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.

Who are the Hakki Pikki?

  • The Hakki Pikki is a tribe that lives in several states in west and south India, especially near forest areas.
  • Hakki Pikkis (Hakki in Kannada means ‘bird’ and Pikki means ‘catchers’) are a semi-nomadic tribe, traditionally of bird catchers and hunters.
  • According to the 2011 census, the Hakki Pikki population in Karnataka is 11,892.
  • In different regions, they are known by different names, such as Mel-Shikari in northern Karnataka and Maharashtra.

They are divided into four clans:

  1. Gujaratia,
  2. Panwar,
  3. Kaliwala and
  4. Mewaras

These clans can be equated with castes in the traditional Hindu society.

  • In the olden days, there was a hierarchy among the clans, with the Gujaratia at the top and the Mewaras at the bottom.
  • Hakki Pikki people are believed to hail originally from the bordering districts of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
  • They came to the south in search of game.

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.
  • According to locals, the usual age of marriage is 18 for women and 22 for men.
  • The society is matriarchal, where the groom gives dowry to the bride’s family.


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