Bamboo is the lifeline of the Kaani tribe living in the forests of Kanyakumari district – Tamil Nadu

P. S. Suresh Kumar, The Hindu, NAGERCOIL, January 25, 2013

It is used as a knife to sever the umbilical cord of a newborn baby and as a cradle. It transforms into a bed (locally known as ‘padai’) that carries the mortal remains of an adult on the last journey to the grave.

In Kanyakumari, bamboo grows in forests located in the higher elevations. Locally classified into two varieties by the tribal community – a soft one known as ‘olai moonkil’ while the other one is called ‘kal moonkil’.

Speaking to The Hindu , environmental educator S. S. Davidson said that the bamboo is pivotal to the life of the Kaani tribal community. It is used in the construction of huts. Inside the hut, a false ceiling is made from this wood at a height of 7 feet as storage space for their belongings.

Bamboo shoot is consumed as food. The shoots are plucked, cut into small pieces and powdered in a wooden mortar and stored for lean seasons, during monsoon and summer. The powder is used as a vegetable soup or consumed with tea or coffee. According to Shankaran Kaani of Vellampi tribal habitation, the shoots have medicinal value and are used for stomach ailments.

When four long bamboo poles are tied to the ends of a fish net, it transforms into an innovative net that traps bats at night. The Kaanis also use the bamboo rods as a fishing rod in hill streams.

The Kaanis believe cutting the bamboo when the moon is rising brings good luck.

Source: A life woven around bamboo | The Hindu
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Date Visited: Wed May 22 2013 16:01:26 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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