Comrade Sudheesh from the Cholanaikkan Tribe in North Kerala’s Malappuram district had won the local body elections. He was a candidate from the Left Democratic Front (LDF.)
He was elected from the Nilambur Block Panchayat in the Vazhikaddavu division.
This victory is a landmark because not only is he one of the youngest members to enter the electoral politics in the state, but he is also the first member of the Cholanaikkan Tribe to do so.
Some are not just victories, but history!
Com.Sudheesh(21) becomes the first elected representative from cholanaikkars, one of the most primitive tribes & last remaining hunter-gatherer group in the state. He got elected from Nilambur block panchayat Vazhikkadavu division Kerala pic.twitter.com/PgIzbGsT4i
— Suvarna Haridas (@Suvarna_haridas) December 17, 2020
The Cholanaikkan Tribe
The Cholanaikkan Tribe is considered one of the oldest tribes in Kerala, they are one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes of the region.
This hill tribe is also known as the ‘Cavemen of Kerala.’
According to researchers, members of this ethnic community had inhabited in ‘alakkal’ (caves) in deep forests as small groups till the 1970s and lived by hunting small animals and gathering honey and wild tubers. Later, they started living in hamlets like Alakkal and Punchakkolli in the Nilambur forest division.
There are around 400 Cholainakkans living in about 100 families in the Tribal Hamlets of Nilambur. There are 200 voters among them.
Big Plans Ahead
Having made it this far, Comrade Sudheesh’s work is only yet to begin.
“My community still faces several odds and my objective is to bring them to the forefront of the society. I wish to do something to get all children in our community good education. Good roads and adequate transportation facility are still our concerns,” he told PTI.
Sudheesh has completed his plus two and will now shift his focus to working towards the upliftment of his community. He also stated that the community had got electricity only two years back. In fact, the Cholainakkans had only entered official records a few decades ago.
His focus is pointed toward the youth, and he wishes to give them the opportunity to become change makers within the community.
The Cholainakkan Tribe also has another feather on its cap- Chellan Vinod, who is the first research scholar from the community and has enrolled for a Ph.D. in Applied Economics at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT).