“Every year on Onam, a kit of pulses, rice and other edibles along with a fresh set of clothes is gifted to the tribes. What more can the government do?” asked Sadiq as he requested his attendant to fetch him some water. He explained in hushed tones that the ambivalent attitude of authorities in power […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 25 (part 4)"
Scribbling on a piece of paper, Sadiq paused for a while before explaining in detail the schemes introduced to tackle infant deaths in Attapadi. A few records suggested that there were more than 50 deaths reported in the past ten years. “Creating sensationalised news has become top priority today. Reports in the media have been […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 25 (Part 3)"
Sadiq informed us that the Attapadi Co-operative Farming Society (ACFS) has 816 registered members and all of them belong to the scheduled tribe community – Irula, Mudugar and Kurumba. The board of directors comprise District Level Officers and four elected Scheduled Tribe members (non-official) who represent the four farms. The society’s primarily role lies in maintaining unorganised […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 25 (part 2)"
After a heavy breakfast of crisp rotis and aloo sabji, we headed towards Agali town in the morning. Joby planned to introduce us to a few officials who could provide all the information we required pertaining to tribal welfare projects apart from helping us out with research and acquiring comprehensive statistical data on the tribes. […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 25 (part 1)"
During our interactions with Mani and Joby, we realised that the locals strongly believed that the current situation of the tribes can be attributed to government’s ‘proactive’ measures with respect to strengthening their socio-economic situation. According to them, the tribesmen have become extremely lazy today and thrive on freebies for progress. This struck us as odd. […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 24 (Final Part)"
At 11 pm, we parked near a petrol bunk to rest for the night. We were in a deep slumber when we heard footsteps outside. A man muttered to himself in Tamil. His head hung forward and he slurred his words. “I am not scared of the police. I am not scared of anyone,” he […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 24 (part 1)"
Last evening, sitting on reservoir banks, we glanced at the rugged low-lying hills one last time before the sun descended beneath the horizon. A few children played a game of catch in the narrow alleyways while women discussed prices of vegetables in their courtyard. A young boy sought permission from his mother to continue playing outside. […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Dairy: Day 23"
We drove all night to Valparai from Nelliyampathy till the break of dawn. With vales of jade unfurling in the mist, the hills shone bright in the lingering flames of amber. Dew drops glistened in the sun as the forest received its first rays of morning light. And, somewhere in the depths of enfolding mountains, […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 22"
Arumugan’s wife Remakutty walked into the courtyard from behind the house. Head lowered, she gathered some rags into a basket while an old lady stood in silence beside us staring into the woods. Her eyes scoured for something perhaps to fill the void in her heart. With a faint hint of a smile curled on […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 21 (Final Part)"
“We put in a request for electricity and asked the officials to get it done as soon as possible. I hope to see light someday,” said Arumugan with a smile. The government refuses to give the Malasar Tribe their rightful ownership of land simply because they haven’t measured the area yet nor have they conducted […]Read more "Rest Of My Family Travel Diary: Day 21 (part 2)"