504, Kurupam Towers, East Point Colony, Visakhapatnam – 530 017
Table of Contents
About Tamil Nadu & Nagapattinam District 3
About the Village - Nayakarkuppam 4
I. HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE: 4
II. GEOGRAPHY & TOPOGRAPHY 5
Socio-Economic Profile 7
I. LIVELIHOODS AND OCCUPATIONS 7
A) F I S H I N G 7
II. T R A N S P O R T AT I O N / C O M M U N IC A T I O N 7
III. OTHER FACILITIES 8
IV. POWER DYNAMICS & POLITICS 10
IMPACT OF TSUNAMI 12
DAMAGE TO HOUSES 12
DAMAGE TO FISHING VESSELS AND EQUIPMENT 13
Social Map: 14
About Tamil Nadu & Nagapattinam District
amil Nadu is the land of the Tamils and it has a history that dates back to a thousand or more years. It is a land where traditions and culture blend and continue to live in harmony. The state abounds in monuments and temples that are ancient and each has its own story of religious, artistic and cultural accomplishment and specialty waiting to be heard.
Tamil Nadu is one of 28 states in India and form the south-east corner of the country.
Tamil Nadu has a long coastline that stretches nearly a 1000 kms.
Nagapattinam is 320 kms from Chennai and 161 kms. From Pondicherry. This district came into existence in the year 1991 with its headquarters in Nagapattinam city. Its long stretch of coast line runs along the Bay of Bengal for 188kms. Nagapattinam has one of the most thriving harbours in India.
Location Details: Nayakarkuppam is located 8 kms. north east of Thiruvenkadu. Thiruvenkadu is about 300 km from Chennai. Mailaduthurai, the closest big town with a bus station, is about 22 kilometers away. Madathukuppam to the south and Savadykuppam to the north are the neighboring villages.
I. HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE:
THE COMMUNITY MEMBERS estimate the village to be at least 200 years old. Originally, Nayakarkuppam and its neighbour Madathukuppam was one village called Andipettai. A huge cyclone struck the village and the entire village was submerged. Therefore, the then British Raj asked the people to move to higher ground. Majority of the people located the present area as appropriate for the purpose whilst a smaller number decided to settle a little away (the current day Madathukuppam). The headman of the village and the community, Ramachandra Nattar, decided to live in Madathukuppam despite it being the choice of lesser number of households. This angered the people who wanted to settle down in the present location. They then approached Nayakar, who owned most of the land in the area, to allow them to settle down at the location they had identified on his land. The Nayakar gave the land to them on condition that they pay him the cost of the land by installment every month until they clear off entire debt. Once the villagers settled and built their houses, the villagers approached the landlord and informed him of their inability to pay the monthly installments. The Nayakar then decided to give the land to the villagers on condition that the village is named after him as Nayakarkuppam. However, the renaming from Andipettai to Nayakarkuppam only took place in 1992.
There was fight between fishermen from Nayakarkuppam and Vanagiri while pulling the Thiruvenkadu chariot. Since that day, the people from Vanagiri do not come for the Thiruvenkadu temple festival if fishermen from Nayakarkuppam are present.
Huge cyclone in which there was property damage.
The villagers started rearing cattle.
First mud road in the village, first teashop started in the village.
Electricity introduced at Nayakarkuppam. Introduction of streetlights. 2 bridges were constructed, a big one and a small one that were 1 km and 150 m away from the village respectively on the river and the backwaters.
Cyclone caused heavy damage to property but no loss of lives. During this cyclone, a ship was washed ashore at Nayakarkuppam.
Casuarinas forest planted by the Forest Department. CRC bus service introduced.
219 colony houses built. Govindan bought the first B/W TV of Nayakarkuppam.
SNEHA Balwadi opened, another 30 colony houses built.
Water tank erected to supply water to the houses.
Vimala connected Nayakarkuppam to the rest of world through the first telephone.
Ration shop was established.
Minibus connected Nayakarkuppam to Thiruvenkadu making travel easier for the villagers.
