaries. All the internees under the Criminal Tribes Act, who did not come under the purview of habitual offenders as defined in Section 2(4) of the Habitual Offender’s Act, 1948, were released from settlements. Concessions regarding education, free clothing and other facilities were given to all the children of the internees as well as to those of the voluntary settlers.32 By 1952 Sitanagaram Settlement was managed by four managers. There were 246 settlers in the settlement (71 men, 73 women and 102 children). The strength of the internees under Section 2(4) of

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the Madras Restriction of Habitual Offenders Act, 1948 was 30 members. Workers were employed as bandy drivers, manual labourers in quarries and, in goat and sheep rearing, petty trading, and buffalo rearing. Health condition of the settlers during the year 1960 was satisfactory.33 There were no epidemics reported in the settlement. A rural Ayurvedic dispensary was opened in the settlement. The school in Sitanagaram had six standards during the year 1965 and the strength of pupils was 78 children. A few children from this school later received degrees in medicine and some joined government service. The Sitanagaram Settlement Tenants Cooperative Society was reported to be operating well by this time. Settlers were given cows, bulls, buffaloes, goats and sheep by the government through a cooperative society. Agricultural advances were also provided to settlers.34 A new police station was established at Tadepalli at a distance of 1 km from the settlement. The government did not chalk out any special programmes during this period as there were no industries in the settlement and the settlement was converted into a free colony.35 However, the registration of persons in the settlement continued under the Madras Restriction of Habitual Offenders Act, 1948. A special feature of Sitanagaram Settlement was that it was a penal settlement that was converted into a free colony after the repeal of the Criminal Tribes Act. In the post-independent era the reputed social reformers of modern Andhra, Lavanam and Hemalatha Lavanam engaged their attention on counselling and rehabilitating the criminal families of the colony. The major problem facing the settlers and nonsettlers was their co-habitation. Settlers were given land for cultivation, whereas the non-settlers did not possess any land though their ancestors lived in the settlement under the management of the Salvation Army. It was because of their good conduct that they were released and denied any land. In other words, the non-settlers were punished for their good conduct. The Tribal Welfare Department, Guntur district, conducted a detailed survey of the settlement in the month of June 1986. It was found that there were no habitual offenders in the colony. All the colonies had sprung up with voluntary settlers.36

IV Stuartpuram Settlement is situated about 3 miles to the south of Bapatla town in Guntur district. The settlement was started by the

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Salvation Army in 1914. Captain Robillard of the Salvation Army, Manager of the Stuartpuram Criminal Tribes was instrumental in the formation and initial management of this settlement. This was named after the Governor of Madras Presidency, Harold Stuart. Handing over the first group of tribesmen, he told, ‘take these, Salvation Army – I give you twenty years to do for them what has to be done’.37 Captain Robillard came to this place only to find a few families residing in isolated huts. A settlement was opened as a good conduct settlement and families were drafted from Kavali and Sitanagaram Settlements.38 Even some with notorious pasts were administered into the settlement, but a special provision was made and those with good conduct were asked to watch the former carefully. In the postindependent era the government took some ameliorative measures. Hardened criminals from the settlement pointed out that they were at the mercy of the dealers handling stolen property as well as the village elders who grabbed their small landholdings not only by inducing them to pledge their lands but also advancing money for committing crimes. Most often former criminals of Stuartpuram, Kapparallatippa and Sitanagaram are socially backward, economically downtrodden, ruthlessly exploited, culturally alienated and politically a non-entity. Stuartpuram was an essentially agricultural settlement, started by the Salvation Army in the year 1914 to be worked as an auxiliary to and in conjunction with the Sitanagaram Settlement. The Donga Yerukulas of Guntur district used to camp near the village of Bethapudi, Bapatla taluq from December to August every year to carry grain for the ryots of Ongole, Bapatla and Tenali taluqs.39 From August to December, they would graze their animals. Agriculture was meant to be the chief means of livelihood for Donga Yerukulas, but there was not much scope for it. The other means of employment was stone quarrying. This was the chief occupation provided for the inmates at the settlement and it was further developed by the Salvation Army. Initially large number of escapes was reported from among the criminals. But later on the trend exhibited declining curves owing to favourable conditions for agriculture and strict supervision by the Salvation Army. Population of the settlement at the end of 1915 consisted of 301 males, 271 females and 337 children totaling 909. Strength of the settlement at the end of 1919 was 1,223; of these 300 were children of school-going age. Settlers were mostly dependent on quarry work. Fear of floods and habitual indolence kept them

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back from taking full advantage of the 130 acres of land given to them.40 Conditions in the settlement during initial years were exceptionally bad. The settlement had to face two serious epidemics, cholera and small pox, and the result was settlers began absconding in large numbers. During these sojourns Yerukulas were in the habit of committing crime. The number of settlers considerably increased by the beginning of 1951 and some of them were suspected of committing crime in the neighbourhood. Agriculture was the chief occupation practised in the settlement.41 Alternative sources of income came from sale of mats and ropes, trading in cattle and daily labour. An explicit Christian bias was witnessed in the management of the settlement and the whole atmosphere was reverberating with words from the Gospel. A police post was in existence prior to 1956 to check the physical presence of criminals in the village.42 The then Superintendent of Police of Guntur district, M.V. Thomas was instrumental in bringing the social reformer couple, Lavanam and Hemalatha Lavanam and requesting them to grapple with the problem of crime and attendant social reform. There were a few inspired people among the notorious criminals like Batchu Ramaiah who introduced the spirit of nationalism and Gandhian ideology in the settlement. He is reported to have pledged that he would not commit crime again. His son, Hanumantha Rao later became a volunteer in the national movement and agitated for the abolition of the CT Act. After the Salvation Army, it was the atheist-humanist reformers, Lavanam and Hemalatha Lavanam who launched a major social reform drive in the 1970s to tackle hereditary crime in the settlement.43

V Siddhapuram is situated in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. Waddars of Siddhapuram are considered a part of the criminal tribes of Andhra Pradesh. The term ‘Waddar’ is supposed to be a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word odhra, the name of country now known as Odisha from where these people are believed to have migrated. According to Gribble members of this community were known for their acts as house-breakers, cut-purses (pick-pockets) and cattle lifters. As early as 1875, Donga Waddars were the most hardened class of criminals who previously formed a nomadic tribe found chiefly in the districts of Kurnool, Guntur, Krishna, Chittoor, Cuddapah

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and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh. In the manual of North Arcot district they were summed up as natives of the country, quarrying stone, sinking wells, constructing tank bunds and executing other kinds of earth work more rapidly than any other class. According to Thurston there were two subdivisions among the Waddars: the Kallu or Rati Waddars (stone workers) and the Mannu Waddars (earth workers). M. Kennedy further subdivided these people as Bhandi Waddars or Gadi Waddars (cart men), Pathrat Janitor or Dagdi Waddars (stone dressers) and Ghatti Waddars who were also known as Donga (thief) or Takku (cheat) Waddars.44 Some of the Waddars settled down in agriculture and some in petty trades like selling salt and forest produce. A few of them also took up jobs of village watchmen. A small number of them took to crime to eke-out their livelihood. With the passage of time, Donga Waddars had to face many problems – lack of education, foregoing reservation facilities in jobs and lack of skills in arts and crafts. They led a vagrant life in the jungles, hills and deserts with no fixed abodes. They frequently escaped from surveillance and committed crimes. It is believed that a criminal who has no settled abode and whose movements are unknown is more dangerous than a known criminal with a fixed residence.45 Criminal propensities of the Donga Waddars in no way abated and hence it was considered necessary to put under strict surveillance. Consequently all the Donga Waddars were kept in the Siddhapuram tank project. The then executive engineer of Kurnool provided them with work and residential quarters. Their movements were restricted within the limits of Siddhapuram Settlement in the Nandikotkur taluq of Kurnool district. The settlement was under the charge of a sub-inspector of police assisted by a constable. The sub-inspector was the key person to manage the settlement.46 Siddhapuram Settlement is on the road between Atmakur and Srisailam in Kurnool district. The settlement is situated in the midst of Nallamala forests of Andhra Pradesh. It is a voluntary settlement. Its strength in the beginning was 112 (30 men, 40 women and 42 children). Later it was reported that 2,000 people began inhabiting the settlement. Before coming to Siddhapuram Settlement, Donga Waddars had a meagre income. They led a hand-to-mouth existence in the surrounding areas.47 Their earnings from agricultural operations were insufficient to maintain their families. The British government constructed a huge water reservoir to cultivate lands attached to the settlement. The crop yield was dismally low and manual work would

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not fetch more than ī15 per day. The primary occupations of the Donga Waddars were: agriculture, manual labour work, cutting and processing, basket- and mat-making, petty business, quarrying and crime.48 Apart from subsidiary industries, the main source of livelihood for the settlers was agriculture. Initially 1,066 acres of land were distributed to the settlers. The Donga Waddar families from other places like Guntur, Hyderabad, Krishna, East and West Godavari, Lingala, Chittoor, Nellore, Hubli and Betamcharla were transferred to this settlement in due course of time. They were also provided more than 175 acres of land and labour work. Horse gram and cholum were cultivated along with other crops and vegetables like brinjals and green chillies.49 Implements, seeds for crops and fodder were supplied to the settlers. Maistries were appointed to instruct them about the value of land and the knowledge of production of various crops. Agricultural loans were granted to settlers by the then Labour Commissioner, Moir. Loans were used for the purchase of cattle and carts. In the initial phases temporary pattas/sanctions were provided for a period of five years and later on permanent pattas were issued. The government supplied Ongole breed bulls in 1932 to the settlers to improve livestock. Cows also were given as gifts to settlers. As the bulk of settlers were highly ignorant of farm practices, two farm servants were appointed to help them in addition to the agriculture supervisor.50 During the 1940s the average earning of a male coolie was 3 annas per day (18 paise) and a female coolie used to earn 2½ annas per day (15 paise). In addition to this, they were given daily labour works such as breaking clods, spreading earth, supply of water to machinery, pushing empty and loaded wagons at navy sites etc. During the year 1954 around 1,300 settlers were employed during the tobacco season. Siddhapuram tank is one of the biggest tanks in Kurnool district with a bed of 504.06 acres with abundant facilities for fishing. In 1960, Siddhapuram colony’s advisory committee resolved to provide a match factory on the lines of a cottage industry in the colony to provide subsidiary occupation.51 Settlers had a large airy wool shed with 12 looms and prepared cumblies. Looms were all locally made. Weaving industry was vital to the success of the settlement which supplied gauze cloth for hospitals. In course of time the weaving industry was reported to be highly unprofitable on account of reasons

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that were beyond the control of settlers involved in the activity. The causes are not far to seek: fluctuations in the yarn market, availability of cloth made of finer counts in the market at a cheaper price, diminishing market space for coarse cloth manufactured in the settlement, escalating expenditures and low wages.52 Sericulture programme too was developed but abandoned within no time. A cooperative society was formed in the settlement during the year 1925. It was observed that every year a few settlers used to abandon the settlement. The causes were the periodic outbreak of famines in neighbouring regions accentuated by the consequent steep rise in prices and lack of work during this period which forced some of them to leave the settlement. Added to this, lack of irrigation facilities resulted in the failure of crops. Failed crops had become a recurring feature and hence settlers quit the area in quest of work outside their place of residence. Above all some of them willfully left the settlement since they found themselves unfit for any manual work which they considered nothing but drudgery. They had been inclined towards the practice of crime which almost became their second nature by the time they were brought to Siddhapuram Settlement. Though such a tendency was not rampant among all settlers, we cannot totally rule out the existence of this tendency in the criminal tribes settlements. For the education of the Donga Waddar children a school was constructed during the year 1915. Education was imparted in the three Rs. Attendance of pupils was fairly regular. Taylor, the then labour commissioner remarked that the ‘children look well, cared for and show satisfactory knowledge of their subjects’.53 Educated Waddar settlers were sent to the teachers’ training institute in Kurnool and were appointed as teachers in the school. Girls were taught sewing and had the proficiency in making their own jackets.54 The school was developed into a first grade elementary school during the year 1938. Government sanctioned to open sixth standard in the settlement school at Siddhapuram during 1947-8 and to convert one higher elementary-grade teacher’s post into a secondary-grade post. The school is still extant and the strength, as per the annual record of the year 1994 was 158 pupils. A medical officer was appointed on the Siddhapuram tank project and all the sick settlers were treated by him. Malaria was a common disease in the forest areas. The sub-assistant surgeon of Atmakur used

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to visit the settlement four times a month. A dispensary with a compounder was opened in April 1925. The common diseases treated in the settlement were bronchitis, fever, pneumonia, dyspepsia, small pox, common cold, digestive disorders, throat complaints, ulcers and skin diseases. A ‘health week’ was celebrated every year and the manager awarded prizes for the cleanest house at the rate of īſ6. The healthiest baby got īſ2.55 Prizes were the incentives to the settlers to keep their huts and surroundings clean and to devote attention to the health of their children. The hospital established in 1929 soon became dysfunctional and maternal mortality was reported frequently.56 The manager of the Siddhapuram Settlement was instructed to keep a record of all the settlers living in the settlement with a brief note on their history, association, avocations, movements, conduct and behaviour with a view to help the police have proper control and watch over them. Police went on nightly rounds to find out whether they went out in the nights for committing crimes. The managers of the settlement reposed confidence in the settlers and made them understand that they were ryots and not criminals. Until March 1937, Siddhapuram was a voluntary settlement.57 In 1937, the government declared the settlement as a regular criminal tribe settlement. Up to 1941 administration of the settlement was under the control of the commissioner of labour. From 1943 onwards administration of the area was taken over by the Deputy Inspector General of Police. The administrative control of the settlement was transferred to the Harijan Welfare Department in June 1954. In 1955, the management was handed over to the Social Welfare Department. In 1965 it was brought under the revenue department. Finally, in 1976 it was declared as a free colony.58 Criminal gangs used to be very active in Siddhapuram and they enjoyed relations with other settlements. Police often conducted raids on the houses of settlers, molested their womenfolk and foisted false cases against them. To escape from this torture, settlers were forced to own responsibility for the crime. The secretary of ex-criminals welfare association in Siddhapuram K.R. Somanna referred to the inhuman behaviour and harassment of the police department. In addition to the police harassment, forest department officials often apprehended settlers whenever they went to the forest.59 A slow and steady change has been reported in the settlement in recent years. The state government in recent years has taken a few measures for the welfare of Donga Waddars: provision of suitable land for cultivation, setting up upper-primary school, starting

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handloom weaving centres as cottage industries, setting up a cooperative society for the supply of easy credit, opening a dispensary, construction of pucca houses for inmates, imparting training to the inmates etc. Though the government is taking some rehabilitation measures such as providing them with buffaloes, rickshaws and provision shops, these measures can hardly be a permanent solution. It is not an obligation on the part of the government alone to help these people, and the people should too, on their part, make sincere efforts to lead an honest life and make use of the opportunities provided to them. The stigma of their being ‘criminals’ constrained them more glaringly, as people always suspect a person who has spent some time in this settlement. No doubt, this is a serious psychological problem. To get rid of the stigma attached to them will take some more time. Reformation should not be merely materialistic. They should be instilled with self-confidence and their faith in humanity should not be shaken. Rehabilitation programmes should be entrusted to educational institutions as part of their extension programmes or reputed social service organizations whose approach is humanitarian.60

Notes 1. Y.C. Simhadri, ‘Changing Criminal Behaviour of an Ex-criminal Tribe in an Indian Village’, in Journal of Criminology, vol. 4, no. 1 (January 1976). 2. B.S. Haikerwal, Economic and Social Aspects of Crime in India, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1934, pp. 17-18. 3. Government of Madras, Madras Administration Report 1913-14, Madras, 1915, pp. 22-5. 4. Government of Madras, The Report of the Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee 1949-50, New Delhi, p. 4. 5. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency upto September 1916, Madras: Tamil Nadu State Archives, 1917, p. 6. 6. Government of Madras, Administrative Report of the Inspector General of Police 1919, Madras, 1920, p. 13. 7. Government of Madras, Administrative Report of the Inspector General of Police 1914, Madras, 1915, p. 28. 8. Government of Madras, Judicial Proceedings, GO No. 1639, dated 13 August 1914, Tamil Nadu Archives, Madras. 9. Ibid. 10. Government of Madras, Letter from R. Ramachandra Rao, Chief Secretary, Judicial Proceedings, GO No. 457, dated 20 April 1920.

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11. Government of Madras, Madras Administration Report, 1912, Madras 1914, Andhra Pradesh State Archives, Hyderabad. 12. Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 451, 1926, Tamil Nadu Archives, p. 8. 13. V. Lalitha, ‘Socio-Economic and Administrative Aspects of an Ex-Criminal Tribe: A Case Study of Kapparalla Tippa’, unpublished M Phil dissertation submitted to Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, 1975, p. 48. 14. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 2063, dated 7 June 1952, p. 1. 15. Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 1860, dated 5 September 1917, p. 5. 16. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 2063, dated 7 June 1952, p. 1. 17. Government of Madras, Public Works Department, GO No. 137, dated 19 January 1927, p. 4. 18. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency upto September 1916, Madras, p. 37. 19. Government of Madras, Public Works Labour Department, GO No. 1433, dated 31 March 1928, p. 1. 20. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department GO No. 2190, dated 28 July 1930, p. 5. 21. Government of Madras, Public Works Department, GO No. 137, dated 19 January 1927, p. 4. 22. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 1227, dated 24 March 1942, p. 10. 23. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 2661, dated 25 October 1920, p. 1. 24. Government of Madras, Public Works Department, GO No. 137, dated 19 January 1927, p. 4. 25. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to September 1916; N.A. March 1916, p. 36. 26. Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 1279, 10 June 1915, p. 1. 27. Government of Madras, Public Works, Labour Department, GO No. 2671, dated 6 December 1934, p. 4. 28. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 5614, dated 7 June 1952, p. 1. 29. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to September, 1916, op. cit., p. 36. V. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes Pattern and Transition, Madras: New Era Publications, 1995, p. 49. 30. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 1227, dated 24 March 1942, p. 10.

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31. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 4622, dated 18 November 1949, pp. 2-3. 32. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 5614, dated 7 June 1952, p. 1. 33. Malli Gandhi, ‘A Historical Survey of Ex-criminal Tribe Settlements in Andhra: A Case Study of Siddhapuram and Stuartpuram Settlements, 1913-1990’, unpublished PhD thesis submitted to University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, 1996, pp. 17-18. 34. Ibid., p. 4. 35. Ibid., p. 5. 36. Ibid., p. 6. 37. Captain Robbiliard of the Salvation Army, Manager of the Stuartpuram Criminal Tribe Settlements, Bapatla, Madras, Written Statement on the Work of Stuartpuram Settlement, p. 64. Stuartpuram Settlement was opened on 1 June 1914; a few families lived at No. 8 Division, known as then as Ratnapuram, in a few dilapidated huts. 38. Government of Madras, Law (General) Department, GO No. 1327, 14 February 1925, p. 1, AP State Archives. Also see, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 2074, dated 18 August 1916, p. 4. (Tamil Nadu State Archives). 39. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 572, dated 8 March 1917, p. 12 (TNA). Also see, Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 305, dated 7 February 1918, p. 8 (TNA). 40. Government of Madras, Law (General) Department, GO No. 3187, 14 November 1924, p. 1, APSA. 41. M.E. Mackenzie, The Mud Bank, Pennsylvania: The Continental Press, 1959, pp. 71-2. The Yerukulas were originally merchants. Their forefathers carried salt, grain and other commodities inland, on the backs of the pack animals, but, in the march of progress, railroads came and transportation was taken out of their lands. They lost their livelihood they knew no trade and they resorted to crime. It was easy for them to steal and run away, as they knew every road and bypass of the countryside. 42. V. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes: Patterns and Transition, Madras: New Era Publications, 1996, p. 15. 43. Ibid., 44. F.S. Mullaly, Notes on Criminal Classes of the Madras Presidency, writes, ‘in the ceded districts some of the Waddars are known as Donga Waddars or thieving Waddars from the fact of their having taken to crime as a profession and the appellation well suits them. They are desperate and at times . . . they inflict severe personal victims on their victims’. 45. Edgar Thruston, Castes and Tribes of Southern India, vol. 5, New Delhi: Cosmo, 1909, p. 422. 46. M. Kennedy, The Criminal Classes in India, New Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1985, p. 165. All Waddars are not criminals. The ordinary

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Waddars wander about the country living temporarily where they get work. The Donga Waddars of the Ceded Districts form a separate section, living by means of criminal propensities. In Banaganapally they are called Takku Waddars. In Chengelput district, they are called as Kallu Waddars and in Gudiatham town of North Arcot district they are Mannu Waddars. In Kurnool, Bellary, Cuddapah, Chittoor, Guntur and Nellore district they are called Donga Waddars. According to a note compiled by Rashidulla Khan, then police officer from Yeotmal district, ‘they always travel in disguise so that the distinguishing characters were not easily observable’. Muhammad Abdul Ghani, Notes on the Criminal Tribes of the Madras Presidency, Madras: Provincial Police Training School, Vellore, 1915, p. 124. 47. Government of Madras, Administration Report of the Inspector General of Police of Madras Presidency, Madras, 1914, Madras, 1915, p. 29. 48. Ghani, Notes on the Criminal Tribes, op. cit., p. 15. Also see, Madras Criminal Tribes Manual, brought up to 31 March 1927, Madras, 1927, p. 3. 49. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 1675, 2 December 1919, p. 14. 50. Government of Madras, Administration Report of the Inspector General of Police, 1936, Madras, 1937, p. 26. 51. V. Lalitha, ‘Criminal Tribe Settlements in Andhra Pradesh’, Andhra Pradesh History Congress, 17th Sesion, Guntur, 1986, pp. 171-7. 52. Malli Gandhi, Denotified Tribes: Retrospect and Prospect, New Delhi: Manak Publishers, 2014, p. 222. 53. Government of Madras, Public Works Labour Department, and GO No. 170, dated 21 January 1951, APSA, p. 3. 54. Government of Madras, Public Works Labour Department, GO No. 1551, dated 20 July 1927, p. 4. 55. Government of Madras, Public Works Labour Department, GO No. 1926, dated 30 July 1931, APSA, p. 4. 56. Government of Madras, Public Works Labour Department, GO No. 170, dated 21 January 1951, APSA, p. 3. 57. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 5614, dated 7 June 1952, p. 1. 58. Malli Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes: Policy and Practice, New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, 2006, p. 71. 59. Ibid., p. 72. 60. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes, op. cit., p. 45.

CHAPTER 6

Tribes in Transition: A Study of Selected Denotified Tribes in Andhra Pradesh

A SCHOLAR PUTS it succinctly: ‘the Cuckoo cannot help cooing; the cloud cannot help bursting; … the nomad, similarly, cannot help wandering’. Nomadism is as old as mankind. As C.P. Ramaswami Iyer said, ‘the nomads live by basket-making dealing in horses and ponies, cattle-breeding, fortune telling and various forms of magic’.1 There are historical evidences for the existence of nomadic groups throughout the world. The Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee Report said, ‘there are wandering tribes and are found in the Madras, Bombay, Madhya Bharat and in the Hyderabad states. They live by hunting, begging, collecting and selling forest produce and are experts in snaring birds.’2 The World Health Organisation in 1964 emphasized the urgent need to study primitive and small populations around the world. There are a good number of nomadic groups like hunters, trappers, artisans, and entertainers (such as acrobats, magicians, puppeteers, snake charmers, monkey displayers, singers, dancers, fortune tellers, palmists, deity displayers).3 Nomadism cannot be described as a character of individuals.4 It is a cultural trait which results from want of ambition, or aspiration, either total or partial. Nomads constitute a significant part of 60 crore population of India.5 Anthropologists say that there are more than 20 nomadic tribes in Andhra Pradesh.6 Among the tribes, there are some groups of people in India whose criminal propensities are well known and hence are dubbed as criminal tribes. These tribes are kept under constant vigil, both by people and the government. A study of these people influences historians and sociologists rather significantly because these tribes too constitute an integral part of democratic society. Tribes like Dommaras, Katheras and Nakkalas in Andhra Pradesh are still semi-nomadic and dubbed as ex-criminal tribes. They usually live in tandas (groups) throughout Andhra Pradesh. Despite their innumerable criminal depredations,

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they are still poor and lead a life of misery and suffering. A succinct profile of these tribes throws much light on their lifestyles, historical developments and contemporary status.7

I Dommaras are a tribe of acrobats and athletes some of whom wander about the country, while others have settled down as agricultural labourers or make combs, other cosmetic articles and sell them to wholesale merchants.8 Known for their acrobatic skills, they, in all respects, resemble gypsies in their style of living. They may also possibly be connected with the Doms of northern India.9 They are skilful jugglers and both men and women are very clever ‘tumblers’ and tightrope dancers, displaying their physical feats as they travel about the country. As a tribe the Dommaras are tall and well made, with a complexion varying from different shades of copper colour to very dark.10 Anthropologists opine that members of this tribe exhibit Mongolian features with somewhat pointed chin, absence of whiskers, large eyes and prominent cheek bones. The titles used by the headmen of the caste are Reddy, Nayudu and Naik. Dommaras adopted acrobatics as their main occupation. They earned their livelihood by exhibiting gymnastic feats, athletic exercises, rope dancing, tumbling and conjuring tricks, and had no interest in agriculture. Medieval Telugu literature and epigraphs contain some interesting information about various aspects of the life of this tribe. They throw considerable light on the means of livelihood, living conditions, caste organization and other aspects of their life. The Dommaras were based in Dombara and Maddalapuram in Cuddapah district during the Vijayanagara Empire. The existence of a number of classes or sub-castes among the Dommaras has been as indicated by epigraphs. Till date Dommaras hold inams in the Telugu country in places like Jammalamadugu, Tadipatri, Proddutur, Gudemcherla and spread into Mysore.11 They are said to have travelled to more than 50 countries as trading clans. An inscription from Pushpagiri in Cuddapah district dating back to AD 1577 refers to the veedus of Dommaras which have religious endowments to the local temples. Their suffixes like Raju, Raya, Nayudu and Reddy, as mentioned in the epigraphs, indicate the process of Sanskritization among the Dommaras.12 There are two mythological stories about the origin of Dommaras.

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It is said that a child handed over to a wandering beggar was consigned to a ruined well. The cries of the child attracted the attention of the gods Parvati and Parameshvar, who bestowed on him a right to obtain an earthen drum from a potter’s house and rice from each house as alms. The boy, who got the blessings of the Divine, was ordered to add the profession of acrobatic performer to that of itinerant beggars, Dombaras. Another story has it that a Reddy’s wife delivered a daughter and the sister-in-law of the Reddy contrived that the mother and child should be regarded as outcastes. The father gave all his land and property to the progeny of the other wife. The daughter learnt acrobatic feats and later became a prostitute and thus earned her livelihood. This is said to account for the practice of prostitution which is prevalent in the Dommara caste. These mythological stories are debated. They indicate the process of Sanskritization among them. The Dommara caste appears to be an offshoot of the Dom caste inhabiting Bengal, Bihar and North-Western Provinces. The 1871 census reports that Doms carry on the occupation of weaving and in places like Jaipur are employed as horse-keepers, tom-tom beaters, scavengers, and other menial workers.13 Dommaras are divided into two groups, viz., Reddy Dommaras and the Aray Dommaras. The Aray Dommaras are also known as the Mahrata Dommaras from the fact of their language being a form of Marathi. They chiefly confine themselves to wanderings in the Ceded Districts in the erstwhile state of combined Andhra Pradesh, the Nizam’s dominions in the present-day Telangana state and the Mysore province. Dommaras are said to be allied to Lambadas whose ancestor Mola was reported to exhibit gymnastic feats before kings. Lambadas and Dommaras mix freely with each other. The head of the tribe is called Multi-Guru (high priest). He exercises supreme jurisdiction over the people in spiritual and temporal matters. His headquarters are located at Chitvel under Pullampet taluq of Cuddapah district in Andhra Pradesh. The position is hereditary and highly respectable.14 The language of the Reddy Dommaras is mainly Telugu, whereas Aray Dommaras speak Marathi and have a dialect of their own. The dwellings are somewhat similar to those of the Koravars and Joggies (ex-criminal tribes of Tamil Nadu), made of palmyra leaves plaited into mats with seven strands. These huts are located on the outskirts of villages and carried on the backs of donkeys when they are on the march. Men among the Dommaras usually wear short hip trousers made of coarse white cloth. They also use gaudy shawls, jackets and

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lace turbans, especially for acrobatic performances. Women are generally considered to be of loose morals and were in the past concubines of local poligars. The Dommaras are considered to be a low caste, ranking next only to the Malas (pariahs) and Madigas (chucklers) but are allowed into Lambada (Sugali), Waddar (wodderu) and Yerukula (Koravar) communities. Dommaras indulge in dacoity, robbery, burglary and thefts of all sorts. They look upon burglary rather as a natural excitement. Information is obtained by the womenfolk when going round villages selling their combs and brooms. They are often good-looking and are easily identified by their dress and ornaments. Gay clothes and profusion of brass bangles and necklets of cowries make them distinct.15 The treatment of Dommara women is peculiar. From early infancy, they are trained in the mysteries of rope dancing, tumbling and the like. Those who prove themselves adept in the art/trade are reserved for prostitution and the rest are allowed to marry. Marriage takes place after puberty. Adultery by women is condoned. If married women elope with a man of another caste, fine will be levied, equal to that of marriage expenses. If she comes back, she is given thirtha (divine water) which makes her a kulambidda, an approved or licensed prostitute. If an unmarried girl becomes pregnant through a person of the same group, their marriage will be performed. If the man refuses marriage, he is declared an outcaste. The women concerned may be married to any person after cutting a few locks of her hair, slightly burning the tip of her tongue with a bit of gold and making her swallow vibhuti (sacred ashes). She is given the choice to marry or become a prostitute.16 Dommaras are notorious for dedicating their girls to become Basivis and thus are forced into religion-sanctioned prostitution. The dedication ceremony takes place when the girl comes of age, between fifteen and sixteen years. The girl is bathed and dressed in new clothes. She bows to elders and receive their blessings and then is taken to the temple of Yellamma or Hanuman along with the beating of drums and women singing songs. Yajaman (head of the family) grants her sanction to lead a life of prostitution. She is declared a harlot and receives from her first lover new clothes, four rupees, a new dwelling (hut) and a cot to sleep in. Sometimes the Basivis get themselves tattooed with Vaishnava symbols of shankha and chakra and after death their bodies are buried by Dasaries. A Basivi’s daughter gets a share in her grandfather’s property. After her death, her children are

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entitled to a share in her property. Pattapurani is the house name of one of these Dommara endogamous sects. A Basivi, who wishes to give up her life of prostitution may be married in the kudike form but thereafter she is not allowed to perform acrobatic feast in public.17 Dommaras have some relations with the Doms of northern India. The Dommara tribe is variously designated as Dombari and Domber, words which are doubtless derivations from Dom, the term by which the very numerous outcastes of northern India are known. They seem to be allied to the Kolties and the Bereahs of central India and the Dommaras of Bengal. W. Crooke finds the origin of the Doms in the Dravidian menial castes who were the aborigines of India. In the past they were forced to live on the outskirts of towns, eat stale, spoilt food, wear clothes of the dead and were excluded from all social intercourses. Some authorities are of the opinion that the existence of such towns as Dompur, Domali and Domigah, show that there was a Dom kingdom at one time.18 The Dommaras wander about the country and are still seminomadic. There are mentions of religious endowments by members of the community in the epigraphs in Vaishnavite temples like Chennakesava and Tiruvengalanatha. They also worship female deities like Yekilidevi, Yellamma, Sunkalamma and Polariamma. Polariamma is their kuladevata (caste deity). Her blessings are solicited before embarking on any criminal activity. Cultural life of Dommaras is rich. Some of the Dommara women are well-versed in music and dance. They are proficient in playing musical instruments like the veena, dolu and mridangam.19

II The Donga Dasaries are a class of professional thieves and pickpockets. Hindus of all classes and occasionally Muslims are members of this fraternity. They are described as forming part of the great Satani or mixed caste disciples of Chaitanya, a native of Bengal, who introduced worship of Lord Krishna in south India and died in 1527. The Donga Dasaries resemble the Soonariahs of Bundelkhand and Poona Bhamptas. Both men and women are clever thieves and the young are trained early in the art of picking pockets and snatching jewellery from unsuspecting travellers.20 Donga Dasaries or Gudu Dasaries comprise another notorious criminal tribe whose members are also called Mucherikalas and are

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drawn from Boya, Golla Waddar and Salia castes. In Nellore district they are known as Katheras (scissors-thieves). Their headman is styled as Gudu and is responsible for predatory excursions. They confine themselves generally to burglary. The headquarters of these people are Cuddapah, Bellary, Kurnool and Nellore districts though they are found in small numbers throughout Andhra Pradesh. They visit temples in the guise of byragies (wandering sannyasis). They are adept in the art of reciting Vedas and gain easy admission into houses. They study the topography and wait for the right opportunity for the ultimate act.21 Women of all classes, with the exception of Dalit categories, are admitted to their community and marriage ceremony is performed by a priest from the Satani creed. Women usually dress well, sometimes like Brahmins and sometimes fashionably to attract the menfolk and deceive them. Working in gangs of four or five, accompanied by women and children, they occupy separate compartments in trains, some disguised as traders and others as wandering minstrels. They wait for appropriate opportunity and steal jewels and valuables and leave the train at the next station. The gang unites at a place previously agreed upon. Night trains are more convenient for them for undertaking these predatory activities. Though their language is Telugu, they are acquainted with Hindustani. They take the role of cattle traders and occasionally visit cattle markets. Before proceeding on a predatory excursion, offerings of sheep and fowl are made to Goddess Gangamma. They carefully observe omens.22 Donga Dasaries lift children in order to strengthen their community numerically. Women deliberately train their children in the art of crime. Children are brought up in an atmosphere where crime is not only an amusement or pastime, but the only source of livelihood. These children naturally become hardened criminals when they grow up. The last group among Donga Dasaries is Padayachi Aligiris or Thogamalai Koravas who were professional thieves in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. The deplorable economic conditions prevailing during the nineteenth century in the whole of Madras Presidency were responsible for the grave crime committed by the Donga Dasaries. In the year 1910, there was the highest incidence of dacoity and robbery in Nellore district. This was attributed to the depredations of the gangs of Katheras and Yerukulas. Attempts were made to reclaim the Katheras, but the results were not encouraging.23

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III Many of the tribal groups are slowly becoming extinct, necessitating an urgent need for demographic and ethnographic investigations. Studies on such populations provide ample opportunities to assess significant changes in human societies. One such tribal group is Nakkalas of Andhra Pradesh. Literature dealing with them is scarce and little known. Not much information is provided in the District Gazetteers also. There are different appellations in different languages about these people. Narikorava is one among the non-pastoral nomadic tribes of south-eastern India, mostly found in the towns and cities and sporadically in villages of Tamil Nadu.24 In Andhra Pradesh they are called Nakkalas. They are also called Pusalavandlu (makers of glass-bead necklaces) and Pittalavandlu or Guvvalavandlu (bird catchers). They are known as Shikaris in Karnataka, and Malawalas (necklace-sellers) in Hindi-speaking areas. Their dialect is close to Marathi and Gujarati. The Nirshikaris are mentioned as a criminal tribe in the Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee Report. Enthoven equates the Vaghri (Narikorava) group as one among the endogamous groups of Pardhis, who belong to the great predatory Bawari tribe of Gujarat, scattered under different appellations all over India. These people claim their origin to the descendants of a Kshatriya family. Their ancestor, a Kshatriya man, married seven wives and they (Narkoravas) are the children of the fourth wife. The children of the first wife are Marwadis and the children of the second wife are Sugalis; the third Marathas, the fourth Narikoravas, the fifth Banjaras, the sixth Mendas and the seventh category of children is not clearly mentioned.25 Some others say that they are the children of Kaalairaja, king of a Kshatriya family. Guru Dheenavat Varma states that the Narikorava is a tribe of Gujarat. Long ago, these people migrated to the south for livelihood. The geographical connections, linguistic affiliations and dress patterns provide sufficient evidence of their migration.26 During the year 1922, Nirshikaris of Kurnool and Bellary districts were brought under Sections 3 and 10 of the Criminal Tribes Act. In the upland taluqs of the Godavari and Vizagapatam districts and south of the Ganjam district, there are a few scattered gangs of Yanadis called Nakkala Vandlu, who snare and eat jackals. The headquarters of these people is Palkonda taluq of Vizagapatam district. They are less daring thieves than the southern Yanadis.27

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Nakkalas are divided into several lineages like Linbo, Dambo, Pawar, Pillio, Thobanio, Darkio, Nilaji, Lalji, Bokku, Naval, Makira, Govinda, Nakkala, Datto, Damo, Jambula, Kheto, Namo, Nanching, Calching, Sinodi, Salio, Palhal, Manizo, Makro, Nande, Ganibalu, Jagat, Blutto, Khubo and Villyo.28 The family system of the Nakkalas is patrilineal. However, women occupy an important place in the tribe. They lead a life separated from all others and are rigid and tenacious in following their customs. Tribal families are very particular about the reputation of their women and consider it a serious matter if a woman returns home after dusk without an escort. At present the nuclear family system has come into existence. Old widows live alone and rarely with their children. Nakkalas prefer consanguineous marriage of both cross-cousin types and rarely the uncle-niece type. In addition, the brother-in-law can marry his wife’s elder sister. Bride price is prevalent in tribal marriages. Generally girls marry before puberty and child marriages are still prevalent among them. Monogamy is observed in most families, though polygamy is followed in some cases. Polyandry is never found in their society.29 Nakkalas still lead a life of nomadism. Piggery, cattle rearing, domestication of birds, collecting and selling of waste paper, begging, stealing and cheating are their occupations.30 Even now they enjoy hunting, which is their primary occupation. They are not habituated to regulated and structured work patterns. Agriculture is strange to them. Even if the government intends to establish small industries the Nakkalas may not be prepared to work in these because of their nomadic temperament. Whenever they require money, they borrow from individuals and repay it as soon as they earn enough. The socalled Kulapeddalu (tribal elders) are now more self-centric than otherwise. The recent changing occupational trend among Nakkalas towards agriculture is an implicit expression on their part to settle down in a permanent habitat. There is an emerging social consciousness among them to get rid of their nomadic habits by taking to agriculture.

Notes 1. V. Lalitha, ‘Socio-economic and Administrative Aspects of an Ex-criminal Tribe’, unpublished M.Phil thesis, 1978; ‘Denotified Communities of Andhra Pradesh – Same Problems of Rehabilitation’, presented at Andhra Pradesh History Congress, Hyderabad, 1982. 2. C.P. Ramaswami Ayyar, ‘Foreword’ in the Gypsies by Chamanlal, New Delhi, 1962.

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3. Government of India, The Report of the Criminal Tribes Act Enquiry Committee, 1949-50, New Delhi. 4. D.N. Majumdar, Races and Cultures India, Bombay, 1965, p. 384. 5. M. Papa Rao Naidu, Criminal Tribes of India, no. 2, 1965, p. 32. 6. Malli Gandhi, ‘Endangerment of Language Among the Yerukula: A Nomadic/Denotified Tribe of the Eastern Andhra Pradesh, in Anthropologist, vol. 68, nos. 2-3, 2015, p. 342. 7. Frederick S. Mullaly, Notes on Criminal Classes of the Madras Presidency, Madras: Government Press, 1892, p. 71. 8. S. Soma Reddi, ‘The Life of Dommaras as Reflected in the Literature and Epigraphs of Medieval Telugu Country’, published in the Proceedings of A.P. History Congreess, vol. XX, p. 56. 9. Ibid., p. 30. 10. Ibid. 11. H. Nanjundaiah and Rai Bahadur L.K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, The Mysore Tribes and Castes, vol. II, Mysore, 1928, p. 142. 12. Veedus or troupes which the Dommaras organize into divisions. The heads of these veedus made endowments in that capacity on behalf of the respective veedus. 13. Mysore Tribes and Castes, vol. II, 1928, p. 140. 14. Ibid. 15. Edgar Thurston and Ranga Chari, Castes and Tribes of South India, Madras, vol. III, 1909, p. 175. 16. Madras Manual, Madras, 1901. 17. Frederick S. Mullalay, Notes on Criminal Classes of the Madras Presidency, Madras, 1892, p. 733. 18. Ibid. p. 72. 19. Information in this regard is mainly collected through oral testimony when the researcher, during field study, met and talked to groups of Dommaras in Nellore district. 20. B.S. Bhargava, The Criminal Tribes, Lucknow: Universal Publishers, 1949, p. 7. 21. Government of Madras, Administration Report of the Inspector General of Police, Madras, p. 12; also see, V. Lalitha, ‘Tribes in Transition: A Case Study of Kapparalla Tippa in Nellore District and Sitanagaram in Guntur District’, unpublished doctoral thesis, submitted to Calcutta University, 1987. 22. G.P. Bharal, ‘Denotified Community and Their Problems of Rehabilitation in India’, Indian Journal of Social Work, vol. 28, 1968, pp. 121-3. 23. B.S. Bhargava, The Criminal Tribes of India, Lucknow: Universal Publishers, 1949, p. 19. 24. Nagabhushanacharyulu Chirravuri, Adima Vasulu (Telugu), Narasaraopet, 1949, p. 98. 25. V.S. Deep Kumar, ‘Genetic Studies among the Nari Korava: A Non Pastoral Nomadic Tribe of South-Eastern India’, unpublished doctoral thesis, submitted to Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, 1985.

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26. Ibid. 27. Government of Madras, Administration Report of the Inspector General of Police, Madras, 1922. 28. Mullaly, op. cit., p. 23. 29. The researcher collected details during interview with 20 Nakkala families. 30. K.S. Singh, People of India, Andhra Pradesh, vol. XIII, Part Two, Anthropological Survey of India, New Delhi: East-West Press, 2003, pp. 1261-6.

CHAPTER 7

Colonialism and Ex-Criminal Tribes: A Profile of Lingala Settlement in Telangana

IN INDIA MANY criminal tribe settlements were established in the year 1911 by the British government to wean the tribes people away from crime. These were agricultural, industrial, reformatory and voluntary settlements.1 There were seven criminal settlements established under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1911 up to the end of the year 1915. The earliest criminal tribe settlement in Andhra Pradesh was established for the Dommaras and Katheras in the year 1911 at Kalichedu in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.2 Another criminal tribe settlement in Andhra Pradesh was established by the American Baptist Telugu Mission at Kavali in the year 1912. Sitanagaram settlement was established in 1914 by the Salvation Army. Stuartpuram (Bethapudi) Settlement was established in 1914 in Guntur district, Bhumannagadda Settlement was established in 1913 for Nawabpeta or Vayalpad Korachas in Chittoor district, Aziznagar (Kammapuram) Settlement was established in 1913 in South Arcot district and Stuartpet Settlement was established in South Arcot district in 1915 for the Veppur Parayas. There were other Criminal Tribe settlements such as Pillayarpatti settlement in Tanjore district established in 1915 for Gandarvakottai Koravas. Five settlements were managed by the Salvation Army. One settlement was under the control of the American Baptist (Telugu) Mission and Kavali and Siddhapuram settlements were under the control of the official management of the Government. Kulasekharapatnam Settlement in Tinnivelly district was established in 1916 and a voluntary settlement for Yanadis in Bapatla was started during the year 1905 for the reclamation of Yanadis in Bapatla region. The peculiar feature of these settlements was that there were mixed castes and tribes existed among various settlements. Though, there was close relationship. There was no marital relationship existed among them. The only settlement that was established in the provinces of the Nizam dominions was Lingala Settlement. The settlement was

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established during the year 1913 by the then Nizam government for the reclamation of Chenchus, Sugalis and Yerukulas. There is no other settlement in India in which marital relations exist among three different tribes.3 The management of the settlements was entrusted to voluntary agencies like the Salvation Army, the American Baptist Telugu Mission, London Mission, Chief Khalsa Diwan, Deo Samaj and so on. The government also took responsibility of some of the settlements, which were known as voluntary settlements. In addition, the native states were interested in the reclamation of the criminal tribes and castes. For example, the industrial settlement in Bijapur under the Bombay Presidency was established for criminal tribes. The paper mill industry in Bijapur absorbed members of many criminal tribes.4 As remarked by the Indian civil servant, O.H.B. Starti (officer in-charge of the criminal tribe settlers of Bijapur), wonderful results were achieved in controlling and reforming the criminal tribes of Bijapur.5 The only settlement established in the Nizam’s princely state was the Lingal Settlement. About 104 miles from the state capital it looks like a modern village with permanently built structures including a hospital, dispensary, police station, jail, school for boys and girls, work looms, bungalows for officials and a temple.6 The Nizam’s administration created an opportunity for them to learn spinning and weaving, carpentry, brick-making, laundering and other such useful works. Some of them became proficient in starting business enterprises and were successful in carrying on these trades. They also cultivated agriculture lands. The Nizam’s government supplied them with oxen, implements, seeds and provisions. The settlers felt contented and showed no signs of running away.7 Lingal Settlement is located in the Nallamala forests in Mahaboobnagar district of the present-day Telangana state. The name ‘Lingal’ connotes the nine Shaiva temples that surround the settlement. There were several reasons for establishing the settlement at Lingal by the then Nizam Mir Osman Nawab Ali Khan (1911-40).8 Absconders from other settlements used to take shelter in the Nizam’s dominions and were found to create problems for the administration. Second, Chenchus who lived in the Nallamala forests depended on forest produce. The scarcity of food sometimes made them rob travellers. Third, Sugalis, a nomadic tribe of Hyderabad was creating trouble in surrounding villages. It was the responsibility of the Nizam to settle these three tribes in order to maintain peace and tranquillity

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in his dominions. Fourth, the criminal tribe settlements in Madras Presidency were found to be satisfactory because Christian missionaries maintained them. All these factors made the Nizam focus his attention on the problem and wean the tribal people away from criminal proclivities. Lingal Settlement comprised three tribes, viz., Yerukulas, Chenchus and Lambadas. Yerukulas occupy an important place among the south Indian tribes. They are one of the largest tribes of Andhra Pradesh and found throughout the Madras Presidency. Yerukulas in Lingal Settlement originated in the Karnataka region. Others came from Lingsoor, Raichur, Adilabad, Nizamabad, Gulbarga and a few from Stuartpuram Settlement. The police department guided these settlers initially.9 The second tribe that settled in Lingal Settlement was the Chenchus, a tribe dwelling in the hilly tracks. They were semi-nomadic and considered one of the earliest of the south Indian tribes. Chenchus are divided into five endogamous groups: Telugu Chenchus, Adavi Chenchus, Krishna Chenchus, Bonta Chenchus and Deva Chenchus. The Telugu and Krishna Chenchus are beggars who collect alms by dancing and singing songs in the plains. The Adavi Chenchus are to be found in large numbers in the neighbourhood of Srisailam on the banks of river Krishna. Deva Chenchus worship Shivalinga, Peddamma, Balamma, Yellamma, Pochayya and Lord Venkateshvara of Tirupati. They name their children as Yellamma and Pochamma. They are confined to the secluded parts of forests and earn their livelihood by hunting. These people, to some extent were notorious in waylaying passengers.10 Hence, they were brought to the Lingal Settlement by the Nizam’s government. Chenchus in Telangana originated from Komati Kunta, Rayavaram, Chanpet, Peddur and Kotteru. The Nizam’s government brought Yerukulas and Chenchus and provided for each family 5 acres of land with Lavani Patta (a legal document issued by the government for poor people) and supplied them with necessary agriculture tools.11 Banjaras, Lambadas and Sugalis are spread across the erstwhile state of combined Andhra Pradesh.12 They mostly live in Kurnool, Warangal and Adilabad districts. Lambadas are an intelligent, goodlooking, well-built and sturdy group. They have weathered many a storm during their journey from their original home in Rajasthan to several districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. They speak a peculiar dialect, an admixture of Punjabi and Gujarati. Originally

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nomads, they are mostly agriculturists. Their songs are closely associated with harvest. During their nomadic life they used to indulge in petty thieving. All these three tribes, viz., Yerukulas, Chenchus and Lambadas are living at present in Lingal Settlement. Field data and interactions with members of these tribes suggest that they have marital relations.13 The Andhra branch of Adimajati Sevak Sangh (under the leadership of Vennelacunty Raghavaiah and Palaparti Veeraiah) stopped malpractices like slave trade and ordeal tests in Lingal Settlement.14 The sale of tribal women to buyers from Punjab (for amounts ranging from ī2,000 to 5,000) right under the nose of the police department was prevalent. The Sangh took active measures to stop such practices. It suggested tightening of the penal code relating to slavery, a suggestion which received approval of the central law department and considered by the home ministry. Settlers in Lingala are experts in weaving, carpentry, tile/brick-making and laundering. Many families are farming plots given to them by the Nizam’s Government. Over a period of time tribal leaders in the settlement did away with heinous intra-tribe social practices like dipping the hand in boiling oil and lifting hot iron bars with bare hands.15 Most of the settlers are engaged either in cultivation, business or manual labour. They have to mainly depend on forest produce. The Yerukulas manufacture bamboo baskets while the Chenchus primarily depend for their livelihood upon forest produce and to some extent agricultural work. Sugalis are engaged in manual labour because they are more hard working. The Lingal Settlement is dry land and falls in the rain-shadow region. It lacks sufficient irrigational facilities and bore wells cannot support the agricultural needs. Rainfall is often scanty in this region. In the absence of regular income from on-farm activities, many members take recourse to preparation of illicit/ country liquor. There are government schools and hostels for boys and girls in the Lingal Settlement16 but medical facilities are by and large poor. There is a hospital which was established by the then Nizam government. Generally, Chenchus are knowledgeable in using herbal medicines. Chenchus from Kurnool and Khammam districts, especially possess adequate knowledge of these medicinal plants. Unfortunately, this practice has been on a steady decline in the recent past. There is a general awareness among these people about their problems. Although the Girijan Cooperative Society was established

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to supply consumer goods, its benefits are concerned by the well-todo sections of the village. Yerukulas complain about the preference given to the Chenchus. Members of the settlement face problems from the forest department. The root cause of the friction is that rich people from surrounding areas like Atchampeta are given preference by the forest officers and these mainland settlers have become the beneficiaries of various government schemes. There is a glaring absence of an ideal connect between economic rehabilitation and social education. Inculcating social values should be matched by necessary economic measures so as to provide them with basic necessities. In spite of the development activities undertaken by the government, an atmosphere of general discontent prevails in the settlement of Lingal. They are not fully convinced that the government is showing as much care and attention towards them as it should be. Compared to other settlements, Lingal is lagging behind (the only exception being Siddhapuram Settlement, in Kurnool district). A more responsible and humane approach will go a long way in stimulating a change in settlements like Lingal.17

Notes 1. B.S. Haikerwal, Economic and Social Aspects of Crime in India, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1934, p. 166. 2. V. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes Patterns and Transition, Madras, 1995, p. 49. 3. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1678, dated 13 March 1916, p. 1. 4. Sayyad Siraz-ul Hussan, The Castes and Tribes of the H.E.H. The Nizam’s Dominions, New Delhi: Asian Educational Service, 1989, p. 1. 5. Haikerwal, op. cit., pp. 56-9. 6. The remnants of a fort, jail, post office, and temple are still there in Lingal. One bungalow is used as the present post office. It shows how much attention the Nizam’s Government paid to Lingal settlements. Yerukulas were called juramfis. They used to get the written permission of the police officers to leave the settlement for going to some other place. Social worker Sangam Laxmi Bayamma pleaded for their freedom. Then the juramfis was removed. 7. Government of Madras, Report on the Administration of the Dstrict Police of H.E.H. the Nizam’s Government, 1918, pp. 27-8. 8. Ibid., p. 24.

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9. Government of Madras, The Chenchus and the Madras Police (from the Publicity Bureau), Madras, pts. I and II, Madras, 1921, pt. I, p. 1. Giridawar, an officer-in-charge was responsible for supplying them agriculture implements. Interview with Peram Hussain, an sarpanch in the settlement, Lingal, 20 October 1994. 10. Government of Madras, Administrative Report of the Inspector-General of Police, 190-1912, Madras: Central Press, 1913, pp. 6-11. 11. Government of Madras, Report on the Administration of the Dstrict Police of H.E.H. the Nizam’s Government, 1918, p. 29. 12. R.K. Samata and L. Shayam Sundar, ‘The Lambadas, Their SocioPsychological and Agro-Economic Characteristics’, Man in India, vol. 65, no. 3, September 1985, p. 1. 13. For example, the ex-Samiti president Sri Ram, a Lambada, married a Yerukula woman employed as a teacher. His brother Bala Raju married a Chenchu girl. But when the Lambadas give their girls to the Chenchus in marriage they offer dowry. Only Yerukulas have bride-price or ‘Oil’ system. They follow different customs belonging to different tribes. Interview with Peram Hussain, op. cit. 14. These ordeals are prevalent even now in other settlements like Stuartpuram and Kapparalla Tippa. Kula panchayats are very active. When the Andhra Rastra Adimajati Sevak Sangh was established in 1948, the late Vennalacunti Ragavaiah, a social worker from Vijayawada, working with the Yerukulas was its vice-president. Palaparti Veeraiah, ‘What We Did’ an article on ‘Andhra Rastra Adimjati Sevak Sangh published in the report of the 7th Conference for Scheduled Tribes and Tribal (Scheduled) Areas, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, 9th and 10th November 1964, New Delhi, p. 111. 15. Interview with Malli David, an ex-criminal in the settlement, Lingal, 20 October 2006. 16. These were established during the Nizam’s period. The school is known as Netaji Vidya Nikethan. Some of the students secured teachings jobs in the same school. 17. The Yerukulas were unhappy with the attitude of the government. When the Yerukulas, Lambadas and Chenchus are all Scheduled Tribes, why should preference be given only to Chenchus? Interview with M. David, an ex-criminal in the settlement, Lingala, 20 October 2006.

CHAPTER 8

Criminal Tribes Acts and Ex-Criminal Tribes of the United Provinces

STUDY OF CRIMINAL

tribes is a fruitful field of research for anthropologists, historians, sociologists, criminologists and other social scientists. Several academicians have noted various reasons for calling a certain group of tribes as criminal tribes. Several recommendations were also made for their reclamation. The exact origin of criminal tribes is not clearly known. However, in India the impact of the caste system consolidated various anti-social elements into caste groups with occupational biases.1 In case of criminal tribes occupational biases of their committing crime as a hereditary profession was noted. It was believed that crime was their forte and common bond.2 The colonial administration felt that crime had provided them with certain means of livelihood. Religious beliefs and social customs got geared to the criminal occupation of a tribe. Criminal groups grew into guilds held together by their caste panchayat and common economic interests. They rigidly adhered to their particular kind of crime as well as its modus operandi.3 Psychologically too, members of criminal tribes came to regard their occupation of crime as a legitimate trade. This was to say that a blacksmith or a shop assistant would train his children in the same profession or egged them on to choose it. The problem of crime and criminal tribes in India for the British engaged them to address reclamation work of hardened and other habitual criminals. This proved both easy and difficult. It was easy for the British to reclaim certain groups of criminal tribe from the perspective of social morality and moral preaching. It was difficult because of the additional handicaps such as heredity and socio-religious and socio-economic conditions embedded in the life of an active criminal.4

I Until 1800, there was no special legislation to deal with the criminal tribes in India. They were governed by ordinary laws of the land. The legislation to deal with criminal tribes began in India with the

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enactment of the Act XXVII during the year 1871. Magisterial and police authorities were empowered with the authority to deal with the cases of criminal tribes in India since 1800. They were successful in a few cases, but most often they found it difficult to deal with criminal bands.5 Active criminals were acquitted in many cases for want of incriminating evidence. Criminal gangs were given a registered number. Local gangs often posed serious problems for police authorities. For instance, arrest and acquittal of gangs of Meenas was a regular phenomenon for the local police and local courts in the Madras Provinces around 1871. They were arrested in different parts of Ajmer, Jaipur and Central Provinces. The Punjab government had to pass strict local rules to restrict the movement of Meenas to certain places in north India. So also, separate rules were made for the supervision and restriction of Meenas in the Central Provinces.6 Against the backdrop of disturbing social situations, the colonial government enacted Act XXVII of 1871 and applied it to all parts of India. Even the regional states were advised to report to the government the names of tribes that they wished to restrict within their respective provinces. According to Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the CT Act, the local governments were empowered with the authority to restrict and report on those tribes they considered as criminal. Local governments were also entrusted with the job of preparing a detailed note on the livelihood practices of the earmarked tribes. Local government authorities had to provide suitable occupations for livelihood of these sections of society.7 According to Section 5 district magistrates were provided with the authority to register and restrict certain members of a tribe or gang. The same authority was also vested with local governments which could transfer and deport tribes under certain circumstances. The members thus transferred were first placed in reformatory settlements. Village headmen and watchmen were asked to watch the movements of members of criminal tribes and report offences, if any committed by them. Local police were given authority to inspect residences and villages. In a nutshell, the 1871 Act provided for registration, restriction and surveillance of Criminal Tribes.8 British government further amended the 1871 Act during the year 1897 based on experiences at the national and local levels in implementing the earlier CT Act. The colonial government passed Act II of 1897 whereby the power of controlling CTs was completely delegated to the provincial governments. Under Section 17(a) of the

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Act the local government was vested with the authority to separate children from parents and establish reformatories and institutions to place them. Enhanced penalties for repeat of the offences and breach of rules were factored into the Act. The initial CT Acts were found deficient in many particulars. They came in for adverse criticism from the Police Commission of 1902-3. In 1911, a fresh Act (Act III of 1911) was enacted by the British government by incorporating new provisions.9 They made it obligatory on the members of identified criminal tribes to register themselves, allow fingerprints to be taken, and report their actions and change of residence. Government was further vested with the power to restrict movements of a tribe to any particular area or place of residence and powers relating to reformatories were further elaborated. Against these stringent provisions, two liberal modifications were made authorizing district magistrates to grant exemption to reformed members and raise age limit of children from four to six years to consider for separation from their parents.10 During the year 1919, the question of criminal tribes was again taken for review in terms of their living conditions. The Jails Committee appointed in 1920 emphasized that settlements were not to be merely another kind of jail. They were places where provisions for reasonable amount of economic comfort existed without which other variables like administrative enthusiasm, judicial devotion and religious discourses, though important in themselves could achieve little. They emphasized that the aim behind the establishment of a settlement should be positive and work towards reclamation of settlers. Settlement formation was not with a negative motive revolving round protection of society from depredations of notified criminals.11 They deprecated segregation and separation of children from their parents except in rare cases and recommended that the most successful settlement would lie in places in the neighbourhood of which industries existed and where the settlers could find employment as labourers. Owing to want of sufficient land and ignorance of settlers in agrarian operations, the committee felt that agricultural settlements were not likely to be a success. Similarly they felt industrial settlements would not fare well as they could not provide for sufficiently remunerative and socially useful work. It would be noted that for the first time in the consideration of the problem of criminal tribes greater emphasis was laid on its economic aspect and lesser on its penal side. As a result, Act I of 1923 was passed whereby members of criminal tribes were protected by a provision that before any action

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was taken against a tribe a formal inquiry must be made and that no member of a criminal tribe who was a British subject could be transferred to an Indian state before the government was satisfied with the arrangements made for such transfers.12 There had been so many amendments to original Act and a fresh Act (Act VI of 1924) was passed consolidating the provisions of various earlier Acts relating to criminal tribes. A very important change was introduced in the substitution of the word who for the word which in Section 14 by which emphasis came to be laid on the individual more than on the tribe. The 1947 CT Act prescribed limits for maximum punishment: seven years of jail term for the second offence and transportation for life for the third and subsequent offences.13 In the year 1946 government of the United Provinces appointed a committee to understand and solve the problems faced by criminal tribes. The committee recommended several measures for the betterment of ground-level situation. Preceding this development, village panchayats were established in the region during the year 1940 for the reclamation work and upliftment of the criminal tribes. The committee was asked to investigate and report on the working of panchayats in the United Provinces where their settlements were located. It was also asked to enquire into settlement colonies and make detailed recommendations about the improvement of criminal tribes and their settlements. Members of this committee met managers of settlements with a view to ensure the effective reformation work of the settlers.14 The settlement managers often segregated children from their families. Working conditions of the schools in the settlements were found to be very poor. The committee recommended that children should not be segregated from their parents and they should be brought up in their own environment and proper education system needed to be set up in the settlements.15 The committee also suggested modifications in the government declarations under the Criminal Tribes Act. Several non-official Bills were introduced in the Central Legislative Assembly. The Government of India also made many comments with regard to the general policy which needed to be followed with regard to the crime, criminal tribes and their settlements. Government encouraged non-governmental organizations to undertake reformation work among criminal tribe families, though it was given to the firm belief that missionaries alone would be successful in reformation, reclamation and control of the criminal tribes in and outside the settlements.16

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II In the United Provinces, the well-known criminal tribe settlements were: Moradabad Settlement, Bauriah Colony in Muzaffarnagar district and Kalianpur Settlement in Kanpur district. There were several such settlements in Punjab too. During the year 1950, the population of criminal tribes who were notified under the provisions of the CTA was 15 lakh and the number increased to 28 lakh in the next couple of years. It was 5 per cent of the total population of the state/province.17 There were about 47 tribes that had been identified as criminal tribes under the CT Act. A few of them were: Pasis, Bhars, Mallahs, Doms, Banjaras, Dusadhs, Nats, Aherias, Bahelias, Banmanas, Badaks, Baurias, Bhantus, Sansias, Saperas, Karwals, Kaparias, Gidhias, Sonarias, Mahawats, Kalandar Faquirs, Lungi Pathans, Muslim Banjaras, Gujjars, Kewats, Dusadhs, Oudhias (categorized under SCs), Barwars, etc. However, Aherias resented the classification of criminal tribes by the government for they claimed higher-caste origin.18 There was a common feature among them. They followed the same faith and lived in harmony. But within the tribal habitat there lay considerable variations in religious beliefs and social, economic and criminal life. The Bhars looked like average villagers, indistinguishable from others. The Mahars were distinctly primitive people in their appearance and in modes of life. Each tribe worshipped its own gods and goddesses and had its own social customs and practices. Their acts of crime too were distinctly different in the method of their commission. Among the tribal families, some were settled, some others were semi-settled and a few more were still unsettled. They used to commit petty crime all over the country. Baurias and Doms used to confine themselves to their profession in their respective provinces. Musahars limited their operations to neighbouring districts. In terms of personal wealth, there were variations from tribe to tribe and among the individual communities.19 It is paradoxical that some of the tribal communities in some districts were declared as criminal tribes and the same tribal groups were not declared so in some other districts in India. This was due to the differential application of the Criminal Tribes Act in the three presidencies. For example, the Pasi tribe (Tody-drawers and labourers) was notified as a criminal tribe in 15 districts in the Central Provinces area. Likewise, the Haburas were noted as a criminal tribe in 10 districts. Aherias were notified as a criminal tribe in nine districts

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whereas Nats, Sansias and Mallahs were cornered in around seven districts; Kanjars were notified in six districts; Bahelias were categorized so in five districts; Badaks, Banjaras, Bhars and Musahars were dubbed under the criminal category in four districts; Barwars and Hindu Gosains were notified in three districts; Gujars, Khatiks and Oudhias were called so in two districts; Baurias, Kewats, Tagas, Bhats, Lodhs, Mewatis and Bhawapurias were declared as criminal tribes in one district.20 Further there were many nomadic tribes in the state and among them too was a similar variation. They were listed as Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes and in places as higher caste groups. There were many reasons for these differential identification patterns: economic, topographical, historical character, number of tribes residing in the village, their settled and unsettled life, etc.21 The administration of criminal tribes in the United Provinces has a very long history. Prior to 1938, the administration of criminal tribes was vested with the superintendent of police (SP) under the supervision of the District Inspector General of Police for the Criminal Investigation Department. Duties of the SP were: supervision of settlements, administration of criminal tribes in districts, examination and supervision of cases relating to criminal tribes and submission of annual reports on criminal tribes to government. The SP was assisted by an inspector who went round the entire district. They used to supervise work done/carried by the sub-inspectors who were kept in-charge of criminal tribes.22 These sub-inspectors were asked to work under the control of SP of the district concerned. There were altogether five settlements in the United Central Provinces: Kalyanpur Settlement (the only settlement which was kept under the direct control of the SP), Fazalpur Settlement, Kanth Settlement, Bareilly Settlement and Gorakhpur Settlement. The last four settlements were kept under the management of the Salvation Army. The sixth settlement was located at Aryanagar and was under the control of the Pratinidhi Sabha. The SP was asked to supervise all the six settlements regularly. The authority along with other inspectors encouraged the organization of panchayats among criminal tribes in these districts. Owing to lack of finance, the system could not be placed on a sound footing. Similarly, grant of scholarships to children of criminal tribes was very less (lower than ī1,000). Penal provisions of the Act were efficiently enforced and the ameliorative provisions were imperfectly implemented for want of financial sanctions by the colonial government.23

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The Congress government assumed office for the first time in the United Provinces during the year 1947. Soon after assuming office the government appointed a committee under the presidentship of V.N. Tiwari. The committee was asked to make specific recommendations for resolving the problems of denotified nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes in India. After making a thorough study of the conditions of certain communities the Tiwari Committee noted down its observations: Many tribes were proclaimed as criminal tribes by the notification of local governments in India. The government did not notice properly the criminality of each tribe. It considered areas where a particular tribe was residing and declared a whole tribe, or a part thereof as criminal tribe. Certain tribes that were exempted from notification were also kept under serious scrutiny of the government; Reclamation of the Criminal Tribes was a serious concern of the Congress government. The administration of criminal tribes had fallen into the hands of government and non-governmental agencies. There were many administrative lapses from both the sides. There was no separate department for the reclamation work. Superintendents of police, district magistrates, collectors, commissioners of labour, etc. exhibit a lukewarm interest in the amelioration of problems faced by notified tribes. In the villages inhabited by notified criminal tribes certain panchayats were organised. There was a three tier structure viz., village panchayats, thana panchayats and district panchayats. The thana and district panchayats were the upper tiers. There were also members from official and non-official organisations who were genuinely interested in the problems of these communities; There are reformatory, agricultural and industrial settlements established for these communities in the state. The government accorded top priority to reformatory settlements. These settlements are rich sources of cheap manual labour force.24

The Congress government resigned during the year 1949. The recommendations/observations of Tiwari Committee were not considered and no action was taken. Later a reclamation department was established for the upliftment of nomadic communities. It was kept under the charge of the SP. But the reclamation department was provided only with the deputy superintendent of police as its head. The spirit of reclamation work was watered down by posting a lower cadre police official to man the administration. The department was attached to headquarters of the government. The number of reclamation staff was reduced to the lowest minimum. There were

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altogether four groups of officers: panchayat officers, colony supervisors, senior organizers and junior organizers. The principal duty of these officers was to improve and extend the panchayat system as recommended by the Tiwari Committee. The panchayats had to arrange new colonies for the settlement of reformed members and to bring required improvements in the existing settlements and colonies.25 A number of panchayats were organized by the government in due course of time. But the measure did not adequately cover all the tribes and districts in the state. There was no corresponding improvement in their quality and achievements. In a few cases panchayats punished culprits but many were let free. Only a few people involved in criminal activities were caught and handed over to the police. These panchayats also discriminated against some tribes when dealing with cases of criminals.26 The density and intensity of panchayats varied from tribe to tribe. Work of these panchayats was proved best in respect of Pasis, Bhars, Aherias and Baurias. Many of the districts reported that panchayats made some effort to improve members of local tribe, but not to the extent of public expectations. Staff members in panchayats were not inspiring in their work patterns and integrity. In the next few years the number of these panchayats was reduced. The government did not take any measures and efforts to make the panchayats efficient. The local panchayats did not yield fruitful results in the reclamation work. In actual practice, government measures achieved very little in colonizing the notified tribes in settlements. Despite the sanction of a good amount of money to colonize the wandering gangs, lack of will and empathy on the part of public functionaries made them cut a sorry figure at the end. Adequate monitoring and supervising staff was not provided by the government. Colonies like Aihar posted highly discouraging results and failed in the objectives with which they were established. Contrary to expectations, many adult members in the colony who had been settled in the village as reformed members of criminal tribes were arrested again. Poor selection of settlers, bad organization of colony and poor supervision were the main causes for the failure of colonization. Though there were a few encouraging examples from settlements like Sataran that exhibited clear signs of attitudinal change, they were merely standalone examples.27 The colony established for the Baurias at Jhinjhana in Muzaffarnagar district was very old. It received the attention of the reclamation

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department in 1942. The colonial government established one manager, one clerk, two work-inspectors, one industrial supervisorcum-weaving master, one maid, one compounder, one peon and one servant in the colony to serve the emerging needs of settlers. There were also old police personnel deployed to watch and warn the staff. Like elsewhere village panchayats were organized in the district – forty primary panchayats, seven group panchayats and one central panchayat. Even after fine-tuning the village administration, it was reported that many registered and unregistered members absconded from colonies.28 Shortage of land, poor irrigational facilities and shortage of water in the colony goaded many to play truant. As part of its ameliorative measures, the colonial government established cottage industries in various settlements. Trades like weaving, tailoring, morah- and carpetmaking were started during the early 1940s with an initial outlay of ī2,440 per year which was eventually reduced to ī1,000. Education was considered very important for the development of these colonies. There were two old primary schools in each settlement. They were kept under the control of the district boards. The reclamation department too started primary schools in all the settlements during the year 1941; for instance the Bauria Panchayat founded a middle school in 1943. In 1945, 247 students passed out of these schools. Advancement of education in the colonies was confined only to the younger generation. Education had no effect on the older members among the criminal tribe families.29 The settlement in Gorakhpur was under the management of the Salvation Army. It was later shifted to Harijan Sewak Sangh. The Aryanagar settlement was run by Arya Pratinidhi Sabha. Settlements in Kanth, Sahibganj and Fazalpur were under the control of the Salvation Army. The Kalyanpur Settlement was under the direct control of the government. The settlements at Sahibganj and Kanth were agricultural settlements. Kalyanpur, Fazalpur and Aryanagar settlements were agricultural-cum-industrial settlements. Gorakhpur Settlement supplied scavengers to the local municipality and also ran small industries.30 All the settlements comprised a primary school. Children were granted scholarships and those who showed promise were sent for higher education. A labour colony was constructed in Kanpur that consisted of members of criminal tribes. Conditions in most of the settlements were very poor, especially, material conditions which worsened over a period of time. There were a number of absentees from the settlements. If the number of absentees is taken

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as a guide, the deteriorating conditions of the settlement can be assessed. For instance the number of absconders in Gorakhpur Settlement was the highest and the number rose every year. In Fazalpur and Kalyanpur settlements also the number of absconders was considerable. Other settlements like Aryanagar, Kanth and Sahibganj settlements followed suit. It has been calculated that the number of absconders from these settlements was the largest from 1930 to 1960. Economic conditions in these settlements were not attractive enough for the settlers to keep them there glued to the new habitat.31 Employment opportunities outside the settlement attracted many of the settlers. In addition to all these factors extraneous conditions like the World Wars had their telling effect on the fate and life standards of settlers. To cite an example, the Fazalpur Settlement suffered from conspicuous decline in agriculture and cottage industries during the wars. Almost similar fate awaited other settlements like Kalyanpur. In Gorakhpur Settlement wages were low and not given out properly to the settlers. War conditions resulted in the prices of basic needs and goods shooting up.32 It spoiled opportunities of people in these settlements. Nobody ventured to afford to start a new trade or industry. Those few who ventured lost due to lack of foresight and imagination. Same conditions prevailed in official as well as nonofficial settlements managed by government and private agencies. The administration by and large remained as that of the old rut.33

III Changes have been observed in the administration of the criminal tribes during the last seventy years by creation of reclamation departments, achievement of country’s Independence, creation of social and tribal welfare departments, emergence of non-governmental organizations, among other factors. However, results are not radically different. There is a gaping gap in the implementation of recommendations made by many DNT-NT commissions (such as the Tiwari Committee, 1937-8) of state and central governments. Many Bills have been introduced in the central legislative assembly.34 The first Bill was introduced by Venkatsubba Reddiar. It was later followed by introduction of five more bills for the upliftment and development of criminal tribes. A common feature of all these efforts was a proposal on the repeal of Criminal Tribe Acts. The Bill introduced by Reddiar was a bold and logical proposal and was consequently approved.

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Another important Bill was introduced by N.G. Ranga during the year 1941-2. He too voiced concern over various sections of the extant CT Acts and demanded their immediate repeal. He referred to Sections 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24 and 25 of the Criminal Tribes Act. He also demanded reduction in the fine imposed on each criminal tribe, and in the period of imprisonment for various offenses.35 District magistrates and superintendents of police in Madras, Bombay, Nizam’s dominions, Central Provinces, Oudh and other presidencies never showed any interest in or inclination to repeal the Criminal Tribes Act. They wanted to implement the Act in letter and spirit. However, most of the social workers, organizations of criminal tribes, inmates of criminal tribe settlements and various Christian and Hindu philanthropic agencies and leading figures of freedom struggle actively favoured total repeal of all CT Acts.36 As expected, many district magistrates and SPs opposed the repeal of any provisions in the CT Act. Added, they favoured the notification of individuals, families, groups and villages. Records show that nearly 75 per cent of the nomadic communities were declared as criminal tribes to be notified under the CT Act. The precise definition of the terms, tribe, gang, class and persons addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences was often evasive. For matters of declaration, it must be established that a substantial number of members of a tribe are hardened offenders before they should be declared criminals. When 25 to 50 per cent of the population of a tribe was proved to have criminal propensities the government classified the entire tribe under the criminal tribe category.37 There is no country in the world where its 50-75 per cent of tribe is addicted to crime. Division of tribes into criminal and non-criminal is more notional than real. The first Criminal Tribes Act was passed about one hundred and fifty years ago. It imposed severe penalties and stigmatized many Indian tribes. It created an impetus in the members of the same tribe to dislocate themselves from criminal sections. For example, there were two groups among the Pasis, criminal and non-criminal.38 The criminal Pasis did not have any social or material relations with the non-criminal Pasis. Even in the case of tribes where similar separation of the criminal-non-criminal elements had not taken place there were individual members of the tribe who felt the sigma of criminality. Various penal provisions imposed on criminal tribes in the 1871 Act were gradually stiffened

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by the beginning of the twentieth century.39 From 1919 onwards there had been a tendency to make certain modifications in favour of criminal tribes. The Act of 1924 was amended by Act I of 1947. By this time, there was talk of repealing the Criminal Tribe Acts.40 Before it was done, the government reviewed the administration of the criminal tribes in the United Provinces in the 1950s. In the light of the actual experiences gained the government finally repealed the CT Act in 1952 and many members of criminal tribes in the United Provinces were let free and removed from the clutches of the CT Act 1924 and 1947.

