All You Need To Know About The Pre-Dravidian Inhabitants Of The Sriharikota Area!


A great amount of work has been written about the Yanadis, especially the Yanadis of Sriharikota. A lot of efforts in early 1920s were made to uplift the condition of Yanadis living on the island of Sriharikota. Nothing in specific is known about them however, they are assumed to have no tribal connection or any special custom or religion that can hint at the origin of their whereabouts. Basically their descent is unidentified. According to the census reports in 2001 the Yanadis of Sriharikota got placed into the tribes of Andhra Pradesh. The then sub-collector describes them as nomadic tribes who now live in utter poverty.

There are four main divisions in the Yanadi tribe. The four sub-castes are called the Reddy-Yanadi, Challa Yanadi, Kappala Yanadis and Adavi Yanadis. The Reddy Yanadis are called so because when the Reddy kings ruled over parts of Andhra, they employed these nomadic people as their trackers and bearers of arms when they went for hunting. The name Challa Yanadis was given because they were doing menial jobs and working as scavengers were give Challa (buttermilk) as payment. The Kappala Yanadis are mostly inland fisher men who hunt in ponds, streams and sell their catches nearby villages. At one point of time they were catching frogs, which were being exported to foreign countries. The Adavi Yanadis are those who even now live in forests far away from human habitation. This classification varies district to district.

The life of Yanadis has been highly culturally isolated. The lack of access from the island until the building of the bridge in 1800s was highly sketchy. However, the cultural anthropologists have labelled them as a community of pre-dravidian origin. This means they were there enough before we have any recorded knowledge of Dravidians, making it an interesting study. The British labelled these Yanadis as savage tribe and barbaric in nature which may be just and exaggeration. Eventually the British began to employ these Yanadis into delivering the jungle products to the district through which they established contact with the civilization or so it is said.

The household gods of these Yanadis are Chenchu Devudu, Poleramma and Ankamma. Intermarrying is not allowed in Yanadis but polygamy and widow remarriage were once practised. They make exceptional hunters and their own basically nothing. They are often seen in modern day working on a small piece of land or as bonded labour. Their condition is pitiable however, over the years many government schemes have been released to give the Yanadis better facilities.


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