TRIBALS IN OOTY OF
TRIBE IN OOTY
this earth, in India, Todas, a primitive tribal group, are found
only in the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu state, As per 2001
census, the total population of the Todas is 1560(757 males
and 803 females) and their literacy rate is 76.87 per cent.
Todas are known by several names like Todas, Tuduvans, Toras
and Todar. The name Toda is supposed to be derived from the
word tud, the sacred ththudr tree (Meliosma simplicifolia) of
Government of India identified the Toda as one of the six Primitive
Tribal Group (PTGs) of Tamil Nadu. Todas speak a dialect, which
is an independent language of the Dravidian family. The Toda
village is called a mund, means a herd of cattle's and people.
Toda mund is usually a collection of five to nine half-barrel
shaped huts, each hut with a small doorway, measuring only 32
inches by 18 inches. Besides the huts, the mund has another
hut with a smaller doorway, called tirieri or dairy temple.
In the vicinity of the mund is the buffalo open shelter, called
as pen. The uniqueness of their half-barrel shaped huts given
speculations to researchers regarding their origin ranged from
Rome to Sumeria. But the Toda adult informants always assured
that they had always been on the Nilgiri hills. The traditional
garment of a Toda is known as put-kuli, a thick white cotton
cloth with red and blue strips which is embellished further
embroidery by the Toda women is thrown around the body by men
and women like "Roman Toga" (shawl). Metal ornaments,
known as "Toda jewelry" is worn by both men and women.
Todas are traditionally lacto-vegetarians.
Toda community is divided into two endogamous divisions known
as teivaliol and tartharol, which is further divided into fourteen
exogamous clans. They avoid marital alliance within a clan.
In the past, the Toda followed adelphic type of polyandry, a
form of plural marriage, but now they strictly follow monogamy.
The life cycle rituals are markedly different from other tribes,
during the dead body cremation, they sacrifice a buffalo. Rules
of inheritance restricted to the sons only. Todas are purely
a pastoral people. The car of buffaloes and the duties connected
with the dairy formed the sole work of the Toda men. The Toda
tribal council is not permanent body but only a group of elderly
Toda Males selected by common consent for a particular dispute.
The Government of Tamil Nadu, recently included a Toda man ad
a Member in its: Tribal Development Board". The Toda concept
of religion is associated with a highly ritualized dairy and
buffalo- cult. They have priests to perform rituals. The goddess
tokisya is honored by them as their principal spirit. Todas
have unique folklore embedded with variety of songs, proverbs,
myths etc. and their traditional dance is an exclusively ceremonial.
A few Todas have embraced to Christianity. Todas who are living
nearer to towns have joined main stream development. A few of
them are working in the Government and private sectors. Anthropologists
consider Todas as internationally popular ethnic community,
because of their rare cultural traits like polyandry, social
paternity through bow and arrow ceremony, vegetarianism, buffalo
sacrifice, priesthood, sacred diaries etc.,