The Malaipantaram people, also known as the Hill Padaram, are foragers in the forests of South India. According to anthropologist Brian Morris, their society blends individualism, egalitarianism, and communism into a mixture that can be considered "anarchy." James Woodburn lists the Malaipantaram among immediate-return societies whom consume food within days of gathering or hunting it and therefore do not develop any systematic hierarchies.
Each individual is encouraged to be self-reliant and autonomous. It's not unusal for someone to go live a solitary existence. There is equality of gender, and there is no hierarchy. Order is kept through diffuse sanctions. Morris calls their society "communistic." There's no private ownership of land. Meat is always shared, and other goods are given reciprocally as gifts. Although some Malaipantaram have "headmen" today, this role was imposed by the state.
Marriage is monogamous, and divorce is easy to achieve when the relationship cools. Children are raised with significant freedom, as summarized by the website Peaceful Societies:
"Children have the freedom to explore without restraint and to handle sharp tools such as axes and billhooks. When children in the two to four age bracket cry, they are quickly soothed, and if the mother is too busy to respond then other adults or children will. However, by the time they are five or six years old, children have been socialized into patterns of individual autonomy, they have lost their emotional ties with their parents (though they may continue to show some affection), and they often live with adults other than their own parents. Adults only limit children’s autonomy by controlling their expressions of aggression against other children or adults."
Malaipantaram religion has three categories of deities: ancestral ghosts, mountain spirits, and gods that have been introduced from Hinduism.
- Brian Morris, "Anarchism, Individualism, and South Indian Foragers: Memories and Reflections" in Brian Morris, Anthropology, Ecology, and Anarchism: A Brian Morris Reader (Oakland: PM Press, 2014).
- James Woodburn, "Egalitarian Societies," Man 17, no. 3 (1982): 433.
- Morris, "Anarchism."
- Morris, "Anarchism."
- "Malaipantaram," Peaceful Societies, https://peacefulsocieties.uncg.edu/societies/malapandaram/.
- Brian Morris, "The Hill Pandaram" in eds. Richard Lee and Richard Daly, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Hunters and Gatherers (1999), 495.