Lakshadweep People

Categorized in various sections, the Lakshadweep People collectively form a unified platform.Aminidivi, Koyas, Malmis and Melacheris are the prime human communities of Lakshadweep. Belonging to diverse sects, these people of the place follow their respective religious rituals and also participate in other group's festivals with equal enthusiasm.

A combination of 36 coral islands, Lakshadweep is rich with a huge store of natural treasures. The culture of this beautiful island speaks of centuries old religious traditions. At present, most of the people of Lakshadweep are Muslims. Also, there are several ethnic groups found in the place that populate the entire region of Lakshadweep.

Aminidivi group is the original human community that once started habitation process in the land of Lakshadweep. An island named Amini was gradually formed by the local people which today is a bustling habitat of Aminidivis.

Koyas are yet another interesting ethnic group of Lakshadweep. Once referred by the name of Karnavar or Tarawadis, these people used to preside over the Panchayats of the island. Usually the people of Koya communities follow their own festival and uphold a separate and proud heritage of their own.

Connoting the word sailor, the community of Malmis evolved under the supervision of the Koyas. The people of this group are found serving the heads of Koya community by transporting vessels from one place to another. Also, some skilled Malmis workers also assit the Koya people by reading the nautical texts.

People of Melacheris community are involved with the profession of gathering nuts of coconut trees. Known as the core working section of Lakshadweep, Melacheris community lives in the west of the island.

It can be said that Lakshadweep People are a true manifestation of cultural unification and social enrichment.

Different people in Lakshadweep are:


Koyas of Lakshadweep symbolizes the land-owner community of the island which has been prevailing in the place from many centuries. Although the majority of ethnic groups in Lakshadweep island are Muslim, yet the social division is based upon three main categories - cultivators, land-owners and sailors.

Considered as the descendants of South Indian land-owners, people of Koya community hold a prestigious position in the societal structure of Lakshadweep. Found in Kalpeni. Andrott and Kavaratti islands of Lakshadweep, the Koyas have a stronghold in the local panchayats. In case of any vital socio-economic issue, a member of the Koya group is usually nominated to present the ultimate verdict.

The history of Koyas in Lakshadweep dates back to the early periods of Muslim rulers. Called as Karnavars or Tarawads, the people of this community were once too proud to socialize with other clans of Lakshadweep. Even today, the Koyas are regarded as the superior human groups and have the privilege of taking the prime decisions on behalf of the entire society of Lakshadweep.

Apart from possessing a respectable rank within the social arena of Lakshdweep, the people of Koya group have to engage themselves in alternate occupations too. Earning their livelihood by ferrying indigenous boats is one of the main professions of the Koya people.

The festivals of Koya community involves a wide range of religious occasions and other local ceremonies which are further enlivened by folk dances and music. The womenfolk of Koya groups, during major festivals, are found hymning songs in local dialects.As an integral human community of Lakshadweep ,Koyas consistently enrich the very base of the ancient civilization of the island.


Malmis are a distinct human community of Lakshadweep. Connoting the term sign of ways, the people of Malmis group are predominantly sailors who, from a very long time, work under the Koyas of the island. Plying the local boats which are colloquially called as odams, the Malmis people are also quite deft in operating the nautical tables.

As one of the core communities of Lakshadweep, Malmis have an ancient heritage that coincides with the earliest civilizations of the place. During their gradual evolution, the Malmis of Lakshadweep were known to have served their superior counterparts - the Koyas.

With the passage of time although several changes have taken place in the island of Lakshadweep, the very occupational profile of Malmis has remained the same. Ferrying essential commodities like rice from one island to another, Malmis still ply the boats of the financially strong Koya people.

The population of Malmis community religiously follow the customs of Islamic faith. The culture of Malmis reflects the very respect of the people in the concerned religion. Apart from major local festivals, the Malmis have their own folk celebrations too where they perform various music and dance shows all of which represent the vibrant cultural tradition of Lakshadweep. From a socio-economic point of view, the people of Malmis community have enough prospects of growth.

Along with proper educational facilities, if the Malmis group can be provided with adequate occupational security, there is no doubt in the fact that in no time these people will emerge as one of the prosperous groups of Lakshadweep.


Once inhabited the islands of Chetlat, Bitra, Kadmat and Kiltan of Lakshadweep, the Melacheris community toady lives in the Amini island. The community is identified as the core working section of Lakshadweep which collects nuts of coconut trees as a part of its main occupation. The term Mela refers to the west direction, while Cheris connotes to a hamlet.

The ethnic division of Lakshadweep led to the formation of Melacheris community which was once found in the wide-spread islands of the place. The Melacheris symbolizes the lowest rung of social classes prevailing in Lakshadweep which is preceded by Koyas and Malmis.

While the Koyas hold the foremost position among the various ethnic tribes of Lakshadweep, the Malmis come second with respect to their social ranking. The Melacheris comes after the two dominating communities and hence is found involved in all the ground-level activities of Lakshadweep.

The people of Melacheris usually earn their livelihood from collecting nuts of coconut trees from which they extract the sweet toddy. This is the only indigenous economic activity of Melacheris group which is still prevalent in the island of Lakshadweep.

Since the Melacheris people practice the faith of Islam, hence the culture and festivities of the the community is also co-related with the same religion. From Muharram to Id-Ul-Fitr, Melacheris community enthusiastically take part in every single religious event.

Given adequate socio-economic scope, it is believed that the Melacheris community of Lakshadweep can become a well-placed ethnic group of the island.


Aminidivi is the oldest socio-ethnic group of Lakshadweep with a population of around 7340. The Amini island is the place where the people of Aminidivi group are found. Coral sandstone are in abundance in the island of Amini and the the main occupation of the people ranges from making of floral designs on hard coral stones to walking sticks made up of coconut and tortoise shells.

According to the ancient archives, Amini was under the rule of British Empire from the early days of 1799. In later years, the place had been visited by many known and unknown historic figures among which the name of Vasco Da Gama demands a special mention.

The common religion practiced by the people of Aminidivi community is Islam. Being founded decades back, today Islam not only dominates but also influences every socio-cultural dimension of the Aminidivi people.

The People of Aminidivi are known for their excellent hand-made crafts. Splendid designs on coral stones made by the local people have become a special trait of Aminidivi community. Since the island is quite rich with natural reserves, hence the inhabitants take full advantage of the resources to earn their livelihood. Coconut and tortoise shells are commonly used to make walking sticks of various shapes and sizes. These have a huge demand among the tourists who come to explore Lakshadweep round the year.

As far as the cultural domain of Aminidivi group is concerned, the people have their own indigenousness local songs some of which depicts the traditions of the place, whereas some others expresses the Islamic rituals. Songs of fishermen while on boat are an integral part of the ethno-cultural tradition of Aminidivi community.

People of Aminidivi are cordial in nature and popular for their outstanding handicraft skills.

Last Updated on 02 April 2013