Cruise ride for tribesmen from hillocks - The New Indian Express

Cruise ride for tribesmen from hillocks

Published: 21st November 2012 11:11 AM

Last Updated: 21st November 2012 11:11 AM

“I was a bit scared of the sea, but not anymore,” says Madhavan, who is part of the 50-member Adivasi group, that is on a visit to the city on Tuesday.

Madhavan, belonging to the Nayikar tribe from the Muthanga region, has seen the sea only in movies. Until he was roped in for the ‘Arivu’ yatra organised by the Environmental Research and Social Welfare Organisation for Adivasis from some of the remotest tribes in the state.

The tour kick-started with a trip to the outer sea in a cruise vessel. “Just like the case when people are fearful of entering the forest, so was I when we first took to the sea. But I am completely free from all the fears now,” said Madahavan. Madhavan, like many members of the tribe, has his home in the caves in the thick forest.

“We usually go further into the forest in groups of 10 to 30. Accommodation is not a problem as the caves are safe. Generations have lived there. At night, we light fire to keep away from the wild animals and against the cold,” he said. The tribesmen collect  forest produces like honey and bamboo which they later sell through the cooperative societies.

“It has been an amazing experience for us. Many of us have never seen a ship in our lives and to see it so close was extremely beautiful. I hope that even our children will have the opportunity to make such trips,” said  Radhakrishnan from Idamalakudy.

But not everyone in the group is able to make the most of the opportunity.

For, the situation prevailing at the ‘ooru’  keeps lingering in their minds.

“We have not slept last night. The Forest Department had released a tiger from the neighbouring forest into our area. For the last seven days, the tiger has been wreaking havoc. On Monday, four cows and one bull were   attacked. We can’t even send our children to school and as a protest, the tribesmen are blocking the National Highways,” said Gopinathan, from the Noolpuzha panchayat.

The group will visit various parts of the state in the next two days before heading back home.

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