Slideshow | The Food Book of four communities in the Nilgiri mountains: Gudalur Valley: Here we “realise how sensitive tribals are towards environment and nature” – Tamil Nadu

View the slideshow | eBook version | Shanthi Teacher’s classroom on PARI >>

“Once, I was walking with this young tribal girl through the forest and we stumbled upon a tuber. She plucked it, cut the eye of the tuber and buried it in the mud before taking it to be cooked. I asked her why she did so and she replied ‘If I don’t put it back, how will it grow again?’ and that moment made me realise how sensitive tribals are towards environment and nature. For them, putting back what they take is inherent in their culture and lifestyle.” – Mari Marcel Thekaekara (writer and Co-Founder of ACCORD-Nilgiris) | Learn more >>

Adivasi communities traditionally depended on the forest for all their nutritional needs. They subsisted mainly on fruits, vegetables, tubers, fish, small game as well as the occasional crop they grew, predominantly coarse grains. However, as time passed and the nature of, as well as their access to, forests changed, their diet started becoming deficient. […]

This deficiency started manifesting in the form of rampant malnutrition, among adults and children alike, underweight babies as well as high maternal mortality [and] increased susceptibility to Tuberculosis among the Adivasis.

Blog post “Gardening their way to Good Health” by ACCORD – Action for Community Organisation, Rehabilitation and Development (Accordweb, 14 March 2017) | Backup file:

“The British established mode of forest governance imposed restrictions on local forest-dwelling communities. In 1860, the Company withdrew all access rights for using the forests (food, fuel, medicine and selling forest products) since the forests and forest-dwelling communities provided refuge to the rebels during the Sepoy Mutiny.” – Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation >>

“Tribal population was spread all over India and most of them occupied wild tracts, hilly and forested areas, away from more civilized centers. In 1880 their population was estimated at about seventy million. They had existed for centuries with their own social traditions and beliefs and subsisted on natural resources. They had preserved their near isolation and way of life until the British administration and policies made inroads into their territories.” Subha Johari in “Tribal Dissatisfaction Under Colonial Economy of 19th Century>>

“Tribal communities have proven that they are the best guardians of the forest and die-hard conservationists”: Illegal mining destroys the life and culture of the conservators of forests >>

“Even though they are responsible for protecting the largest part of the global forest heritage […] a third of indigenous and community lands in 64 countries are under threat due to the lack of land tenure rights.” – Pressenza Rio de Janerio in “Indigenous people are heading to CoP26: ‘There is no solution to the climate crisis, without us’” (Down To Earth, 1 November 2021) >>

Learn more about colonial policies, the Forest Rights Act, its importance for ecology, biodiversity, ethnobotany and nutrition, and about the usage of Adivasi (Adibasi) communities in different states of India: in legal and historical records, in textbooks, scholarly papers and the media >>

Source: Research team (Sayantani Satpathi, Shambhavi Singh & Subhodeep Basu) in “Revisiting the Forest Rights Act: Status of Implementation with respect to Land Tenures and Collection of Minor Forest Produce), Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation (New Delhi, 12 July 2019), p. 4
URL: https://www.academia.edu/41756309
Date visited: 5 October 2o2o

“Despite the restitution of community rights under the Forest Rights Act of 2006, the Adivasis are not able to supplement their diet with resources gathered from the forest as they did before.” – Priti David in “In the Nilgiris, an inheritance of malnutrition” (People’s Archive of Rural India) | Learn more about nutrition >>

Dr. Rashneh Pardiwala © Alexis Agliano Sanborn/Asia Society >>
Biodiversity fostered by tribal communities >>

The recent trend is to use exotic species for manicured lawns and gardens. This means indigenous species are losing even more space, and our local species decline with them. New lifestyle patterns are also changing things. For example, India’s urban sparrow population has dipped. Even growing up, sparrows were as common as a crow or a pigeon. But now they’ve almost disappeared. Why? For one thing, our architecture is changing, and building facades no longer offer nesting sites. Even the old grain shops, which used to have grain strewn in the road, have turned into packaged super markets. Suddenly, you have an entire species disappearing because you’ve taken away its food source, habitat, and flight path.

Source: Rashneh Pardiwala in “Why It’s Hard to ‘Change Mindsets’ on Environmental Protection Among India’s Elites”; interview on environmental education at her Centre for Environmental Research and Education (CERE) in Mumbai (Asia Blog, 27 July 2015)
URL: https://asiasociety.org/blog/asia/interview-why-its-hard-change-mindsets-environmental-protection-among-indias-elites
Date visited: 3 March 2021

Related posts

Tips for using interactive maps

  1. toggle to normal view (from reader view) should the interactive map not be displayed by your tablet, smartphone or pc browser
  2. for details and hyperlinks click on the rectangular button (left on the map’s header)
  3. scroll and click on one of the markers for information of special interest
  4. explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>

About website administrator

Secretary, Tribal Cultural Heritage in India Foundation (2010-2022)
This entry was posted in Adivasi / Adibasi, Anthropology, Bees and honey, Childhood, Colonial policies, Customs, eBook eJournal ePaper, Education and literacy, Forest Rights Act (FRA), Health and nutrition, Homes and utensils, Literature and bibliographies, Modernity, Names and communities, Nature and wildlife, Nilgiri Biosphere, Photos and slideshows, Press snippets, Quotes, Seasons and festivals, Southern region – Southern Zonal Council, Storytelling, Websites by tribal communities, Western Ghats – Tribal heritage and ecology, Women and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.