A ‘First’ Ramble from the Kollihills
My tryst with destiny – if that’s what I think of my return to Kollihills and to a tribal, loving and intelligent, people not once but twice, every time after ‘another 20 years’ of two-year engagements with the Malayalis, the adaptive learning effort was / has been a great satisfaction, both for ideas, knowledge and wisdom I could gather and share and accomplishments that go into their making. The Revisits (first during 2001-03 and now during 2018-20) have helped me to revive decades-long friendships in the Hills, as I reconsidered my researches with a new focus and a new battery of methodology during 2001-03, and then now (2018-20) again. The last revisit proved worthy, and of course there were some successes and some failures, which I believe are part of everyday life experiences.
The best part of the experience has been that ‘I went with the feeling that I could give, not take’ but I returned, gave and was fabulously enriched. There is so much wisdom, traditional knowledge, experience and passion among the people that I want to tell people like myself: 'Leave them alone'. But it is difficult, for they are so much within you and it is difficult to shrug your shoulders. I go back to them because maybe in another 20 years they will have new wisdom and knowledge and experience we could use because we have forgotten ours. I will for now abide by the wisdom of the tribe, elders and young ones. And respect their every wish and see whether something can be done about it.
First I learned about cultural ecology, from their terrace agriculture and how they put to use their traditional ecological knowledge (TEK); and then I learned about their food security and the way they could use their TEK to extricate themselves from food-insecure situations and enrich biodiversity of their forests. I am with them now with a zeal to see ‘how they may solve their own problems, which are aplenty’ and help them in some small ways to build their capacities towards sustainable livelihoods and development.
Welcome to our new blog. We've teamed up with our colleague in India, Thangavelu Vasantha Kumaran, to publish updates on his humanitarian work in southern India. Updates will first be published in our newsletter, followed by more detailed updates here on our blog, for those who want to learn a little bit more!