Vanishing Nomadism- The Saga of the Dommara

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Item Code: NAX108
Author: K. Shyamala
Publisher: Dravidian University Campus
Language: English
Edition: 2009
Pages: 182 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 220 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

Anantapur region is a semi arid dry zone and it was ruled by the palegars during the Vijayanagara period. Being the birth place of Dr.K. Shyamala the social life of the peasantry and marginal groups in this region has influenced her to immensely involve in the study of various marginal communities. This work verifies many dimensions of the Dommara life such as historical. social. economical and religious. The author provides rich contextual. detailed and multiple perspectives of Dommara society and the deteriorating status of this community in the wake of globalization. She also suggests measures to be taken to preserve their traditional occupation of Acrobatics by encouraging rurai tourism and by training them in gymnastics.

Being an arts graduate, she has evinced keen interest in the study of History and Education at post graduate level in University of Hyderabad and University of Mysore respectively. Her M.Phil. and Ph.D. on Tribal Studies reflect her affection towards subaltern studies. Customary law of Sugali is an unique contribution to History of Tribes for which she is awarded Ph.D. from Sri Krishna Devaraya University at Anantapur. She has been making extensive research on marginal communities and has been collecting the objects of their material culture at village level. Her commitment and micro level studies are now reflecting with clear images and she promises good contribution to the area of subaltern studies in History through her qualitative research. Being a part of Dravidian University now in the Department of Folklore and Tribal studies, there are all hopes from her to continue her research in interdisciplinary dimensions.


That the foundations of Indian culture were deeply embedded in Dravidian culture is now an incontrovertible fact. Dravidian culture is one of the most ancient cultures of the world. Those cultures, slightly contemporaneous to one another, slowly started fading out. However, the primordial Dravidian culture continues to thrive without losing its quintessence despite the apparent changes in systems of dress and address. , Dravidian University was established in 1997 to mirror the real and rich picture of Dravidian culture not only in its linguistic, literary, cultural and philosophical facets but in science and technological angles also.

The main objectives of Dravidian Unive:sity are to augment the common weal and social well being of the ccmmunities of marginal languages and to build bridges among the Southern states. While working on each language separately in varied areas, it aims at a synthesis and a discovery of the common heritage through Comparative Studies.

Prasaranga (Publications wing) and Anusrjana (Translation Bureau) are the two most significant wings of the University from out of its several on going progressive activities.

There are large number of nomads in India moving in the countryside and they play certain definite roles in the setup in which they operate. They represent a unique institution of the country. On account of the various social, political and economic changes, these people show a tendency to settle down. These traditional communities on the move are today a worried lot. As the urban sprawl of cities increases and village commons shrink, they find themselves being displaced constantly. This resulted in fatal consequences such as denial of development. These communities all over the world remain outsiders without the benefit of socio- economic-political privileges.

Dr. K. Shyamala’s work on a marginal community, the Dommara, is an empirical study focussing on various aspects of that group. They are a society on the move, eking out a living on acrobatic performances, pigrearing, grazing cattle etc. Theirs’ is a closed society with their own social structure, cultural practices like clothing, food, marriage rituals etc., unwritten legal system and a regulatory mechanism to continue its traditions.

This book besides offering a comprehensive historical account of the Dommaras, studies their sedentarisation and the impact of interventionist schemes of Government to bring the nomadic community to the mainstream of life, especially Dommaras of Muddalapuram in Anantapur district and of Kuppam in Chittoor District. Further, the book suggests measures to be taken for the preservation of their traditional occupation of acrobatics.

Dr. K. Shyamala’s painstaking research will hopefully add to the anthropological and historical studies already undertaken.


This book is an attempt to draw the attention to the study of marginal communities who are marginalized by both the main stream society and academic interests. The present study on Dommara explores the cultural traits, changing conditions and social status. This book, admittedly, does not give an account of the Dommaras at pan — Indian level, but it does aim to give some sense to such prospective work by discussing the historical sources and the living conditions of Dommara in various parts of the country.

Not many studies have been carried out on this community except incidental references in some historical works. The colonial historians, Anthropologists and administrators have studied this community. But all these studies have their own limitations and they could not provide information on social aspects reflecting traditional change caused by the external and due to the internal reasons as well. In order to study the occupational mobility, a comparative study of settled Dommaras and nomadic Dommara was made at Muddalapuram of Anantapur District and Kuppam of Chittoor Districts respectively. Since, it is a preliminary work intended primarily to address their social problems, I have provided, an account of their deteriorating health caused due to the prostitution taken up by Dommara women as their occupation.

The work has been a challenge as well as a new experience to me. I am indebted to several individuals who made this challenge possible and the experience worth while.

First and fore most I express my heartfelt thanks to Prof.Cuddapah Ramanaiah garu, Honorable Vice Chancellor of Dravidian University, for encouraging me in my academic pursuits and with out whose help this work could not be published. I am grateful to him as he remained a constant source of encouragement and inspiration in my research activity.

I am thankful to former Vice chancellor of Dravidian University Prof.G.Lakshmi Narayana garu for his guidance in taking up this project.

I am extremely indebted to Prof. N. Bhaktavatsala Reddy, the eminent Folklorist, who has been a constant source of inspiration in my research activity. My sincere thanks are due to Prof. P. Subbachary garu Head Department of Folklore & Tribal Studies, Dr. B. Krishna Reddy and Dr. M.N. Venkatesha who have helped me keep my optimism alive. I am thankful to Prof. M. Kumaraswamy Raju, Department of English, Dravidian University for his immense support in bringing out this work.

I would like to record my sincere thanks to Dr. T. Narayana Assistant professor, Department of Comparative Dravidian Literature and Philosophy, who have been of helpful in collecting the Photographs of the Dommara performances.In the collection of the data for this work, I have been benefited immensely from an interaction with Sri. Suryanarayana, Lecturer in Economics, Govt. Degree College, Anantapur and Mr. Sudhakar of Muddalapuram who also helped me grapple with contemporary situation in Dommara society. My sincere thanks are due to the Director, Prasaranga for his immense support in bringing out this publication. I express my deep felt thanks to my parents Sri K. Neelakantam and Smt Jayamma, whose support during the course of my research cannot be acknowledged in words. I am grateful to my husband Mr. K. Ranganath, for sharing a great deal of the burden in conducting the field work. Last but never the least, I record the love of my little stars Vishnu Priya and Sri Pranav for being a source of inspiration despite their constant demands for attention.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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