Events : Economic, Development & Social Issues

Talk on "The Todas: An Ancient people who have fashioned the Natural History and Culture of the Nilgiris” by Dr. Tarun Chhabra

Held on Saturday, 27th May, 2017 at 6.30 PM

Bangalore International Centre had arranged an illustratedtalk on “The Todas: An Ancient people who have fashioned the Natural History and Culture of the Nilgiris” by Dr.TarunChhabra, onSaturday, 27th May, 2017 at 6.30 PM.Prior to this illustrated talk, a stall containing the exhibition/sale of Toda Embroidery was installed at 5.30 PM.
Dr. Chhabra through a power point presentation explained that The Nilgiri Hills form part of the Western Ghats complex. This region was once part of the ancient continent, Gondwanaland. The mountainous terrain of the Nilgiris has led to a great diversity of vegetation, from evergreen forests to the globally unique, climax shola-grassland ecosystem. It is a very small area, yet with over ninety endemic plant species not found anywhere else on earth. There are also a number of plants, mammals and birds that have their closest relatives in the distant Himalayas.

The Nilgiris have remained in a pristine condition thanks to the indigenous Toda people who have occupied the these hills since ancient times. The Todas are the oldest inhabitants. With their quaint barrel-vaulted temples and dwellings, their embroidered cloaks and their magnificent long-horned buffaloes, the Todas have fascinated the world ever since ‘civilisation’ stepped into the Nilgiris almost two centuries ago.

The Todas possess a far ranging ecological knowledge that enables them to accurately predict phenomena ranging from the imminent cessation of the monsoon to even a person’s anxiety levels. They are vegetarian by choice. They speak an ancient South Dravidian language that is considered one of the most phonetically aberrant in India.

The Todas’ pastoral way of life, combined with their non-martial, non-hunting, pacifist, and vegetarian lifestyle, has played a significant role in ensuring the survival and prospering of the surrounding flora and fauna. This intimate link with nature is one of the factors that has endowed the Nilgiris with such a high degree of bio-cultural diversity.

The way Dr. TarunChhabra led the audience through his power-point presentation was an excellent example of how an accomplished speaker can keep the audience spell-bound!!