Notes 1. Mukul Kumar, ‘Relationship of Caste and Crime in Colonial India: A Discourse Analysis’, Economic and Political Weekly, 6 March 2004, pp. 1078-87. 2. B.S. Cohn, ‘Notes on the History of the Indian Society and Culture’, in M. Singer and B.S. Cohn (eds.), Structure and Change in Indian Society, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968. 3. N.B. Dirks, Caste of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2001. 4. R.E. Enthroven, The Tribes and Castes of Bomaby Presidency, vol. 1, Delhi: Cosmo, 1973. 5. Malli Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes: Policy and Practice, New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, 2006, p. 60. 6. V. Lalitha, Making of Criminal Tribes: Patterns and Transition, Madras: New Era Publications, 1995, p. 24. 7. Meena Radhakrishna, Dishonoured by History: Criminal Tribes and British Colonial Policy, revd. edn., Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2001, pp. 189-95. 8. Ibid. 9. Y.C. Simhadri, The Ex-Criminal Tribes of India, New Delhi: National Publishing House, 1979, p. 104. 10. Government of Madras, The Criminal Tribes Act III of 1911, with the Case-Law Thereon, Madras: Law Printing House, 1912, pp. 1-24. 11. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in Madras Province, Report brought upto 1927, Government Central Press, 1928, p. 41. 12. Y.C. Simhadri, Denotified Tribes: A Sociological Analysis: New Delhi: Classical Publishing Company, 1991. 13. V. Raghaviah, The Problem of Criminal Tribes, Delhi: Akhil Bharatiya Adimjati Seval Sangh, 1948.

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14. Government of India, Report of the Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee, United Provinces, 1947, Allahabad: Superintendent Printing and Stationary, 1948, pp. 1-41. 15. Ibid., p. 3. 16. Ibid., p. 4. 17. Ibid., p. 6. 18. Ibid., p. 7. 19. Ibid., p. 8. 20. Ibid., p. 11. 21. Ibid., p. 12. 22. Ibid., p. 13. 23. Ibid., p. 14. 24. Ibid., p. 15. 25. Ibid., p. 16. 26. W. Crooke, The Tribes and Castes of North-Western India, vol. II, Calcutta: Cosmo Publications, p. 43. 27. Ganesh Devy, Report on Technical Advisory Group, Road to Freedom, Baroda: Bhasha Research and Publication Centre, 2005, p. 76. 28. Ibid., p. 77. 29. B.S. Bhargava, Criminal Tribes: A Socio-Economic Study of the Principal Criminal Tribes and Castes in Northern India, Lucknow: Universal Publishers, 1949, p. 33. 30. K.S. Singh, People of India, Uttar Pradesh, vol. XLII, pt. I, New Delhi: Manohar, 2005, pp. 224-8. 31. Ibid., p. 225. 32. Ibid., p. 226. 33. Government of India, Report of the Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee, United Provinces, 1947, Allahabad: Superintendent Printing and Stationary, 1948, pp. 1-41. 34. Ibid., p. 33. 35. Ibid., p. 34. 36. Ibid., p. 36. 37. Ibid., p. 37. 38. Ibid., p. 38. 39. Ibid., p. 39. 40. Ibid., p. 40.

CHAPTER 9

Historical Profile of Koravas and Koramars/Korachas in Karnataka

KORACHAS, KORAVAS, KAIKADIS and Yerukulas form a connecting link anthropologically, historically and sociologically. The Korachas or Koramars are located in Karnataka state, the Korawars in Tamil Nadu and the Yerukulas in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.1 Kaikadis are very well known in Maharashtra state. Korachas, Koramars and Koravas live in southern parts whereas the Yerukulas are largely found in the northern parts. They used to carry grain and other articles of human consumption from the east to the west coast on donkeys, bullock carts and other means of transport. The advent of railways and improvement of roads and communication facilities virtually deprived them of their traditional livelihoods.2 Their main calling was to carry home needed products from one place to another. In many districts of Madras Presidency great famines severely affected the social and economic lives of these people. They migrated henceforth and settled in different districts in the Presidency where there was a shelter for them. They gradually developed as a nomadic class.3 During the colonial period they were treated differently due to their wandering habits. The colonial administrators described Yerukulas as notorious house-breakers who committed theft within a radius of 30 to 50 miles of their encampment. Male adults and children in the age group of 10-15 years often took part in crimes. They were arrested many times and booked under dacoity, robbery, house-breaking, theft and ordinary theft cases. There were even many cases of women being sentenced in joint convictions along with men. They had been convicted in various places of the presidency like Kalyandurg, Dharmavaram, Ananthapur and Penugonda. They were also convicted several times in several courts in Tumkur, Hassan, Chitradurga, Bangalore, and Chickmagalur.4

I Korachas in Kolar district are a section of the great Korava tribe. They form a connecting link between the Tamil Koravas of south

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and the Yerukulas of the northern districts. Korachas were found in large numbers in North Arcot, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Anantapur, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Bangalore and Kolar districts of Karnataka state.5 They constitute a semi-wandering tribe without any land of their own. In the past their chief employment was carrying salt from the east coast to the hinter lands. They also carried grains of all sorts. Their means of transportation was bulls and donkeys. The nature of trade afforded them opportunities for crime. It had made them familiar with the country and people. The advent of the railways and improvement of roads ruined their carrying trade completely. Since then the trade had been entirely criminal. The great famine of 1878 further added to their sufferings and it was a turning point in their history. Many of their cattle were dead. The severity of the famine forced them to take to crime.6 They generally paraded some ostensible means of livelihood such as basket-making, mat-making or collection and sale of Karepaku (curry) leaves. Such vocations afforded only a convenient pretense for visiting villages to collect information which was useful in their commission of offences.7 Males among the Korachas seldom visited villages but remained hidden in neighbouring places. They were absent for many days and weeks at a time when they went on criminal excursions. Korcha women did not actually commit crimes. They acted as spies, gathering information on wealthy houses to be broken into and the manner of life of the owners. They used to frequently visit villages on the pretext of selling mats, baskets and other goods. In some cases they even sold themselves in order to get in touch with the villagers for the purpose of gathering information. The Korcha boys were trained early in the art of committing offences.8 One of the important aspects of training was to bear torture without divulging any information. The Korchas spoke Tamil, Telugu and Canarese languages and had a slang (code language) of their own which they used to carry on a conversation among themselves.9 The population of the Korachas in Kolar district was 3,134 people scattered in more than 225 villages. The largest number of Korachas was found in Chikballapur taluq, settled in 31 villages. Another branch of Korachas were settled in Kolar taluq, again distributed over several villages. A small number of the Korachas were settled in ten villages in the Gudibanda taluq. Korachas had different sub-classes among themselves: Dabbe Korachas; Rope Korachas; Uppu Korachas; Garadi Korachas; Kunchikatti Korachas; Yanadi Korachas; and Yerukula Korachas. They often belonged to one of the four gotras: Kavadi, Manpadi, Sathpadi, and Mandragutti.10

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Dabbe Korachas, Rope Korachas and Uppu Korachas were found in every taluq except in Gudibanda. Dabbe Korachas formed a major portion of the population, numbering 2,075 during the year 1917. Garadi Korachas were found in Chikballapur, Malur and Srinivaspur taluqs. Their number during the year 1918 was 70. Kunchikattu Korachas were found in Kolar and Malur taluqs, numbering 74 members. Yanadi Korachas and Yerukula Korachas were found in Chikballapur and Sidlaghatta taluqs respectively. They were with the smallest populations of 12 and 2 respectively.11 Korachas often went by different names. They were many instances in which all these different sub-tribes of the Korachas except the Garadi Korachas freely intermarried. They were thus closely related with each other. Dabbe Korachas and Rope Korachas were generally involved in basket- and rope-making. The Uppu Korachas used to sell salt and coriander while the Garadi Korachas were beggars and rag-pickers. The Kunchikattu Korachas prepared a kind of long, rough brush from palm leaves for weavers to clean thread. The Yanadi Korachas were a mixed class who collected and sold honey. They were also experts in drugs. The Yerukula Korachas used to sell karibevu soppu (karvepaku leaves). Their women were fortune-tellers.12 Nearly two-thirds of the Korachas owned land but seldom cultivated them due to the lack of even basic skills and irrigation facilities. It was very difficult for the Korachas, with meagre and small sources of earning, to maintain their families. Out of the total population of 3,134 members, 1,252 adult males were convicted more than 46 times. They were registered for various offences against property, theft, robberies, dacoities and house-breaking.14 Some of the Korachas settled in Kuduvanahalli and Garudapalya in Kolar taluq, Kurudumale in Mulbagal taluq, Nallakadarapalli in Chikballapur taluq and Varlukonda in Gudibanda sub-taluq. All of them were closely related to the Nawabpeta Korachas of Chittoor district.15 They were brought under various sections of the Criminal Tribes Act and were settled in Bhumannagadda Settlement. Many of their families had relations with Korachas in Karnataka. They had also relatives in various places in Madras province such as Chittoor, Madanapalli, Punganur, Palamaneru, Hosur, Hindupur, Kadiri, Vellore, Thirupattur, Kangodi, Koppa and Vayalpadu. Their relationships were verified by the police in all the taluqs, their intimate relationships and family bonds coming under the police scanner. These people had been notified under the Criminal Tribes Act of British India.16

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It was stated by the colonial police officers that the Korachas were notorious robbers and dacoits and closely connected with the criminal Korachas of the adjacent British districts. They used to exchange visits for committing petty offences. However, the police personnel lacked stronger evidence in respect of offences committed by the Korachas.17 This was partially due to the facility with which these wandering criminals escape detection and non-existence of proper recording of their records of convictions. At a later date the government declared the entire tribe of Korachas as a criminal tribe under Section 3 of the CT Regulation.18 Adult members were registered under Section 4 of the regulations of the Criminal Tribe’s Act of 1916. Under Section 10(b) the registered members of Korachas had to notify their place of residence, any change or intended change of their residence and absence or intended absence from their residence.19 Net effect of the notification was the creation of a liability under Section 24 of the regulation for enhanced punishment on the second and subsequent convictions for certain specified offences.20 Registration under Section 4 and restraint under Section 10(b) were calculated to ensure a certain amount of measure to control and supervise the movements of criminal groups.21 On the basis of a note prepared by the then Superintendent of Police, Railways and CID, the Korachas were declared as a criminal tribe in Karnataka state.22 History of the Koracha community, their distribution, criminality, economic position of the tribe and the steps that were taken by the government against them under Criminal Tribe’s Regulation VII of 1916 in the state were responsible for branding the Korachas as a criminal tribe.23 Enquiries and reports made by the government showed that Korachas had many convictions. The government periodically took note of the Korachas’ offences against property. For example, many Korachas of Kolar district had been convicted in Vellore, Chittoor, Salem, North Arcot, Cuddapah, Bellary and Anantapur districts. These districts provided ideal hunting grounds for the Vayalpadu Korachas. The colonial government issued directions to the district magistrates concerned to identify and declare the Korachas as criminal tribes. Under Section 4 of the Criminal Tribes Act all male members of the tribe were notified. In order to exercise effective supervision and control over these people the government felt that registration alone would not help.24 Therefore, it issued an order under Section 10(b) requiring the registered members to notify their place of residence and any change or intended

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change of residence and any absence or intended absence from their residence. According to the draft notification under Section 3 of the Mysore Criminal Tribes Regulation it was stated that ‘whereas the government of His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore have reason to believe that the tribe, gang or class of persons commonly known as Korachers in the state is addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences, it is hereby notified under Section 3 of Regulation VII of 1916 (The Mysore Criminal Tribes Regulation) that such tribe, gang or class is a criminal tribe for the purpose of the said regulation’. The chief secretary to the government was empowered to issue the notification from time to time.25

II Koramars constituted another criminal tribe in the eyes of the colonial administration. According to the superintendent of police, railways and the CID in Mysore, Kalla Kormars of Hunsur and Kadur-district Koramars were believed to be a branch of the great Korava tribe of southern India. During early decades of the twentieth century various judicial and police officers brought to the notice of government different depredations of Koramars in their respective localities and regions. For example, the first-class magistrate of Kadur sub-division and Chennarayapatna sub-division, the taluq magistrate of Hassan and Arsikere, the second-class magistrate of Kadur taluq, the general assistant commissioner and first-class magistrate of Hassan, the then first-class magistrate of Gubbi sub-division, the general assistant commissioner and the first-class magistrate of Saklespur, the then second-class magistrate of Yedathore and Krishnarajpet, the taluq magistrate of Chennarayapatna, the munsif magistrate of Tumkur and the extra-assistant commissioner and the first-class magistrate of Tumkur had reported the petty offences committed by these tribes and asked the government to declare them as criminal tribes in the state. Adding fuel to fire, there were migrations of Koramars to Karnataka region from other parts of Madras Presidency. During the year 1918 a gang of Korachas (Yerukulas) migrated to Tumkur district in Karnataka from northern parts of Madras province. They consisted of 616 members of whom 207 were men, 181 women and 228 children. They resided in 54 villages. A total of 10 people were settled in Pavagada, 12 in Tiptur, 12 in Chicknai Kanhalli, 10 in Maddagiri, 2 in Sira, 3 in Kortagere, 2 in Tumkur, 2 in Gubbi and 2 in

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Thuruvekere. Consequent to all these related developments, the then inspector general of police, in one of the early twentieth-century reports stated that: Whereas the tribe, gang or class of persons commonly known as Kalla Kormars in the state has in notification No. G.8436 dated 25.10.1920 had been declared a criminal tribe under Section 3 of the Regulation No. VII of 1916 and whereas in notification No. G.8437 dated 25-10-1920 the District Magistrates have been directed under Section 4 of the said regulation to make a register of its members, it is hereby under section 10(a) and (b) of the same regulation directed that every registered member of the said criminal tribe shall report himself at fixed intervals as directed by the District Magistrate and shall, in the prescribed manner, notify his place of residence and any absence or intended absence from his residence.26

Various accounts and reports by scholars such as Thurston, Bahadur N. Rangachar and Fawcetts give details regarding Koramars in the Karnataka region. They enjoyed the reputation of being hereditary thieves. From times immemorial, they were nomadic in character living in jungles and making periodical expeditions to eke out their livelihood by means of crime. They were thieves and house-breakers like the Sansis and Baurias of northern India. The time and circumstances under which the tribe acquired criminal propensities cannot definitely be ascertained. Tradition has it that they were known as hardened criminals and had followed criminality as a profession for centuries. That their off-springs were nurtured as criminals remains a logical deduction. They were scattered all over the state and had relationship with the Korachas and also undertook joint criminal undertakings. There were four tribal divisions among the Korachas: Kavadi, Sathpadi, Manpadi and Mendragutti. This also existed among the Koravas of Tamil Nadu and Korachas of Karnataka, Yerukulas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and, Kaikadis of Maharastra. They had the same ethnographic characters as the Koravars of Tamil Nadu districts, Korachas of Telugu country and Kaikadis of Hyderabad state and Bombay Presidency.27 A contemporary scholar indicated that they were of the same origin. At present they have given up their nomadic life and settled down in various villages. They mostly follow Hindu religious rituals, speak languages current in the locality in which they are living. The language they speak in their homes is an admixture of Tamil, Telugu and Canarese. They generally worship Venkateshvara and Hanuman. They are highly superstitious and look

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out for good omens, especially before they set out on an excursion of house-breaking. If they observe any bad omen, they will not undertake their intended journey, fearing that some misfortune may fall on them. The avowed occupation of every Koramar was generally thieving and house-breaking. Owing to their secrecy and risks involved in the commission of offences committed with violence they follow what they call noiseless work.28 There were many families of Koramars in Hassan district who lived in 47 villages across the state. Their population was 40,000. Male adults were more in number. They used their children as juvenile accomplices in crime, thus training their young people in their profession. The tender age of the child delinquents operates as a safeguard for the adults. It restrains the public from proceeding TABLE 9.1: STATEMENT SHOWING NAMES OF KORAMAR VILLAGES IN THE STATE OF KARNATAKA

District

Name of Taluq

Hassan

Arsikere

Hassan Holenarasipur Chennarayapatna

Kadur

Tarikere Taluq Kadur Taluq

Name of the Village Hungrahattipura, Thirupathihalli, Mavathanahalli, Haranahalli, Thimmalapura, Maladevanahalli, Singatigere, Kempasagaru, Thondiganahalli Arasihalli, Godigere, Jagaravalli Holenarasiputtoen, Gavisomanahalli, Dasegowdana Koppal, Gulaganahalli Cholenahalli, Naindrabindenahalli, Nambinahalli, Kattarighatta, Pyalasandra, Hosur, Puduvanahalli, Setihalli, Hosahalli, Nagenahalli, Chennahalli, Anathi, Hullenahalli, Muthukadahalli, Muddalapura, Ganjalaghatta, Thimmalapur, Bhalagatta, Nimbehalli, Thotikoppal, Baddikere, Karikyathanahalli, Ranganahalli, Gowdarahalli, Anthanahalli, Sravanabelgola, Bellanakoppal, Mallenahalli, Rettanakoppal Gallihalli, Tarikere town, Erapur, Sokke Thimmapur, Mundigundi, Hunse Gatta Hunase Ghatta, Hanumapura, Jodi Thimmapura, Kodihalli, Hori Thimmanahalli, Kunchganahalli, Thungli, Munjappanahalli, Vaddarahalli, Macheri, Mallaghatta, Yertikere, Kasunahalli, Annigere, Hamemanahalli, Hadagalu, Kadur

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against them or handing them over to the police on account of their tender age.29 Koramar families were connected with each other through intermarriages. They were also related to the Koramars of the adjoining districts. They used to dress like ordinary villagers while living amongst themselves and posed as peaceful inhabitants. They had in their possession some lands, cattle and other adjuncts relating to agriculture. Their criminal propensities had not died away. They often kept villagers in awe. Booty from crime was disposed of through influential receivers of villages. In case the latter deceive Koramars in the transactions, they ruin the receivers’ families by naming them in other shady transactions, and dupe them sooner or later. Government used to prepare and exhibit individual convictions of each member, joint convictions and the guilty’s economic position. It had pronounced that every one of them had convictions in every court. Their convictions were mainly for house-breaking and theft. They were however not traceable.30 Prior to 1897 the fingerprints bureau had not been introduced. Many of family members of the tribe were lodged in jails under security sections of the Criminal Procedure Code. The ostensible means of livelihood was manual work, agriculture, music, mat- and basket-making and swine herding. They called themselves as Kukke Kormars, Valgada Koramars and Handi Kormars. This was only a professional distinction which in no way affected their tribal division or intermarriages amongst themselves. Their ownership of land was a mere cloak and plea for protecting themselves from operations of the security department when they were found lurking in other taluqs. Their criminality was much more formidable than what was brought home by means of judicial convictions as it was only in a fraction of cases that their guilt was established. Many reported cases were undetected. A large number of them were not brought to the notice of the police. Many of the hardened criminals had always managed to escape. They had remained out of view for many years together.31

Notes 1. L.K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, The Mysore Tribes and Castes, Mysore: Mysore University Press, 1930, p. 86. 2. Meena Radhakrishna, Dishonoured by History: Criminal Tribes and British Colonial Policy, Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2001, p. 14.

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3. S.S. Hassan, The Castes and Tribes of H.E.H., Nizam Dominions, Bombay: Government Central Press, 1920, pp. 74-5. 4. Government of Karnataka, Karnataka State Gazetter, Part II, 1989, Bangalore: Government Press, 1983, p. 247. 5. R.E. Enthoven, The Tribes and Castes of Bombay: Bombay: Government Central Press, 1922, p. 11. 6. H.H. Riseley, The Castes and Tribes of Bengal, Calcutta: Bengal Secretariat Press, 1891. 7. Eustace J. Kitts, A Compendium of the Castes and Tribes Found in India: Census of India, 1881, Bombay: Byculla Education Society’s Press, 1885, p. 90. 8. Hassan, The Castes and Tribes of H.E.H., the Nizam Dominions, op. cit., p. 6. 9. Enthoven, op. cit., p. 20. 10. Hassan, op. cit., p. 118. 11. H.V. Nanjundayya, The Ethnographic Survey of Mysore, Bangalore: Government Press, 1906, pp. 107-8. 12. Ibid. 13. Ibid. 14. L.K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, The Mysore Tribes and Castes, Mysore: Mysore University Press, 1930, p. 89. 15. Ibid. 16. Government of Madras, File No. 103-20, Sl. No.1-4, Police Department, 1920, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. 17. Government of Madras, Rules Under the Criminal Tribes Regulation VII of 1916, Government Press, Madras, Collected from Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. 18. Ibid., p. 11. 19. Ibid., p. 12. 20. Ibid., p. 13. 21. Ibid., p. 14. 22. Government of Madras, File No. 103-20, Sl.No.1-4, Police Department, 1920, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. 23. Government of Madras, Rules Under The Criminal Tribes Regulation VII of 1916, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. The Draft Notification issued on 5 September 1917 has been enclosed in Appendix. 24. Government of Madras, File No. 103-20, Sl. No. 1-4, Police Department 1920, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. 25. Ibid. 26. Government of Madras, File No. 100-20, Sl. No. 1-4, Police Department, 1920, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. 27. Government of Madras, File No. 65-71, Sl. No. 6-10, Police Department, 1917-18, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru.

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28. Ibid. 29. Government of Madras, File No. 17721, 1920-1, Sl. No. 1, Police Department, 128-20, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. 30. Government of Madras, File No. 65, 17, Sl. No. 1-5, Police Department, 1917-18, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. 31. Government of Madras, File No. 18, Serial No. 1-4, Police Department, 1917-18, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru.

APPENDIX

Draft Notification

Under Section 19 of the Mysore Criminal Tribes Regulation No. VII of 1916, it is hereby notified that the provisions of Section 20 thereof shall apply to the undermentioned tribes and gangs who have been declared as criminal tribes under the Criminal Tribes Act III of 1911, in the Presidencies of Bombay and Madras. A. MADRAS

Name of the tribe, group or class Vayalpad or Nawabpet Korachers

Donga Woddars

Togamalai Koravars otherwise called Kepmaris

Rudrapad Korachas Donga Yerukalas Salem-Melurnad Koravas

Atur-Kilnad Koravas

Jogis

District 1. 2. 3. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 1. 1. 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 3. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Chittoor Salem Ananthapur Kurnool Ananthapur Cuddappah Nellore Guntur Trichinopoly South Arcot Chinglepet North Arcot Cuddappah Salem Bellary Bellary Salem Coimbatore Trichinopoly North Arcot Salem South Arcot Trichinopoly North Arcot Chinglepet Chittoor South Arcot Nellore Contd.

A. MADRAS (Contd.)

Name of the tribe, group or class Sakkaritamadi Koravas Telaga Panmals, Erra Gollas or Paiki Mukkalas

Donga Dasaries Mulla Vidupalavandhi or Santola Muzzalu and Alagiris or Gudu Dasaris of Chittoor

District 1. 2. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 1. 1.

South Arcot North Arcot Ganjam Vizagapatam Godavari Kistna Guntur Nellore Kurnool Cuddappah Bellary Cuddappah

1. 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 1. 2. 3. 1. 2. 3. 1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 3.

Ahmednagar East Khandesh West Khandesh Nasik Poona Satara Ahmednagar East Khandesh West Khandesh Nasik Poona Belgaum Bijapur Dharwar Belgaum Bijapur Dharwar East Khandesh West Khandesh Nasik Poona Belgaum Bijapur Dharwar Contd.

B. BOMBAY

Bhamtas or Paradeshi Bhamtas Uchalias or Ghantichors, Rajputs or Paradeshi Bhamtas or Uchlias

Kaikadis or Korchars or Kaikadis or Korchars or Koravas including their sub-divisions

Haran Shikaris or Advi Chanchars

Bhandi and Ghat Woddars or Woddars including their sub-divisions

B. BOMBAY (Contd.)

Name of the tribe, group or class Kanjars or Gujarati Bhats, Nats, etc. or Berias

Chappar bands

District 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 1.

East Khandesh West Khandesh Nasik Poona Belgaum Bijapur Dharwar Bijapur

Source: General Department, Draft Notification, File No. 40-17, dated 5 September 1917.

CHAPTER 10

Policy Recommendations and the Status of Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic and Denotified Communities: A Brief on Karnataka’s Experience

NOMADIC, SEMI-NOMADIC AND Denotified Tribes (NT/SNT/DNTs) of India cover a population approximately about 13 crore as per 2011 census report. Some of them are included in the list of Scheduled Castes, some others in the Scheduled Tribes, and a few in Other Backward Classes. However, there are many communities which do not find place in the above list. What is common to all these communities is the fate of being branded as born criminals. They have been victims of historical dislocations, unconventional occupations, colonial legacy and social stigma. The emergence of modern and secular institutions has not been beneficial to them. The modern process of development has also failed to include them in its orbit. As a result they continue to remain poor and marginalized. The closed and inward looking cultures have also found to be an obstacle to change and development. Their livelihood sources are drawn from occupations such as pastoralism and hunting-gathering, transporting goods and services, entertaining and religious performances. But today, their livelihoods are affected due to restricted access to grazing lands and forests and the overall degradation of natural resources in terms of both quality and quantity. The livelihoods of those NTs/SNTs/DNTs is dependent on income generated from transporting goods and providing services, have been affected due to the processes of mechanization and industrialization characterized by improved methods of production and introduction of newer materials. Introduction of new materials like cement, stainless steel, aluminium, plastic, synthetic fibres and various petro-chemical products have made redundant traditional materials like stone, bamboo, copper, brass, lime, jute and wood. Infrastructural development, particularly the construction of roads, and subsequent growth of automobile traffic have affected transportation- and

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communication-related occupations of many of these communities. Nomad entertainers like snake charmers and bear exhibitors are being forced out of business due to wildlife conservation and subsequent restrictions caused by legislation. Religious performers and mendicants are meeting the same fate. Today, their vocations have been reduced almost to beggary. They face constant stigmatization which jeopardizes their participation in economic, social and political activities.

I The Criminal Tribes Acts of 1871, 1911, 1924, 1948 and 1956 identified the following categories of communities as belonging to criminal tribes in India: (i) Petty traders who used to carry their merchandise on the back of animals and supplied villagers with varied items like salt and forest produce; (ii) Communities that entertained the public through performing arts. Among these were musicians, dancers, singers, storytellers, acrobats, gymnasts, puppeteers and tightrope walkers; (iii) communities that entertained public with the help of performing animals such as bears, monkeys, snakes, owls and other birds; (iv) pastoral groups, and the hunting, gathering and shifting cultivator communities within forests that traded not just in forest produce, but in animals as well.1 They were also herdsmen, and traded in meat or milk products with outlying villages; (v) artisan communities that worked with bamboo, iron, clay, etc., who made and repaired a variety of useful articles, implements and artefacts. They traded or sold them to settled villagers; (vi) nomadic individuals who subsisted on charity, or were paid in kind for spiritual services rendered to traditional Indian society. Sadhus, fakirs, religious mendicants, fortune tellers, genealogists and traditional faith healers had a low but legitimate place in the social hierarchy of settled people. Some carried medicinal herbs and provided healing services as well. Classified into these various categories are close to 200 Denotified Tribes and 313 Nomadic Tribes spread out over at least 14 states in

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the country: Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh (erstwhile combined state comprising Andhra and Telangana), Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.2 It is possible that these tribes have spread out into other states as well but there is a gap in precise information because there has been no census of these communities in India. When states were asked to respond with population figures of NT/DNT/SNT communities, 15 states sent information of Denotified Tribes, 10 states sent information about Nomadic Tribes and not a single state submitted information on Semi-Nomadic Tribes. It is estimated that there are 801 Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic communities in the country of which the break-up in various categories may be roughly as follows: 22 in SC category, 27 in ST category, 421 in OBC category and 227 who are not listed at all. Of the communities classified as OBC, a large number are Semi-Nomadic Tribes.3 In terms of population, while some estimates provide a figure of 6 crore (60 million), more precise estimates show that the population of 227 communities that are not listed is in the range of 56 lakh. The population of communities listed as OBC is in the range of 2.2 crore. A realistic estimate of the population of Denotified Tribes is around 10 crore and the approximate total of all three categories is around 13.5 crore.4 The Working Group on Denotified and Nomadic Tribes observed in its 2011 draft report that these communities are found in almost in all the states and belong to the OBC category in some large states and to SC and ST categories in other states. However, there are also communities that have not been covered under any of these three categories. The National Commission for Denotified Tribes, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes in its report submitted in July 2008 made 76 recommendations to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment that pertain broadly to five categories that have been reiterated by the National Advisory Council Working Group: legislative action, policy input, institutional arrangements, programmatic and schematic strengthening and, administrative measures.5 There is a need to study developmental programmes/social security programmes introduced by the government for rehabilitation of NTs/SNTs/DNTs. Such programmes hardly reach the targeted groups because many of these tribes do not have a permanent settlement.

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II In Karnataka, the NT/SNT/DNT tribes are listed in different categories like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. Budaga Jangam, Chenna Dasar, Dakkaliga, Gosangi, Handi Jogi, Korama, Shillekyatha, Sindhollu, and Sudugadu Siddha are included in the list of Scheduled Castes. Dongri Garasia, Hakkipiki, Pardhi, and Rajgond are included in the list of Scheduled Tribes. Bail Pattar, Dombidasa, Ghisadi, Gondhali, Helava, Kanjarbhatt, Sikligar, Alemari Kuruba, and Kadugolla are included in the list of Backward Classes.6 These communities are socially, educationally, politically and economically vulnerable and are secluded from the mainstream social life. Karnataka state took steps to deal with the problem of criminal tribes during the year 1900. The first Criminal Tribes legislation was introduced in the then princely state of Mysore during the year 1916. The colonial government introduced the Criminal Tribes Act VII of 1916 in order to maintain surveillance on certain wandering communities. The main provisions of the said Act were registration of members of criminal tribes in a prescribed format signed by the district magistrate (Section 4), summoning and arresting members of a tribe/community in the manner prescribed in Criminal Procedure Code (Section 7), reporting about such communities to the nearest local police authorities within whose limits members of CTs were residing (Section 10), publishing names of such community members in the local gazettes (Sections 12 and 13), granting passes to the registered members of CTs to go on leave or to other places for work with police escort (Section 14), etc.7 The colonial government opened settlements for reformation and rehabilitation of these communities such as agricultural, industrial, reformatory and voluntary settlements in Gokak Falls, Bagalkot, Dandeli, Karwar, Hubli, Bijapur, Gadag, and Mysore.8 These settlements were kept under the supervision of missionaries like the Salvation Army and public wings like the police department. The government took note of the progress and efforts made in other provinces for development of these communities in Madras, Bombay, Central Provinces, and Punjab. The Karnataka government adopted surveillance and control measures in order to manage criminal classes and their settlements in the state. It provided industrial and agricultural training to these communities and opened cooperative societies for the benefit of these

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sections. Reformatory work was handed over to the Salvation Army, a voluntary organization working actively to reform and rehabilitate criminal classes in the Madras province at that time. Settlers were also provided with agricultural land, home industries such as ropemaking, basket-making, poultry farming, cattle rearing, beekeeping, weaving and other activities. The government officially started the settlements on 15 April 1929. The total strength of members of criminal tribes in Karnataka state during the year 1930 was 3,474 including 1,395 males, 1,370 females and 709 children. The main activities of reformation in Karnataka were: (i) providing land to settlers for agricultural purpose; (ii) opening of agricultural and industrial training centres for skill development; (iii) opening of schools for education of children; (iv) providing special police force to supervise and control criminal tribes in settlements; and (v) establishment of one police sub-station in every settlement in order to check on the settlers’ movements.9 Branded as criminal tribes by the British rulers, members of these communities are treated as criminals even now. They are living in small groups in different parts of the state. Majority of these communities are literally living under the scanner of the police. After any incident of theft or burglary, the first target of suspicion is youth, both men and women, from these communities. These communities formed their associations in post-independent era in order to fight for their grievances in the state. Many of the functionaries of these associations blame society and the police for pushing their youth towards criminal activities.10 Although some of these communities have been included in the categories of ST/SC/OBCs the benefits of reservation or education are still a far cry for them.11 The share of these communities in the self-employment assistance programmes extended by the SC/ST/OBC development corporations is negligible. Literacy level is less than 10 per cent. Children enrolled in primary schools dropout very early. Community leaders feel that the current scenario projects the sorry state of affairs of these communities in Karnataka state.12 One of the serving presidents of NT/DNT/SNT communities in Karnataka feels that there are tribal communities within NT/DNT that are still not covered in any of the mainstream projects and cites the example of the Manggarudi group who do not have a specific occupation of their own and yet are classified as criminal tribe.13 He adds that the community youth were forced to indulge in manufacture of illicit liquor and pretty criminal activities, while

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others were engaged in menial activities like ragpicking, knifesharpening and removing the hair of cattle in rural areas. Justice Sadashiva Commission’s recommendations also failed in the state due to lack of political will.14 Various societies like the Karnataka Rajya Budaga Jangam Kshemabhivridhi Sangha, Karnataka Rajya Chenna Dasar Kshemabhivridhi Sangha, Dekkaliga Samaj Kalyan Sangha, Akhila Karnataka Gosangi (SC) Samaj, Dakshina Kannada Jilla Handi Jogi Seva Sangha, KLN Charitable Trust, Akhila Karnataka Sillekyathara Abhivrudhi Sangha, Sindhollu Samaj Kalyana Sangha, Akhila Karnataka Sudugadu Siddha Maha Sangha, Karnataka Dungri Garasia (ST) Welfare Association, Akhila Karnataka Hakkipikki Maha Sangha, Bellari Jilla Hakkipikki Janabhivridhi Sangha, Karnataka Rajgond Kalyana Sangha, Karnataka Rajya Bail Pattar Alemarigala Kshemabhivridhi Sangha, Dombidasara Kshemabhivridhi Sangha, Akhila Karnataka Ghisadi Lohar (Kammara) Samaja, Akhila Karnataka Gondhali Samaj Sangha, Akhila Karnataka Helava Samaja, Akhila Karnataka Kanjarbhatt Samaj, Sikligar Samaj Jagurthi Sangha, Alemari Kurubara Sangha, and Karnataka Rajya Kadugollara Kshemabhivridhi Sangha15 submitted their detailed memoranda to the state and national human rights commissions seeking special rehabilitation package to achieve overall socio-economic and educational development of their communities in the state.16 There is a need to ensure that these communities should be politically motivated so as to enable them to get their share of reservation in economic activities, education and job opportunities like other communities that are included in the categories of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.17 Social and economic empowerment of these communities would draw them away from criminal and unlawful activates and put them in the mainstream.18 Periodic surveys focusing on the conditions of the NT/DNT communities with special focus on the NT/DNT women, children and youth would inform us better of the changing conditions and the emerging needs.19

III Most of the union and state government programmes and budgets reinforce caste, class and gender discrimination even in the orientation, designing and implementation of work. If not taken into consideration, these schemes will reinforce exclusion and discrimination of the NT/ DNT/SNT communities. Utilization of the Special Component Plan

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for the NT/DNT communities is abysmally low at around only 0.5 per cent of the amount allotted. There is a need to ensure their wage employment by improvising public schemes and policies like the National Wage Policy, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Rashtriya Swasth Beema Yojana, etc. There is a felt need to ensure assignment of land for the NT/DNT communities to increase their credit-worthiness and for sustained livelihood.20 The problem with most of the NT/SNT/ DNTs is the issue of mainstreaming and smooth socialization. These are the real and practical benchmarks for further action plans. Once the families enjoy a comfortable acceptance into surrounding society, the rest is easy for activists as well as researchers. It is imperative to engage attention on mapping out efforts of civil society or police administration to wean these communities away from delinquent habits. Otherwise the social dimensions of the DNT problem would get complicated. For example, DNT colonies in Andhra Pradesh were not recognized as human habitations till the late 1970s and as a result they had to forego many of the welfare and development programmes of the democratic government. A study of the mainstreaming aspects of NT/SNT/DNTs in the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu would provide insights into the social life of NT/ SNT/DNTs and the levels of social acceptance of these families. Implementing the recommendations made in 2011 by the National Advisory Council (NAC) Working Group on NT/SNT/DNTs would be made easy when findings from field studies about social acceptance levels positively complement such recommendations.21

Notes 1. Government of Madras, GO No. SWL 12 TBS 77, dated 23 January 1978, Karnataka State Archives, Bangalore (hereafter KSA). 2. Government of Madras, GO No. SWL 123 BCA 79, dated 1 May 1979, KSA. 3. Government of Madras, Rules under the Criminal Tribes Regulation VII of 1916, KSA. 4. Government of Madras, File No. 103-20, Sl. No. 1-4, Police Department, 1920, KSA. 5. Government of Madras, File No. 100-20, Sl. No. 1-4, Police Department, 1920, KSA. 6. Government of Madras, File No. 65-71, Sl. No. 6-10, Police Department, 1917-18, KSA.

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7. Government of Madras, File No. 17721, Sl. No. 1, 1920-1, Police Department, 128-20, KSA. 8. Government of Madras, File No. 65, 17, Sl. No. 1-5, Police Department, 1917-18, KSA. 9. Government of Madras, File No. 18, Serial No. 1-4, Police Department, 1917-18, KSA. 10. Malli Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes: Policy and Practice, New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, 1996, p. 154. 11. Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (Balakrishna Renake Report), vol. I, 30 June 2008, New Delhi, p. 50. 12. K.M. Metry, ‘Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic and Denotified Tribes: Educated Attainments and Challenges’, ICSSR Project Report (unpublished), New Delhi, 2016, p. 133. 13. K.M. Metry, Mallikarjun Manpadi and Jakka Parthasarathi, Nomads of Karnataka, Budakattu Adyayana (Kannada), Hampi University, 2010. 14. K.M. Metry (ed.), Karnataka Nomadic Community Studies, vols. 1-15, Bangalore: Kannada Pustaka Pradhikara, 2008, p. 80. 15. Mallikarjun Manpadi, ‘A Sociological Study of Denotified Communities in Karnataka’, unpublished PhD. thesis, Hampi University, Karnataka, 2009, p. 32. 16. Dilip D’Souza, Banded by Law, New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2001, p. 102. 17. G.N. Devy, Technical Advisory Group on Denotified Nomadic and SemiNomadic Tribes Report, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, New Delhi, 2006, p. 115. 18. S.S. Shashi, The World of Nomads, New Delhi: Lotus Press, 2006, p. 82. 19. Malli Gandhi and V. Lalitha, Tribes under Stigma: Problem of Identity, New Delhi: Serials Publishers, 2010. 20. Ibid. 21. Ibid.

PA RT I I I

ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES

CHAPTER 11

General Conditions and Administration in Settlements: A Case Study of Siddhapuram and Stuartpuram

PRIOR TO 1871, there was no special legislation to deal with the criminal tribes. Magisterial and police authorities found it impossible to handle criminal bands. The Government of India passed the CT Act of XXVII in 1871.1 It was modified so that by the dawn of the twentieth century one of the objectives of the 1911 CT Act was to enlarge the power of control by empowering local governments.2 As discussed elsewhere, the 1911 Act had various provisions that strengthened the hands of law-enforcing authorities in colonial India.3 The first task under the Act was the framing of rules for registration and supervision of CTs.4 In Madras Presidency the work had been carried out by the district officers. The advantage was that it put the responsibility of reforming criminal classes on district officers. Gradually work increased and the government directed the Inspector General of Police to use the services of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Railways and CID departments in the general supervision, control and administration of all settlements.5 In due course of time CT settlements were increasingly managed by Christian missionaries and philanthropic societies. The Madras Legislative Assembly had open praise for the role of missionaries in settlements.6 The primary object of a criminal settlement is reformation but not segregation or confinement. Its management had fallen into the hands of police or government officials who had no training to effect reclamation of criminals. Instead, they could only inspire distrust in the criminal families. The colonial government was of the view that work of non-governmental agencies in settlements had been successful.7 The manager of a settlement had full freedom to shoulder the responsibility of reforming the CTs in his settlement. Non-official managers also enjoyed independence and prestige. The Government of India stated that:

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the experiences gained in other provinces seems to indicate that, when organizations like the Salvation Army can be found to take up work and carry it through on proper lines, it is an economical arrangement to subsidize their undertakings, not only because less money is spent but also because better value is obtained for it.8

It, therefore, decided to entrust the management of settlements to non-official agencies or missionaries. Christian missionaries like the Salvation Army, American Baptist Mission and London Mission immediately responded to the call of the government.9 The Madras government felt that agriculture and industrial settlements were the best suited for the reformation of these criminal classes. Soon there was a compulsion that agriculture should be the main industry. Each family was distributed a block of dry land and a piece of wet land to maintain itself. Later pattas for lands in favour of cultivating settler families were considered by government.10 Initially the colonial government forwarded two major conditions in the formation of criminal tribe settlements: there should be some professed religious or philanthropic agency attached to each settlement and people should not be moved out of their own language area. Seven criminal settlements were established in the Madras Presidency up to the end of 1915.11

I Siddhapuram Settlement was kept under the charge of a sub-inspector of police assisted by a constable. By the year 1917, it was upgraded and there was one inspector, one sub-inspector, two head constables and twenty-five constables. Settlers were given daily labour such as breaking clods, spreading earth, supplying water to machinery, pushing empties and loading wagons at the site of Navvy (un-skilled work) etc. Some of the settlers were found unsuitable on account of their inborn idleness and insubordination to orders of maistries under whom they were posted to work. It was not feasible to get proper turn-out of work from them. The only alternative was to employ them on piece-work system. They were mostly employed on earth work that required no skill.12 During the year 1918, 3,083 units of earth work was given out for which 120 coolies were engaged. Recruitment of some Yerukulas would have definitely affected the progress of work. This was a good solution to complete work in a speedy manner. The Inspector General

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of Police, P.L. Moore had a different plan and received approval from the colonial government in excluding Yerukulas from the ongoing works in Siddhapuram Settlement and including Waddars in the same activity. He employed them on irrigation works because the Waddara settlers were originally earth-workers by profession.13 A few Sugali families were given a grant of 20 acres of land within the settlement limits and supplied manure for their fields. Some Waddars lived in Piler Circle of Vayalpadu taluq, Chittoor district. They were brought into this settlement during the year 1929. The settlement manager also brought new families from Hubli Settlement. Some 25 members of Waddars, related to the Donga Waddars, came voluntarily in January 1930 from Betamcharla as a result of propaganda by the local manager. They were settled down in the settlement and soon became landowners. But their creditors in Betamcharla were against this proposal because they wanted to exploit their labour at cheap rates. Thirty-two families of Tak-Waddars came in February 1931 from Pattikonda taluq. Some were brought from Anantapur and Cuddapah districts.14 The Superintendent of Police of Kurnool transferred some Waddars to the reformatory settlement at Kavali as they were found to be incorrigible. The manager of Siddhapuram Settlement admitted some Waddars of Sitanagaram during the year 1933 and, they were sent to Konnur Settlement for employment as gang coolies in the railways. Found medically unfit there, they were subsequently sent to Siddhapuram Settlement on ‘O’ passes (passes given to reside out side the settlement).15 The manager of Siddhapuram Settlement in turn transferred them to Bitragunta Settlement. They did not show any signs of reformation and earned their livelihood by pick-pocketing in shandies and fairs. They were a menace not only to society, but to co-settlers too. Some members of Stuartpuram were transferred to Siddhapuram on the ground that they originally belonged to Atmakur of Kurnool district. Twenty families of Kanjar Bhats were brought from Konnur Settlement but their intermingling with local settlers made them hardened criminals. Some families of Yerukulas and Dasaries from other settlements were transferred to Siddhapuram in 1937. During the same year some members of Nawabpeta Korchas and Waddar tribes were transferred to Sitanagaram. Later they absconded without a ‘G’ pass and got arrested again16 as they committed a number of burglaries in the surrounding areas. A few Boyas were transferred from Tanjore to Siddhapuram in 1938.

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II Stuartpuram was an essentially agricultural settlement started by the Salvation Army in conjunction with the Sitanagaram Settlement. Yerukulas of Guntur district used to camp near Bethapudi village of Bapatla taluq from December to August every year to carry grain from the ryots of Ongole, Bapatla and Tenali taluqs. They would graze their cattle at Vinukonda during the time. The stay was also used to commit crimes. In 1913, with the police becoming more active and attentive, the Yerukulas took shelter with the Salvation Army. Till September 1915 the settlement had not been declared to be a CT settlement and settlers were under nobody’s control. They could come and go as they pleased. To obviate this difficulty, in October 1915, Bethapudi was declared to be a criminal settlement under Section 16 of the CT Act.17 In the beginning, inmates with good conduct were appointed as watchmen in the Stuartpuram Settlement. They not only watched and gave information to the local manager but also established links between manager and settlers. The position of watchmen was considered an honourable one by settlers. This formed a valuable feature in the disciplinary machinery in the settlement.18 During certain parts of the year the Salvation Army employed some agricultural maistries from the old settlers. They used to supervise work in the fields, make provision for planting trees, and instruct new settlers on techniques of cultivation. The settlers neither had the inclination to cultivate lands nor the proficiency in doing it.19 They were thus placed in different groups under the charge of a maistry. His duty was to assemble his gang when the bell rang at 5.30 in morning. He took them to work in morning and brought them back in evening. It was quite difficult to get these people to work in the beginning. Some settlers did not even know how to hold a hoe or a salagapara. Some had to be instructed for two years and some for three years. Gradually the old settlers became the backbone of the settlement.20 In addition to agricultural maistries, a karanam was appointed on a full-time basis to look after land records, measurements, allotments and cattle. It was stated that the only person in the settlement who had knowledge in cultivation was the settlement karanam. He had to attend to office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Later, the karanam was rechristened as farm bailiff since his duties entailed much more than a karanam.21

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Cases of escape and overstay of leave became a norm in the Stuartpuram Settlement. The district magistrate suggested that a majority of these cases should be left to the manager to deal with instead of taking to the court. Marjori Banks, a Salvation Army official suggested the construction of a lock-up at the settlement.22 In 1930 settlers were sent on passes to the Kodanda Rama Mica Mines in Rapur taluq of Nellore district for employment.23 During 1936 nearly 168 families were released on Q passes and permitted to live in a newly-formed colony near Chirala adjoining the premises of the ILTD (Indian Leaf Tobacco Development) where some extra work had been provided for them.24 Despite the physical presence of the manager and local police, there used to be constant fights among the settlers. Maintenance of peace and order was a serious problem. All those settlers who found themselves criminally active and uncontrollable were brought under restrictions and penalties under Section 10 of the Madras Habitual Offenders Act 1948.25

III Criminal Tribe settlements established for resettlement and rehabilitation of ex-criminal tribes were regularly visited by police officials as well as representatives of the Salvation Army to check registers and report on the manner and extent to which government grants had been utilized. The government obtained population figures every-year and published them in the settlement’s annual administration reports.26 General progress in running the settlements was satisfactory. They were administered as expected by colonial administrators and missionary bodies. All settlements faced serious crises, threats or difficulties in agricultural and irrigation work. Another difficulty encountered in the progress of the settlement was misappropriation of grants. Managers adopted shrewd methods of showing wrong accounts to officials visiting the settlements. The latter were often misinformed on how the money was spent. Accounts clerks were appointed for the actual process of running the settlements. These lower level clerks looking after day-to-day fiscal transactions conveniently connived with managers of respective Criminal Tribe settlements. The settlement managers keep settlement clerks under their elbow. They dictated what account or amount should be prepared

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at each instance. Managers used to ask the clerks to make inflated entries at head account and cornered the funds sanctioned for administrative routines in the respective settlements.27 Supervising settlements and settlers was a Himalayan task. Police staff were deployed to patrol settlements and manage criminals on the suggested and expected lines. Passes were issued to the tribals whenever they wanted to leave or go out of the settlement premises. Government reduced the number of passes issued when it sensed that majority of settlers began absconding without returning back to the settlement. Passes were issued only to go to local markets within the limited boundaries of settlements. Shops were opened in the settlements. Officers-in-charge were often summoned by local courts for misdeeds of settlers. This became a major irritant for managers as it was not their fault and every time courts made them responsible for the criminal activities of the settlers. Police used to persecute settlers to prevent them escaping or overstaying outside without passes or any reason. A lock-up was provided in all settlements. As many people used to escape from settlements, managers were entrusted with the power of putting them in lock-ups without approaching the court. Giving long-duration passes to settlers was rare in most of the settlements under colonial administration. On the other, it was extremely difficult to obtain long-term leave passes from district superintendents of police.28 Government constructed buildings to the settlement staff including managers, assistant managers, police staff, teachers, doctors etc. The assistant manager possessed a separate bungalow by the side of the manager’s bungalow. Government used to sanction annual grants for the proper upkeep of these bungalows. It also constructed poor quality huts for registered and non-registered settlers. During the year 1918 government spent ī600 on repair works in the settlements. Government constructed buildings and allotted them to teachers and employees. In the beginning an amount of ī200 was spent to construct a thatched/mud house for employees to live in.29 The colonial government asked the settlement managers and local police departments to open markets within the premises of settlements. Settlement authorities brought date leaves and sold them to settlers on wholesale and retail basis. Rice, vegetables, groceries, rice, ragi and other provisions were also sold in these markets. At times managers of settlement too played mischief and encouraged outsiders to open shops in the premises of the settlements. They often invested money

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and encouraged the settlers to commit crime. Gold, silver and other ornaments stolen were often purchased by the other caste people. Government understood the advantages of establishing stores or markets within the limits of settlements. It also felt that there were many objections to introducing into settlements persons who were not under the orders of the settlement managers.30

IV All those settlers who were registered under the CT Act were allotted two acres of land with pattas that gave them rights to cultivate their lands. The colonial government asked settlement managers to maintain the following registers: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Register of loans with details of personal accounts of each settler Land register with details of the extent, rent and crops grown Register of land rent Cattle register Stone register Coolies register (muster) Weekly report register with details of work performed and water level in the drains.31

Settlement managers sent annual reports on irrigation activities in the respective settlements. Canal irrigation was provided to Stuartpuram and Sitanagaram settlements from river Krishna. Canal water was made available to all settlement lands. The amount of area held by each settlement was not significant. Settlement lands did not possess official pattas. Lands marked under irrigation work were possessed by private landholders. Water tanks and bunds were provided in the settlement and each water tank or bund could store 4 ft of water. These tanks could sufficiently provide water to 32 acre of land at a time with 3 inch wetting on the surface of land. Government asked settlers to properly use the drain water for ‘swamp land’ irrigation work by using pumps. For example, Romperu and Perali drains were provided by government for agricultural work in Stuartpuram settlement.32 Colonial government invited expert opinions from experienced executive engineers for installing water bunds to store flood water and irrigate swamp lands. It was very liberal in providing money and loans for the improvement of agricultural activities in various

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settlements. It had a heavy budget to install pumping plants for irrigation of waste lands. For example, Stuartpuram Settlement received ī20,000 during the year 1918 for the said purpose. But supply of irrigation to lands was often insufficient and uncertain. Government suggested making use of flood water. For the improvement of health conditions in settlements European nurses/assistant doctors were pressed into service.33 Waste lands were available on a large scale in the criminal tribe settlements. Cultivation of paddy and ragi was undertaken by settlers. Government had introduced coconut and mulberry plantation works too. Settlers derived additional income from the sale of mats, baskets, ropes, curry-leaves, coolie labour and cattle trade. The colonial government on an experimental basis had introduced plantation of coconut trees in the settlements, intermixed with the cultivation of mulberries. Managers were asked to supervise cultivation work carefully. Sandy soil in some of the settlements was well irrigated and had produced satisfactory results.34 There was always a lurking threat of floods and famine in majority of settlements every year. Colonial government suggested to supervising managers to take advantage of flood water to the maximum extent possible. Settlers were poor cultivators. Soon after the transplantation of seedlings in the fields, rains or floods would inundate their crops. Sometimes due to shortage of water their lands were almost dry and there was a scarcity of drinking water too. At times there were heavy floods destroying their entire cropped area. Settlers encountered natural vagaries and government pressurized or encouraged them in the face of extreme weather conditions to bring more lands under plough and directed settlement managers to adopt other means to escape from dangers posed by nature. The colonial government also asked managers to construct reservoirs for every 200 acres, providing water for irrigation. These reservoirs played an important part in the development of agricultural work in the settlements. Settlers could make use of water at the time of scarcity as these reservoirs could store four feet of water. Water tanks used to solve the question of water scarcity to some extent. Government had spent an amount of ī4,000 to construct a reservoir in each settlement. Each reservoir was 6 ft high and 2 ft deep. There were more than five reservoirs constructed altogether in different settlements. The number of reservoirs increased to 10 due to the influx of new settlers in the provinces. When reservoirs were not constructed, canal or river water was supplied to settlers for cultivation work.35

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Managers involved settlers in various kinds of work. The main aim of settlement life was to earn an honest way of living. Settlers were trained in agricultural work and asked to cultivate lands allotted to their families. Land distribution was undertaken in case of all reformed persons. Land served an iconic purpose and was just a pretext to reform active criminals from their questionable life and anti-social practices. Paddy was sold in the open market. They cultivated ragi and other commercial crops. The initial enthusiasm in the new avocations was glaringly visible though the efforts at alternate methods of livelihood adopted by settlement managers in south India had been satisfying.36 During the year 1920 they raised an amount of ī19,520 and the following year they had earned ī30,465. Children in the settlements received instructions at regular schools though only 30 per cent of the total number of children received education. There were a large number of children of schoolgoing age in the settlements established by the colonial government during early nineteenth century. But the number of children attending school was very insignificant. Soon the government was willing to provide grants in support of education of children from settler families. Teachers were appointed and paid out of settlers’ funds. In every settlement a school building was constructed. Government promised to construct a school in the settlement from provincial funds but remained silent on payment to teaching staff. It was thought that when the new schools had been fully equipped and staffed, the Salvation Army would perhaps get an annual grant from the educational department under the grant-in-aid code and this will probably suffice. Government had sanctioned staff for Kalichedu Settlement school run on voluntary lines for the education of criminal tribe children. But the authorities did not sanction any grant to schools managed by the Salvation Army. What was required apparently was payment of teacher salaries by the government. The Salvation Army could hardly be expected to pay teachers out of the supervision grant and the government may agree to give a monthly recurring grant on this account. On the other hand, the colonial government made education compulsory for all children in the settlements. In some settlements the government had paid at once all education grants including maintenance cost, salaries of teachers, incentive grants, boarding grants etc. Managers of the settlement as well as the then Governor of Madras were satisfied with the settlement schools.37 Health conditions in the settlements and the status of individual

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DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

health were not satisfactory. Government provided a grant for drugs and medical instruments. Hospital buildings were proposed but never constructed. The government felt that as soon as a hospital building was completed, it was desirable to be put under the charge of a qualified medical person, probably a third-grade sub-assistant surgeon. There would be plenty of work for the proposed medical officer as settlements were already overpopulated. A resident medical person would be useful in a variety of ways. Majority of the people required treatment for different ailments. Statistics of births and deaths were never taken. In due course of time small dispensaries were opened. These hospitals were under the supervision of a qualified European nurse of the Salvation Army. Captain Robillard once stated that ‘it would be a great convenience if a medical man could be sent at once; but it is not clear whether it is his desire that the Government should appoint an officer’.38 District boards were not likely to give any assistance in the matter of health improvement. Government felt that it was unnecessary to have whole-time medical officers to be stationed in the settlements. Initially in most of the settlements there were many cases of fever and minor complaints registered. Government had proposed to construct one hospital in each settlement. Critical cases were sent to adjoining cities and towns that were located within a radius of 5-10 miles. Government also provided funds for medicines and medicinal instruments such as syringes, glass catheters, spatula, abscess knife and probe. A small dispensary was established under the charge of a qualified European doctor and nurse.39

V Every year the government had increased the police staff consisting of a sub-inspector and constables to patrol roads and supervise settlements. Settlers were issued regular passes to leave settlements to find work elsewhere. Names of settlers were enrolled in registers along with time, date and hours. Passes were issued even for simple tasks like bringing daily household provisions. India has the distinction of being the only country in the world to introduce the policy of issuing passes for its own citizens; the colonial administrators had introduced this practice in respect of wandering communities. It was felt necessary to obtain roll-call from all the settlers at specified points of time. Supervising authorities of the settlements were bent upon strict implementation of this colonial directive. It was stated that ‘if the roll-call is held like this, the settlers will take advantage of it and

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abscond temporarily in the intervals. Supervise roll calls are what are wanted. The district magistrates have given orders in D.Ds. No. 405-Magl. of 1916 that this is to be done.’40 There were various categories of passes issued by the settlement managers: Monday: Settlers were issued ‘T’ passes. These were issued mainly to woman and children and were meant for fetching date leaves, palmyra, aloe fibre and provisions. Tuesday and Friday: Settlers were issued ‘L’ passes. ‘L’ passes were meant for enquiries about whereabouts of people and their family members.41 Each person who wished to leave his/her place of residence was asked to apply for a pass and obtain it. Particulars of all applicants under this category were sent to the inspector of police for verification and approval. If the information provided in the application was correct, a pass was given to the applicant. Travel plan and routes to be covered by applicants had to be provided in the pass. Signatures had to be obtained for every night from the village magistrate. Often there were complaints from the police department stating that the village magistrate never filled up the passes properly. Generally all minor offence cases were enquired every Wednesday. The supervising department used to deal with these issues.42

Every settlement had a supervision department consisting of the village magistrate, police staff, and officers of public works and revenue departments. Various registers were maintained by the supervising authorities: admission register; attendance register; children’s register; copy register; long pass register; register of animals; day pass register; register of ‘T’ and ‘L’ passes; register of transfers; visitors’ register; visitors’ check-roll register; runaways’ register; remand register; jail register; patrol register; register of disorderly conduct of settlers; register of fines; register of births and deaths; local delivery book; register of mats and ropes.43 Settlements were kept under the management of settlement managers. Missionary officials or police staff used to manage settlements. Managers along with their families, assistant manager, teachers and nurses supervised all the families listed in the respective settlement.44 A maistry was appointed to supervise lands. The supervising departments possessed senior and junior clerks to cope with the administrative work of settlements. Settlements had enough room for new settlers. Some of the settlements were very small at the stage of initiation.45 From the police point of view settlements were running satisfactorily. Ironically the whole system of passes denotes a contradiction vis-à-vis

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DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

the view held by police officials on the running and management of settlements. Passes and grants of leave were more helpful in unsettling the settlers in the settlements. The role played by some of the police personnel was under the scanner. Police used to issue day passes to young Yerukula boys in order to encourage them to commit crimes. Sensing the trouble brewing within the police administration the colonial government issued notices to the police department in this regard. Settlement managers used to mention in their annual reports that they had greatest faith in the settlers.46 Government had appointed three supervising officers and asked them to check the passes issued by the police and report any discrepancies or vested interests involved in the issue of passes to these settlers.47 The final authority in issuing and checking of these passes was entrusted to the settlement managers. Cases of escapes from the settlements and overstays of leave were not uncommon.48 District magistrates stated that a majority of these cases be left to the local managers to deal with instead of being taken to the court of law.49 Marjori Banks suggested that construction of a lock-up in the settlements would be ideal. This appeared very urgent and necessary to the government.50

Notes 1. Government of Madras, Madras Criminal Tribes Manual, Criminal Tribes Act VI of 1924, Brought up to 31st March 1927, Madras, 1927. 2. Government of Madras, Report of the Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee for the Year 1947, Allahabad, 1948. 3. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in Madras Presidency up to September 1916, Madras, 1917. 4. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to January 1925, Madras, 1926. 5. Government of Madras, Home Department, File No. 88/2/1945 (Police), A Report on the Work Done for the Reclamation of Criminal Tribes in Madras Presidency, Madras, 1948. 6. Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 1299, dated 30 June 1913. 7. L.E. Rowland, Report of the American Baptist Telugu Mission from May 1st to December 31st, 1928, Orissa Mission Press, 1929. 8. Robert Sandal, The History of the Salvation Army, vol. III, New York: The Salvation Army, 1955, p. 276.

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9. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1537, dated 27 July 1917 . 10. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1147, dated 26 May 1933. 11. Government of Madras, Madras Criminal Tribe Manual Brought up to 31st March 1927, Madras, 1928, p. 3. 12. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 2661, dated 25 October 1920, p. 1. 13. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1719, dated 9 August 1927. 14. Ibid., GO No. 2190, dated 28 August 1930. 15. Ibid., GO No. 2247, dated 17 October 1933. 16. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 1217, dated 6 March 1939. 17. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in Madras Presidency up to September 1916, Madras, 1917. 18. Government of Madras, Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 2074, dated 18 September 1916. 19. Government of Madras, Law (General) Department, GO No. 1714, dated 22 Ocrtober 1921. Also see Law (General) Department, GO No. 3187, dated 14 November 1924. 20. Government of Madras, Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 2074, dated 18 August 1916. 21. Government of Madras, Law (General) Department, GO No. 748, dated 8 August 1925. 22. The War Cry (English Monthly by Salvation Army), London, April 1937. Also see Judicial Department, GO No. 1974, dated 10 August 1920. 23. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 2671, dated 6 December 1934. 24. Government of Madras, Administration Report on Habitual Offenders Settlements for the Year 1949-50, Madras, 1951. 25. V. Raghavaiah, The Problem of Criminal Tribes, New Delhi: Akhil Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh, 1949, p. 6. 26. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 957, dated 15 April 1939. 27. Ibid., GO No. 2795, dated 16 November 1939. 28. Ibid., GO No. 763, dated 28 March 1939. 29. Ibid., GO No. 2731, dated 8 November 1939. 30. Ibid., GO No. 2295, dated 20 September 1939. 31. Ibid., GO No. 2295, dated 20 January 1939. 32. Ibid., GO No. 2952, dated 5 December 1939. 33. Ibid., GO No. 299, dated 4 February 1939.

170 34. Ibid., 35. Ibid., 36. Ibid., 37. Ibid., 38. Ibid., 39. Ibid., 40. Ibid., 41. Ibid., 42. Ibid., 43. Ibid., 44. Ibid., 45. Ibid., 46. Ibid., 47. Ibid., 48. Ibid., 49. Ibid., 50. Ibid.,

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

331, dated 7 February 1939. 348, dated 8 February 1939. 304, dated 31 March 1939. 446, dated 22 February 1939. 810, dated 31 March 1939. 1146, dated 9 March 1946. 1645, dated 24 April 1946. 1645, dated 21 February 1946. 1927, dated 14 May 1946. 707, dated 22 February 1952 (ms). 2489, dated 10 July 1952 (ms). 2900, dated 8 August 1952 (ms). 4511, dated 6 December 1946. 1485, dated 21 March 1949. 2355, dated 3 May 1949. 2347, dated 2 May 1949. 3115, dated 10 June 1949.

Fiscal Management of DNT Settlements

CHAPTER 12

Fiscal Management of Denotified Tribe Settlements in Andhra Pradesh

CRIMINAL TRIBE SETTLEMENTS in Andhra Pradesh were not under the management of one single agency and therefore the government found it difficult to prescribe a uniform set of rules with regard to the financial management of settlements. The financial management of settlements was entrusted to Christian missionaries. Sitanagaram and Stuartpuram settlements were under the control of the Salvation Army.1 The missionary body agreed to follow the general principles laid down by the colonial government. Madras government paid the Salvation Army a fixed amount for the administration and supervision of settlements. This amount was paid in four quarterly instalments. The items of expenditure were classified into service charges and industrial charges. The net surplus of settlements in Andhra Pradesh by early 1922 was ī25,635.2

I Most of the settlements in Andhra Pradesh worked on deficits. Government recouped the Salvation Army by cancelling loans to the extent of deficits. Recurring grants provided to settlements were increased. It also provided non-recurring grants towards buildings, roads, agricultural development and industries. William Booth Tucker remarked that ‘there was the loss on contracts. The quarries were worked on the contract system. There was the large deficit under quarries. The losses on contracts including quarries were due to the bad business methods of the managers.’3 Government sanctioned grants for supervision of settlements, old and infirm people, management of hospitals and schools and sanitation and tree plantation work. The then District Magistrate of Madras felt that ‘the settlements are expected to work more economically’.4 Recurring grants were increased by government for the better working of settlements.

172

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

The finance department used to audit all the accounts and loans granted for continuation of the settlements. Missionaries submitted new proposals to the government for release of fresh loans. The Salvation Army constructed new buildings in the settlements out of fresh loans obtained from the government. All the buildings erected out of public grants remained the property of government.5 Criminal tribe settlements worked in a circle. For the sake of financial benefits, government wanted to close down some settlements. Agriculture and industries in settlements turned out to be white elephants for the public exchequer. Some settlements were marked for closure because of bad management and high recurring expenses. They were soon abandoned due to a plethora of reasons: non-availability of land for new settlers; little hope for industrial development; proximity of towns and government’s sole dependence on qualified managers to run settlements. Government provided for the construction of additional huts, subsistence allowances and grant of medical relief for new settlers.6 E.A. Davis, the then District Magistrate of Guntur remarked that ‘regular reports were called upon to know the future conditions of the “criminal” settlements’. He emphasized on grant of lump allowances on a liberal scale which was sufficient to finance all classes of expenditure and providing employment, placing settlements under the direct control of district magistrates for effective control and correspondence with missionary authorities. Following these procedural details would lead to decentralization of financial arrangement of DNT settlements.7 Criminal tribe settlements came up with confused conditions. Control of criminal tribes and their settlements were entrusted to district officers in the Presidency. The Inspector General of Police, Madras stated that ‘the Deputy Inspector-General, Criminal Investigation Department might informally be constituted as an adviser to the Inspector-General of Police and the district magistrates on all matters connected with settlements’.8 Deputy Inspector General of Police, Railways and Criminal Investigation Department exercised general control over settlements for the purpose of organizing and coordinating work. The Deputy Inspector General of Police thus acted as a coordinating officer. Special officers were appointed by the government to conduct industrial surveys to discover sources of employment for settlers. Gillman remarked that ‘the reversion of the system is to continue until the circumstances permit of a special officer being appointed’.9 District magistrates faced problems in supervising settlements. Alexander Cardew, a district magistrate in Madras

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Presidency recommended the abandoning of settlements. Booth Tucker, a Salvation Army officer objected to district magistrates’ control over the settlements. The latter’s correspondence with settlement managers used to result in friction. Salvation Army used to complain that ‘the government misunderstood the management of the criminal tribe settlements by the missionaries’.10 The colonial government requested missionaries to avoid friction between district magistrates and missionaries. Separate grants were provided with regard to schooling facilities in settlements. One of the District Magistrates of Madras said that ‘the cost of schooling was very high. The schools perhaps be allowed to earn the educational grant-in-aid. The grant for the medical relief was given by the District Boards.’11 Medical relief grants were monitored by government with the help of private agencies. Duty allowances were paid to sub-assistant surgeons who attended medical relief work in the settlements. Missionaries incurred a lot of expenditure on petty things. Loans and advances had been sanctioned for maintenance of settlements. Separate advances were sanctioned for cultivation of lands and for payment of daily wages to settlers.

II Kavali Settlement was under the management of the American Baptist Telugu Mission, though the government absorbed the net cost of running the settlement; the Baptist Mission only paid the manager’s salary. A fixed grant was paid to the manager at the beginning of every month. This system came into force in 1915. The monthly grant given by the government fluctuated every year due to variances in the strength of every settlement. The amount sanctioned was not a fixed grant in the strict sense of the word; additional grants were paid to the missions to meet deficits. Arthur Knapp, the British officer on the settlements, remarked that ‘after a detailed analysis of the expenditure as compared with other settlements, Kavali settlement costed the government most. A large amount of expenditure was incurred for running of the settlement.’12 The reason for the heavy expenditure on Kavali Settlement was due to the boarding school. The school provided education for all school-going children in the settlement. The expenditure amounted to ī22,533.39 in the year 192313. Cost of supervision work was also very high, costing ī15,523.03 in 1924.14 There was difficulty in finding work for settlers who were sent long distances under the

174

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

supervision of police guards. It was noticed that the Salvation Army men were cheaper to employ than the men employed by the American Baptist Mission. Examiners of local fund accounts who audited the accounts of Denotified Tribe settlements often complained against the system of accounts maintained by authorities in the settlements. To tide over the difficulty settlers often were transferred to Bitragunta and Allur. The Kavali Settlement was established as a penal or reformatory settlement, missionaries thus maintained separate accounts for reformatory settlements.15

III Siddhapuram Settlement was under the direct management of the government and the net cost of the settlement was also borne by it. The main items of expenditure of the settlement were: maintenance of sick or incapable settlers; medical charges for each settler; fixed travelling allowances paid to sub-assistant surgeons who visited the settlement periodically; cost of maintenance of police staff and education of Waddar children. It was stated that no pupil of Siddhapuram Settlement was sent up so far for higher education after they had completed their education in the settlement school. With a view to provide higher education for the children of Siddhapuram settlement, the manager of the settlement made the arrangements. They were admitted as free boarders in the Adi Andhra Free Boarding Home at Atmakur. They will be having their free education there. These pupils are ineligible for the award of scholarships as they exceeded the age limit of the scholarship notification. As these pupils are ‘Donga’ Waddars who are generally very backward and as some of the pupils are reported to be intelligent and fit for higher studies, the government is pleased to award the scholarships whenever necessary as a special case.16

The cost for maintenance of police staff at Siddhapuram Settlement consisting of one inspector, two head constables and 14 constables were met from budget sanctioned for the police department. A temporary clerk on a salary of ī50 had been sanctioned for the settlement.

IV In the case of Stuartpuram Settlement, the Salvation Army was provided with grants by Government of Madras to transfer families

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175

of criminal tribes from one settlement to another. With transfer of families, government increased police staff for better supervision of settlers in settlements. The Accountant General placed funds in Salvation Army’s account in a bank located at Madras. Charges to maintain settlement expenses were met from the yearly sanctioned budget under the major head of police accounts.17 The colonial government had to face two important questions in the entire process: first, the rationale behind transfer of families from one settlement to another and second, logic behind sanction of subsistence allowance to the Salvation Army. The missionary agency emphasized that the object of subsistence allowance was to enable settlers to maintain themselves and cultivate lands put at their disposal until crops were raised on the allotted pieces of land.18 Separate proposals were mooted by the Salvation Army to increase the strength of settlers in Stuartpuram. Booth Tucker wrote to the then Member in Council, Madras, Harold Stuart that ‘I am rather nervous about having so large a settlement as Robillard contemplates, but I will consult the Inspector-General of Police and the District Magistrate and see what can be done….’19 The Salvation Army asked government for provision of additional watchmen for better supervision of settlers. Captain Robillard asked for one watchman for every 100 settlers whereas Bawden asked for one watchman for every 50 settlers. Government recognized the usefulness of watchmen. Secretary to the then British government observed that ‘the watchmen are doing good work and I should be loath to do anything to impair their usefulness…. They are really special constables.’20 Government of Madras asked Salvation Army to inspire settlers towards some wage earning work. Salvation Army authorities reported that ‘the case of the settlers is exactly the same as the case of the previous batches sent to the settlements. If the new settlers are put on wage-earning work they obviously cannot open up new land and this is the reason for asking more grants.’21 A total of ī70,000 was sanctioned to the Salvation Army for supervision of settlers in 1916. Government had also sanctioned a monthly recurring grant of ī300 per month for a period of five years towards meeting the cost of supervision and other expenses. An additional recurring grant of ī75 per month for the payment of Yerukula watchmen and a grant of ī100 per month to meet the increased supervision charges of settlers were allowed by the colonial government. While sanctioning the amount, the government requested information from the Salvation

176

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

Army on the steps contemplated to monitor additional crimes in Stuartpuram settlement on account of transfer of new settlers. The Salvation Army intimated government authorities that since Suramangalam and Karuppur settlements were not operational, it intended to include Rudrapad Korachas into the settlement. The financial department accepted the additional costs on account of extra settlers proposed by the Salvation Army.22 The missionary agency employed peons in the schools established in Stuartpuram Settlement. They continued in service at the rate of ī8 per month. Mackenzie stated that ‘the peons are not peons in the ordinary sense but their main duty is the collection of children from all parts of the scattered settlement. A certain amount of pressure has to be brought to bear to get the children to school.’23 Managers of Stuartpuram and Sitanagaram settlements visited other settlements in Madras, Bombay and Nizam dominions at the cost of government for exchange of ideas. Such visits were encouraged by the government. Places visited by the managers included Bezwada, Lingal Settlement, Secunderabad, Hotgi, Sholapur, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Gaddak, Gaddak Falls, Hubli, Trichinopoly, Madurai, Tinnevelly (Kulasekarapatnam Settlement), Tanjore, Borstal Institute, Aziz Nagar, Pallavaram, Kavali, Bitragunta and Allur settlements. A sum of ī250 was sanctioned by government for these visits. Managers in the visitors’ group stated that ‘the direct railway fares for visiting the places amounts to second class (Rs. 112) and third class (Rs. 40.93). Other charges such as travelling by road to various other places, lodging would amount to about rupees 75.’24 They were asked to travel in third class and the final charges amounted to ī125 for the whole trip. Ellis, the then Collector of Madura, had opined that ‘studying the reclamative movements among the Kallars would be immensely useful and instructive’.25 The Salvation Army appointed assistant managers to help managers in the running of settlements. The pay structure for assistant managers was very low – they were paid ī180 per month. A European assistant manager was appointed in Stuartpuram Settlement during the year 1923. His pay was fixed at ī1,800 per annum. The Salvation Army reported that ‘with regard to the European Assistant Managers, they had the same financial obligations in the shape of furlough, passage money etc., as in the case of the managers in the settlement’.26 Industries established in the settlement related to cattle, gardening and cultivation. Upkeep of cattle was not a satisfying experiment in the settlement, so the Salvation Army sold all the cattle as and when

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opportunity arose. Expenditure on account of maintenance of cattle fell from ī807.57 during the year 1925-6 to ī495 in 1927-8.27 Stuartpuram Settlement was the largest Salvation Army Settlement in the Madras Presidency. According to the financial secretary there was a deficit reported in the working of the settlement. The scheme for casuarina plantation was first reported on 30 January 1920. Its initial cost was prohibitive, returns significantly low and the process  very slow. Extension of wet cultivation was suggested in the Stuartpuram Settlement. It was stated that ‘the personality of Captain Robillard who is a genius as a gardener, combining general skill with tremendous enthusiasm. His plantation of Mangos, rubber and other trees on the Bapatla sands are wonderful.’28 Fruit-canning methods popular in Europe and people experienced in the industry were called to these settlements. They suggested tomato-canning projects with Madras and the local markets receiving the end products. The casuarinas developed by the settlers were felled when they were eight years old; the settlers converted these trees into firewood, transported them to the markets and earned an income by selling the same. Twothirds of the settlement population was accustomed to labour work. Daily labour was paid to settlers at the rate of 4 annas a day. J.F. Hall, the then Commissioner of Labour, Madras, stated that ‘the territorial commanders in the Salvation Army with the help of the government maintained lone women in the settlement. The government sanctioned the money required by the Salvation Army from the budget earmarked for the maintenance of the Criminal Tribe Settlements.’29 One of the colonial officials from Madras Presidency, T.G. Rutherford remarked in the year 1936 that there were a number of orphan children in the Stuartpuram Settlement who did not get adequate attention and care. Many of them were children of widowed mothers who could not provide sufficient food and the children never attended schools regularly. It was very difficult to compel parents to send their children to school due to the prevailing circumstances in the settlement. Salvation Army requested the government that the children may be fed at government expense at the rate of ī3.84 per head per month. Expenditure was met from savings anticipated in the yearly budget provisions.30

V Problems in fiscal management were reported from settlements at the end of every quarter. There was also mismanagement of funds

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DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

sanctioned for the running of settlements. Added to this, there was the moral conduct of the settlers. Experiences had shown that example and precept alone were not sufficient to convert men and women. Salvation Army often complained that for generations together settlers had lived by their wits, with which they prayed upon society.31 Financial and moral support from the government and missionaries was aimed to change settlers into self-respecting and law-abiding citizens. By providing financial support settlers were at first taught to live a life of honest work. They were released from restraints only under the condition that they would put the lessons to effect. Settlers used to promise authorities that they will not revert to their old habits. Salvation Army also had maintained its tactics. It did not contemplate or plan for gradual reduction and disappearance of settlements. Its work with criminal tribe families was the crowning achievement of its endeavours. It believed its task will be completed as and when men and women regain their position as independent, self-supporting and valued members of the society.32 Christian missionaries had governed the history of settlements. The zeal, enthusiasm and genius of their managers had accomplished and demonstrated great potentialities and possibilities. When examined closely the activities and schemes provided by the government and missionaries were more appropriate for the purpose of an enterprising development syndicate than to those by which alone settlements can justify their existence. Settlers were subservient to schemes. Their economic regeneration was yet far to seek even as their daily subsistence was far from assured. Sources from which they had been drawn were largely unascertained and suspect.33 The Salvation Army also perpetuated disadvantages in the existing system by converting settlers into its fold. Settlements became an open market for large-scale demand of cheap labourers available from settlements and free conversions of people to Christianity. The Salvation Army and colonial officers offered little prospect of economic emancipation to settlers. Economic prospects of settlers under the financial control and management of missionaries and government did not grow. Instead settlers formed a solid source of labour supply to the ever-expanding colonial economy as manifest by the greediness with which the colonial state expanded its operations into hinterlands of the country during the entire nineteenth century.

