Cheramans are styled in the vernacular Cherumakkal. These tribes
belong to the agricultural community of whom Pulayas are more in number.
They have dark complexion and strong physique. The Pulayas in the olden
times were extremely loyal to their masters and worked as slaves in their
fields. The word Pulayan is said to be derived from 'Pula' which
means pollution. Most of the members of the community do not like to be
called Pulayas. They prefer to be called Cheramar. There are a lot of
Christian converters among them who were attracted to the Christian faith
at a time when the Hindu aristocracy regarded them as untouchables and
denied them their legitimate place in the Hindu religious fold. They along
with many other downtrodden communities including the Ezhavas were
not allowed on the main streets and to enter temples.
The Pulayas had to suffer a lot due to constant conversions
and re-conversions thrust on them by the religious leaders of Hindu
and Christian faith. They were so confused about their beliefs that they
intermittently visited the Christian church and the Hindu temple and belonged
to both the faiths or to neither.