ICDS anganwadi scheme introduced through SNEHA.
Tsunami wrecks Nayakarkuppam and kills 21 people.
II. GEOGRAPHY & TOPOGRAPHY
THE VILLAGE IS ROUGHLY 1 sq km in area. The nearest seafront house stood at 500 metres from the sea. A concave shaped sand dune 5 feet in height was the natural defense for the village against the sea. The dune was like a crest sloping down to the sea and spreading from the north to the south of the village
There are three different sand dunes between the shoreline and the village. About 50 metres east of the village is a canal that runs parallel to the shoreline.
The community sees these as natural barriers. The Forest Department has provided a casuarina plantation and this serves the dual purpose of forestation and providing privacy for the women to attend the call of nature.
Nayakarkuppam had cultivable lands. Some 20 years ago, the cultivation on
these lands was stopped due to two reasons:
The stream that runs around the village overflows frequently. This frequent inundation has made the lands slushy and unsuitable for agriculture.
The prawn farm that was introduced here bought some of the agricultural lands and so some of the lands were thus transferred. The farm was not established eventually as the villagers obtained a stay order from the court against the company.
The sea is the biggest natural resource for the village. The main occupation here is fishing and the community is heavily dependent on the sea for earning a living. Because of this dependency, the recent tsunami has had a severe impact on livelihoods.
The river is a source of fish during the rough season. During this time, many fishermen do not venture into the sea. Instead, they catch fish from the river and use it for self consumption. They also bathe and wash clothes here.
Salt preparation in the village is on land owned by the Central government. This is given out on contract to private firms to prepare salt. It is an unexploited resource as nobody from the village works there. When asked the cause for not working in salt pans, the villagers say they do not have the necessary skills to do that kind of a job.
THE POPULATION OF the village is 1236, which form 294 households, with about 796 voters (339 males and 354 female). There are 285 girls to 287 boys in the age group of 0 - 15. Pattinavars form the majority caste community in the village. The other castes in the village are Padaiyachi (2 families) and the Kudipillais (5 families).
Of the 260 houses, eleven are tiled and 249 are colony houses. Most colony houses currently have thatched roofs as the original roof has caved in. Some of them have transformed their colony houses into concrete buildings.
The village has a very high number of women headed households at 42 out of 294 households,. There is also a high rate of disability with 22 persons with disability in the village. There are two destitute children and one orphan child in the village.
I. LIVELIHOODS AND OCCUPATIONS
THE MAJOR LIVELIHOODS of the village are fishing and sale of fish (294
households) and shop keeping (7 households)
A) F I S H I N G
AS MENTIONED EARLIER fishing is the main occupation of Nayakarkuppam. The villagers owned 123 vessels of which 56 were kattumarams, 58 were Kattumarams with engines, 7 Maruti boats with engine and 2 mechanized 2 boats. Usually the fishermen who own boats also own nets. On an average each fishermen keeps 4 - 5 different types of nets for catching different species. Unlike
the relationship between farmers and agriculture labourers (which is typically daily wage based), in fishing, except in mechanized boats or when using very
expensive nets, net income (gross income minus running expenses) is shared equitably amongst the owner and crew. Sharing pattern is such that crew, boat, net and engine (where applicable) get one share each of the net income. Share for boat, engine and net are meant for upkeep and replacements of these gears.
II. T R A N S P O R T AT I O N / C O M M U N IC A T I O N
THE ONLY TRANSPORT system in Nayakarkuppam is one Government bus and a private bus. The Government bus comes twice a day and 5 days a week. The private mini bus runs a service every one hour. Since the service ends at the village, it is always crowded. School going children face a number of difficulties in using this service and they are not able to reach their schools on time.
The bus is the preferred mode of transport for the women when they go to sell fish to the nearby villages. The women are oftentimes prevented from boarding the bus by the conductor of the bus, who maintains that the huge size of the baskets coupled with the smell of fish are causes of inconvenience to other passengers. This being the case, most women walk to the market. No other facility exists for providing reliable means of conveyance.