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Notes 1. Law (General) Department, GO No. 2454, dated 7 October 1922. 2. Any small deficit in one settlement was not allowed to be met by savings in another. No re-appropriation was permitted from any of the expenditure heads. Accounts were demanded in respect of grants by government. The supervision grant included all expenses of transfers, leave, acting allowances, travelling allowances for bringing European assistants and headquarters’ supervision charges. Law General Department, GO No. 432, dated 9 February 1924. 3. Service charges included items such as education, medical relief, buildings, maintenance of incapables and grants for new settlers. Industrial charges included items such as maintenance of various industries in the settlements. Accounts under industries were kept distinctly. Expenditure under services was governed by rules such as vouchers, sanctions, re-appropriations, surrenders, etc. Managers of settlements had no powers to sanction any establishment under the head of industries. Annual budget was provided for expenditure under capital charges. Surplus after closing the accounts was credited to the government. Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 1225, dated 20 May 1918. 4. Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 22, dated 5 January 1920. 5. Ibid., GO No. 2000, dated 3 December 1912. Government sanctioned all the proposals submitted by missionaries who in turn suggested to the government to cancel the public component of the loan. In return missionaries lost the money which was advanced by them to the management authorities in the settlements. 6. Home (Judicial), GO No. 22, dated 5 January 1920. 7. Ibid., GO No. 573, dated 29 February 1916. 8. Ibid., GO No. 678, dated 13 March 1916. 9. Ibid., GO No. 818, dated 5 April 1918. 10. Ibid., GO No. 625, dated 18 March 1918. 11. Ibid., GO No. 1225, dated 20 May 1918. 12. Ibid., GO No. 2233, dated 29 September 1919. 13. Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlements of Criminal Tribes up to 1925, Madras, 1926. 14. Ibid. 15. Law (General) Department, GO No. 432, dated 9 February 1924. 16. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1843, dated 25 August 1927. 17. Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 2615, dated 13 December 1917. 18. Ibid., GO No. 2491, dated 12 October 1915.

180 19. Ibid., 20. Ibid., 21. Ibid., 22. Ibid., 23. Ibid., 24. Ibid., 25. Ibid., 26. Ibid., 27. Ibid., 28. Ibid., 29. Ibid., 30. Ibid., 31. Ibid., 32. Ibid., 33. Ibid.,

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

1275, dated 3 June 1914. 2273, dated 20 September 1915. 716, dated 30 March 1917. 430, dated 17 February 1906. 1771, dated 26 May 1926. 1098 (Misc.), dated 1 April 1926. 950, dated 4 August 1926. 1786, dated 24 November 1926. 1098 (Misc.), dated 1 April 1926. 2907, dated 3 February 1920. 22, dated 5 January 1920. 958, dated 30 April 1919. 2163, dated 23 September 1918. 829, dated 6 April 1918. 1449, dated 13 July 1917.

Sitanagaram Settlement, Guntur District

Name

Jan 1913

ESTD

Salvation Army

Managed by

989

Census Figure 1917 Stone quarrying, earth work, contracts, agriculture, sericulture, silk and cotton weaving. The settlement was divided into two parts. There were two supervising European officers.

Nature of Employment

Total

Recurring: Supervision: Recurring grant @ Rs.400/- per month Maintenance of old and infirm people @ Rs. 10/- per month. Non-Recurring Miscellaneous charges

Details of Charges

18



5,658

840

840

5,640

4,800

5,640



840

4,800

Budget Revised Estimates Estimates 1918-19 1918-19

4,800

Budget Estimate 1919-20

Management, Employment Conditions and Assistance Given by Government to DNT Settlements

APPENDIX

Contd.

5,935

295

840

4,800

Accounts 1917-18

Managed by

Salvation Army

ESTD

1914

Name

Stuartpuram Settlement, Guntur District

APPENDIX (Contd.)

1223

Census Figure 1917 Agriculture, experimental gardening, sericulture, trading in Cattle, coolie work, making of mats, baskets and ropes. There was a European married Assistant in addition to the manager in the settlement

Nature of Employment Recurring: Supervision – Recurring grant @ Rs. 500/- per month. Grant for payment to watchmen @ Rs. 96/- per month. Pony allowance for the manager @ Rs. 15/Grant for pony Education grant School furniture Allowance for sub-assistant surgeon, Bapatla

Details of Charges

– 771 – 90

– – 700 720

55

300 1,400 800 180

– 2,000 300 180





955

180

1,152

1,152

1,152

4,800

Accounts 1917-18

5,800

4,800

Budget Revised Estimates Estimates 1918-19 1918-19

6,000

Budget Estimate 1919-20

Total

Non-recurring Purchase of hospital instruments Maintenance of families newly admitted Construction of dispensary and school house Inspection Bungalow Teachers quarters Manager – his assistant quarters, office, etc. Lock up Miscellaneous 1,384 3,220

3,600 400

29,029

3,000

500

23,062

50

8,750

11,688

10,072

100

1,000

700

900

Contd.

19,000

487

3,000

6,961

Bhumannagadda Settlement, Chittoor Dist.

Name

Jan 1914

ESTD

APPENDIX (Contd.)

Salvation Army

Managed by

513

Census Figure 1917 Agriculture, Sericulture, Weaving, Making of mats, baskets, ropes, cultivation of mangoes, coconuts and tobacco.

Nature of Employment

Total

Recurring: Supervision @ Rs. 280/Settlers’ wages @ Rs. 300/Education Capitation grant @ Rs. 3/- per month per boy for 100 boys. Medical Relief: Fees for American Arcot Mission Non-recurring Boarding School Inspection Bungalow Water Supply Scheme Miscellaneous

Details of Charges



360

– – 3,000 –

3,600

360

7,600 4,700 950 730

9,840

3,600

2,736

24,036

2,880

7,560





– –

360



4,800

2,400

Budget Revised Estimates Estimates 1918-19 1918-19

3,360

Budget Estimate 1919-20

8,490





– –

90



6,000

2,400

Accounts 1917-18

Kavali Settlement, Nellore District

1917 SubSettlement at Allur and Bitragunta

American 1393 Baptist Mission. The services of Manager was given free by the Mission

Contracts, agriculture, carpentry, weaving, limekiln, coolie work, stone quarry, fire wood cutting

Total

35,720

I. Recurring 33,000 Settlement Maintenance including 120 supervision charges @ Rs. 1200/250 Medical relief allowance to local Medical Officer Contribution to Taluq Board for medicines II. Non- recurring: 2,350 Contingencies and Miscellaneous –

200

373



45,320

120

120

39,493

45,000

39,000

Contd.

31,537

1,549



120

29,868

Reclamation and Cultivation of land, cumbly weaving and road work

128 Official Management (Govt)

1913

Total

Recurring: Education including rations Medical charges Weaving establishment Non-recurring Petty construction and repairs

Total

Recurring: Monthly stipend @ Rs. 4/- for 60 girls Non-recurring Initial grants Construction of a building for criminal children

Siddhapuram Settlement, Kurnool Dist.

Details of Charges

Nature of Employment

Needle work, domestic duties, General Education

Census Figure 1917

Salvation Criminal Army children were being educated since 1915 – total strength was 48 girls.

Managed by

1915

ESTD

Salvation Army Girls School, Nellore

Name

APPENDIX (Contd.)

3,444

2,060 600

1,590 600

3,184

784

944 50

7,294

4,894

50

2,930

2,400

1,504

150 600

754

2,400

2,400

Budget Revised Estimates Estimates 1918-19 1918-19

2,880

Budget Estimate 1919-20

686

2,248

Accounts 1917-18

Formerly Salvation 31 Army Prisoners’ Home Nov. 1913

Work in jute mill, weaving, carpentry, garden work in the settlement, road work, petty contracts

Total

Recurring Supervision Repair of Buildings Municipal tax Medical Relief Duty allowance for Sub-Asst. Surgeon, Guntur Non-recurring Travelling allowance for petty construction and repairs

Source: Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 2491, dated 12 October 1925.

Reformatory Settlement, Guntur

4,774

200

200

4,674

250 304 120 300

250 304 120 300

250 304 120 200

4,874

300

3,600

3,600

3,600

4,492

140

250 302 60 140

3,600

Economic Profile of DNT Settlements in AP

CHAPTER 13

Economic Profile of Denotified Tribe Settlements in Andhra Pradesh: A Study of Siddhapuram Settlement

IN THE EARLY part of the twentieth century, about 30 supernumeraries of Waddars wandered in Guntur and Kurnool districts and in the Nizam’s dominions. The Waddars of Kurnool district, i.e. Gang no. XIV became notorious for dacoities, robberies, house-breakings and criminal cases of miscellaneous nature.1 Under these circumstances, the government considered a proposal to establish a settlement at Siddhapuram in Kurnool district under Section 12 of the Criminal Tribes Act of 1911 for Waddars and a section of the Yerukulas.2 The number of Waddars at Siddhapuram Settlement by the end of December 1914 was 112 consisting of 30 men, 40 women and 42 children. They were employed in the Siddhapuram irrigation project.3 The old site was notorious for malaria; the settlement was within 300 yards of the bund of a big tank.4 The village was surrounded by land that was an ideal breeding ground for Anopheles mosquitoes.5 Forest humidity and water-logging bred mosquitoes and malaria claimed a heavy death toll.6 A new site was selected about 1½ miles away from the old site and Bhavanasi nullah.7 The change of site contributed to the health and comfort of settlers. The settlement shifted to its present place in January 1927.8

I Apart from subsidiary industries, the main source of livelihood for the settlers was agriculture. Land of about 1,066 acres was distributed to settlers in the beginning, along with bullocks, and raw materials for taking up rope-making, basket-making and mat-weaving activities. For weaving locally available material was gathered.9 Marketing facilities were also provided. About 173 acres of land was cultivated

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during the year 1920.10 Horse gram and cholum were mainly cultivated and other crops included ragi, chillies and vegetables. Necessary agricultural implements were provided.11 Men and women were employed on monthly wages. ī8 for men and ī6 for women were given for looking after cattle and watching the fields.12 Tamarind crop gave them encouragement to get more money. While working the settlers exhibited an inclination to take up agriculture in a big way. A vast improvement was affected during the year 1920 and land came under cultivation.13 Settlers earned money from various works of the Public Works Department like construction work, forest contract work, cultivation, spinning, weaving, petty shops, clearance of jungles and sale of cattle.14 The average monthly earnings per family from 1 April 1926 to 12 December 1926 was ī11. The increase in harvests further added materially to their regular income.15 Settlers were provided capital in the form of bulls and carts with an aim to bring them into the mainstream of socio-economic life. In course of time members of the DNT under study transformed themselves into ryots.16 Signs of healthy development of village life were seen. Land under cultivation was virgin soil and yield was expected to be good. Temporary pattas (‘D’ form pattas) were granted for a period of five years to the settled members/families. After five years, on satisfactory behaviour, permanent pattas were supposed to be provided.17 The total area of land cleared in the year 1927 was 210 acres of dry land belonging to the government. Ten acres of wet and 100 acres of dry land of settlers were brought under cultivation.18 During 1930, they had cultivated 200 acres of land of which 40 acres were wet and they had a fairly good crop. Agriculture provided labour work to many of the settlers and some of the neighbouring villagers. Another receipt under agriculture was the sale of fuel.19 The profile of profit margin in the case of agriculture was little and less. The settlers found it difficult to make ends meet after paying heavy rates of land revenue and water rates.20 The assessment of land revenue was cheaper than on other lands. The government wanted to make Siddhapuram Settlement a purely agricultural settlement. The government supplied Ongole breeding bulls in 1932 to the settlers to improve livestock. Cows were given as gifts to settlers who had interest in agriculture. It was an incentive to other settlers to evince similar interest in agriculture. Cholum was the staple food of settlers and it was grown on a large extent of land.21 In Siddhapuram

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DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

settlement, an agricultural advance was sanctioned in the year 19323. In the first year of loan, the settlers had to work on land which they had cleared and received enough money to maintain themselves. In the second year, they could not save much. In the third year, crops were a failure for want of rains. Hence the local manager recommended the extension of loan repayment period by another three years.22 A deadly disease (black quarter) broke out in July 1934 and timely inoculations carried out by veterinary department prevented death of cattle.

II The Commissioner of Labour maintained a government farm in Siddhapuram Settlement. As the bulk of settlers were highly ignorant of farm practices, two farm servants in addition to one agricultural maistry were appointed at the cost of ī7 per month.23 Government farm provided labour work to settlers who had no land to cultivate and also to others when they did not have work on their fields.24 Wet and dry lands were cultivated on behalf of the government partly to teach settlers proper methods of agriculture and partly to provide a certain amount of labour to them. In connection with cultivation and instruction of settlers, two agricultural maistries, one on ī18 and the other on ī17 per month were employed.25 An annual bonus up to a limit of ī100 was given to the head maistry and assistant maistry. During the year 1942, the total land brought under cultivation was 1,538 acres.26 It was during the year 1944 that around 1,500 acres of land were brought under cultivation. Dalwa paddy and groundnut yielded good results. Sinking of a few wells enabled them to save their standing crops and the attendant yields.27 Tobacco seedlings were grown during the year 1948-9 and a profit of ī6,000 accrued from its sale. During the year 1949, the total extent of cultivable land was 2,150.45 acres and out of this only 429 acres of wet and 158 acres of dry land were under cultivation. But settlers lost interest in cultivation as they were only tillers of soil and not the real owners. Frequent transfers of managers led to considerable dislocation of work. Loan applications for purchase of bulls were left undisposed for months together.28 During the year 1951, government reserved 1,135.40 acres of land in Siddhapuram and the remaining lands were distributed to political sufferers, landless poor and ex-service men. Conditional pattas were issued by the revenue department. The forest department used to

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191

entertain complaints against the behaviour of settlers since they usually went deep into forest lands and stole timber and other forest produce without proper legal permits.29 Siddhapuram tank is one of the biggest tanks in Kurnool district with a tank-bed of 504.06 acres. It had abundant facilities for fishing. During March and April, the settlers were expected to make use of their rights of fishing in the Siddhapuram tank. Fishing in the tank had been a supplementary occupation for most settlers, going a long way in solving their food problem.30 During summers, settlers faced a hard life. There was no sufficient water for drinking purposes.31 During the year 1964, out of 1,251.35 acres of available land, 1,066.04 acres was distributed among the colonists, 96.94 acres to artisans and 62.75 acres were given to a model agricultural farm run by the agricultural department. An extent of 25.62 acres was vacant. Agricultural farms were managed by the manager of the colony and later transferred to the agricultural department for running as state seed farms.32

III Till January 1942, Donga Waddars maintained themselves by working as coolies, taking up works such road repairs, improvements to schools and managers’ quarters, tank revetment, and repairs to police lines. Average earning of a male was 3 annas per day (9 paise) and it was 1½ annas per day (7 paise) for female workers.33 On the other hand, they had sufficient scope to earn a living by employing themselves as coolies/daily wage-earners in cultivation of lands owned by other ryots, ploughing and weeding, re-ploughing of land after harvest, clearing of lands overgrown with grass, cutting fuel and grass, sale of fodder, collection of bark from tangedu plants and repairs of roads.34 Despite all these there was observed distress among them. This necessitated a quest for other works where settlers could be gainfully employed. For example, Turner of Krishna Cement Works had kindly consented to provide work for some settlers in the limestone quarries at Kaza. Thus ten families were sent to Kaza.35 During the year 1960, the Siddhapuram Colony’s Advisory Committee resolved to provide a match factory on the lines of a cottage industry in the colony to provide subsidiary occupation.36 Settlers had a large airy wool shed with 12 looms and other accessories. The looms were all locally made under the supervision of an acting inspector and manufactured blankets. The settlers made

192

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

182 cumblies during the year 1920. Members of settler families were given 5 annas (15 paise) in case of men and 3 annas (9 paise) in case of women. On piece work, they earned from 5 to 9 annas (men) and 3 to 5 annas (women) a day.37 The weaving industry was vital to the success of the settlement during the year 1921. There was no demand for cumblies produced here as those produced elsewhere in the district were cheaper. Mill made ones from Bangalore and other places were cheaper and finer too.38 The weaving shed blew up in June 1927. A sum of ī4,800 was sanctioned for the construction of a pukka building.39 There was a steady demand for improved varieties of cumblies costing ī4 to 5. Difficulty was experienced in finding a market for the cheaper cumblies costing between ī2 and 3. Though sericulture programme was developed in Siddhapuram Settlement it met with failure. A cooperative society was formed in the settlement during the year 1925, through which loans were advanced. Settlers had ploughing bulls, goats, cows and she-buffaloes. The cooperative society was organized by the settlers themselves and it was supervised by a manager. Savings of settlers increased over a period of time. The cooperative society enabled settlers to obtain loans from the government. It was to be paid back without interest in instalments. Adi Andhras of Pedda Anantapuram and Atmakur were permitted to stay in the settlement during 1943. The manager considered them to be good weavers and agriculturists. The new settlers taught the old methods of weaving and supplying of gauze cloth.40 Weaving of gauze cloth for some government hospitals was also undertaken and their demands were complied with. But the cost of investment was always high and the local manager reported that it was very difficult to run the industry at a profit or even on selfsupporting lines. Though the weaving industry was started to provide supplementary income to setters, it failed because there was no proper interest evinced by them. As a result, this was closed on 31 October 1949. The manager reported that it was very difficult to run the industry at a profit due to a plethora of reasons:41 1. Fluctuations in the yarn market (price of yarn). For example, the price in March 1949 was much higher than in 1950. 2. Cloth of finger counts was available in the market at a cheaper rate. There was difficulty in finding a market for coarse cloth manufactured in the Siddhapuram Settlement.

ECONOMIC PROFILE OF DNT SETTLEMENTS IN AP

193

3. There was no scope for unlimited expenditure or production to balance possible losses. Weavers could not weave finger counts. 4. Settlers did not evince keen interest in the industry because of low wages.

IV Managers of the settlement reposed confidence in settlers and made them understand that they were ryots and not criminals. The managers treated Siddhapuram as an independent village community. They removed the names of settlers who proved their good conduct from watch list. Contemporary Labour Commissioner, Moir stated in one of the communications that the success of this settlement was due to the efficient and tactful management of K. Subramania Ayyar, the then Inspector General of Police. He was associated with the settlement since its inception in 1913.42 The state government has taken various measures for their welfare in the post-Independent era, such as provision of suitable land for cultivation, starting handloom weaving centres as cottage industries, setting up cooperative societies for supplying credit and other necessities of life, construction of pucca houses for habitation and imparting training for inmates of industrial and agricultural settlements. Apart from the government, social workers have also helped settlers to engage themselves in gainful occupations and lead the life of normal citizens. There are demands from the community today that would require more concrete steps from the government towards the welfare and development of Waddars of Siddhapuram. The Secretary of Excriminals’ Welfare Association of Siddhapuram, K.R. Somanna demanded that the government should include all the ex-criminals in the list of Scheduled Tribes.43 Some of the serious problems are police harassment and the stigma of criminality. Police officials till date often find an easy prey in the settlement whenever they are in need of more cases. Many of the settlement members are still undergoing trials in various courts and are thrown behind bars for no fault of theirs.44 There are cases of low payment or under-payment reported from the settlement when they are engaged in manual work. For example, unequal payments were reported from members of settlement between them and other non-DNT workers. Government’s

194

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

sanction is always lower compared to the existing wage rates.45 In the absence of better treatment and wage structure, some members are forced into the brewing and sale of illicit liquor.46 Local liquor barons encourage settlers but when the excise department unearths these activities, the real culprits escape punishment.47 Educated youth and community leaders feel that avocations like mat-making and carpet-making cannot sustain their families. They seek establishment of industries thereby providing them some gainful employment on a long-term basis.48

Notes 1. Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1279, 10 June 1915, p. 2. 2. Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1860, 5 September 1917, p. 1. 3. Boundaries of this settlement are: Krishnapuram Agraharam, Velugodu Reserve and Dornal-Atmakur Road. For details vide, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1284, dated 27 March 1937, p. 4. 4. Site of the settlement was shifted to interior village in the forest area about 13 km east of Venkatapuram village on Atmakur-Srisailam Road. Home Judicial Department, GO No. 6170, dated 22 December 1938, p. 3. 5. Between the bund and village is a depression from which earth for the bund was excavated. Water stagnates throughout the year and there is a dense growth of bulrushes and other marsh-grasses. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 137, dated 19 January 1927, p. 2. 6. These stagnant pools are largely the result of the building of tank and are fed by sub-soil percolation. There are deep pits in the tank bed which hold water all the year round. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1719, dated 9 August 1927, p. 13. 7. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 2190, dated 28 July 1930, p. 5. 8. Before coming to Siddhapuram Settlement, Donga Waddars had a meagre income. They led a hand-to-mouth existence in the surrounding areas. Even now their earnings from agricultural operations are insufficient to maintain their families. Waddars of Siddhapuram Settlement mainly depended on agriculture. The British government constructed a huge water reservoir for the cultivation of lands attached to the settlement. Since it is rain-fed and the rainfall in turn very scarce, the bund is most often empty. If it functions well, it is useful for 20 villages of surrounding areas. Often the crop yield has been dismally low. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1433, dated 31 March 1928, p. 2. 9. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 2661, dated 25 October 1924, p. 2.

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195

10. Agricultural loans were granted to settlers by Labour Commissioner, Moir. The loans were used for purchase of cattle and carts. Instalments were regularly paid. Home Department, GO No. 2661, dated 25 October 1920, p. 1. 11. Home Department, GO No. 2661, dated 25 October 1920, p. 1. 12. Ibid. 13. Implements were provided for repairs and seeds for growing crops. Fodder was supplied to cattle owners. Cowboys were employed. Maistries were appointed to instruct them about the value of land and production of various crops. The land cultivated by settlers was different from government lands. Government used to extract work from settlers, but the produce was stored by the government for its own administration. The whole process was supervised by a maistry. See ibid. 14. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 2425, dated 12 November 1935, p. 1. 15. Settlers were allowed to take water from the tank. Settlement land was not included in the regular ayacut of the tank. There was a small extent of wet cultivation in the settlement. Government spent considerable amount on levelling the land and making it fit for wet cultivation. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 137, dated 9 August 1927, p. 6. 16. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1719, dated 9 August 1927, p. 6. 17. Ibid., GO No. 2543, dated 5 September 1929, p. 4. 18. Ibid., GO No. 137, dated 19 January 1927, p. 4. 19. Ibid., p. 3. 20. Tyler, the then Labour Commissioner, appointed a headman on a pay of ī8 per month to perform duties analogous to the village headman. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 137, dated 19 January 1927, p. 3. 21. Adult settlers were allotted lands to the tune of one acre of wet and five acres of dry land for cultivation. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 2671, dated 6 December 1934, p. 4. 22. Ibid., p. 5. 23. Ibid., p. 10. 24. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1782, dated 23 February 1935, p. 1. 25. Home Department, GO No. 568, dated 23 February 1944, p. 5. 26. Ibid., GO No. 2113, dated 13 July 1944, p. 1. 27. Ibid., GO No. 568…, op. cit. 28. Madras State Administration Report for the Year 1950-51, part I: Madras, 1954, p. 42. 29. Andhra Pradesh State Administration Report, 1961-62, vol. I: Hyderabad, 1963, p. 111.

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DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

30. Home Department, GO No. 1227, dated 24 March 1942, p. 10. 31. Ibid., GO No. 2063, dated 7 June 1952, p. 1. 32. Ibid., GO No. 1227, op. cit. 33. Andhra Pradesh State Administration Report for the Year 1964-65, vol. I: Hyderabad, 1966, p. 86. 34. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1425, dated 5 May 1944, p. 1. 35. Ibid., GO No. 2190, dated 28 July 1930, pp. 2-3. 36. Ibid., GO No. 1719, dated 9 August 1927, pp. 5-6. 37. Andhra Pradesh State Administration Report, 1961-62, op. cit, p. 112. 38. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1719, op. cit, p. 3. 39. Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to January 1925, Madras, 1926, pp. 29-30. 40. Home Department, GO No. 1227, op. cit, p. 10. 41. Administration Report on Habitual Offenders’ Settlements for 1949-50, Madras, 1950, p. 19. 42. Home Department, GO No. 3570, dated 27 January 1951, p. 5. 43. Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 137, dated 19 September 1927, p. 6. 44. The Madras Police Department of the colonial era prepared a report on their lifestyle. According to the report, Waddera, Korava, Kathera and Korcha tribes have been wandering tribes and getting involved in criminal offences. Interview with K.R. Somanna, Siddhapuram, dated 24 November 1994. 45. Interview with E. Lakshmayya, Siddhapuram, dated 24 November 1994. 46. Interview with K.R. Somanna, op. cit. 47. Interview with E. Lakshmayya, op. cit. 48. Interview with K.R. Somanna, op. cit.

CHAPTER 14

Perceptions and Approaches to ‘Criminals’ and Non-Criminals in Madras Presidency: Colonial Bureaucracy, Missionaries and Settlement Managers

Madras province were largely confined to two predatory communities: Yerukulas and Yanadis. The colonial government started the notion of crime and criminality among various other communities in south India based on their experiences dealing with these tribes. In north India it was started with the Doms. Throughout India separate settlements were carved out for these tribes and they were kept under the management of Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and governmental organizations. These settlements were opened for criminal gangs. Government advised local governments to observe and follow rules formed under various Acts guiding criminal tribes.1 CRIMINAL CLASSES IN

I Local governments did not properly understand the rules framed under the CT Acts. They had framed their own rules to deal with different sections/tribes. For example, in the Telugu-speaking areas of Madras Presidency these rules made a very clear distinction between Yerukulas connected with criminal gangs and the Yerukulas that did not have any connection with criminal gangs. Yerukulas were classified into two numerical divisions such as good Yerukulas and Donga Yerukulas (thieving Yerukulas personifying bad characters, habituated to acts of theft and stealing).2 Donga Yerukulas were arrested according to regulations under Criminal Tribes Acts. They were registered under various sections of the CT Act and the local governments confined them to settlements. Regional administrative wings of the colonial government had misunderstood the rules that were in the CT Acts. The result was that those Yerukulas who were

198

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

living peacefully following itinerant trading activities and petty work in the hilly regions were picked up by the British officials to fill up the settlements.3 The honour, dignity, reputation and name possessed by these sections of the communitiy were destroyed by local government authorities. Yerukalas soon became notorious and earned the reputation of Donga Yerukulas or thieving Yerukulas. They were declared dangerous to society. In the Telugu-speaking provinces there were a large number of Yerukulas who, in fact, enjoyed a reputation for their trading activities. For example, majority of the Yerukulas who were confined to Sitanagaram Settlement ought not to have been there because they were honourable people. The district magistrates of Guntur and Kistna together with the respective police superintendents wrongly confined the Yerukulas due to their misunderstanding of the rules framed in the CT Acts. Instead of releasing the Yerukulas, they strictly confined them to the settlements implementing the rules of the CT Acts in the case of these itinerant trading communities.4 The colonial government stated that Sitanagaram Settlement was a good conduct settlement and honourable Yerukulas with their children and women entered into the settlement. Why were the Yerukulas with good conduct kept in the settlements? Children of Yerukula families were kept as away and educated separately.5

II Adults in the settlements were considered dangerous by the local government officials. It was stated that those who are responsible for their reformation must keep their eyes open to their morality also. It was firmly believed that adults in the settlements were responsible for spoiling their children by involving them in various criminal acts. Yerukulas who were living in settlements were still involved in polygamy and polyandry. The local government authorities had asked the missionaries and police to put an end to such evil practices followed by adults in the settlements.6 Yerukala caste panchayats were ruthless and women are often treated in a humiliating manner. Settlements had lost name, reputation and character as reformatory institutions due to the bad behaviour of adults. The government thought of several remedies including providing land, house sites, loans, and separate quarters for married people, bachelors and widows. The government seriously considered religion and moral instructions to

PERCEPTIONS AND APPROACHES TO ‘CRIMINALS’

199

be the greatest factors for their empowerment and improvement. Employment opportunities were provided to settlers in the settlements. The government felt that it was the mistake of allowing settlers to go to the jungles to fetch raw material for the work to be done in the settlements, since the settlers used to take the opportunity to commit crimes. Raw materials for the manufacture of baskets and mats were brought to the settlement by settlement managers.7 Bureaucrats considered plans for educating the Yerukulas and Yanadis residing outside the settlements. Generally, Yerukulas and Yanadis were tribes that settled down in different parts of Madras Presidency. They were largely found in village communities and often seen in groups of three to seven families. As a rule they dealt with goats and pigs. They used to make excellent mats and baskets and sell them. They could not live in large numbers in the same village because they would not find enough customers for their products in the neighbourhood. The government tried to persuade Yerukulas to form themselves into larger villages or colonies of their own to effect speedy empowerment and welfare. But they were driven away by the local police and rich sections of society. These tribes had neither land for cultivation nor were they allowed to form their colonies near a city. They were not allowed to find work for themselves. An official in the local government in Madras province stated that lately, the Yerukulas of twenty villages in Bezawada and Gannavaram taluq have asked me to obtain for them the permission from the collector to form a colony: but they insist that it should be near Bezwada for the reason to find sale for their manufacturers in the neighborhood. Since the Yerukulas are now organizing the idea of forming colonies, I think government ought to take the advantage of this and help them to realize their plan. It will be then easy to open schools or settlements for them.8

Christian missionaries and philanthropic bodies found it difficult to reform and educate these communities as they were very scattered. These people were spread over different places which were not accessible to others. The state felt that once colonies were formed all difficulties would disappear. The intention of the colonial government was to make use of these communities in various public works such as making of roads, clearing silt from canals and construction of railway lines.9 Colonial interventions into settlements in Madras province could be classified into three main heads: first, conducting annual conferences under the chairmanship of the provincial governors; second, making

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DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

certain provisions for incorrigibles, and third, support to criminal tribes in settlements and non-settlement residents. Government used to conduct annual conferences in Madras province under the chairmanship of the provincial governors. Others who were associated with the activity were the Inspector-General of Police of Madras, the inspector-general of police looking after prisons, the deputy inspectorgeneral of the criminal investigation department, managers of criminal tribe settlements, managers-in-charge of the released prisoners’ homes, superintendents of jails and a representative of each native state. The government asked the organizers of such conferences to prepare a detailed agenda for discussion. Members who attended the conferences used to present their ideas and views on various branches of work carried out by them.10 Discussions used to follow and resolutions were passed. Recommendations of these conferences were placed in a concrete form for the consideration and decision of the government. These conferences used to help in coordinating the efforts that were being made for the reformation of criminal tribes. The annual conferences also provided help to district authorities, states and institutions concerned with the rehabilitation of the CTs to achieve and secure simultaneous and harmonious action on the part of the district, local and state officials. District collectors and superintendents were asked to attend these meets without fail so as to gain fruitful experience in dealing with the stupendous social task.11

III The British government envisioned and desired to open good conduct settlements for delinquents. It wanted to open settlements where raiding by police authorities was impossible. In the Andamans was an island available and suitable for the purpose of opening such a settlement. The provisions of such a settlement would greatly facilitate the reformation of CTs all over India. The government felt that it would enable the Madras and other governments to eliminate all the identified incorrigibles from their settlements and where they would be permanently cut off from their old haunts and associates.12 The agricultural settlements were like open jails. They became centres for police to capture dangerous criminals. Often subordinate police officers used to raid agricultural settlements in order to recover stolen goods. Frequent raids of the police caused conditions of serious unrest among community members resulting in a great hindrance to

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201

reformation work in the settlements. The government planned to eliminate dangerous gangs and characters from their families and send them to distant islands such as the Andamans where they could gain a good livelihood. Local authorities requested the Government of India and the Chief Commissioner of Andaman Islands by forwarding series of representations from the Madras government to favour their proposal and help them to open such settlements in the Andamans. If permission was granted, the local government authorities were prepared to deport/send members of CTs to the Andamans as early as possible. The government approved the proposal and quickly deported many CTs to the Andamans.13 The settlements largely consisted of people who were old men and women; young mothers with infants and swarms of children; able-bodied men having absconded; people who had been sent to prison. Poverty-stricken and helpless, they readily agreed to go anywhere as they were afraid of life. Settlements were considered by these people as a haven. They did not understand in the beginning that they were probably settling on inferior land with no water or less water to irrigate. In some places settlements were firmly established and there was a large demand for unskilled labour. For example, Bezawada in Kistna district of Andhra Pradesh offered stone-quarry work. In Stuartpuram Settlement agricultural activity was introduced. In these settlements, government wanted to absorb new settlers without extra expense. In Bhumannagadda, Kammapuram and Villupuram settlements there was an urgent need for new settlers. The colonial government expected returns on all expenditures incurred in settlements in the form of repayment of loans by settler families for conducting various economic errands including agrarian operations.14 In the establishment and running of the criminal tribe settlements in Madras Presidency the role of civil servants was of crucial importance. Though private agencies like Christian missionaries were at the centre of the whole process, the civil servants played a major part in providing what was required and sought from the colonial government. Majority of the collectors of various districts were of the opinion that the government should establish settlements for the tribes in their districts. The government stated that the collectors did not recognize the fact that it was impossible to deal with the large number of CTs according to Sections 10 and 11 of the Criminal Tribes Act of 1911. At a later date it had, however, gone too fast in

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establishing various settlements in the province.15 To establish settlements for each tribe would have been a heavy burden on the government. One of the contemporary notes prepared by Hannyngton stated that the present policy of the government is not to undertake any further liability in the matter of criminal settlements but to reduce their commitments wherever possible. The remedy is to effectively control the movements of the gangs and keep them under some sort of supervision by the combined application of both parts of Section 10 of the Act. This combined application of the provisions of the CT Act can be exceedingly rigorous in its effects.16

Table 14.1 gives a brief picture of what had been done by the collectors in Madras Presidency in order to strengthen and develop criminal tribe settlements through various CT Acts. The table, based on the extracts culled out from their routine correspondence and communications with the colonial government throw light on different aspects of their involvement.17 The colonial government stated that many wandering tribes possessed criminal habits. It was not considered desirable on the part of government to release them from settlements. One of the Roman Catholic priests in Sitanagaram Settlement in the Telugu-speaking parts of the Presidency (Father Fezzoni) was the first person who reported that he was satisfied with the idea of taking over children of CTs for reformation work. Even adults in the settlements followed his advice very closely in Sitanagaram Settlement. Members of CTs did not show any interest in leaving the settlement; they wanted to settle down permanently in Sitanagaram. Father Pezzoni once wrote to Marjori Banks that ‘registration in the initial stages was not done with reasonable care and attention and that consequently many registrations had to be cancelled’.18

IV Local government authorities had a strong belief that pervasive influence of adults in settlements would greatly harm their children. One of the colonial officials remarked that it is their duty to see that the new generation is made up of honest people. In order to achieve their objective they framed school hours in such a way that children were regimented and controlled rather than being provided the required skill and education that were imparted to other sections of

Name of the Collector

N. Macmichael

HAB Vernon

District

Ganjam

Vizagapatam

Nothing had been done by the previous collectors in the past to improve conditions of criminal tribes in Ganjam district. The district superintendent  of police and the inspector general of police considered establishment of a criminal tribes’ settlement in the district. They had submitted their detailed proposal for the same. Therefore, it was considered to establish a criminal tribe settlement near Chatrapur in Ganjam district. According to Act III of 1911 and the notifications published under Section 10(b) of the CT Act Konda Doras, Rellis and Paidis were declared as CTs. Members of these classes have to notify to police authorities who have no information about their location and the change of

Measures The collector stated that the Chatrapur reserve in Ganjam district was a forest reserve. The area was not suitable for the formation of the settlement there. The chances of irrigation facilities were found to be very poor.19

Collector wrote that members of the Dom community constituted a public menace due to their nefarious activities. He requested the government to declare Doms as a CT. The district magistrate also felt the same. But the government was still waiting to declare Doms as CTs.20

The government is requested to open criminal tribe settlements in Chatrapur. A piece of 630 acres of government land is available. It is requested to grant/provide the land for opening the settlement.

The collector opined that these communities were the great sources of crime committed in the provinces. They were the greatest threat to the neighbours. To effect change in the existing state of affairs, government should open settlements and members of CT must be placed

Contd.

Remarks

Requirements

TABLE 14.1: MEASURES TAKEN BY DISTRICT COLLECTORS TO STRENGTHEN CT SETTLEMENTS

Kistna

District

Measures

Requirements

their residing places. Doms under the control of village living in the Koraput agency headman. Also Section 10(b) of the CT Act must be strictly were also declared as CTs. imposed on these tribes. A.Y.G. Campbell Certain Yerukulas and Yanadis In some places these groups of were declared as CTs in the people were not confined to any district. But they are not really settlement. They were living on criminals. The real criminals their own. They had their comamong the Yerukulas and munity influence on them. Yanadis were declared as criminal There was an undesirable influgangs. They were identified with ence of the community memtheir associations with other bers on their children. The criminal gangs in other pro- government provided suitable vinces. In order to deal with the employment in the government Yerukulas and Yanadis the govern- agricultural farms. Other suitment opened settlements. The able employment from the pubgreatest task of the settlements lic works department might be was changing the habits of the explored. adult criminals among the Yerukulas and Yanadis.

Name of the Collector

TABLE 14.1 (Contd.)

The collector requested the governor to provide employment to various criminal gangs in the government-run agricultural farms. The revenue department had to give its consent for the same.21

Remarks

Guntur

E.A. Davis

There were three settlements opened for the reclamation of CTs in the district. The settlements worked very satisfactorily for the CT members in the district. A lot of reclamation work was carried on in the settlements by the government. The taluq boards maintained a school for CT children at Peracherla.

Character and habits of the older generation were so deep-rooted that it was impossible to reform them. They strongly adhered to their community rules. Forming settlements had very little effect on them. CT settlements were not a permanent solution to reform them. Desirable results cannot be achieved by opening settlements. There was better hope that can be achieved for the younger generation. They get the maximum benefits from the discipline. The new habits of work and thrift must be imposed on the younger generation in the settlements. There was a need to open more schools in the settlements. The older generation should be provided with permanent residences in the settlements. The younger generation should be sent to new places for greater opportunities. The government should provide fixed property in order to stop the nomadic instinct among these communities. Contd.

The collector reported that the ‘bad character’ tribes should be divorced. The government should initiate proper action to reform the tribes as a whole from their criminal habits. The task can hopefully be accomplished in the case of present generation of adults.22

Kurnool

District

H.G. Stokes

Name of the Collector

TABLE 14.1 (Contd.)

There were only two classes of criminal tribes in the district. They were Yerukulas and Waddars. The Waddars were stationed at Siddhapuram. They were employed in the Siddhapuram tank project. They were provided work to earn an honest means of livelihood. They were encouraged to deposit the small savings from the wages they used to get out of their hard labour. The sub-inspectors who were in-charge of settlements used to perform the role of bankers. They used to deposit their small savings with them. A school was established for the education of Waddar children. They received instruction up to primary classes. Education was imparted in the ī3ſ No attempt was made to give them industrial training. The number

Measures

Remarks Waddar boys in Siddhapuram settlement were sent to Kolar for industrial training. There were some Yerukulas living in Kurnool. Application of part II of the CT Act was deferred with regard to Yerukulas. The government considered it desirable that Yerukulas should be settled down first. They should be encouraged to take to honest means as per part I of the CT Act. If they disobey, then the rules of Act II of 1911 may be applied to them. These Yerukulas may be sent either to Stuartpuram or Bitragunta.23

Requirements The collector requested the government to make proper arrangements for the permanent settlement of the Waddars in Kurnool district. For this purpose the collector requested the government to complete the Siddhapuram tank project at the earliest. He proposed that the area near the Siddhapuram tank project and the ayacut lands should be deforested. A patch of 600 acres of land was requested by the collector in order to make them settle down as peaceful agriculturists under proper supervision. There was fear among the government officials that there was a possibility of alienation of land by the Waddars and they reverting to their old habits. Therefore, the collector requested the government to provide them

Chittoor

Nellore



land on a limited tenure basis. Property rights were vested in the hands of the police department. Settlers used to face a large number of difficulties. The government also wanted to settle down Yerukulas as agriculturists wherever the local conditions permitted. The district superintendent of police made a proposal to reserve certain amount of land in Dhone taluq for the settle ment of Yerukulas. The collector opined that in – order to control these sections of people the only way was to open settlements for them.24

Diwan Bahadur In Nellore, there were no R a m a c h a n d r a aboriginal or hill tribes. The district predominantly contains Rao Yerukulas, Dommaras, Pichiguntalas and Jogulas. They were found as criminal tribes in the district. H.L. Braidwood The collector opened a settle- – ment for Korachas in Bhumannagadda. A school was also provided for the education of their children.25

of Yerukulas was larger than the Waddars. However, no definite schemes were worked out for their reformation. Some Yerukulas who were considered unwanted were sent to Kalichedu Settlement in Nellore district. However, Kurnool district possessed a larger number of Yerukulas than other districts.

Contd.

M. Young

F.J. Richards

North Arcot

Name of the Collector

Madras

District

TABLE 14.1 (Contd.)

In Madras there were no aboriginal and wandering tribes. The Salvation Army had established an industrial home in Perambur for CTs. The government used to sanction non-recurring grants for purchase of equipment, supervision and working expenses to run the settlement. There were a few children in the Industrial Home, Madras.26 There were some criminal tribes in the district such as Jogis, Salem Melnad Koravas, Vanganur Paraiyas, Kepmaris, Palayankuppam Paraiyas, and Uttambadi Koravas, etc. Koravas, Jogis and Dommaras were considered as nomadic tribes in Madras. Koravas were

Measures -

The government proposed to form a settlement near Sholingur for Vanganur Malas. However, the proposal was dropped as the site was not suitable due to the poor quality of soil there.27

The collector had reported that nothing has been done for the betterment of these classes. A settlement was opened at Arkonam taluq for the reformation of the Paraiyas. They were living in Chittoor district, and were under the supervision of C.E. Turnbull of the Australian Mission.

Remarks

-

Requirements

Salem

E.W. Legh

chiefly present in Salem district. – Atur Kilnad Koravas had been registered due to their notorious habits. Another ver y large section known as Melur Nad Koravas had also been registered. These two sections of the Korava tribe were treated badly in society. Therefore, the collector proposed to establish two settlements in the Attur Valley for certain members of these tribes. The London Mission Society showed keen interest to draw them back to their regular life. Dimensions of the problem of criminal members are manysided. They were fragmented and isolated. The work done to reform these people were inadequate. Reformation work concerning these people was based on a few principles: it was desirable to remove children from the parents, and if possible from evil surroundings; in order to alter the characters of the old people in the settlements mere



Contd.

District

Name of the Collector

TABLE 14.1 (Contd.)

alteration of the material conditions of people will not be sufficient; reformation work carried out among these people was very scarce since they were fragmented and isolated. So reformation work had to be encouraged in settlements. It was found that these classes generally had a real love for criminal life partly due to making easy means of livelihood and partly due to leading a life more interesting to them than practising agriculture. These were the root causes for their evil ways. There was every possibility that education and material improvement will definitely help to eradicate  crime. Further, regulation of these members will help to bring down their crime rate. Their inner and outer

Measures

Requirements

Remarks

tendencies of committing crime will be removed by the missionary work. A proper understanding of all these facts is necessary while doing reformation work among these communities. Reclamation of criminal tribes is a personal and individual problem. The problem can be easily solved by encouraging these people to mingle with other people. By intercourse with other persons they will obtain an insight into a different attitude towards life. The official agency or any other voluntary agency should not look only at the change of conditions but also at personal relationships. The effect of change among these classes was personal change. Reformation work dealing with the CTs should not be merely an official work. If the work is official it will lose the human aspect of reformation. Contd.

District

Name of the Collector

TABLE 14.1 (Contd.)

The criminal tribes or criminal settlements should not be treated as personal problems of the government. It was also necessary to guard against the officializing or stereotyping of criminal tribes and their settlements. It was necessary to open official settlements with sufficient work of philanthropic agencies. Sometimes they may not be available. Under these circumstances care should be taken especially in recruiting the settlement managers. These managers should not possess official character but personal character with humane qualities.28

Measures

Requirements

Remarks

G.R.F. Tottenham

G.F. Paddison

Coimbatore

Madura

Valayas and Koravas were considered as criminal tribes in the district. They constituted 1.5 per cent of the population. The government had taken steps to register them under CT Act. As a class they were very poor and illiterate. Neither the government nor the public did anything to improve their conditions. Some of them were appointed by the government to do menial works (village menials). They were law abiding people. They faced many disabilities. They were considered as untouchables. They did not have free access to rural schools in the villages. Majority of these tribes were brought under Criminal Tribes Act. Settlements were formed and lands were assigned for the Kallars in the district.30 –



The first and the foremost thing – that needs consideration was to gather all these communities at one place and settle them in organized settlements. Gradually, education must be introduced at all levels.29

Contd.

M.S. Lloyd

Trichinopoly

Requirements

In Mangapuram, Sorakkaya- The government formed crimi- – patti, Kondayampatti, Vanniyar- nal settlements for these people.31 patti, Srivilliputtur, Arup pukkotai, Devakottai areas the Kallas, Koravas, Valayam are called CTs. The CT Act was in operation in the district. They were watched by police. Special measures were required to regulate CTs in the district. Koravas, Kallas and Kepmaris – – were considered as CTs. Settlements were considered for members of these communities residing in various other settlements.32

Measures

Remarks

Source: Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 2088, dated 26 April 1948, pp. 3-15, Andhra Pradesh State Archives, Tarnaka, Hyderabad (Undivided Andhra Pradesh).

A.R. Loftus Tottenham

Name of the Collector

Ramnad

District

TABLE 14.1 (Contd.)

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215

people. Their education was largely confined to basic literacy and the content was mostly industrial in nature. Children in these schools had no time to live with their parents as they were away from their parents and community. Local government authorities felt that the best way to handle children was to open boarding schools. These schools separated children from parents, community and settlement environment. These schools were not too far from the settlements. Parents occasionally were allowed to see their children. This was the rule of every boarding school in the West. Yerukulas often condemned the acts of local government officials. But the opinion of the colonial bureaucracy was opposite to parental views. A contemporary bureaucrat remarked that once parents are made to understand that the separation was not done to deprive them of their children but only for the sake of education and to enable the children to get an honest employment in future, the parents agreed. Officials strictly advised local police, missionary authorities and settlement managers to strictly guard parents, elders and members of the community and not to allow them to be with their children during the time of their education. Under the pretext of education, colonial government separated parents and children and, successfully implemented the CT Act against all suspected miscreants. This was completely a misunderstood phenomenon on the part of the local government authorities.33 Boarding schools were established by local government authorities for the education of children of CTs. The standards of punishment for the younger children were severe. Physical training occupied a major part of the school curriculum. All the children were not kept together; younger children were kept separately and made to live together. They had a separate compound for recreation and schooling. They were not allowed to meet the senior boys. Younger children were kept under the control of female supervisors and teachers who often happened to be missionary women and nuns. Girls were also kept under the control of female supervisors. Here also the separation was made between little girls and grown-up girls. Government made provisions for the marriages of reformed individuals. Local authorities asked the managers to see that marriages among Yerukulas were contacted only between or amongst the reformed Yerukula families. The government intended to educate children to help them earn an honest living. Section 17 of the Criminal Tribes Act empowered the local governments to establish industrial, agricultural, or re-

216

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

formatory schools for children. It requested managers to separate children from their parents, guardians and place them in such schools. Children of any member of a CT under Section 12 of the CT Act had been notified and declared as a CT and hence were to be separated and kept in such schools.34 For example, one school at Madras for boys and the other at Nellore for girls may be cited as examples in this context. These schools were started with only 50 children in each school in the beginning.35 The government had proposed that majority of children should be educated in settlement schools along with their parents.36 Keeping in mind the importance of education for these children the government had accepted to bear the entire cost of education of children and to run schools in the settlements of CTs. The district magistrate at Nellore was asked to submit plans and estimates for the construction at Kavali of two hostels for boys and girls. In the annual report a proposal was made that all settlements should possess a boarding school. Officials on the other hand considered the proposal unnecessary. The government asked missionary officials for details on the treatment meted to boys and girls in such boarding schools. Officers were requested to inspect schools regularly. The government opened one boarding school at Kalichedu. In Kavali Settlement the manager made it mandatory for all children to reside in the mission boarding school.37 The manager was thus responsible for the complete separation of children from their parents. Parents were allowed to see their children but for a short time during the day. Father H.M. Pezzoni insisted that moral instruction should be imparted to all settlers. The government had laid down the principle that as far as possible every settlement should be attached to a professed religious or philanthropic agency. It must be put under the charge of a missionary. He also suggested that there should be separate quarters for married people, bachelors and widows. Father Pezzoni objected that settlers very often had to go out in the jungle to fetch raw material for the work to be done in the settlement. Government insisted that the settlers should be allowed to go out only on obtaining passes. Anyhow the objection raised by Pezzoni appeared reasonable to the government. It presumed that it was with the object of discontinuing this practice that the inspector general of police suggested that date leaves should be brought wholesale by the settlement authorities and distributed among the settlers.38 Yanadis were not Criminal Tribes notified under the CT Act. The

PERCEPTIONS AND APPROACHES TO ‘CRIMINALS’

217

government subsidized a voluntary settlement from 1914 to 1917. It opened a purely voluntary settlement for reformation of tribes who were suspected to possess criminal propensities. It understood that such an enterprise would not be successful. Therefore, it withdrew aid to run the voluntary settlement. H.M. Pezzoni suggested that the government may help Yanadis and Yerukulas living outside settlements to form into colonies.39 He suggested that Yanadis may be distributed lands but the government expressed that suitable land was not available for assignment to rehabilitate the Yanadis. Further, H.M. Pezzoni suggested that they should be settled where employment opportunities were abundantly available for them, in the adjoining cities or places. The government did not agree to open schools/run schools for children whose parents were not declared as CTs but belonged to the same tribe in districts/places like Kistna, Bellary, Kurnool, Cuddapah and Chittoor. The Madras government used to organize annual conferences in order to deal with CTs in settlements and contemplate on how to ameliorate non-criminal classes in the provinces. It used to invite persons who had experience and knowledge with regard to these classes. It realized that holding such conferences by inviting experienced people was prestigious and advantageous to the government. The Government of Madras organized several such conferences. Members of Judicial Council, inspector generals of police, members of criminal investigation department, commissioners of Salvation Army and its secretaries (financial and administrative) and collectors having experience of running CT settlements were represented on these annual conferences. There was no hard and fast rule that these conferences should be organized during a specific period. The Governor of Madras province asked the government to organize general meetings every year with representatives from each native state. Ultimately general conferences were organized in the whole of India in which local governments and the Indian state were compulsorily represented. The all-India conferences were to discuss questions that related to different aspects delving into CT settlements.40

V The general policy of the government was to transfer or encourage transfer or removal of communities/people to the places beyond their own language area or to distant places/areas.41 These communities

218

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

regarded such places as foreign country. Alexander Cardew, an official in the Madras Presidency, used to recommend to the government to encourage transfers due to the problem of language. In the opinion of the government, the fundamental aspect of state’s interference in this matter was weaning a tribe from its melancholic past and its assimilation into the general population. Government opened new settlements such as those at Madras and Guntur as homes for these incorrigibles. Alexander Cardew proposed that the government might send them to Andamans. Brigadier Tuley felt that dangerous criminals may resort to the neighbourhood of a settlement in the hope that suspicion may be diverted from themselves and their crimes wrongly attributed to the settlers.42 Missionary bodies often used to request the government to support the old and infirm people with financial aid. The government always turned down such requests. It asked the missionary bodies to meet support expenses of old and infirm people from the monthly recurring grants given to them. The government used to give a personal grant of ī6 per family per month in colonies like Aziznagar. Commissioner Booth Tucker proposed more grants, but the government did not approve the proposal. Instead it sanctioned certain recoverable advances for the maintenance of Aziznagar Settlement during the period when they were reclaiming their lands in the settlement. The imperial legislative council undertook an initiative of constituting an enquiry committee to look into the conditions of the depressed classes in the Madras province. The government in its circular defined/classified depressed classes into three categories. The term ‘depressed classes’ was defined to constitute untouchables, aboriginal tribes and criminal tribes. The letters from Father Pezzoni and Tuley were confined to what had been achieved in the past with regard to their amelioration. The government decided not to add any more to its commitment in this regard. It proposed to settle depressed classes on government lands. The public department officials had proposed that these classes of people should be sent/deported to the Andamans. The Salvation Army was apparently tackling India on this point with reference to other provisions. The government proposed to place a criminal tribe in a settlement or to restrict its movements to a settlement. Almost all the criminal tribe settlements in Madras were given to private bodies. These bodies had received financial support the government and the Indian government was completely aware of this fact. It had decided not to

PERCEPTIONS AND APPROACHES TO ‘CRIMINALS’

219

add any more new settlements at present. The government did not commit to recommend any more new settlements. It wanted to confine in future only to Section 10 of the CT Act and progress made in the working of various sections of the CT Act including Sections 11 and 12 related to the restriction of CTs’ movements. The government had devoted its attention to the provision of land for the support of CTs placed in settlements.43 With the approval of the Government of India they had sanctioned alienation of lands in favour of managing agencies of such settlements. Settlements added more financial burden to the government and education of children in settlements was another important issue.44 It had accepted to meet the entire cost of schools in CT settlements and had also considered opening of new schools in certain places for the benefit of children. Movement of parents had not been restricted under Sections 11-12 of the CT Act.45 The government had ruled that there were some reformed families among the criminal classes who were leading an honest life and it was worried about the settlement of their children in society. They were very particular with regard to the future of their girls. Therefore, families urged the government to adopt measures for the well-being of girls in the settlements.46 The colonial government had proposed certain rules that reformed girls could be married only to reformed boys, that too only at a reasonable age. The government also believed it would be a fatal mistake to allow parents to marry girls or boys to anybody and everybody of their choice. There was another strong objection with regard to the marriage issue of reformed grown-up girls and women. The government received many complaints that the parents used to treat their girl children as merchandise and send them off with the highest bidder. For example, the price of a girl rose in some places in Madras province from ī300 to 500 during the first decade of twentieth century.47

Notes 1. Government of Madras, Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 2194, dated 6th September 1916. 2. Ibid., GO No. 2968, dated 3 December 1915. 3. Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 1882, dated 26 July 1916. 4. Ibid., GO No. 1639, dated 8 August 1917.

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DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

5. Government of Madras, Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 1225, dated 20th May 1918. 6. Ibid., GO No. 1225, dated 20 May 1918. 7. Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 2074, dated 18 August 1916. 8. Government of Madras, Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 1695, dated 15 August 1917. 9. Government of Madras, Home (Education) Department, GO No. 1225, dated 20 May 1918, pp. 16-19. 10. Ibid., GO No. 1537, dated 27 July 1917. 11. Government of Madras, Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 2509, dated 14 October 1915. 12. Ibid., GO No. 2764, dated 23 November 1916. 13. Ibid., GO No. 1195, dated 9 June 1917. 14. Ibid., GO No. 306, dated 7 February 1918. 15. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 1446-C, dated 13 March 1918. 16. Ibid., GO No. 854, dated 9 April 1919. 17. Ibid., GO No. 1849, dated 15 October 1932. 18. Ibid., GO No. 1274, dated 28 June 1943. 19. Ibid., GO No. 505, dated 12 April 1932. 20. Ibid., GO No. 892, dated 19 May 1933. 21. Ibid., GO No. 154, dated 24 November 1933. 22. Ibid., GO No. 1652, dated 5 December 1934. 23. Ibid., GO No. 713, dated 31 May 1934. 24. Ibid., GO No. 291, dated 28 February 1934. 25. Ibid., GO No. 1472, dated 11 October 1934. 26. Ibid., GO No. 472, dated 9 April 1934. 27. Ibid., GO No. 855, dated 28 June 1934. 28. Ibid., GO No. 1358, dated 25 September 1934. 29. Ibid., GO No. 622, dated 8 May 1934. 30. Ibid., GO No. 1573, dated 9 November 1935. 31. Ibid., GO No. 1066, dated 1 August 1935. 32. Ibid., GO No. 785, dated 1 June 1935. 33. Ibid., GO No. 2862, dated 2 November 1943. 34. Ibid., GO No. 3247, dated 15 February 1943. 35. Ibid., GO No. 3805, dated 24 November 1943. 36. Ibid., GO No. 2136, dated 28 April 1948. 37. Ibid., GO No. 3413, dated 25 June 1948. 38. Ibid., GO No. 2088, dated 26 April 1948. 39. Ibid., GO No. 1669, dated 5 April 1948. 40. Ibid., GO No. 1485, dated 21 March 1949. 41. Ibid., GO No. 2355, dated 3 May 1949. 42. Ibid., GO No. 2347, dated 2 May 1949.

PERCEPTIONS AND APPROACHES TO ‘CRIMINALS’

43. Ibid., 44. Ibid., 45. Ibid., 46. Ibid., 47. Ibid.,

GO GO GO GO GO

No. No. No. No. No.

3115, dated 10 June 1949. 4227, dated 16 August 1949. 4277, dated 19 August 1949. 37, dated 4 January 1950. 42, dated 5 January 1950.

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CHAPTER 15

Criminal Tribes in the Princely State of Mysore: Measures of Surveilance

DIWAN BAHADUR C. SRIKANTESWARA AIYYAR the then Inspector General

of Police in Mysore wrote to D.M. Narasimha Rao, the then officiating secretary to the government of His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore wherein he stated that, the criminal tribe’s act having been in force in the neighbouring British Presidencies and in the Dominions of His Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad, the registration of Gangs in those provinces have been going on for some time and is now nearing completion. Many of their supernumeraries, however, have taken advantage of the non-existence of a similar law in Mysore, and have migrated into Mysore and joined the local criminal gangs, swelling their numbers considerably and rendering the work of their surveillance very complicated and difficult.1

Subsequently a list comprising important criminal ‘gangs’ in Mysore state was prepared by the government. There were no effective provisions for control of their movements. Many of their members had wandered away here and there, and many notorious characters from outside had taken shelter with them. Therefore, a Bill was passed and enforced into law for the registration, surveillance and control of criminal tribes in Mysore by a select committee of the legislative council. With the enactment of Criminal Tribes Bill into a law, elaborate enquiries were made regarding the antecedents and modes of life of individual members whose number in 1916 exceeded 14,000 in the Princely State of Mysore. Finger-prints of all the people were collected and a register in proper form was maintained. To do the work of registration and controlling criminal tribes in Mysore, competent superior officials and full-time officers with adequate staff were employed. They were asked to do the work briskly and simultaneously without any interruption in two or three districts at a time. There was an effective round-up of as many members of the gangs in their respective residences as possible. Such work was being

CRIMINAL TRIBES IN THE PRINCELY STATE OF MYSORE

223

carried on elsewhere by large CID and special establishments with a deputy inspector general of police at their head.2 Registration of the criminal gangs in Mysore was very effective. Special inspectors, office staff, clerks, constables and jamedars with their usual duties were appointed to look after works related to control and management of criminal tribes in Mysore. Apart from the above officers, a superintendent of police and temporary staff were posted for the duty. Permanent staff of the CID department was deputed to render as much assistance as they could. The inspectors and jamedars were employed for routine work. Senior and competent inspectors were appointed from taluqs for the special duty of controlling criminal tribes. The inspector general of police represented that with the enactment of the Criminal Tribes’ Regulation in Mysore it had become necessary to make elaborate enquiries regarding criminal gangs and to write up registers in proper form.3 The Mysore government brought the registers into practice. They were transferred to the respective districts where grave crime was prevalent. Thereafter, the district officers and CID were asked to note down variations from time to time. The finger print bureau was strengthened. K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar, the then officiating Inspector General of Police in Mysore, wrote that the government approved draft rules under the Criminal Tribes’ Regulation in Mysore. A list of criminal classes declared as criminal tribes under the Criminal Tribes Act III of 1911 in Bombay and Madras Provinces was prepared. The government notified under Section 19 of the regulation that provisions of Section 20 thereof shall apply to tribes mentioned in the list. These tribes lived in the districts adjoining Mysore state and most of them had relations in Mysore state. They frequently entered Mysore state for the purpose of committing offences. With the approval of the government, a draft notification was issued and declared that they should not be permitted to enter into Mysore state without permission. Under Section 20 (Clause 3) of the Criminal Tribes Act they were expelled from the state under the regulations of the said Act.4 Table15.1 lists gangs that were declared as criminal gangs in Madras province. These notified gangs used to enter Mysore state to meet their relatives. The Mysore state administration declared them as criminal tribes and orders were passed against their entry into the state. These tribes if found in Mysore were punished under the 1916 Criminal Tribes Act of Ceded districts in Karnataka.5 The government found it a stupendous task to stem down mig-

TABLE 15.1: TRIBES DECLARED AS CRIMINAL IN MYSORE UNDER THE 1916 CT ACT

Name of the Tribe/ gang/class

Vayalpadu or Nawabpeta Korachas Donga Dasaris

District

Chittor, Salem and Anantapur

Nellore, Kurnool, Guntur, Godavari and Krishna Donga Yerukulas Godavari, Guntur, Nellore, Kurnool, Krishna and Bellary Donga Waddars Kurnool, Anantapur, Cuddapah, Nellore, Guntur, and Krishna Togamalai Koravas (also Trichinopoly, South Arcot, known as Kepmaris) Chingleput, North Arcot, Cuddapah and Salem Rudrapad Korchas Bellary Dommaras Nellore Salem-Melurnad Koravas Salem, Coimbatore, Trichinopoly and North Arcot Attur-Kilnad Koravas Salem, South Arcot and Trichinopoly Nakkalas Godavari Gandharvakottai Koravas Tanjore Vanganur Pariahs North Arcot, Chittoor, Chingleput and Nellore Jogis North Arcot, Chingleput, Chittor and South Arcot Jogis of Nellore Nellore Tribe of hired Assassins Cuddapah, Kurnool, and Anantapur Kilagudi Kallas Madura Konda Doras Vizagapatam Vellayankuppam Padayachis South Arcot Kuttapal Kallars Tanjore and Trichinopoly Chettinad Valayars Ramnad Rellis (also Known as Vizagapatam Sachadis and Sapiris) Sorikkampatti Kallans, Mela Madura Urappanur Kallans and Pusalapuram Kallans Uppu Koravas of Koilpattu Tinnevelly and Anavardanallur

Date of notification under the CTA 24-5-1913 24-5-1913 24-5-1913 21-6-1913 28-6-1913

12-7-1913 23-8-1913 23-8-1913 25-10-1913 25-10-1913 13-12-1913 21-2-1914 7-3-1914 10-7-1915 28-4-1914 16-5-1914 1-8-1914 21-11-1914 30-1-1915 8-5-1915 15-5-1915 25-9-1915

23-10-1915 Contd.

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225

TABLE 15.1 (Contd.)

Valayas

Vaduvarpatti Koravas Paidis Sakkaraitamadai Koravas Telaga Pamulas, Erragollas or Paiki Mukkalas Valayas

Valayas

Urali Goundans Donga Dasaris Mulla Vidupalavandhi or Santola Muzzalu and Alagiris or Gudu Dasaris

Annur and Kanjapalli villages and their hamlets in Avanashi taluq, Coimbatore district Ramnad, Madura and Tinnevelly Vizagapatam South Arcot and North Arcot Ganjam, Vizagapatam, Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Nellore, Kurnool and Cuddapah Kiranatham, Kondayampalyam Sirkar Samakkulam and Vellamadai in Coimbatore district Avanashi, Kaniyampundi, Pudupalayam, Sempenallur, Nambiyampalyam, KurumamPalyam, Sinnaripalyam, Velayudampalyam, Avanashi taluq and Vellanaipatti and hamlets in Coimbatore taluq Dhulipatti, Kulittalai taluq I Trichinopoly district Bellary Cuddapah and Chittor

3-6-1916

5-8-1916 5-8-1916 20-1-1917 23-1-1917

24-2-1917

24-2-1917

28-4-1917 19-5-1917 19-5-1917

ratory habits of criminal tribes from other states. It had to spend unlimited resources for this purpose and also had to spend a lot of time to plan an appropriate strategy. It found pioneering work done by Christian missionaries in the fields of education, health and other related matters highly interesting and appealing. The Mysore government invited a few missionary organizations in the beginning. As the problem of CTs became complicated, several missionary organizations gradually stepped into the field and initiated rehabilitation activities. They appeared on the scene as selfless workers in the beginning, but gradually began undertaking proselytising activities in converting whole tribes in the provinces. The government frequently shifted programmes from one missionary to the other. For example, in many settlement areas education of boys was taken up by missionaries but there was no response from girls. It took a lot of

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time for the government to implement general programmes in settlements and to impact the lives of criminal tribes. Voluntary organizations, therefore, could not concentrate on girls’ education in the selected areas. There was yet another problem in the field of education which the government felt would need urgent action. All the tribal communities were totally illiterate. Missionary and voluntary organizations did not take the lead in making them literate. Another area that required special attention was that missionaries used to select extremely backward tribal groups and hamlets. Schematic programmes were not expected by the government from missionary organizations to solve the problems of innocent tribals. Human approach and humane treatment of the delinquent people in the settlements was expected in the process of reform and rehabilitation.6 Capemaries are a criminal class of south India. In the Madras Presidency they were otherwise known as Alagaris, Korva Pujaris, Ena Koravas and Thogamalai Koravas. In Mysore they were commonly known as Vella Korachars or Vellala Koramars. They did not, however, call themselves by any of these names, but claimed to belong to one of the higher castes such as Agamudiyans, Mudaliars or Pallis. The Capemaries were an offshoot of the great Koravar tribe. The original settlements out of which the class is said to have developed are situated at Edayapatti near Thogamalai in Kulittalai taluq of Trichinopoly district, Pattukote in Tanjore district and Sanjikote in South Arcot district. Capemaries admitted members of other castes into their fold. The recruits were generally drawn from castes such as Agamudiyans, Shaliyas and Edayans, but never from inferior castes such as Holiyas and Madigars. The recruits were generally girls. Capemaries were of good physique and were generally fair and good looking. They were able to adopt many disguises and it was very difficult to identify them. They had lost nomadic instincts and habits characteristic of Koravas. They lived in well-built houses and their standard of living was higher than that of ordinary ryots.7 Capemari settlements were found all over the Madras Presidency, Mysore state, Hyderabad and Bombay provinces. Small colonies of them were found in Bengal and United Provinces also. Gangs in these several settlements were closely connected with one another. The settlements had been carefully located so as to afford convenient bases for the tribe to carry on their depredations. Capemaries were generally Shaivites. Their favourite gods were Subramaniyam, Maduraiveeran, Kathayi and Moothevi. In marriage ceremonies they followed practices of higher-class Shudras and Brahmins officiated as

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priests. Relations between the sexes were very lax and polygamy was common. A man’s widow was accepted (married) by his brother. Formerly the Capemaries were addicted to burglary, robbery and dacoity. With a growing appreciation of the penal law they turned their attention to the comparatively milder offences of theft and pick-pocketing. Their natural genius for assuming disguises enabled them to mix freely with crowds at fairs and festivals, and take the opportunity to commit theft.8 Construction of railways opened a veritable goldmine to them. In fact, they specialize in thieving on trains. With the Soonaries of Bundelkhand and Bhamptas of Poona, they rank as the foremost railway criminals of India. Their field of action extended all over India, as far as Punjab and Sindh. Both men and women were clever thieves and children were trained early in the art of picking pockets. They started in parties of four or five accompanied by a few women and children.9 They visited fairs and festivals or travelled on railways. Men posed as respectable traders, zamindars, pilgrims and ryots. Members of the party pretend to be strangers to one another. At the given favourable opportunity a theft was committed and property quietly passed on from one to another so that in a short time it changed several hands and was carried far away from the scene of offence. Even if the thief was apprehended the property was rarely recovered. Most of them generally carried a lancet, a sharp knife or a piece of glass to rip open bags and cut the strings of jewels. It was often concealed in their mouth.10 Enactment of law in Mysore state aimed at controlling criminal depredations of gangs like Capemaries.

Notes 1. L.K. Anantha Krishna Iyer, The Mysore Tribes and Castes, Mysore: Mysore University Press, 1930, p. 86. Also see S.S. Hassan, The Castes and Tribes of H.E.H. Nizam Dominions, Bombay: Government Central Press, 1920, pp. 74-5. 2. Government of Madras, File No. 103-20, Sl. No. 1-4, Police Department, 1920, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Government of Madras, File No. 100-20, Sl. No. 1-4, Police Department, 1920, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. 6. Government of Madras, File No. 65-71, Sl. No. 6-10, Police Department, 1917-18, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru.

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DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

7. Brahmananda Reddy, ‘Role of Voluntary Organizations in the Tribal Development’, in Occasional Papers on Tribal Development, No. 2, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, 1976. 8. Government of Madras, File No. 28-1917, GO No. 811, Home Judicial Department, dated 19 April 1917, State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru. 9. Government of Karnataka, Karnataka State Gazetter, Part II, 1989, Government Press, Karnataka, Bangalore, 1983, p. 247. 10. Government of Madras, Rules Under the Criminal Tribes Regulation VII of 1916, Madras: Government Press, Karnataka State Archives, Vidhana Soudha, Bengaluru.

CHAPTER 16

Land Allotment and Cultivation: Andhra Pradesh

DENOTIFIED TRIBAL SETTLEMENTS were covered with reserved forests.

