About Us

About Us - Profile

Vanavasi Seva Kendram TamilNadu affiliated to Akhil Bharatiya Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram, has been active among our vanavasi brethren in TamilNadu from 1980, looking after their needs primarily in the fields of Education and Health.
Vanavasi Seva Kendram TamilNadu was started in Karumandurai, a place of Tribal need, in Kalrayan Hills in Salem (Dt), in the form of a small students hostel for Tribal students. Now the unique work and service projects have spread over TamilNadu covering 7 lakhs vanavasi people belonging to 35 groups in different Hills.

There are about 12 crore Vanavasi people living in remote forest areas of our country deprived of their basic facilities, of which around 9 lakhs live in Tamilnadu.

There are 36 sects of government notified tribes living in 76 blocks of 22 districts in Tamilnadu. Some of the sects are Toda, Kota, Irula, Malayali, Paliyar, Vedar, Konda Reddy who form a large number among them. In order to uplift the living standards of our Tribal Brothern, to preserve their rich Cultural Identity and make them at par with the rest of the society, our Organisation, a Registered Trust in the above name was started and we are at the service of the Tribals since 1980. At present our work is in the fields of Education, Health, Preserving their cultural identity, Women Empowerment through religious and economic activities, identifying the potentially suitable candidates in the field of Sports etc.

As of now, our work is spread over in 31 blocks of 15 given below districts.....
Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Namakkal, Tiruchirapalli, Kallakurichi, Tiruppattur, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvallur, Vizhupuram, Vellore and Chennai.
We intend to further our area of operation to other districts also where sizeable Tribal Population reside.

Kannappa Nayanar

In 3032 BC, the present day Sri Kalahasti Temple area was a dense forest in which Vanavasi's were living, whose main source for living was hunting wild animals and selling its meat and skin. Thinnan, son of the local Vanavasi leader, once went deep into the forest along with some of his friends and hunted many animals. While returning home, he found a Shiva Temple amidst the forest with No Pooja for the Shiva Linga. Immediately he plucked some forest flowers and brought a little water in his mouth. He did abhishekam with the water from his mouth and offered the forest flowers with much devotion besides offered the meat of the animals he had hunted as " Nivedanam".
He started visiting the temple daily and offered the meat of the animals hunted that day with much devotion. After some time, a Poojari came to the temple and shocked to find meat everywhere. He cleaned the temple and did Pooja. But when he returned next day, was shocked to find meat again everywhere. Again the Poojari cleaned everything and did Pooja. On the next day also he found the samething repeated and continued every day. Hence he decided to find out how this was happening and hid himself inside the temple. After sometime he found the Vanavasi Thinnan arriving with meat in one hand, forest flowers on the other hand and water in his mouth. The Priest watched how Thinnan did Pooja.
After Thinnan left, the priest started crying and asked the Lord Shiva how he was accepting the meat, water brought in mouth offered by the Vanavasi man. Lord Shiva replied that he considered only the devotion of a Bhakta and Not what he offered. Also he advised the priest to watch what happens on the next day. Next day, as advised by the Lord Shiva, the Priest hid himself inside the temple and started watching what was going to happen.
Thinnan came as usual with meat and forest flowers in the other hand and water in his mouth. After completing his Pooja, Thinnan found blood oozing out from one eye of Lord Shiva. Thinnan tried to stop the blood oozing but couldn't. Hence Thinnan with his arrow, plucked off his one eye, fixed it in the eye of Lord Shiva and found the blood oozing stopped. Thinnan was happy that blood coming out was stopped. But soon he found blood coming from the other eye of the Lord Shiva. This time also the Vanavasi Thinnan decided to pluck his other eye and fix it. Suddenly he thought that after removing his second eye also, he couldn't locate Lord Shiva's eye & hence to identify the spot, he put one of his legs on the blood coming eye of Lord Shiva. He plucked his second eye also and fixed it in the Lord Shiva's eye with the help of the leg he placed on the Lord Shiva.
At that time, Lord Shiva gave Darshan to Thinnan, restored his eyesight and blessed him by calling Thinnan as "Kannappan" which means " The Person Who Gave His Eyes to Lord Shiva". The Vanavasi Thinnan, who was blessed by the Lord Shiva, became "Kannappan" for his " Nishchala Bhakti" ie Strong Devotion, became one of the 63 Nayanmars, being worshipped by all.
Let us be proud about our Vanavasi Thinnan who became Kannappa Nayanar and being worshipped by all.

