Hakki Pikkis caught in Sudan conflict: Why this tribe of bird catchers travels to Africa from Karnataka

Source: The post is based on the article “Hakki Pikkis caught in Sudan conflict: Why this tribe of bird catchers travels to Africa from Karnataka” published in Indian Express on 22nd April 2023

What is the News?

More than 181 members of the Hakki Pikki tribal community from Karnataka are stuck in violence-hit Sudan, even as the government is making efforts to bring them back. 

What is Hakki-Pikki Tribe?

‘Hakki-Pikki’ is one of the major tribal communities in Karnataka.

In Kannada, the word ‘Hakki’ stands for ‘bird’ and ‘Pikki’ stands for the verb ‘to catch’. Therefore, the community is known as the ‘bird catcher,’ which is their traditional occupation.

The community migrated from Northern India – mainly Gujarat and Rajasthan to Karnataka. According to the 2011 census, the Hakki Pikki population in Karnataka is 11,892. 

Language: Despite being surrounded by Dravidian languages and living in southern India, the community speaks an Indo-Aryan language. Their mother tongue was designated ‘Vaagri’ by scholars.

– UNESCO has listed ‘Vaagri’ as one of the endangered languages.

Rituals and Customs: Hakki Pikkis in Karnataka follow Hindu traditions and celebrate all Hindu festivals. They are non-vegetarians. The eldest son in a family is not supposed to cut his hair so that he can be identified easily.

– The tribe prefers cross-cousin marriages. The society is matriarchal, where the groom gives dowry to the bride’s family

Occupation: Hakki-Pikkis are renowned for their indigenous medicines. The community resided in the dense jungles for a long time and created its own plant and herb-based medicine systems.

-Their herbal oil business took off, and now the tribe members go to many places across the globe to sell their products.

– In 2021, the Hakki-Pikki tribes came into the limelight after they survived the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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