During the initial period the colonial forest department did not use settlement lands. This enabled private owners to encroach on these. Government deforested lands in order to encourage private enterprise. It planted trees in sandy tracts (loose sandy soil) and classified tribal settlement lands under six major heads: t t t t t t

Areas in which casuarinas were already developed Areas taken up for fresh plantation with casuarinas Areas planted with mango plants Open pasturage area Area covered with scrub jungle and Area of unproductive salt parra1 (unproductive land)

Area already with casuarinas, area under fresh plantation with casuarinas and area planted with mango plants were under the forest department. District forest officers used to prepare regular working plans for the areas planted with casuarinas but the grazing needs of cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats of the tribal population were overlooked while drawing up the plans. The parra lands in settlement areas were unproductive. Scrub jungles were thickly grown with prickly-pear shrubs. Private owners occupied these scrub jungle areas free of cost. The forest department sold parts of settlement lands at cheap rates to private and wealthy persons to invest their capital and provide employment for the poor in the settlements. Private persons made profits on these forest lands. Man-made felling followed and timber was cut in order to obtain quick profits. Private owners restricted the grazing rights of the poor tribal population.2 Thousands of acres of land were reserved by the British government to plant trees to ensure rainfall and conserve resources of the land. This was a beneficial Act contemplated by the government. But hundreds of acres in reserved forests remained vacant and unplanted

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by the forest department. There was a great demand for firewood in surrounding areas. Private landowners planted thousands of acres with casuarinas and other trees. Soon the forest land owned by private landholders was large in extent. The government sold forest lands to private enterprisers due to the following reasons: It wanted to increase share of private enterprise in tree plantation work t It planned to raise money for other public services by auctioning forest lands t For the rich who were averse to investing in mercantile ventures, the safe bet was to purchase forest lands from the government t Annual assessment on lands paid by private owners increased revenue of the government t For wage-earning public in the settlements forests offered remunerative labour.3 t

The local rich exerted pressure on government to reclaim swamp lands in the settlement areas. Tribal hamlets were impoverished by swamp land cultivation by local landlords. Crops were swept away by floods. They could not secure more than three crops over a period of ten years.4 The cooperative societies used to appeal to the government to aid the associations. These bodies requested the government to appoint them as public agents to sell the lands to worthy ryots in the association. By selling lands to the rich people in the association they tried to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor cultivators. The colonial government gave lands to poor and worthy ryots with the following understanding: The Public Works Department had fixed a price of ī25 per acre on swamp land. Government asked the associations to sell lands at the fixed rates without any profit. t Only palmyra palms were allowed to grow in the waste lands. Palmyra palms produced only leaves. The cultivators who secured swamp lands were allowed to secure 10 cents of land free of cost. The cost of trees in wastelands enabled formation of additional hamlets in the settlement areas. t Lands were inalienable until the cultivators get the nod from respective district collectors. t Permanent revenue from swamp lands and house taxes from settlement lands was assured to the govenment.5 t

LAND ALLOTMENT AND CULTIVATION t

231

In order to prevent moneylenders from securing swamp lands and building sites, the local public petitioned the government not to allot land to cooperative societies. The people’s petition stated that ‘all reserved forests in settlement areas should be dis-afforested and sold to private parties who sought to invest their capital and the swamp lands should be given to cooperative associations to distribute to its members’.6

II The Government of Madras opened agricultural and industrial settlements for settlers. The former were considered a reward for good behaviour of settlers. It meant those who behaved well in the industrial settlements were placed in agricultural settlements. In one of the communiqués the colonial government reported that, it is proved by experience in all countries and with all classes, that so long as the coolly system is in force the labourer does as little work as possible, but as soon as a man is given a small plot of land he turns out at dawn and works till late; and even if he has other tasks to perform he will manage to find time to devote a certain amount of labour with his own plot.7

The government emphasized on agriculture as the main industry in all settlements and provided land for settlers. The colonial government assigned land to the managing agencies on many conditions. Land was not given to settlers directly. Government was the sole agent for assigning and taking away land from settlers. The practice of allotting land to settlers varied from settlement to settlement. However, as a general principle, government distributed among each family of settlers a block of dry land and a piece of wet land. Settlers were made responsible for cultivation of the lands. In order to prevent alienation from their lands, the settlers were made tenants of the managing body of settlements. Settlers were asked to pay rent for their lands. Government in course of time provided pattas of lands to those settlers who had shown continuous industry, good conduct and fitness to own the land.8 Settlers were expected to earn an honest means of livelihood by tilling and cultivating their lands. Out of the seven criminal settlements established under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1911, by 1915, five settlements were managed by the Salvation Army, Kavali Settlement was managed by the American Baptist Telugu Mission and the Siddhapuram Settlement

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was under the official management of the colonial government.9 Siddhapuram was a voluntary settlement. The main source of livelihood for settlers was agriculture; 1,066 acres of land was distributed to the settlers in the beginning. There was a great demand from outsiders for settlement land which is a sign of its value. Sitanagaram Settlement was formed by the Salvation Army and an extent of 84.06 acres of land at Sitanagaram (relinquished by Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway Company) was provided to the agency. Government entrusted Salvation Army with occupancy rights and free assessment rights on the lands. Agriculture was made the chief means of livelihood for the Yerukulas. In Guntur district three settlements worked closely with one another. Different characteristic features made the settlements suited for cooperating with each other with an interchange of tribal settlers. This was very conducive for the success of each settlement. All settlements worked together under similar conditions.10 Sitanagaram and Stuartpuram settlements were open settlements reserved for would be goods. Settlers who settled there rarely absconded. Stuartpuram Settlement was essentially an agricultural settlement.11 During the year 1913, Yerukulas took shelter under the Salvation Army. As a result of this, government in the year 1914 gave 1,860 acres of land to the Salvation Army to open a settlement for the Donga Yerukulas. In the meantime, certain inhabitants of Bapatla and neighbouring villages started an agitation protesting against the increase of crime in the locality and grant of land for purposes of the settlement. In October 1915, Bethapudi was declared to be a criminal settlement under Section 16 of the CT Act 1911.12 Betapudi Settlement thrived and enjoyed a good name among neighbours. Settlers expressed their preference for agricultural work and the settlement lands had plenty of good water near the surface that was suited for ragi, groundnut and other crops. It was reported that The government proposed to run the settlement along either side of the Railway line on the Canadian system of long narrow strips with the huts facing the railway line on each side and a garden in front and the rest of their land at the back: thus each cottage would be on its own land and the whole thing would present a most picturesque appearance.13

Swamp land in the settlement was very valuable but there were problems of drainage, bunding and irrigation. A block of 1,500 acres

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was earmarked for colonizing settlers. A small rent was fixed to cover the working expenses.14 Several wastelands were lying vacant and were very close to the Romperu swamp. Mackenzie, the Salvation Army officer, along with the local tahasildar of Bapatla had carefully gone over the area and selected several pieces of land. The fields finally selected were situated in the villages of Betapudi, Murukondapadu and Epurupalem. They were broadly classified under Reserved Forests and Assessed Waste Lands.15 According to the then Conservator of Forests the lands should not be disafforested. The Board has recently called for proposals for disafforesting the reserved forests in this district and the matter is under enquiry. Each forest has to be inspected jointly by the District Forest Officer and the Divisional Officer and it will be fully six months before the report can be drawn up. The question of assigning the Vedullapalli reserve to private individuals may lie over for the present and Mr. Mackenzie has selected other lands in its place.16

The colonial government approved proposals made by the Salvation Army Commissioner, Booth Tucker for opening a settlement for criminal tribes near Betapudi in Guntur district. A block of 360 acres of assessed waste dry land in Murukondapadu and Epurupalem villages, and another plot of 1,500 acres within the areas of Romperu swamp lands were given to the Salvation Army to run the settlement. Orders for starting the settlement were issued by revenue department by transferring land and imposing the condition that the Salvation Army was the sole agent on that land.17 The missionary agency also obtained 13 acres of land in Bethapudi. Several members of the CID Gang No. VIII were induced to settle there. Booth Tucker agreed to start a regular agricultural colony as large extent of wasteland was available for opening the settlement. He inspected the land in person and the same was granted on 15 December 1913 without bothering much about the interests of other ryots.18

III Lands in the Romperu swamp used to turn into natural depressions every year. They were located between Commamur canal on one side and a sandy ridge along with railway lines on the other. It started from Mulapalem near Bapatla and ended at Pedda Ganjam. The Public Works Department was unable to supply canal water regularly,

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so settlers depended on rain water and drainage water from surrounding fields for irrigation. Romperu swamp traversed the limits of 17 villages, covering a total area of 20,000 acres. Excavation of Perali drain and construction of under-sluices in the Nallamada drain improved cultivation.19 Yerukulas who settled near Betapudi came of their own accord as they intended seriously to settle down as agriculturists. Supervisory methods were in place to monitor the movements of settlers. Settlers with good conduct alone were allotted lands permanently though no permanent pattas were sanctioned to them.20 The Board opined that the reserve forest near Betapudi was the best location for the initial settlement of the Donga Yerukulas. It sanctioned a total of 360 acres for the purpose and assigned it to the Salvation Army through the revenue Department, GO No. 2971, dated 9 October 1913. The Board also considered two blocks of land in survey Nos. 1B and 144 at Epurupalem village and reserved them for occupation by Yerukula settlers. It also considered Salvation Army’s application for allotment of lands in other tracts of Andhra Pradesh, but did not grant it for technical reasons.21 The swamp lands extended from Nallamada drain up to Pedda Ganjam and passed through 17 villages, from Mulapalem to Pedda Ganjam.22 To improve the drainage system in the settlement, the Public Works Department made channels for swamp lands in the east. Shutters were provided for the drainage channel and its main objective was not to allow water to the Nallamada drain.23 During floods, water used to overflow the drainage channel and damage all crops in swamp lands in the villages of Mulapalem and Jammulapalem. Water used to stagnate in lands for more than ten days. Government provided screw-grazing shutters to shut out water of the Nallamada drain during floods.24 Perali drain was dug up during the year 1899-1900 and the same was repaired during the years 1909-10 by the Public Works Department. The drain was not effective because it was on a sandy track. To make the Romperu drain more effective, the Perali drain was closed. Swamp lands in four villages were not fit for cultivation.25 Romperu drain in the western part of the settlement area passed up to the end of swamp lands located at Chirala. Lands were fertile and the soil was black cotton. However, the lands provided to the settlers were unfit for cultivation and liable to be submerged for a long part of the year. No facilities were provided by either the irrigation department or the Public Works Department to make them fit for ploughing. The Public Works Department tried to deepen the

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Romperu and Perali drains. Though swamp lands were useful for raising dry crops, no drainage channels were properly provided for settlers. Crops raised by them were frequently affected by floods and the yield was very poor. Irrigation was very precarious. There was no source of income for the poor settlers and consequently a large number of them escaped from the settlement.26 Paddy was cultivated every year by the settlers. Crop yield was fair. Some settlers lost all they put in while others did fairly well. The estimated crop was about six sacks of paddy per acre. There was abundant of swamp land within the settlement, most of which was low land subjected to inundation during the cultivation season. There was no protection against water gravitating to these lands and it was slightly lower than Romperu drain which was installed to pump out surplus water. The portion of land cultivated by settlers was a narrow strip running parallel to the Romperu drain and at a higher level. Cultivation was possible only by raising the level of water in Romperu through the masonry dam. Colonial administrators considered it highly important that the whole scheme of protecting against floods and irrigation should be looked into and that the Public Works Department authorities should advise as to the measures which should be adopted to bring land under cultivation. With this end in view, a contour map of the entire block of land was prepared by executive engineer of Kistna Western Division in the year 1916 when a project was under contemplation shortly after the opening of the Stuartpuram Settlement. The position of paddy cultivation was most disheartening. Every year it became more or less a gamble. Settlers had little incentive to invest their little capital on an enterprise in which there was no certainty. A decision had been arrived at by the Public Works Department authorities after years of deferred hope, i.e. that these lands would have direct supply of Kistna water. Government would not guarantee such a supply. Under these circumstances, the whole question of utilizing available supply of surplus water with the conserving and distribution of the same was a problem upon which there was a need for expert advice and serious consideration. There was considerable amount of wet land as well as dry land available in the settlements. Settlers cultivated many blocks of land in their villages. Government held them on temporary pattas under Ryotwari tenure. Every year settlers cultivated paddy on land. Dry lands were cultivated in order to grow groundnuts and ragi crops. The poor ryots had experienced grave difficulties every year to raise their crops.

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These lands were at the tail end of the western delta region and not included in the wet ayacut. The only water available was the surplus from Romperu drain which was supplemented by a 12-inch pipe which disbursed from Commamur canal into Sakki Kalva which emptied into Romperu. This discharge took place only when water reached a certain level in the Commamur canal. During certain periods of the irrigation season, water flowed down Romperu in sufficient volume to be utilized for irrigation of settlement lands but hitherto no method of conserving this surplus flow had been devised. The result was that each year there were periods when it was difficult to save crop. In the past, there had been no distribution channel by which water could be taken to cultivated lands which lay parallel to the Romperu drain. The approximate earnings of settlers from different crops in a settlement are as follows:27 Paddy Groundnut Ragi Mats Ropes Baskets Karvepaku leaves Hired labour Trading in cattle

12,258 6,044 3,000 12,893.15 4,841 4,830.08 3,382.50 74,321 3,970 (all values in rupees)

During certain parts of the year, missionaries employed agricultural maistries from old settler families. They used to instruct new settlers on the techniques of cultivation. In addition to agricultural maistries, a karanam (village officer) was appointed on full-time basis to look after land records and allotment of land. The karanam was assigned duties like collection of land cess, remeasurement of cultivation plots, settling disputes regarding lands and boundaries, repairs to channels and clearance of silt, prepare estimates for agricultural operations and maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the settlement.28 Settlers cultivated paddy, ragi, groundnut, curry leaf, tobacco, tomato, green gram, casuarina, coconut and eucalyptus. Majority of them were satisfied with their cultivation. Most of the settlers picked up techniques of cultivation and understood the value of land and favourable effects of cultivating it. The agricultural activities yielded rich rewards and there was an increase in income every year. Today

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settlers attach great importance to lands that they cultivate year after year.29

IV When land was given to settlers on the basis of individual pattas, it became an eyesore to rich people in the neighbouring villages. Even today, ryots in the adjoining villages are fighting with settlers to vacate their patta lands, but the latter have not relented. They assert that the lands are in nobody’s possession. They are given to a belief that the rich have ulterior motives and selfish interests and are trying to grab lands. On careful enquiry, colonial government realized that settlers were not responsible for crime in the neighbourhood and the agitation was due to certain unworthy and selfish personal motives. With the object of giving protection to inhabitants of Bapatla, the government authorized the local police to watch and patrol all the roads. Since settlers were under nobody’s control they could come and go as they pleased. To obviate this difficulty, in October 1916, Betapudi was declared a criminal settlement under Section 16 of the CT Act. Even today the moneyed people belonging to Bapatla, Chirala, Karamchedu, Karlapalem, and Epurupalem are ready to buy settlers’ lands at cheap rates and penetrate into the thriving agricultural land economy. Settlers face many other problems with regard to the possession of their lands. They have not been provided with permanent pattas, so cannot approach banks to get loans for raising their crops. Added to this, lands allotted to denotified tribes are not provided with water facilities. They are left barren due to non-availability of water. Most of the settlers have left cultivation as they are unable to irrigate additional areas of land given to them by the government. They become poorer and exhibit tendencies of reverting to their age-old profession. Denotified tribe settlements are generally located in thick forests (Siddhapuram and Lingal settlements). The only source of water for them is the rain. Though a tank was constructed for irrigation purposes in Siddhapuram Settlement, it is dysfunctional. Inhabitants of Siddhapuram feel that not only themselves but the surrounding 20 villages will be benefited if the tank is repaired. Today, settlers of Siddhapuram, Lingal and other settlements are good cultivators and farmers. They request government authorities to provide them with

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regular water supply along with latest technology and tools to improve the quality of their lands, enable flexible credit facilities at nationalized banks, ensure market facilities, prices and facilities for crops produced by them. Agriculture has become the backbone of their development today. Government is asked to reconsider levying land cess on settlers in these colonies and help them continue agricultural activities without interruption.

Notes 1. Government of Madras, Board of Revenue, GO No. 2971, dated 9 October 1913. 2. Government of Madras, Board of Revenue, GO No. 365-Gt/13-2, dated 22 September 1913. 3. Ibid., GO No. 5265/A/13-1, dated 12 November 1913. 4. Government of Madras, Board of Revenue Proceedings, Forest, No. 7, dated 12 January 1914. 5. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to September 1916, Madras, 1917. 6. The Collector of Guntur informed the petitioners that out of an extent of 28,912 acre of reserve in Bapatla, a total of 5,067 acre was worked out for the supply of fuel and 7,605 acre was for pasture. The portion of the scrub jungle covering an area of 9,427 acre was handed over to the forest department to remove the prickly pear on the land. The 1,564 acre of assessed wasteland in the Bapatla taluq was allotted for casuarinas. Under these circumstances, the Collector said ‘the Board is not prepared to dis-afforest any portion of the reserved forest’. See Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 749, dated 18 March 1920. For other details, see, Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 475, dated 19 February 1920 and Board of Revenue, GO No. 651, dated 10 February 1912. 7. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to September 1916, Madras, 1917. 8. Government of Madras, Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to January 1925, Madras, 1927. 9. Ibid. 10. Government of Madras, Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 572, dated 8 March 1917. 11. Ibid., GO No. 946, dated 27 April 1918.

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12. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 2451, dated 3 June 1940. 13. Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 2419, dated 12 October 1915. 14. Government of Madras, Law (General) Department, GO No. 1714, dated 22 October 1921. 15. Ibid., GO No. 2267, dated 16 July 1925. 16. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1551, L., dated 20 July 1927. 17. Ibid., GO No. 1654 L., dated 6 July 1928. 18. Government of Madras, Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 1093, dated 16 May 1919. 19. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1838 dated 30 August 1932. 20. Ibid., GO No. 3003, dated 3 December 1920. 21. Ibid., GO No. 2394 L, dated 23 August 1929. Also see, Government of Madras, Revenue Department, GO No. 2971, dated 9 October 1913. 22. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 305, dated 7 February 1918. 23. Ibid., GO No. 1298, dated 6 September 1921. 24. Ibid., GO No. 357, dated 13 May 1921. 25. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 268, dated 5 February 1927. 26. Poor income for settlers was attributed to various causes: virgin and newly-reclaimed lands were distributed; late transplantation; high price of seedlings; long-duration paddy was raised on some of the distributed lands; no crop rotational methods were followed; improper manuring and preparation of lands; lack of experience in cultivation; laxity on the part of settlers; and full extent of land was not being brought under irrigation. For details, see, Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 2394 L., dated 23 August 1929. 27. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 2900, dated 27 August 1952, p. 3. 28. Government of Madras, Law (General) Department, GO No. 748, dated 8 August 1925. Also see, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 36, dated 4 January 1930, p. 1. 29. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 1551, dated 20 July 1921.

CHAPTER 17

Industrial Settlements: Ex-Criminal Tribes

YERUKULAS WERE ADMITTED in industrial settlements in Madras province during the nineteenth century. The Madras government opened Kavali as an industrial settlement during the year 1912 as part of an experiment for the reclamation of Yerukulas who were declared as a criminal tribe under various provisions of the CT Act 1911. Rev. E. Bullard who had a lot of experience in running industrial settlements, was put in charge. A total of 25 families of Donga Yerukulas were handed over to him. Rev. E. Bullard strove hard to discipline the Yerukulas in the industrial settlement.1 By 1914 the number Yerukulas had grown to 1,500. Rev. E. Bullard left India in 1915 and handed over the reformation work to S.D. Bawden, the new industrial officer. He too had rich experience in managing industrial settlements effectively. Due to the popularity of industrial settlements for convicts in 1916, a branch of Kavali Settlement was opened at Allur.2 Gradually, popularity and the need for industrial settlements increased in the country. Another industrial settlement was opened at Bitragunta. In these industrial settlements swamp lands were provided to the Yerukulas. A total of 3,000 acres was provided to them so as to make them agricultural industrialists.3 Thousands of acres of land were reserved for settlements by the colonial government to transform CTs into industrial wage workers. Settlement officers were asked to make use of the land and shape Yerukulas as honest and law-abiding citizens. Thus in Andhra Pradesh (the present state carved of the combined state of Andhra and Telangana in 2014) there were three industrial settlements: Sitanagaram, Allur and Bitragunta. The administration and management of the three settlements were on the same lines and patterns.4 Allur and Bitragunta settlements used to reward Yerukulas who secured a good record at the Kavali Settlement. The original Yerukulas in Kavali Settlement and its surrounding places had grown enormously to 5,000. There were also a large number of Yerukulas who absconded from these

Plate 1: Visit by AP Chief Minister, Jalagam Vengal Rao along with officials and reformer Lavanam to Stuartpuram Settlement (1974)

Plate 2: Photograph depicting the conditions of inhabitants of Stuartpuram Settlement (1974)

Plate 3: Interaction between Cabinet Minister and family members of Stuartpuram Settlement (1974)

Plate 4: Reformer Hemalata Lavanam with a family in Stuartpuram Settlement (1974)

Plate 5: Atheist leader and reformer Gora is seen addressing a community gathering in Stuartpuram Settlement. P.S. Krishnan IAS (extreme left) was present in the meet and also during the negotiations with local families (1974)

Plate 6: Reformer Hemalata Lavanam with a family in Kapparalla Tippa Settlement (1974)

Plate 7: Students from ANR College, Gudivada, Krishna district and youth from Stuartpuram Settlement during an NSS Camp organized by Hemalata and Lavanam in Stuartpuram Settlement (1974)

Plate 8: A community counselling session in progress with Hemalata Lavanam in Stuartpuram Settlement (1974)

Plate 9: Reformer Hemalata Lavanam in a community gathering with Minister and officials in Stuartpuram Settlement (1974)

Plate 10: Hemalata Lavanam seen with a reformed family standing in the local agricultural field during the time of paddy harvest on the land donated by AP Government near Romperu drain (1975)

Plate 11: Reformer Hemalata Lavanam visiting an agricultural field along with members from Kapparalla Tippa Settlement (1975)

Plate 12: Reformer Lavanam in the agricultural field near Kapparalla Tippa Settlement (1975)

Plate 13: Reformer couple, Hemalata and Lavanam with the members of a reformed family of Stuartpuram Settlement and officials in the filed during paddy harvest (1975)

Plate 14: The first ever Criminal Reformation Conference in South India was organized by reformer couple, Hemalata and Lavanam at the Atheist Centre, Vijayawada. Retired IPS officer, M.V. Thomas (seated next to Hemalata Lavanam) who was instrumental in taking reformers to Stuartpuram Settlement in 1974 attended the conference as Chief Guest (1984)

Plate 15: Reformed ex-prisoners of KRIS (NGO), Stockholm, Sweden during their visit to reformed inhabitants of Stuartpuram colony as part of an official exchange programme sponsored by SIDA, Sweden. Reformer Lavanam is seen in the middle along with Samskar’s Director (2004)

Plate 16: Vallagi Isaku receiving agricultural implements (after surrender at the behest of reformer couple) at the hands of Cabinet Minister Narasa Reddy (1974)

Plate 17: Vallagi Isaku (surrendered in 1974) later became a Gospel Preacher. The photo shows him as a guest of honour in a function organized by reformer couple in the year 2005

Plate 18: Ms Kristin Bryhni, Chairperson of HAMU, Norway (partner agency in the reform and rehabilitation programmes in Stuartpuram) interacting with young girls from reformed families during one of her visits (2007)

Plate 19: Mr. Levi Fragell, former Chairman of International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and chief supporter of reform and rehabilitation programmes in Stuartpuram is seen with reformer Lavanam during an annual event in Stuartpuram colony (2009)

Plate 20: In a rare photograph taken during 2006, reformer Hemalata Lavanam is seen with those reformed inhabitants of Stuartpuram colony whom she helped in the process of voluntary surrender and mainstream rehabilitation

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settlements due to the application of various provisions of the CT Act. Majority of the Yerukulas were kept in jails due to their convictions in various cases.5

II Control of industrial settlements was vested with the settlement managers. To help them in day-to-day activities an assistant manager was appointed. The industrial settlements were given 40-50 staff members, helpers, assistants (both men and women) to run settlement affairs on effective lines and assist the local manager and assistant manager. These staff members were highly trained. Payment was made after assessing their efficiency. Their help in running the settlements was of vital importance.6 Classification of workforce in these settlements was: assistant manager, in-charge maistry for working gangs, head constables, office staff, teachers, nurses and preachers. All of them were Christians and constantly strove hard to lead others in settlements. Work in a settlement would be impossible without cordial cooperation of staff and some industrial settlements gained popularity due to the exclusive efforts of staff. Some industrial settlements failed because of lack of experience of the settlement staff.7 Industrial settlements were opened to place certain members of the CTs in order to restrict their movements according to the provisions of Criminal Tribes Act. In order to bring a change among them as also to reform and rehabilitate dangerous sections of society the Madras government opened industrial settlements. Management of industrial settlements was kept under the supervision of the American Baptist Telugu Mission.8 Reclamation of CTs was the main intention of the government and therefore it requested Baptist missionaries to open industrial settlements in Madras province.9 In the beginning a group of Pulla Yerukulas, Karepaku Yerukulas, Katheras and Dasaris were drawn into the settlements. Katheras and Dasaris belonged to the same caste but under different names subject to the part of country they used to frequent. These two caste CT groups claimed to be of a higher status than the ordinary Yerukulas. The Pulla Yerukulas were basket makers and the Karepaku Yerukulas were adept in weaving the date-leaf mats. All of them remained wanderers. They were declared as thieves by the colonial administrators and contemporary police records remarked that Katheras were more

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dangerous criminals than Yerukulas because the marks of their depredations were usually a broken arm or leg or serious wound with a knife. The name ‘Kathera’ was said to come from their habit of carrying a small pair of scissors (Kathera in Telugu means scissors) for the purpose of cutting jewels from the nose or ears of waylaid passengers.10 The first and foremost principle adopted by the industrial settlement authorities was strict discipline to make the settlements successful institutions for CTs. Through strict discipline members in industrial settlements were expected to gain full confidence for honest survival. That was the main goal to bring them into mainstream life.11 The original purport of strict discipline was all about trying really to help them. On the other, it was to convey an unmistakable impression that punishment would invariably follow wrong-doing. So these sections of people had to be stopped from committing crimes. In industrial settlements there were no walls around the habitation. There were no rifles in the hands of special constables on duty during nights. Escape was easy if one wished to run away, and therefore punishment must be sure when they abscond.12 In the industrial settlements within the limits of each settlement, a separate guard house or lock-up for men and women were opened. CT Act provided for a number of forms of punishment so that the settlement manager need not be at a loss to make the punishment fit for crime. Every year had seen some serious trouble within the settlements, but the hard life of the poor tribals was due to great increase in the cost of food and clothing, unaccompanied by a proportionate increase in the wages that could be paid to labour for agricultural work.13 It had resulted in the increased rate of absconding and escape. The situation was aggravated by the fact that second- and third-grade offenders accepted the trivial pretexts which were appropriately forwarded for escapes. In the past too they successfully escaped form the settlement when they were allowed to camp away from the settlement during Monday-Saturday on account of wage work. During this period many cases of theft were reported from these groups and the practice of issuing passes to leave camps came under serious scanner among the colonial police officers and bureaucrats.14 It was the policy of the government that as far as possible the subordinate police officer should have nothing to do with the members of the settlement since too often there had been association with

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thieves in the disposal of stolen property.15 As a consequence no police officer below the rank of deputy superintendent of police was permitted to enter any of the settlements without being accompanied by the local manager or his representative. Every facility, however, was given to the police for detection of crime when committed by members of the settlement. The way the houses were searched by the police was highly questionable in nature and brutal in character. Houses were searched again and again, stolen property recovered and all the suspects convicted.16 Members of the staff were chosen with as much care as was possible to secure faithful and honest men who may help to reform these criminals. The work was hard and required their constant association with thieves, and there had been cases where they had given in to temptation. But it was asking more than what was just when their houses were searched for stolen property on the mere suspicion that they had shared fruits of robbery with the members of their gang. Sometimes houses of maistries were searched on mere suspicion and it had the very distinct result of weakening their influence on the staff in spite of the fact that nothing was found. In the opinion of settlement managers no house occupied by a member of the staff should be searched without a proper search warrant, which could not be secured without the production of evidence sufficient to justify the suspicion before a magistrate.17 One of the severest punishments meted out to erring members could be a recall from an industrial settlement either from Allur or Bitragunta or Sitanagaram where they enjoyed privileges. It had to be done in case of families of a very few who absconded from Allur, Bitragunta and Sitanagaram settlements.18 Some of them were caught in the house-break cases in Allur settlement. There were some cases of domestic infelicity. However, the industrial settlements reported good progress on all fronts every year.19 Industrial settlements were inspected by various government officials. The sub-assistant surgeon of the district used to pay attention to health conditions of settlers regularly and report to the district medical officers and sanitary officers in the district. Another important official who used to inspect settlements was the district superintendent of police. He used to visit four times in a year and report cases to the district magistrate.20 Apart from these, there used to be a visiting committee of three non-officials who had been appointed by the government and they were asked to visit settlements twice a year.

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The settlements had also the pleasure of visits from L. Davidson, ICS (member of the Council) whose sympathetic interest in settlements and the working conditions there had helped the CT members to perform and improve their life conditions. Their particular visits had been of great assistance to the managers, assistant managers and the settlement staff. R.C. Wood, ICS, Director of Agriculture; R. Littlehailes, Director of Public Instruction; Major General G.G. Giffard, CSI, IMS, Surgeon General; F.T.T. Newland, Agricultural Engineer; the inspector general of police and his deputies in-charge of the work in industrial settlements and the successive district magistrates used to visit industrial settlements frequently. Willingdon, Governor of Madras, too made a visit to industrial settlements and monitored the situation and the work of the missionaries there. The visits took up time but it was well spent, both in giving settlement officials a chance to show/exhibit their work and also in the suggestions made for the betterment of settlements.21 The oft-quoted dictum that ‘if any will not work, neither let him eat’ had been a motto of the industrial settlements from the time of their inception. Since it was the profound belief of the government that habits of instructor were essential for the reformation of habitual thieves, therefore the nomenclature ‘industrial settlement’. With the exception of a few indigents, work was provided six days of each week for every member of industrial settlements and they were expected to feed and clothe themselves out of their own earnings. Since practically every member of the settlement came under one of three classes, and was either unaccustomed to work, unskilled in work, or unwilling to work, the task of finding sufficient work of a kind that they could do was not a simple one. The cordial cooperation of executive engineer, district board engineer and district forest officer of Nellore and their subordinate officers had enabled the government to meet the problem with fair success. Occasionally the staff members were overwhelmed with calls for work. On the whole, though, settlement managers had been able to carry on the work to the advantage of all.22

III The most ambitious work for settlement managers in industrial settlements was contract work under the department of public works. The public works department used to provide regular work for settlers.

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Deputy collectors were the nodal officers. Wage labour force as well as mason labour and watchmen for quarry sites were drawn from industrial settlements. Other contracts had been for earth-work, repairs to tanks, quarrying rough stone for revetment repairs on tanks and masonry repairs to channels.23 Road repair contracts and special road repairs had been assigned to managers and related work routines like collection of road metal and gravel, carting them and spreading them, earth-work repairs to road sides and widening of existing roads, turning the side slopes of roads, and putting in revetments where needed had all provided work for the CTs through settlement managers. Another work was repairing travellers’ bungalows. This kind of work also provided sufficient employment to members of CTs. There were a good number of carpenters among them. A carpentry shop was opened in Kavali Settlement during the year 1920 for the CTs. Members of various settlements had served as personal servants to selected individuals as masons, coolies in the construction of new school buildings, school cooks and gardeners. They also had opportunities to work in the fields of local ryots and serve as coolies under private contractors.24 In industrial settlements, in a given fiscal year members were employed in various other tasks such as carpentry, weaving, blacksmithry, repairing shop, stone quarrying, forest cleaning and carting firewood, carting laterite stone, sand and concrete, making and burning bricks and lime. The efforts by the members of Kavali, Allur and Bitragunta settlements were appreciated by the government and public. In addition to the work which could be classed under the term industries, employment had been furnished to many with the special purpose of keeping them busy rather than feed them in idleness and to others in order to serve some phase of activities of the settlement. Old men had been given the task of sweeping the streets daily, women were employed in carrying earth to fill old quarry pits and others served as watchmen where needed. A few women watered trees in the private compounds of settlement officers. Blind people and old women earned their livelihood by pulling punkah.25 Rates for work were arranged on contract basis and subject to the quantum of work turned out. The burden was placed on individual labourers to earn their support. There was the widest possible difference both in capacity for work and interest and effort in the work and this was truly reflected in the wages earned. It was observed in most of the cases that women were employed in road metal work,

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which was usually done by men. This was because their husbands would often run away and leave them without means of support and the only work that was available was road work.26 In the stone quarry there were several men who earned eight annas a day and others two and half annas a day on average. It was common experience when inspecting the work to find a group of five workers. Due to nonacquaintance with physical labour it was observed by many managers that while a couple of workers were seen working the rest used to stand idle during the course of work. This was the case especially with earth work. It seemed to be a practical impossibility to convince the group about the final distribution of proceeds among them. Since wages were paid on the work turned out, when group members work in the said way the practical result was that wages earned by two had to be distributed among five, and therefore the wages seemed insufficient.27 To avoid the uneasy calm and awkward situations with workers settlement managers took the contracts on the same rates as the other contractors and then, waiving the usual contractors’ profit, they offered rates for the settlers much to their satisfaction. All this was done with an eye on change and mainstreaming using all the known strategies at command and will. For some years groups had been sent out on Monday morning to camp at their work site until Saturday evening, but so many cases of theft occurred which were traced to these groups that the practice had to be stopped. A serious thought was given to the problem because it was recognized as a hardship caused by the conditions of settlement life, and finally a workable solution was found in paying price for each mile and settlers were allowed to go only that long that would enable them easy return to the settlement before dusk.28 In industrial settlements the work that was mostly available was coolie work. Therefore there was no bright future for the settlers. Since the very purpose was that of reclamation of CTs, it was necessary to put before them some inducement to leave their old habits of crime and learn new habits of work and thrift. For this purpose, the government had set aside some amount of wet land in the swamps for assignment to members of settlements at the rate of an acre for each adult whose record justified the hope that they could be trusted and transferred from other settlements.29 On the other hand, untrustworthy persons were immediately transferred back to industrial settlements for a further course of discipline and training. The

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industrial settlement at Kavali was therefore disciplinary and probationary, and each of its members had before him/her the opportunity of winning a place either in Allur or Bitragunta. In the beginning 10 Yerukulas families were transferred to Allur because the land gave better promise there and also because there was greater opportunity for people to find casual labour during the time when they were not employed on their own lands.30 Later, the same plan was replicated at Bitragunta with a group from Kavali and another group transferred directly from Kalichedu Settlement. Each industrial settlement (Allur, Bitragunta and Kavali) had a large number of inhabitants. In some industrial settlements (Allur) there were no police constables at all. In such settlements an agricultural maistry and his wife were given the authority to supervise criminals. In some industrial settlements there were many police constables (Bitragunta) from among the people themselves, a nurse, and three maistries. In some industrial settlements (Kavali) members in settlement were transferred as rapidly as their conduct justified it and with very few exceptions they had justified the confidence placed in them. In industrial settlements settlers were trained to irrigate their land. But floods and rains created havoc. Therefore, agricultural work was carried in accordance with rains and floods so that the settlers secure a crop. It was somewhat problematic every year. Land was assigned to individuals and it was hoped in due course of time to be able to cancel their registration under the CT Act and set them free from the restrictions imposed by settlement life and thus establish them on the assigned land as independent cultivators and taxpayers, instead of parasites on the body politic.31 In industrial settlements the recruitment of managers was based on their experience in agricultural work. Those people who had work experience at the Coimbatore Agricultural College and in reclaiming swamp lands were appointed. Therefore settlement managers made the inmates of each settlement sell the grain and straw from their own acres they had cultivated. As a result the settlement managers used to instill spirit of honest and industrial life among members of CTs. In all industrial settlements the stimulation of a desire for better things was very much expected. However, wet-land cultivation did not provide work for the cultivators for every working day of the year, and the managers were afraid of idle days. Therefore they used to provide a constant opportunity for those who were not actually

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employed on their own fields at any time to earn good wages at outside work. In industrial settlements like Allur and Bitragunta emerging needs were usually met by the call for field labourers.32 Settlement managers were also encouraged to undertake maintenance of settlement roads which provided a certain amount of work just when the settlers were in dire need of it. In Bitragunta industrial settlement, there used to be a large number of inhabitants. Therefore, it had been a difficult task at times to find sufficient work for them. But on the whole the managers used to feel satisfaction in successfully keeping the settlers busy all the time. The department of public works had provided them sufficient work in the form of clearing drainage channels in the local swamps, and cleaning and repairing irrigation channels. Local fund had given the managers some road work.33 Private cultivators had employed people on their fields for weeding and harvesting. Bark contractors had used CTs for gathering of tangedu bark from the jungle. Railway stations near industrial settlements had provided work like unloading coal, picking cinders and carting ashes. In fact, railway work had been so varied in character that it had enabled settlement managers to assign work from the feeble to the strong. Plans were also designed and considered with the government to improve the drainage system of the swamps, which would provide a large amount of earth-work for some years and enable settlement managers to move all settlers down to industrial settlements. It was hoped that the plans designed by the settlement managers would help solve the serious problem of regular escapes of those interned in the respective settlements.34

IV Health-care personnel were kept minimal in some industrial settlements as population was less (Allur Settlement). Since the group was small, the maistry and his wife attended to sick people, sending those who needed special care either to the Allur Local Fund Hospital, or to Nellore hospital. In Bitragunta, a trained nurse and wife of one of the teachers held a daily sick call to minor ailments, visited homes of those unable to come to sick call, cared for labour cases, and in case of need, sent the worst cases to Kavali or Nellore hospitals.35 At Kavali industrial settlement there were trained nurses under the direct supervision of Mrs. Bawden. They used to care for the sick and used

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to take them to the Local Fund Hospital, which was situated just across the road from the settlement. Recognition was due to the sub-assistant surgeon and his staff for their constant care for the sick of the settlement. A surgeon also used to inspect the settlement twice a week, reporting to the district medical and sanitary officer.36 The year 1918 had brought a severe epidemic of influenza and cholera and the following year was free from illness. When needed worm hook woren treatment was given by the doctor at a hospital. On the whole, people were healthy and it was only a comparatively small number daily that turned up for treatment. Sick batta was given to those whose names were put on the sick list each day, and this batta was purposely kept below the usual daily wage in order not to give any excuse for malingerers. It was given, however, to avoid the temptation to beg that would otherwise arise in case of many. A comparison of birth and death records of various years indicates that in some years the settlements reeled under the influenza epidemic. Increase in death-rate may be due to the results of epidemic, while the lowered birth rate was probably to be ascribed to the restlessness caused by the unusually large number of absconders.37 Of the total membership of industrial settlements almost 40 per cent were children below fifteen years of age and they offered the most hopeful field for the rescue of their tribes from crime. There were also some young adults who desired better things for themselves and were ready to attend school when their day’s work was over. Therefore education was an important factor in the settlements. There were three systems of education provided to CT children: boardingschool system, day-school system of education and night schools.38 The boarding schools took children in the third form and the medium of instruction was English. There were some Yerukula children who finished their studies in the boarding school at Kavali Settlement and others who attended high school at Cocanada because of availability of industrial work there. It was noted that ‘so far as we know the Erukula children were the first of tribes’ community people to go so far in school. They are Christian children and doing good work, and we trust may someday find a message for their own people.’39 Government had provided funds to pay school fees for 300 settlement children who were studying in different settlement schools. It also permitted managers to require school attendance on a compulsory basis of all children of the settlement between six and

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fifteen years of age. Grace Bullard was in-charge of the management of industrial schools and she was paid ī1,200 per month. All children of school age were put into the boarding department.40 Children in industrial schools who did not pass their ninth year attended a day school in the settlement, with a headmaster and assistant who used to conduct elementary school, with the addition of garden work each day. The first two hours in the morning and the last two in the afternoon were spent in the garden, where children cultivated crops, gathered manure and watered with a small diaphragm pump. The last two hours in the morning and the first two in the afternoon were devoted to school studies, thus using the hottest part of day in the shade of the school room. These pupils, although studying slightly shorter hours ordinary schools, had good skills, probably because of their greater regularity and somewhat longer school year. No separate day school was maintained in some of the industrial settlements such as Allur, as the elementary school of the Baptist Mission was located just across the road from the settlement and children under nine years attended that school daily.41 In each of the three industrial settlements of Allur, Bitragunta and Kavali a night school for men was maintained. To it came young men who desired education which they did not get when they were boys. They used to come after their day’s work was done and spend an hour or two in the pursuit of learning. Clerks in Kavali Industrial School, two teachers in Bitragunta Industrial Scheme and a maistry in Allur Settlement were made in-charge of the running of the school. They served as administration for running the night school. Also maintained in each of the three industrial settlements were schools for working women. They were known as women’s night schools. They were part of the industrial school educational plan that children of CTs should be separated from the influence of their parents as far as possible and they were not permitted, therefore, to eat and sleep with their parents. Only occasional permissions were granted for children to go home. Two to three hours each day was allotted for work although it was taxing for the children to get involved in nonacademic physical work. Girls generally used to pound grain for their food and gather and cart concrete metal for their new school building. Some of the older boys earned their scout uniforms by such work. Boys and girls would go out into the paddy fields for weeding and harvesting while harder tasks like gathering and supply of firewood were shouldered by boys among the group. Both groups made a good showing when on parade, and were developing a fine esprit de

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corps.42 Boys had weekly drills under the direction of a staff sergeant of the army. In Kavali industrial school, in addition to academics they were also learning to sew.43 Statement of finances of industrial settlements was prepared every year. The net cost of managers’ salaries was usually high and was borne by the government. A recurring grant of ī2.50 per month for each member on the rolls was made in advance.44 Despite this arrangement the running of industrial settlements required a high capital of ī5,000 from mission funds to enable managers to keep the store-room supplied with grain for insuring that people receive their wages weekly and in time.45 Many of the payments on contracts were not made until months after the wages had been paid to people, and sometimes payments on several contracts would be made all at once, which helps to explain the irregularity of receipts. The task of making out weekly pay-roll on the actual measurements of work done was not a small one. There were plenty of chances for errors. With clerks employed it had been impossible to check and audit the accounts as closely as may be desirable. But the prime concern was to see that men and women, whose daily food depended on their wages, should get their wages, however small, on the same day each week, as many of them were unable to maintain any reserve, and sufferred when for any reason a delay occurred. Payment was made by pay chits that may be commuted into grain at the store-room. Since people would not provide themselves with clothing, one pie from each anna of their earnings was held in a cloth account under each person’s name.46 When the accumulated amount became ī2, 8 annas was credited to his/her fixed deposit account and the rest of the amount was issued as a cloth chit which was not available for grain. Naturally here was an increase in expenditure as the years rolled on. Each of the expenditure items had meant an increase of approximately ī3,000 during the given year. There were the following types of expenditure in the industrial settlements.47 Group Group Group Group Group Group

A B C D E F

Schools, supervision, sick settlers and indigent Capital items and buildings Advances for maintenance and equipment Commercial items and working expenses Settlement-wise wages Deficit balance forwarded

An example form Kavali industrial settlement for the year 1920

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can be cited so as to understand the patterns of expenditures incurred in various settlements under colonial dispensation.48 Group A Schools Supervision Sick Indigent

12,849 14,277 1,770 756 Total

29,652

Group B Capital items Buildings

365 511 Total

876

Group C Advances for maintenance Advances for equipment

2,008 3,191 Total

5,199

Group D Commercial items Working expenses

4,937 3,417 Total

8,354

Group E Wages Kavali Bitragunta

25,058 6,087 Total

31,145

Grand total

78,637

Group F Deficit balance forwarded

3,411

Groups A and B show expenditure that was unavoidable in view of the nature of work in the industrial settlements. Group C shows the expenditure that should be repaid by members of the settlement as they made progress on their lands. Group F shows the balance left-over from the previous year made up of all the various factors. Group D shows expenditure that in any ordinary business would be cared for by the margin between gross and net figures of the business.49 Theoretically, Group E should be met entirely from the payments on contracts, but practically that cannot be, since, in the first place,

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it had been impossible as yet during any one year of the existence of the settlement to adjust supply and demand of labour for every day in the year, so as to employ all on remunerative employment. In the second place, there were some who were employed daily whose work did not bring in any return at all and simply had to be charged up against settlement funds. There were others who could not be sent out to work which was remunerative, but to put them on the indigent list and let them sit at home.50 Believing that righteousness and true religion must go hand in hand, and that the reclamation of people in criminal tribe settlements could never be effected by any amount of restraint or education unaccompanied by moral and religious training, the American Baptist Telugu Mission based its hope of success in the industrial settlements’ work on persistent proclamation of the Gospel. It was reported that compulsion was not used to secure adoption of Christian religion, but attendance at roll-call and the accompanying religious services were made mandatory.51 There seemed to have been a misapprehension on the part of some that the industrial settlements were government institutions and that therefore preaching of Christianity was contrary to the government’s policy of neutrality in religious matters. Industrial settlements were mission institutions managed by missionary staff and aided by the mission.52 In every industrial settlement the Baptist missionaries used to begin the day with roll-call, singing of a Christian hymn, reading of the Bible with a brief exposition and prayer. When Bullard turned over the settlement in 1914 he characterized Sunday as quarrelsome day since people often smuggled in toddy and got drunk and quarrelled among themselves. At that time Bullard did not insist on attendance at the services on Sunday and consequently only a few were present. And the rest had all the day for idleness as no one was sent to work on Sundays.53 In order that the day may not be wholly given up to plotting escapes and dacoities, as well as to fill their minds so far as possible with thoughts that were helpful, Sunday mornings begin with an hour’s preaching service followed by an hour in Sunday school where they were divided into classes for the Sunday school Bible lesson. Again in the afternoon all gathered for an hour’s preaching. Taking the total figures of the adults in the industrial settlements on 31 December every year, the proportion of those who had been baptized and whose names appeared on the church rolls were monitored.54 Other people had been baptized during the year, but

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some died and others had dishonoured their profession of Christianity. The figures in Table 17.1 reveal the situation: TABLE 17.1: NUMBER OF CHRISTIANS IN THE SETTLEMENTS

Description

Number of men actually present in the industrial settlement No. of Christian men (form CTs) Percentage of Christian men from a settlement No. of women actually present No. of Christian women Percentage of Christian women

Kavali Industrial Settlement 178 8 4.5% 327 9 2.75%

Bitragunta Industrial Settlement 136 16 11.75% 138 13 9.5%

Allur Industrial Settlement 56 23 41% 52 16 31%

Taking the total enrolment in all the three industrial settlements we find 627 men of whom 47 were Christians (7.5 per cent) and 599 women of whom 38 were Christians (6.5 per cent). It is worth noting that the largest percentage of Christians was found in the Allur Settlement, to which the most trustworthy people had been sent. In fact, a considerable number of them had been baptized since they were transferred to Allur.55 In Kavali and Allur industrial settlements Christian members were also members of the local Baptist churches while at Bitragunta industrial settlement, members of the staff and Christians from the settlement had organized their own little church and supported their own pastor with a little help from the manager and Bawden. During the year they had contributed over ī300 of which half had been sent to Christian work outside Bitragunta.56 Industrial settlements had Sunday afternoon service during which members of the settlements were given an opportunity to make an offering of their work to God; during the year they averaged about ī3 per Sunday. The accumulated money was spent on social causes for which the local assembly voted. Some of the causes were leper work at Bapatla, work of Telugu Baptist convention at Kandukur, home for the blind at Nellore and Travancore. There were religious causes too and delegates were sent to the Southern Baptist Association at Nellore, the Bible Society, the Indian Sunday School Union, hospital for crippled soldiers and sailors in Bombay. Often their gifts were made as the payment of vows to God during illness of family members.57

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Notes 1. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 5929, dated 5 December 1941. 2. Ibid., GO No. 4142, dated 13 September 1941. 3. Ibid., GO No. 4080, dated 10 September 1941. 4. Ibid., GO No. 2532, dated 28 May 1941. 5. Ibid., GO No. 2894, dated 23 June 1941. 6. Ibid., GO No. 3944, dated 2 September 1941. 7. Ibid., GO No. 4134, dated 13 September 1941. 8. Ibid., GO No. 39, dated 30 August 1941. 9. Ibid., GO No. 4235, dated 23 September 1941. 10. Ibid., GO No. 315, dated 26 January 1942. 11. Ibid., GO No. 406, dated 28 December 1942. 12. Ibid., GO No. 605, dated 12 February 1942. 13. Ibid., GO No. 1188, dated 21 March 1942. 14. Ibid., GO No. 797, dated 27 February 1942. 15. Ibid., GO No. 4079, dated 2 November 1942. 16. Ibid., GO No. 1195, dated 21 March 1942. 17. Ibid., GO No. 2161, dated 13 June 1942. 18. Ibid., GO No. 900, dated 6 March 1942. 19. Ibid., GO No. 1156, dated 19 March 1942. 20. Ibid., GO No. 1056, dated 13 March 1942. 21. Ibid., GO No. 862, dated 3 March 1942. 22. Ibid., GO No. 956, dated 7 March 1942. 23. Ibid., GO No. 2620, dated 20 July 1942. 24. Ibid., GO No. 2746, dated 30 July 1942. 25. Ibid., GO No. 2129, dated 10 June 1942. 26. Ibid., GO No. 2218, dated 18 June 1942. 27. Ibid., GO No. 4292, dated 18 November 1942. 28. Ibid., GO No. 1969, dated 30 May 1942. 29. Ibid., GO No. 1266, dated 24 March 1942. 30. Ibid., GO No. 829, dated 2 March 1942. 31. Ibid., GO No. 3505, dated 25 September 1942. 32. Ibid., GO No. 3342, dated 11 September 1942. 33. Ibid., GO No. 3601, dated 3 October 1942. 34. Ibid., GO No. 2671, dated 24 July 1942. 35. Ibid., GO No. 3431, dated 19 September 1942. 36. Ibid., GO No. 3328, dated 11 September 1942. 37. Ibid., GO No. 2385, dated 1 July 1942. 38. Ibid., GO No. 2553, dated 14 July 1942. 39. Ibid., GO No. 325, dated 26 January 1942. 40. Ibid., GO No. 1321, dated 27 March 1942. 41. Ibid., GO No. 3438, dated 19 September 1942. 42. Ibid., GO No. 5448, dated 15 March 1943.

256 43. Ibid., 44. Ibid., 45. Ibid., 46. Ibid., 47. Ibid., 48. Ibid., 49. Ibid., 50. Ibid., 51. Ibid., 52. Ibid., 53. Ibid., 54. Ibid., 55. Ibid., 56. Ibid., 57. Ibid.,

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GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

1542, dated 6 July 1943. 5794, dated 17 May 1943. 2890, dated 5 November 1943. 5276, dated 12 February 1943. 2117, dated 30 August 1943. 5801, dated 19 May 1943. 1633, dated 14 July 1943. 2841, dated 1 November 1943. 3424, dated 28 December 1943. 5532, dated 30 March 1943. 3425, dated 28 December 1943. 294, dated 15 February 1943. 1735, dated 24 July 1943. 5396, dated 6 March 1943. 1620, dated 13 July 1943.

CHAPTER 18

Developmental Challenges, with Special Reference to Andhra Pradesh

THE IDEA OF labelling members of an entire tribe as criminal tribe or habitual offenders was indeed brutal. There are questions about how these communities live their lives, being stigmatized and branded as criminal, habitual and juvenile offenders. What makes a society label on entire section of people as criminal? What does such labelling mean even if there are grains of truth in it? We read, listen and meet people from many of these communities in our life. Our interaction with these communities makes us realize that a unique phenomenon of prejudices has been established against them. Societal prejudices to a great extent are responsible for the pathetic way of their living. The very label, born criminals is the burden they carry throughout their life. It is evident from their life that such a burden moulds their future. These communities thus make an interesting and revealing subject for study. Their present living standards and conditions hold lessons for contemporary society. It shows us the context in which the society has placed them. They are depressed not because of their poverty, but due to the outlook of the public, society and institutions towards these communities. There is a sort of resignation, a sign of scorn, vengeance and uncertainty in their world. They are very enterprising and productive people. There are a few sections of these people who are settled as agriculturists, teachers, police constables, railway and postal department employees, and a few members of their youth have completed their education up to graduate and postgraduate level. Removal of societal prejudices will ultimately liberate them from their stigma and tarnished historical past. However, what will change their present ways of living is an important consideration for all of us. The condition of 196 denotified communities (59 communities in Andhra Pradesh) is rather disheartening but they are living with great hope and aspirations.

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II Denotified, nomadic and semi-nomadic people constitute a major segment of India’s population. According to the latest population estimates they constitute 13 crore of the total population (2008). The criminal tribes of erstwhile British rule were denotified during the year 1952. The nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes were shown as a separate category of people in the 1931 census. The growth rate of NT and DNT population is more than that of the general population. They generally live on the outskirts of villages, settlements and thandas. Many of them do not have a fixed place of dwelling. Most of them are residents of urban and rural slums. Their colonies are not connected by roads and they lack electricity, bore wells, drinking water, and sanitation. Youth among these communities are a neglected lot. The First Five Year Plan referred to 198 sections of the people as NT and DNTs numbering 40 lakh, spread over most of the states in India. Oral traditions inform us that some of the denotified communities had a glorious history going back to the time of Mahabharata, the Delhi Sultanate, the Satavahanas, Rashtrakutas, Bahamanis, Vijayanagara rulers, the Mughals, the Nizam and the British rulers. They were the chief transporters of goods and services throughout the Indian subcontinent. They were a highly independent and mobile community on a well-developed network of caravan trade. Destruction of their trade virtually led them to slavery under British colonial rule. Yerukulas were known as Koravas in Tamil Nadu, Korachas in Karnataka and Kaikadis in Maharashtra. They had been caravan merchants since the tenth century AD and various sections of indigenous society sought their services. Yerukulas were also known by different names such as Karivepauk Yerukulas as they were involved in the procurement and sale of karivepauk (curry leaves). They also served as vegetable sellers, plantation workers, stone quarry workers, earth workers, baggage carriers, food grain transporters, basketmakers, rope-weavers, etc. Traditionally they had played a crucial role in long-distance trade. They carried food grains from surplus to deficit areas during famines. Merchants in their own right, they acted as caravans for other merchants and dealers as well. Establishment of the British colonial rule in India enforced new economic relations through legal control. Railways ruined and marginalized the Yerukula community. The innumerable fairs and jataras that had created a

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vibrant network of trade and commerce throughout the Indian subcontinent were declared by the British as backward and irrational, and discouraged and suppressed. The reason for such drastic action can be found in the European intellectual culture during the second half of the nineteenth century. European thought at the time was dominated by theories of social Darwinism, scientific racism and eugenics which looked at the conquered non-European races as biologically inferior. The same mindset was transmitted to colonies whereby the subject people were categorized by their racial features. Accordingly, permanent characteristics were accorded to them based on their physical appearance. Modernization and development constitute a threat to the identity and dignity of certain indigenous people. There is no official policy of protection and promotion of nomadic, semi-nomadic and denotified tribes even after seventy years of our Independence. In order to integrate these people there is an urgent need to restructure economic development and political participation. Structural violence has been inflicted on these marginalized sections of people for centuries together. They are subjected to indignity and humiliation. Cultural hegemony is subverting their very identity. Colonial government through their brutal laws made them powerless. They could have mobilized themselves to resist their domination, affirm their dignity and struggle for their share and place in the society. But, unfortunately these poorer sections of the society lead a nomadic, wandering life in order to eke out their livelihood. They were subjected to social prejudices, cultural hegemony, economic exploitation, oppression, political exclusion and marginalization.1 Yerukulas had always traded and provided their commissariat services freely to all parts. But once they entered into contact with the British colonizers they lost their independence. Their trading activities came under strict regulation. They were not allowed to trade with anyone other than the British. Any breach of contract was deemed criminal and severely punishable. The British destroyed the unity among the Yerukula camps and settlements by setting up police constabularies, karanams and munusubs (village chiefs) who emerged as intermediary controlling authorities directly reporting to their colonial superiors. Grain, salt and vegetables were the items which Yerukulas traded throughout the subcontinent. Whatever little internal trade that was left became subject to heavy customs duties and outright plunder by colonial officials. Customs and tax policies benefitted the

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British at the expense of the local people. Structured and rigid colonial towns replaced the fluid mobile markets of pre-colonial times. These towns came to be dominated by Parsis, Jains, Baniyas, Komatis, Marwadis and Christians who ultimately marginalized the trading activities of the Yerukulas. Railway lines constituted the final straw on their back. Yerukulas were thus forced to abandon their traditional occupations and take to cattle-raising and agrarian labour. The nomadic, semi-nomadic and the denotified communities in India are extremely vulnerable. Many changes are taking place in their life today. They are assimilated into the lowest strata of Indian society and displaced from their traditional forest lands. Development is completely alien to them. They did not and do not understand and accept development because they did not receive any benefits from the constitutional provisions.2 The colonial government considered criminal law as one of the greatest gifts to India. There are innumerable examples of writings by colonial officials and writers that are reflective of the attitude of dominance. For them, the oriental systems of culture and governance are meant for correction, but not continuation. With the establishment of British rule and consequent introduction of machine-made goods, Asiatic groups were deprived of patronage for their handicrafts and hand-made goods. Many of them were forced to take to petty crime to eke-out a living. By early nineteenth century, petty offences of these groups became a serious law and order problem. To tackle, government enacted the Criminal Tribes Act 1871 under which they were notified as criminal tribes in each district on the recommendations of the district superintendents of police. Movements and activities of CTs used to be under the surveillance of station house officers of the respective police stations in which the notified criminal tribes used to live. As a result of restrictions on movements of the entire community members became backward economically and educationally. Further, the entire community suffered the social stigma of being labelled as a CT.3 After the advent of independence, the Government of India appointed a CT enquiry committee under the chairmanship of Anantha Sayanam Ayyangar. The committee after studying the conditions of criminal tribes in the country recommended for the repeal of the CT Act. Accordingly the Act was repealed and replaced with the Habitual Offenders Act 1952 which would be a state

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government legislation.4 A list of denotified tribes was issued by the respective state governments. Thus came into existence sate-wise lists of Denotified Tribes or Vimukta Jatis.5 The list of Denotified Tribes of the erstwhile Madras State was issued in 1952. There were 66 entries in the list. These communities belonged largely to Andhra Pradesh and Nizam provinces. Many of the communities were not included in any particular community or tribe. For example, the gang of hired assassins, Jatur mixed gang and Tenkela Ramanas were listed as gangs. Some communities in the list belonged to the same tribe, for example, Yerukulas, Urkorchas, Koravas, Korachars, Dabba Yerukulas, Nawabpeta Korachas, and Veyal Pad Korachas. Some important communities listed as ex-criminal tribes in Andhra Pradesh are: Doms, Rellis, Waddars, Paidis, Reddikas, Urali Goudars, Mutharachas, Tandari Mandalam, Kintali Kalingas, Boyas, Chakkalas, Dommaras, Dasaris, Jambuvandai, Jogis, Telaga Pamulas, Konda Doras, Mondi Vagulas, Monda Pottas, Nakkalas, Pitchikaguntalas, Nirshikaris, Lambadis, Yerukulas, and Yanadis. In the state of Telangana, the Waddars, Dommaras and Kaikadis were notified as criminal tribes. Koracha, Korava and Kaikadi are synonymous with Yerukula. After the repeal of the CT Act and consequent de-notification, some of the ex-criminal tribes were listed in the Scheduled Tribes’ category. For example, Yerukulas, Yanadis, Sugalis and Nakkalas are placed under ST category. Some communities were listed in the category of Scheduled Castes. Other communities were listed as socially and educationally backward classes. These sections of people have not received any attention of the government for their development. The Criminal Tribes Act of 1911 suppressed many predatory castes, itinerant communities, and wandering tribes and, stigmatized and stereotyped them as criminal tribes. Some 198 communities became victims of the Act; it destroyed the life of nomadic and wandering communities. The Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 was first executed in Bengal during the year 1876 and later extended to the whole of British India. In the Madras Presidency the Criminal Tribes Act was passed during the year 1911. In the beginning a few tribes were included in the fold of criminal tribes. Gradually many new communities were added. In India, the notion of criminal tribes is based upon occupations and professions. The hereditary principle of criminality gained popularity only during the nineteenth century.

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III Reformation or rehabilitation of these sections of the people was sought through the policy of social engineering. Missionary organizations like the American Baptist Telugu Mission, Canadian Mission, the Salvation Army and other philanthropic agencies were often consulted and given the responsibility of rehabilitating backward Hindu communities. Salvation Army called it criminocurology. Wandering communities were placed in separate settlements. The intention of legislations and settlements was not to punish and segregate people. But the CT acts worked as powerful instruments in colonial India for suppressing poor people. The relationship between itinerant and sedentary communities is always problematic as there is mutual antagonism between the two. The colonial government’s treatment of the wandering Indian communities was reflective of methods adopted in England. The denotified tribes have been branded, stigmatized, dishonoured and labelled as criminal tribes in colonial and post-colonial India. Rehabilitation and reformation programmes designed by the government have not fulfilled their aspirations and desires. Their conditions are becoming worse with each passing day. Problems such as illiteracy, gender discrimination, underdevelopment, violation of basic human rights, and criminalization are haunting them in free India. NT and DNT communities face a number of problems. It is necessary for them to keep moving from place to place repairing agricultural implements, taking up contract works, doing petty business, cooli work, grazing cattle, etc., in order to eke out a livelihood. They move seasonally in search of paid work in urban centres. Found in almost all parts of India, their daily income is very meagre. It is difficult for their children to attend school, college or university because of their livelihood patterns and poor economic conditions. Above all, most of these communities face the problem of social stigma and identity crisis. In the growth of human life youth plays an important position. It is marked by rapid physical and psychological changes, sexual maturity and a period of tension. Particularly the youth shape their future and understand their roles during this period. Everyone passes through the same universal stages of development such as infancy, adolescence, adulthood and old age. But the extent of stress and strain the DNT communities are passing through sheds light on the internal churning that is taking place within these communities.6

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The Government of India recognized the denotified communities as a group that needs special attention. The nation’s urge for youth welfare is reflected in various plans and policies. Almost every fiveyear plan had emphasized on the development of these communities. Separate welfare schemes were planned for the development of these communities by the central and state governments as part of their programmes in the First Five Year Plan. In the Second Five Year Plan the government sanctioned funds for their education and economic development. During the Third Five Year Plan, a provision of ī375 lakh was made for the purpose. Special steps were initiated in the Fourth Plan for a close study of the problems of these people. Economic, social and cultural aspects were taken into consideration. From the Fifth Five Year Plan onwards no separate provisions were made either under centrally-sponsored programmes or the statesponsored programmes. No arrangements were made for the distribution of land, payment of wages, supply of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, bank loans, house sites, rickshaws, cattle, etc., as ways to boost their economic development. Input supply programmes were not implemented to help agricultural communities among the nomadic and denotified groups under economic support schemes.7 Development of the youth is a real challenge to democratic governments. The utterances of various governments are akin to noise emanating from empty vessels. Policy formulation and its execution, most often, fall apart. There is a lot of injustice done to tribal youth in the distribution of surplus lands. Their repeated memoranda to revenue officials are of no avail. In the sphere of employment also NT-DNT youth are facing serious problems. Though the public advertisements earmark a number of vacancies for these people, they appear so with a clause saying that the posts would be filled by candidates of other castes in the absence of eligible tribal candidates. In such a situation the very policy of reservation loses its meaning and validity. It is suggested that the government take appropriate measures to overcome these problems. The elected representatives from tribal regions should educate governments about the fundamental hardships of DNT tribal youth.8 By the year 1952 restrictions on their movements were removed. They began to be treated on par with SC/ST and other backward communities. However, there are a large number of communities not included in the list of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. The same tribe is listed as Scheduled Caste in some states and as Scheduled Tribe in others and in some states as Other Backward

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Classe. Due to these anomalies development of the youth is seriously affected. It is to be noted that NT-DNTs are Scheduled Tribes in the erstwhile British period and therefore all the categories listed as criminal tribes should be provided the status of Scheduled Tribes in order to develop their youth. So far, central and state governments have not bestowed their full attention on development of youth among the NT and DNTs. Even today, some youths are under police surveillance and are considered prospective threats to society. As a result DNT communities are segregated from society. Youth among them are developing a hostile attitude towards the government, police and people. They are losing self-confidence, developing an attitude of resignation and distancing themselves from their kith and kin. Youth believe they are being let down by society and, hence prefer to deceive it. Moreover, destitution and poverty are great causes and curses to lower the status and dignity of individual, youth and community. Development programmes concerning the youth among NT-DNTs should either be entrusted to reputed educational institutions or apex youth development bodies like the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth and Rural Development or private institutions like the Tata Institute of Social Sciences or reputed social service organizations that can evince real interest in them. Economic development should go hand in hand with social and cultural development. Development of NT and DNT youth largely depends on how far they are integrated into the society. Development with a human approach is urgently required. Economic development is a continuous process. Youth of the DNTs may be exposed to social and cultural intercourse, which might indirectly help to achieve the millennium development goals. With all the defects and inadequacies, youth development programmes initiated for the NT and DNTs are slowly yielding results because of the hopes for better future. Young members are found to be willing to take to regular and honourable occupations, professions and employment. Rural banks should be opened in the colonies of NT and DNTs for mobilizing the savings of the youth. NT-DNT communities have for centuries suffered economic difficulties as well as social neglect. This has made them hostile to the so-called neighbours. Their social status should be raised in order to wipe out the long-cursed social negligence. As long as the youth suffer from the stigma of criminality they cannot enjoy their due share in the nation’s growth. Aloofness from society, fear of domination and distance from family make them stubborn. They

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develop feelings of hatred and suspicion. Development of the youth among NTs and DNTs is an integral part of national development. Central and state governments are given equal responsibility to execute constitutional guarantees given to Scheduled Tribes. At the state level programmes designed for the development of NT-DNT youth suffer from frequent overlaps. NT-DNT communities need to be protected from various kinds of atrocities. The Prevention of Atrocities Act of 2006 should be seriously implemented in order to safeguard the youth. Special courts are the need of the hour in order to tackle problems of youth. Bonded labour is a serious threat for development and child labour practice is very common among NTs and DNTs. Separate steps should be contemplated to arrest the malpractices of selling children and women to others. NGOs should come forward to tackle the problems of these sections of people. Tribal languages should be protected under Article 21(1) and Article 350(a) of the Constitution of India.

