NATIVE LIFE IN TRAVANCORE
The REV. SAMUEL MATEER, F.L.S.
Of the London Missionary Society
Though the caste name means “hunter,” these people are in a condition very similar to that of the Pulayars, living in jungle clearings, or working in the rice fields, and formerly sold and bought as slaves. Their usages, worship, and superstitions greatly resemble those of the Pulayars. They are in deep poverty, very timid, and destitute of temporal comfort and conveniences.
They have to wander about in seasons of scarcity in search of wild yams, which they boil and eat on the spot, and are thorough gluttons, eating all they can get at any time, then suffering want for days. Women are filthy in their habits, the sick are uncared for, and mortality amongst the children is great.
Polygamy is common, as men are not required to provide for the support of their wives. But some who have been converted to Christianity show wonderful and rapid improvement in moral character, civilisation, and diligence.