Paniyas are the largest single Scheduled Tribe in Kerala. They settled in groups. "Paniyans are inhabitants of Palghat, Calicut and Canannore Districts. They are aboriginal slaves of the soil and live where there are plantations and rice cultivation. Greater numbers have their homes in the Manantavady and Vythiri Taluks. They are also settled in Madras and Mysore States. The name is the modified form of the Malayalam word Panikkar (labourer)."