IV During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries transport and communication facilities such as railways and roads were laid through hills and forests and the land-hungry peasants of upper castes invaded the sparsely populated tribal regions of central and south India. Moneylenders, contractors and land-grabbing landlords encroached upon the tribals land and the tribals were kept in perpetual indebtedness. The non-tribals along with the forest laws framed by the colonial administration forced the tribals to migrate from place to place for their bare living. As Bhowmick put it ‘this economic and territorial displacement under a new setting affected very seriously the old patterns of economic life and upset the equilibrium of the whole society’. The most important ex-criminal tribes of north India are: Bawari, Bhantu, Kanjar, Nat, Kawal, Meena, Pakhiwars, Tagu, Sansiya and Lodha. Likewise, Lambadis, Koravas, Dommaras, Waddars, Kallars are some important ex-criminal tribes of south India. In east India, Lodhas and Kherias.9 The social experience of denotified tribes still adds to their lurking fears of being dominated by more vociferous strata of society. Unless society provides equal opportunities and treatment at par with others in every sphere of life, these people are not willing to come out of their shell. What we ought to do, argue authors, is to develop a sense

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of oneness with these people, a sense of unity and understanding. It necessarily involves a psychological approach. Tribal communities are considered early settlers or autochthonous groups of people. It is at the same time also true that they are nonstatic or itinerant groups owing to many compelling circumstances. For thousands of years, these tribes lived in their sylvan setting without having any intercourse with the outside world.10 The problem of crime in society has been a gigantic and complex phenomenon. In recent times, crime rate as a whole has been increasing very rapidly all over the world. Crime thrives wherever economic deprivations, social disruptions and radical discriminations prevail. Inequality, economic exploitation, unhealthy greed for possessing material goods and rapid change in the standards of morality in society constitute the breeding ground for crime in society. Criminality is not hereditary and the criminal propensity of many castes and tribes is due to the disintegration of their social moorings under economic and territorial displacements. The most important cause of their deprivation is the loss of traditional means of livelihood. No human is a criminal by birth. The term criminal tribe is a misnomer, because some castes and communities are also classified as criminal tribes in India. Some of them would be found to be members of Scheduled Castes or other communities. For example, in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, Rellis are considered to be a criminal tribe. Even now they live only in two small villages, Pullota and Thallota and carry on agriculture or coolie labour work as their occupation. Kopotipalem Malas of Nellore district and Malas of Anneboyinipalli of Prakasam district are also wage labourers who are put under the current classification.11 Criminal tribes are distributed in almost all states of India. Many of them still lead a primitive style of life; some still retain food gathering, hunting or pastoral habits. In 1937, the Criminal Tribes Committee headed by Tiwari opined that ‘criminal tribes were a legacy of unhealthy social environments and wrong methods pursued through many centuries in dealing with them. They are not the sinners, they have been sinned against’. A vital aspect of the entire question is how to wean them away from crime and make them an integral part of mainstream society. In spite of their innumerable depredations, settlers are still in the clutches of poverty. Fruits of their hard work are being snatched by a section of people like rich landlords, merchants, moneylenders, politicians, lawyers and corrupt

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police officers. The ex-settlements have become a vicious circle in which stolen property dealers, corrupt police officials, investors in crime and greedy criminal lawyers form a part and parcel of the exploitative model.12 The patterns of rehabilitation under missionaries were of a different nature. They started agricultural settlements, industrial settlements, reformatory settlements and penal settlements. In these settlements, inmates were carefully supervised and given employment for making an honest living. Children were put in schools where training in a craft was imparted to them. During day, they were allowed to work and at night they were put under strict guard. The whole idea was to reclaim them to honest life. With the passage of time, ex-criminal or denotified communities have had to face a number of problems. Important of them are listed: Economic and territorial displacements Loss of livelihood followed by loss of organized life Stigma of criminality and subsequent loss of self-respect in society t Police oppression, harassment, harsh treatment and torture t Long stays in jails and disconnect with family relations t Poverty and force of habit goading them to take up undesirable activities t Negative role of civil society (stolen property dealers, police officials, criminal lawyers) t Extremely poor standard of living13 t t t

Due to the above-mentioned factors the denotified tribes were isolated and recoiled into the shell of their own life patterns. After the repeal of the Criminal Tribes Act, a large number of criminals were freed from the stigma of criminality. The Backward Class Enquiry Commission (1955) appointed by the Government of India suggested ameliorative measures to enable them to turn over a new leaf and make them good citizens. These steps included: 1. Criminal tribes should be called denotified communities or vimukta jatis 2. They should be included in Scheduled Castes, Tribes and Backward Classes 3. They should be resettled in batches and integrated with the larger society

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4. Proper education should be imparted to them 5. Reformatory activities should be undertaken 6. Distinction to be made between collective criminal activities and individual acts 7. Suitable employment for children should be provided 8. Simultaneous economic rehabilitation should be ensured simultaneously. The new nomenclatural protocol, viz., denotified tribes too is misleading. It does not make any qualitative difference to call them criminal or ex-criminal or denotified communities. All these words need to be removed to make them free citizens of this country. They should be included in the categories of Scheduled Castes, Tribes and Backward Class communities. It is the responsibility of the nation to absorb them slowly into the fold and make them believe that they are an important segment of society. ‘No reformation of the denotified communities is complete until the society accepts them in their fold without distinction.’14 The prime reason for these communities living at the subsistence level is their unstable occupations with uncertain income and disproportionate expenditure. They are now worried about the future of their children. Opportunity should be given to them to intermix socially with the children of higher castes. Education is an effective weapon and instrument of social change. It plays a significant role in changing the fortune and lifestyle of these children. So the entire gamut of reforming these communities depends on how best educational facilities can be provided to these children. Education helps to channellize their energies into productive purposes. Comparing them to the rest of society, they are bound to suffer from sense of inferiority and parents are afraid that their children cannot reach higher echelons of society because of the psychological barriers they suffer from. Children need to be educated in a healthy environment free from oppression, fear, harassment and suspicion. Well-known and reputed social reformers of south India, Hemalata and Lavanam who spent most of their life in effecting reform and change among the Yerukula DNTs and their children across various settlements in Andhra said in this context that ‘transformation is now taking place from the culture of crime to the culture of sociability; from anti-social means to social means of livelihood, from inferiority complex to cooperative spirit and from harsh behaviour to reason and understanding’.15

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Many communities among the NTs and DNTs are pastoralists. The Backward Class Enquiry Committee (1955) under Kaka Kalelkar had made certain recommendations for the upliftment of these communities. However, no serious efforts have been made since 1955 by the state and central governments to implement measures recommended by the various commissions and committees for the development of the youth. Even the recent Scheduled Tribes Forest Bill does not cover grazing rights of the NT and DNT population in the country. Therefore, there is an urgent need to prepare a roadmap for the development of youth among these sections of the people. Their land rights, forest rights, grazing rights and passage rights across the states have to be recognized. Majority of the DNTs are illiterate. Government authorities don’t show statistical figures of enrolment and retention among children of these sections. The drop-out rate of children in the schools is very high. The government did not provide schools for nomadic and denotified tribal communities. Children are still attending missionary schools in some ex-settlement areas. Curriculum in the education system should address the issues of the NTs and DNTs. Education programmes concerning these sections should bridge gaps between traditional knowledge and livelihood practices. A comprehensive educational support should be provided to members of the youth. Residential schools exclusively for DNT children are recommended by many activists. Primary, secondary and vocational training institutes should be opened at appropriate locations for the benefit of the youth. Health awareness among NT/DNTs is very much lacking. Medical facilities are scanty and many members are totally unaware of health hazards. They are so poor that they cannot afford to go to qualified doctors or proper hospitals. They are forced to depend on quacks. Children in the growing age are vulnerable to infectious diseases due to malnutrition.16 NT/ DNT communities have a rich cultural heritage. They have intimate knowledge of various handicrafts. Over a period of time some of the communities have developed expertise in artisanship and handicrafts. Various handicraft materials made by them are very popular in the country and there is a great demand for these items in the international markets too. There needs to be in place proper encouragement for their creativity and craftsmanship. The NT and DNT communities who are involved in music, puppetry and traditional martial arts should be resettled in tourist centres so that

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they could attract tourists and entertain. The National Science and Technology Commission should provide measures for extending the umbrella of modern science and technology and higher scientific technological research.17 Youth among these communities should be provided with domicile certificates by the competent local authorities. This is necessitated by the special occupational conditions of these people. State and central government authorities should initiate dialogues with forest department authorities and evolve a policy that ensures their rights over forest products. For example, some Yerukulas and Waddars live in Lingal village (Mahboobnagar district, Telangana) and Siddhapuram village (Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh). Their villages are surrounded by thick forests and they depend heavily on forest products. But the government authorities are preventing them from accessing these. In the absence of work availability, young members of various settlements are forced into the illicit liquor trade in order to make ends meet. A small section of youth is also involved in petty offences like pocket-picking, chain-snatching, suitcase-lifting, shop-snatching, etc. They are victims of the local police. Young women among the NT and DNT communities are vulnerable to sexual harassment, rape and murder. Special cells should be created to allow women of these communities to come forward and give voice to their grievances. Many a member of these communities possess knowledge about herbs and medicinal plants. Their expertise can be utilized to collect and nurture herbs and medicinal plants which are in a great demand in the country and outside. These tribals also possess good sportsman skills. Some of the talented youth can be selected for national and international sports in order to boost their confidence.18

V In recent times, Andhra Pradesh has witnessed a good deal of awakening and awareness among the denotified communities. The impact of neighbouring villages and towns was felt on these people in the fields of education, employment and political awareness. For example, the Yerukulas, Yanadis, Sugalis, Waddars, Dasaris, Poosalas and Dommaras have started their associations and emerged as strong social organizations. They conduct annual meetings in order to resolve their problems. There are district and taluk associations in which social workers, educated members of the community, employees,

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politicians and youth are actively involved in the advancement of their socio-economic conditions. Some of them within the community have become graduates and postgraduates. Some of the community members are working in the All India Services. In the political sphere women are more in the forefront than the males. A woman (K. Kamala Kumari) had become a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and served as minister of state in the P.V. Narasimha Rao cabinet. In Stuartpuram ex-settlement, Yerukulas participated in the national movement and were inspired by national leaders to fight for the abolition of the CT Act. Committed social workers and government officials strove hard for the upliftment of some sections of people among these communities. This has been the result of the activities of progressive thinkers, reform leaders and left intellectuals who have highlighted the plight of the denotified communities since the 1950s. Consequently, a cadre from the denotified communities has emerged in the state.19 Various societies like the Bharatiya Adimajati Sevak Sangh, Andhra Rashtra Adimajati Sevak Sangh and Andhra Rashtra Yerukula, Yanadi, Sugali, Woddar Sanghams (associations) came forward to constantly address the issues related to these communities. Thakkar Bapa was the pioneering social worker who professed a philosophy and technique with a missionary approach to their welfare. Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh held various conferences under the leadership of Thakkar Bapa. Andhra Rastra Adimjati Sevak Sangh took birth in 1948 under the leadership of Vennelakanti Raghavaiah. Chadala Janakiram, Devarakonda Hanumantha Rao, Ramesam Nagaiah, Palaparthi Verraiah and others were its members. Prior to this, Andhra Rastra Yanadi Sangh came into existence in 1927 in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. Colonization, liberation from slavery, education and political awakening were the main aims of the Sangh. It worked for political upliftment of denotified communities through the formulation of colonies in Chittoor, Nellore, Guntur, Krishna, Godavari and other districts. Mobilizing community members, opening schools, female education, abolition of nomadic and wandering habits, and formation of cooperative societies formed part of the organization’s activities.20 One of the means of raising awareness has been literature. The literature of denotified communities was modelled on the lines of Dalit literature. Tribal literature in Andhra Pradesh not only gave vent to the miserable sorrows of Adivasis and denotified communities

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but also opened up new vistas of tribal activism. It also enlightened and educated several people in mainstream society. The literary expression of the denotified communities and writers began with the publication of Kallumunta by Palaparthi Veeraiah and Ramesam Nagaiah. Since then various books, magazines, newspapers, and articles have been published in Telugu and English. The best examples are Kallumunta, Ramarajyam and Yekalavya. Yerukula, Adivasi, Dalit Marg, Penal Reformer Patrika and Harijanodharana are some of the newspapers published by the Andhra Rastra Adimjati Sevak Sangh and Andhra Rastra Yerukula Sangh. These literary works and papers depict life in ex-settlements, harassment meted out to them by the CT Acts, their professions, community cultural activities, meetings organized in different parts of the state, crimes committed by them, folk songs, police and public activities and welfare activities undertaken. However, due to lack of readership and financial help publication of these periodicals has stopped. Research work and advocacy too have been undertaken by the Sangh. Vennelakanti Raghavaiah endeavoured hard for the upliftment of denotified communities in the state. His motive was the repeal of CT Act in the state. He started the Andhra Rashtra Yerukula Mahasangham in Epurupalem village in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh during 1947-8. The Sangh has a long history. It had organized its caste association meetings in Chittoor, Vijayawada, Tadikonda, Nellore, Guntur, Nandigama, Palnadu and other places.21 Literature of denotified communities played an important role in sensitizing their society. What is presently required is engagement in serious social research, especially in the native languages. Denotified communities must be mobilized politically and socially. Their caste associations must be empowered to sensitize them. Today most of these communities have their caste associations without proper guidance and vision. They, however, conduct meetings, conventions and agitate for their basic rights. During the 1950s and 1960s their caste associations emerged under the pervasive impact of national leaders. It is also important to note that caste associations among these communities do not have the required strength, unity, identity, financial power and political support. Due to lack of leadership, ideology and agenda, ego-centric approaches and vested interests, these associations have become week and are unable to show their strength in society. The political elite in Andhra Pradesh has been unable to quickly co-opt the emerging leadership among the

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denotified communities. At best they are used as political vote-banks. The community leaders are also not able to maintain decent public life, integrity and honesty. As a result, despite widespread politicization, the denotified communities have not emerged as a successful pressure group.22 Integration of the denotified communities is a challenging task before policy framers, administrators and government. Social integration is an important aspect for the development of denotified communities of Andhra Pradesh. In the Indian social system, weaker sections such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes have suffered a great deal of social oppression and discrimination but they are included in Indian society. Some of the smaller scheduled tribal groups have formed their own villages and societies.23 Though the denotified tribes have had links with village society, they have never been allowed to be a part and parcel of local village society. They have remained excluded from mainstream society for a long time and their transitory existence, paralytic, inferior lifestyles, poverty-stricken conditions, illiteracy, peculiar behaviour, wandering habits, culture and panchayat system are hindering their integration. The first step towards integration is social, economic, political, physical and cultural inclusion. Government should provide  them with housing facilities at locations preferred by them. Rehabilitation measures initiated by successive governments have not registered considerable progress in achieving the objectives of development.24 Social integration of denotified tribes warrants a total change in the attitudes of dominant society towards these communities. They should be provided with opportunities to participate in panchayats, municipalities, local self-government institutions and other decisionmaking bodies. No doubt this is a stupendous task. At present, development activities and upliftment programmes are confined only to certain voluntary organizations and agencies. The idea of development of denotified tribes must be spread widely. Communities such as Nakkalas, Dommaras and Nirshikaris are small and scattered communities. Government should make all efforts to integrate them into surrounding society. The issue of social integration of the denotified communities has not been adequately addressed so far. Social integration has selective applications. Sometimes, social integration leads to troubles also. The denotified communities have to face many challenges in this regard. Some nomadic and denotified communities

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such as Yerukulas and Sugalis have been reasonably well integrated but their number is very negligible. Spatial and temporal dimensions also need to be considered. Integrating the denotified communities in towns, districts and urban centres is relatively easier than in the rural villages.25 Villages, smaller towns and rural areas are not favourably disposed to accepting members of denotified communities. There is also some resistance in the districts. It is only in the metropolitan cities that the denotified communities can peacefully settle and mingle with the local populace with their arts and crafts. There is a demand for their talent and performances in the cities rather than in the remote villages. However, in the cities, they have to work very hard and lead a secluded life. There is also the problem of disintegration of family members and individual life. Their community traits, culture, and characteristic features will be lost. Separate colonies with modern facilities may be conducive for their social and cultural integration.26 A broader social consensus must emerge towards the integration of denotified communities. Very often NT, DNT communities are isolated. There is a need to break this isolation. Their individual desire is to equip themselves with various skills and improve their own functioning as members of civil society. The burden of the past must be eased from the shoulders of their youth. Government should propose area development plans keeping in mind various developmental activities. Efforts should be made through committed social workers and NGOs. The ultimate aim is to socialize the DNTs, readjust them to society, rehabilitate and change them. The whole issue of rehabilitation hinges on the complex process of convincing them and transforming them into people who can eke out their livelihood through the sweat of their brows. Since their problems are social and economic the main thrust of rehabilitation should be socio-economic in nature. And rehabilitation has to be anointed with a human approach.27 In view of the problems faced by NT-DNTs and the issues bothering them during colonial and post-colonial India, scholars and social activists have suggested various ameliorative measures to address development challenges of denotified communities. Some of the important recommendations that have been pending for quite some time are as follows: t

Conduct of sample surveys to assess their present socio-economic status

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Adequate funds should be spent on their economic development ‘D’ form pattas be made eligible for bank loans Labour contract societies should be organized Vocational trades like brick-making, mat-weaving, dress-making be established t Self-employment schemes need to be organized on cooperative basis t DNT youth should be provided suitable public employment to enhance their social status t Sanction of generous bank loans to educated unemployed youth in settlements t Continuous engagement of youth in public activities to keep them away from crime t Undue police harassment should be done away with t DC (Dossier Criminals) sheets shall be lifted in case of excriminals with good conduct t Stolen property dealers, corrupt officials, and greedy criminal lawyers to be counselled t Educational facilities and special scholarships to be extended to all eligible students.28 t t t t

Notes 1. David Arnold, ‘Dacoity and Rural Crime in Madras, 1860-1940’, in Journal of Peasant Societies, January 1979. 2. A. Aiyappan, Report on the Socio-Economic Conditions of the Aboriginal Tribes of the Province of Madras, Madras, 1948. 3. P.K. Bhowmick, The Lodhas of West Bengal, Calcutta, 1963. 4. P.K. Bhowmick, Essential Primary Consideration Schemes, Calcutta, 1980. 5. B.S. Bhargava, The Criminal Tribes of India, Lucknow, 1949. 6. Bhowmick, The Lodhas . . . , op. cit. 7. G.N. Devy, A Nomad Called Thief, Hyderabad, 2005. 8. Fuches, Stephen, The Aboriginal Tribes of India, New Delhi, 1975. 9. Files of the Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch, Hyderabad, vide No.1185/CIB/58, dated 27 February 1958. These tribes are as follows: Telaga Pamulas, Dandasis, Konda Doras, Rellis, Paids, Kintil, Kalinga, Nakkalas, Piriki Mukkalas, Donga Yalhas, Vedurupaka Malas, Boyas, Netti Kothalas, Reddikas, Yanadis, Dommaras, Anipi Malas, Vaddi Upparas, Buda Bukkalas, Lambadas, Waddars, Kemparis, Pamulas, Reddy Yanadis, Jarugumalli Madigas, Donga Dasari, Mondi Banda, Jogula, Nawabpeta Korcha, Amagunta Palegars, Paraya, Thota Naiks, Bhathu,

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Turaka, Pedda Boya, Dabbala Vagula, Nirshhikari, Iranis, Kanjar Bhatt, Jatur mixed gang. 10. Malli Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes: Policy and Practice, New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, 2006. 11. Malli Gandhi, Denotified Tribes: Dimensions of Change, New Delhi: Kanishka Publishers, 2008. 12. Jaspal Singh, Reformation of Ex-Criminal Tribes, New Delhi, 1976. 13. V. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes: Patterns and Transition, Madras: New Era Publications, 1995. 14. Lavanam and Lavanam Hemalatha, Notes and Reflections of Our Work in the Rehabilitation of Ex-Criminal Tribes People in the Settlements, Vijayawada: Gandhi Peace Foundation, n.d. 15. Meena Radhakrishna, Dishonoured by History: Criminal Tribes and British Colonial Policy, Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2001. 16. Y.C. Simhadri, The Ex-Criminal Tribes of India, New Delhi: National Publishing House, 1979. 17. Y.C. Simhadri, The Denotified Tribes of India: A Sociological Analysis: New Delhi: Classical Publishing Co., 2000. 18. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, NT-DNT Rag: Report on the Conditions of Nomadic and Denotified Tribes of India, New Delhi, 2010. 19. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 5576, dated 30 December 1952. 20. B.S. Haikerwal, Economic and Social Aspects of Crime in India, London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1934. 21. Jaspal Singh, Crime in India, Reformation of Ex-criminals, New Delhi, 1976. 22. Meena Radhakrishna, ‘Surveillance and Settlement under the Criminal Tribes Act in Madras’, in Indian Economic and Social History Review, vol. XXIV, no. 2, April-June 1992. 23. Frederick S. Mullay, The Criminal Class of Madras Presidency, Whitefish MT: Kessinger Publishing, 1812. 24. J.J. Panakal, ‘An Agenda for Criminology’, Indian Journal of Criminology, Madras, 1973. 25. Ramachandra Guha and Madhav Gadgil, ‘State Forestry and Social Conflict in British India’, in Past and Present, nos. 122-3, February 1989. 26. Sanjay Nigam, ‘Disciplining and Policing the Criminals by Birth’, Part II, in Indian Economic and Social History Review, vol. 27, no. 2, 1995. 27. Lavanam and Lavanam Hemalatha, Notes and Reflections , op. cit. 28. Report on the Conditions of Nomadic and Denotified Tribes of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi, 2006.

CHAPTER 19

Development of Nomadic/ Denotified Tribes: Official Reports and Recommendations

PROBLEMS CONCERNING THE development of NT/DNTs are complex. Geographical and regional variations, locational problems and certain bureaucratic procedures in notifying them under SC/ST and OBC categories pose discernable threats to their welfare. Problems of migration add further to them. Their educational development is linked with their social and economic life. The semi-nomadic and nomadic character and the criminal dimension of these communities need to be examined carefully. This needs to be estimated against their socio-economic status as a background among others such as occupational status, land possession, petty business, migration and educational status. Nomadic, semi-nomadic and criminal character needs to be related to their development.1 Along with the above, social character, attitudinal issues and review of legal framework against atrocities must be examined by the government. The DNTs are seen as backward across most of the states in the country today. In view of the welfare state model of indigenous governance systems, most of the DNTs are given to the staunch belief that the government should concern itself with their holistic development. In the remote villages, NT/DNTs are facing peculiar problems that are unlikely to be found in tribal villages of other parts of the country. Certain case studies throw light on the pathetic situation of DNTs in India. They are predominantly found in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh where they are known by different nomenclatural denominations. In Andhra Pradesh, they are largely found in Shikaripeta, Bangarupeta, Budavarpeta, Gudur, Orvakallu, Pasupula and Munagalapadu (Kurnool district), Guntakal (Ananthapur district). In Maharashtra they are seen in Sholapur district and in Karnataka they inhabit Bellary district. Systemic reforms are suggested by some

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of the committees and commissions for the overall development of DNT communities time and again.2 The Planning Commission and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment constituted a high-power committee to suggest measures for empowerment of Scheduled Castes in the XII Five-Year Plan period (2012-17). A working group was constituted under the chairmanship of P.S. Krishnan to study and suggest a roadmap for empowerment of the most backward/vulnerable sections among the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. P.S. Krishnan submitted a prospective plan for the development of the most vulnerable groups among SCs/STs/OBCs.3 Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic and Vimukta Jati tribes (NSNVJ) is another category in vulnerable groups. A number of these tribes/communities are included in the schedule of STs, SCs and BCs. The NSNVJ are characterized by total lack of land, resources, skills and stable residence. The Vimukta Jatis were nominally liberated by calling them Vimukta and their name changed from criminal tribes (CT) to Vimukta Jatis but no other change has taken place in their life. The change is only denominational in nature and most of these tribes still suffer at the hands of laws that have taken new names and shapes like Habitual Offenders Act. It is only a small number of them who at any time resorted to crimes. That did not justify dubbing all people of those communities as criminals. Even those who resorted to crime did so because all other avenues were closed to them. Often, some well-todo persons belonging to NSCTBCs/SACs engaged them for crimes, received the proceeds, became prosperous and gave a pittance to members of these communities whom they used as tools. The working group/sub-group constituted by the government is entrusted with matters pertaining to NSNVJ who are in the categories of SC/ST/OBCs.4 The following are the important indicators in identifying NT/DNT communities:5 Separate settlements NT/DNTs are invariably involved in the unorganized sector t Most of them are found in menial jobs such as human scavenging work, rag-picking, scavenging, burial ground duties, performing street plays, prostitution etc. t There is social stigma attached to them (criminality, beggary, prostitution) t NT/DNT communities have their own dialects without a script. t t

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II The Ranke Commission’s report has not yet been placed in the public domain, probably on the ground that the Action Taken Report is under preparation in consultation with the state governments. This is not a proper ground for withholding the report from the public. It should be placed in the public domain immediately to facilitate consideration and discussion among the people concerned.6 It is also necessary to refer to the annual reports of commissions and annual reports on the PCR Act and POA Act. Here too there is a time-lag of years between the submission of reports to the government and their tabling in parliament and placement in the public domain. The ground for delay is the placement of the Action Taken Report. The government is yet to place in the public domain the important report of the Group of Ministers on Dalit Affairs set up in 2005, though years have passed after it gave its report in 2008. Government should cut the Gordian-Knot and adopt the correct practice of placing all such reports and annual reports promptly in the public domain. This does not amount to any commitment on the part of the government. Whatever commitment the government decides to give will follow in the Action Taken Report which will take some time.7 For the time being there is a need that these groups of communities among the SC/ST/OBCs should be treated as a sub-category under SC/ST/OBCs for planning relevant to their conditions, which can be carried out without adversely affecting other SC/ST/OBCs. Government should initiate talks with the office of the Registrar General of India, Ministry of Home Affairs and seek expert opinion. They will have to be closely associated in the formulation and implementation of plans so that they become really useful for these groups. This will also involve talks with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Planning Commission that are meant for this purpose. There have been strong recommendations from activists and academics in this regard.8 The Ranke Commission’s report should be placed in the public domain immediately. The Action Taken Report can follow as early as possible. Reports of all commissions and committees including annual reports, special reports of commissions, annual reports on the PCR Act and POA Act and the Report of the Group of Ministers on Dalit Affairs need to be in the public domain immediately preceded by tabling in the parliament.

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In the meanwhile, the nomadic and semi-nomadic communities of SCs, who suffer from special disadvantages like absence of permanent residence, absence of land or any other resources for earning viable livelihoods and absence of any skills should be treated as a special group within SCs and each of them should be comprehensively covered by appropriate schemes including creation of marketable skills, creation of employment opportunities, education of all their children in residential schools of high quality, and satisfactory housing with all necessary facilities and infrastructures. Representatives of these communities, NGOs and activists who work for them should be associated with relevant planning for each of these communities and this should be a specific part of the Special Component Plan (SCP) of the Centre and each State.9 Similarly, the Vimukta Jatis, who suffer from special disadvantages of their own, should be treated as vulnerable groups and schemes and programmes designed for them including de-penalization and creation of marketable skills, etc., shall be given appropriate effect in design and implementation. Adequate empirical data and statistical information is not available about NSNVJ communities. For better formulation of developmental schemes and programmes for them it is necessary to undertake quick studies and surveys through competent research institutes.10 The Anthropological Survey of India and the State Directorate of Social/ Tribal Welfare can be among such institutions. The following measures would further strengthen any public initiative in this regard: Adequate empirical and statistical data should be quickly collected about NSNVJ to make planning for them more precise. The Ambedkar Foundation, and possibly Babu Jagjivan Ram National Foundation, similarly restructured, could be and should be made the agency(ies) for mobilizing all research capabilities and secure such precise and detailed information.

Filed experiences reveal that when some of the DNT members sought jobs they were rejected outright by contractors, private firms and state and central governments. It was because they belonged to the DNT communities. Basic facilities such as road and sanitation are not available to the villages where these communities are living.11 For decades, these communities have been facing discrimination because of involvement of a few members of the DNT communities in unlawful activities. No respectable person wants to enter NT/ DNT villages as they think the latter will rob them. According to the

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police records, Sitanagaram, Siddhapuram and Stuartpuram exsettlements alone have over 40 habitual offenders from the Yerukula community itself coming under the category of Scheduled Tribes.12 The DNT communities were originally involved in hunting and carrying grain to interior places, the two activities being their primary source of livelihood. But after the ban on hunting, some of these communities took to the preparation of illicit liquor. After the ban on liquor, they suddenly became jobless. A large number of elders have not been to school, while some have studied up to the third standard. Because of being branded as criminals, they do not get employment and banks do not sanction loans to start small businesses. Most of them are doing petty business or driving auto rickshaws, and a few, having no other option, became petty thieves.13 Samskar, an active voluntary organization working for the welfare of the DNT communities in Stuartpuram ex-settlement opened a centre for nonformal education as well as a formal school which are now closed down due to project phase-out declared by the international donor agency, HAMU that used to support the organization so far. A multi-pronged strategy should be adopted to bring these communities into the mainstream of the society. Primarily, education should be imparted to the younger generation. Skill training should be given to youths to take up self-employment under various government schemes.14 Since the time of independence many committees and commissions have been constituted to look into specific problems faced by the NT/DNT communities. The first thing that these commissions did was to include a large number of CTs in the category of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes. These committees and commissions laid emphasis on the speedy development process of the most vulnerable communities. They suggested various rehabilitation programmes for the overall development of NT/ DNTs.15 Some of these commissions are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

The All India Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee, 1947 The Ayyangar Committee, 1949 Kaka Kalelkar Commission, 1955 The Lokur Committee, 1965 The Mandal Commission, 1980 P.S. Krishnan Report, 2001 Justice Venkatachalaiah Commission, 2002 Renke Commission Report, 2008.

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III The All India Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee was constituted in the year 1947. It made several recommendations for the development of CTs. It opined that majority of these communities were affected with the criminality tag. Poverty forced some of the members in the communities to indulge in petty crimes. These communities should be settled immediately. Until they get settled down in a specific place they, in all likelihood, will continue with their predatory habits. The committee focused on education, health and vocational skills. Scrapping of Habitual Offenders Act and Vagrant Act were also suggested, as was encouraging them to live off their hard work.16 The Ayyangar Committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Anath Sayanam Ayyangar during the year 1949. The committee conducted an elaborate survey with regard to the working of the CT Act. The committee submitted its report in 1950. It made several recommendations for the repeal of the CT Act. It also emphasized on the allocation of funds for development of CTs. According to the committee, respective state governments should concentrate on improvement of education, health and socio-economic status, centrally-sponsored schemes should be executed by state governments without any delay and these might be renewed every ten years. Taking serious note of the recommendations made by the committee, the government repealed the CT Act in 1952.17 During the year 1953 the Government of India appointed the First Backward Class Commission under the chairmanship of Kakasaheb Kalelkar. The committee had suggested that the so-called CTs should not be treated as Scheduled Tribes. The stigma of CT or Ex-CTs should not be attached to them. They should be henceforth known as DNT (Denotified). These sections of people should be divided into small groups in urban and semi-urban centres where they interact with other sections of people, and get an opportunity to change their lifestyle. This will promote social interactions with others. Socialization would further promote their development. Among the DNTs there are two categories of people. Some people are addicted to petty criminal activities and others in the community are by nature hard-working and law-abiding. For example, among the Yerukula, Waddar and Yanadi communities, there are criminal and non-criminal families. DNTs still suffer from the stigma of criminality. The committee stated that

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there are a large number of small communities who eke out a precarious life existence in the countryside. They have no fixed place of residence and they move from place to place in search of food or employment. They often rear pigs, poultry, and hunt wild animals to eke out their livelihood and collect forest produce to make a living. They live in thatched sheds or gunny tents and move in groups. They believe in witchcraft. Because of the insecurity of their life, some of these communities are given to crime. It should be the special responsibilities of the government to give them a settled life.18

Over a period of time the Government of India planned to revise the old list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes after considering various socio-economic conditions affecting them. It appointed a committee under the leadership of B.N. Lokur.19 The list prepared during the colonial period was revised. The committee recognized that a large number of people among the tribes were categorized as CTs. They were listed in the categories of STs/SCs and OBCs. The Lokur Committee recommended enlisting these sections of people state-wise. It also recommended various rehabilitation programmes for their development. The committee noticed that the anomalies persisting among these communities should be clarified in some states. It stated that ‘this anomalous classification appears to have had its origin in the fact that members of the NT/DNT tribes possess a complex combination of tribal characteristics, traditional untouchability, nomadic traits and anti-social heritage’.20 The Lokur Committee also suggested that developmental schemes aimed at NT/DNT communities were not reaching them properly. Owing to their constant migration from place to place and nomadic habits, beneficial schemes were not being properly implemented by the state governments. The committee further suggested that the present anomalous position regarding NT/DNTs should be identified properly. During the year 1990 the Second Backward Class Commission Report was submitted, popularly known as the Mandal Commission Report. The commission was critical of government’s policies which did not consider economic criteria and dismissed caste as a criterion to determine social and educational backwardness.21 L.R. Naik wrote a separate minute of dissent with reference to the categorization of socially and educationally backward classes. The Intermediate Backward Classes are those traditional occupational groups which had been involved in agriculture, gardening, pastoral activities, artisan vocations, tailoring, dyeing, weaving, petty business, toddy tapping, astrology, and so on. They are generally ex-criminal tribes, nomadic

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and wandering tribes, earth diggers, fishermen, washermen, sheep herdsmen, barbers, scavengers, basket makers, fur collectors, tanners, landless agricultural labourers, toddy tappers, pig keepers, pack bullock carriers, collectors of forest produce, hunters and fowlers, primitive tribes, beggars etc.22 The plight of NT/DNTs was taken up seriously again during the year 2002. Justice Venkatachalaiah Commission took serious note of the conditions of NT/DNTs in the country. The commission felt sad that ‘DNTs had been wrongly branded as CTs and were subjected to highhanded treatment as well as exploitation by the representatives of law and order as well as by the general society.’23 The commission recommended that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment  and the Ministry of Tribal Welfare should initiate steps to strengthen the progress of economic and educational development, generation of employment opportunities, social liberation and social rehabilitation of DNTs. Article 46 of the Indian constitution specified that government machinery should make appropriate plans for proper financial resources allocated and budgeted for the development of these communities. The Planning Commission and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment constituted a high-power committee to suggest measures for the empowerment of Scheduled Castes in the XII Five Year Plan period (2012-17). A working group was constituted under the chairmanship of P.S. Krishnan to study and suggest a road-map for empowerment of the most backward/vulnerable sections among the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes. P.S. Krishnan submitted a Perspective Plan for the Development of the Most Vulnerable Groups Among SCs/STs/OBCs.24 It is sad but true that the existing reports have failed to provide any clear picture or to get any substantial data on the socio-economic conditions of these communities. Although the national and state commissions have conducted studies on NT/DNTs and backward communities, there are still huge gaps in data. Various commissions, committees and studies have strongly suggested that NT/DNTs are the most deprived and oppressed sections in comparison with other Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. These studies recommended that a separate commission should be appointed to delve deep into various socio-economic and educational conditions of these most vulnerable sections of the country.25 Since inception, these NT/DNT tribes have been susceptible to

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atrocities committed by the state and other communities. NT/DNTs are closed communities, stigmatized and stereotyped as CTs. They are further victimized by policies and enactments of the central and state governments.26 Being the most vulnerable among vulnerable tribes, their occupations are crippled due to legislations such as the Prevention of Beggary Act (1959), Wild Life Protection Act (1972), Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960), Excise Act (1944), Drugs and Magic Remedy Act (1954), Prohibition Act, Cow Protection Act, Environmental and Bio-diversity Conservation Act (1999) etc. Implications of these enactments have forced some of these vulnerable groups to indulge in immoral and illegal activities.27 The recent rapid survey (2008) conducted by the National Commission for NT/DNTs brings out bleeding realities observed in these groups: 94 per cent in BPL category, landlessness in 98 per cent of households, absence of ration cards in 72 per cent houses, absence of birth certificates in 58 per cent houses, absence of death certificates in 82 per cent houses, women harassed by police at a whopping 88 per cent. The National Commission for NT/DNTs conducted a survey taking into consideration various parameters. NT/DNT communities are first-generation learners entering into higher education institutions. Though NT/DNT communities are spread over SC/ST/OBC categories they are not benefitted or could not avail facilities given to respective categories. They are far away from the benefits of the planned development process.28

Notes 1. Malli Gandhi, Development of Denotified Tribes: Policy and Practice, New Delhi, 2006. 2. Malli Gandhi, Denotified Tribes: Dimensions of Change, New Delhi, 2008. 3. P.S. Krishnan, Report on Perspective Planning on Empowerment of Scheduled Castes during XII Five Year Plan (2012-17), 1 August 2011. 4. P.S. Krishnan, ‘Contradiction between India’s National Aspirations and Neglect of Constitutionally Mandated Rights of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes: Can Indian Society and Teachers take the Challenge to Bridge the Gap?’ Gijubhai Badeka Fourth Memorial Lecture, 2010, NCERT, 2011. 5. Milind Bokil, ‘Facing Exclusion: The Nomadic Communities in Western India’, in Asia-Pacific Regional Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 26-9 September 1999. 6. Government of India, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, National Commission for Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic and Denotified Com-

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munities, Balkrishna Sidram Renke Report, vols. I and II, 30 June 2008. Also see, Milind Bokil, ‘Denotified and Nomadic Tribes: A Perspective’, in Economic and Political Weekly, 12 January 2000. 7. P.S. Krishnan, Empowering Dalits for Empowering India, A Road-Map, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, 2009, pp. 299300. 8. Government of India, Planning Commission, Report of the Steering Committee on Empowering Scheduled Tribes for 12th Five Year Plan, 2002-2007. 9. Government of India, Report of Criminal Tribes Enquiring Committee, 1948, United Provinces, Allahabad, 1949. 10. Anuja and Krishna, ECONET, Including the Nomadic and Denotified Tribes in the 12th Five Year Plan, Pune, 2011. 11. Malli Gandhi and V. Lalitha, Tribes Under Stigma: Problem of Identity, New Delhi: Serials Publications, 2009. 12. Gandhi, Denotified Tribes, op. cit. 13. Lavanam and Hemalata Lavanam, The Problem of Denotified Tribes: An Experiment on Stuartpuram, Vijayawada: Atheist Centre, 1975. 14. V. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes: Patterns and Transition, Madras: New Era Publications, 1996. 15. Y.C. Simhadri, The De-notified Tribes: A Sociological Analysis, New Delhi: Classical Publishing Co., 1991. 16. CERD,UN Report on Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 2007. 17. Government of India, Kakasaheb Kalelkar, Kalelkar Commission Report, New Delhi, 1955. 18. Government of India, U.N. Dhebar, Report of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes Commission, New Delhi, 1962. 19. Government of India, Lokur Committee Report, The Report of the Advisory Committee on the Reservation of the Lists of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, New Delhi: Department of Social Security, 1955. 20. Ibid. 21. Government of India, Mandal Commission Report, National Commission for Backward Classes, New Delhi, 1990. 22. Ibid. 23. Government of India, Venkatachalaiah Commission Report, National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, New Delhi, 2000. 24. P.S. Krishnan, Perspective Plan for the Development of the Most Vulnerable Groups among SCs/STs and OBCs, New Delhi, 2005. 25. Ganesh Devy, ‘Report on Denotified Tribes, Nomadic Groups, SemiNomadic Groups: Technical Adivisory Group Report, Road to Freedom’, New Delhi (unpublished report), 2005. 26. Branded ‘Born’ Criminals: Racial Abuses against Denotified and Nomadic Tribes in India, Information for the Confederation of the Committee on the Elemination of Racial Discrimination in Reviewing India’s 15th

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to 19th Periodic Reports, February 2007. The Resist Initiative International, Puri, Orissa. 27. K.B. Antrolikar, Dr. K.B. Antrolikar Committee Report, 1950, Report of the Ex-Criminal Tribes Rehabilitation Committee, November 1950, Government Central Press, Bombay, 1951. Also See, Bhudan, the DNTRAG Newsletter, Baroda, October-November 1995, pp. 4-15. 28. Malli Subba Rao, Understanding Denotified and Nomadic Tribes through Resolutions, Recommendations and Representations, Hyderabad: Action Aid, March 2013.

PA RT I V

HEALTH AND EDUCATION

CHAPTER 20

Health Interventions by Missionaries: A Study of Ex-Settlements in Andhra Pradesh

MEDICAL MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE

in the Telugu-speaking regions of Madras Presidency among the Yerukulas and Waddars was shouldered by Christian missionaries like the American Baptist Telugu Mission, Canadian Mission and Salvation Army. Health work among depressed classes in Madras province was considered by many as a missionary social enterprise debarring the indigenous knowledge of various communities. The denotified communities wandered throughout the state with their medical knowledge, practices and indigenous methods of using herbal medicines. However, the colonial records only highlighted the medical activities of the missionaries. Heavily depended on activities of medical missionaries to treat rural masses in India. A study of colonial medical knowledge prevailing among these communities, and how tribal communities helped themselves by curing their own ailments and not merely depending on missionaries forms an interesting read. Efforts by missionary organizations for the development of health among the criminal classes in Madras province constitutes an important chapter in the history of missionary work in India, in particular in the denotified colonies during early decades of the twentieth century. India was a nation of heterogeneous groups of people having superior knowledge of medical practices.

I Colonial medical teams were grappling with the dangers of malarial disease during the initial stages of their medical work. To tackle the spreading menace, district medical and sanitary officers were appointed to enquire into the question of malaria in CT settlements. Subsequently reports were sent to the government through district magistrates. Settlement managers were asked to report on the health conditions of settlers. From these reports of settlement managers it can be seen

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that malaria really had got hold of the CT settlements. The remedy suggested was filling in of drains alongside the main roads through all settlements. District medical and sanitary officers and managers were given to the view that remedial measures could only be undertaken gradually. The managers estimated four years as the time required for completion. In this connection it was stated by government that ‘the question is of one of the gravest importance and should be taken in hand at once and put through with all possible expedition’. It sanctioned an amount of ī2,000 as the estimated cost of work in settlements like Stuartpuram. Malaria in the nearby town of Chirala was reported to be rampant. A little further on at Vetapalem village the Roman Catholic priests had to abandon their missions altogether owing to malaria and villages on the outskirts of Bapatla were gradually becoming affected with malaria. At all these places and many others similarly situated along the coast water was found within a few feet of the surface all the year round. Therefore wells were not extensively used for irrigation; shallow pits were dug where most convenient and water lay in these all the year. Added to this, most of these water pits were sheltered by casuarinas or cashew-nut plantations and formed ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. All over the experimental gardens of the settlement the same class of water pits were found sheltered by trees and shrubs. These trees grew rapidly and continued to give necessary shelter to the malaria-bearing mosquitoes. The district medical and sanitary officers recommended: filling in drains by degrees; distribution of febrifuge; destruction of all rubbish; filling in of all pits. It was warned that if the matter was not taken in hand at once, the Yerukulas who were more progressive than all the other settlers would become so infected with malaria that they would start absconding. Further, there was always the danger of the same fate overtaking the settlement as it overtook the Roman Catholic Mission at Vetapalem. Investigations were conducted in Stuartpuram. A low swamp about a mile and a half ran alongside, and to the south of Madras Road, which traversed the settlement grounds, and the swamp was interspersed with small dirty pools and relics of old borrow pits which formed a convenient breeding place for mosquitoes. Two of these pools contained larvae. All the boys and girls of the settlement school were examined, and their spleen was found to be enlarged. Children suffered from high fever of the intermittent type, and readily yielded to treatment with quinine. Of the several blood smears that were

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taken, one contained fully grown benign tertian parasites. Consequently anti-malarial measures were suggested. The swamp which year after year seriously affected public health in the settlement would need to be filled with sand, 1 or 1.5 ft deep, to contain the surging problem. This could only be done in small areas at a time every year, as to tackle the entire length of the swamp at once would be financially difficult. Filling up of borrow pits alongside the road to the north and kerosene-oiling of pools in the swamp were recommended. Free distribution of quinine or cinchona febrifuge among the settlers was undertaken by missionary medical teams. Burying all broken pots and empty tins found near dwelling houses and filling up all pits in which storm water was likely to stagnate were considered for immediate action. Study of medical missionary enterprise in India has long been a neglected area of historical research. Missionaries in India performed the role of change agents. They felt that malnourishment, overpopulation and lack of proper sanitation facilities were responsible for high incidence of diseases like tuberculosis, cholera and small pox. They believed that prevalence of superstitions and unflinching faith in quick and quack remedies led to heavy loss of lives.1 They realized the implications of their care-and-cure policy vis-à-vis the complex process of proselytization. In 1920 a European missionary observed that ‘for the continued preservation of Christianity to Hindus and Muslims, there is no more potent agency than the work of Medical Mission’.2 ‘The onset of famines and wide scale loss of human lives convinced missionaries that medical missions needed to be recognized as powerful adjuncts of missionary work’.3 The American Baptist missionary activity in India paved the way for contacts between the Canadian Baptists and the Telugu people. In 1830, Rev. Samuel Day of the American Baptist Missionary Union laboured in the southern part of the Telugu country. The 1897 famine followed by devastating epidemics of cholera and small pox helped the missionaries to send their medical missionaries to boost the government’s relief programmes. The widespread effect of the famine afforded more opportunities to the Canadian Baptists for medical work. It was at this stage that the colonial government actually realized the importance attached to the successful work done by missionaries such as the Salvation Army, American Baptist Telugu Mission and other philanthropic agencies in providing great help to settlers. The Salvation Army was the first organization that stepped into medical

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mission activities among criminal tribes of India. Commissioner Booth-Tucker came to India in January 1901 and Ensign Mackenzie was sent to Telugu country. The latter stationed at 200 miles north of Madras. Telugu-speaking people in these places in 1902 numbered 2,60,00,000 and very soon the Salvation Army entered into several districts of Andhra Pradesh.4 The Salvation Army used advanced clinical techniques to cure patients suffering from chronic stomach ailments and diseases like leprosy. They described the change as revolution. Use of the word, ‘revolution’ by missionaries needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. The effort of missionaries implicitly reflected juxtaposition of health care, medical treatment and religion at once during a time of unavoidable medical interventions in various settlements. A contemporary observation seconds this: on one side of the tank are the Brahman priests, modern pirates, washing their hands in the sacred waters to be rid of their sins; on the other side is the Christian doctor, modern representative of the Great Physician, cleansing putrefying sores, healing diseases and treating ills of all sorts, for all conditions of people, then pointing them to the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.5

In 1920, the involvement of the Salvation Army with the treatment of diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy became much more pronounced. In 1930, the agency faced several problems due to economic depression. Typhoid was very much prevalent. Widespread cholera epidemic also posed difficulties to missionaries. Indian assistant doctors were employed in hospitals dealing with cases of cholera and maternity. Despite many problems, the missionaries did commendable work in several spheres. A large number of Indian boys and girls were trained in nursing. House-to-house registrations were arranged to eradicate leprosy and other forms of skin infection. Medical missionaries were supported by fellow missionaries involved in educational work and propaganda work in the villages. They also took help of Indian pastors and churchmen to implement decrees condemning consumption of alcoholic drinks.6

II Siddhapuram Settlement was a voluntary settlement and was surrounded by land that was ideal breeding ground for Anopheles

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mosquitoes. Humidity and water-logging led to the breeding of mosquitoes and malaria claimed a heavy toll. In order to improve the health conditions of settlers a medical officer was appointed on Siddhapuram tank project and all the sick settlers were treated by him. A register was kept open in the settlement to record names of persons found sick, name of the disease and related medical remarks. A dispensary with a compounder was opened in April 1929. Health Week was celebrated every year in Siddhapuram Settlement. Prizes were distributed as incentives to settlers to keep their huts and surroundings clean and to devote more attention to the health of their babies.7 Stagnant pools were largely the result of building of local tank and fed by sub-soil percolation. There were deep pits in the tank bed which held water all the year round.8 A new site was selected about 1.5 miles from the old site and the change of site contributed to improved health and comfort of settlers. The site of the settlement was shifted to the present place in January 1927.9 A medical officer was appointed on Siddhapuram tank project and all the sick settlers were treated by him. High temperature was responsible for deaths, particularly of old people and children. A large number of settlers suffered from veneral diseases too.10 Like in the case of malaria, in the present instance also a register was opened in the settlement to record the names of persons found sick, name of the disease and other remarks. The sub-assistant surgeon of Atmakur used to visit the settlement monthly, carry medicines from Atmakur hospital and hand over to the officer-in-charge of the settlement. The sick had to be sent to Atmakur for better attention. A dispensary with a compounder was opened in April 1929. Common diseases treated in the settlement were bronchitis, rheumatic fever, malaria, pneumonia, dyspepsia, small pox, common cold, digestive disorders, ear and throat complaints, ulcers, skin diseases and a few cases of influenza.11 Cause for low birth rate in Siddhapuram Settlement was the immoral character of both men and women. Women changed husbands frequently and suffered from syphilis and other veneral diseases. Neo-salvation injections were given for syphilis. Malaria was the chief cause for high mortality in the colony,12 the number of deaths increasing during the year 1927. A large number of people suffered from veneral diseases, so the district medical officer sent settlers to Guindy hospital located at Madras for examination.

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Necessary steps were taken to treat and eradicate all communicable diseases.13 A weighing machine was purchased by the manager to enable visiting doctors to note the weight of school children from time to time to watch their health.14 Prizes and incentives were awarded to settlers who maintained healthy habitats around their huts and homes.15 The amount of prizes rose every year. During the year 1934, the cleanest baby received ī3 and the cleanest hut ī9. Table 20.1 gives more details.16 TABLE 20.1: AWARDS TO PROMOTE GOOD HEALTH AND SANITATION AMONG SETTLERS

Item Cleanest house Cleanest house Healthiest baby Healthiest baby

Prize

Amount

1st Prize 2nd Prize 1st Prize 2nd Prize

ī6 ī4 ī2 ī1

Total

ī13

At present, conditions of health in Siddhapuram Settlement are no any better than in the old days. A few local leaders felt sad that ‘conditions of the village at present are really pathetic. The only hospital established in 1929 is now dysfunctional. Women die at the time of delivery. For medical help we have to rush to Atmakur.’17

III Efforts of medical missionaries, especially the Salvation Army in Stuartpuram Settlement were highly noteworthy. The settlement was established in 1914. In order to improve health conditions the Salvation Army constructed a hospital. Death rate was high during 1915 due to influenza and hence a new hospital was built by the government about 2 furlongs from the nearest gang. A sub-assistant surgeon was called bi-weekly from Bapatla and medicines were supplied for diseases like dysentery, cholera, malaria, fever, small-pox, beriberi, boils, heart diseases etc. Daily average attendance was around 200 patients. Salvation Army paid special attention in times of cyclone, drought and other natural calamities. Individual cases were given continuous treatment until they were cured. Medical issues were taken care of by V. Sitarama Ayyar, the sub-assistant surgeon. He

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took keen interest in the well-being of settlers.18 Birth rate during 1915 was 36. Early in 1915, settlers complained of excessive mortality in the settlement. On examination, it was found that the annual death rate was only 29 and that complaints were grossly exaggerated. Government had directed the sub-assistant surgeon at Bapatla to pay periodical visits to the settlement. Special measures were taken to eliminate block scourge (ankylostomiasis) which was found to be somewhat prevalent amongst settlers.19 During 1918, the settlement had to face many difficulties, not the least important of them being influenza epidemic. As the conditions in 1918 were exceptional it was not thought necessary to provide a separate medical establishment at the settlement. It was hoped that health of settlers would improve on account of establishment of a dispensary, provision of regular work and curtailment of opportunities for drinking.20 During the year 1918, the settlement had faced two serious epidemics: cholera and small-pox. Seventy per cent of the vaccinated cases developed small-pox subsequently with the result that settlers became intensely restless and began absconding in large numbers. The settlement officer, A.G. Cardew remarked that ‘I regret I cannot regard the working of the Settlement as satisfactory.’21 There was a severe epidemic of influenza during the year 1919 and the government sanctioned to the Salvation Army a grant of ī500 towards purchase of hospital equipment.22 The manager of Stuartpuram reported that the settlement was in a state of famine on account of failure of rains. ī2,000 was sanctioned as a famine relief measure. The surgeon-general who visited the settlement suggested that pits should be filled up at once as they were a cause for spreading malaria. Filling up of the pits provided labour to the settlers and at the same time contained further spread of the disease. To avoid calamity, settlers were forced to approach the government for famine relief work. Cooked food was distributed to settlers up to 30 September 1919.23 The settlement was without a doctor for many months but there were no epidemics during 1921. Sub-assistant surgeon of Mangalagiri visited the place twice a week and ministered to the needs of the inmates. A dispensary was established and the District Board, Guntur, contributed ī25 per month for its maintenance. It was recorded that during 1925 the number of deaths was high in the settlement with the imminent consequence that a large number of Yerukulas deserted the settlement.24 Stuartpuram

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was an extensive settlement but very scattered. Houses were scattered over a distance of 2 or 3 furlongs. Settlers active in crime lived outside their houses and camped all through the year, sleeping outside during all times. They used their little beehive-like huts during rains or heavy dews. Visitors often questioned why settlers were not provided with better houses.25 The opinion of the Deputy Inspector-General of Police on the subject is worthy to note: ‘there is trouble over getting mud for hut building. This is caused by there being no road . . . , but above all, there being no level crossing over the railway line.26 Whenever there was a cyclone, it had an enormous effect on the dilapidated huts in the settlement. Pennik, a Salvation Army officer stated that ‘the roofs of all the huts have been blown away and that they needed reconstruction. It would be useless to rely on Palmyra leaves being available in the locality. The cyclone had struck not only the settlement but every hut in the neighborhood’.27 A grant of ī4 was sanctioned for each damaged hut for reconstruction. Some of the government buildings had also been badly damaged and needed urgent repairs. Staff members of the Salvation Army responded to all emergencies in Stuartpuram Settlement and saved the lives and dwellings of many people. One of the Salvation Army officials states that ‘a most interesting feature of the Settlement is the excellent houses which those settlers who have taken to agriculture have recently built for themselves, evidence that they do propose to make the Settlement their native place’.28 The agency paid special attention in times of cyclones, droughts and other natural calamities. The Government of Madras used to sanction money from time to time for the maintenance of huts at an average of ī16 per hut.29 All natural emergencies like floods and cyclones carried with them potential dangers of spread of water-borne or air-borne diseases. At all times the Salvation Army paid individual attention to all members of the settlement until they were cured. During the year 1927, 10,650 cases had been attended to in the dispensary. It is a historical coincidence that the first-ever National Health Week was celebrated during the year 1927. Government sanctioned ī250 towards the National Health Week celebrations. Yerukula settlers too responded well.30 However, medicines supplied to supplement the dispensary were inadequate to meet the needs of people. Kondayya Naidu was appointed medical officer during the year 1927 and a compounder was also employed in the dispensary the same year. At the same time, the Salvation Army appointed compounders who had the same

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qualification as the compounders in government hospitals.31 A ward boy was appointed on ī10 per month to assist in looking after patients.32 The sub-assistant surgeon took a keen interest in the wellbeing of settlers and even allowed some of the settlers to be in his local hospital at Bapatla so as to have the benefit of his constant attention. Arrangements for medical treatment made in and outside the settlement received appreciation from many. Even non-official visitors had a lot of praise for internal arrangements in the Stuartpuram settlement. One such contemporary visitor remarked that ‘it is a great blessing to the settlers to have an experienced compounder and a mid-wife living in the Settlement’.33 The settlers were happier in the hospital which was ventilated in a good fashion and government provided all facilities for them to lead a comfortable life.34 A maternity ward was opened in the settlement in 1930. Territorial Commander of the Salvation Army stated that the ‘number of outpatients and the number of maternity cases had been steadily increasing. A full-time medical officer was appointed in the place of the visiting medical officer in the Settlement.’35 Cases of dysentery and eczema were frequent due to unhealthy diet of the people. The Yerukulas lived almost exclusively on broken rice and chilli powder. Some settlers were infected with leprosy during the year 1934. They were given treatment as out-patients in the Salvation Army Leper Colony at Bapatla. Clothes, food and medicines were supplied. Records were maintained for births and deaths in settlement by the Salvation Army.36 The missionary agency fed children at government expense at the rate of ī3 per head per month.37 There were lapses and fighting amongst settlers. There were also certain man-made health issues that could have been avoided with socio-medical interventions. This was largely due to the sale of toddy in neighbouring villages like Betapudi, Gavinivaripalem, Epurupalem and Vedullapalli. Whenever toddy was obtainable, feuds were inevitable.38 Old men and women received subsistence allowance under two main categories: widows with children and women whose husbands had absconded or were in jail. However, the money was misused in many ways. On the other hand, good food was appreciated by all those in real need. An arrangement was made whereby food and clothing required by incapables was supplied to them.39 Administration report for the year 1933-4 states: ‘one thing is obvious. The cash as given at present may be misused in many directions

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whereas the certainty of getting food would be appreciated by those in real need.’40 The compounder at Stuartpuram was discharged when the rural medical practitioner took charge in January 1949. Mid-wives in the dispensary helped all maternity cases in the settlement. Serious health issues like small-pox attack were reported till the year 1950 in Stuartpuram Settlement. However, timely action was taken by the health department to eradicate small-pox there.41

IV Missionary bodies faced opposition from Hindu caste groups in their medical work. While the Salvation Army was seriously involved in efforts to establish more hospitals and dispensaries, its authorities believed that women medical missionaries alone could break down the caste Hindu opposition towards treatment of leprosy. The efficient functioning of surgical and outpatient departments in the hospital evoked a great deal of public support. The expertise displayed by medical officers in diagnosing and treating various types of diseases led to the breakdown of popular superstitions and prejudices. The Salvation Army successfully encountered challenges by sorcerers and traditional medical practitioners. The sincerity with which it served patients from these communities influenced some of the families to turn to the Gospel for relief and support. Often, the hot summer season took its toll on people’s energy and strength. People used to become languid and long for rains. But before the rains came an awful visitation in the form of dreadful diseases like cholera. People were urged to abandon their homes and take to the open country until the epidemic subsided. Days before the cholera visitation, a notorious practice of devil possessing women prevailed among the settlers to whom in fear all other settlers paid due respect. A woman settler remarks thus: ‘a man who came upon me, an evil presence who entered into my mind and being and overpowered me’.42 From 1945 onwards, the activities of missionaries underwent a decline. With the Second World War showing signs of coming to an end in Europe, many of the missionaries expressed their desire to return to their country. Along with them medical technologists in Andhra also expressed their wish to return to their country. The huge financial drain caused by the war impeded much of the humanitarian activities of the missionaries. It had become very difficult for them to provide medical relief free of cost. Subsequently, with the Government of India introducing special rural health-care programmes,

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missionary hospitals faced a challenge from government-run institutions. In order to survive, missionaries preferred to merge their hospitals and pool resources in closer unity. Despite their best efforts in the field, missionaries had to face flak for their alleged medical evangelism.43 However, it is doubtful whether missionaries were endowed with two sets of qualities to act as effective facilitators in the complex process of mass conversion. Their successes by and large were confined to leprosy-infected patients who underwent treatment in their leper homes. The missionaries sent qualified doctors, started medical training centres, established hospitals and dispensaries in the areas affected by contagious diseases like typhoid and cholera. They registered impressive success in the sphere of maternity and child care. Medical relief provided by missionaries was smaller than that provided by government institutions. Despite their limited scale of operation the outcome of medical missionary work in terms of treatment, use of modern techniques and equipment was considered satisfactory.44 Humane qualities like empathy, motherliness and selfforgetting service of missionaries accounted for their remarkable success in treating patients. They had toiled hard to gain social recognition for their work. Vicious campaigns launched by uppercaste Hindu society often impeded their progress. Successful treatment of infectious diseases on the part of missionaries countered the Hindu aversion.

Notes 1. Mission Handbook, Baptist Foreign Missionary Society, Toronto, 1895, p. 13. 2. Mary Pauline Jeffry and Ida S., Scudder of Vellore: An Appreciation of Forty Years of Service in India, Mysore: Wesley Press, 1939, pp. 13-17. 3. PWLD, GO No. 2671, dated 6 December 1934, p. 2. 4. Ibid. 5. PWLD, GO No. 52, dated 6 January 1927, p. 2. 6. PWLD, GO No. 137, dated 19 January 1927, pp. 1-2. 7. PWLD, GO No. 2190, dated 28 July 1930, p. 5. 8. Home Department, GO No. 2661, dated 25 October 1920, p. 3. 9. PWLD, GO No. 2190, dated 28 July 1930, p. 6. 10. PWLD, GO No. 137, op. cit. 11. Note Showing the Progress made in the Settlements of CT Tribes in Madras Presidency, 1916 & 1925, p. 2. 12. PWLD, GO No. 2671, op. cit.

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13. PWLD, GO No. 2970, dated 8 January 1934, p. 3. 14. During the year 1918, the death rate was distinctly high largely due to influenza. 15. Home (Judicial) Department, GO No. 475, 2074, 18th August 1916, p. 4. 16. PWLD, GO No. 1974, 10th August 1920, pp. 27-9. 17. Interview, K.R. Somanna, Siddhapuram Settlement, 24 October 2002. 18. Home Department, GO No. 1974, op. cit. 19. Law (General) Department, GO No. 1714, 22nd October 1921, p. 6. 20. Law (General) Department, Proceedings, GO No. 732, 8 August 1925, p. 1. 21. PWLD, GO No. 1996, 16 January 1939, pp. 5-6. 22. PWLD, GO No. 3064, dated 5 November 1936, p. 1. 23. There were altogether 14 buildings in Stuartpuram during the year 1934. 24. The War Cry (Monthly by Salvation Army), April 1937, p. 3. 25. PWLD, GO No. 1996, op. cit. 26. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 65, dated 1 January 1926. 27. PWLD, GO No. 1551, 20 July 1927, p. 4. 28. PWLD, GO No. 1654, 6 July 1928, p. 3. 29. PWLD, GO No. 973, dated 3 April 1928, pp. 1-7. 30. PWLD, GO No. 3260, dated 18 November 1930, p. 1. 31. PWLD, GO No. 156, dated 30 July 1931, pp. 2-3. 32. PWLD, GO No. 2007, dated 11 September 1934, p. 6. 33. PWLD, GO No. 1298, dated 4 June 1935, p. 1. 34. PWLD, GO No. 543, dated 1 March 1935, p. 5. 35. PWLD, GO No. 1925, 25 September 1936, p. 10. 36. Home Department, GO No. 5701, dated 30 October 1939, p. 22. 37. PWLD, GO No. 1313, dated 17 June 1932, p. 1. 38. Ibid. 39. Harrison Mark (ed.), Health, Medicine and Empire: Perspectives on Colonial India, Hyderabad: Sangam Books, 2001, p. 89. 40. PWLD, GO No. 2671, op. cit. 41. Neve Ernest F., A Crusader in Kashmir: Being the Life of Dr. Arthur Neve, with an Account of the Medical Missionary Work of Two Brothers and its Later Developments Down to the Present Day, 1928, London: Seeley, Service, p. 14. 42. Meldred E. Mackenzie, The Mud Bank: A Story of Missionary Endeavor, Pennsylvania: Self-publication, 1959, p. 80. 43. Deepak Kumar (ed.), Disease and Medicine in India: A Historical Overview, Chennai: Tulika Books, 2012, p. 64. 44. Ibid.

CHAPTER 21

Education of Children: Madras Presidency Experience

THE COLONIAL GOVERNMENT in the Madras Presidency considered the question of improving facilities for the education of children of CTs.1 It focused on efforts that should be made as a means to wean children of CTs from crime. Schools established in various colonies were kept under supervision of the Director of Public Instruction whose main function was to make arrangements for periodical inspection of these schools by officers of the education department and prepare inspection reports clearly specifying the defects in each institution and suggest a plan of action on how to rectify the same with suitable remedies.2 The reports submitted by officers of education were forwarded to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Railways and CID department officials.3 The former used to take requisite action with support received from education officers, settlement managers and the district magistrates concerned. The government used to take appropriate action for the remarks and comments made by education officers. The progress reports of education development among the CT children were annually published in public reports.4

I The Director of Public Instruction was requested by the government to arrange for immediate inspection of all educational institutions in the CT settlements. They were asked to prepare and submit their reports soon after inspecting the schools. It also requested officers to suggest what measures should be adopted for improvement of CT settlement schools in order to make them fit and efficient for recognition. The Director of Public Instruction was of the opinion that these institutions run by missionaries like the Salvation Army and the American Baptist Mission may be completely left to be managed by these bodies.5 It was also felt that the government should open schools where no agencies were prepared to undertake

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DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

management of such settlement schools. It requested the Director of Public Instruction to see that the scale of expenditure that was adopted should not be lavish on the ground of the proposed institutions being provincial.6 The authority was also requested to consult the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Railways and CID departments to obtain information with regard to the question of education of the children of CTs. In the due course of time educational institutions started functioning in various settlements. Table 21.1 presents details on their working.7

II Government of Madras asked the Directors of Public Instruction to regularly inspect all the schools established for the education of children of criminal tribes. Various inspection reports submitted to the colonial government in Madras Presidency made the following recommendations (Table 21.2) in respect of several CT schools.8 Following reports from various settlements, government made available the following furniture and teaching appliances for the promotion of education of CT children:9 t t t t t t t t t t t

Blackboard for general class use and for drawing classes Back benches for classes I, II, III Planks for infants Kindergarten benches Pictures of animals and plants Maps of the district, the Presidency, India and the world Globes Ananda Primer and Ananda Reader for standards I, II, III Slates and slate pencils A set of garden implements Wire fencing for the school garden

Educational authorities working in Telugu-speaking areas forwarded different recommendations for different schools subject to their status and need.10 At Sitanagaram the sub-assistant inspector recommended that the manager may be given a lump sum of ī200 for the supply of furniture and teaching appliances to the school.11 Night schools were also started in the settlements. The government decided to close some of the settlements and transfer settlers gradually to Stuartpuram and Guntur settlements.12

Sitanagaram

Settlement or Home to Which the School is Attached

Staff

54 boys, 27 girls Three teachers (a separate (only 22 children teacher for each of the two sections in the infant standard attended) and one teacher for the first standard and third standards)

Number on the Roll call of the School in the Initially The school was situated on the Sainyapuram side, but serves both the sub-settlements of Kondapeta and Sainyapuram. The total number of children of school-going age in the two settlements was 142 boys and 87 girls and the government had directed in its review on the last annual report of the settlement that education should be made compulsory for all children of school-going age and that the manager should make every endeavour to admit all such children into the school and regularise attendance. There was also a night school working here.13 It was stated by the manager that during 1916 a grant of ī103 was received from the government (probably from the educational department) against the annual expenditure of ī400. The government sanctioned a non-recurring grant of ī1,500 for re-building two old bungalows, one of them to serve as a school house.

Contd.

Remarks

Government Grants

TABLE 21.1: WORKING OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IN VARIOUS SETTLEMENTS

Stuartpuram

Settlement or Home to Which the School is Attached

95 children

Number on the Roll call of the School in the Initially

TABLE 21.1 (Contd.)

Two teachers. The Salvation Army proposed early in 1916 to strengthen the staff by two more teachers.

Staff

Remarks

Only 95 children attended school out of a total population of 300 children of school-going age. But it was hoped that this defect would now be remedied. The government had already pointed out that education should be made compulsory for all children of school-going age. The school hereafter was to be inspected by the officers of the educational department and be eligible for the usual grant-inaid. The Salvation Army was being requested to employ properly qualified teachers on the scale fixed by the education department and to also employ a few women teachers as the school would be a co-ed school. The question of giving children education in agriculture was under consideration.14

Government Grants

Government had sanctioned the construction of a school house at a cost of about ī7,500. A grant of ī500 was sanctioned for the year 1917-18 towards expenses of maintaining the school.

232

Kalichedu

One headmaster on ī60 per month; one first assistant mistress on ī40 per month. Two assistant teachers on ī15 each. Two assistant teachers on ī12 each. One teacher on ī10 per month. Peon on ī7.

32 boys and 14 Two teachers girls

Bhumannagadda

The instruction given was of an elementary character.15 Weaving, sericulture, sewing, etc., were being taught. The total number of children of school-going age was 73.

The number of children above seven years of age was 232 and all of them attended the school. Textile industr y had been started for the benefit of the children and it was supported by the proceeds of the sale of palm-leaf mats made by them. Tailoring was also being taught. The introduction of carpentry, blacksmithy and pottery was contemplated. Some of the girls had been sent to the Salvation Army’s girls’ school at Nellore.16 The government was paying recurring monthly stipend of ī3 for each girl in the Nellore school and this had recently been increased to ī4. Contd.

Nil

The school was originally maintained by the Taluq Board of Gudur and the management was transferred in 1913 to the government which bears all the charges. The school house and quarters for the staff were constructed at government cost. A boarding house was attached to the school and the children here were fed and clothed at government expense. Early abolition of the settlement had been ordered.

Kavali

Settlement or Home to Which the School is Attached

113

Number on the Roll call of the School in the Initially

TABLE 21.1 (Contd.)

No information

Staff

Men numbering about 30 and there was also a class of 11 women. The night school got a teaching grant under the Grant-in-Aid Code.

Government Grants

Attendance at the school was made compulsory in July 1914 for all the children between the ages of 6 and 12 and in July 1915 residence at the mission boarding school was made compulsory, thus rendering a complete separation of the boys from their parents except for a short time during each day. Boarding charges were incurred by the settlement but the expenditure was practically met by the government which was responsible for the net cost of working the settlement. A night school had also been opened for the young.17

Remarks

31 at the end of One teacher the year 1915

Prisoners’ Home 9 boys and 7 girls One trained teacher Guntur

Aziznagar

A school was constructed by the government at a cost of about ī6,000. GO R No. 56L, Financial, dated 6 December 1624. In the report on the working of the settlement for 1915 it was stated that a teacher had been supplied by the District Board, which had also furnished the requisite furniture and books. Nil

Contd.

The school was opened in March 1916 and 9 boys and 7 girls attended it out of a population of 12 boys and 15 girls of school-going age. Major Mackenzie considered it unsatisfactory that the career of the children was not followed up when they left school due to their parents leaving the home. The home had since been converted into a penal settlement for criminal tribes.19

The percentage of school-going population to the total number of children in the settlement was 261 at the end of 1915. Attendance was very poor. The government considered in 1915 that the results were inadequate.18

Kulasekharapatnam

Pillayarpatti

Settlement or Home to Which the School is Attached

Staff

Government Grants

12 boys and 5 girls One school master and The government sanctioned (3 girls exempted) manager. One assistant the construction of a thatched mistress at the rate of ī12. shed for the location of the school at a cost of about ī200. This settlement was under the supervision of the district magistrate, Tanjore and the government bore all the expenditure connected with it. 11 boys and 6 girls One elementar y school The government paid the master on ī12 a month salary of the school master and also a rent not exceeding ī4 per month for the school building. A sum of ī135 was sanctioned for supplying the school with certain articles of furniture.

Number on the Roll call of the School in the Initially

TABLE 21.1 (Contd.)

The government considered that the school in the settlement should be a mixed school, that is a school not exclusively for the children of the Koravas but also for the children of the other employees of the company. The question was put to the district magistrate, Tinnevelly, for consideration and report as to the feasibility of establishing a Taluq Board school or making

All the children of school-going age attended the school. A night school had also been opened. Education was being given in the 3Rs.20

Remarks

Siddhapuram

25 boys and 20 The school masters on ī10 girls and ī9. One school mistress on ī8 was appointed by the government

A school building had been provided by the government. It also paid the salaries of the school staff. A sum of ī250 had also been provided in the annual budget for the clothing of the children for contingencies.

Contd.

the school a combined one for all classes of children. The report of the district magistrate on the subject was referred to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Railways and CID. The government had decided to contribute towards the cost of the schooling of the Korava children. All the children of school-going age attended the school.21 There was no settlement established under the Criminal Tribes Act in Siddhapuram. The government later considered establishing a settlement under Criminal Tribes Act. Government grants are applicable only to such settlements established under CT Act. To get government grants people accepted application of CT Act.22

The Government had sanctioned a sum of ī500 in connection with the education of the children of Nakkalas in the Godavari district.

Nil

Government Grants

The school was started by Captain Askew of the Salvation Army of his own accord. Steps were taken to give free elementary education to all the children. The school was located in thatched sheds. The inspector of schools wanted light and air. The managers requested the government that early steps should be taken to have a suitable building with apparatus, books etc. The settlement had been ordered to be abolished.23 The settlement was recently sanctioned. Government considered the provisions of schooling in the settlement.24

Remarks

Source: Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 156, dated 19 January 1928. TNA (Chennai), Madras.

-

-

Pallavaram

Staff

28 boys and 2 girls A trained teacher of the higher elementary grade.

Number on the Roll call of the School in the Initially

Stuartpet

Settlement or Home to Which the School is Attached

TABLE 21.1 (Contd.)

EDUCATION OF CHILDREN

313

TABLE 21.2: RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE DIRECTORS OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

School

Recommending Authority

Sitanagaram school, Stuartpuram school, Prisoners Home at Guntur

Sub-Assistant Inspector of Schools, Guntur range

Kalichedu and Kavali schools



Provisions Recommended t The manager of the school was

provided with a lump sum amount of ī200 for supply of furniture and teaching appliances. t Night schools in the settlements.25 In Guntur and Nellore districts the police and missionary agencies had adequately provided for the education of the CTs and that no more schools were needed for them in these districts. The government proposed to open schools at Lakkavaram and Bhimadole in Kistna district. Peons and gardeners were also provided for the schools.26 Boarding house for the school.27

Bhumannagadda Assistant Inspector school of Schools Siddhapuram school Assistant Inspector Small equipment of ī50. of Schools, Kurnool district.28 Aziznagar school – Several very unsatisfactory features in respect of attendance, staff, equipment and control of settlers, dress of pupils – expenditure on most of the items to cover the above.29 Equipment. Kulasekharapatnam Sub-Assistant Midday meal for Korava children.30 school Inspector of Schools, Tiruchendur

Source: Government of Madras, Judicial Department, GO No. 156, dated 19 January 1928, TNA, Madras.

At Stuartpuram the education department had recognized the school in 1917. Government had asked the Salvation Army to approach the Director of Public Instruction for grants to purchase furniture and other equipment.31 It had considered it necessary to increase salaries for teachers. Accommodation facilities in schools were also increased.32 Reformatory Settlement School (Prisoners’

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Home) at Guntur was opened during the year 1916 for boys and girls.33 It was reported to have registered impressive progress under the direction of trained teachers and the director of public instruction had evinced keen interest in the progress of schools. The character of most settlement schools had changed due to the fact that inmates were brought from elsewhere. In the settlements where a fair number of schoolgoing children had increased, the Directors of Public Instruction were asked by the government to open schools for the children of criminal tribes.34 In the case of Kavali and Kalichedu settlements there were detailed reports with the government in respect of the functioning and progress of schools as full-fledged institutions.35 In Guntur and Nellore districts police authorities and missionary bodies had adequately provided facilities for education of CT children.36 In Bitragunta Settlement a Christian missionary, Bawden had opened a school for the children of CTs. Education up to the third standard was provided in these schools. Children were also provided hostel facilities. Government had opened some schools for children of CTs at Lakkavaram and Bhimadole in Krishna district.37 There were a large number of children belonging to Yerukula tribe whose parents were placed in the settlements. It is to be noted that schools were not established by the colonial government for children of the tribes living outside the settlements.38 In Bhumannagadda settlement, school inspectors pointed out several defects in running educational institutions. Roofs of schools were leaky and needed urgent repairs.39 Teachers and assistant teachers were untrained. Assistant teachers were sent to training at different intervals. Government used to supply mats and planks to the school.40 A special grant of ī300 was sanctioned to each school. Every school was provided with a boarding house. Director of public instruction, deputy inspector general of police and district magistrate used to plan for various activities related to the functioning of these schools.41 The school in Siddhapuram worked satisfactorily. It had considerably improved the conditions of children. Boys and girls were taught with a globe, pictures of nature and clay models of Panruti-make which added to the utility of the school. The director of public instruction used to sanction an amount of ī50 for the purchase of educational materials for the school. For the benefit of Yerukulas a school was opened at Singavaram. 42 The children belonged to Criminal

EDUCATION OF CHILDREN

315

Investigation Department Gang No. XIII. Government had not imposed any restrictions on this gang under the CT Act of 1911 under Section 12. The Deputy Inspector General of police consulted the District Magistrate of Kurnool to make arrangements to settle down Yerukulas and their children.43 By 1910, Christian Missionaries started schools for the children of criminal tribes/classes in Madras Presidency. There was one school established in every settlement and the strength of schoolgoing children exhibited rapid increase in due course of time. Construction of pucca school buildings was undertaken with the hope that no child would be left out without attending the school. A textile and weaving industry was established in Kalichedu and Siddhapuram settlements that supported the sale of date mats and gauze cloth made by children. It was a process of earning while learning for the students. Salvation Army had admitted many children under its care by 1914. The American Baptist Mission also provided education for the children of Yerukulas and Dasaris in Kavali settlement. Grown up boys and girls were separated from their parents with a view to wean them away from questionable practices. Weaving and sericulture were the chief industrial subjects taught to the children by the settlement authorities. Sewing, drawing, threading and open work were also taught for the children of Vayalpad Korachas. To contain the evil of criminality education was engaged as a social tool in all the settlements established in the Presidency. There was some kind of amenable force and pressure exerted on parents to send their wards to schools without fail. Prizes like gold medals, silver medals and cash prizes were awarded in order to retain and enhance the wider interest of students in education and, also to reclaim them from the despised avocations of their parents. By 1916, there were schools established in Kistna, Kurnool, Bellary, Anantapur, Cuddapah, and other districts in Madras Presidency for children belonging to Pamulas, Konda Doras, Waddars, Yerukulas, and Yanadis in order to make them realize the moral value and power of education.

Notes 1. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 156, dated 19th January 1918. 2. Ibid., GO No. 1339, dated 31 May 1920. 3. Ibid., GO No. 1269, dated 19 May 1920.

316 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43.

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid., Ibid.,

GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

503, dated 23 February 1920. 475, dated 19 February 1920. 451, dated 17 February 1920. 22, dated 26 January 1920. 1469, dated 14 June 1920. 3070, dated 9 December 1920. 1867, dated 30 July 1920. 95, dated 27 February 1923. 357, dated 17 July 1923. 48, dated 7 January 1920. 637, dated 6 March 1920. 596, dated 3 March 1920. 725, dated 16 March 1920. 2349, dated 21 September 1920. 2247, dated 9 September 1920. 2948, dated 25 November 1920. 2904, dated 20 November 1920. 2468, dated 4 October 1920. 2482, dated 5 October 1920. 2661, dated 25 October 1920. 2679, dated 27 October 1920. 1390, dated 4 June 1920. 1389, dated 4 June 1920. 1356, dated 1 June 1920. 1407, dated 8 June 1920. 1555, dated 24 June 1920. 1560, dated 25 June 1920. 52, dated 31 January 1923. 24, dated 21 May 1923. 240, dated 21 May 1923. 582, dated 30 October 1923. 396, dated 3 August 1923. 51, dated 31 January 1923. 71, dated 17 February 1923. 665, dated 18 December 1923. 379, dated 3 August 1923. 377, dated 26 July 1923. 656, dated 13 March 1923. 450, dated 30 August 1923. 585, dated 2 November 1923.

