The story of tribals is not known to people and their plight thought about by the middle-of-the-road communities. Some tribes in Kerala have come to the mainstream while most of them are far from development and education. The Cholanaikkan, Ernadan, Alar, Adiyar and Paniyar are some of the poorest tribes. Irrespective of the name of their tribe, the geographical distance from the main towns are another deciding factor of their development. Many tribal villages on the hills are without proper roads and facilities like electricity, drinking water and primary health centers. The tribal population in Wayanad, Nilambur and Mannarkkad area is comparatively poorer.
Here are a few issues and some suggestions for improvement in addition to the government measure to bring development. The neediest groups and families need to be identified and assisted directly.
1. Poverty and Illiteracy
Poverty and Ignorance continue to keep them poor and less dignified. Education can bring changes and development gradually for the next generation. There are primary schools in several tribal settlements, mostly far away for most of the villages. Moreover, quality education which is available to the majority is not available to the poor tribals. Tribal children can be encouraged to send to towns and cities for better education and higher studies. Distribution of old clothes and some ration is not the solution. Most of the tribal people live for a day and do not plan much for future. Education will bring in change in their world view and give them hopes for a better tomorrow. There are a number of unwed mothers among the poor tribals in Wayanad, especially from the Adiya and Paniya tribe. Assistance to education can change the plight of the poor young girls to find a living think about a family.
2. Ownership of land and Occupation
Most of the tribes were originally food gatherers and all of them made a living from the forest. Tribals are placed in colonies where they are forced to live. Tribals normally do not destroy forest or its resources. Cutting a tree trunk for building a hut has become an offence. Tribals should be protected with the right to labour and resources of the forest. Assistance should be given to develop better infra structure in their settlements. Harassments from government servants especially of the forest department need to be solved state wide. Tribals should have complete ownership of a piece of land they stay.
3. Health and Hygiene
Many tribal people die of malnutrition, ignorance and superstitious beliefs. Accessibility to proper health facilities is very rare. In Wayanad, there are many affected by cancer and most of them, abandoned by their dear ones. The Adiya and Paniya tribe in Wayanad are very poor and victims of these kinds of sicknesses. Though there are primary health centers, its services are very limited and not easily reachable. Advanced checkups and treatments are not available and affordable to the majority of the tribal people. Health education and proper sanitary amenities are far from them. Regular medical clinics or camps, special assistance to diagnose and advance treatments in cities can make their life better.