chapter  9
26 Pages

The Aboriginal Toda On Indigeneity, Exclusivism And Privileged Access To Land In The Nilgiri Hills, South India

In the recent past, the mobilisation of tribal communities for political space and rights in land and natural resources in South India has been articulated in very different ways. The neighbouring districts of Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu and Wayanad in Kerala have seen fundamentally different strategies employed by peoples in approaching local, national and international authority. In Kerala, the state government is questioned for its repeated reluctance to enforce the 1975 Tribal Land Act.2 At the time of writing this article, the long-term political struggle of tribal communities over land in Wayanad escalated into violent clashes between the people in the forests and police forces inside the Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary resulting in death and injury. Organisations protecting land by claiming adivasi rights are pressing the state government to restore territories and resources to the people who occupied land in the sanctuary, in line with the principles of the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.3