Chenchus - Way of Living


Introduction

Amongst the (533) scheduled Tribes communities existing in the country, Government of India identified (75) tribal groups as PTG (Primitive Tribal Groups) considering their low level literacy, declining or stagnant population, pre-agricultural level of Technology, and economic backwardness. In Andhra Pradesh (12) groups amongst (33) ST groups are identified as PTGs. CHENCHUS is one such group living predominantly in (6) districts, with a population of 40869 as per 1991 census districts are: Guntur, Prakasham, KURNOOL, Mahaboobnagar, Nalgonda, Ranga Reddy. Chenchu population in kurnool district inhabiting in (36) chenchu Goodas is about 8300






Chenchus - Their life style:

  • They live on food gathering and hunting small animals in the forest - 19 - 95% suffer with some kind of disease or other viz. Diarrhea, Tetanus, T.B., Infantile Beribery, Vomiting, fevers and malnutrition. Many are alcoholic addicts. Infant mortality rate is as high as 17%.

  • Shy is their main inhibition, that keeps them aloof from the society around. Timid in nature, fear to talk with the unfamiliar

  • Their mother tongue is "Telugu:. A few individuals at best can read and write in mother tongue. Those who practiced fast to affix their "signature" are considered as "literates". Literacy rate is very minimum in Goodas interior forests and almost ZERO in some cases.

  • It is impossible to explain them of the importance of better health and development, as they have hardly any exposure or understanding of it. No belief in their own strength. Parents are not in a position to give any direction to their children, who are aimlessly loitering in the habitats. They lack cultural cohesion and integrated attempts to build up self confidence.

  • Collection of minor produce is not giving them a square meal for a day. Their earning capacity is meager as they live aloof from the main society.

  • Chenchus collect minor forest produce in respective seasons: viz. gum, soap nuts, edible leaves and fruits; honey; Mahua flowers; tamarind; roots and tubers; sarapappu; konda neredu pappu; seethaphal; hill mangoes etc. and sell them in the Government Girijan co-operative society depot or in local weekly market, and in turn buy their daily requirements. Cheating in weighing and delay in paying the consideration, taking advantage of their innocence and inhibition are part of exploitation they are facing. They are made scapegoats for no fault of them.

  • They are highly religious and superstitious and they are of the belief that, it is their fate to live a miserable life