Indigenous People and Changing Socio-Cultural Behavior: A Case Study of Toto Tribes, Totopara

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As the saying goes “culture doesn't make people, it is the people who make culture”. The are several tribes living in India and are trying to preserve their rich cultural heritage. Toto is an aboriginal Indo-Bhutanese tribe found in some parts of Alipurduar district in North Bengal. Unique to their culture is the idea of having only single wife and strongly advocate anti-dowry system unlike neighbouring tribal practices. As per the reports they are recognized as the smallest tribe on the Earth and are on the verge of complete extinction. Various cultural transformation and other developmental activities around the region is leading to declining Toto’s population, which is further aggravated by Thalassemia virus, which is one of the silent killers of the tribe. It is alarming that an average lifespan of Toto's has suddenly declined to 35 years over the years. The basic objective of the study is to identify reasons beneath transformations of traditional livelihood and sudden decline of Toto tribe. Based on different research, global understandings and valuable readings, what instrumental steps can be taken to preserve and protect them. Primary survey and secondary data sources have been used for the data collection. A household survey was executed with the help of snowball sampling in December 2018 at Totopara in Madarihaat block of Alipurduar district, West Bengal. Remedial and descriptive methods and qualitative techniques have been used for analysis of data. After the analysis, it was concluded that increasing the education and awareness level through workshops, documentaries, camps, public meetings, discussions, discourse, rallies, seminars and cultural programs would play an instrumental role to put a cap on the declining population of the locals and would lead to their sustainable growth and development.  

Keywords Culture-Aboriginal- Extinction- Thalassemia-Sustainable Growth

Article Details

Sahid Jamal
Aakash Upadhyay
Rachna Dua
Author Biographies

Sahid Jamal, Delhi University

A Ph D scholar from Delhi University. Area of interest revolves around CUlural Study, Tribal Studies, Geographical Indicators and Regional Development.

Aakash Upadhyay , Delhi University

A PhD scholar from Delhi University. My area of interest revolves around Climate Changes, Indigenous - Local Knowledge, Tribal Studies and Resource Management.


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