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Sam Mohan Lal
1.8.4 Food and Drink
Basically the Uralis are non-vegetarians. The fertile jungle tracks yield them plenty of nourishing food consisting of tubers, fruits, etc. The staple food of these tribals are ragi (Eleusina caracana), corn, samai, etc. These grains are mainly cultivated by Uralis themselves in the forest land by trilling and ploughing the soil. Gruel prepared out of ragi is consumed only twice a day. That is, once in the morning before starting the day and another time at the night before going to bed. Rice is luxury for these people. It is not uncommon to see a Urali working in the petty shops of non tribals at Dimbam; they generally ask for cooked rice as wages.
They relish eating mutton, chicken and venison. Milk is consumed without boiling; the belief behind is that the strength of the milk is spoiled if boiled. However, infants are fed with boiled milk, an explanation for this is that the infants cannot digest the fat present in the milk. Eating pork and beef is considered taboo. Food is cooked without using much spices other than chillies.
Drinking liquor is strictly prohibited. Persons who dring liquor are looked down upon. In olden days there were instances in which such addicts were even excommunicated from the community. But, now some younger persons often drink liquor without the knowledge of the community. When caught, they are generally warned.
Consumption of tobacco along with betel leaves and beedi smoking are very common among men, whereas women are prone to chewing. Old women in a few cases are found smoking.
1.8.5. Special Food
During festivals and also during the family functions such as marriage, birth ceremony, etc., in addition to the normal food, a kind of sweet made with either sugar or jaggery and grains are served along with cooked rice. Coconut is not used while cooking. It is restricted only to religious functions as a symbol.
1.8.6 Clothing
Broadly the dress of Urali can be categorised into two types, namely, ceremonial attire and ordinary dress. Further, ordinary dress of the tribals can be grouped into two types on the basis of the age of the wearer. In the past, males were scantily covered. Other than a head turban and a loin cloth they were not using anything else and women were used to wear a saree covering their waist and chest In contrast to this, in recent times both men and women are seen with shirt and stiched blouse in addition to dhoti and saree respectively.
Today, men of older generation are seen always clad in a head turban made with a single long white cloth, a white or a coloured shirt and a dhoti whereas the boys of the younger generation meet the above description excepting the turban. Similarly, the old ladies wear a saree without a blouse.
In contrast to this, young ladies are always seen wearing sarees and stitched blouses.
Only during the special occassions, men wear ornaments whereas women folk are always seen with very simple ornaments made of silver in their fingers, ears and neck.
1.8.7. Ceremonial Attire
Special occassions in this tribal life include mainly marriage, religious festivals and social ceremonies. During these occassions, the dress of Uralis include new clothes and different kinds of ornaments decorating the body. During this time even the younger boys and middle aged men will be seen wearing turbans wearing of which is compulsory.






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