CHAPTER 22

Erosion of Tribal Dialects and Cultural Forms: A Study of Yerukulas

IN INDIA, AS

in the world, many of the tribal languages are endangered. Almost 97 per cent of people speak in only 4 per cent of world’s languages and only 3 per cent of the world’s people speak in 96 per cent of its languages. So if nothing is done, 90 per cent of the world’s living languages will become out of use very soon. Of the 6,000 living languages in the world only 10 per cent of the world’s total languages can be classified as safe. Languages that have a very large number of speakers receive substantial official and state support. It is, therefore, imperative to protect the endangered languages and cultures of the most vulnerable communities like nomadic, seminomadic and denotified communities in India. This seems to be the biggest challenge. Universal Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to Ethnic Groups emphasized linguistic rights of the learners to be taught in their mother tongue. Hence, the tribal population in India should write and speak in their own languages, propagate the richness of their languages, and fight for the inclusion of tribal languages in the mainstream school curriculum. An example from south India in this regard throws light on the status of Yerukula language which needs attention of not only policy-makers but also social anthropologists. Ethics of language census categorically declares that ‘enter the language which each person ordinarily uses in conversation, with his mother or other near relation. In the case of infants and deaf-mutes, the language of the mother should be entered’. Scheduled Tribes, nomadic and denotified tribes constitute a major segment of population in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. They live in remote areas and special focus is required to solve their problems of development that invariably includes the question of tribal language and culture. Jatapu, Konda Dora, Muka Dora, Manne Dora, Savara, Gadaba, Chenchu, Koya, and Gondi are some of the major primitive tribal groups in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In addition there are Dasari, Yerukula, Yanadi, Sugali, Korava, Koracha, Kaikadi and Nakkala which are some of the denotified tribes. Further,

318

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

Woddera, Pamula, Nirshikari, Budabukkala, Mandula, Poosala, Gangireddula, Boya, Dommara, and Jogi are some of the nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.1

I The states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana account for 52 lakh Scheduled Tribe population, as per the 2011 census. The largest tribal population is found in Khammam district (6.8 lakh), followed by Visakhapatnam district (5.58 lakh). Tribal population increased from 7.67 lakh to 52 lakh in the fifty years between 1951 and 2001. The substantial population increase was owing to the recognition of Sugali, Yerukula, Yanadi, Nakkala and other denotified/nomadic tribes as Scheduled Tribes.2 Tribal communities in these states mostly exhibit Proto-austroloid features. Chenchus and Yanadis exhibit Negrito strains whereas Khond and Savara have Mongoloid features. Tribal communities mainly belong to three linguistic families: I. Dravidian language family (Gondi, Koya, Kolami, Yerukula, and so on) II. Mundari language family (Savara, Gadaba, and so on) III. Indo-Aryan language family (Banjara and others) Majority of the communities speak in Telugu including the Bagata, Chenchu, Goudu, Konda Kammara, Konda Kapu, Nayakapodu, Reddi Dora, Valmiki and Yanadi. Some of Yanadis living in Sriharikota in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh and border areas of Chittoor district speak a mixture of Telugu and Tamil.3 Tribal communities such as Kotiya, Mulia, Porja, Rona and Savara living in the border areas of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha speak in both Telugu and Oriya. Similarly, communities like Pardhan, Gond and Andh from border regions of Telangana state speak in Telugu and Marathi. The Pardhans also speak in Gondi. There are some tribes who use their tribal language along with Telugu. They are Gadaba (Gadaba language), Gond (Gondi language), Koya (Yoya Tur), Lambada (Lamani or Lambani language), Porja (Parji), Yerukula (Yerukula or Koravanji), Jatapu, Samanta and Konda (Kuvi). The Dandasis speak, read and write in Oriya and also speak in a corrupt form of Telugu. They are classified as Scheduled Castes. The Dasari or Poosala speak in their own dialect (Poosala language) and Telugu. Some of them are conversant in English, Hindi, Urdu, Kannada and Tamil. There are

EROSION OF TRIBAL DIALECTS & CULTURAL FORMS

319

some like the Jogi community whose members have diverse linguistic group backgrounds.4 Konda Dora and Konda Kapu speak in Kubi or Konda, but many of them have forgotten their mother tongue and speak in Telugu. Koracha and Korava were derived from Kuru or Kurru indicating their profession. In Andhra Pradesh, they are called Yerukulas. Korava, Kuruvan, Koracha, Korama, Kaikadi and Yerukula speak in their own Koracha language among themselves and with their kin groups. Linguistic speculations as well as celebration of Holi festival by Banjaras support the theory that the Banjaras are of north Indian origin. Their dialect shows connections with north Indian languages like Hindi, Rajasthani and Punjabi.5 Banjara dialect in south India has mixed with surrounding Dravidian languages. Mandulas are a sub-division of the Gosayi, a wandering class. They speak in Paduru language which has no script. Persons of Mang Garodi/Mang Garudi speak in Marathi, Hindi, Urdu and Telugu. They write in Devanagari script. Nirshikaris are a hunting community who are also called by the name Pardhi. They were notified as a criminal tribe in the Madras Province. They speak in a language of their own called Shikari language, which is an admixture of Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati and Marathi. Pardhis speak a dialect which is believed to be a corrupt form of Oriya. They also speak in Telugu and Savara dialect. Pariki Muggala members speak in a dialect known as Pariki Muggula language which has some similarities with the language of the Yerukulas. Except in the case of Savara language, there is no script developed in case of the rest of the tribal languages.6 Studies on tribal languages were carried out by a few renowned scholars like Gidugu Sitapati on Savara, Emeneau on Kolami, Krishna Murthy on Kubi (Konda Dora), Trivedi on Chenchu, Srinivasa Varma on Yerukula and Pratap on Naikapod.7 There are no in-depth and well-documented research works on the languages of nomadic denotified tribal communities. In the tribal areas languages are not being developed up to the expected level. Tribal parents are not speaking in their own language due to various reasons. Their children have been gradually losing touch with their own mother tongue. There is a widening gap between the older generations and the present generation. Due to this gap the prospect of language endangerment looms large. In order to bridge this chasm there is a need to take active measures to document the languages which would help preserve them for the benefit of posterity.8

320

DENOTIFIED TRIBES OF INDIA

Indigenous languages are confronting serious threat in India. In many countries there are models available for protection of languages belonging to these sections of people. India is known for its linguistic and cultural diversity. However, there are no official statistical figures pertaining to language speakers of NT/SNT/DNT communities. According to some estimates there are 198 communities belonging to NT/SNT/DNT communities spread over Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. In the State of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana alone there are 59 sections of NT/SNT/ DNT communities with their own mother tongue. Each community has abundant of knowledge about its medicinal practices, ecological diversity, climatic patterns, spiritual attitudes, artistic and mythological stories.9 Among most of these communities, speakers of native languages are becoming fewer every year. This is due to changing socio-cultural and educational conditions and a negative attitude among younger generation towards the use of their own language.10 Mechael Cahill states that ‘a language among indigenous communities is endangered when the children in the community are not speaking the language of their parents and there are only a small number of people left in the ethno-linguistic community’.11

II Language has been defined as a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by which members of a social group cooperate and interact. It is by means of language that the learning process of a culture is effected and a given way of life achieves both continuity and change. Without language, accumulation and transmission of cultural knowledge that differentiates humans from other animals could not have been possible. There is thus close link between culture and language.12 The purpose of language is to provide opportunities to tribals and bring psychological integration with the rest of society. But tribal languages and tribal cultures are ignored in our society. Language skills are very crucial to understand concepts and social participation. Linguistic competence is more important for tribal people as they find it difficult to follow instructions and communicate with others. They are handicapped due to lack of support from policy-makers. The apathy on part of those who enact from the corridors of power results in lack of interest and endangerment of tribal languages. Experts have felt that there is need to use and protect tribal

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languages in tribal ecological set-ups so as to enable tribal children to gain confidence. They have also emphasized on the importance of tribal parents and youth to use their home language or mother tongue constantly. As most of the tribal languages do not have a script, using regional language script can solve the problem. Many linguists suggest making unwritten language into a written one using the local dialect. But this is a stupendous task. Examples are available from former Soviet Union where state financed the construction of tribal languages. However, constraints involved in replicating such an experience in India are the cost factor; lack of language experts in tribal languages; and regional and local variations in languages and dialects.13 During the colonial period some efforts were made to record the vocabulary of nomadic, criminal and gypsy tribes in India. Muhammad Abdul Ghafur had compiled a complete dictionary of terms used by criminal tribes in Punjab during the year 1879, together with a short history of each tribe, and names and places of residence of individual members. The dictionary was compiled for the purpose of jail and police officers serving in the Punjab provinces. It contains slang terms of gamblers, pilferers, Uthaigiras, Khallait, Uchakka, Tagus, Sansis, Doomnas, Gandhilas, sweepers of Delhi district, sweepers of Punjab, Harnis, Baurias, Minas, Meos, Ahirs, Goojars, Thugs and Pachhaddas.14 G.W. Gayer wrote, ‘Selection from the Records of the Punjab Government. Section I of Linguistic Fragments Relating to the Dialect of the Magadds and Other Wandering Tribes.’15 However, nomadic, gypsy and criminal tribes were not distinguished in the language returns of the published reports of the colonial government. In the year 1882, G.W. Leitner prepared an appendix to Changars and linguistic fragments.16 Words and phrases illustrated dialects of the same and also of dancers like Mirasis and Doms. Later R.C. Temple published an article during the year 1885 titled ‘The Delhi Dalals and their Slang’.17 There are other works which talk about gypsies, wandering tribes and their languages. Edward Balfour wrote On the Migratory Tribes of Natives of Central India.18 B.H. Hodgson wrote ‘Aborigines of the Eastern Ghats’. This paper is a valuable source which deals with the vocabulary of the Yerukulas.19 A.C. John Boswell wrote the Manual of the Nellore District in the Presidency of Madras in the year 1873. It gave an account of the Yerukula tribe and the dialect spoken by them.20 Colonel R.M. MacDonald wrote a brief sketch of Yerukula

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language as spoken in Rajahmundry.21 Rev. J. Cain wrote on The Yerukula Language.22 In the Manual of the Administration of the Madras Presidency published in 1885 there is a brief account of the vocabulary of the Yerukulas living in the Madras Province.23 M. Paupa Rao Naidu in his History of Railway Thieves also gives a short account of the language spoken by the Yerukulas.24 M. Kennedy wrote Notes on Criminal Classes in India in the Bombay Presidency with Appendices regarding some foreign criminals who occasionally visited the Presidency on the detection of counterfeit coins. The account was published in 1908 in Bombay and is a valuable account to understand the language pattern of the Yerukulas.25 Information on languages of wandering and nomadic communities was collected from the 1881 census onwards. Compilation of Dravidian nomadic communities was introduced from the 1891 census report. The census report made the following observations with regard to nomadic and gypsy languages: The language of certain wandering tribes, such as the Waddar and Kaikadi, though no doubt of Telinga origin, suffers such change in the course of the peregrinations of those earth workers and mat weavers, that in provinces beyond Madras, it has been grouped with the Gypsy tongues instead of with Telugu, wherever it has been returned under a tribal designation; the earth workers called Od or Waddar, carry a language of their own from Peshawar to the sea using a vocabulary less and less Dravidian as the tribe frequents tracts farther away from the East Deccan, from where it probably originated.26

In various census reports of 1901, 1911, 1921 and 1931 the Government of India reported that Yerukula language is derived from Dravidian languages and originated from the largest Korava community of Tamil region. Herbert Hope Risely identified that there were 44,768 people speaking Yerukula language in the Madras province. He treated Yerukula language as petty dialect of Tamil region. Yerukulas were also reported as Korachas or Koravas in these reports. Their language was included under the category of gypsy languages but not under Tamil language. Language of the Yanadi and Chenchu had been referred to as the corrupt standard of Telugu language. Dialects of Kaikadi and Waddar had been recognized as deformed Telugu. In the Nizam territories, Sugali or Lambadi languages were mentioned. In all, the 1901 census mentioned the languages of the Yerukula, Yanadi, Chenchu, Naiki, Sugali, Lambadi, Kaikadi and Waddar.27 The tribes found all over India were of different kinds. Some were

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migratory whereas some were nomadic. Some tribes, due to their occupation, wandered all over the country to pursue their trading activities. Some tribes were like the Gypsies of Europe. They were called tumblers, jugglers, acrobats, thieves and robbers. They were classified as criminal tribes under Criminal Tribes Acts of 1871, 1911 and 1924. But there is no connection between the Gypsies of Europe and the wandering tribes in India. The word ‘gypsy’ was applied to all migratory tribes. Gypsy languages are the dialects spoken by the vagrant, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes in India. Information with regard to the forms of speech of these tribes is very limited. They speak in the language of their neighbouring communities. Others are bilingual and sometimes, multilingual. They adapt themselves to the speech of native districts where they live and make their dealings with outsiders. They retain a peculiar dialect of their own when they speak among themselves or with their kith and kin. Many tribes have developed their own secret language or code language and feel shy to reveal this to others. Their languages have nothing to do with grammar and are based on dialects. These dialects may be designated as the home tongue of tribes. Due to migratory habits their languages were also mixed with other native languages. Dialects used by vagrant tribes change from place to place. One good example in this context is the case of the Korava, Yerukula, Koracha and Kaikadi.28 Various nomadic, gypsy and criminal tribes were not distinguished in the language returns of census reports. During the year 1911 there were 28,294 gypsy language speakers. The number of speakers of various gypsy languages in the entire country was huge. Koravas or Yerukulas were a wandering tribe of basket-makers, mat-makers, pigbreeders etc. They were found all over the Madras Presidency and in some districts of Bombay and Nizam’s dominions. They declared themselves to be Kora, Kurru, Korava, Koracha and Kuluvaru in Mysore and Madras. Telugu people gave them the name Yerukala. It was reported that they spoke Korchari and Korvi dialects in Belgaum. They are called Korvaru in Bijapur and Korvi in Kolhapur and in southern Maratha as Jagirs. History of origin of these names is obscure. Similar denominations were also used by the tribes like Kodaga of Coorg and Kurukh of Bengal provinces.29 By 1921 the Linguistic Survey of India Reports were in place. They had mentioned about various wandering communities and their languages belonging to Telugu and Tamil origin such as Korava, Yerukula, Kaikadi, Irula, Waddar and Dasari. Korava language was considered as a separate language for some time and it did not derive

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from the present-day colloquial Tamil. There are several ways in which Korava dialect differs from Tamil. While it agrees and mixes with other Dravidian languages, its structure is derived from Tamil. The earliest specimens of Korava language were forwarded from Belgaum, Jamkhandi and Bijapur. The language closely agrees with the dialect described by Macdonald and Cain. Full account of the dialect, its various forms and historical development of the tribe are very interesting to linguists, anthropologists, historians and sociologists.30 The census report of 1951 was the first report that was conducted after India attained Independence. Mother tongue, according to the 1951 census report, was defined as ‘the language spoken from the cradle’. The details of the wandering, nomadic communities such as Waddars, Yerukulas and Koravas were mentioned from this census year.31 Large-scale switching over to local dominant languages by majority of NT/DNT communities can be seen from the census report of 1961.32 There were two major changes introduced in the 1971 census report. Language presentation was taken up first according to the regional variation and second, according to the criteria of 10,000 or more speakers of a particular language. Among this category, Yerukula/Kaikadi language of Tamil origin, and Vadari language of Telugu origin were identified. The order of languages was given according to the number of speakers in descending order.33 The 1981 census report provides details of NT/DNT communities of the Tamil region. Arava, Kaikadi, Yerukula/Yerukala, Vadari (Telugu) and names of regional variants are provided.34 The 1991 census report is the latest survey report on the details of NT/DNT communities. Some information is available with regard to Kaikadi, Yerukula, Vaddera and other communities.35 According to 2001 census report there are nearly 69,533 people identified as the speakers of Yerukula language. It was found that Yerukula language is closely connected to Ravula, the language of the Korava tribe. An unofficial written script for Yerukula language has also been designed by some of the community members. It is also mentioned that these communities are steadily switching over to Indo-Aryan and dominant local languages.36

III Among the south Indian nomadic and denotified tribes, Yerukulas occupy an important position. Found in almost all districts, they have

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their own language though not a script. The vocabulary used by Yerukulas and Koravas appears to be derived from other south Indian languages such as Tamil, Telugu and Canarese. The wandering tribes speak more than one language to make friends with others. Settled people speak in the language of the locality. Yerukulas in Andhra and Telangana regions speak only in Telugu language. They use slang expressions which are unintelligible to outsiders. Yerukulas living in ex-criminal settlements have their own language. Old people generally speak in Yerukula language. Some of the children learn their language from their parents. Language is the factor which contributes to their unity and they recognise easily the non-Yerukulas through the conversations.37 Yerukulas spread all over India speaking different languages and dialects are known by different names in different localities. In the extreme south (North Arcot district in Madras Presidency) they are called Koravas. In the ceded districts they are called Yerukulas. Yerukula, Korava, Koracha and Kaikadi are in fact branches of the large Korava community operating in different regions of Madras Presidency. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Yerukulas are called Yerukulavandlu or Korachavandlu but they always speak of themselves as belonging to one Kurru. In Telugu, Yerukulavandlu means fortunetellers and Gustav Oppert suggests that it is highly probable that the name and occupation of the fortune-telling Kurruvandlu or Kulavandlu indicated Telugu people. He further connects the word kurru with the root ku, a mountain. Thurston informs that in a Tamil work of the ninth century (Tirumurukairuppadi) Kurru or Kuru is given as the name of a hill tribe. Brown and Wilson in their glossaries use the word Erukala Vandlu or Erukulawaru, a plural in Telugu for Yerukavadu. It is stated that amongst themselves they call each other Kulavaru, but other Telugu people refer to them as Erakavaru or Erakalavaru, and this name has been derived from the Telugu word eruka which means knowledge or acquaintance, denoting their fortune-telling techniques.38 The mother tongue of Yerukulas is known as Yerukali, Kurru Vata or Yerukala bhasha. It is an admixture of various Dravidian languages such as Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and other local dialects. In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Yerukulas living in the exsettlements such as Sitanagaram, Stuartpuram, Lingal, Lakkavaram and Bitragunta converse in their mother tongue when they are at home. Nowadays a vast majority of Yerukulas who are engaged in

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government and private jobs are prone to lose touch with their language. Children are educated in English-medium schools and are not interested in speaking the tribal language. But those Yerukula children who help their parents in basket-making, rope-making, labour contract works, tending sheep, herding cattle and agricultural activities speak in their language. Free education, free accommodation in Ashram, residential hostels, free supply of textbooks and scholarship provisions have attracted the Yerukula parents to send their children to schools, colleges and universities. This has had a tremendous impact on their language.39 Even though Yerukula language is a product of a combination of several languages, it does not vary from region to region. A uniformity can be seen in their language. Yerukula language provides linguistic homogeneity regardless of geographical distribution and sub-tribe differentiation. It contains more or less the same number of Telugu, Tamil, Sindhi and Kannada terms besides terms peculiar to their tribe. There is numerical preponderance of Telugu terms over those of Tamil, Kannada and Sindhi in the language of the Yerukulas.40 The words are pronounced with short final vowels which are not distinctly sounded. The vowels are often interchanged. For example: Father:

t"opanke t"opanki t"opanka t"opank

Yerukalas follow their language very closely and speak to each other in a dialect of their own.41 Table 22.1 lists some examples of words spoken by Yerukulas in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.42 TABLE 22.1: SOME YERUKULA WORDS SPOKEN IN ANDHRA AND TELANGANA REGIONS

English Word

Yerukula Word

Numerals One Two Three Four Five

ondu rendu munu nalu anju (Contd.)

TABLE 22.1 (contd.)

English Word

Yerukula Word

Six

aaru

Seven Eight Nine Ten Hundred One Thousand

egu ettu ombadu pattu nooru pattu nuru

Relations Father Father’s father Father’s mother Mother Mother’s mother Mother’s father Elder brother Younger brother What is your name? My name is Ravi Son Rice Water Wife Stone Hand Right hand Left hand Husband Daughter Son Younger sister Elder brother Younger brother Elder sister Younger sister Granddaughter Grandson Elder sister-in-law Younger sister-in-law Uncle

ava jejava jeji amme ammamma tata annu tambi nimberu andadi? nanu ravi momu soru tanni mondu kellu kiyi sorakiyyi purukiyi managoam magale magane tangsi brrannu thenbi berakka thengsi pethi patho nanga merchinsi mama

Pronouns I You We What

nanu ninu ninga enda

Expressions and Other Words I drink water I ate food My wife I am here You all A good man I have beaten him Dog Wine Run Have a sip Arrested Cot Paddy Don’t beat Ears Fire Stop there I got hurt Community members Woman Children Girl Police Stranger Gold Abuse

nanu tanni kudikiren nanu soru tingaren na mondu Nanu ity ikkiren ninga addeeru nalla monoso nanu atta mottikkren nayi merdu odu kudikeri pudusukondu kottukoru ettudsu katlu nellu motuddu soyyilu nerupu nilabugu debba tegulsu kurru pengerike sinneya pengrukutti kolugaru pudaya bangaru eyakkudu

KINSHIP TERMINOLOGY

English

Erakala

Tamil

Telugu

Father Mother Father (familiar term) Mother (familiar term)

Tâpan Tâè Âva

Tagappan Tâi Appan

Nana/Tandri Tallè Ayya

Amma

Ammai

Amma (Contd.)

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KINSHIP TERMINOLOGY (contd.)

English

Erakala

Tamil

Elder brother Younger brother Elder sister Younger sister

Anna Tembi Akka Tevise

Wife Husband Grandfather Son

Pondu Managam Tatam Moganu

Annan Tambi AkkâÛl Tengachchi/ Tangai Pendati/Pendu – Tatan Magan

Daughter

Mogulu

Magal

Brother-in-law Father-in-law Son-in-law Daughter-in-law Grandson Granddaughter Uncle Sister-in-law Person

Mechchunu Mama Merumoganu Merumogulu Pêtam Pêti SoÛtÛtam Nanga Keruvu

Machchinan Maman Marumagan Marumagal Pêran Pêttè – Nangai Pêr

Telugu Anna Tammadu Akka Chelli Pendlamu Mogadu Tata/Tatayya Kumarudu/ Koduku Kuturu/ Kumarthe Bavamardi Mama Alludu Kodalu Manamadu Manamaralu Babai Vadina Vyakti

In the interviews conducted in Stuartpuram, Sitanagaram, Lingal and Bitragunta, some ex-convicts among Yerukulas narrated several words used by them during their criminal operations. They have their code language which they use while indulging in crime. Table 22.2 lists some of the secret code words.43 TABLE 22.2: CODE WORDS USED BY YERUKULAS

Code Language Oluku Sonapam Kanchakam Bokollu Berikeda Pulla Kollu Ellavi Nemati Tella Belupu Ulli Mukka

Meaning Torch light Gold Money Police Sub-Inspector Leader of the gang Assistant leader Man Silver Knife or screw driver

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Books and newspapers have also been published by the Yerukula. Some of the significant examples to quote here are: Kallu Munta, Yekalavya, and Erukala Patrika. Kallu Munta is a ballad by Ponna Koteswara Rao and Ponna Satyanarayana. It was published by Andhra Rashtra Yerukula Mahasangham, Vijayawada, in the year 1950. Ponna Koteswara Rao along with Palaparthi Verraiah, Chadala Janakiram and others visited many places in Madras province and staged Burrakathalu in Yerukala language. They provided a detailed account of their culture and how they performed their marriages. Ballads were cultural performances by Yerukulas with the sole aim of sensitizing community members on the social evil of illicit liquor. Kallu Munta served as a cultural tool to spread values of morality, good habits, strong community life, protecting the honour of community members etc. Similarly, the Adivasi Partika, Yerukula Patrika, Girijana Jyothi, and Adivasi were other important literary sources to understand the life of Yerukulas in the erstwhile Madras province. These were published by Rameswaram Nagaiah from Guntur.44 The Yerukula Patrika was published by Kampa Punnaia during the years 1920-40. Dalit Marg was another monthly magazine published by Ponna Koteswara Rao. Some other papers of this genre were Penal Reformer and Girijana Jyothi which focused on the problems faced by Yerukulas during colonial and post-colonial era. By the late 1960s most of these publications became defunct.45

IV Progression of historical times witnessed gradual displacement of NT/DNT tribal languages and the process has been influenced by the dominant vernaculars of the respective regions. Koracha, Korama, Yerukula and Kaikadi dialects of the Dravidian group were affiliated to Tamil by the Linguistic Survey of India. These communities were previously nomadic but have in recent times settled down in villages and assimilated with the general population using the mother tongues only within their communities. A large number of community members, of late, have started speaking in Telugu, Kannada, Tamil, English, Hindi and other languages. For instance, the number of Korachas in Karnataka returned both under Hindi and tribal religions was 12,085. Against this number, people who had returned Koracha language as mother tongue was 3,704 in Bengaluru. Population of Koramas who returned both under Hindu and tribal religion was

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17,124 in Kolar district. People who are speaking their language are only 2,319, according to 2004 survey.46 These figures indicate that a large proportion of tribal people stopped speaking their language even in their houses. Another example is the Banjara language. Banjara is a dialect of Rajasthan spoken by Sugali, a nomadic community in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states. These people have given up their language like the Korama, Koracha, Kaikadi and Yerukula. The population returned as Banjara, both Hindu and tribal, was 64,368 and the number of people speaking the dialect is 57,415. Children among them are receiving instruction in Telugu, English and Hindi. Their dialects are losing ground continually. Smaller numbers of Korava, Koracha, Kaikadi, Yerukula and Sugali are slowly adopting other languages. These changes are placing sub-sections of the people in a disadvantageous position. Adoption of lingua franca is sometimes voluntary and sometimes due to circumstances. To conlude, tribal languages and dialects are disappearing very fast.47 Many scholars have posed a few valid questions: what are the reasons for the endangerment of NT/DNT language in general and Yerukula language in particular? What are the socio-linguistic factors for the endangerment of Yerukula language? How far do factors like language policy, multilingualism and linguistic diversity contribute to the endangerment of smaller communities/sections of people such as Dommaras, Sugalis, Yanadis, Yerukulas, Koramas, Korachas and Kaikadis? What is the status of the language among nomadic, seminomadic and wandering communities? Will the dialects of these communities be able to survive in future? Are they able to protect and stick on to their languages? These are some of the common apprehensions and questions always bothering the linguists, academicians, anthropologists, sociologists, historians and scholars from other related disciplines.48 Reasons for the endangerment of these languages are mainly because of the younger generations are shifting over to regional languages. Impact of the regional medium is more on these communities. There is also lack of economic progress among NT/ DNT communities. Their vocal literature is also mixed up with local languages. The displacement of Yerukula, Yanadi, Sugali, Dommara, Nakkala, and Shikari tribals due to the so-called development projects by successive governments has only quickened the decline of native tribal languages. Progress of print media, technology and com-

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munications has had a negative impact on the protection and promotion of tribal languages and culture. Languages are endangered due to unequal socio-economic, political and technological advantages enjoyed by popular languages and many minority languages are facing pressure due to vernacularization and standardization. There is no such demand for use of their languages on the home front or societal front. Majority of their languages do not have a script of their own. These are all spoken languages conveyed through generations orally. Structurally and functionally NT/DNT languages are losing their identity.49 These languages are not institutionally supported, and have no access to science and technological innovations. Equal access to languages is not extended to them. It is true that constitutional support and linguistic rights are not extended to them. In the social sphere their languages are not standardized. Often they are discriminated and ridiculed. And tribal intellectual capabilities are undermined.50 Many such languages are falling into disuse as these communities are accelerating the use of local languages. They are demanding English-medium education for their children. The importance of the smaller languages is widely debated by various linguists and anthropologists. Fishman stated in unequivocal terms that protecting these communities’ languages is a worldwide social asset. The histories of these communities are closely linked with their language. The boundary between their languages and dialects are arbitrary. It is depended upon sociological considerations. Dialect death is considered as language death. Language helps to keep one’s identity. The state of language disappearance among the NT/DNT communities has accelerated dramatically in the 21st century.51

Throughout human civilization, many languages have disappeared. The loss of a language is not taken seriously by human intellectual life. Language endangerment is not taken seriously with reference to smaller languages such as those of nomadic and primitive tribal communities. It is often read and heard in the mass media that many languages of the gypsy and nomadic communities are seriously endangered in India and across the world.52 Language endangerment among NT/DNT communities has been a topic of serious discussion among socio-linguists, sociologists, anthropologists, historians, linguistic experts, educationists and many others. The dominant languages like Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam are pre-

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dominantly used in south India. These languages have constitutional and state support. But the languages of NT/DNT communities do not have such a support. These communities today face the challenges of language erosion. Tribal dialects are disappearing very fast because of the culture contact in the mainstream.53 As on date there is no clear policy with the government for protection of the status of NT/DNT communities, Adivasis and other minority sections. Article 29 of the Indian constitution emphasizes a commitment for the maintenance of India’s linguistic diversity saying that ‘any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part there of having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same’. Article 30 guarantees minorities and NT/DNT communities to have the right to protect and propagate their languages through education or by other means. Article 350 (A) provides for instruction in mother tongue at the primary stage of education to the children belonging to NT/DNT communities and linguistic minorities. These constitutional guarantees are very relevant for the empowerment of NT/ DNT communities.54 Languages of NT/DNT communities can be protected by according due recognition to their linguistic rights and promotion of tribal languages in schools and higher educational institutions through exclusive policy and planning.

Notes 1. Government of Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh State Administration Reports, 1953 to 1977, Hyderabad. Also see, Malli Gandhi, Denotified Tribes: Dimensions of Change, New Delhi: Kanishka Publishers, 2008, p.1; V.S.V. Bhas, ‘List of Scheduled Tribes in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu’, in International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, vol. 30, no. 1, January 2001, pp. 119-20. 2. O.S.V.D. Prasad and K. Raju Chandra, Basic Statistics on Scheduled Tribes of Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad: Tribal Cultural Research and Training Institute, Tribal Welfare Department, 2008, pp. 52-3. 3. P. Venkata Rao, Dimensions of Transformation in Tribal Societies with Reference to Andhra Pradesh, New Delhi, 2004, p. 7. 4. V.N.V.K. Sastry, Andhra Pradesh Girijana Samskruti, Parivarthana (Tribal Culture and Change), Telugu, Hyderabad: Tribal Cultural Research and Training Institute, 2005, pp. 2-5. Also see, K.S. Singh, People of India: Andhra Pradesh, vol. XIII, pts. I, II & III, New Delhi: Anthropological Survey of India, 1992. 5. Rao, op. cit., p. 6.

334 6. 7. 8. 9.

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Singh, op. cit. Sastry, op. cit., p. 3. Ibid., p. 4. Sidram Balkrishna Renke, National Commission for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, vol. I, 30 June 2008, p. 70. 10. L. Ramamurthy, ‘Endangerment of Tribal Languages in Indian Context’, in International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, vol. XXXVIII, no. 2, June 2009, p. 143. 11. Meti Mallikarjun, ‘Language Endangerment: The Fate of Indigenous Languages (A Theoretical Approach)’, in International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, vol. 41, no. 2, June 2012, p. 83. 12. Malli Gandhi, Preparation of Glossary of Savara Tribal Dialect Equivalent to the Terms Used in Telugu and Environmental Science Text Books At Primary Stage, PAC Report to Regional Institute of Education, NCERT, Mysore, 2005, p. 3. 13. Ibid., p. 4. 14. Muhammad Abdul Ghafur, Dictionary of the Terms Used by the ‘Criminal Tribes’ in Punjab, Bombay: Government Central Press, 1879. Also see idem, A Short History of Each Tribe and the Names and Places of Residence of Individual Members, Bombay: Central Jail Press, 1879; Notes on Criminal Tribes of the Madras Presidency, Madras: Government Press, 1915, pp. 87-105. 15. G.W. Gayer, A Note on the Dictionary of the Terms Used by Criminal Tribes, Delhi: Punjab Government Central Press, 1880, p. 121. 16. G.W. Leitner, ‘Appendix to Changes and Linguistic Fragments in the Punjab and Kashmir Regions’, in Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 3, pt. I, 1882, pp. 84-94. Also see idem, ‘Delhi Dalals and Their Slang’, in Antiquity, vol. 14, 1885, p.117. 17. R.C. Temple, Trade Dialect of the Naqqash or Painters, Madras, 1815, p. 45. 18. Edward Balfour, ‘On the Migratory Tribes of Natives of Central India’, in Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 13, pt. I, 1844, p. 137. 19. B.H. Hodgson, ‘Aborigines of the Eastern Ghats’, in Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 25, no. 3, 1844, pp. 118-38. 20. A.C. John Boswell, Manual of Nellore District in the Presidency of Madras, Madras: The Government Press, 1874. 21. R.M. MacDonald, ‘A Brief Sketch of the Yerukula Language as Spoken in Rajahmundry’, in Journal of Literature and Science. vol. 1, no. 2, 1879, p. 55. 22. Reverend J. Cain, ‘The Yerukula Language’, in Indian Antiquity, vol. IX, no. 4, 1880, pp. 215-20. 23. Manual of the Administration of the Madras Presidency, Madras, 1885, pp. 312-17.

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24. M. Paupa Rao Naidu, The History of the Railway Thieves, Madras: Higginbothams, 1915, p. 67. 25. M. Kennedy, Criminal Classes in Bombay Presidency, Bombay: Government Central Press, 1908, p. 89. 26. S. Manoharan, ‘Dravidians and Dravidian Languages Spoken in India’, in International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, vol. XXX, no. 1, 2009, pp. 69-110; G.A. Grierson, ‘Gipsy Languages’, in Lingustic Survey of India, vol. XI, Delhi, 1922, pp. 1, 18 and 105. 27. Linguistic Survey of India, vol. IV; H.H. Risely, Census of India, vol. I, India, Ethnographic Appendices, Delhi: Government Press, 1901, p. 76. 28. Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes up to 1927, Madras, 1928, pp. 24-5. Also see, Chaman Lal, Gypsies Forgotten Children of India, Faridabad: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1962, pp. 1-12 and 136-43; P.K. Mishra and K.C. Malhotra, ‘Nomads in India’, in Proceedings of the National Seminar, Calcutta: Anthropological Survey of India, 1982; Martin Block, Gypsies and their Customs, London: Appleton-Century, 1938; Celbert Jean Paul, The Gypsies, London: Penguin Books, 1963, pp. 235-45. 29. Manoharan, op. cit., p. 81. 30. G.A. Grierson, Linguistic Survey of India, vol. I, pt. I, Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent Government Press, 1968, pp. 397-8. 31. Census of India, Paper No.1, Languages, Delhi, 1954, p. 70. 32. R.C. Nigam, Census of India, 1971, Language Handbook on Mother Tongues in Census, Delhi: Government of India, pp. 333-40. 33. A. Chandrasekhar, Census of India, 1971, Series I, India, Part-II C (I)Social and Cultural Tables, Delhi: Government of India, 1977, p. 16. 34. Manoharan, op. cit., p. 81. 35. Ibid., p. 88. 36. Ibid., p. 89. 37. A. Aiyappan, Report on the Socio-Economic Conditions of the Aboriginal Tribes of the Province of Madras, Madras: Government Press, 1948, pp. 37-9. 38. Gustav Oppert, On the Original Inhabitants of Bharatavarsha or India, New York: Arno, rpt., 1978, p. 90. 39. Malli Gandhi and V. Lalitha, Tribes under Stigma: Problem of Identity, New Delhi: Serials Publications, 2009, p. 51. 40. Parso J. Gidwani, ‘Similarities in Sindhi and Dravidian Languages’, in International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, vol. XXX, no. 1, January 2007, p. 166; M. Venkatesa Iyyangar, Census of India, 1931, vol. XXV, Mysore, Part I, Report, Bangalore, 1932, pp. 282. 41. Gandhi and Lalitha, op. cit., p. 51. 42. G. Srinivasa Varma, Yerukula Dialect, Madras: Government Press, 1978. The book describes phonology, morphology and vocabulary used by Yerukulas.

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43. Interviews, Members of Yerukula tribe in Stuartpuram, Sitanagaram, Kapparalla Tippa and Lakkavaram settlements in Andhra Pradesh, 20-1 December 2012. 44. Satyanarayana, Chalavadi, Yerukula Language in Triligna (Telugu Monthly), April 1919, pp. 1-3; Koteswara Rao Ponna and Satyanarayana Ponna, Kallumunta (Telugu), Vijayawada, 1950; idem, Ramarajyam (Telugu), Vijayawada, 1960; S. Manoharan, ‘Echo Formations in Dravidian Languages: A Comparative Study’, in International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, vol. 41, no. 2, June 2012, pp. 17-39. 45. Malakondayya Srirama, Kurru Charitra (Telugu), Hyderabad: Nayagaru Paper Products, 1980; and Palaparthi, Veeraiah, Yerukula (Telugu), Vijayawada: Adivasi Newspaper, n.d. 46. Meti Mallikarjun, ‘Language Endangerment: The Fate of Indigenous Languages (A Theoretical Approach)’, in International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, vol. 41, no. 2, June 2012, pp. 81-102; B. Ramakrishna Reddy, ‘Endangered Tribal Languages of Central India’, in International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, vol. 39. no. 1, January 2010, p. 108. 47. Manoharan, Dravidian and Dravidian Languages, op. cit. 48. P.J. Mead and Laird Macgregor, Census of India, 1911, vol. VII, Report, Bombay, 1912, p. 120. 49. Manoharan, Dravidian and Dravidian Languages, op. cit. 50. Reddy, op. cit., pp. 1-22. 51. K. Viswanatham, ‘Tribes, Their Languages and Language Policy for Tribal Children in Schools’, in International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, vol. XXX, no. 21, June 2009, pp. 131-42. 52. Ramamurthy, op. cit., pp. 143-53. 53. Reddy, op. cit., p. 118. 54. Viswanatham, op. cit., pp. 131-42.

CHAPTER 23

Life Skills Education and Human Capital: The Case of Tribal Children

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT DETERMINES

how well people and the nation shall meet the current and future global challenges effectively. Real development is human development and investment in educating people. This is viewed as human capital formation or development. A democratic society has an obligation to provide opportunities for individuals to develop and use their knowledge and skills to the fullest extent. The primary aim of all educational efforts should be to help boys and girls achieve the highest degree of individual development and skills which they are capable of. During the last five decades, India has witnessed an unprecedented explosion of knowledge and technology. These developments have had great impact on education, especially in the practice, content, methodology and objectives of school education. Contemporary educational system is designed to serve global needs, competition, globalization and modernization. The education system is expected to meet many challenges of information technology, biotechnology and communication technology. The twenty-first century has witnessed many such challenges. Virtual classrooms have ushered in the opportunity to bring fundamental changes in teaching and learning situations. Education currently provided in our schools is prompting stress on acquiring information, knowledge and technical skills rather than realizing one’s capabilities, competencies and abilities to promote human capital.1

I Despite massive investments, the country still struggles to achieve quality elementary education for all. There is an urgent need to revitalize training for teachers and improve the quality of education by imparting life skills to the tribal children. Article 29 of the Indian constitution emphasizes that education of children shall be directed

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to the development of their personality, talents, mental and cognitive abilities and skills to the fullest potential and preparation of children for responsible life in a free society, spirit of understanding, development, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes and friendship among all people. Teacher education is a continuous process and teachers’ performance is the most crucial input in the field of education. Teachers working in tribal schools should play a vital role in the transformation of tribal people with their indigenous knowledge and modern developments. Life skills education helps tribal people face the present and future challenges effectively and advocates quality life and development of human capital. It also advocates active involvement of all sections of society, particularly teachers, educational institutions, voluntary organizations and civil society in the holistic development and growth of children and adolescents into confident, responsible and productive citizens of the country.2 Why is life skills education very essential for the rural poor and tribal children? Life skills education provides a platform and opportunity for children to develop their skills and human capital and hones their psychological, sociological, economic and cultural abilities. It also develops capabilities of coping with situations and promotion of human capital. Life skills education prevents dangers that children face in the global era. It has been an emerging field of education in recent times. It provides an opportunity for the overall development of the young with a high degree of affinity among adolescents. It serves as a background and prepares children to face challenges boldly. Young children who compete in their school education are at crossroads and are undergoing stress. Life skills education acts as a guide as to what children can do after completion of their educational pursuits. It goes a long way in inculcating the right type of values and patterns of life which are very essential among today’s children. It promotes intellectual abilities and brings people together. It integrates children of various shades: rural, urban, rich, poor, outof-school children and children who missed formal education. India has achieved about 70 per cent literacy. But the rate of literacy among the marginalized sections, in particular Adivasis, is much lower when compared with other communities. This apart, the type of education provided to them is quite conventional. It is an accepted norm by all educationalists and psychologists that the curriculum, pedagogical methods and skills should be learner-friendly and learnerspecific.3

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Adivasi children are taught the same curriculum and language using the same tools of teaching and skills as in the case of children in the mainstream. This is not only unscientific but at variance with accepted pedagogic methodology. Separate educational materials, practices and systems should have been developed incorporating the tribals’ socio-economic and cultural ethos, genius, and skills. This is not to isolate them from the mainstream society but to sensitize them about their rich cultural heritage. Integrating tribal youth, not isolating them into the broad-based and extended civil society is an accepted norm. Anthropologists and psychologists over the globe are of the considered view that while providing all benefits that modern civilizations today offer, care should be taken to preserve their core culture. Education and skills provided to them should not uproot them from their cultural background and steps should be taken to preserve them. Life skills like decision-making, problem-solving, self-esteem, developing relationships, dealing with conflicts, coping with stress and emotions related to life must be a part of school curriculum. Life skills education critically examines the contemporary reality of schooling of children belonging to Adivasis, who are historically excluded from the formal education system due to spatial isolation, cultural differences and subsequent marginalization. Life skills education seeks to provide a background to understand the relevance and significance of life competencies and education for promoting quality of life, to analyse to what extent life skills education is a better model for the tribal youth and methods of overcoming various problems and challenges through policy framework and suggestions.4 Education Commission 1964-6 observed that one of the important social objectives of education is to equalize opportunities thereby enabling backward or underprivileged classes and individuals to use education as a lever for improvement of their conditions. Every society that values social justice and is anxious to improve the life of common citizens and cultivates valuable talents must ensure progressive equality of opportunity to all sections of population. This is the only guarantee for the building up of an egalitarian and humane society where exploitation of the weak will be minimized. Tribal communities which mostly inhabit places away from the civilized population, should be provided all possible facilities for education as they form a part and parcel of democratic governance in India. Even though efforts have been made by the government at all levels, achieving universal

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elementary education is still a problem, especially among the tribal communities. Tribal education is faced with a fourfold problem: access, enrolment, retention and quality education. This situation demands the need for developing different types of strategies, innovative practices and measures to achieve UEE. In the present system of education, there is a shift from epistemic model of children’s learning to that of the constructivist model. It means that there is a shift of emphasis from information-based and teacher-centred education to process-centred and learner-friendly education.5

II Education has an acculturating role. It refines sensitivities and perceptions that contribute to national cohesion, scientific temper and the independence of mind and spirit. Education should relate to life, needs and aspirations of people. Modern educationists believe that every individual is endowed with certain innate abilities or potentialities. These are to be brought out to achieve a harmonious development. School as a learning centre has to recognize individual differences, provide opportunities for the full development of children and develop a passion for skills and social justice. Focus of education throughout the world today is more on enhancing the quality of life.6 The World health Organization has done a great service in advocating the promotion of psychological competence among children. The organization advocated ten life skills: decision-making, problem solving, creative thinking, critical thinking, effective communication, interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, empathy, coping with emotions and coping with stress. For the all-round development of children, life skills education is compulsory. This will enable children to lead a decent quality life and train them as functioning citizens. Therefore, the school system needs to realize the importance of life skills education and provide slots in the school timetable for the development of these skills. Once understood clearly by all the teachers, the life skills need to be slowly integrated. Development of life skills can be effectively done by using different techniques such as role play, brainstorming, games, discussion, project work etc. The slogan of present school education is not the mere 3 Rs but 7 Rs now: reading, writing, arithmetic, recreation, rights, responsibilities and relationships. The present-day schools must prepare students for a democratic society by providing them democratic

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experiences. In other words education in the school atmosphere is nothing but a logical transmission of technical skills and cultural traditions from one generation to the other and the school must discharge this function effectively.7 Each tribal community has its own mode of life, culture and social behaviour. This is to be provided and communicated to future citizens. Education is the only means through which this is to be done. The Indian Education Commission of 1964-6 stated that ‘the most important and urgent reform needed in education is to transform it, so as to endeavour to relate it to life, needs and aspirations of the people and thereby make a powerful instrument in social, economic and cultural transformation, necessary for realization of national goals’.8 Three main focal points of the educative process are: instructional goals (the aims of education); content material (the curriculum); instructional procedures (the methods). Skills are developed whereas attitudes, values and interests are inculcated. Audio CDs can be prepared on different life skills and can be shown in classrooms. This activity provides an important means to provide suitable experiences to children. Socio-cultural aspects of tribal communities include play activities, way of life, economic activities, health habits, celebration of festivals, patterns of worship, attitude towards education, forest produce, marriage, art, dances, dresses, shelter etc. Appropriate materials in the form of drama, play-lets, discussions and debates need to be developed, first in the school language and then translated into the concerned tribal dialect.9 In preparing materials, the following steps need to be followed: t t t t t t t t

Identification of the theme (life skills) Listing out the main concepts in the life skills (briefs) Selection of the format (in which form it is to be developed) Script writing Editing Dialogue/description/play-let/report/playful activity/drama Presentation of the lesson as per the format Recording and monitoring.10

There are basically eight languages spoken by tribes in the Andhra/ Telangana region: Gondi, Kolami, Koya, Khird, Kiri and Yerukula belonging to Dravidian linguistic family; Savara language belonging to Munda linguistic family; and Lambadi language belonging to

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Indo-Aryan linguistic family. Tribals pursue a variety of occupations, namely, gathering and hunting, shifting cultivation, horticulture, trade and settled agriculture. Each occupation has an associated social organization for resource management.11 Knowledge and belief systems are also associated with each activity. Tribal culture is recognized by rich heritage depicted in song, dance, literature, musical instruments, and mythology. Due to modernization, rich aspects of tribal culture are disappearing faster than earlier.12 Today a large number of educated tribal youth are working as teachers, forest guards, nurses, and Anganwadi workers at the village level and these people can be the best resource persons to record various aspects of culture for the future.13

III Imparting education to tribal children is a challenging task in the present scenario, as the children have to grow acclimatizing themselves in the changing world of new livelihood patterns and lifestyles.14 Personal growth of tribal children depends on developing their abilities and faculties to cope up psychologically as well as culturally in the new social milieu. They have to adopt learning through classroom teaching, contrary to the practice of learning their subsistence patterns and value-systems by participating in their culture and gaining knowledge by experience.15 The medium of education for tribal children in their pristine environments is a lived experience. It is, therefore, imperative for institutions implementing educational programmes for tribal children to give priority in developing suitable mechanisms of reorienting tribal children to classroom education and to the realities of change into which they are being drawn into.16 As a matter of fact, tribal societies and tribal children are already entrenched in the transition into the realm of tribal rural-urban matrix and modern consumerism.17 Classroom education for tribal children is crossing a threshold of learning as a practice of interaction with the natural world to a system of textbook learning. This process has already made much headway in tribal areas. But this kind of education has not evoked the expected enthusiasm among tribal societies, apparently because it is not emotionally satisfying. Talking to tribal parents, one could sense an obtuse feeling that the medium of modern education is a withdrawal of mediation of culture in shaping their life worlds.18 As mention has

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already been made, children in these traditional societies, as a routine, live in harmony with their environments through culturally encoded norms of hands-on learning and gain practical knowledge. Meeting their survival needs is interwoven with tapping the resource zones in their respective ecosystems with a choice and freedom of managing community resources.19 If one takes a look at ground realities it becomes obvious that education of tribal children is linked to economic equity, which cannot be achieved by mere classroom prescriptions. Attempts at partially fulfilling the goal of economic equity bring us back to the enterprise of involving tribal children in making best use of their traditional knowledge in harnessing resources and biodiversity and, sustainable management of environments and livelihoods.20 The grassroots level of education of tribal children needs a combination of three strands: traditional knowledge of livelihoods; imparting skills to make them partners in sustainable management of environments; modern education through primary and secondary schooling to bring awareness about the world around them and derive benefit from the new opportunities that are being made available.21 Learning in tribal societies is a behavioural response guided by culture. Culture is institutionalized knowledge, a method of information processing and also a mechanism in situating individuals within its group and different social groups within a larger social matrix. Livelihood norms are cultural traditions with a past-present continuum. Some of the important aspects which a tribal child learns as a member of a given society are as follows: Land use pattern, organization of space, territorial divisions and markers t Resource zones, communal sharing and management of resource zones t Social construction of landscapes (forested, rural and urban, sacral and spatial mobility) t Settlement systems, domestic architecture, organization of domestic space and sacral space t Procurement of raw materials and production of artefacts, arts and crafts (material culture) t Rituals associated with rites of passage and village rituals t Community participation with reciprocal exchange of foods, goods and services t

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Education of children in these tribal societies is a long-term strategy that has been going hand-in-hand with a multitude of tribal development programmes. The guiding principles of state’s intervention in development of these communities are poverty alleviation; improvement of housing, hygiene and sanitation; health care and education. A wide spectrum of the tribal groups is becoming increasingly aware of developmental projects and educational programmes. These tribal groups expect proper implementation of these schemes for their benefit. They are prepared to take part as partners in a system of hierarchical social order. Education is the main tool to develop the innate potentialities of tribal children. Life-skill education enables formation of human capital among tribal people. Therefore, life skills have to be promoted in the process of education. They enable tribal people to live their life effectively, purposefully, successfully and meaningfully. Meaningful education is not only to cover syllabus in the textbooks, but to prepare them for a responsible role in nation’s polity and democratic institutions.22

Notes 1. UNAIDS, 2002, Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic. 2. WHO, 1999, Technical Report No. 870, Greece, Switzerland, Partners in Life Skills Education. 3. Devedra Agochiya, Life Competencies for Adolescents: Training Manual for Facilitators, Teachers, Parents, New Delhi: Sage, 2013. 4. Devedra Agochiya, Every Trainer’s Handbook, 2nd edn., New Delhi: Sage, 2009. 5. H.W. Karhne and R.M. Laux, Achievement Stress and Test Anxiety, Washington, Hemisphere, 1992. 6. M. Dash, Leadership Behavior of Head Teachers, Edinburgh: Department of Psychology, MHCE, 1984. 7. M. Dash and N. Dash, School Management and Health Education, New Delhi: Atlantic, 2007. 8. M. Mukhopadhyay, Total Quality Management in Education, New Delhi: NUEPA, 2007. 9. John Adair, Effective Decision Making, London: Pan Books, 1985. 10. J.R. Anderson, Cognitive Skills and Their Acquisition, Hillisdale, N.J.: Erlbaum, 1981. 11. Jean Miculka, Speaking for Success, Washington: South-Western Educational Publishing, 1999. 12. H.A. Murphy, H.W. Hidebandt and J.P. Thomas, Effective Communication, 7th edn., Missouri: McGraw Hill, 2000.

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13. A. Radhakrishna Nair, Life Skills Training for Positive Behaviour, Sriperumbudur: Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development (RGNIYD), 2010. 14. Ibid. 15. J. Delors, Learning: The Treasure Within: Report of the International Commission on Education for the 21st Century, Paris: UNESCO Publishing Press, 1996. 16. Ibid. 17. NCERT, All India Education Survey Reports, 5-6 (1992, 1998), New Delhi: NCERT. 18. NCERT, National Curriculum Frame Work-2005, New Delhi: NCERT. 19. NCERT, National Curriculum Frame Work-2005, Position Paper on the Problems of Education of SC/ST Children, New Delhi: NCERT. 20. WHO, 1997, Life Skills Education for Children and Adolescents in Schools WHO/MNH/PSF/93.7A.Rev.2 21. World Health Organization (WHO), Life Skills Education in Schools, Geneva: World Health Organisation, 1994. 22. P.B.K. Nayar and A. Radhakrishnan Nair, Unfolding the Tribal Mindset with Focus on India’s North Eastern States, Sriperumbudur: RGNIYD, 2010.

PA RT V

REFORM AND CHANGE IN SOUTH INDIA

CHAPTER 24

Tradition and Change: A Case of Waddars of South India

STUDY OF INDIGENOUS people and their knowledge systems, rites and rituals concerns us rather significantly because they constitute an integral part of human social environs. They are economically poor, devoid of formal education and oppressed in the society. But the indigenous people have a rich cultural life and knowledge patterns though they are characteristically governed by traditions. The tradition-bound cultural expressions of the nomadic and denotified tribes of Andhra Pradesh reveal various aspects of their life through generations. Dasaries, Dommara, Nakkalas, Waddars, Sugalis (Lambadis), Boyas, Reddikas, Korachas, Yanadis, Yerukulas, and so on are categorized under nomadic, denotified and ex-‘criminal’ tribes in Andhra Pradesh. They live in thandas (colonies or settlements) throughout the state. Taking the case of Waddars of Andhra Pradesh an attempt is made to understand myriad forms of their lifestyles and progression of social change among them.

I Waddars are known as Katheras or Dasaris in Andhra Pradesh. They are also known as Gudu Dasaris or Mucherikalas. According to some they were drawn from Boya, Golla, Daddur and Saliakas.1 The term ‘Waddara’ is a corrupt form of the Sanskrit word ‘Odhra’, referring to the region now known as Odisha from where these people are supposed to have migrated.2 Members of Waddars were nomadic but majority of them have settled in different parts of the country, especially in Kurnool, Guntur, Krishna, Banaganpally, Chittoor, Cuddapah and Nellore regions of Andhra Pradesh.3 Members of this tribe are classified by the British Gazetteers as house-breakers, cutpurses (pick-pockets), cattle lifters and are considered the most hardened class of criminals.4 They live in detached settlements and conical huts similar to those of the Dommaras with a low entrance.5

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Their habitations are often located far away from the main village habitations, most probably jungles in the vicinity of respective villages.6 They used to wear a waist cloth and an upper cloth and put a namam (marking on forehead, vertical or horizontal) and a bottu (a powdered dot between the eye-brows which is often red in colour).7 In the name of Kal-Waddars or Matti Waddars, they watch the lay-out of each house in that village and commit house-breakings whenever it was opportune. They were skilful in breaking down any stone or mud wall without much difficulty. They went out in batches to villages for work and to commit crimes.8 Previously, the Waddars lived in Bodducherla in Markapur taluq, Prakasam district and in 1890, they came to Kothalur in Vinukonda taluq of Guntur district.9 Kothalur became their headquarters soon. There have been references to formation of Waddar gangs hailing from this place and gang nos. 83 and 84 of the Criminal Investigation Department formally referred to gangs from this area.10 These gangs occasionally met during marriage celebrations and other such occasions. They took to a wandering life committing crimes throughout the ceded districts. In due course of time a notorious gang settled at Siddhapuram in Kurnool district.11 F.S. Mullaly, in his Note on Criminal Classes of the Madras Presidency wrote that in the ceded districts some of the Waddars were known as Donga Waddars or thieving Waddars, from the fact of their having taken to crime as a profession.12 These gangs were at times very cruel in dealing with opposition and did not mind inflicting near-fatal injuries. Paupa Rao Naidu mentioned about 14 different divisions of Waddars located in different places.13 In the manual of the North Arcot district, these Waddars were summed up as natives of the country, quarrying stone, sinking wells, constructing tank bunds and executing other kinds of earth work more rapidly than any other class.14 Thurston writes that they have two subdivisions according to their occupations: Kallu or Rathi Waddars (stone workers) and Mannu Waddars (earth workers).15 M. Kennedy further subdivides these people as Bhandi Waddars or Gadi Waddars (cart men), Pathrat, Janti or Dagdi Waddars (stone dressers), Ghatti Waddars also known as Donga (thief) or Takku (cheat) Waddars.16 All Waddars were not criminals. Waddars of the ceded districts formed a separate section living by means of criminal propensities. Ordinary Waddars wandered about the country living temporarily where they got work. In Banaganpalli they were called

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Takku Waddars, in Chengalpattu district they were called Kallu Waddars and in Gudiatham town of North Arcot district they were known as Mannu Waddars. In Kurnool, Bellary, Cuddapah, Chittoor, Anantapur, Nellore and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh they were called Takku Waddars. Takku Waddars (Donga Waddars) have been inveterate house-breakers and burglars.17 Besides building walls, they were skilful stone-cutters. In the guise of menders of grind-stones, they used to obtain useful information about the houses to be attacked.18 In committing a highway robbery or dacoity, they were often armed with huge sticks and sometimes used violence for selfdefence. Their depredations were usually confined to a radius of 20 miles (32 km) from their encampment. They seldom set out in large bands for the purpose of committing crimes.19 Waddars are attractive. They are dark in complexion and capable of much endurance and generally hard working. Males are well-built, and wear Vaishnavite trident marks on their foreheads, arms and chests.20 As a class, they are dirty, thriftless and hard drinkers. They wear scanty clothing. Male dress consists of dhotar (loincloth) or cholna (short drawers), angi or pairon (shirt), a rumal or a piece of cloth for the head, a hachda (coarse sheet) and kambal (blanket) or shoulder-cloth.21 Women often wear a sari. Men do not wear shoes and women do not wear bodice nor glass bangles on the right hand.22 Instead they wear brass or kasa bracelets. The looks of many of younger women would compare favourably with women of better class. Kinship plays a very important role in the life of the Waddars. They like to live close to their relatives, prefer to establish marriage ties within their group members and maintain their social ties with their kith and kin in different parts. Waddars’ language is a corrupt form of Telugu, but those settled in the southern districts are conversant with Tamil. They also speak Marathi or Canarese, depending on the district they live in.23 There are a number of subcastes among Waddars of which eleven are known today.24 Mannu Waddars – Earth Workers Kallu Waddars – Stone workers Uppu Waddars – Salt traders Bandi Waddars – Cart users Girini Waddars – Grind-stone workers Raja Waddars – Lac sellers Aragu Waddars – Lac sellers

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Tudugu Waddars – Thieves Uru Waddars – Town dwellers Takku Waddars – Robbers and house-breakers Ghatti Waddars – Forest-dwellers Mannu Waddars are largely found in the districts of Gulbarga, Mandya and Mysore. They are employed in earth-work such as wellsinking, construction of railway tracks, irrigation canals, tanks, dams, bridges and its repairs.25 According to a report from Yeotmal district in Maharashtra they always travel in disguises, so that the distinguishing characteristics are not easily observable.26 The Kallu Waddars are employed in stone quarries, building constructions, road-metalling and cutting grind-stones. Most of them are seen in the districts of Bengaluru, Bellary, Chitradurga and Kolar in Karnataka. Uppu Waddars trade in salt and tamarind. They are found in Bengaluru, Kolar and Chitradurga districts. In Andhra Pradesh, they are found in Chandragiri Mandal of Chittoor district. Bandi Waddars are stone workers. They are accompanied by their families and pack donkeys. Girini Waddars derive their name from their profession of cutting grind-stones. Raja Waddars are employed in public construction works. Tudugu Waddars are highway robbers. Aragu Waddars collect and sell forest products like gum and wax. Uru Waddars weave ropes. Ghatti Waddars encamp in forests or on wastelands. They are also accompanied by their families and pack asses, goats etc. Waddars believe that they originally formed a single endogamous group but in due course were split into a number of smaller endogamous groups. Each sub-caste is named subject to its occupation.27 They eat all types of animal food such as rats, fish, pigs, black-faced monkeys, jackals, antelopes, fowls, cats, deer, goats, squirrels, and all sorts of birds including crows and sparrows. But they eschew beef.28 They are also involved in begging and hunting. They smoke ganja and tobacco and most of them are addicted to alcohol.29 They do not hesitate to mix with Dommaras, Madigas, Malas and Yerukulas.30 Mannu, Kallu and Bandi Waddars interdine with each other.31

II Waddars live in two types of families – nuclear and extended. There may be some single-membered families also. Altogether there are more than 30,000 families living in Andhra Pradesh. Their average

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monthly income from all sources ranges between ī800 and 1,000.32 Waddars often come into contact with others at workplaces (mostly construction sites) and brighten their chances of marital proposals. The marriage ceremony is performed in two stages: Okkaku bettedi (tambulam bettedi) or betrothal and pendli (marriage). This takes place in the presence of elders. Ganga Raju (the village head) plays an important role in conducting marriage ceremonies.33 When the parents of boy or a girl find a suitable match for their son or daughter, they exchange betel leaves, betel nuts, turmeric and fruits in the presence of family elders.34 Family members from both the sides sit in two separate rows facing each other and negotiate marital routines that need to be performed in due course of time. F.S. Mullaly writes that Brahmans exercise spiritual jurisdiction over these people and are consulted in matters connected with marriage and other ceremonies. The marriage ceremony is not a tedious one. It consists of the bride and bridegroom walking three times round a stake placed for the purpose on the ground.35 Marriage involves a number of rituals and social ceremonies spread over a period of two days. The important rituals in a Waddar marriage are Nalugu, Gangapuja, Dare, Tali, Oli and Muyee. The bridegroom receives two white dhotis and a shawl and, the bride a white sari and a blouse.36 The maternal uncle of the bride plays a dominant role in this function. He presents mettelu, a pair of copper or silver toe-rings. The Oli (bride-price) and Muyee (gift-giving) ceremonies are generally performed after the feast. The Ganga Raju begins the Oli ceremony. The bridegroom gives ī20 to the Ganga Raju as payment to the community God.37 It is observed that Waddars are slowly changing the institution of marriage under the influence of Sanskritization. On the one hand, the Oli system is continued and on the other, educated Waddar bridegrooms are demanding dowry.38 Some marriages are taking place in the local churches under the influence of Christianity, with pastors performing the ceremony. Widow marriage exists by mutual agreement between two spouses and such marriages need approval of the Kula panchayat. No ritual significance is attached to widow marriage. The bridegroom and his party visit the bride’s house with sari, ornaments and flowers.39 The village headman performs the ritual. When some families of Waddars settled in Siddhapuram in Kurnool district, they had no marriage ceremony. There was no such thing as a stable marriage relationship. This was changed largely through the influence of the managers of the settlement. Marriage

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ceremony and regular relationships are the order of the day with the Waddars today. 40 Divorce and remarriages are also common. Ethnographers report polygamy among Waddars and, divorces are freely allowed in the case of men. Divorce is possible at any time but ī16 has to be paid to the bride’s parents. Children by the marriage are shared by the father and mother as decided by the Kula panchayat. Infant marriages are allowed but seldom practised.41 Child birth is a happy occasion among Waddars. Though it is celebrated across all castes, the practice varies from one caste to another. It is customary for a Waddar woman to give birth to her first and second child at her natal home under the care of her mother. She is sent to her natal home during the fifth or seventh month of pregnancy. The relationship of a daughter-in-law to her mother-inlaw is one of great respect while that between daughter and mother is intimate, and a pregnant daughter always looks forward to her mother’s care during the last stages of her pregnancy. For most of the Waddars birth of a female child is not welcome. They pray for son who is expected to perpetuate the family lineage. He will toil hard and protect the family from economic difficulties. A girl after marriage becomes a member of another family and for this reason she is considered to be a loss to the family. Birth of a child causes pollution to the child, mother, and all the other members of her conjugal household. The mother and child are bathed on the third, fifth and seventh days. On the ninth day, turmeric paste is applied on the mother before she is given a bath to remove her impurity. The house is cleaned and purified by sprinkling water mixed with cow dung.42 Members of the family light a wall-lamp to worship the household deities. They prepare sweet pongal (rice porridge) and offer coconut to household deities. Among the Mannu Waddars, naming of the new-born child is performed on the eleventh day.43 Presentation of hair to the deity is another important ceremony found among them. Temples that Waddars generally visit are Venkateswara of Tirupati, Penchala Narasimha Swami Temple of Penchalakona, Malakonda Swami Temple of Pamuru, Veera Brahma Matham of Cuddapah, Mallamkonda Swami Temple, and Peddamma Temple of Nellore.44 When a death occurs in a family, Waddars keep the body with the head resting towards south. Valuables are removed from the dead person. Either the eldest or the youngest son of the deceased lights the pyre. Rich people erect grave stones and monuments and others

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put stones on the grave. Waddars believe that spirit of the dead visits the grave on the third day.45 Food is kept on a leaf and people move to a distance so that a crow can come and touch it. Waddars observe a 10-day ritual pollution caused by death and participate in purificatory rituals on the eleventh day. If a death occurs on a Tuesday or Friday, they believe that the spirit of the dead normally remains malevolent for at least three months. Waddars are superstitious and repose faith in omens. Some of their bad omens are: any member sneezing when one is about to leave the venue, meeting of two Shudras on their way, cat crossing their path and howling of a dog. If any of these occurs, they will put off their expedition. Some of their good omens are: meeting of one Shudra, neighing of a horse, braying of an ass etc.46 Waddars of Siddhapuram perform their religious functions just like other Waddars in other regions of Andhra Pradesh. But they are not in any way related to either of them by blood relationship.47 They attend Hindu temples for worship and prayers. General meetings were held now and then and moral instructions given to the Waddars by the managers and police officers. Waddar families who took to Christianity regularly attend churches and celebrate Christmas.48 Waddars most often lead the life of nomads. Women are as hardworking as men and adept in doing earth work. They are experts in the art of spying and in concealing and disposing of stolen property. Women are the most troublesome and rescue their males from lawful custody. Children are equally clever at petty thefts and very fast in breaking stones and digging earth.49 In committing highway robberies, Waddars are always armed with stout sticks and use violence in times of need. While committing depredations, they are armed with daggers and battle axes. Some of them will carry baskets to hold stolen property and others carry pieces of meat to be thrown at any troublesome dogs on the way.50 Waddars get information of wealthy persons of a village by making friendship with the Scheduled Castes such as Malas, Madigas and Boyas. After acquiring sufficient information they move to a distant place for operation. Gangs are formed with six to seven members or sometimes more. During the actual operation some of them guard the lanes, while the more experienced and courageous sack houses. Whistles and gestures are used as signals.51 Waddars make holes near bolts to open doors or bore holes in the walls big enough to allow a person to pass through. One peculiarity of these breaches is that their edges are neat and straight. There were

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both successful and unsuccessful attempts in the chosen neighbourhoods.52 In some cases, they assaulted police officers, carried off their carbines and ammunition. Escapes from police lock-ups were very frequent. Articles belonging to higher castes were thrown at or near the scene of the crime to mislead police.53 After commission of crime they used to carry the property to the outskirts of the village. The cash was always retained and grain handed over to the toddyshop keeper for safe custody.54 Jewels were sold to traders and dealers in stolen property. In some cases property would be buried near the place where the gang was halting. The stolen property was invariably shared equally amongst all except the Ganga Raju. Males, females and children received an equal share; Ganga Raju receives two shares because he led the gang.55 They frequently escaped from surveillance and committed crimes. It was felt that a criminal who had no settled abode and whose movements were unknown was more dangerous than a known criminal with a fixed residence. Waddars lived in hilly and sparsely populated areas covered with scrub jungle, making it difficult for law-enforcing authorities to take any action against them in such a locality.56 Difficulties such as this made governments settle members of Waddars in separate colonies like Siddhapuram tank project.57 Some Waddars settled at Siddhapuram voluntarily and, others were brought from different places.58 Very often stolen property dealers were from the same village where the Waddars operated and it was very difficult for an investigating officer to get clues in any case. Most of the villagers were hand in glove with the Waddars. Sometimes villagers stood as sureties for these hardened criminals, not minding the forfeiture of bonds in some instances. In due course of time some Waddar families stepped into Siddhapuram Settlement.59 When they were in need of money, their numerous patrons and receivers of stolen property freely lent them what they needed. There has been a strong opinion that Waddar families were a menace to the peaceful public.60 Criminal gangs were very active in Siddhapuram. They committed offences in Anantapur, Nandyal, Prakasam and Mahaboobnagar areas. During the year 1937, government applied Sections 11 and 16 of the Criminal Tribes Act to check the movement of Waddars.61 Stuartpuram, Sitanagaram, Bitragunta, Madras, Villivakkam and Lingala Waddars had relationship with the Waddars of Siddhapuram. They used to commit serious offences and at the same time help each other for disposal of the

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stolen properties in their areas. They lootted private vehicles and government buses. The offenders pelted stones on the vehicles and also beat up the victims with sticks and stones.62 The criminal propensities of Waddars had in no way abated and it was considered necessary to restrict their movements. Endeavours were made to organize settlements for these Waddars under the control of some non-official agency. But the colonial government wanted to experiment with a voluntary settlement for the Waddar communities in Andhra Pradesh and established Siddhapuram. The settlement developed as a voluntary settlement and police took charge of it.63

III The present-day conditions in Siddhapuram settlement are different from the colonial era. Under the interventions of democratic government and social workers many of the Waddar families of the settlement came forward to effect changes in their lifestyles and progress towards non-criminal behaviour in their daily routines. However, a few irritants remain in the process of smooth socialization of Waddar families. Secretary of Ex-criminals’ Welfare Association in Siddhapuram, K.R. Somanna, demanded that the government should include all the Waddars in the list of Scheduled Tribes.64 The Madras police department of the colonial era prepared a report on their lifestyle. According to the report, Waddera, Korava, Kathera and Korcha had been wandering tribes getting involved in criminal offences. They married women from other tribes like Yanadi, Sugali, Chenchu, and Yerukula. Waddars claimed that they were the descendants of the foregoing tribes and demanded that they should be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes. Siddhapuram was officially recognized by the government as an ex-criminal tribe settlement. Government officials were unable to see the strength of this truth. In fact, Waddars had lost confidence in the government officials because their hopes and aspirations were never understood by them. Somanna said old people were not getting pensions, physically challenged members were not receiving benefits; children were neglected.65 He added further that they were harassed by police and forest officers and still suffering from the stigma of being known as criminals. ‘Nobody passes in our life without suffering. Everybody is afraid of us but nobody comes to our rescue. What a pathetic and deplorable life we are leading. We are not getting loans. When we

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approach revenue officials, we only get empty promises of house loans and other loans’.66 Whenever the police suspected a person of dubious deeds they would arrest him and apply third-degree methods. To avoid physical torture and mental harassment the person generally would give the names of Waddars. Taking this as excuse, police would conduct raids on the houses of Waddars, loot them, molest their womenfolk and register false cases against them.67 E. Lakshmayya, member of the Siddhapuram settlement, informed that every night police gathered information about the ex-settlement. Recently one of our youngsters was shot dead by police when he was returning from a pilgrimage to Srisailam hill. Whenever and wherever there is a crime, Waddars of Siddhapuram will be under severe stress. Police officials always find an easy prey in the settlement whenever they are in need of more cases. Many of our members are still undergoing trials in various courts and are thrown behind bars for no fault of theirs. Who will look after us? Earlier, the police used to encourage us for committing thefts and burglaries. We were forced to give false witness in various cases. In fact, we are made criminals by the police.68

There are of course initiatives by government and police officials in the colony to wean Waddar families away from criminal propensities. Somanna refers to these efforts in the colony and cites specific instances where police officers behaved in a humane way to impress upon Waddars of the colony to desist from crime. He said, we are happy that one Bhaskar Rao, police sub-inspector, has been very helpful and the entire settlement heaved a sigh of relief under his benevolent administration. The police department officials supervise the Siddhapuram settlement. When approached, the Superintendent of Police asked us to abstain from criminal activities as such an act alone would fetch us government help. We did accordingly and in course of time we got lands and loans.69

The state government has taken various measures: provision of suitable land for cultivation; setting up of upper-primary schools for education; starting handloom weaving centres as cottage industries; setting up cooperative societies for easy credit; opening of dispensaries; construction of pucca houses; imparting training for the inmates of industrial and agricultural settlements. Social workers have also helped Waddars engage themselves in gainful occupations and thus lead a normal life. The colony was electrified in 1952 and lights were installed replacing the hitherto existing kerosene oil lights.70 Members of Waddar families are slowly getting employed in government programmes and one example was the recent engagement of Waddars

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in the Bairluti forest where they were assigned tasks by the local forest officer. At present, they are ready to involve themselves in any employment programme of the government provided they are paid according to the prevailing rates. Sometimes this is not so. For example, the Forest Ranger of Bairluti informed us that whatever amount the government earmarks for works of present nature will be distributed in the colony. However, the sanction of the government is always lower than the existing wage rates.71 K.R. Somanna stated that they require congenial atmosphere to strive hard and develop the colony. He demands that the village panchayat system too should be responsive to the growing needs of Waddar families. Politicians and officials are asked to take it into consideration. At present the major problem is the evil of illicit liquor.72 The local liquor barons encourage Waddars to take part in the clandestine preparation of illicit liquor. Whenever the excise officials unearth these activities, the Waddars are always at the receiving end and the real culprits escape punishment. The latter amass huge wealth and some of it goes into electioneering year after year. While the abettors are rolling in luxury, the Waddars are reeling in poverty. Lack of proper employment forces them to turn to unlawful activities. Somanna says: ‘we have almost abandoned criminal activities and learning to live differently. Let the government take stringent measures to curb the liquor addicts’.73 Avocations like mat-making and carpetmaking cannot sustain Waddar families. In the recent past the government initiated a sericulture project but it did not succeed. Such failure does not mean capping of all industrial measures. This is what the Waddar families of the colony want to emphasize on and look for more employment-intensive industrial ventures. One of the educated members quipped that ‘we are in a dilemma as we cannot resume our criminal activities. Neither can we totally get ourselves away from the present scenario’.74 The comment is conclusive testimony to the state of affairs and a reminder for the democratic government to put in place measures that would arrest nagging problems.

Notes 1. V. Lalitha, The Making of Criminal Tribes: Patterns and Transition, Madras: New Era Publications, 1995, p. 74. 2. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1279, 10 June 1915, p. 1, TNA.

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3. E. Ramachandra Sastri, History of the Criminal Tribes in Madras Presidency, Madras: Government of Madras, 1929, pp. 17-18. 4. Government of Madras, Public Works (Labour) Department, GO No. 2146, 28 August 1928, p. 2, APSA. 5. Houses were constructed for Waddar families in an enclosure 540 ft by 340 ft and it was fenced with split bamboo to a height of 10 ft. The huts were constructed in six blocks. Each hut measured 12 ft by 10 ft. It was thatched with grass. An open space of 60 ft was left between huts on all sides. See Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1860, dated 5 September 1917, p. 1. Also see Home Department, GO No. 2661, dated 25 October 1920, p. 3, NAI. 6. F.S. Mullaly, Note on Criminal Classes of the Madras Presidency, Madras: Government Press, 1912, p. 28. 7. Government of Madras, PWLD, GO No. 2146, 28 August 1928, p. 2, APSA. 8. Ibid., p. 1. 9. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1279, 10 June 1915, p. 1, TNA. 10. L. Withinshaw, Memorandum on Donga Waddars in Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to January 1926, Madras: Government Press, 1927, p. 36. 11. G.W. Gayer, Lecturers on Some Criminal Tribes of India and Religious Mendicants, 1910, p. 46. Also see Abdul Ghani Mohammed, Notes on the Criminal Tribes of the Madras Presidency, Vellore: Minerva Press, 1915, p. 124. 12. Mullaly, op. cit., p. 80. 13. M. Paupa Rao Naidu, The Criminal Tribes of India, No. II, A History of Korawars, Erukulas or Kaikarees, Madras: Higginbotham, 1905. 14. Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlements of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to September 1916, Madras, 1917, p. 36. 15. Edgar Thurston, Castes and Tribes of Southern India (vol. 5), New Delhi: Cosmo Publications, 1909, p. 422. 16. M. Kennedy, The Criminal Classes in India, New Delhi: Mittal Publications, 1985, p. 165. 17. Takku Waddars were experts in stone cutting. During the year 1945, R. Dorai Swami Ayyar sanctioned advances to start the industry. They were permitted to cart stones from Nallamalai Hills to the colony and from there to Atmakur and neighbouring villages for sale. See Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 504, dated 15 February 1945, pp. 1-2, NAI. 18. Government of Madras, PWLD, GO No. 2146, dated 28 August 1928, p. 2, APSA. 19. Gayer, op. cit., p. 35. Also See Mullaly, op. cit., p. 22.

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20. Ghani, op. cit., pp. 124-5. 21. Kennedy, op. cit., p. 167. 22. Waddars never wear shoes of any kind, though sandals may be worn. Nor do their women wear cholis or jackets. Their legend is that ages ago rats stole all their shoes and cholis and as their forefathers were deprived of them, the present generation may also not use them. That is why they are inveterate enemies of rats and dig them up and eat them whenever they can. See Gayer, op. cit., p. 36. P.B. Thomas, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police, wrote in 1899 that ‘I am not aware of these people using any peculiar shoes. They use slippers (sandals) worn by ryots and the lower classes. These they get by stealing’. See Rao, op. cit., pp. 121-2. 23. Mullaly, op. cit., p. 79. 24. Kennedy, op. cit., p. 11. 25. Chandrasekhar Bhat, Ethnicity and Mobility: Emerging Ethnic Identity and Social Mobility among Woddars of South India, New Delhi: Concept, 1984, p. 33. 26. Gayer, op. cit., p. 47. 27. During early part of twentieth century their trade suffered due to frequent droughts in the area of their operation. The land which a few of them possessed hardly gave enough for their sustenance. Under these conditions they migrated to Venkatagiri, Puttur, Nellore and Cuddapah. 28. Sastri, op. cit., p. 19. 29. Thurston Edgar, Castes and Tribes of Southern India, vol. III, New Delhi: Cosmo, p. 42. 30. E. Ramachandra Sastri, A Socio Economic History of ex-Criminal Communities, OBCs, New Delhi, 1991, p. 21. 31. Government of India Gazetteers of Bombay State, Dharwar District, vol. XXI, Bombay, 1884, p. 64. 32. Interview with K.R. Somanna, Siddhapuram Settlement, 24 November 2006. 33. Bhat, Ethnicity and Mobility, op. cit., p. 103. 34. Syed Siraj ul Hassan, Castes and the Tribes of H.E.H., the Nizam Dominions, Delhi: Government Press, 1909, p. 649. 35. Mullaly, op. cit., p. 81. 36. Gayer, op. cit., p. 48. 37. Lalitha, op. cit., p. 59. 38. Their marriages are arranged by the Kula panchayat. Though they are particular in observing their gotrams (lineages) in their marriages, intercaste marriages are taking place nowadays. 39. Lalitha, op. cit., p. 59. 40. Government of Madras, PWLD, GO No. 137, dated 19 January 1927, p. 6, APSA. Also see Home Department, GO No. 6170, dated 22 December 1938, p. 3, NAI.

