The Narikuravar: A community in need of protection

In January 2023, CSW visited the Narikuravar community in Mappedu, on the outskirts of Chennai, and met with members of a community who for decades have suffered discrimination on the grounds of gender, and more recently on the grounds of religion as well. The following blog offers some reflections on the visit. Please note that the names have been changed for security reasons.

Radhika, a mother of three young girls, sat inside a little room with a thatched roof. With folded hands and a scarf over her head, she knelt down and prayed earnestly before turning to speak with me.  As a woman from a disregarded community who is also subject to restrictive gender-specific traditions, she would be excused for lamenting her circumstances but says that her new-found faith gives her the hope to live each day.

Radhika belongs to the Narikuravar community, a semi-nomadic tribe who were originally hunters and gatherers. She lives with around 30 other Narikuravar families in a tiny colony in Mappedu on the outskirts of Chennai. The Narikuravars have faced and continue to face discrimination in all spheres of life, including education, employment and even in securing accommodation.

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