The Todas, their cultural traditions and the Nilgiri biosphere (Tamil Nadu)

Todas - The Hindu 17 September 2011

A still relevant way of life: The Toda temple. Photo: R.A. Das - Courtesy: The

Dharmalingam Venugopal (Honorary Director of Nilgiri Documentation Centre) writes in The Hindu, September 17, 2011:

The Todas and the Kotas of the Nilgiris have managed to preserve their strikingly unique culture in the face of relentless development. […]

The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations has deferred India’s request to declare the Western Ghats as a UNESCO World Heritage in the category of natural sites. While making a fresh bid, the authorities would do well to highlight the significance of the Western Ghats as a cultural heritage site too. Nilgiris, at least, qualifies for this heritage tag.

Over the last two centuries, scholars, both Western and Indian, have highlighted the unique socio-economic and cultural life of the indigenous people in the Nilgiris with special focus on the self-sufficient and interdependent economy of these mountain peoples and their peaceful coexistence.

Under assault

However, these indigenous groups have ended up as ‘development refugees’ thanks to the relentless process of development the hills were subjected to both during and after the colonial rule.

Development has, predominantly, been an urban concept.

Source: The Hindu : Arts / History & Culture : Where time stands still
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Date Visited: Sun Dec 11 2011 13:25:13 GMT+0100 (CET)

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