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41. Ghani, op. cit., p. 126. 42. Lalitha, op. cit., p. 60. 43. Bhat, op. cit., p. 106. 44. Bhat, ibid., p. 100. 45. Hassan, op. cit., p. 193. 46. Ghani, op. cit., p. 126. 47. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1279, 10 June 1915, p. 4, TNA. 48. Some of the Christian converts among Waddar families came from Kapparalla Tippa settlement. Some 200 families of Hindus converted to Christianity. This is because they were transferred from settlements managed by Christian missionaries. They were always at loggerheads with Muslims who still treat Waddars as criminals. See Government of Madras, PWLD, GO No. 2671, dated 6 December 1934, p. 6, APSA. 49. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1279, 10 June 1915, p. 1, TNA. 50. Kennedy, op. cit., p. 172. 51. The modus operandi of these Waddars is that they go to busy shops on the pretext of purchasing provisions. They engage the shopkeeper in bargaining so as to divert his attention. They steal goods or money when the opportunity strikes. If the shopkeeper finds out and chases them, they conveniently thrust the box in the bags of others, whom they have already arranged to conceal themselves, in order to throw blame on others. The offences they generally commit are road thefts, highway dacoities, house-breakings, bank robberies, forest thefts, animal thefts and pick-pocketing. 52. Mullaly, op. cit., p. 80. 53. Women are not, as a rule, ill-treated and the mangalasutra (Hindu married woman’s insignia) and toe rings are never touched. Kennedy, op. cit., p. 170. 54. Mullaly, op. cit., p. 81. 55. Gayer, op. cit., p. 47. 56. Withinshaw, op. cit., pp. 36-7. 57. A. Aiyappan, Report on the Socio-Economic Conditions of the Aboriginal Tribes of the Province of Madras, Madras: Government Press, 1948, p. 38. 58. As the work provided by Public Words Department completed by 1918, the government allotted a block of forest land measuring 650 acres in 1917. On 1 April 1919, 65 males, 65 females and 74 children were on the rolls of the settlement. See Note Showing the Progress Made in the Settlement of Criminal Tribes in the Madras Presidency up to January 1926, Madras, 1926, p. 29, TNA. 59. Government of Madras, PWLD, GO No. 1201, dated 22 May 1935, p. 5, APSA.

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60. The efforts to control their activities under the Criminal Tribes Act were not successful. Hence their movements were restricted to Siddhapuram. They were made to work regularly under the supervision of a manager. The habit of heavy drinking was systematically controlled. See Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 2500, dated 16 May 1938, pp. 1-5, NAI. 61. The Criminal Tribes Act was replaced in 1948 and the movements of habitual offenders alone were restricted. 62. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1140, dated 20 May 1920, p. 1, TNA. 63. Government of Madras, Home Judicial Department, GO No. 1279, 10 June 1915, p. 1, TNA. 64. All these are the different connotations of the nomadic tribal population in Andhra Pradesh. These are not actually Yerukulas. They left Yerukulas and abducted children of other castes and expanded their families. Presently, the government has included them in the BC – A Group. Still their habits, traditions and customs are all equal to that of the nomadic tribal population. In Andhra Pradesh too, Waddars have inter-dining and marital relations with other nomadic tribal population. Somanna’s plea to the government is to include them in the list of Scheduled Tribes. Interview with K.R. Somanna, Siddhapuram, 24 November 2006. 65. Some of the Waddars underwent eye operations in a camp organized at Bairluti and were given a token fiscal assistance of ī200 to 300 per head. 66. Interview with K.R. Somanna, Siddhapuram, 24 November 2006. 67. For example, a police officer lost his revolver and arrested the son-in-law of Somanna for the same. The officer demanded a bribe of ī10,000 to release him. Since he could not pay the bribe, his son-in-law was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. 68. Interview with E. Lakshmayya, Siddhapuram, 24 November 2006. 69. Bhaskar Rao initiated many steps for their welfare. He transformed the atmosphere in the colony and was instrumental in looking after prohibition and advised them to keep themselves away from politicians. He instructed the people to freely cast votes. Interview with K.R. Somanna, Siddhapuram, 24 November 2006. 70. Government of Madras, Home Department, GO No. 3570, dated 27 January 1953, pp. 3-5, NAI. 71. Interview with Wodde Lakshmanna, Siddhapuram, 24 November 2006. ‘The Forest Manager assured the ex-criminals that he would provide work for them in all the schemes designed by the local Mandal Revenue Officer, Block Development Officer and Integrated Tribal Development Agency. He said we should strive hard to earn money in a legitimate way. He added that schemes were framed and financed by the government and asked them not to play truants at work.’ 72. ‘Political parties of all shades approach us very often and ask us to associate

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with them and lure us into their trap by promising us jobs and bright future’. Interview with K.R. Somanna, Siddhapuram, 24 November 2006. In the Waddar community of Siddhapuram, three sects of people are living: Gadidala, Santhamuchu and Donga Waddar. Siddhapuram has been divided into three blocks: Jandrapeta, Gummadipeta and Santhamuchupeta. 73. Somanna continued to say that poverty was the main cause for the Waddars to commit crime. Interview with K.R. Somanna, Siddhapuram, 24 November 2006. 74. Interview with Erragadindla Ramdas, Siddhapuram Settlement, 24 November 2006.

CHAPTER 25

Denotified Tribes in Andhra Pradesh: Social Reform and Rehabilitation

FOR LONGER PERIODS in history, tribes lived in isolation in their sylvan

setting in far-off forests. They had little or no intercourse with people in the plains and were uninfluenced by the so-called civilizing influences. The relative isolation led to their backwardness as the agents of development deployed by the mainstream state could not penetrate into the deeper forest regions. The situation underwent a change with the advent of the British who saw a great opportunity of exploiting forest wealth by intruding into the private spaces hitherto inhabited by the Adivasis. With the introduction of modern means of transport and communication, the land grabbing greedy plainsmen entered the forest areas and populated them. Adivasis continued to be the easy prey to the Hindu and Mohammedan feudal and British colonial oppression down to the twentieth century. They lost much of their land and were destined to swell the ranks of the depressed classes. Colonial exploitation combined with tyrannical oppression forced the Adivasis to stage revolts over different periods of history. Crime as a social phenomenon is an age-old problem faced by mankind. It is commonly held that the social structure of any given society is responsible for criminal propensities of crime-inclined people. Social scientists propose that social banditry is a universal and virtually unchanging phenomenon. Hindu Dharmashastras and Kautilya’s Arthashastra mention about theft and ways of curtailing it. Not only preventive steps but punishments of different nature for variety of crimes are also specified in them. Appropriate legislation has been made from time to time to curb crime and punish culprits. It is increasingly realized that economic deprivation and inequalities promote crime. Humans are not born criminals, but it is the social environment that generally nurtures crime. In the Indian subcontinent, we come across certain tribes and castes taking to crime due to a variety of reasons under different circumstances. They were dubbed criminal tribes by the British.

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Several theories are put forward discussing the origins of criminal tribes. Research studies declare that they are descendants of Gypsies of India. Some of these tribes claim their descent from Rajputs and bear Kshatriya clan names. Under the impact of successive Muslim invasions, they became nomads and habituated to crime as their livelihood. To name a few of them from north India are Kanjar, Bhantu, Meena, Tagu, Sansiya and Lodha. In south India they are known by the names of Lambadas, Koravas, Dommaras, Kallars, Waddars, Yerukulas, to name only a few. The term ‘criminal tribe’ is a misnomer, because both tribe and caste as also several other communities are classified as criminal tribes. ‘Criminal tribe’ has been a label to mark a few groups as habitual rather than natural offenders. Criminal tribes are distributed in different parts of India. Yerukulas, Koravas and Korachas are different branches of the large Korava community living in different parts of south India. Yerukulas are mostly seen in Andhra Pradesh and live mainly in the coastal and Rayalaseema districts. They are also sparsely found in other parts of the country. In the Telugu-speaking areas they are called Yerukulavandlu. It is reported that they are fortune tellers and through this profession came their name, Yerukula. Yerukulas like other tribes have specific customs, traditions, beliefs, superstitions, rituals and ceremonies.1 The British government passed the first Criminal Tribes Act in 1871, ostensibly to check the rate of crime. Several settlements were started where tribesmen and women were lodged. The task of their management was entrusted to voluntary agencies such as the Salvation Army, American Baptist Mission, London Mission, Canadian Mission, Chief Khalsa Diwan, Deo Samaj, Anjuman Islamia, Ahmedia Society, Sanatan Dharma Sabha, Arya Samaj, Punjab Hindu Sabha and Adimajati Sevak Sangh, to mention only some well-known organizations. In addition, the government too at some places was directly involved in organizing reformatory settlements. Settlements were classified as agricultural, industrial, reformatory and penal. Inmates of these settlements were provided employment of different kinds for an honest living. Their children were given training in special skills in the schools established for them. The whole idea was to wean them away from crime and lead an honourable life on their own. The Madras province repealed the CT Act in 1947 and Bombay in 1949. The All India Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee in 1949 evaluated the problems of criminal tribes and recommended repealing the Act

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all over the country. After the repeal of the Act many were freed from the stigma of criminality. However, a sizeable section of inmates of the settlements could not escape from the stigma of theft and, in fact they were not totally reformed, belying the hopes of the government. It became known that they continued their criminal activities of robbing and other petty crimes of pocket-picking, shoplifting and stealing passengers’ luggage in trains and buses. The reasons are not far to seek – alternative means of livelihood offered to them were meagre and it was an age-old crime culture that had become a part of their psyche which could not be eradicated so easily.

II Yerukulas and Katheras are two ex-criminal tribes of Andhra Pradesh. These two groups are stigmatized as dacoits, burglars, pilferers, thieves and railway-wagon breakers. They were registered under the Criminal Tribes Act. Yerukulas were nomadic and used to move around in the Rayalaseema districts of Anantapur, Kurnool, Cuddapah and coastal districts of Guntur and Nellore. It is believed they acted as spies or espionage staff who collected secrets from enemies and passed them over to rulers who employed them. Consequent upon the British conquest of these territories, they lost their livelihood as spies and looked to alternative occupations such as agriculture, petty business and rope/basket/mat-making. Some of them were employed as night watchmen in villages. Regular loss of livelihood in the wake of British occupation left them in total disarray and a significant number of them took to crime for their livelihood. Stuartpuram is one of the settlements established in 1914 by the colonial government. It is located in Guntur district on the MadrasHowrah railway line. It was an agricultural settlement put under the management of the Salvation Army. Captain H. Robbiliard was the manager. The total inmates, to start with, were 691 in number.2 There were Hindus, Christians and Muslims though Hindus formed the majority. Under the influence of the Salvation Army, a large number of settlers attended church service. The Kula panchayat system worked as arbiter of disputes among the Yerukula settlers. The tribal head, a senior member endowed with the ability to arbitrate, chosen by the whole community, was assisted by five other elders of the community. The decisions of the Kula panchayat were rarely disobeyed. Prior to their life in the settlement, Yerukulas along with

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others depended upon forest produce for their living in addition to some petty business activities. They were known for their skills in basket- and mat-weaving, rope-making and so on. They traded in salt and grain and transported merchandise to distant places on the backs of animals such as donkeys and horses.3 While trading, they used to indulge in thefts and exchange of stolen property with other gangs involved in trade. These minor and need-based acts of crime gradually drove them to become professional robbers and dacoits. To provide inmates of Stuartpuram Settlement with regular and fixed incomes, the Salvation Army introduced agriculture. About an extent of 2,000 acres of land was made available to the settlers.4 Each household was given about 3 acres of land. The settlers were introduced to methods of cultivation as most of them were alien to agricultural operations. Though they were reluctant to learn the new trade, they were, however, persuaded to adopt them and in course of time were able to extract reasonable yield. Agricultural income was supplemented by manufacture of mats, baskets and horticultural products. In addition to these, they were also drafted to do roadlaying work, quarrying and related works. It was also thought necessary to start a subsidiary industry to augment their incomes as well as engage them throughout the year. Steps were taken to set up schemes for growing casuarinas and tomato canning. Coconut plantations along with eucalyptus were set up which became successful ventures in course of time. Gradually, irrigational facility was provided by constructing a dam across Romperu drain in 1919. With the availability of water, the settlers were now raising crops like groundnut, pulses and ragi along with cashew nut, coconut and mango. After careful consideration of the behaviour of settlers and their zeal for cultivation of land, they were granted permanent pattas on the condition that lands should neither be mortgaged for a period of ten years nor be sold to non-Yerukulas. Improvement of settlers was slow but steady; by 1964 the total extent of cultivable land was 2,007.71 acres out of which 1,772.58 acres were actually cultivated.5 A major development in the history of Stuartpuram Settlement was the opening of a railway station in 1921. Horticultural produce like tomato was now transported to distant markets. Additional employment avenues were opened when the Indian Leaf Tobacco Development Company (ILTD) was established near the settlement. A cooperative society and the stores to supply food materials at cheaper prices were also started. Despite several measures to ameliorate

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the financial difficulties of settlers the number of absconders from the settlement increased. The main reason was that they were not happy with farm-oriented professions. In matters of education, the Salvation Army was convinced, from the beginning, that settlers should be provided schooling facilities. To this effect, an elementary school was started in 1916. It was compulsory for school-going children to attend the school. The three Rs were taught along with a bit of science, gardening, English and physical education. Bible was a compulsory subject at the school. Training in agriculture and industrial crafts was imparted to pupils of higher classes. Adults among settlers had night schools. Teachers from Yerukula tribe, as far as possible, were appointed in the school with a view that they would be able to work with commitment for the children of fellow tribal families. Teachers were paid well and midday meal (kanji, boiled rice liquid) was served to children. In addition to the elementary school, a boarding school was established for the sake of orphan children and children whose parents were either absconding or languishing in jails. It was believed that living away from their homes would help children grow up in a non-criminal atmosphere. Separate hostels were built for boys and girls and peons were appointed to visit settlers’ homes to enrol children into the school. Children were practically segregated from their parents except for occasional visits. Those who finished their schooling in Stuartpuram completed their final school examination in Bapatla after which they were admitted in the Industrial School at Perambur, Madras (Chennai).6 A separate school for girls also functioned for some time. Nursing and sewing were specially taught besides conventional subjects. Further developments such as the establishment of post office, library and high school took place which contributed to the general enlightenment of settlers. For the children of Yerukula settlers and a few of the converted Christians and upper-caste Hindus, a new school was opened in 1958, under the joint auspices of the Salvation Army and the Police Department, which was converted into a middle school and then into a high school. It is noticed that by 1960s a good number of youth got educated even up to the university level and secured government jobs at the central and state levels. The long drawn-out efforts of the Salvation Army bore fruit. Health and hygiene of the settlers was far from satisfactory. The settlement had no adequate health facilities and it was often infected by diseases like malaria and

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influenza. The Roman Catholic Mission disbanded its activities and left for the fear of frequent epidemics and lack of health care. Hospitals in the nearby towns of Chirala and Bapatla were too small to take care of the large number of patients. The dispensary in the settlement was starved of sufficient funds and suffered from irregular supply of medicines. In 1930 a maternity ward was established and a full-time medical officer was appointed along with a nurse but their visits to the hospital were infrequent. In the 1930s some settlers were found affected with leprosy. They were treated as outpatients in the Bapatla Salvation Army leper colony. Owing to constant in-fights between settlers, peace and order became a casuality. With the increase of such infighting the number of criminal cases increased. Those who were involved in such cases were booked under restrictions and penalties section of the Madras Habitual Offenders Act of 1948. In addition to internal feuds, regular and routine crimes the settlers used to commit were dacoity, housebreaking, robbery of railway property, bank looting, chain-snatching, pocket-picking etc. What prompted them to commit crime was mainly lack of alternative means of livelihood and poverty. Their antipathy towards hard work was another reason. Police harassment, sometimes meted out to innocents, drove them towards committing crimes. There were about 20 gangs of criminals in the settlement, each consisting of four to five members with a leader and an assistant. Women also indulged in crime or assisted men in criminal activities and a fairly large number of them were in the settlement. Among women criminals many were either divorced or widowed and whose husbands were in prison. Contacts with criminals of other settlements and sometimes with the notorious robbers from outside the state were maintained by the inmates. That the police department abetted crime and claimed a lion’s share in the stolen property was attested by those involved in criminal activities. It was a vicious circle from which they could seldom get out. Stuartpuram criminals were so notorious that whenever a serious dacoity or robbery took place anywhere in the state, it was often attributed to them. After 1948, the settlement was handed over to the Tribal Welfare department; the Salvation Army’s management officially came to an end. However, it continued its welfare activities through the dispensary, schools, Church and hospital and provided financial assistance and clothing to needy students.

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III The second major attempt at reforming and mainstreaming inhabitants of Stuartpuram Settlement was initiated in the year 1974 by a group of secular and areligious humanists under the leadership of Gora of Atheist Centre, Vijayawada. The reform movement that began as a modest attempt was later on shouldered by Hemalata and Lavanam for the next three decades. By the time the reformation work began in the Stuartpuram Settlement, the atheist social reformers had some theoretical and philosophical understanding of the problems of criminal tribes. Some of the people belonging to other social categories involved in crime did not have the stigma of criminality, unlike Stuartpuram’s denotified tribes. When the British government branded certain castes and tribes as criminals it meant that those thus branded would be so considered by birth and profession. The Criminal Tribes Act had an implicit assertion that a woman from criminal family would necessarily conceive a criminal embryo. Stuartpuram’s inhabitants have been included in this category whereas other criminals escaped the branding. Among the Yerukula tribe, there are two major divisions – those engaged in criminal acts and other non-criminal families. They do not mix among themselves. After the promulgation of the Criminal Tribes Act the non-criminal families were afraid that they might be suspected for underhand dealings if they had any kind of relation with the criminal families. As a result even within the tribe there was no interaction between criminal families and non-criminal families. In due course the criminal families were segregated socially and culturally. When external social relations were totally cut off, the culture of crime struck deep roots among the criminal families. Remnants of this inherited mentality are visible in certain respects even today. The Yerukula tribe was brought into the social and political structure by the ancient and medieval rulers to work as intelligence agents in the army. During the freedom struggle the British government tried to humiliate the educated upper middle class Congress leaders by placing them in prison cells along with members of the criminal tribes. Devara Raju of Stuartpuram was the most notorious criminal in the eyes of the colonial government. He was famously called Sardar as he was believed to have perfected the art of crime and the act of stealing.6 When in jail he could meet and interact with leaders of the

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freedom struggle when the latter were placed in his cell. Some of the leaders took advantage, interacted with the habitual criminals and promised that they would help in the repeal of Criminal Tribes Act after Independence. Devara Raju was one of those attracted towards the freedom struggle and freedom fighters like Gandhi. He was the first person in Stuartpuram Settlement who shaped himself as a nationalist while in jail. After his release he started enlightening Stuartpuram inhabitants on the nature of the freedom struggle. He unsuccessfully tried to organize a meeting of leaders of the freedom struggle in the settlement. Raju’s episode was a vainglorious attempt, a non-starter and forgotten over a period of time. Under the influence of the freedom struggle Raju took a pledge that he would not commit crime again. He also took a resolve to educate his children and pave them a non-criminal way of life. Devara Raju was in his late eighties with failing memory when the criminal reformation process was initiated in the 1970s. The reformers had an opportunity to talk to him and gather information about how he transformed himself from a hardcore criminal to a staunch nationalist. In the culture of crime, mutual distrust and harshness in personal and social relations are glaringly visible. As criminals the male members of families are always haunted by the fear of being caught by the police. They are unable to live in peace, neither can they spend time with their families. When they are at large and when they are away on thieving assignments, they are aloof from family members. When in jail, they cannot meet everyone and talk to them. Lack of filial love and intimate human bonding make criminals very harsh. They do not trust anyone which indicates the fact that social workers need to be kind with them irrespective of their response. They are expected to trust the criminals on face value even if they mistrust everybody they come across. This process has to continue till the time the criminal members start mending themselves. The reformers followed this principle through their interactions. By the 1960s, the Stuartpuram Settlement had both criminal and non-criminal families. The noncriminals were employed in government service, private industrial establishments, petty businesses and agricultural operations. However, opportunities for employment were limited. The stigma of crime made them suspects in public view. Added, the steps taken by the government are not enough to provide them sufficient succor.

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Ultimately, the Stuartpuram Settlement remained a place of criminals, semi-reformed or unreformed. In December 1973 women members of criminal families in Stuartpuram settlement beat a police constable that immediately attracted the attention of the district police head, M.V. Thomas. The incident brought the police officer to the settlement where he had to face many uneasy questions about the treatment meted out to women and children when male members are in cell. Though initially reluctant, the police head inspected the local Vedullapalli police station where he found women’s clothes and household utensils. The superintendent of police was very much ashamed and apologised to the women on behalf of the police force. The incident also made him think. The next day he again came to Stuartpuram colony in civil clothes and without escort. He met women members and said he had not come as police head but as a fellow human being to try to help them. That was the beginning of a new era of social relations in the settlement of Stuartpuram. That was the first time when a high-ranking police official exhibited interest and sympathy. Both men and women took the cue and requested that no police force, whether from Guntur district or any neighbouring district, should be allowed into Stuartpuram colony to take away their men at will. The superintendent of police posted a village police post at the entrance of the village and ordered that without his permission, no policeman should enter the village. This sympathetic and decisive act of the superintendent of police endeared him to both men and women. But the top officers in the state felt that Stuartpuram settlers were taking undue advantage of the goodness of the police officer and trying to save themselves from being investigated and prosecuted for the crimes they committed. The superintendent of police realized the internal problems of policing and suggested to Gora and members of the Atheist Centre that they might continue the work as they were not bound by any strict rule books of conduct and operations.7 Also, government officers are periodically transferred from place to place. Once the officer gets transferred, there was no guarantee that the succeeding officer would continue the efforts of the predecessor. Even if continued, the original zeal and sympathy may not be seen. There was a gut feeling among police administration that soft-peddling in Stuartpuram would not romp home cherished results. The superintendent of police, Gora,

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Hemalata and Lavanam convened a meeting at Vijayawada whose proceedings received wide coverage in the press with the All India Radio, Vijayawada broadcasting a special programme on the meeting. The theme of the meeting was ‘crime is no profession’. Subsequently Gora wrote to the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh requesting him to allow the representatives of the Atheist Centre to take up criminal reformation in the colony. With the approval of the state government, Gora, Lavanam and Hemalata chalked out their programme and carefully implemented the same in the colonies of Stuartpuram, Seethanagaram (Guntur district) and Kapparalla Tippa (Nellore district). By that time they had rich experience of taking part in the surrender and rehabilitation programmes of Chambal Valley dacoits under the leadership of Vinoba Bhave in 1960 and Jayaprakash Narayan in 1972.

IV In 1973 the social reformer couple, Lavanam and Hemalata conducted a novel camp as part of the national programme ‘Youth Against Famine’ at Bayyavaram in Visakhapatnam district which included 50 students of Mrs. A.V.N. College and another 50 Borstal school inmates (juvenile delinquents).8 The programme was to mix studentyouth and non-student-youth together in a two-week camp to promote responsible social awareness/citizenry. The local jail wardens supervised the Borstal school inmates. Altogether 50 pairs of students were created, each pair having one Borstal school boy and one student of A.V.N. College. They were allowed to act free and work together in the camp from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. after which the Borstal school inmates would be under the supervision of the wardens. All the youth lived in the local elementary school for 15 days. Towards the end of the camp, three of the fifty Borstal school boys tried to run away though they were immediately caught. The rest of the boys behaved well and got six months to one-year remission in their jail terms. It was rated a very successful experiment by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. The authorities were full of praise for the social reformers for their humanist, reformist and Gandhian approach to the entire experiment. The next major initiative was conducting a student N.S.S. camp in the Stuartpuram Settlement. Fifty boys from the A.N.R. College, Gudivada were in the colony for 15 days as part of the camp. They

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helped in laying a road and a small bridge with branches of palmyra trees.9 They visited every house in Stuartpuram and interacted with the families. This was the first ever opportunity for the settlers to socially interact on a large scale with members of mainstream society. Students planted a hundred coconut trees in the colony, the saplings being supplied by the government. The camp brought tremendous change, particularly among the youth in the colony. Some of the ex-criminal youth of Stuartpuram, when they went to Gudivada, visited the N.S.S. students to their great surprise. Reformers used to bring prominent citizens to Stuartpuram to promote a sense of belongingness with the rest of the society. A big cosmopolitan dinner was arranged by the reformers wherein the then police officials along with their families and several government officials participated. One more effective public programme of the social reformers was introduction of sports and games for the inhabitants of Stuartpuram. Traditionally families in the settlement used to indulge in gaming activity (crime) at nights. The current plan provided them two advantages: first, to participate in daylight gaming activities and second to interact with others from the local society. Local police officers as well as district officials were invited for the activity. This programme encouraged reformed families to take active part in a programme of a new social genre. These experiences came handy to the reformer couple in Stuartpuram when they were trying to establish rapport with the residents colony. At this juncture, they forwarded two important decisions that would guide their work with the Stuartpuram criminals. They were not to accept anything except drinking water from the criminals’ households in Stuartpuram, for, even a sip of tea offered by the criminals might be a part of the proceedings of stolen property. The second condition was not to talk to any male member of criminal households if they approached in an inebriated condition. These two decisions had an electric effect on people. But three major crimes took place when the couple was interacting with the criminal families – a bank robbery at Banaganepalle in Kurnool district, a big theft at Lakkavaram in West Godavari district and a house-breaking venture in Chirala town near Stuartpuram. Soon Banaganepalle bank robbery suspects surrendered along with the booty with the help of social reformers. Initially all of them agreed not to set up defence in the courts, but to plead guilty and accept the sentence with a sense of repentance. But when the police went back on their oral promise, the criminals too hardened their stand.

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They hired lawyers to argue their case. Finally, they voluntarily surrendered the booty to court. Criminal reformation demands a highly reasonable civilian attitude from the police in dealing with criminals. The reformer couple classified criminals of Stuartpuram Settlement into three categories.10 The first category comprised all those who had committed crimes, had been prosecuted and jailed. For these people, one cannot provide public employment. They were to be encouraged to take up self-employment like rickshaw-pulling, agrarian activities, petty businesses, and so on. The second category consisted of people who committed crimes, but were not yet convicted. Not knowing whether they would be convicted or acquitted, one could not get any public employment for this category also. They too were encouraged for self-employment. The third category had people who did commit crimes, but by bribing corrupt officials they escaped being charge-sheeted. For them, the reformers pleaded with the police that since no action was taken they should be let off so as to reform themselves and settle down in civil society. With some difficulty, the reformers could get public employment for some of them along with the non-criminal members of their own families. Public employment became an incentive for the changed criminals in distancing themselves from the old profession. Rehabilitation of criminals is not only economic, but also social and cultural. It is difficult to compensate their earnings through crime. Avenues can be shown for them to earn through socially and culturally accepted means. Alternatives may be few, but need to be explored with all the conviction. Perhaps it is here that the role of the reformer or social worker or civil society members becomes extremely difficult. Also this is the junction between ‘us’ and ‘them’ where a comprehensive development approach to delinquent children of an inherited avocation is to be pursued. Criminals have been accustomed to an easy way of life and easy money. Even some women members of the criminal families were involved in small-scale crime and thefts. Stoppage of crime is very difficult for the earning members of these families. It often becomes extremely difficult to make them shift to other avocations where hard physical labour is the norm. When the district administration, acting at the behest of reformers, distributed agricultural implements, within no time more than 1/3rd of them sold off their implements to purchase liquor or cigarettes.11 The reformers took advantage of the fact that the criminals are

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Scheduled Tribes. They pushed all those who had a minimum of 8th standard qualification into government services, particularly Indian Railways, as Class IV employees. The effort had its effect. Not a single person thus employed committed any criminal act after getting employed. This was a great boost for the continuation of reformation work. Crime is a cobweb. Along with the criminal, the stolen property dealers, the investors in crime, the criminal lawyers and the corrupt officials used to share the booty of the crime. Very often the individual criminal was left with a meagre amount for his anti-social labour, the major share of his booty being cornered by white-collar people in the society. As long as criminals were committing crime, there was an assurance for the investors that they would get back their investment. They were ready to finance criminal families, the loan amount often being used for household consumption. Once the criminal stops acts of crime, there was no readiness on the part of investors as there could not be an assurance on repayment. Stoppage of crime meant impending poverty for the criminals. Hence, it became very difficult for the changed criminals to get even a small amount of loan from others, including their own relatives. Popular perception has been that all crimes are committed by the criminals of Stuartpuram Settlement. To dispel the misinformation reformers suggested an innovative plan to the local police.12 Following the input, the police suggested that if the history-sheeted criminals were willing to sleep in the local school from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. under supervision and willing to sign or give thumb impression at 8 p.m. it could be recorded evidence that they did not participate in criminal activities. The reformed criminals agreed to the suggestion. They started sleeping at the local school. Reformers too slept with the reformed criminals and the act had an immense psychological effect.13 Even though the Criminal Tribes Act was repealed in the postIndependent era (in the year 1947 in Madras Presidency), nobody took keen interest in the execution of the government decision in transforming the criminal settlements into free colonies. All the five settlements in Andhra Pradesh, viz., Stuartpuram, Sitanagaram, Kapparallatippa, Siddhapuram and Lingal remained ex-criminal settlements. Out of these five, Salvation Army had a major influence in Stuartpuram for a long time to come. The other four were completely taken over by the government towards the end of the colonial rule. They were put under the revenue department’s or police

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jurisdiction. After Independence the Madras government appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Vepa Ramesam which recommended that all ex-criminal settlements be declared as free villages and land be distributed to all those bonafide inhabitants who have been living there. But the recommendations were not implemented. This anomaly was brought to the notice of the Andhra Pradesh government by the reformers. Very soon after this appeal, Secretary of Social Welfare, S.R. Sankaran notified through a GO in 1976 that all the ex-criminal settlements would be considered free village communities. Consequently government departments took control over all lands in the settlements and distributed the same in the name of local inhabitants with ownership rights. This act had left a deep impress on the minds of the settlement dwellers and they started enjoying self-respect as the rightful owners of property on par with other members of the mainstream society. Government wasteland on the left bank of the local drain Romperu was given to 146 families, each family getting 90 cents. The then chief minister, J. Vengal Rao cleared the decks for land distribution. Social reformers personally supervised division of the land. Irrigation facilities were provided by the reformers. The land thus distributed was organized into a tribal cooperative society with individual members having the right to enjoy ownership. Seeds and fertilizer were supplied free of cost in the first year. Reformers convinced the government to give wages to all those criminal families who would work on the distributed lands. As the land was fertile, the first year’s yield gave great satisfaction to the reformed criminals and to the social workers. However, they could not retain the same interest in agricultural operations as the yield slowly reduced. A lot of time was to be allowed for the reformed criminals to settle down in their new social roles. For generations together they were taught the family art of necessitated thieving and robbing. Also they were indoctrinated into a firm belief that they were born to rob and that crime was their natural attribute by birth. The social reformers periodically communicated with those who were in jails. This was part of a strategic counselling exercise. The jailed criminals used to write letters to the reformer couple regularly. Some of these letters written from jails by remanded criminals vouchsafe for the efficacy of the reformation process. In most of these letters the changed/reformed criminals used to reiterate their abiding faith in the reformation and the efforts of the social reformers who

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in their turn used to educate jail wardens about the need for being reformative in their outlook.

V Criminal reformation is a three-dimensional process involving different actors – the criminals themselves, the state machinery including police/government officials and finally society at large. Of these variables, the surrounding society plays a major role, either to accept or deny reformed criminals into mainstream ways of life. When this variable is in place, the rest of the variables follow the suit. Social reformers represented this important social variable in the process of social reform and rehabilitation of members of Stuartpuram colony. Since religion and tradition always tend to promote social status quo, the reformers adopted an areligious and rationalist/atheist approach to the entire problem wherein references to God, fate and religious observances had no place. It was only a saga of humanist programming and the central objective was human free will. The reformers executed their work in five phases and evolved a strategy known as 3G Approach/Three Generation Approach.14 Being aware of the shortcomings of earlier social reform trends of nineteenth-century colonial India, they meticulously devised the current strategy. Major emphasis of the organization during the entire process had been on the 3G Approach and on social integration and area development. According to the understanding of social reformers a civilian/voluntary effort in reforming a diehard tradition or customary practice should ideally engage members/families of three generations. Members of the first generation form the direct victims who require immediate counselling and helping hand to break-away from the despised avocation/custom. This process is expected to result in smooth socialization and break-away from the isolated past. Mainstreaming the reformed criminals and members of their families is an issue in the post-reform period. The second-generation children of the reformed families need social attention so that they shape a non-criminal future for themselves. This would enable them to slip out of the despised avocation of their forefathers. Social and formal education is the focus area during this phase. Their children, representing the third generation, are free from social memory and stigma.15 These members provide a conclusive verification for the veracity and efficacy of the reform efforts and their legacy. The change

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is slow, abstract and unconscious. It can be more perceived than realized in material terms. During the first phase of reform activity during 1973 and 1974, the social reformers concentrated on establishing rapport with the criminals and their families. Reformers requested the chargesheeted criminals not to move bail petitions and to plead guilty before the judges so that their cases are disposed of soon. The reformers assured them that they would work for their rehabilitation. When the criminals were in jails the reformers were in constant touch with their families. Efforts during the second stage (1975-9) endeavoured to procure public employment for the non-criminal members of the criminal families. They were involved in programmes like land reclamation process of the Romperu lands, provision of irrigation facilities, encouraging agricultural operations and consolidation of the efforts of reformation. They made regular visits to jails, wrote letters to jailed criminals, convened periodical meetings with the families of the criminals, organized a two-week student camp in Stuartpuram, built interfaces between the older family members of the criminal families and government officers, helped to make Stuartpuram a free colony, explored methods for socio-economic rehabilitation of the reformed families. These programmes lasted for almost three years. Towards the beginning of stage II, the government constituted a Stuartpuram Rehabilitation Committee under the chairmanship of the district collector with other district officials and the reformer couple as members. The committee was asked to look into the development aspects of the colony. It met twice a year. As the members on the committee were already involved in the reformation and rehabilitation process, formation of the committee did not either have an add-on value or delimit the pace of the present process. It soon lost its importance and became defunct. The third stage (1980-95) was used to soften the process of reform and rehabilitation. It was observed that 30 per cent of the surrendered criminals took recourse to crime again mainly due to non-availability of work/job opportunities and unnecessary police harassment. To address the problem, the reformers focused on development of social leadership from among the changed criminals who could go to the government offices and get their work done. Along with education of children and emergence of social leadership, womenfolk asserted their role and place in the process of transformation. During this period three major developments were witnessed in terms of ‘process

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consolidation’. They were: Founding of the NGO, Samskar in 1983 under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 (No. 157 of 1983); publication of a periodical, Samskar to propagate ideas of reform among the members of civil society; and organizing the first-ever criminal reformation conference in 1984 at Vijayawada. During stage four (1995-2000), the reformers had to deal with the emergence of a new generation of criminals. A few of the youngsters from non-criminal families of the colony tried to eke out their livelihood through crime. The organization tried its best to grapple with the new-generation problem and gave much time to counsel the families of new converts to crime. The second surrender of criminals took place during this phase and interestingly the reformed criminals from the colony shouldered the responsibility of counselling the newly-developed criminals and surrendering them before the government. Samskar and its founders had enjoyed the first modicum of success as the current surrender hinted at the downward filtration of the spirit of reform in the Stuartpuram colony. Success followed the second surrender of criminals voluntarily in the year 1998. With this the circle of reformation had completed one full revolution. From 1995 onwards the work of the organization became structured and fructified into programme-specific interventions. It executed various development programmes for children, youth, reformed criminals and their families with support from donor agencies. Various vocational programmes were launched during this period. Supplementary education, type-writing and tailoring programmes were designed and implemented for the children and family members of the reformed criminal families. Seeds for healthy social integration were sown during this period. The vocational and other training programmes were used by Samskar to admit youngsters from other non-criminal families in the surrounding villages like Betapudi. This was the beginning of an attempt at social integration through programme ventures. The last stage (post-2000) witnessed exclusive focus on social integration through area development approach wherein programmes involving poor from Stuartpuram and surrounding villages were implemented. Integrated approach to the programmes where the benefits would be shared by reformed criminal families and other families was immediately welcomed by the people as well as the civil society. Young leaders who emerged on the scene began managing common functions like games and sports. The net effect of various

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interventions by the social reformer couple, Hemalata and Lavanam was a discernible reduction in the rate of crime and change in the attitudes of families towards life and living. A baseline survey conducted in 2002 under the leadership and monitoring of reformed criminals from the Stuartpuram colony painted an encouraging picture on the four decadal social reform activities. The Baseline Survey 2002 findings are presented in Table 25.1.16 The 10-day intensive field survey and interviews brought out glaring differences between the pre-reform and post-reform period, during which efforts of social reformers and their frontal organization, Samskar were actively engaged. TABLE 25.1: FINDINGS OF THE BASELINE SURVEY ON FOUR DECADES OF SOCIAL REFORM IN STUARTPURAM COLONY

Population Male Female Children Reformed families People in crime

3,559 1,119 1,215 1,225 119 12 GENERAL ROUTINES

Pre-reform Period

Post-Reform Period

Addiction to alcohol and fear-stricken lifestyle Rough life Scattered families Always on tenterhooks due to fear of arrest by police Often away from homes No control over time

Peaceful life Smooth life routines United families Settled life At home Relaxed time schedules

SOCIAL STATUS AND RESPECT

They are always suspected They never come out under open sun Solitary life in isolated and haunted places People are afraid of them

They are respected now Moving freely Mixing with surrounding society

They are branded as criminals

They are now ordinary human beings

People now mingle with them

Contd.

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SOCIAL STATUS AND RESPECT (Contd.)

Pre-reform Period

Post-Reform Period

They are puppets in the hands of police

Police personnel still haunt and harass them

FAMILY LIFE

Relative prosperity while being thieves Mostly disorganized life given to vices They are vagabonds most of the time Crime is the only known source of income They had only night life

They are happy though they are not economically comfortable Life routines are satisfactory at present They are with wife and children now They are working now on other avocations Living together without any fear

FINANCIAL STATUS

Discouraging They had money in hand (due to criminal acts) All forefathers are in crime for family sustenance

Leading hand-to-mouth existence They struggle for resources, but are happy Children are now safe; are free from crime; going to schools/colleges

The process of change and reform witnessed, on the whole, two major players in the DNT settlements of Andhra Pradesh. While the Salvation Army’s efforts were conceived through religious and traditional modes in the pre- and post-Independent era, Samskar’s efforts were couched in areligious and rationalist modes. The Stuartpuram experiment of social reform hints at one important historical lesson that religious and traditional approaches to the problem of despised social heritage has lesser or reduced scope for reform of diehard avocations of hardened criminals. For, the limitations of traditional methods as embedded in religious norms often act as hurdles in the process of social change or social reform. Table 25.2 presents the dichotomy between the approaches of two major players in Stuartpuram colony in respect of reform and rehabilitation.17 Though the efforts of the Salvation Army are monumental at the material level, one of its main objectives of social change among the criminal families remained elusive despite the best intentions, whereas areligious, rationalist and humanist approach of Samskar did away with traditional approaches to the problem.18 The organization’s

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Salvation Army (Colonial)

Samskar (Post-Colonial)

Religious social work Faith-based Conversions on religious lines Hierarchical inter-personal relations Institutional approach (top-down)

A religious and atheist social work Humanist intervention/right-based Changes based on human free will Inter-personal relations at par Three Generation Approach (bottomup) Voluntary efforts engaged at peaceful conflict resolution Very strong networking with policymakers, bureaucrats and philanthropic organisations Counselling sessions as the key intervention Weak material resource base Impact at individual and psychological level Interface with democratic governing bodies always strong and continuous Change is discernible Mainstreaming efforts successful Development of second-line leadership from among the reformed criminals emerged in a span of 15 years

Armed with magisterial powers Advocacy and networking with appropriate bodies/institutions absent Scripture reading as part of the effort Strong material resources at command Impact at material development level Interface with civic governance rare Criminal reform often elusive Mainstreaming efforts partial Efforts in shaping second-line leadership are few

Three Generation Approach with exclusive focus on monitoring reform efforts through three generations and building bridges between the isolated colony and mainstream democratic governance systems helped in the speedy progress of reform and rehabilitation spanning over four decades in the post-Independent era.

Notes 1. Malli Gandhi, ‘A Historical Survey of Ex-criminal Tribe Settlements in Andhra: A Case Study of Stuartpuram Settlement (1914-1990)’, M. Phil dissertation, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, 1993. 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid.

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7. Ramakrishna Vakulabharanam and K.H.S.S. Sundar, Legacy and Continuity: Social Reforms in Andhra Pradesh, 1850-2000, Vijayawada, 2006, Chapter 3. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid. 11. Hemalata Lavanam and Lavanam, ‘The Problem of Denotified Tribes: An Experiment in Stuartpuram’, Vijayawada, 1975 (unpublished). 12. Hemalata Lavanam, ‘Notes and Reflections on Our Work in Rehabilitation of Ex-criminal Tribes People in Settlement’, Vijayawada, 1976 (unpublished). 13. Hemalata Lavanam, Nerasthula Samskarana (Telugu), Vijayawada: Atheist Centre, 1985. Also see idem, Mrityorma Amritangamaya (Autobiography in Telugu), Hyderabad, 2005. 14. K.H.S.S. Sundar, ‘Exclusion and Inclusion: Social Response Strategies During Colonial and Post-Colonial Andhra’, paper submitted in the national seminar on Socio-Religious and Cultural Responses of India to the Colonial Rule in the 19th and Early 20th Century, Vijayawada: Andhra Loyola College, 17-18 August 2012. 15. Lalitha Vakulabharanam and Kompalli Sundar, Hemalata Lavanam (Biography in Telugu), New Delhi: National Book Trust, 2014. 16. Stuartpuram: Baseline Survey 2002, Samskar, Vijayawada (unpublished survey report). 17. Ibid. 18. Sundar, op. cit.

CHAPTER 26

Case Studies: Life Sketches of Reformed Ex-Criminals of Stuartpuram Settlement

THE SOCIAL REFORM and rehabilitation project of Samskar (frontal organization of the late reformer couple Hemalata and Lavanam) at Stuartpuram is unique in a several respects. This was the first time in post-Independent India that an NGO was attempting to reform habitual offenders. Tackling the inherited social profession of crime was engaged in areligious modes of field operations. Though there had been efforts by Christian missionaries in criminal tribe settlements they could not succeed in bringing out a radical transformation among the delinquent children in these colonies of social outcasts. Reform activity among the habitual offenders or the denotified tribes is a hard task as the traditional profession of crime does not offer the outsider much social space for action. For, mutual distrust, instinctive suspicious nature, fear psychosis, hardened human relations, impulsive opposition to any extraneous intervention and disbelief in the mainstream ways characterize the functioning of these families. Any reform effort or reformer is bound to tackle these in the settlements. The reform process in these colonies is placed diametrically opposite to the other processes of social reform as witnessed in recorded history. The Stuartpuram experiment is a saga of dealing with a difficult human segment. The requirements of reform in the colonies of criminal tribes are different – in quantitative as well as qualitative terms. The much read about social reform movements provide us a wide vista for social action programmes of individuals and institutions in respect of societies where an evil tradition or religious misdeed is attacked. The social base of social reform generally comprises the middle classes. There are segments of human populace that remain ‘leftovers’ in the process of reform, either social or political. There are still a few more social classes that are neither considered social

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nor human. The reform movement at Stuartpuram is a first of its kind in another sense. The social reform movements that we generally read about can best be described as mainstream reform movements. They are called so as they concerned themselves with the classes that had socially acceptable roles in society. When the evil traditions and customs were severely telling upon certain sections of the society, especially women, the early reformers revolted against the inhuman and mindless belief systems. Even during the heyday of these reform trends the lowest rungs in the society were ignored. There were sections of the populace that were neglected by the mainstream. The present effort in presenting pen pictures of reformed individuals is an attempt at documenting the saga of struggle and the story of reformation undertaken at Stuartpuram. In doing so oral traditions and social survey research methods have been followed to best capture the lifestyles of the ‘tagged individuals’ who strove to reform themselves with the help of pioneering social reformers of the postIndependent era, Gora, Lavanam and Hemalata Lavanam. The habitual offenders’ (DNT) reformation has been unique today as this has been the first known attempt at reform of the socially abandoned classes of indigenous society in an open-air atmosphere without removing the individuals form their natural habitats. The joint efforts of Samskar (NGO) and the Norwegian agency, Humanist Action for Human Rights (HAMU) constitute a significant experiment in laying hands on reform and rehabilitation work in the denotified tribe settlements along the east coast of India. The present effort is an attempt to document and disseminate information on the process of social reform through biographical sketches of those individuals who were active participants in the process of reform undertaken by the reformers.

II Three decades of terror by the Yerukula tribe in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka has been dealt with in an amicable way by the social reformer-couple. Their saga of struggle to convince the stubborn criminals, who were involved in committing dacoities, house-breaks and thefts besides petty crimes begs description. Indeed, their struggle to effect change in the settlement and the extended hours of counselling yielded the desired result and, in 1974 members (approximately 250) of the Yerukula tribe at

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Stuartpuram decided to quit their crime-filled career and vowed to begin a new life. Some of the reformed criminals, who command respect and have carved a niche for themselves today, narrate their experiences. The circumstances that drove them towards crime and the subsequent struggle, nerve-wracking experiences, near-brush with death, harassment of police and the role of social reformers have been dealt with. For sake of anonymity actual names of reformed individuals have been changed in the text. Many of these individuals are still living toady and are busy with various professions including Gospel preaching.

Arike Subhakar Rao1 Leading a humble life as a coordinator (agriculture) in Samskar (Stuartpuram project), Arike Subhakar Rao’s career has taken a U-turn. Son of Arike Subbaiah, a small-time criminal of Stuartpuram, Subhakar Rao’s entry into the world of crime was by default rather than by force. Having lost his mother, who died when he was only six years old, Subhakar was brought up by his father who worked in a tobacco company. Frequent raids by the police in search of his father, whisking away of the young boy to the police station, harassment and torture, all forced the young boy of fourteen years to become a hardened criminal to avenge the humiliation heaped on him by the men in uniform. It was in 1962 that police highhandedness and midnight knock at his house, forced him to escape and follow two other criminals of the village to a nearby town. But, as luck would have it, he was picked up in the maiden attempt to commit burglary. After getting bail, the boy returned home only to witness the death of his father. Forced to work for a living, Subhakar joined ILTD Company as a worker but the wages were too meagre to earn two square meals a day and take care of his younger brother, Arike Ganeswara Rao. As things became tough, Subhakar followed one Vadda Jesudas and started committing thefts in the pan kiosks, nearby houses in Chirala and Epurupalem. The stolen booty was disposed of to a local trader who frequented the village. By the age of sixteen years, Subhakar had switched to house-breaks and burglary. As he was too young, experienced members refused to take him along for committing dacoities. Confronted by this problem, Subhakar poured out his woe

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to one Gatti Joseph. Accompanying Joseph, the young juvenile criminal gained experience and a day came when he mustered courage to form his own gang. In order to gain firm foothold in the world of crime, Subhakar Rao formed a gang comprising his close relatives since no outsider was trusted or entertained. The first major offence was committed in Eluru town, when the Subhakar gang raided a house and decamped with 15 sovereigns of gold and cash. This one incident created ripples among the senior dacoits, who were impressed by the boy’s adventure. The senior members then started luring the young boy of seventeen years to join their gang. Realizing that it was a golden opportunity, Subhakar joined hands with them as a member only to get elevated as the leader. From then onwards started his foray into full-time criminal activity and a series of dacoities. During a raid at Vuyyur in Krishna district, the gang laid hands on 20 sovereigns of gold. In Subhakar’s own words: During those days, if a gang was able to loot booty worth ī4,000 they were claimed to be the best. Within a short span, my batch started competing with Chimata Asad’s batch, which already had a strong foothold in the village for their successful ventures in far-off places. Within a few days, the seniors started comparing our crime to that of Chimata Asad, which eventually led to our batch coming close to the known gang.

In 1967, Subhakar and his gang changed their strategy and decided to loot train passengers. During one such endeavour, the gang was ready to waylay the Circar Express near Stuartpuram station when another gang led by Gujjula Arshad stopped the same train. Both the gangs relieved the passengers of their belongings but Subhakar and his followers were arrested and sent to remand. After coming out of jail, the Subhakar gang hatched a plan to rob the house of a rich landlord and went to Ongole town. While on their way to the house, the gang came face-to-face with Gujjula Arshad’s gang, which also planned to strike at the same house. The two groups joined hands and proceeded to loot the inmates. The raid resulted in the looting of 30 sovereigns of gold and cash. The successful strike ended in the merger of the two gangs for future actions. Strengthened by the development, the gang proceeded to Khammam district and looted a house where 20 sovereigns of gold were kept. In Kurnool district another rich man fell victim to their acts. With the earnings, Subhakar constructed a small hut for his grandmother and brothers. Subhakar’s elder brother, Arike Asad,

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married while he himself entered wedlock with the girl chosen by his brothers. Subhakar was already in love with the girl next door but could not tell this fact to his brothers. Once this fact was known there was friction among them. As the size of family increased the demands also rose and it became difficult to make ends meet. On one occasion, Subhakar was arrested by Gurazala police and sent to jail which forced his younger brother, Arike Ganeswara Rao, to join hands with Vadda Jesudas to commit offences. When Subhakar came out of jail in 1969, it came as a shock to him that his younger brother had already taken to criminal activities. Prabhakar was pleasantly surprised when the womenfolk in the family told him that Ganeswara Rao took care of the family and had even arranged for his bail amount. Though Subhakar was not keen that his brother take to crime, he nevertheless decided to encourage him. In 1970, Chimata Asad’s gang and Subhakar’s band joined hands to venture out to Tamil Nadu, taking the help of one Sudhakar of Villivakkam in Madras City. The gang members along with the women rented a house in Madras and waited for an opportune time to strike. After one such attempt, Chimata Asad was caught and in the subsequent investigations, revealed the names of Subhakar and his brother. Chimata and his gang were lodged in the Madras jail while Subhakar was shifted to Tiruvallur sub-jail. Chimata Asad and his gang used to be brought to the Tiruvallur court for attendance. It was during one such visit to the court that Asad and his men managed to escape after throwing chilli powder in the eyes of the jail staff. In the meantime, Ganeswara Rao was brought to the Tiruvallur sub-jail where Subhakar was lodged. The escape of Chimata Asad and his gang had incensed the jail staff, who started harassing the Telugu inmates. But when the IGP came to the Tiruvallur jail, Ganeswara Rao told him about the harassment and threw a challenge to nab him as he planned an escape the same night. The jail staff was alerted and the same night, Ganeswara Rao assaulted the warden, came out of the cell and made his escape. This sensational escape earned him the title of ‘Tiger’ Ganeswara Rao. From then onwards, it was nightmare for the Tamil Nadu police as Rao threw an open challenge, leaked his movements and committed dacoities under the very nose of the police personnel. In 1973, Ganeswara Rao and others planned a strike in Banaganepalle town in Kurnool district. They looted a house next to the local Syndicate Bank branch and came out with ī20,000 worth of goods. While committing the theft in

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the house, the gang members planned major offensives in the adjoining bank. In 1974, the then superintendent of police, Guntur district, M.V. Thomas, began efforts to bring the criminal tribal community into the mainstream. He held counselling sessions for the criminals and assured all-out support but no one was willing to believe him. After about five days of sustained efforts, the criminals were convinced that the officer was committed and sincere. The SP promised the Stuartpuram residents that unnecessary harassment of the criminals would be a thing of the past. He issued directions to the Stuartpuram police to post two police personnel on the either side of the settlement to prevent unauthorized entry of policemen from other areas. By doing so, the SP won the hearts of the Yerukula tribe as they believed him and there was no harassment. The SP went to Gora (Goparaju Ramachandra Rao) of Atheist Centre at Vijayawada and brought him to Stuartpuram along with Lavanam and Hemalata. Thus began the next round of committed efforts to woo the people to surrender and lead normal life. Gora along with his son, Lavanam and daughter-in-law, Hemalata visited Stuartpuram Settlement to launch a final assault on the minds of the residents to change their minds. Finally, realization dawned on them that they should end their criminal ways. Gora used his good offices, to meet the then chief minister, Jalagam Vengal Rao, and convinced him to issue an order for allotment of agricultural land to the criminals, so that they begin a new life. Once the land was allotted, the confidence of the Stuartpuram residents went up. They decided that they would not continue in the wretched profession, which had only brought them a blot. More than 240 active criminals took an oath that they would not commit crime and would lead a normal life. However, for some reformed criminals, the temptation to commit offence still continued. Some of them looted a goods train and followed it up with the Lakkavaram dacoity in which an old man was accidentally killed. The police interfered and saw to it that the reformed criminals gave attendance at the police station and were present in the village when the police visited their houses. However, one day, Gujjula Arshad and his gang were marked present in the register but they were indeed missing from the village. They reportedly committed the Lakkavaram incident and came back silently to the village. This prompted Subhakar and his gang to take a bold step to defy the police and go on a dacoity mission. They went to Guntakal

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town in Anantapur district and from there proceeded to Banaganepalle to plan for the biggest dacoity in the history of the district. Reaching the town, they realized that people were pledging gold ornaments in lieu of cash. As per the scheduled plan, the gang struck at the bank by opening the main door without any trouble. The bank manager, who resided next to the bank hid himself under the cot to save his skin. The gang members had a free run as they easily managed to break the safe deposit lockers and were in for a big surprise when they found a huge quantity of gold kept in small cloth bundles. They picked up the booty along with ī22,000 cash and fled. By morning, they had reached Narasaraopeta. On the way, they purchased a weighing machine and near Karamchedu village, decided to share the booty. Accordingly, all the gold was divided in 11 equal shares. Once the sensational bank dacoity saw the light of day, hectic police activity began. The police got a clue through a hotel owner who said that some persons from Guntur had entered into an argument with a police constable. Within five days, the police could track down the owner of the car, which was used to commit the offence. The car owner reportedly confessed and revealed the names of Subhakar and his gang members. This time, Gujjula Arshad was picked up by the police in connection with the Lakkavaram incident. Thus 1974 turned out to be an important year in the history of criminal reformation. First, dreaded dacoits, Chillogi Ijac and Bhayya Rao surrendered before the police followed by Krupakar Rao and Subhakar. Then all the nine gang members surrendered before the police. They were sent to the Kurnool sub-jail and came out after serving two years jail term. After coming out, they continued to plan further strikes. During this period, the gang members got a tip-off that the family members of the then Union Minister of State for Home, Pendekanti Venkata Subbaiah was visiting the holy shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala. The gang members hatched a plan to strike on the ghat road. The 11-member dacoit gang came in a car to the ghat road and lay in wait for the minister’s family. At 8 p.m., the gang blocked the road and stopped a lorry. Within in few minutes, a car and a van came to a screeching halt. The gang members rushed to the vehicles and relieved the occupants of their belongings. The members ordered the women to hand-over jewels without harassing them. After the dacoity, the members travelled in the car towards Pakala and had miraculous escape after they dashed against the road blockade put

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up by a police station. When they found a second roadblock, the gang members directed the driver to speed up and continue without stopping the vehicle. The surprised policemen started firing at the vehicle. One bullet hit the tyre resulting in the vehicle swerving to the roadside and hitting a tree. The gang members also hurled bombs to scare the police. As the vehicle was damaged in the accident, the gang members dispersed and decided to meet at a pre-designated spot. The police caught three members, who were travelling to Madanapalle. Subhakar and his gang members received the shocking news of the encounter death of ‘Tiger’ Ganeswara Rao on 24 February 1980. Fearing for his life, Subhakar escaped to Warangal district. He was arrested and lodged in the Warangal jail for five years and after his release decided to quit criminal activity. After his surrender in 1985, Subhakar became the main source of inspiration for others. Taking a cue from the changed lifestyle of Subhakar, many others also quit the profession, which had given them more trouble than enjoyment. Subhakar regrets the crime committed by him but points out that he had no other option to sustain the family. He said that though he along with others had spent time in the jail, it was the womenfolk who had to pay the price for their acts. ‘We committed crime, went to jail and enjoyed our stint but the real sufferers are our women. They had paid for the crimes committed by us and they faced the sentence’, he added. Today, after quitting criminal activity, Subhakar says with satisfaction that the fear of police has completely faded away. ‘During our earlier days, the very mention of police and the sighting of police personnel would scare us. Today, we are happy that they are not touching us or unnecessarily harassing us’, he points out. He says: ‘Hemalata Lavanam Amma has given the criminals of Stuartpuram a second lease of life’. He is modest in his statement that without the support and love of Amma, the dacoits would have lived a horrible life.

Jampala Baby Rao2 It is the story of a dream gone sour for an ambitious young man who wished to become a police officer and nab the notorious criminals of the Stuartpuram Settlement, to which he also belonged. Stark poverty, difficulty to make two ends meet, continued harassment and ill-treatment by the police coupled with harsh realities of his father

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turning a drunkard and getting addicted to rooster-fight which eventually ruined his family, all forced the boy to resort to criminal activity, thus jeopardizing his ambitious career. This is in short the description of a highly sophisticated criminal by the name of Jampala Baby Rao, who went on to earn notoriety for his acts. The wretched life of his relatives and parents resorting to dacoities and house-breaks to sustain themselves always haunted Baby Rao but he tried every means to stay away from such crime. Despite his father, a small-time criminal, resorting to the odd acts of thefts and dacoities, Baby Rao always dreamt of studying well and becoming a police officer. And his uncles – Arike brothers – always wanted him to study and do well in life. The untold misery and sufferings at the hands of his father and his continued harassment of Baby Rao’s mother, which eventually led her to commit suicide, left a deep impact on Rao’s budding career. His father also died shortly thereafter, leaving him orphaned and in the company of his uncles, who came forward to take care of his education. His father had taken word from his nephews that they would take care of Baby Rao and this promise was well kept. After his father’s death, Baby Rao shifted to his uncle’s place in Stuartpuram, where his aunt Rajamma took all care to ensure that he studied well. Even in school and college, Baby Rao earned a name for himself with his intelligence and gentlemanly behaviour. But whenever, their uncles went out to commit crime and were subsequently jailed, the aunts used to go back to their parents’ place, leaving Baby Rao alone. It was these times that Baby Rao dreaded. With nobody to care for him and provide him food, Baby Rao spent a miserable life and was forced to stay away from school. ‘I preferred studies rather than food’, Baby Rao said, pointing out that studies always dominated his priorities and he dreamt of becoming a ‘big man’ one day. Rao completed his matriculation and joined a college in Chirala town to pursue higher education. His uncle expressed his wish to see him in his classroom. The young boy who till that time had never disclosed his background to his classmates was afraid that his true identity would be exposed. He tried to dissuade his uncle from visiting the college but the latter could not be kept away. One day, a young man neatly dressed in a safari suit, came to the classroom and asked the lecturer to allow Baby Rao to come out.

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Baby Rao came out confused and was searching for the person when the safari-clad man came before him. It was none other than his uncle. Baby Rao’s joy knew no bounds on seeing his uncle in such a dress. The latter too expressed his satisfaction that he could see his nephew in classroom in the company of so many others. He wished that Baby Rao should become a police officer and never fear about anything. A police party once raided his house when he was studying and used abusive language against Baby Rao, who did not get up as he was studying. Another interfered and pulled up the officer. The senior policeman who knew about the boy’s interest encouraged him to continue his education and promised all help. With such soothing words, Baby Rao became even more determined and vowed to fulfil his desire. But his studies suffered when his uncles went to jail. ‘Whenever, my uncles were around, I enjoyed everything and the moment they went to jail, it was hell for me’, recalls Baby Rao. One day, the local sub-inspector took him to the police station and made him stay there for 16 days. For those 16 days, the police harassed and tortured him. Later he was released from the police station but by that time, the boy was shattered by the brutal behaviour of the men in uniform. As luck would have, his collegemates were brought to the police station in connection with an agitation and there the police officers informed that Baby Rao was related to a notorious criminal. The boy could not muster courage to continue his studies after the humiliating experience. He completed intermediate through private examination and then got married. In 1974, Baby Rao met Hemalata Lavanam at Vijayawada and requested her for employment to take care of his family. He was provided a job for which he was paid ī300 per month. The meagre salary was not sufficient to meet the needs of the family. While he was toying with the idea of finding an alternative source of income, Chakka Lazar and Ayyangari Raju pressurized him to join hands to commit a crime. For six months, they frequented his place and tried to lure him. Slowly, his mind was diverted to the idea of committing a crime. Baby Rao along with his known acquaintances planned highway dacoity and selected the outskirts of Tadikonda. As per the plan, the gang members purchased kneecaps, wranglers and some knives. They took a bus and reached Amaravati and then walked towards Tadikonda.

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All the members were given numbers and no names were called. In the night, they kept boulders and waited for the victims. A lorry, which was going that way, was forcibly stopped and placed across the road. An RTC bus which came that way was stopped and the gang members stormed the bus and threatened the driver to keep quiet. The passengers were threatened that if any one shouted, bombs would be hurled. They completed the task in a few minutes. A tractor followed the bus, which was also stopped. Again the passengers were relieved of their belongings. In the meantime, some passengers of the tractor escaped and alerted the villagers. Within no time a large mob started chasing the gang. One member, Manohar, was asked to drive the lorry to escape from the scene of crime. They abandoned the lorry near Penumaka and then ran 12 km to escape from the mob. The thirsty gang members were forced to drink muddy water. By evening the gang reached Krishna barrage and everybody dispersed from there. Thereafter Baby Rao and his gang committed a number of offences and struck it big in a village bordering Krishna and Khammam districts. The gang members managed to loot ī16 lakh and a large quantity of gold. By that time, Baby Rao was fed up with the miserable life and decided to quit the profession. But another member took him to Tamil Nadu and subsequently he was arrested near Nagarjunasagar and was released in 1984. After his release, he worked in a company which manufactured TV cabinets. From there, he joined as an advocate clerk in the Guntur court and earned good name within a short time. However, one of his relatives was caught committing a crime and Baby Rao’s name was also exposed, despite not being involved in the case. Humiliated by the experience, Baby Rao left his job and came back to Stuartpuram and got a loan from the ST corporation to ply an autorickshaw. Hemalata Lavanam appointed him as a social counsellor along with his uncle, Arike Subhakar Rao, in Samskar. Today Baby Rao has turned a role model for many of the reformed criminals. His services to Samskar at Stuartpuram cannot be described in words. He has shown way to many others and is the guiding force for many surrendered criminals. His soft and gentle behaviour and concern for the reformed criminals in distress has won him good name. He has endeared himself with the other reformed criminals with his approach. Blessed with two children, Baby Rao focuses on the education of his children. His dreams came true when his son completed Master’s in Pharmacy (with distinction) in the year 2013.

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Regupati Swamidas3 Quirk of fate and pathetic living conditions forced this young boy to turn to the world of crime. Born in 1962, Swamidas was forced to follow in the footsteps of his father who was already involved in 27 cases. In 1976, he entered the criminal field by committing a dacoity. But his great day came when in 1978 he was part of the gang which committed the sensational Simhachalam temple robbery in Visakhapatnam district. A gang of eight members chalked out a carefully planned attempt to break into the temple. The gang made its way to the temple in the night, managed to reach the main entrance, caught hold of the pujari (priest), who was coming out. They enquired about the property and assured him that he would not be harmed if revealed information about the gold jewellery. The pujari out of fear disclosed that there was more than 30 kg of gold in the temple. Of this 9 kg was adorning the idols of the presiding gods and goddesses. The pujari and a small girl were locked up when the dacoits entered the temple precincts; the two were assured that they would not be harmed. The gang members then made their way into the temple and reached the sanctum sanctorum when two watchmen confronted them. The two were assaulted and the gang members then broke the locker and picked up the gold ornaments. The gang members escaped into the nearby hills, but a crude bomb being carried by one of the gang members went off and critically injured one of them. The injured member along with others spent horrifying 10 hours inside a small ditch. In the night, the gang members, slowly made their way to the nearest town and cleaned the wound of the injured member. The members reached Pendurthy town and found some food. Four of the gang members were asked to go back. On a said day, all the members met in Hyderabad to share the booty. The inmates with whom the gang members stayed told them that the situation was not good as the government had made a request for the return of the stolen property. A valuable diamond-studded necklace costing crores of rupees was missing and the government was frantically trying to get it back. But, the gang members had by then broken the necklace and removed the stones. However, the gang was finally arrested by the police and in 1980 Swamidas was sent to jail. He spent ten years in prison and came out in 1990. Since then he is leading a normal life. The reformation process undertaken by Samskar has brought seachange in his attitude. Having realized the deplorable work he had

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done all these years, Swamidas has vowed never to go back to crime. Expressing satisfaction that there is no longer any police harassment, he says the reformed criminals today do not fear the police.

Regupati Kalyan4 For Kalyan, the foray into criminal activity was by default. Unable to bear the harassment meted out by the police, who tortured him to reveal the whereabouts of his brothers who were involved in some cases, Kalyan decided to enter the dirty world of crime. For thirty years, he had been involved in a series of incidents, which led to jail term, disoriented life and miserable living conditions. Slowly, Kalyan started his career as a dacoit. Within a short span, he befriended young persons and made them join his gang. The first major strike by Kalyan gang was in Srikakulam district. He and his gang members entered the house of the brother of Gosla Sreeramulu Naidu, a landlord. They caught hold of Naidu’s brother, tied him to a chair and forced him to tell them about the property. The gang members could only find six sovereigns of gold. Even before they could share the booty, two members, who were drunk, were caught, resulting in the nabbing of the other members. They spent five years in jail. After coming out, the gang was back to its old habit. This time, the members chose the house of a retired circle inspector of police in Amalapuram. The members struck in a big way, looting 50 sovereigns of gold and other ornaments. In all Kalyan was involved in 48 cases in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The Kalyan gang was known to commit dacoity in distant places also. They used to hire a car and travel to commit crimes. The gang created terror with a series of dacoities in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states. They once looted 50 sovereigns of gold in Tamil Nadu. Kalyan’s life was packed with action and several close shaves with death. Once, in Amalapuram, they raided the house of a landlord but to their misfortune, the landlord, who was tied up, was allegedly found dead. The gang members packed the booty in a suitcase and began their journey back in a car when they were stopped by a police party. The police personnel insisted on checking the vehicle. Somehow the gang members managed to escape. But more trouble was in store for them when the steering rod of the car broke and the vehicle came to a screeching halt. The members abandoned the vehicle near a

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house and told a woman that the driver would come and get it repaired. The members managed to reach their houses but were shocked when told that the landlord was dead. In 1976, Kalyan was arrested and after spending a life-term, came out in 1990 to witness a miserable life. His children were forced into criminal activity. He says his profession has brought him nothing but pain. Whatever was looted was taken away by the police and his family had to suffer a lot. He says the reformed criminals are still struggling to lead normal lives but are sure that they would not enter the world of crime any more. He has become a participant in the activities of Samskar. Expressing satisfaction that the one acre land allotted to him is a good gesture, Kalyan still says his family is living in stark poverty.

Karekula Nagabhushana Rao5 His story is full of struggle, where the family has paid for the crime committed by him. Nagabhushana Rao was involved in a number of criminal cases but after reformation, things are not going his way. Nagabhushana Rao started criminal activities in 1972 and is involved in 30 cases. He served jail term for four years and came out to get reformed in 1985. He is blessed with three children – a son and two daughters. The son is a rickshawpuller while one daughter is a government school teacher. Yet another daughter is happily married. Leading a pathetic life, Nagabhushana is still trying to lead normal life and finds it difficult to cope with the situation. He curses his fate for having taken to crime and says that it is not only him but also his wife who has had to spend time in jail. The family lives in stark poverty. The thatched hut symbolizes the struggle of Nagabhushana Rao. Having taken to preaching Bible, he now spends his time ironing cloths and then moving around preaching the word of God. Asked to comment on the reform drives in Stuartpuram colony, he attributes success to the painstaking efforts of Hemalata Lavanam and her husband. Samskar provided him with soft loan to purchase a tool kit. But his early life has brought bitterness into him. His fervent appeal is for a pucca house and some employment opportunity for his son, who has studied SSC. He wants his son to be considered for a loan to purchase an autorickshaw.

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Jampala Sangameswar Rao6 His saga as one of the most notorious criminals in Stuartpuram settlement is itself a history. Known as a fast runner who could jump into running train, loot passengers and alight at the same speed, Sangameswar Rao was lured into criminal activity under the leadership of Arike Subhakar Rao. The latter, who is the nephew of Sangameswar Rao, taught him the tricks. In all Sangameswar Rao was involved in 40 cases. He began his career as a dacoit in 1959 and served a twoyear jail term. He was reformed in 1976 under the influence of ongoing reform drives of Hemalata Lavanam and her husband, Lavanam. Sangameswar Rao studied up to the ninth class and then discontinued school. One among nine children, he was a regular student but circumstances forced him to change his track. In 1958, he was married and his father asked him to move out. Till that time, he had never worked and depended on his parents for help. Having to take care of his family, Sangameswar Rao started realizing his responsibilities. He found it difficult to provide for his family and was slowly attracted to crime. Till that day, none in his family had any criminal record. But in 1959, he was forced to accompany other villagers to commit dacoities and slowly he was deeply involved in criminal activities. His faith in religion made the gang members offer prayers before embarking on any criminal activity. The prayers used to be wholehearted and the gang members always feared God. Once a gang member was surrounded by villagers, but his mates assaulted the villagers and everyone managed to escape. The booty looted was about 50 sovereigns of gold. For twenty years, Sangameswar Rao was actively involved in criminal activity and surrendered before police in 1974 at the behest of the Lavanam couple. It was Sangameswar Rao who threatened to kill Lavanam and Hemalata Lavanam when the latter, during one of their earliest visits to the colony, tried to convince the criminals to denounce their activities and surrender. When the social reformers continued to visit their houses and stayed there for days together trying to put sense into their minds, Sangameswar Rao realized his fault and gave a word to Lavanam and Hemalata that he would surrender. When the realization that they are committing sin dawned on him, Sangameswar Rao thought enough was enough. ‘I did not want my children to suffer like me’, he said adding that police harassment and inhuman treatment meted out to the criminals by the police always haunted

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him. He gives all credit to Lavanam and Hemalata for their untiring efforts, which brought several hardcore criminals out of the profession. Inspired by their work, many criminals vowed to keep away from crime. Sangameswar Rao is one of the few who lives comfortably. Having acquired land, he and his sons take care of the agricultural operations. Of Rao’s four children, the eldest son is a graduate but unemployed. The other two are tractor drivers while the only daughter is married. Sangameswar Rao says it were the Arike brothers who inspired him. He said Samskar has done yeomen service and hopes that better days would come for the people of Stuartpuram.

Allani Vijaya Rao7 Allani Vijaya Rao was born in 1957 and turned criminal at the age of fifteen years. In 1972, he accompanied some notorious criminals of Stuartpuram to commit dacoities between Chilakaluripet and Guntur. The gang led by Arike Ganeswara Rao had already looted an RTC bus and was waiting for other vehicles. In all 35 sovereigns of gold and ī45,000 in cash were looted. But a lorry driver escaped and informed the police about the incident. A police party rushed to the spot. On seeing the police, Ganeswara Rao and others fled without alerting the others. Vijaya Rao and another dacoit were stranded there. The police fired eight rounds but the duo managed to escape. A small-time criminal, Vijaya Rao leads miserable life even today. He was forced into the world of crime at a young age. For few years, he practised picking pockets. Having got addicted to liquor, Vijaya Rao paid a heavy price when his leg was amputated after being run over by a train. Today he tries hard to change and wants to lead a normal life. He says he is ashamed of his previous record and vows that he would not allow his children to suffer and follow in his footsteps.

Allani Venkayya8 Half of his life has been spent behind bars. Fifty-eight-year-old Venkayya has spent over twenty-five years in jail. He started as a small-time thief and graduated into big league with dacoities. Involved in over 50 cases, he still has 8 cases pending in court. An illiterate, Venkayya was first sent to graze animals, which prevented him from

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pursuing education. His father owned four acres of land, which he sold because of his drinking habit. Once this land was sold, the family found it difficult to sustain itself. Slowly, Venkayya was forced to accompany other dacoits and indulge in crimes. Venkayya, not only committed crime in Andhra Pradesh but went on long trips to Odisha where the gang members committed dacoities in Sambalpur, Bolangir, Titlagarh and Rayagada. The gang also visited Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Maharastra, where similar dacoities were committed. Most of Venkayya’s jail term has been in Odisha Rajahmundry and Nellore jails. Once Venkayya along with other dacoits managed to loot ī5 lakh cash and gold jewellery from a house in Venkatapuram village in Krishna district. But the inmates woke up and raised an alarm. Within no time, the entire village surrounded the house. The inmates caught hold of Venkayya but two other dacoits ensured that he was freed. Even as the dacoits were escaping from the scene, the villagers armed with sickles, axes and lathis caught hold of the members. All of them were beaten badly and tied to a tree in the village centre. The gang members were then shifted to a hospital for treatment and later arrested by the police and sent to jail. The gang members spent two years in jail in connection with the incident. Venkayya said reformation drives by Hemalata and Lavanam had brought a sea change in the attitude of the Stuartpuram criminals. But the police still suspected the residents of involvement in criminal activity. He bemoans that they are implicated at the slightest provocation and hopes the government will come to the rescue of the surrendered dacoits. He gives all credit to the then SP, M.V. Thomas and Hemalata Lavanam for the surrenders. He says government has played a major role in crafting the careers of the criminals. He laments that criminals are made to suffer in silence for crimes, which they have not committed. Venkayya currently owns a small provision shop and earns his living from it.

