Nearly 5,000 Paliyans live in the forested hills of western Tamil Nadu state in southern India and in villages in the nearby plains. Some Paliyans still subsist on gathering food and other products in the forests, which they supplement with wage labor for plantations and farms in the nearby valleys.

The Paliyans have a very atomistic, anarchistic society, with each individual making his or her own decisions. Paliyans emphasize their autonomy through their code of nonviolence—and they will express this belief by turning the other cheek if one is struck in the face. The Paliyans even feel that competition leads to social disharmony and threatens their sense of self-reliance and egalitarianism.

In order to avoid, as much as possible, any semblances of conflict or violence, the Paliyans maintain a humble, self-effacing manner in their contacts with outsiders. The video of their rain invoking ceremony reflects this relationship since the Paliyans are called upon by their neighbors to conduct these special ceremonies. For additional information on the Paliyans please see the news and reviews and encyclopedia of this website.

“Paliyan Rain Invoking Ceremony (Mazhai Pongal)” (9:53): Created by the Anthropological Survey of India, this video provides a vivid portrayal of the Paliyan rain invoking ceremony that is sponsored by non-tribal landowners and agriculturalists. The Paliyans are highly valued for this ceremony, which is thought to evoke the much-needed rains for farms in the area. This video was reviewed by Peaceful Societies on April 4, 2016.