Why Attapady’s tribes continue to skew Kerala’s record

Alienated from their lands and lifestyle, they are victims of malnutrition and a largely absent healthcare system.

“She had thought of a name for our baby. But she didn't reveal that to me as she wanted to keep it a surprise. Now she has left me all alone.”

These are the words of 24-year-old Balakrishnan Perumal, an Irula tribe member and resident of Pudur, a hamlet in Kerala’s Attapady region.

His wife Thulasi’s pregnancy was complicated from the start. She had sickle cell anaemia, a disorder that causes red blood blood cells to lose their disc shape and elasticity. These sickle-shaped cells, when they travel through narrow blood vessels, get stuck and clog blood flow, causing pain. …


Rejimon Kuttappan

Rejimon Kuttappan is an independent journalist and the author of Undocumented: Stories of Indian Migrants in the Arab Gulf (Penguin, November 2021).