The pic shows a treetop house made by Muthuvans, the tribal people, to stay during night-time to prevent wild animals from raiding their ﬁelds in the remote tribal village of Edamalakkudy in Kerala. Work is under way on a road to connect the village with the main town of Munnar. But the strangest fact is that majority of these aboriginal people still have serious distrust to the so-called ‘development’ that the so- called ‘civilized society’ brings to their doorsteps.
It was some five years ago that the farmers stopped cultivation as the crops, especially plantain, were destroyed in frequent raids by wild elephants. Wild gaur and pigs also destroy the crops. A positive change is community farming. Members of various families in the settlements make sheds either on treetops or on the ground, and stay there at night to scare away the wild animals. “When we take up farming in a group, there is no shortage of people in the shed for keeping watch,” says a farmer. There is a proposal to build traditional tribal huts for them that will be in tune with the natural environment. The Muthuvans say their traditional huts are strong and resistant to wild animal attacks. The huts are made using twigs, stones, and mud, and in such a manner that even if elephants attack the houses, they do not fall.
When the rest of the world suffers from hyper tension caused by malfunctions of high value gadgets, appliances and even faulty building materials costing hundreds of thousands purchased to achieve the ‘comfort level’ they always chase and which rarely yields to the chasers, even after a lifetime of struggle to achieve it, here is a contrast. These are people, who also are part of homo sapiens, but who are hardly concerned about the quality and price of floor tiles or interiors or sanitary fittings used to build their natural abodes.