Birsa Munda

Birsa Munda (15 November 1875 - 9 June 1900) was an Indian tribal freedom fighter, religious leader, and folk hero who belonged to the Munda tribe. He spearheaded a tribal religious millenarian movement that arose in the Bengal Presidency (now Jharkhand) in the late 19th century, during the British Raj, thereby making him an important figure in the history of the Indian independence movement. The revolt mainly concentrated in the Munda belt of Khunti, Tamar, Sarwada and Bandgaon. Birsa is known for challenging the Christian missionaries and revolting against the conversion activities along with the Munda and Oraon communities.

His portrait hangs in the Indian Parliament Museum, he is the only tribal leader to have been so honored.

Demography of Tribals in TamilNadu

Out of the total number of 39 districts we have vanavasi people living in 22 districts spreading over in 590 villages according to recent report in 2011, which clearly indicates that we still have our ancesteral Tribal people namely Kurumbas, kondareddies, katunayakkan, thoda, kotha, paniyas and so on living very nearer to us . Both the groups Malayalis and Irulars constitute the major percentage of 67 out of the total vanavasi population of 8 lakhs.
Total population as of 2011 census is around 9 lakhs

Read more about Tribal Development in TamilNadu

Upliftment of Vanavasi Tribal people is essential

Vanavasis termed as Tribals are actually innocent children of Forests and Hillocks, used to live with nature. The so called civilization has put them far behind in the progress, leaving them in utter ignorance and poverty. Sadly their weakness is cleverly exploited by several vested interests and the children of forest who are forcibly driven out from their environment stand stranded totally depending on their urbanized brethren for their survival. Proslylization is rampant in all Tribal belts throughout TamilNadu and hence now the utmost necessity has arisen to save our Tribal people from their predicament.
Vanavasi Seva Kendram TamilNadu is constantly working among the vanavasi people in 31 villages now and the work now going on may look minimum but it is more vital and result oriented. The Kendra has planned to do a lot in future with the care, support and active participation of the philanthropists who support in kind and cash.
Keeping in view that all the Tribal people must get an all round development in their life, Vanavasi Seva Kendram has planned to work in three fields that is Education, Health and Culture.


Sri Ramakant Keshav Deshpande was a lawyer by profession, visionary, a public servant of highest integrity and honesty, an activist for the tribal cause, a freedom fighter. He missed the death penalty by the British just because Tahshildar Sri Harkare and poet Deshpande refused to give witness against him.

Born on 26th December 1913 in Amaravati – Maharastra. After completing his degree in law he started his career as a lawyer. During his youth he was involved in the activities of Ramakrishna Mission. Then he joined as a Government officer in rationing department. He had to quit the job as he could not tolerate the corruption and the nexus between the govt. officials and the traders. Finally he took up the law profession again. The Quit India movement attracted him towards Freedom Struggle.

Soon after the independence the nexus between many groups of antisocial elements in Madhya Pradesh made the then chief minister Sri Ravi Shankar Shukla to meet Sri Thakkar Bappa. As per the wishes of Thakkar Bapa a great Gandhian, Balasaheb took up the govt. job again as the regional co-coordinator of backward castes welfare division in Jashpur. Balasaheb did a commendable work in the field of tribal education during this tenure.

After the death of Thakkar Bappa in 1950 the link between Tribes and govt. got cut off. Balasaheb got punishment transfer to Chandrapur district of Maharastra as a reward for his tribal service!. He resigned from the service and decided to move to Jashpur to carry out the unfinished agenda of tribal awakening. The historical meeting between Sri Guruji gave him the necessary direction and motivation to solve the social problem in Jashpur. He started a boys hostel in Jashpur in a building given by the King of Jashpur Sri Vidya Bhushan Singh.

The saga of Tribal awakening begins with these students hostel 13 tribal boys on the foundation day of Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram on 26th December 1952. VKA started working among every tribe it could reach. VKA transformed in to an All India organization, spreading its educational, social, cultural, economic and other multi-dimensional activities during his life time. Realizing his failing health he nominated Sri Jagadev Ram Uraon as the President of VKA. Balasheb’s life ended on 21st April 1995 but his life mission continues to serve the brothers and sisters living in remote forests of our nation.


