That in days so remote as to be undateable, a Dravidian people driven from their primitive home in the hills of the Indian Deccan made their way south via Ceylon (where they may to-day be regarded as represented by the Veddahs) and eventually sailed and drifted in their bark boats to the western and north-western shores of Australia.
In many parts of southern Asia are found semi-barbarous races representing the earliest known stratum of population, such as the Veddahs of Ceylon, and various tribes in China General a nd the Malay Archipelago.
Fuegians, Bushmen, Veddahs, show the same lack of concern and interest in the memory of the dead.
VEDDAHS, or Weddahs (from Sanskrit veddha, " hunter"), a primitive people of Ceylon, probably representing the Yakkos or "demons" of Sanskrit writers, the true aborigines of the island.
They are divided into two classes, the Kele Weddo or jungle Veddahs, and the Gan Weddo, or semi-civilized village Veddahs.
The Veddahs exhibit the phenomenon of a race living the wildest of savage lives and yet speaking an Aryan dialect.
The true jungle veddahs are almost a dwarfish race.
The Veddahs are not to be confounded with the Rodiyas of the western uplands, who are a much finer race, tall, wellporportioned, with regular features, and speak a language said to be radically distinct from all the Aryan and Dravidian dialects current in Ceylon.
There is, however, in Travancore, on the mainland, a low-caste "Veda" tribe, nearly black, with wavy or frizzly hair, and now speaking a Malayalim (Dravidian) dialect (Jagor), who probably approach nearer than the insular Veddahs to the aboriginal pre-Dravidian "negrito" element of southern India and Malaysia.
The district has a remnant of Veddahs or wild men of the wood.
Thomson, "Osteology of Veddahs," in Journ.