Life of ‘Koragas’ over times

Posted on Aug 18th, 2012 and filed under General.

(Part I)

The Koraga tribal community which can be found in several places of Dakshina Kannada district was originally known as ‘Korru.’ The term “Kora” is also known as sun. The “Korru” community people are also worshippers of sun.

In the past, people of this community were termed by others in Tulu as “Korru”nakulu and “Korru”ger and this gradually came to be known as Koraga, say many ancient documents. Even to this time, several elderly people of this community admit that they were known as Korrus or Kaadis(people of forests).

Koragas were basically forest dwellers and used to reside in thick forests in the past. They used to eke out a living using forest produce like bamboo and making various products out of them and selling the same. Some of their traditional occupations were basket weaving, hunting and collecting forest produce.

The community men were also experts in beating drums rhythmically and also playing flutes. They were easily identified thanks to their distinct ‘Korru’ language and culture. What differentiated them from the rest of the society was their frightening dark complexion, short but well-built stature and slightly different shaped nose and eyes.

It is being said that in the past members of the community used to relax themselves after a hard day of hunting, by beating Dolu or drums and playing flute. Several writings also reveal how the kings in the neighbourhood were attracted towards the sound of the rhythmic beating of the drums. Slowly but gradually, the sounds of the drums of the Koragas began to be heard from near the cattle sheds of the Guttu houses or the house of the village heads. They were permitted to beat the drums during festivals, during funerals etc, Even the Kambala of Booduguttu and Barke used to commence only after the sounds of the Dolu of the Koragas were heard. There was even a practice of farmers commencing their sowing works in fields after Koragas beat their traditional drums. Whatever little earnings they made through such works, was heavenly for the members of this community in the past. Koragas were subject to slavery owing to their failure to resist oppression. They were victimized considering their ‘innocence ‘ as their weakness.They were made to work as bonded labourers which is known as ‘Ajalu Chakari’ in local dialect(In a way this is free service).

© The Canara Times Group, India.