Seventy households possess televisions.
Fifteen families have telephones. At first, only one household had a phone.
There is no post office in Nayakarkuppam but there is postal service.
III. OTHER FACILITIES
A . E D U C A T I O N
THERE IS A Balwadi in the village for the past 9 years. Established and maintained by SNEHA (an NGO working in this village since last 10 years), this pre-school presently has 60 children. In 2002, the government set up another Balwadi and this has since been amalgamated with the SNEHA balwadi.
To attend primary school (classes 1-5) the children need to travel to Kadaikaddu, a kilometer from the village. Hundred and twenty one students from Nayakarkuppam are currently enrolled in the primary school; of these sixty five are boys and fifty six are girls.
For High School and higher secondary education, the children have to travel to Thiruvenkadu and Mealiyur. There are 66 boys and 54 girls attending 6th to 12th standard.
Two boys attend college at Poompukar and another attends college at Mayiladumthurai. Only two youth are currently undergoing technical/professional education. One girl is enrolled for her B.Tech at Annamalai University at Chidambaram, whilst another boy is pursuing his ITI at Porayar.
The education of many is affected due to financial constraints, in particular after the child passes high school.
B . H E A L T H
THERE IS NO Primary Health Centre in the village. The only available health facility is the availability of an ANM who visits every day. However, even this facility is available only during the daytime and is only for pregnant women and children.
Since there is no PHC in the village, the villagers have to access the Thiruvenkadu government hospital for their medical needs. There is no transport facility either. The villagers hence call for autos from Thiruvenkadu.
Emergencies at night make the patient doubly vulnerable, since auto drivers sometimes do not come during the night. Three years ago, there was a maternal death when the lady was being shifted for delivery to the hospital.
C. S A N I T A T I O N
THERE IS NO toilet facility in the village. The men go to the seashore for defecation, whilst the women go to the casuarinas plantation that is around 100 metres away from the village for defecation. They are not willing to use toilets.
D . E L E C T R I C I T Y
ELECTRICITY SUPPLY WAS enabled to all the houses when the houses were built in 1992-93. The government later decided to charge for this service and many were not able to afford this. Therefore, presently 98 houses do not have an electricity connection. Only those who could afford to pay for the
service enjoy the facility.
E. DRINKING WATER
THERE IS AN OVERHEAD TANK with a capacity of 3000 litres in the village. Drinking water is pumped from Neithavasal via Pudukuppam and Madathukuppam and filled into the overhead tank of the village. The water is then supplied through taps to the villagers. Since there is a historical feud between Nayakarkuppam and Madathukuppam, the people at Madathukuppam close the valve preventing the water from reaching Nayakarkuppam. This led to severe resentment among the villagers of Nayakarkuppam. The problem was finally solved through the intervention of the two Panchayats and the Madathukuppam community agreed not to interfere with the water supply. The capacity of the over head tank is only 3000 liters and this is not enough for the population of the village. Therefore, the women start filling up their buckets as and when the water is supplied which is usually at night. Since the capacity of the tank is not enough, another tank is being constructed to supplement the original one.
There are also twohand pumps that are a source of drinking water in the village.
There are two ponds, which are used for bathing, washing clothes and utensils.
There is also a stream, in which during the months of September to January, the fishermen catch fish primarily for domestic consumption.
IV. POWER DYNAMICS & POLITICS
THE VILLAGE IS governed by its traditional Panchayat, which is a powerful institution and has a say in every facet of village activities. The constitutionally elected Gram Panchayat also exists.
Traditional Panchayat THERE ARE SIX members in all (1 Nattar, 4 Panchayatars and 1 cashier) in the traditional Panchayat of Nayakarkuppam. The traditional Panchayat has a stronger presence and influence in the village than the elected Panchayat or its members. The Panchayatars are selected only from the Pattinavar community
and are chosen based on their managerial skills and abilities and not on a hereditary basis. All the members are in the age group of 35 to 55. The main source of income for the Panchayat is through fines applied on people who disobey the rules of the village.
