YERKAL VADU or Yera-kedi.
Yerkulle var, . . TEL I Yerakedi, Yerukellu, TEL. Eri-kuvadu, . . „ I Kurshi-wanlu, . . „ A homeless race. In communities they style themselves Yerkal, and they give the same appellation to the language in which they hold communication with each other. Some of them seem to have been converted to the Brahmanical faith, and are now of the Vaishnava sect. With the exception of the cow, almost all animals are used by them as food. Their dead are burned. The Eruku, also called Yerkal, Yerkalvadu, Kurshi-wanlu, Yera-kedi, Yera-kellu, and Eri kuluvadu, iu the Canarese part of the Peninsula of India, occupy themselves ostensibly as basket makers, and in fortune-telling. But they aro notoriously predatory, and steal girls, whom they devote to prostitution. They are to be found in mat huts on the outskirts of most towns. The Yerkala of the Nellore district are migratory mat and basket makers, using the midrib and leaflets of the date palm. They also make vvooden combs, work as labourers, and a few have settled and engaged in cultivation. They rear pigs, poultry, donkeys, and dogs, and eat the flesh of rnost animals. They are usually of a dark - brown colour, the men are of spare and light make, but hardy, with low foreheads and eyes, short nose. They wear only a strip of cloth, and they tie their hair in a knot above their brow.
The Yerukala of Nellore are divided into many subdivisions, and the more wealthy of their number en,gage in agricultural pursuits, and hold lands from the Government. Some tell fortunes,
others make baskets, collect herbs and jungle roots, eat game, and work as coolies to the better classes of ryots. They wear little or no clothing. When they can they commit dacoities, highway tobberies, and such offences. The god they wor ship is sacred to the Triputti Hills. 3farriage ceremonies are performed, polygamy is rife, but widow marriages are permitted. All wives are bought from the parents, and a wife is usually valued at twenty pagodas. Among the Yeru kalas in Venkatagherry only, the first wife costs the above sum, but in other places less than two pagodas. The language of the people is a Telugu idiom, considerably mixed up with Tamil and Canarese.
Amongst the Yerkala of Southern India, a custom prevails by which the first two daughters of a family may be claimed by the maternal uncle as wives for his sons. The value of a wife is fixed at twenty pagodas. The maternal uncle's right to the first two daughters is valued nt eight out of twenty pagodas, and is carried out thus,—if he urge his preferential clahn, tuad marry his own sons to his nieces, he pays for each only twelve pagodas; and similarly, if he from not having sons, or any other cause, forego his claim, he receives eight pagodas of the twenty paid to the girl's parents by anybody else who may marry then-I.—Si/era, Trans. EMIL Soc. MS. vii. p. 187; Balfour in Madras Jour. Lit. and Science, xviii. p. 4 ; Lubbock, Orig. of Civil. p. 103.