Betta Kurumba is an indigenous (also known as Adivasi / tribal) community living in the Gudalur block of Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu, India. This district is part of the Western Ghats mountain range that runs parallel to the Western Coast of India. It is an anthropological research on a hamlet, Koodamoola, located inside a tea and coffee plantation, the Golden Cloud Estate (pseudonym). Few years ago, the owner (under legal contestation) of this plantation attempted to enforce a ban on rearing of livestock arbitrarily. Betta Kurumbas did not agree to this enforcement since they are the ancient inhabitants of this forest (now, plantations) and they resisted. Ethnography, oral history, and in-depth interviews are the methods used to understand their everyday resistances. The field intricacies such as powerlessness, atrocities and litigations forced me to narrate their resistances through the voice of a goat (a metaphor) and I have incorporated both factual and fictional elements. I neither attempting here to exaggerate nor demean the community by this way of narration. In broader context, I have written this story from a postmodern perspective. This paper brings forth multiple facets of their realities, power nexus between capitalists and apparatuses of the State, differences between and within the indigenous communities, and resistances as negotiations.


Betta Kurumba, Indigenous Community, Everyday Resistance, Janmam Land, Coffee and Tea Plantations

Author Bio(s)

Prabhakar Jayaprakash is a doctoral scholar from the School of Social Work of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India. He has six years of professional social work experience and has been working with both the State and the non-State actors. His interest areas include tribal studies, regional studies, border studies, ethnic studies, and nationalism. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: prabhakar.jp@gmail.com.


No words to express my gratitude to the participants of this research, especially the Betta Kurumbas of Koodamoola hamlet. The experience that I gained from their selfless sharing of their lives has had a deep influence in the way I have chosen to write about their on-going struggles. I thank my supervisor Prof. Janki Andharia, Jamsetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management, for her continuous support and guidance. Also, I thank Venkat, Elan Chezhiyan and Guruz for the sketches. Finally, I thank the editor, Prasanna MR, for improving the standard of this article.

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