The traditional control mechanism i.e. Panchayat in the village has played a major role both before and after the tsunami. The members of the Panchayat are from the Pattinavar community only, despite the presence of some nonfishermen families like the Padaiyachi and Kudipillais. Members are nominated
from each street. The duration of the Panchayat member depends upon the performance.
The members of the other communities have no role in the meetings of the traditional panchayat of the fishermen, yet they are required to abide by the decisions of the Panchayat, by virtue of their economic dependence on the majority caste.
Gram Panchayat THERE ARE TWO ward members and one counselor representing the elected Panchayat and their role as per the discussions with the community is only that of facilitating the government schemes and programmes in the village through the Panchayat and the Panchayat Union, in consultation with the traditional panchayat.
Power Dynamics THE TRADITIONAL PANCHAYAT is the most influential body in the village. Its access is restricted only to men. In general, the Panchayat members have a major say in how things are done in the village.
For women, the most powerful institution is the Madhar Sangam (ladies society). The ladies discuss all their problems in their monthly meetings and try to find solutions to them. If something cannot be done this way, then one representative represents the women at the traditional panchayat.
Next in importance are the self help groups of both men and women. They were started with the assistance of SNEHA. The savings scheme that they promote empowers the women to manage their lives better in the village.
Apart from all these groups, the Village Administrative Officer as the local representative of the government administration wields considerable power in administrative matters and development programmes concerning the village, but is not easily accessed by the villagers.
Community Position THE FISHERMEN CASTE in Nayakarkuppam is Pattinavar. There are five Kudipillai and two Padaiyachi caste families. There are no caste conflicts in the village and are all living together without any discrimination against one another according to the villagers. However, beneath the surface, there still is a lot of untouchability between the castes.
Pattinavar: This is the majority caste here. The panchayat members are all from this community. They are involved only in fishing as an occupation. They marry only within their community and accept love marriages with the consent of their family. Inter-caste marriages are prohibited.
Padaiyachi: Only 2 families belong to this caste. They migrated here from the neighbouring village, Kadaikaddu. Initially there was only one Padaiyachi family (came 40 years ago). Sensing an opportunity in the absence of any shop in the village, the family stayed on in the village. Later, another family also came
and settled down in the village. The two families are not involved in fishing and are teashop owners.
Kudipillai: Though there exist five families, only Ganesan performs the duties of a Kudipillai. The other families are involved in fishing. Two of them own Kattumarams with engine. There is no give and take of food or marriage between castes.
IMPACT OF TSUNAMI
THE VILLAGE IS in any case 500 m away from the sea, which saved the population from severe damage. However, this in no way lessens the devastation caused to the psyche of the village that respected the kadal as the mother.
IT IS DIFFICULT for them to digest that the 'mother' sea ate 21 of her own children. Twenty-one deaths occurred in this village and most of the dead were women and children. The reason for the high rate of death amongst women and children is that the women were on the shore to give food to their husbands and
the children too were with them when the killer waves lashed the shore.
The figures are as follows: Loss of Lives
DAMAGE TO HOUSES
THE TSUNAMI WASHED away three dwellings with thatched roofs and only partially damaged the remaining. People who lost their thatched houses were rescued and provided shelter by their relatives in the village. The rest of the families presently live in their partially damaged houses. The defined partially damaged house as those where more than 5 feet of the wall plaster had peeled away due to the absorption of salt water by the walls.
Status of Houses - Extent of Damage
Type of House
No. of houses are 260, yet categories are different from social Map
DAMAGE TO FISHING VESSELS AND EQUIPMENT
THE VILLAGERS CLAIM that all their boats were totally damaged. Some of the Kattumarams were lost in the tsunami and some could find their Kattumarams pieces lying all over the village after the tsunami.
Much damage has been caused to the nets as well. The villagers were not able to estimate how many nets were lost or damaged. The people had burnt all the damaged nets during the cleaning up operations after the tsunami.