Introduction / History
Attappady, one of the prominent forest regions of the Palghat district of Kerala, is home to several scheduled tribes. One of them is the Mudugar, whose living standards in the remote forest settlements are way behind the mainstream. The Mudugar are also found in the Nilgiris and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu. The Mudugar are believed to be the earliest immigrants to this region from the Coimbatore District of Tamil Nadu. The Mudugar have a superior attitude to the Irulas and the Kurumbas, the other two neighbouring tribes of that region, but they help each other in agricultural operations, hunting, fishing, etc.
Mudugar lifestyle has not changed much by contact with more civilized people or by any of the welfare schemes which the Government has implemented for the development of the tribes. Their occupations include agriculture, hunting, and fishing. Siva is their supreme god, who they revere, and they follow all the associated rituals. Pilgrimage to the 'malliswaran' peak deep inside the Attappady hills is made once a year. However, their religion is a mixture of Animism and Hinduism, with the former dominating. The Mudugar's language, Muduga, is very different from Malayalam or Tamil, the state languages of these people.
The Mudugar are shy and they do not like the company of the nontribal people of the plains. Hence they live deep inside the forest, which makes access to them more difficult. Although a lot of missionary work is done in this area, not much has been done exclusively for them until recently. A few years ago, a mission agency sent evangelists to reach them with Gospel. Those who have come to the Lord through their ministries worship in local churches.