About People

The social stratum of Lakshadweep is divided into many classes. Worth mentioning are the Koyas, Malmis and Malacheris in Laccadive group of Islands; the Manikfans, Thakurs and Raveries in Minicoy, and the Tarwad, Tanakam-pranaver, Kudiatis and Melacheris in Amini.

Koyas : The Koyas are mostly the rich land owners. Originally, the people of this class were members of the Principal families of Tarwads (also known as Karnavans) who sat as jurors in the village Panchayats. They were therefore known as Tarawadis or the Karnavars. They were the real masters of the land and thus considered themselves superior to others and avoided being in alliance with others.

Malmis : The Malmis are basically the sailors. They were originally tenant of the Koyas who served as sailors under the command of the latter. They exported the produce of Koyas in the odam. Piloting of vessels is not the only advantage of this class and anybody who gets hold of mastery over the nautical table is as proficient as a successful Malmi.

Melacheris : The Melacheris, who form the major part of the Amimi population, were the original labour class of the islands. The people of Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlat and Bitra who migrated from Amini and the coast are all Melacheris. Their conventional occupation is to amass coconut tree nuts and tap neerah, the sweet toddy out of them. The name Melacheris, which means a village on the western side of the island, signifies the origin and the traditional place of residence of the class.