The people of
Karnataka have been living in intimate and mutually beneficial
contact with all their immediate neighbours namely, the
Marathas, the Andhras, the Tamilians and the Malayalis. Adi
Shankara established one of his principal monasteries at
Sringeri. Sri Ramanuja made a sojourn of several years at
Melukote. He brought the families of several Srivaishnava
devotees along with him. There is a group known as Sanketis,
speaking a Tamil dialect. They migrated into Karnataka from
Tamil Nadu from a place called Shencottah. The names of other
group indicate the place of their origin. Badaga Nadu means
people who came from the North.
The Okkaligas have maintained their identity for over a thousand
years. They have existed as a separate class from the time of
the Gangas of Talkad. The Voddas (masons) once classed as a
criminal tribe, came originally from Orrisa. The Lambanis were
camp followers of the invading Maratha armies in the 17th
century. Hyder Ali encouraged gardeners called Tigalas to
migrate from Tamil Nadu to Bangalore and thus, helped in the
laying out of Lal Bagh.
A large number of Malayali families have migrated into the
Mysore district. Tradesmen (Byaris), priests and plantation
labourers from Kerala have always found lucrative jobs in Coorg
and South Kanara. The Kannada spoken in this area is influenced
considerably by the speech habits of the southern neighbours.
The public sector industries established in Bangalore attract
thousands of skilled workers from Kerala.
The Kurubas inhabiting the forests of the Karnataka and Coorg
districts have Negroid features. They are primitive in every
respect. They are gatherers of food, hunters, and nomads. If
they build thatched huts, it is only to set fire to them and go
in search of a new habitation, the following year.
They practice agriculture as a subsidiary occupation. Instead of
ploughing the field, they scratch the surface with a sort of
bamboo spear. They reap the ears of corn and allow the
neighbouring villagers to collect the hay. They have no use for
fodder, for they have no cattle.
Their dress and food were of the simplest kind. The women did
not know of the existence of an upper garment. The men were
content with a loin cloth. Their principal meal consisted of a
ball of cooked ragi-flour together with roots and fruits
gathered by the women and the flesh of birds and small game
hunted by the men. The Government allowed them to wander freely
all over the forest area in return for planting a few teak
saplings annually in the plots occupied by them.
In the past, the Jenu Kurubas were mostly dependent upon
shifting cultivation and collection of honey etc. But now most
of them have given up their traditional occupation and they earn
their livelihood by working in forests on daily wages. The
Bewttada Kurubas have been more successful in implementing
government schemes. Their economic position has also
considerably improved. The Social Welfare Department have
several schemes to civilize these primitive tribes. These tribes
has a number of manual skills such as planting timber with a
primitive implement (Malu), weaving baskets, carving canes etc.
The diverse linguistic and religious ethnicities that are native
to Karnataka combined with their long histories have contributed
immensely to the varied cultural heritage of the state. Apart
from Kannadigas, Karnataka is home to Tuluvas, Kodavas and
Konkanis. Minor populations of Tibetan Buddhists and tribes like
the Soligas, Yeravas, Todas and Siddhis also live in Karnataka.
The traditional folk arts cover the entire gamut of music,
dance, drama, storytelling by itinerant troupes, etc. Yakshagana
of coastal Karnataka, a classical folk play, is one of the major
theatrical forms of Karnataka.
culture in Karnataka remains vibrant with organizations like
Ninasam, Ranga Shankara, Rangayana and Prabhat Kalavidaru
continuing to build on the foundations laid by Gubbi Veeranna,
T. P. Kailasam, B V Karantha, Prasanna and others. Veeragase,
Kamsale and Dollu Kunitha are popular dance forms. Bharatanatya
also enjoys wide patronage in Karnataka.
Karnataka also has a special place in the world of Indian
classical music with both Carnatic and Hindustani styles finding
place in the state and Karnataka has produced a number of
stalwarts in both styles. The Haridasa movement of the sixteenth
century contributed seminally to the development of Carnatic
music as a performing art form. Purandara Dasa, one of the most
revered Haridasas, is known as the Karnataka Sangeeta Pitamaha
('Father of Carnatic music'). Celebrated Hindustani
musicians like Gangubai Hangal, Mallikarjun Mansur, Bhimsen
Joshi, Basavaraja Rajaguru, Savai Gandharva and several others
hail from Karnataka and some of them have been recipients of the
Kalidas Samman, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards.