MALA - ARAYAN. Various tribes of wild mountaineers occupy the higher bills and the mountains of Travancore. The hillmen proper number close upon 12,000, and Ulladars, a hunter race, 2829. The Vedar hunters are at the foot of the hills, and in a social condition very similar to that of the Pu]ayars. The tribes living towards the south of Travancore are usually designated Kanikar, those in the north being commonly called Mala-Arayar in Malealam, from Arachan, chief, or from Raja, a king ; in Tamil they are called Malei Arasar. Kanikaran means heredit ary proprietor of land, thus recognising their ancient rights over the forest lands.
The Kanikar are very short in stature and meagre in appearance. They live together in little clans, each hamlet under the patriarchal rule of a headman (Muttukani, the stem' or principal Kanikaran). They are wandering bus bandmen ; cut down a patch of forest, burn and clear it, and sow a crop, with little or no tillage. They can never tell their own ages. They are unable to count a hundred ; over ten they lay down a pebble for each ten. They knot fibres of various climbing plants to express their wants. In the south they speak Tamil, and Malealam further north.
The Mala-Arayans have fixed villages, gener ally on the western slopes of the higher range of mountains or their spurs. They will not often work for hire, and are very averse to carry loads. Some of them are well to do. They are great hunters of the wild beasts and game which abound in their hills, and relate a tradition giving them special permission to eat the black monkey. From this they are called by the low country people Kurangu tinni, monkey eaters.' The Hindus regard them as beings in alliance with some powerful demonolatry, and presents are abundantly bestowed in order to prevent their curses producing ill effects. Each village has its
priest, who, when required, calls on the Hill (mala), which means the demon resident there, or the Pretham, ghost. if he got the afflatus, he acts in the usual way, yelling and screaming out the answers sought. They have some sacred groves in which they will not fire a gun or speak above a breath.
Ulladar are a jungle tribe of timid savages. They are without settled villages or civilised clothing, waudering within certain boundaries prescribed to each division. They subsist chiefly on wild yams, arrowroot, and wild beasts. They are adepts in the use of the bow and arrow. The arrow they use has an iron spear-head, and an Ulladar has been known to cut a wriggling cobra in two at the first shot.
A small number of Urali wander over the Todupuley Hills, building their huts on trees like the Arayans.
The Pulayar are a hunter race.
The Mannan are strange-looking mountain men, hardy, arid very black, speaking bad Tamil, much employed by the Travancore Sirkar to collect cardamoms, as watchmen, etc. They rarely cultivate anything but ragi.
The hill Pandarana are without clothing, implements, or huts of any kind, live in holes, rocks, or trees. They bring wax, ivory, and other produce to the Arayan, and get salt from them. They dig roots, snare the ibex of the hills and jungle-fowls, eat rats and snakes, and even crocodiles. Some seen by Mr. Baker were perfectly naked, filthy, and very timid. They spoke Male alam in a curious accent, and said that twenty two of their party had been devoured by tigers within two monsoons.—Mateer's Travancore.