  • As a nation Bharath is the most ancient, culturally rich and diverse civilization. There are over 630 indigenous groups (Tribals or Vanavasis) constituting over 10 crore population living in remote hills and forests across the width and breadth of our nation.
  • Vanavasis are our brethren who live in the remote forests (vana) and hilly areas of our nation. They are known as Janajatis in the constitution of India. They constitute nearly 9% of India’s population and their existence is in every state but the majority is in Northeast part of India.
  • Vanavasis worship the nature – animals, the Sun, trees, forests, idols, stones, various Gods and Goddesses, and even the formless God. They have deep cultural values emerging in them.
  • They have been victims of foreign conspiracy since the British rule. There were legendary heroes among the Vanavasis who fought against foreign aggressors, including British, for centuries .
  • In spite of independence, industrial development and globalization, the living conditions of the Vanavasis are pathetic compared to the “Nagaravasis” (city dwellers) and “Gramavasis” (villagers) of India.

A sizable section of our brothern who live in remote forests and jungles and who are inseparable part of our Indian Culture & Society are called Vanavasis / Adivasis/ Tribals etc.
These brave 12 crore population was denigrated by the British while ruling our country as Uncivilized, Animal Worshippers, forest dwellers etc.
In this modern days the Vanavasi population may be less educated, but they possess a wonderful knowledge about the Nature, its preservation, the Amimals, Water Management, Herbs etc.
They have a rich tradition in the fields of Medicine, Handicrafts etc with the available forest produces..
In Ramayana, Guhan, a Vanavasi served Lord Rama and became One of His brothers....
In Tamilnadu, Thinnan, a Tribe who worshipped Lord Siva and donated his both the eyes to stop the blood oozing from the eyes of Siva Linga is worshipped as Kannappa Naayanaar by the Saivaitees and we could still find his statue in all the Siva Temples in Tamilnadu.
Further, thousands of our Adivasi Brothern took part in our nation's freedom struggle and sacrificed their life for our nation.
From the Ithihas and Puranas, we could find many Tribal Kings who associated themselves in preserving the Cultural Identity of our country. But after Independence, our Tribal Brothern were neglected & isolated from the national main stream, thus they became very poor and illitrate.
Hence we are in the process of uplifting of the Tribal Brothern at par with the rest of our population.


  • Tribal communities in India suffer from lack of both education and proper health care facilities due to various factors and a large number of Janajathi brothers and sisters are still illiterate. Janjathi areas are either neglected or geographically isolated from the rest of the society, resulting in their condition of being economically backward.
  • Their small plots of land have been subject to large scale encroachment resulting in further degradation of their social status. The government has declared large proportions of land as forest lands that are to be conserved and hence cannot be occupied by anyone.



Self Reliant, Educated , Empowered Janjatis.


  • To eliminate the chasm between mainstream Indian community and their tribal brethren through social assimilation.
  • To educate tribals through formal & non-formal education system including residential education.
  • To provide healthcare facilities to tribals especially in remote areas where formal health care facilities are not available.
  • To provide facilities to enable excellence of tribals in sprots especially their traditional sports.
  • To uplift tribals economically through skill enhancement in their traditional livelihood as well as in new and alternate livelihood areas.
  • To empower tribals through awareness generation about their constitutional rights, Govt Welfare Schemes available for them, their organization.
  • To empower tribal women.
  • To strengthen the faith, culture, traditions and rituals of tribals.
  • To do Research & Development and Policy Planning on various subjects related with the welfare and empowerment of tribals.


  • Saraswathi Vidya Mandir Middle School - Karumandurai
  • Saraswathy Vidya Mandir Elementary School - Navampattu
  • Saraswathy Vidya Mandir Elementary School - Vellimalai

Projects at A Glance

  • HOSTELS : 3
  • STUDENTS : 65

About Janjatis of the State

  • Toda
  • Kadar
  • Kota
  • Irula
  • Malayali
  • Paliyar
  • kattu nayak
  • Konda reddy

State Governing Body

  • State President :
  • State Vice President :
  • State Secretary :
  • State Treasurer :

Vanavasi Seva Kendram - Tamilnadu

Registered Office:
1/560, Salem Main Road, Karumanthurai, Chinna Kalvarayan Hills, Vadakku Naadu, Attur Taluk
Salem District - 636138

Administrative Office:
42, Maharani Avenue 4th Phase, Second Cross (E), Near Kannimar Koil, Vadavalli
Coimbatore - 641041

Hostel Addresses

Vanavasi Seva Kendram
Sri.Gokulam Maanavar Illam, 1, Carvery Street, Amutha Nagar, Mel Nallathur, Thiruvallur 602002
Vanavasi Seva Kendram
Sri Ram Maanavar Illam, Salem Main Road, Karumanthurai - 636 138, Salem District.
Vanavasi Seva Kendram
Sri Gokulam Sevashram, 42, Maharani Avenue 4th Phase, Near Kannimar Koil, Vadavalli, Coimbatore.
Phone: 0422 - 4957715