Wednesday, January 2, 2008
I was in Nilambur last week and went to the Cholanaikkar colony to have a first hand look at them. I was bowled over by the earthy wisdom of the tribals. Their knowledge about the environment is amazing. Thorough knowledge about the flora and fauna of the area. Their grasp of animal behaviour was spot on target. I had a tete e tete with the tribal chief.The tribal chieftain gave me an account of some of the "welfare" measures initiated by the Government with a glint in his eye.The tribals live near the river. The water is crystal clear, uncontaminated, and fish is aplenty. Things were hunky-dory in their private world. In comes the tribal welfare department with a development agenda.The tribal welfare department decided that the best way to ensure pure drinking water is to dig a well, and they dug a well near the river. The Cholanaikkan chief was baffled. He scratched his head many times but could not come up with anything to explain the rationale behind digging the well, so close to the river. The chief ultimately found a good use for the well. Use it as a dumping place of waste. The Cholanaikkars now dump their waste with glee in to the well. The officials of the tribal welfare department have met their target of providing pure drinking water to tribals. I had a hearty laugh with the chief over a drink.