R. Selvamatha is the first Ph.D. scholar from her settlement in ‘Anthanei Kanmayi Karai’

From the Kattunayakan nomadic tribe, known as ‘gudugudupukarar’ (fortune tellers), R. Selvamatha is the first Ph.D. scholar from her settlement in ‘Anthanei Kanmayi Karai’ village near Madurai. More than her, it is Selvamatha’s brother R. Rajangam who is happy about her achievement. Girls in her settlement usually get married at the age of 13. But for Rajangam, this achievement of his sister is just a drop in an ocean. He wants many more from his community to get educated and land good jobs. And, for this he sees the solution in getting a new status for his tribe, which is classified as Scheduled Tribes.

“Nomads are different from tribes. Tribes derive their identity from the place they originate from, while nomads derive their identity from the customs and traditional occupation they follow. Hence the classification should not be clubbed. It would make sense if we got a separate status as ‘Nomadic Tribes’, even if the reservation is only one per cent,” says Rajangam.

He believes that this would benefit the “unregistered / unorganised” nomadic tribes that may account for more than 15. Selvamatha, with focus of her Ph.D. thesis on her community, hopes to join the Government service and work for the uplift of nomadic tribes.

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