The Kurubas inhabiting the forests of the Karnataka and Coorg districts
have Negroid features. They are primitive in every respect. They are gatherers
of food, hunters, and nomads. If they build thatched huts, it is only
to set fire to them and go in search of a new habitation, the following
They practice agriculture as a subsidiary occupation.
Instead of ploughing the field, they scratch the surface with a sort of
bamboo spear. They reap the ears of corn and allow the neighbouring villagers
to collect the hay. They have no use for fodder, for they have no cattle.
Their dress and food were of the simplest kind. The women
did not know of the existence of an upper garment. The men were content
with a loin cloth. Their principal meal consisted of a ball of cooked
ragi-flour together with roots and fruits gathered by the women and the
flesh of birds and small game hunted by the men. The Government allowed
them to wander freely all over the forest area in return for planting
a few teak saplings annually in the plots occupied by them.
In the past, the Jenu Kurubas were mostly dependent upon
shifting cultivation and collection of honey etc. But now most of them
have given up their traditional occupation and they earn their livelihood
by working in forests on daily wages. The Bewttada Kurubas have been more
successful in implementing government schemes. Their economic position
has also considerably improved. The Social Welfare Department have several
schemes to civilize these primitive tribes. These tribes has a number
of manual skills such as planting timber with a primitive implement (Malu),
weaving baskets, carving canes etc.