Bavara Ravali9 A small-time criminal, Bavara Murali was born in 1965 in a poor family. He joined hands with criminals in 1985 and was involved in five cases and spent four years in jail. Bavara Murali, however, has been involved only in small-time offences. He says he never had any inclination of committing dacoities and could not muster the courage

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to do so. He was forced to take up unlawful acts because of the sufferings at the hands of his father. His father used to harass his mother and the children. Unable to bear the harassment, Bavara Ravali’s mother took divorce from his father. Within a short time, he was orphaned. The fear always haunted him and today he leads a miserable life and hopes that some help will come by so he overcomes his hardships. He says he wants to live a decent life and expects help from social service organizations. Presently, he pulls rickshaw to earn his living.

Sochu Dayananda Rao10 For Dayananda Rao, criminal activity was a natural choice given the surroundings he was brought up in. In the company of notorious criminals he was one of the nine members who looted the bank in Banaganepalle town of Kurnool district. Having been implicated in the bank robbery case, he was put in Kurnool jail till 1977 and finally came out in 1988. After that he stopped criminal activity. He often used to say that after surrender, his life had seen many changes. According to him, today the reformed criminals are a relieved lot, thanks to the efforts by Hemalata and Lavanam.

Ravinuthala Bhushanam11 Disturbed family life, disinterest in studies, bad company coupled with disposal of the 14 acres land by his elder brother forced Bhushanam to take recourse to criminal activity. Born in 1940 as the fourth child of his parents, Bhushanam was witness to the systematic degradation of the family by his brother, who had all the vices on the earth. His parents died when he was just twelve years-old. Once his parents passed away, Bhushanam learnt the hard realities of life. He accompanied his brothers to Stuartpuram only to see them sell away 14 acres of land to fund their vices. He was admitted into an elementary school but discontinued studies after losing interest. He grew up at the house of his brother and used to fishing. He got married in 1960 and tried to eke out a living by selling clothes. After a year, a daughter was born but differences cropped up leading to separation from his wife. He came back to Stuartpuram and married another woman in 1964. Both of them worked as labourers and the entire burden of the family was shouldered by his

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brother. In 1974, he was arrested by the police and lodged in the Rajahmundry jail. Sometime later, news was received about the death of his brother in the jail. The entire family was shattered and the responsibilities fell on Bhushanam. As the situation continued to turn miserable, Bhushanam had no other go but to take recourse to committing offences to sustain the family. Accompanying other notorious criminals of the colony, Bhushanam began his life as a criminal. His gang visited West Godavari district and other places for committing thefts and robberies. But when the time came for sharing the looted booty, the share of Bhushanam was meagre. Due to inexperience, the returns were very low which led to frustration. Out of the earnings, Bhushanam bought his drinks and gave the remaining amount to the family. ‘I had to continue with the criminal activity and I started committing petty thefts, lifted food grains, vegetables and took care of the family’, he said, adding that this was not sufficient to meet the expenses. It was after some time that he joined Gatti David’s gang in which Ayalayya was also a member. ‘I never knew where and when we committed the theft as the batch leaders never divulged the details’, he said, adding that ‘I still do not know in how many cases I am implicated. But, the gang committed offences in East and West Godavari districts and parts of Telangana’. Recalling his career spanning a few decades, Bhushanam said that once his gang went to Julapalem near Bhimavaram to commit a crime. As the gang members were hungry, Bhushanam purchased rice and cooked the same. In the night, the gang selected a tiled house for robbery. ‘The gang leader, who had taken a heavy meal, could not climb the house and I entered the house by removing the tile and picked up jewellery and some cash. As usual, I got a very meagre share’, he lamented. For the offences Bhushanam committed, the gift was frequent trips to the jail. He spent six months in Ponnur jail, another one year in Tenali prison, and three- and two-years stints in Nuzvid and Gudivada jails, and could manage to get three cases quashed. He was lodged in the Kaikalur jail for eleven months and served prison term in Rajahmundry jail. For six months, he was forced to cool his feet in Veduralapalli police lock-up. In all he spent eight years in jail. Bhushanam rued his fate stating that he had to serve more jail period for the offences which he had not committed. ‘Severe harassment, merciless assaults and third-degree torture is what I got

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for the criminal activity I had committed’, he bemoaned. It was in 1993 that he surrendered in the presence of the then chief minister, N.T. Rama Rao. Presently, Bhushanam pulls rickshaw and sells old clothes but the condition of the family continues to be pathetic. He has three children who are all married but do not care for him. His wife takes care of him. The injuries sustained during manhandling have resulted in severe side-effects.

Malli Daniel12 Son of a farm labourer, Malli Daniel was forced by circumstances to take to crime. He had four sisters and a brother. The small piece of agricultural land was divided among the brothers. Daniel got married at the age of twenty years and separated from his brother. He began his saga of crime from Bitragunta in SPSR Nellore district. For livelihood, he joined hands with Signarakonda Guru and Guttikonda Krupakar to commit small crimes. He was very young when the incidents were committed. Fortunately for Malli Daniel, he did not get noticed by the police. Once he looted a horse trolley near Karamchedu. He was caught by the police but let off after relieving him of the gold and cash. In 1973, the then Guntur SP, Thomas, Hemalata Lavanam, Gora and Lavanam visited Stuartpuram and urged the criminals to reform and surrender. Impressed by their appeal, Malli Daniel surrendered and took a pledge to lead a normal life and never indulge in crime again. He sold his half acre land near the ILTD company near Chirala. He joined ITC and retired after some years. He constructed a house and continued to work as farm labourer.

Arjula Janak Rao13 Janak Rao was born in 1954. His father was provided two acre of agricultural land by the Salvation Army. His father used to work in ITC Chirala but the income was so less that it was difficult for him to meet the needs of the family. His elder brother got a job but his other brother Arjula Harshad, became a criminal. Janak Rao was admitted into the Salvation Army elementary school but discontinued studies after the seventh class to take care of the family. He used to find petty work to earn a few rupees. Rao was arrested in 1969 and lodged in jail. His father also lost

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his jobs. His elder brother’s salary was not enough to sustain the family. So Janak Rao started stealing chilies and vegetables and slowly started committing petty crime. In 1971, he joined the Pamulu gang. His first theft was in Singarayakonda village where gold and silver ornaments were looted after which three more dacoities were committed. After coming to the village, Janak Rao shifted to the Jampala Sangameswar Rao gang and targeted Telangana areas to commit offences. Here the gang managed to loot gold and other ornaments. For four months, the spate of thefts continued and the police did not have any information about his role in the cases. After six months, the police identified him and started looking for him. He escaped but after 15 days, the Chirala police arrested him at his house and booked dacoity cases of Singarayakonda and Chirala and sent him to the Ongole sub-jail. After six months, Janak Rao was released and he was in his village for just a month when he had to again get back to criminal activity because of domestic problems. He committed small offences in Guntur area but after his brother came out of jail he accompanied him to West Godavari district where a series of offences were committed. During the incident, the Stuartpuram police were given ī5,000 to ignore the incidents. Even if the gang never committed any offence, they were forced to pay the amount. If the gang paid the amount, the local police would alert them in the event of some other district police coming in search of them. Janak Rao and his brother committed many offences but police could nab them in a short period. In 1974, he along with his brother surrendered before the police at the behest of Hemalata and Lavanam and was given 90 cents agriculture land by the government. Despite the surrender, every morning and evening, Janak Rao was summoned to the police station. The local police used to protect them. But the first major offence he committed was the train robbery near Stuartpuram. Then one gang went to commit the sensational Banganapalle bank robbery, and the Lakkavaram dacoity in which one murder was committed. As the police knew about the incident, Janak Rao and others escaped with their families to Tatichatlapalem and continued to commit offences. Once his mother-in-law was arrested and tortured to reveal his whereabouts. Janak Rao was caught many times and tortured. In the Lakkavaram dacoity incident, seven cases were booked and all the accused were

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sent to Visakhapatnam jail where Rao served two years sentence. In 1976 he along with some others joined hands with Arike Ganeswara Rao’s gang. These two powerful gangs went to Karnataka and committed crimes in Chitradurga, Raichur and Manyam areas. In Andhra Pradesh also many offences were committed. Janak Rao and one more member of the gang came back to Stuartpuram but only to be caught by the police. For four months, the police lodged them in the lock-up and booked 40 cases. The two were produced in court in connection with a murder and two dacoities. The Bapatla police remanded the duo in a sub-jail and produced them in several courts; they were imprisoned for a period of seven and a half years. All the cases were solved in 1983 and they spent time with their families for only two months. Janak Rao and his brother again started committing offences. Janak Rao said he used to take his family and rent a house before committing offences. In Tandur town of Ranga Reddy district, he stayed with his family but the police came to know and arrested him and others. Even women were not spared and two cases were booked against them. They were all sent to Chanchalguda jail. After two months, ten more cases were registered and they were shown as arrested in Raichur town. Then the police remanded them to Gulbarga jail from there they were taken to different places. In this manner they were forced to spend four years in jail after which the cases were solved. At the time of release, Janak Rao came to know that the Guntur police booked gang cases against them. For six months, they were in Guntur district jail. In 1987, they were released and all pending cases were disposed of in 1992. Since then he and his family have stayed away from criminal activity. The same year, he and his brother Prasad, surrendered for the second time and urged the authorities to provide them alternate sources of living. All the reformed criminals were taken to the then chief minister, N.T. Rama Rao who promised to look into the cases. All the pending cases were to be tried in a special court and jobs for eligible persons and education facilities to the children were promised. But nothing had followed the promises from the state government. Unwilling to spoil his children Rao shifted to Sampathpuram near Chirala. He has five children of whom one daughter is handicapped. He has appealed to the government to provide some relief so that their lives are comfortable.

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Jampala Bhaskarulu14 Jampala Bhaskarulu took the first step towards crime as a ten year-old boy, encouraged by his uncle Jampala Veeraiah. Born in 1936, Jampala Bhaskarulu lost his mother in his childhood to snake bite. His father, Jampala Devudayya married another woman. Jampala Bhaskarulu was brought up by his grandparents who used to make ropes. He dropped out of school after class I and started making ropes along with his grandparents. Whatever money was earned in making ropes was spent on evil practices. His uncle taught him the nuances of crime. In 1965, he married one Gangamma of Cuddapah, who also used to make ropes. The couple has five children, three sons and two daughters. In 1950 his uncle under the leadership of Suleman Khan, Chimata Peddaiah, and Gatti John targeted a house in Hyderabad. The inmates got alerted and chased the gang. The gang could manage to steal only ī100 which was spent on drinks. Then they went to Trichy in Tamil Nadu to commit house-breaks when the police arrested the gang and booked them for petty cases. For twenty days the gang was in jail. Then the gang went to Guntakal to commit another offence, but the local police got suspicious and arrested them. For the next fifteen days the gang members were in jail. Similar incidents took place in Bangalore also when the local police on suspicion caught them and recovered knives and batteries and remanded them for fifteen days. Jampala Bhaskarulu spent most of his time in jail for no major offences. The earnings were meagre and things turned very difficult. In 1975, Hemalata Lavanam, Gora and Lavanam came to Stuartpuram and cajoled him to surrender. They provided him a weaving machine and in 1976 a loan was provided to purchase a buffalo. The government also gave one acre land. The crop is sufficient for the family and some money is earned by making ropes. ‘After reform, my life has been free from police harassment’, he added.

Sachu Koteswarulu15 Early marriage, hardships in taking care of the family, addiction to drinks and lack of education forced Sachu Koteswarulu to follow the footsteps of his seniors in Stuartpuram. Son of Sachu Venkatayya and Kotamma, he was born in 1952 and was the fourth sibling in a family of five. He was admitted to the Salvation Army school but poor

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performance in studies often resulted in punishment by the teachers. To avoid this, he discontinued school and started working in a chilli farm. He took care of the standing crops and in between grazed cattle for livelihood. He then started pulling rickshaws and got married to Nirmala in 1976. Three children were born to the couple and Sachu Koteswarulu found it difficult to take care of their needs. Regular drinking sessions often caused difficulties and forced him to take a credit of ī100. He took the amount from a dacoit gang, who asked him to accompany them. They took him to commit a dacoity but he could not do it. The gang members vowed to teach him the tricks. Koteswarulu never committed any major crime but the earnings were enough for his drinks and wayward lifestyle. But the family continued to suffer because of his habits. During his stint as a robber and a dacoit, he had fewer opportunities to meet his children and wife. He used to clandestinely meet his family and escape. He was always afraid of getting caught by the police because there was no end to the harassment. Keeping this in mind, he decided to lead normal life and surrendered in 1990 to avoid harassment. Recalling his life, Sachu Koteswarulu said, ‘once the gang went to Nalgonda where we landed in trouble. The villagers caught us but we retaliated and escaped’. The gang planned a dacoity in Madras also but the amount recovered was meagre. The gang used to cook food under trees. During those days, Chirala and Bapatla police used to chase the Stuartpuram criminals. To avoid the police, the criminals used to take shelter near the sea shore. Once Sachu Koteswarulu stole a cycle but was caught by the police. ‘They asked my address and wanted to know my caste. I tried to mislead them but was forced to tell them that I hailed from Stuartpuram.’ As soon as he confessed the police demanded gold ornaments and booked cases against him. He spent 6 months in Nellore jail. On one occasion, he managed to loot ī45,000 but the police caught him and he spent six months in jail. After surrender, he began leading a normal life and never complained of any harassment from the police.

Kummari Tarun16 Poverty turned this young man to the world of crime. Son of Kummari Franklin and Alimelamma, Kummari Tarun was born in 1955 and studied up to the sixth class in the Salvation Army school. Financial

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crisis and disinterest in studies forced this boy to work in farm lands and water the crops. While working in the farm lands, he got in touch with Arike Ganeswara Rao and Arike Subhakar Rao, Gatti Vijaya Rao, all known criminals of that period. The gang members used to stay in the farm lands to avoid the police. Kummari Tarun used to supply them food and necessary articles. When the police raided the farm lands, they used to escape from the fields. The police used to catch Kummari Tarun to ensure that the other gang members were arrested. The boy suffered at the hands of the police. Fed up with the frequent questioning and harassment, he realized that it was difficult to lead normal life. So he started committing petty crimes. In 1973, under the leadership of Arike Ganeswara Rao, he accompanied other gang members to Banaganepalle to commit the bank robbery. The police visited Stuartpuram and harassed him to give information about the incident. The police accused Kummari Tarun of being one of the main persons involved in the incident. On the intervention of Hemalata Lavanam and her husband, Kummari Tarun decided to keep away from the world of crime and surrendered to the police. He started staying in the village but the situation did not change. After three years, he was again forced into criminal activity. This time, he committed rail dacoity and looted large stocks of liquor being transported in the railway wagons. The police raided houses and Kummari Tarun was also caught. This forced him to revive his activities. Till that time, he had confined his activities to Andhra Pradesh but now started moving to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also. From 1976 to 1990, Kummari Tarun managed to escape thrice from the police. In 1988, the Bapatla police arrested him and sent him to Visakhapatnam jail. In jail, he realized that police harassment was forcing him go back to crime. He decided that it was of no use to continue crime and felt that only hard work would ensure that his family lived happily. After coming out of jail, he started working hard and took care of the family. Kummari Tarun, however, cannot forget his stint as a criminal. In 1978, he along with Arike Ganeswara Rao and others went to Kancharalakota village in Prakasam district and looted a house. They broke into two more houses and threatened the inmates and snatched 2 kg of gold and ī7 lakh in cash. After looting the houses, the gang

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came back to Stuartpuram but the police came to the village after three days in 20 vans and surrounded the village. Some of the gang members were arrested and sent to Visakhapatnam jail. On another occasion, the gang went to a village in Srikakulam district and managed to loot ī2 lakh. During another dacoity in Vijayawada, the gang laid hands on ī7 lakh. While committing an offence in Kamlapur town in Warangal district, one of his teachers in crime, Arike Subhakar Rao, was arrested and sent to jail. Kummari Tarun managed to escape from the scene and came back to Stuartpuram. In 1991, he was released from jail but poor income again forced him to start illicit distillation of liquor for sustenance. In 1995, he surrendered and the government provided him 1 acre land. He grew vegetables and went on to acquire another 6 acre of land from the income and the villagers started respecting him for his good life. He said there is no problem from the police and there has been no recent instance of any harassment. ‘While some police officers summon me occasionally, the other officers encourage me for leading good life’, he admits. He soon joined the counselling team of Samskar and began working for change in the colony till his death in 2014.

Chakka Anvesh17 An intelligent child, Chakka Anvesh was forced to follow in the footsteps of his father who was a professional thief. Born in 1968, Chakka Anvesh was a fairly good student. He studied up to class nine but things took a turn when he assaulted the teacher and escaped. Despite the incident, he loved studies and passed the SSC examination as a private candidate. He joined Andhra Kesari Junior College at Chirala but discontinued his studies because of his father’s background. As there was none to take care of him, he got addicted to bad habits and started lifting scooters and picked pockets. He then joined hands with Jampala Baby Rao and other members. In 1989, he was arrested and released. He got married in 1992 and had two children. He joined a fan manufacturing company in Hyderabad as drilling supervisor. Soon some others from Stuartpuram also joined the company as workers. ‘All of us used to earn our living but the money was not sufficient. My brother Chakka Lal once came to me and forced me to join their criminal activity. His close friend, Siddamsetti Kalia and his family started staying with me in Hyderabad

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and after some time took another house on rent. There we were forced to start committing dacoity. Once the gang escaped police firing’, he recounts. Chakka Anvesh cannot forget the hard life as a thief. In 1985 he along with others went to Ravipadu village but were caught by the villagers and beaten up. For three hours, the gang was beaten up and released only after the sarpanch (village head) told the villagers that if the gang members were killed, cases would be booked against them. Following this, the villagers handed them over to the Huzurnagar police. He once had differences with his friend Venkateswarulu and was handed over to the Bapatla police from where he escaped. ‘On one occasion, I along with others committed theft in Nizamabad district and looted cash and jewellery. The looted items were given to Gatti David but he never returned the items. Following this, I stabbed David to death for which the villagers assaulted us’. In 1987, the gang went to Darsi town in Prakasam district and looted 20 sovereigns of gold. Chakka Anvesh was arrested and sent to jail. He served jail terms in Darsi, Nalgonda and Nellore. The police firing prompted him to shun criminal activity. He came back to Stuartpuram hoping to begin a new life. While in the village, the police forced him to become a mediator between them and the criminals. He was frequently taken to the police station and beaten up for no reason. He says it was the committed work of Hemalata Lavanam and Samskar that made him surrender in 1998 along with his brother Lal. From that year onwards, he started pulling rickshaws to eke out a livelihood. Today, he has become a preacher and spreads the Gospel of Lord Jesus. His preaching has had far-reaching effect as several hardened criminals have surrendered and reformed and started believing in God. He said the money he is getting is sufficient to take care of his family.

Singamreddy Surendar Rao18 Circumstances forced Surendar Rao to get into criminal activity. He was born in 1933 to Komuraiah and Venkamma and studied up to class eight. In 1953, he married Snehamma and begot four daughters and three sons. He secured a job in the postal department but faced a peculiar problem. A constable working in Veduralapalli police station used to

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come to meet his grandmother. He once assaulted the constable for which he was produced in court. He lost his job and incurred financial expenses. To regain the money, he decided to commit offences. He only indulged in petty crimes and never went for major offences. In West Godavari district, he along with other members managed to loot small cash. In another incident, they looted 50 sovereigns of gold and ī2,000 cash. Four days after the incident, the police caught him while he was watching a movie. He was later remanded to judicial custody and completed two months jail term. He said good bye to criminal activity on the plea from Hemalata Lavanam. But in 1985 the Visakhapatnam police arrested and later released him. Since that day he has been leading a normal life by working hard to sustain himself and his family.

Kota Seethaiah19 Disturbed family life, an alcoholic father and complete disinterest in studies saw Kota Seethaiah following in the footsteps of other criminals of Stuartpuram. Born to Kota Pedda Lingaiah and Martamma he entered criminal life in 1958 and was accused in four cases and spent four years in jail. Seethaiah’s foray into the criminal world was routine. His father used to make baskets and earn a living while his mother was employed in the ILTD Company. His father admitted Kota Seethaiah in the Salvation Army school, but discontinued his studies due to bad company. Seeing his son getting addicted to evil habits, his father got him married at the age of twenty years. He married a local girl and was blessed with five sons and a daughter. Kota Seethaiah was witness to his father’s death due to heavy drinking, because of which his family fell into a debt trap. It was at this period that he had no other go but to take to crime. He joined Bavara Mathew’s gang and committed robberies, but never dacoity. It used to follow the Macchukatti practice of looting wherein they would gain entry into the house without disturbing the inmates and accomplish their task quickly and get out. Bavara Mathew used to finance the members in the gang and he would take one additional share of the booty. Seethaiah recalled his stint as a thief by saying that first he along with others went to Vijayawada and committed theft in a house and continued the act in Rajahmundry, Warangal, Salur, Kodad, Nellore and some other towns. In all, four cases were booked against him

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and he was forced to spend four years in jail. For six months, he was lodged in the Vijayawada jail, for another year in Nellore jail and a further period of two years in the Warangal jail. After coming out of jail, due to the persuasion of Hemalata Lavanam, he decided to quit the profession. In 1974, he was reformed and decided to stay away from criminal activity. He was allotted one acre land. Presently, he is staying with his son. He has urged the authorities to provide him old-age pension and some assistance to improve his vision.

Kadeddula Sanidas20 Lack of parental supervision, who were employed in the tobacco company, turned out to be Kadeddula Sanidas’ misfortune. As his parents were working he was neglected. While his parents thought that he was going to school, Kadeddula Sanidas was enjoying his life by taking to drinks and other habits. His parents’ employment ensured that he never faced shortage of money. They had 2.5 acres of land and three buffaloes which took care of the family. After discontinuing school, Kadeddula Sanidas started picking pockets. Learning about his son’s activities, Sanidas’ father tied him to a tree and beat him up asking him from where he got the money. His father had no bad habits and as he grew old he was unable to pay attention to him. Kadeddula Sanidas was soon married and had three children. His children are studying in schools. He has vowed not to allow his children to get spoiled. Sanidas regrets his past life but recalls several incidents and how he escaped narrowly. He said he along with Petaiah and others went to Tadepalligudem. While waiting for an opportunity to strike, the villagers caught the gang members but he managed to escape and boarded a lorry to reach Vijayawada. At the railway station, he found other members of the gang badly injured and lying on the platform. All of them came back to Stuartpuram. Two days later, the Koyyalagudem police came and surrounded the village. This time, all the members escaped but he was caught. The police officer beat him up and made him disclose information about the other members. He was forced to give information and was taken to Kovvur. On the third day, they were taken to hospital for treatment. While in police lock-up, the gang members planned to escape. They managed to get a hack saw blade and cut the window grills. The gang members

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attacked the policemen and ran away. The police chased and caught Sanidas. He was produced in court and remanded to fifteen days custody. In all five cases were booked against him. He served nine years in jail. Later he began working as a farm labourer and regrets the thirty years of criminal activity. Kadeddula Sanidas confessed that he never ever directly entered the house for committing offences. He used to accompany gang members and stay outside. He was caught on a couple of occasions and served seven years in Rajahmundry jail and another two years in other jails. While committing offences, he saw Hemalata Lavanam and others and got inspired. He decided to surrender in 1974 and started giving daily attendance at the local police station. He also decided to stop drinking which he felt was the root cause of all his miseries. He was given a piece of land but as luck would have it there was no crop for four years. He says he is facing a lot of problems and wants the authorities to provide him loan to purchase sheep and lead a normal life.

Podili Ankaswamy21 It is a pathetic tale of a sincere government employee forced to take to crime for no fault of his. This is the case of Podili Ankaswamy, born in 1935 at Stuartpuram. He entered criminal life in 1970 and had four cases registered against him and spent three years in jail. Podili Ankaswamy’s grandfather hailed from Karamapudi village of Palnadu area but settled down in Stuartpuram. His parents used to work in the ILTD Company. He studied up to SSLC and got a job as a railway signalman in Guntakal but did not join it. He fell in love with a girl and married her, only to divorce when she failed to conceive. He remarried and was blessed with four children. After his parents retirement, he started facing financial crisis and for some time worked as librarian in the Gram Panchayat office. The salary was meagre and he faced tough times. He started catching birds and sold the same and also sold biscuits in the town to ensure that his children continued their studies. Once on his way to sell biscuits in Bapatla town, he stopped near the Salvation Army school but was caught by the police. Despite telling the police that he was selling sweets and biscuits, he was not spared. He was taken to the police station and later kept in jail for some time. Once he came out of jail, he told his friend Chimata

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Peddaiah about the financial crisis. His friend promised him ī1,000 provided he accompanied him to commit offences. So Ankaswamy along with several senior criminals committed offences in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. While on a mission to loot houses in Bellary, a gang member was caught and sent to jail. He said his teacher Chimata Peddaiah taught him all the tricks needed to become a robber. During the Madhira dacoity, Ankaswamy was caught and jailed. After coming out, he committed offences in Tenali, Gadwal, Bapatla and Rajahmundry. After surrender, he was given one acre of land. He was reformed in 1974 under the influence of Hemalata Lavanam and Samskar. He began a new life after reform and started working as a farm labourer.

Ayyangari Srinivasulu22 A happy family, content with the income earned by the head suddenly fell on bad days when Ayyangari Srinivasulu’s father picked up an argument with the officer of ILTD, Chirala, where he worked, resulting in loss of his job. What followed was misfortune for the family of Ayyangari Srinivasulu and he ultimately took to crime to sustain the family. This in brief explains the circumstances leading to Ayyangari Srinivasulu turning a criminal. Born in 1957 Srinivasulu was admitted into the Salvation Army school but could not concentrate on studies. As his father and mother were employed in the ILTD Company there was no financial problem but things took the turn for the worse once his father lost his job. As fate would have it, Ayyangari Srinivasulu turned a drunkard. After his father lost his job, the burden of taking care of the needs of the family fell on Ayyangari Srinivasulu. Taking the mantle of the family burden, he who loved his siblings so much ensured that they were educated well. As a result of this, his brothers and sisters were educated. In 1957, he secured a temporary job in the railways but the salary was not enough to meet the needs of the family. Pondering over how to overcome the hardships and at the same time see that the education of the brothers and sisters did not get disrupted, Ayyangari Srinivasulu decided to take the plunge into the world of crime. He joined the Arike Ganeswara Rao gang, which at that time was the most wanted gang. All the notorious criminals of that time were part of it and they

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used to commit offences as and when chance came their way. Most of the members used to stay at Arike Ganeswara Rao’s house and went out in two’s and three’s to commit offences. Ayyangari Srinivasulu said that his foray into the wrong side of law led him to places like Srikakulam, Tekkali, Kotabommali, Parvatipuram, Pathapatnam, Nalgonda, Huzurnagar, Kodad, Ongole and Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh states where robberies and dacoities were committed. One of the gang members, Peddivalasa Ramaiah, was proficient in Hindi and Tamil. Because of this, the gang never faced any problem when they planned strikes in other states. Wherever the gang went, they used to tap local people who would guide them. In Arike Ganeswara Rao’s gang, Arike Subhakar Rao was very intelligent and would give perfect information and draw up foolproof plans to accomplish tasks. In all, he spent fourteen years in jail for the offences he had committed. Of this, Srinivasulu spent five years in Visakhapatnam jail, two years in Nellore jail, one year in Gudur jail and brief stints in the Nalgonda, Ongole and Tadepalli prisons. He picked up carpentry during his prison stay. In 1985, he was released from jail and respecting the words of Hemalata Lavanam, he surrendered in 1990 along with 120 members before the then Member of Parliament Daggupati Venkateswara Rao. After his release from jail in 1985, his father fixed his marriage with a girl from Stuartpuram. He used to pull rickshaw to take care of the family, particularly his mother, who was paralytic. But appendicitis forced him to stop pulling rickshaw. Samskar provided him utensils to start a hotel but no further assistance has been provided so far from any other source, he lamented. He wanted the authorities to provide him an auto-rickshaw so that he could lead a normal life.

Jampala Bhushan Rao23 Domestic problems coupled with untold misery following the sudden demise of father forced Jampala Bhushan Rao into the world of crime. Born in 1957, Bhushan Rao entered the profession in 1972 and spent more than eight years in jail before his release in 1983 after reformation. Hailing from Lakkavaram village in Jangareddigudem Mandal, Bhushan Rao’s grandfather migrated to Stuartpuram. His father, Chidananda Rao, was already a petty criminal. Bhushan

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Rao had five brothers and two sisters. As every child, he was admitted into the Salvation Army school but fell into bad company, which changed his life. He discontinued studies and worked as a peon in the school and later got married. The unexpected death of his father and the burden of the family forced Bhushan Rao to search for illegal means to earn money. After the birth of his children, Bhushan Rao fell into further financial difficulties and started looking for big crime to sustain himself and his family. He joined the company of notorious criminals, Nageswara Rao, Jeevaratnam, Podaiah and Maharashtra Gangadu of Stuartpuram. They were all experts in Mattchakattu and did not commit dacoities. They gang started committing crime in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other states. Facing language problem, the gang roped in local criminals to guide them. The gang had Maharashtra Gangadu and Seenaiah, who knew other languages. The gang members successfully committed thefts but were never arrested. Bhushan Rao, despite committing crime never compromised the education of his children. Despite spending over eight years in Rajahmundry, Warangal, Bapatla, Guntur and Gadwal jails, he prayed to the God that the difficulties faced by him should not befall his children. As luck would have, his children came out with flying colours. His son completed an engineering degree and secured a government job. During his stint as a thief, he committed offences in Siddipet, Karimnagar, Cuddapah, Kurnool, Hyderabad, Tamil Nadu state, Hubli, Pune, Mumbai and Gadag. Once the gang went to Siddipet and removed the windows of the house but during the attempt, the inmates raised an alarm. One member of the gang was caught. The gang members then attacked the locals and managed to release their colleague. Bhushan Rao lamented that despite so many offences, he had not been able to earn money for a comfortable living. It was in 1974 that at the instance of Hemalata Lavanam and the then Guntur SP, M.V. Thomas, Bhushan Rao decided to quit the profession and reform himself. He was given one acre of agricultural land. But there was no harvest for four consecutive years due to poor irrigation. Rao eked out a living by selling dried fish brought from the Chirala port, but was forced to stay at home due to a cardiac problem. He pleaded that his other son, who is a postgraduate, be provided with some employment or at least a loan to buy an autorickshaw.

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Parigi Seshaiah24 The only son of Parigi Muttaiah and Seshamma, Parigi Seshaiah fell into bad company very early in life. His parents were working in ITC, Chirala and admitted him to the Salvation Army school. He discontinued studies after the third standard and came into contact with Chakka Hanumandlu, a railway employee. With his help, he secured the job of a gang-man. Soon he was addicted to liquor following which he abstained from duties and subsequently was removed from service. He then got in touch with Gatti David, Arike Asad and Gatti Pochaiah, and along with the three started committing crimes. His first offence was committed in 1957. For the next two years, he indulged in criminal activities without coming to the notice of the police. But he was caught while trying to steal utensils from a house in Betapudi. A case was booked against him and he was produced before the court and sentenced to three months imprisonment in Bapatla sub-jail. He was later sent to Warangal jail. After coming out of the jail, he decided to become a full-fledged criminal. Within no time, the Repalle police caught him and once again he was behind bars for six months. Coming out of jail, the same routine followed him and he committed a crime at Tadepalligudem only to be caught and fixed in two cases. He was sent to Rajahmundry jail in this case and served a two-year sentence. After his release, for one year, he could move freely without getting caught by the police. But the Anakapalli police nabbed him and sent him to jail for two years. He said that he used to commit different crimes and the police never touched him in small cases. He along with the other members was let off on giving the stolen gold. Even if they wanted to stop their criminal activities, the police never allowed them. Seshaiah married Sailamma of Ergacheruvu village of Kurnool district. He had no intention of continuing the criminal life but circumstances again forced him to resort to criminal activity. In 1974, the then Guntur SP, M.V. Thomas, social reformers Gora, Lavanam and Hemalata Lavanam, came to the village and promised to help them provided they surrendered before the police. As per their advice, Parigi Seshaiah and his brother Bheemaiah surrendered before the SP. Seshaiah was sanctioned one acre of agricultural land which he cultivated. After leading crime-free life for four long years Parigi Seshaiah was arrested in 1978 by the Repalle police and booked in

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two cases. He spent one year in Nellore district jail. The police never cared for them. In 1980, he came out and committed various crimes and fell into the hands of the Karimnagar police, who arrested him and implicated him in two cases. He was lodged in the Karimnagar jail till 1985. In 1995 he again surrendered through the initiative of the then MP Daggupati Venkeswara Rao. In all he spent ten years in jail for committing 15 crimes. Today he has one acre land. Poor health makes his living difficult. He has asthma coupled with a cardiac problem. His wife works for the family by selling dried fish. He married off his daughter and is dependent on his wife for food and shelter. He had requested authorities to provide him loan to purchase milch animals for self-sustenance.

Bavula Nagamalleswara Rao25 Frequent police raids and harassment became routine observances for Nagamalleswara Rao during his formative years. These happenings poisoned his mind and eventually, he too decided to plunge into criminal activities. Born in 1963, he entered the world of crime in 1980 and committed 10 crimes and spent two years in jail. In 1985 he surrendered before the police and was promptly rehabilitated. Presently, he is a rickshaw-puller though the earnings are difficult to take care of his three children and wife. He used to see his father being taken away by the police and on other occasions escaping from the house on seeing the police. This regular routine left a lasting impression on the child. When his father was in jail, his mother used to take care of him. His sister was married to Arike Subhakar Rao, a notorious criminal in the colony who used to teach techniques of crime to youngsters. The police used to regularly knock at Nagamalleswara Rao’s doors. His father used to visit occasionally. He used to attend court summons and during one such trip to Ongole in connection with a case, he came back dead. His mother then took care of the children. His sister studied up to +2 and got married to one Gatti Yesu, a railway employee. His brother and sister too were railway employees. Nagamalleswara got married to the daughter of Arike Subhakar Rao and begot three children. He studied till the seventh class in the Salvation Army school and rest of the studies was conducted in Guntakal. On one occasion, the police tortured him to reveal the whereabouts of Arike Subhakar Rao. He wanted to lead normal life

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but circumstances forced him to join hands with leading criminals of that time. He committed a number of crimes and was arrested for the same. In 1984 he was released and since that day he is leading a normal life. He is forced to mark regular attendance in the local police station. He takes care of his family with the limited money he earns as a rickshaw-puller. He urges the authorities to provide him an auto-rickshaw so that he could lead comfortable life.

Lavaati Prabhupadam26 Spending twenty-five years as a criminal and suffering at the hands of police, Lavaati Prabhupadam today is a man struggling to lead a normal life. In a career spanning two decades, he was booked in 12 cases and spent five years in jail. His reformation began in 1973. He managed to ensure that his children studied well. His eldest son is a sub-inspector of police while his two daughters are also educated. Lavaati Prabhupadam studied at the Salvation Army school up to the third class. Instead of attending classes, he went out bird-hunting. Slowly, he got into wrong company and started pick-pocketing. He also stole livestock and food grains. His parents were both employees of the ILTD Company. Soon he joined the company of notorious criminals but when this came to his father’s notice, he was beaten up. He was never in financial trouble but committed crime only for pleasure. His other family members worked as farm labourers. His father got him married to a girl from Mangalagiri. His wife did not know his background. They were blessed with eight children, though two of them died. He spent lot of money on the treatment of the sick children and in the process ran up debts. To overcome the tragedy and the financial problems, he joined hands with Bhuvanagiri Chinnaiah and others and became the member of a notorious gang. The gang managed to gain entry into houses and loot them. The gang leader, Gatti Somesh, who had studied up to SSLC used to hatch perfect plans. When committing crimes, the members enjoyed their lives despite some hardships. They used to move in the fields without any security. The fear of police, poisonous snakes and thorns were always there but they never cared for hardships. The gang committed several offences in Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, Bhadrachalam, Gadwal, Hubli, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Unfortunately on some occasions, gang members were apprehended.

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Once Prabhupadam was caught and tied to a tree and beaten up badly. He dreaded to recall the agonizing moments while being beaten up by a mob. The injuries sustained during that incident still cause joint pains. He spent jail terms in Warangal and Rajahmundry, and in Karimnagar jail for five years. In all 12 cases were booked against him. He spent five years in the jail till the reformation process was launched in 1973 by Hemalata Lavanam and her husband. After his surrender, Prabhupadam was allotted one acre land which is being cultivated by his family. Presently he is doing agricultural work and also sells murmura (rice flakes). Domestic troubles continue to nag him. His daughter is a widow and stays with him. She has two children who are polio afflicted. Due to financial problems, he has mortgaged his one-acre land.

Posani Seenaiah27 Father of three children, Posani Seenaiah dabbled in the world of crime not out of problems but due to bad company. Born in 1935, Seenaiah first committed a crime in 1965 and for the next few years, he was in an out of jail before his surrender in 1974. His father, Subbaiah, hailed from Jangareddigudem in West Godavari district and settled down in Stuartpuram after marrying Seethamma. The couple had four sons and a daughter. Seenaiah studied in the Salvation Army School but discontinued after falling into bad company. At the age of eighteen years, he was married to Kanchamma. He went to Lakkavaram with the intention of settling down there, but returned to Stuartpuram very soon. He used to accompany his mother who used to work in ILTD Company at Chirala. While returning home in the night, the police used to stop and harass them. Honest workers and criminals were treated as one. For some time, after stopping work in ILTD, Seenaiah plied rickshaw but found it difficult to sustain his family of three children. At this juncture, his father-in-law, Bhuvanagiri Atteyya took him under his care and taught him the nuances of the criminal activity. Under the leadership of Atteyya, Posani Seenaiah joined other criminals. Atteyya used to care for the gang and took additional share in the booty. Posani Seenaiah’s brother, Posani Ailayya was also a criminal. Seenaiah admitted that the time he spent committing crimes was unforgettable. The gang committed robberies in West Godavari,

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Karimnagar and Bhadrachalam. Posani Seenaiah said he struggled to afford education for his children. During the nights, due to the fear of police raids, he used to sleep on haystacks. Despite food being available, criminals had very little time to partake it. He recalled that he served two years jail term in Rajahmundry and Warangal after three cases were filed against him. He surrendered before the police in 1974 and ever since began leading a normal life. He vowed that his children would not become criminals like him and spend a harrowing time. The government allotted him one acre of land and he works as a farm hand. Though he surrendered before the police, the harassment by local police continued, who pestered him to recover gold ornaments. He surrendered for the second time in front of the then chief minister, N.T. Rama Rao, through the help of Hemalata Lavanam. Posani Seenaiah narrating his memorable experience and close shave with the police and the villagers pointed out that once he along with other gang members went to a village in Chintalpudi Mandal of West Godavari district. They entered a house by removing the lock. The inmates were fast asleep and the members had a free run with cash and jewellery. Around 6 a.m., the next day they camped in a nearby village. But the local villagers grew suspicious and forcibly checked a member’s bag and found ornaments. When the gang members told them that they were sheep traders, the villages did not believe them and instead handed them over to the police.

Gajula Ranjan Rao28 Son of Komaraiah and Sambhamma, fifty-three year-old Gajula Ranjan Rao, was programmed early into the world of crime. Born in 1947, he committed his first offence in 1976 and for the next eight years, he was at large indulging in sporadic incidents of robberies. He is involved in 15 cases and has spent eight years in jail. He has three children, two sons and one daughter. Gajula Ranjan Rao today leads a normal life after his surrender in 1984. He says there is no police harassment and no one in his family is into criminal activity. Recalling his childhood, Gajula Ranjan Rao said his parents loved him and enrolled him in the elementary school at the age of five years. He studied up to class five but soon lost interest in studies. When his father realized that his son was disinterested in studies, he asked his son to do farm labour and other petty jobs which earned

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him a little money. Unfortunately, his father died when he was only fourteen years-old. His mother brought him up but a major part of childhood and youth was spent in his aunt’s house. At the age of twenty-two years, he got married to Lovamma. Both of them worked hard and enjoyed whatever little they earned. In 1976, Gajula Ranjan Rao along with his friends started drinking alcohol and in no time, the family’s financial position deteriorated. To overcome the crisis, he joined a gang of criminals and committed his first offence in Raichur along with the notorious Arike Ganeswara Rao. Three months later, the police realized that Gajula Ranjan Rao was also involved in the offence. The Guntur police for the first time nabbed him and a case was booked against him in Hyderabad. Many more cases were soon registered against him though he was not involved in several of them. At times, he had to spend jail term for no fault of his. He spent a two-year jail term in Raichur and 16 months in Bellary. On another occasion, he was arrested by the Ongole police and spent six months in Rajahmundry jail and six months in Vizag jail. Gajula Ranjan Rao bemoaned that he earned very little out of the crimes he committed. More than the earnings, the police used to knock away their share leaving them with little or no booty. He did admit that during that period, there was very little cash but a lot of gold ornaments. The gang members never knew the value of the ornaments. They used to present a gold chain to any villager who offered them a healthy chicken for dinner. If by chance, the police found gold with the gang members, they used to snatch the same away. Gajula Ranjan Rao feels sorry when recalls his earlier days. He regrets that he had not earned anything. When Hemalata Lavanam came to his village, he was assured that there would be no harassment from the police and hence decided to quit the profession. With the assurance of the then SP, M.V. Thomas, Gajula Ranjan Rao surrendered. After reformation, for some time things were normal but when the police harassment mounted, Gajula Ranjan Rao was forced to re-join the gangs. In 1984 he surrendered before the then chief minister, N.T. Rama Rao. He recalled that along with him most of the notorious gang members surrendered. They were all given agricultural land. For three years, Gajula Ranjan Rao cultivated the land but some persons assaulted him and forcibly occupied his land. He urged the government to see that he gets back his land. His children had taken land on lease to work as labourers on the same. He urged the authorities to allot him a kerosene dealership so

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he could earn a decent living. He maintained that as a child, he never committed any offence. If committing crime was one aspect, the subsequent court summons and remand period was a nightmare. He did attend court hearings but on the one occasion he could not go to the court, he was arrested and put behind bars for eighteen days. He came out on bail and in 1999 all the pending cases were dealt with.

Notes 1. Interview, 24 August 2001 (Stuartpuram Mandal, Guntur District, AP). 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Interview, 25 August 2001 (Stuartpuram Mandal, Guntur District, AP). 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Ibid. 10. Ibid. 11. Interview, 26 August 2001 (Stuartpuram Mandal, Guntur District, AP). 12. Ibid. 13. Ibid. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Interview, 28 August 2001 (Stuartpuram Mandal, Guntur District, AP). 17. Ibid. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid. 20. Ibid. 21. Interview, 30 August 2001 (Stuartpuram Mandal, Guntur District, AP). 22. Ibid. 23. Ibid. 24. Ibid. 25. Ibid. 26. Interview, 31 August 2001 (Stuartpuram Mandal, Guntur District, AP). 27. Ibid. 28. Ibid.

Village, Bapatla Revenue

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Village, Bapatla Revenue

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Village, Bapatla Revenue

CHAPTER 27

Conclusion

THE CRIMINAL TRIBES ACT was passed by the colonial government as early as 1871, arbitrarily and unjustly against some of the aboriginal tribes, castes and even a section of the Muslims of India. This Act was enacted by the colonial government with a view to control some turbulent and criminally proclaimed sections of the population. By gradual modifications, this Act was consolidated in the year 1924. The Madras Presidency repealed the Criminal Tribes Act in 1947 and Bombay in 1949. The All India Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee in 1949 evaluated the problems of criminal tribes and recommended India-wide repealing of the Act. Henceforth, people belonging to these criminal groups were recognized as denotified communities. To check the criminal tendencies of these criminal tribes, the British government started several settlements and entrusted the task of their management to voluntary agencies like the Salvation Army, American Baptist Mission, Chief Khalsa Diwan, Deo Samaj and Arya Samaj. In addition to these, the Adimjati Sevak Sangh was also put in-charge of the management of some settlements. These bodies have been assisting the government in the moral uplift of the so-called criminal tribes. After the repeal of the Act, the so-called criminals were freed from the stigma of criminality. The Backward Class Enquiry Commission (1995) appointed by the Government of India suggested ameliorative measures to enable these communities to turn over a new leaf and make them good citizens. The social experience of the denotified tribes still adds to their lurking fears of being dominated by the more vociferous strata of the society. Unless society provides equal opportunities and treatment with others in every sphere of life, these people are not willing to come out of their shell. What we ought to do, argue scholars, is to develop a sense of oneness with these people, a sense of unity and understanding. It necessarily involves a psychological approach. Tribal communities are considered as early settlers. It is at the same time true that they are also non-static or itinerant groups owing to many compelling circumstances. For thousands of years, these

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tribes lived in their sylvan settings without having any intercourse with the outside world. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries communication facilities, such as railways and roads, passed through the hills and forests and land-hungry peasants of upper castes invaded the sparsely populated tribal regions of central and south India. Moneylenders, contractors and land-grabbing elements encroached upon the tribals’ land and kept them in perpetual indebtedness. Formerly, tribals depended upon forests for their living. But the forests were fast denuded by landholders and the government. The non-tribals on the one hand and the forest laws framed by the colonial administration on the other made the tribals migrate from place to place for their bare living. As Bhowmick said, this economic and territorial displacement under a new setting affected very seriously the old patterns of economic life and upset the equilibrium of the whole society. As one hill man succinctly puts it, ‘the forests have belonged to us from time immemorial, our ancestors planted them and protected them, now they have become of value, government steps in and robs us of them’. For example, the Chenchus, a primitive tribe, was affected by the forest laws. Their hunting activity was considered to be illegal and they were denied rights over the forest produce. In desperation they turned into bandits. The problem of crime in society is a gigantic and complex phenomenon. In recent times, crime rate as a whole is increasing very rapidly all over the world. Crime thrives wherever economic deprivations, social disruptions and radical discriminations prevail. Inequality, economic exploitation, unhealthy greed for possessing material goods and rapid change in the standards of social and political morality in society constitute the breeding ground of crime. Criminality is not hereditary and the criminal propensity of many castes and tribes is due to the disintegration of their social moorings under economic and territorial displacements. The most important cause of their deprivation is the loss of their traditional means of livelihood. No human being is a criminal by birth. The term ‘criminal tribe’ is a misnomer as many communities are classified under criminal tribes in India. Some of them would be found to be members of Scheduled Castes or other communities. In Srikakulam district, Rellis are considered to be a criminal tribe. Even now they live only in two small villages (Pullota and Thallota) and agriculture or coolie work are their occupations. Kopotipalem Malas of Nellore district and Malas of Anneboyinipalli of Prakasam district are also wage labourers.

428

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Criminal tribes are distributed in almost all states of India. They still lead a primitive style of living and some still retain food gathering, hunting or pastoral habits. The 1937 Criminal Tribes Committee stated that these tribes were a legacy of unhealthy social environments and wrong methods pursued through many centuries in dealing with them. They are not the sinners, they have been sinned against. The prime reason for the denotified tribes living at the subsistence level is their unstable occupation with uncertain income and disproportionate expenditure. They have realized that their children should not lead the same life as them. As Sikka Krishnalal rightly pointed out, family is the spring board of a child’s social and personal growth. Education is an effective weapon and instrument of social change. It plays a significant role in changing the fortune and lifestyle of these children. So the entire gamut of reforming these communities depends on how best educational facilities can be provided to these children. Comparing them to the rest of the society is bound to give them a complex and parents are afraid that their children cannot reach higher echelons of society because of the psychological barrier they suffer from. The children should be educated in a healthy and proper environment free from oppression, fear, harassment and suspicion. As social reformer Lavanam said, transformation is taking place from the culture of crime to the culture of sociability; from anti-social means of earning to social means of livelihoods, from fear complex to cooperative spirit and from harsh behaviour to reason and understanding. The ultimate aim is to re-socialize the DNTs to adjust them to the society and to rehabilitate and change them. The rehabilitative programmes for these people may be entrusted either to educational institutions or reputed social service organizations. The growing apprehension among the DNTs about future of their children should be dispelled. The whole issue of rehabilitation hinges on the complex process of convincing them and transforming them into people who can eke out their livelihood through their own efforts. Since their problems relate to social and economic factors, the main thrust of rehabilitation should be socio-economic in nature. These problems can be solved in a phased manner. The Report of the Backward Classes Commission categorically stated that the economic programme should go hand in hand with a dynamic and suitably oriented programme of social education so as to wean the DNTs away from socially undesirable tendencies. The entire gamut of reforming the

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DNTs here depends on how best educational facilities can be provided to them. Education is an effective weapon and instrument of social change. Another problem is that denotified tribes cannot have emotional affinity with others as long as they are not free from the fear of stigma. This feeling cannot be wiped out as long as they do not wish to come out of their narrow world view and prove their integrity in society. By socializing them through education and other rehabilitative measures they should be helped to break away from their psychological barrier.

APPENDIX

List of Denotified Communities in Madras Province (G.O. Ms. No. 28, BC & MBCW Dept., Dated 19.7.94 & G.O. Ms. No. 100 BC and MBCW Dept., dated 24-11-97)

1. Attur Kilnad Koravars (Salem, Namakkal, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga and Virudhunagar Districts) 2. Attur Melnad Koravars (Salem and Namakkal District) 3. Appanad Kondayam Kottai Maravar (Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Theni and Dindigul Districts) 4. Ambalakarar (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 5. Ambalakkarar (Suriyanur, Tiruchirapalli District) 6. Boyas (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, The Nilgiris, Salem Namakkal and Dharmapuri Districts) 7. Battu Turkas 8. C.K. Koravars (Cuddalore and Villupuram Districts) 9. Chakkala (Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul and the Nilgiris Districts) 10. Changyampudi Koravars (Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts) 11. Chettinad Valayars (Sivaganga, Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram Districts) 12. Dombs (Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli, Karur and Perambalur Districts) 13. Dobba Koravars (Salem and Namakkal Districts) 14. Dommars (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts) 15. Donga Boya 16. Donga Ur. Korachas 17. Devagudi Talayaris 18. Dobbai Korachas (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 19. Dabi Koravars (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts) 20. Donga Dasaris (Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Chennai, Salem and Namakkal Districts)

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APPENDIX

21. Gorrela Dodda Boya 22. Gudu Dasaris 23. Gandarvakottai Koravars (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Cuddalore and Villupuram Districts) 24. Gandarvakottai Kallars (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Pudukottai Districts) 25. Inji Koravars (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 26. Jogis (Kancheepuram,Tiruvallur, Chennai, Cuddalore, Villupuram, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts) 27. Jambavanodai 28. Kaladis (Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli, Karur and Perambalur Districts) 29. Kal Oddars (Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Tirunelveli, Toothukudi, Salem and Namakkal Districts) 30. Koravars (Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Thiravarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Tirunelveli, Thoothukadi, Chennai, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul and The Nilgiris Districts) 31. Kalinji Dabikoravars (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Pudukottai Districts) 32. Kootappal Kallars (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 33. Kala Koravars (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 34. Kalavathila Boyas 35. Kepmaris (Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli, Karur and Perambalur Districts) 36. Maravars (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli and Toothukudi Districts) 37. Monda Koravars 38. Monda Golla (Salem and Namakkal Districts) 39. Mutlakampatti (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 40. Nokkars (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 41. Nellorepet Oddars (Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts) 42. Oddars (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Madurai, Theni and Dindigul Districts) 43. Pedda Boyas (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts)

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44. Ponnai Koravars (Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts) 45. Piramalai Kallars (Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Tiruvarur Districts) 46. Peria Suriyur Kallars (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 47. Padayachi (Vellayan Kuppam in Cuddalore District and Tennore in Tiruchirapalli District) 48. Punnan Vettuva Gounder (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 49. Servai (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 50. Salem Melnad Koravars (Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Coimbatore, Erode, Pudukottai, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Salem, Namakkal, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts) 51. Salem Uppu Koravars (Salem and Namakkal Districts) 52. Sakkaraithamadai Koravars (Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts) 53. Saranga Palli Koravars 54. Sooramari Oddars (Salem and Namakkal Districts) 55. Sembanad Maravars (Sivaganga, Virudunagar and Ramanathapuram Districts) 56. Thalli Koravars (Salem and Namakkal Districts) 57. Telungapattti Chettis (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 58. Thottia Naickers (Sivaganga, Virudunagar, Ramanathapuram, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Salem, Namakkal, Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Coimbatore and Erode Districts) 59. Thogamalai Koravars or Kepmaris (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 60. Uppukoravars or Settipalli Koravars (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai Districts) 61. Urali Gounders (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 62. Wayalpad or Nawabpeta Korachas 63. Vaduvarpatti Koravars (Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Virudunagar, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 64. Valayars (Madurai, Theni, Dindigul, Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Erode and Coimbatore Districts) 65. Vettaikarar (Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Pudukottai Districts)

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APPENDIX

66. Vetta Koravars (Salem and Namakkal Districts) 67. Varaganeri Koravars (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts) 68. Vettuva Gounder (Tiruchirapalli, Karur, Perambalur and Pudukottai Districts)

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Index

Action Taken Report 279 Adimajati Sevak Sangh 118 Adivasi 330 Adivasi revolts (fituris) 52 Alagirs 57 All India Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee 426 All India Habitual Offender’s Bill 62 All India Jails Committee 37 American Baptist Telugu Mission 57, 59, 173 Andhra Pradesh: criminal tribe settlements in 171, 172; developmental challenges 257-75; economic profile of DNTs settlements in 188-94; fiscal management of denotified tribe settlements in 171-8; land allotment and cultivation 22938 Arnold, David 28, 33, 52, 53 Arya Pratinidhi Sabha 129 Ayyangar, Anantha Sayanam 260, 282 Backward Class Enquiry Commission (1995) 426 Balfour, Edward 321 Banaganepalle bank robbery case 41 Banjara language 331 Banjars 50 Banks, Marjori 59 Bapatla Yanadi Voluntary Settlement 57 Bentinck, William 51 Bhargava, B.S. 52

Bhumanna Gadda settlement 37, 57 Biswas, P.D. 34, 52 Bitragunta Reformatory settlement 88 Bokil, Milind 28 Boswell, A.C. John 321 bottu 21, 350 Boyas 67 Brinjaries 75 Bullard, Grace 250 Burrakathalu 330 byragies 21, 110 Cahill, Mechael 320 Cain, J. 322 Canadian Baptist Telugu Mission 38 Capemaries 226-7 Cardew, Alexander 172, 218 case studies: Allani Venkayya 401-2; Allani Vijaya Rao 401; Arike Subhakar Rao 388-93; Arjula Janak Rao 405-7; Ayyangari Srinivasulu 416-17; Bavara Ravali 402-3; Bavula Nagamalleswara Rao 420-1; Chakka Anvesh 411-12; Gajula Ranjan Rao 423-5; Jampala Baby Rao 393-6; Jampala Bhaskarulu 408; Jampala Bhushan Rao 417-18; Jampala Sangameswar Rao 400-1; Kadeddula Sanidas 414-15; Karekula Nagabhushana Rao 399; Kota Seethaiah 413-14; Kummari Tarun 409-11; Lavaati Prabhupadam 421-2; Malli

448

INDEX

Daniel 405; Parigi Seshaiah 419-20; Podili Ankaswamy 415-16; Posani Seenaiah 422-3; Ravinuthala Bhushanam 403-5; Regupati Kalyan 398-9; Regupati Swamidas 397-8; Sachu Koteswarulu 408-9; Singamreddy Surendar Rao 412-13; Sochu Dayananda Rao 403 chakra 108 Chenchus 117 cholum 98 Christianity, conversion to 76 Cow Protection Act 284 criminal tribes 28, 32-7; administration of 130-2; Criminal Tribes Acts and 53-6; and habitual offenders 61-2; historical research on 51-4; oigin and characteristics of 53-4; political construction of 52; present status of 62-3; reclamation of 127-8; Salvation Army and reclamation of 89-94; settlement for ex-criminal tribes 161-3; settlement in Gorakhpur 129-30; settlements in Andhra, establishment of 85-101; settlements in Madras Presidency for 56-8 Criminal Tribes 51 Criminal Tribes Acts (CTA) 36-8, 54-6; of 1871, 28, 54, 56, 78, 79; of 1897, 78; of 1911, 36-7, 54, 56, 78-9; of 1924 37-8; in Andhra Pradesh 1871-1965, 75-81; categories of communities as belonging to criminal tribes 148; criminals under the lists of 35; and ex-criminal tribes in United Provinces 121-32; III of 1911 144-6; in Madras 55; main aim

of 78; rules framed in 61; Section 14 124; Section 17(a) of 122-3; Section 10(b) 137; Section 12 of 86, 188; Section 23 of 79; settlers registered under 163-6; steps to repeal 62, 63, 81; XXVII in 1871 157 Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee Report 105 cumblies 98, 192 dagdi waddars 21, 97, 350 Das, Madhusudan 36, 53-4 Davis, E.A. 172 denotified tribes (DNT) 28; confined to settlements 38-9; democratic India and hopes of 40-6; history of 51; in India 27; in Karnataka 147-53; living subsistence level, reason for 428; in Madras Province 431-4; members from Seethanagaram and Kapparalla Tippa settlements 42; most vulnerable 65; police relationship with 39-40; re-socialize 428-9; vulnerability of 63-8 depressed classes 218 dera 21, 26 developmental challenges 257-75; associations and social organizations to resolve problems 270-5; atrocities on NT-DNT communities 265; communication facilities invaded tribal regions 265-70; cultural heritage, saving 269-70; development of youth 263; illiteracy 269; integration of denotified tribes 273-4; literature of denotified communities 272-3; overview 257; pending recommendations 274-5; and Prevention of

INDEX

Atrocities Act of 2006 265; problem of crime in society 266-8; reformation or rehabilitation through social engineering 262-5; societies and 271; threat to identity and dignity 259 development of NT-DNT 277-85; All India Criminal Tribes Enquiry Committee 282; Ayyangar Committee 282; commissions on 281; First Backward Class Commission 282; Lokur Committee 283; Mandal Commission Report 283; overview 277-81; Second Backward Class Commission Report 283 Devi, Mahashweta 28 Devy, G.N. 28 Dommaras 59, 106-9; Aray 107; Mahrata 107; origin of, mythological stories about 106-7; Reddy 107-8; relations with Doms of northern India 109; treatment of women 108-9; veedus of 106 Donga Dasaries 109-10 dongatanamu 21, 59 Drugs and Magic Remedy Act (1954) 284 economic profile of, Sitanagaram settlement 188-94; agriculture 188-90; coolies/daily wage-earners 191-2; fishing 191; labour work 190; overview 188; sericulture programme 192; Siddhapuram tank (fishing) 191; weaving industry 192-3 education of children 303-15; accommodation facilities in schools 313; Bhumannagadda settlement 314; Bitragunta

449

settlement 314; Christian Missionaries schools 315; educational authorities 304; educational institutions in various settlements 305-12; furniture and teaching appliances 304; inspection of educational institutions in CT settlements 303-4; recommendations of directors of Public Instruction 313; Reformatory Settlement School 313-14; school in Siddhapuram 314-15 Eeramma, Burra Katha 29 Elwin, Verrier 27 Environmental and Bio-diversity Conservation Act (1999) 284 Erukala Vandlu 325 Excise Act (1944) 284 First Backward Class Commission 282 fiscal management, of denotified tribe settlements in Andhra Pradesh 171-8; Kavali settlement 173-4; overview 171; problems in 177-8; settlements worked on deficits 171-3; Siddhapuram settlements 174; Stuartpuram settlement 174-7 fituris 52 Gaikwad, Lakshman 28 Gayer, G.W. 321 Ghafur, Muhammad Abdul 321 Ghani, Abdul 52 Girijan Cooperative Society 118 Gudu Dasaries. See Donga Dasaries Guha, Ranajit 33, 52 Gunthrope, E.J. 51 Gypsy tribes 50 Habitual Offenders Act 61-2;

450

INDEX

Andhra Pradesh (1962) 80-1; of Madras (1948) 80; Madras Restriction of (1948) 38 Habitual Offenders Act 1952 260 Hardiman, David 28, 52 Harijan Sewak Sangh 129 Hassan, Syed Siraj-ul 52 health interventions by missionaries 291-301; colonial medical teams 291-4; dysentery and eczema, cases of 299; medical missionaries, efforts of 296-300; medical treatment, arrangements for 299; missionary bodies faced opposition from Hindu 300-1; overview 291; Siddhapuram settlement 294-6 Hobsbawm, E.J. 52 Hodgson, B.H. 321 Hope, Herbert 322 Humanist Action for Human Rights 387 Hume, A.O. 35 Hunter, W.W. 51 Hussain, Hankin 57 Hussain, Vilayat 57 Inden, Ronald 33 India Habitual Offenders Bill 80 Indian Jail Enquiry Committee 79 Indian Leaf Tobacco Development 161 Indian Leaf Tobacco Development Company 368 Indian Penal Code of 1860 54, 77; and Criminal Procedure Code 32; Schedule 1 79 Industrial settlements 240-54; Baptist missionaries 253-4; boarding schools 249-50; control of 241-4; day schools 250; expenditure in 251-3; health-care personnel in 248-9; night schools 250-1; number of

Christians in 253-4; public works department and 244-8; religion and 253; statement of finances of 251-3; Sunday afternoon service 254; total membership of 249 Iyengar, K.R. Srinivasa 223 Iyer, C.P. Ramaswami 105 Jagan Mohan, P. 42 Jamedars 21 Kaikadis 134 Kalelkar, Kakasaheb 282 Kalichedu settlement 37; establishment of 86-7 Kallumunta 21, 272, 330 Kal-Waddars 57 Kalyanpur settlement 129 Kannada Book Authority 29 Kapadia, K.M. 61 Karanams 21, 160, 259 Karivepauk (curry leaves) 21, 258 Karnataka, NT/SNT/ DNTs 147-53; dealing with problem of criminal tribes 150-2; listed categories tribes 150; societies in 152; surveillance and control measures 150-1; working Group on DNTs 149 Kathera 87 Kathera tribe 87 Katheravandlu 21 Kavali settlement 37, 85-6, 87-9; fiscal management 173-4; industrial 89; reformatory 88-9; settlers transferred to Bitragunta 88 Kennedy, M. 52, 322 khadi 91 Killekyathas 26; origins of 27 Kodanda Rama Mica Mines 161 Korachas 57, 134-8

INDEX

Koramars 138-41 Koravas 55, 60, 75; Gandarva Kottai 57; Uppu 55, 57 Krishnan, P.S. 278, 284 kula dharma 59 Kulapeddalu (tribal elders) 112 Lalitha, Vakulabharanam 28, 447 Lambadas 57, 75 land allotment and cultivation, in Andhra Pradesh 229-38; agricultural and industrial settlements for settlers 231-3; government sold forest lands to private enterprisers 230; land given on the basis of individual pattas 237-8; lands given by colonial government 230-1; lands in Romperu swamp 233-7; tribal settlement lands, classification of 229 language endangerment 331-3 Lavanam, Hemalatha 96 Lavani Patta 21, 117 Leitner, G.W. 321 life skills education and human capital 337-44; for Adivasi children 339; classroom education for tribal children 342-3; economic equity and 343; livelihood norms 343-4; overview 337; quality elementary education 337-8; role of education 340-2; for rural poor and tribal children 338; social objectives of education 339-40; teacher education 338 Lingala settlement 115-19; Adimajati Sevak Sangh 118; Chenchus in 117; problems faced by members of 119; tribes in 117 Lokur, B.N. 283

451

Lokur Committee 283 London Mission 38 MacDonald, R.M. 321 Madras province, criminal tribes in 197-219; agricultural settlements 200-1; and Criminal Tribes Acts 197-8; depressed classes in 218; moral instruction to settlers 216-17; proposed place for settlement 218-19; responsibility for reformation 198-200; restrict movements to settlement 218-19; role of civil servants in settlements 201-2, 203-14; rules to deal with criminals 197-8; schools and education of children 202, 215-16; settlement in Andaman Islands 200-1; transfer and removal of communities/people 217-19 Maistries 98, 158, 160, 167, 190 Majumdar, D.N. 52 mamullu 44 Mandal Commission Report 283 Mane, Lakshman 28 Metry, K.M. 28, 29 Mondibanda community 66 Moore, P.L. 159 Mullaly, F.S. 51, 350 Multi-Guru (high priest) 107 Munro, Thomas 34, 76 munsub 259 Mysore Criminal Tribes Regulation 138 Mysore state, criminal tribes in 222-7; Capemaries 226-7; construction of railways 227; movement criminals, control of 222-6; registration of criminal gangs 223; tribes declared as criminal under CTA (1916) 224-5

452

INDEX

Nagaiah, Ramesam 272 Naidu, Paupa Rao 350 Naik, L.R. 283 Nakkala community 65-6, 67, 11112 Naoroji, Dadabhai 35, 39 Narikorava 111 National Commission on Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNSNT) 25, 27, 29 navvy (un-skilled work) 158 Nigam, Sanjay 28 Nirshikaris 111 Nomadic, Semi-Nomadic and Vimukta Jati tribes (NSNVJ) 278-80 Nomadic tribes: in India 27; in Karnataka 147-53; socio-economic conditions of 28; vulnerability of 63-8 Nomadism 25-6, 27, 75, 105, 112 Nomad(s) 25-9; definition of 25; Semi-Nomads 26 odhra 96 Pallavaram settlement 57 Pardhis 57 patta(s) 98, 158, 163, 189 PCR Act 279 Pezzoni, H.M. 216, 217 POA Act 279 pongal 354 Prasad, Rajendra 46 Prevention of Atrocities Act (2006) 265 Prevention of Beggary Act (1959) 284 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960) 284 Prohibition Act 284 Radhakrishna, Meena 28, 52

Raghavaiah, V. 38 Raju, Ganga 356 Raju, Rampa Sitarama 52 Ramaiah, Batchu 96 Ramakrishna, Vakulabharanam 448 Rampa Rebellion 52 Ranga, N.G. 38, 62, 80 Rangachar, Bahadur N. 139 Ranke Commission’s report 279 Rao, D.M. Narasimha 222 Rao, Ponna Koteswara 330 Rao, P.V. Narasimha 271 Rao, S. Venugopal 45, 52 Reddiyar, Venkat Subba 80 Risely, Herbert Hope 322 Robbiliard, H. 367 Robinson, E.B. 33 Said, Edward 33 salagapara 160 Salvation Army 38-9, 57, 59, 86; and settlements for reclamation of criminal tribes 89-94; vs. Samskar 384, 386 Satyanarayana, Ponna 330 Saxena, N.S. 46 Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 29 Second Backward Class Commission Report 283 Seetaramayya, B.P. 38, 80 Seethanagaram settlement 37 Semi-Nomads 26; in Karnataka 147-53 settlement(s) 36-46; Allur 37; assistance given by government to 181-7; Betapudi 44-5; Bhumanna Gadda 37; Bitragunta 42-4, 45; under control of missionaries 39; criminal tribes in Andhra 85-101; economic profile in Andhra Pradesh 188-94;

INDEX

established in Madras Presidency 56-7; general conditions and administration in 157-68; health conditions in 165-6; industrial, establishment of 86; Kalichedu 37; Kapparalla Tippa 37, 40, 42; Kavali 37, 85-6; Lingal 37, 40; management, employment conditions 181-7; markets within 162-3; police to supervise 39; Seethanagaram 37, 40, 42, 45; Siddapuram 37, 40, 42, 43, 45; Stuartpuram 37, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45; supervising 162, 166-7; waste lands in 164 shankha 108 Shikaris 66-7, 111 Siddhapuram settlements 57, 96-101; average earning 98-9; criminal gangs active in 100; education of Donga Waddar children 99; fiscal management 174; general conditions and administration in 158-9; instruction by manager of 100; medical officer appointed tank project 99-100; in Nallamala forests 97-8; settlers used to abandon 99; Waddars of 96-7 Simhachalam dacoity case 41 Simhadri, Y.C. 28 Singh, Jaspal 46 Sitanagaram settlement 89-94; in 1952 93-4; agricultural settlement started by Salvation Army 160; conditions during 1934 93; conditions in settlement during 1917 92; cultivation 164-5; economic profile of 188-94; irrigation activities in 163-4; Salvation Army and 90-2, 94, 95; school at 93; selection for

453

establishment 91; special feature of 94; total population in 91-2 Sitapati, Gidugu 319 Sleeman, William 34, 51, 77 social banditry 33 social integration, of denotified tribes 273-4 social reform and rehabilitation, of DNT in Andhra Pradesh 365-84; criminal reformation 379-84; inhabitants of Stuartpuram settlement 371-4; overview 365-7; Salvation Army and 367-70, 386-7; social reformers 374-9; Stuartpuram Colony 382-3; Yerukulas and Katheras 367-70 Somanna, K.R. 193, 357, 359 Special Component Plan 280 Stemphens, J.V. 51 stigmatized communities 32-46; and colonial rule 50-4; colonial rule classified native population 33-4; criminal tribes 32-6; Criminal Tribes Act 36-8; historical and legal status 50-68; and reformatory settlements 36-45; stratified society 53-4 Stuartpet settlement 57 Stuartpuram settlement 37, 40-5, 94-6; conditions in settlement during initial years 96; cultivation 164-5; Donga Yerukulas 95-6; fiscal management 174-7; former criminals of 95; general conditions and administration in 160-1; irrigation activities in 163-4; Salvation Army and 95 Sugalis 59 tandas 105 Temple, R.C. 321 Thomas, M.V. 42, 96

454

INDEX

Thomson, E.P. 33 Tiwari, V.N. 127 Tiwari Committee 127, 128, 130 tradition and change, of Waddars 349-59 Tribal Cultural Research and Training Institute, Andhra Pradesh 77-8 tribal languages and cultural forms 317-33; Banjara language 331; code words used by Yerukulas 329; communities belongs to linguistic families 318-19; endangerment 331-3; gradual displacement of 330-3; indigenous languages under threat 320; kinship terminology 328-9; Kubi or Konda, communities speak in 319; overview 317-18; Paduru language 319; protection to 320-1; purpose of language 320; slang terms 321; studies on 319; Telugu, communities speak in 318-19; Yerukali 325-30; Yerukula language 326; Yerukula words spoken in Andhra and Telangana regions 326-9 Tucker, William Booth 38, 51, 171 United Provinces, ex-criminal tribes of 124-32

Varma, Dheenavat 111 Veeraiah, Palaparthi 272 Vimukta Jatis 261 Waddars 59; Aragu 352; Bandi 352; changing institution of marriage 353-4; conversion to Christianity 76; Dagdi 21, 97, 350; day conditions in Siddhapuram settlement 357-9; Ghatti 352; Mannu 21, 352; Raja 352; Siddhapuram settlements 96-7; sub-castes among 351-2; Takku 22, 351; tradition and change of 349-59; Tudugu 352; types of families 352-7; Uru 352 wandering tribes 38, 50-2, 53; Criminal Tribes Act 54; methods to control movements of 57-9 Washbrook, David 33 waste lands, in criminal tribe settlements 164 Wild Life Protection Act (1972) 284 World Health Organisation 105 yajaman (head of the family) 108 Yanadis 59 Yang, Anand 52 Yerukulas 50, 55, 58-9, 60, 75; conversion to Christianity 76; recruitment of 158-9

Biographical Note of Vakulabharanam Lalitha

VAKULABHARANAM LALITA worked on ex-criminal tribes,

scheduled tribes, Devadasi, Jogini, Matangi and Basivi systems and prostitution. She taught public administration at Jawahar Bharati College, Kavali, and ethnography of dance in the Sarojini Naidu School of Performing Arts and Communication at the University of Hyderabad. She also served the Telugu Academy, Hyderabad. She worked on The Making of Criminal Tribes: Patterns and Transition, under Prof. P.K. Bhowmick at Calcutta University (1995). She was one of the founder members and Chairperson of Nava Vikas, an NGO located in Kavali, working for poor children, women and aged and, Asmita, another NGO working for the upliftment of women. She was closely associated with Samskar, NGO that worked for reform and rehabilitation of de-notified communities and Jogini women. She co-authored the book,  Of Religion, Goddess and NGO: Jogin Women Reform and Dynamics of Social Change in South India (2007) with K.H.S.S. Sundar. Her continued interest in the Jogini system resulted in the work entitled, Women, Religion, Tradition: The Cult of Jogini, Matangi and Basivi (2011). With Malli Gandhi (NCERT) she co-authored Tribes Under Stigma: Problems of Identity (2013), Educating Tribal Children: Issues, Concerns and Remedies  (2014), and Tribal Culture in Andhra and Telangana: Tradition and Change (2016). In addition to these she authored and co-authored eight books in Telugu including the biography on the reputed woman social reformer Hemalata Lavanam (co-authored with Kompalli Sundar). A number of her articles appeared in edited volumes, professional journals and newspapers/periodicals. Her interest in gender, tribal and women studies continued till she breathed her last in 2017.

Biographical Note of Vakulabharanam Ramakrishna

VAKULABHARANAM RAMAKRISHNA is a historian of modern period. He was Professor of History at the University of Hyderabad and Visiting Professor of History at the NALSAR Law University, Hyderabad. Earlier he served as the Principal of Jawahar Bharati College, Kavali. He obtained his PhD from Jawaharlal Nehru University where he worked on  Social Reform in Andhra (18481919) under Prof. Sarvepalli Gopal. This seminal work was published in 1983. His continued interest in the area of social movements led to a co-authored work with Kompalli H.S.S. Sundar,  Legacy and Continuity: Social Reforms in Andhra Pradesh, 1850-2000  (2007). He has authored the biography of Veeresalingam and, with V. Lalitha he co-authored biographies of Durgabai Deshmukh, Raghupathi Venkataratnam Naidu and Nataraja Ramakrishna. He was the founder member of Andhra Pradesh History Congress (1976) and served as its General Secretary and General President. He was also the Secretary of the Indian History Congress for three years (1989-92). He initiated a mega project in 2000, The Comprehensive History and Culture of Andhra Pradesh with support from Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Telugu and Dravidian Universities. Under his general editorship, nine volumes in English along with eight of their Telugu versions have been published covering the period from prehistory of the region to contemporary times. This project was successfully completed in 2018. His zeal for presenting secular and scientific history for the benefit of posterity is kept alive and is reflected by his continuous academic engagements. He is now engaged in the work of reprinting old classics on Telugu history and culture and, publishing important doctoral dissertations on history that did not see light till date.