Online Encyclopedia

TODAS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 1044 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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TODAS, a small pastoral tribe of Southern India, found only on the Nilgiri hills. They are distinguished by their tall, well-proportioned figures, aquiline noses, long, black, wavy hair and full beards. Their colour is a light brown. Their dress consists of a single cloth, which they wear like the plaid of a Scotch highlander. The women cover the whole body with this mantle. Their sole occupation Is cattle-herding and dairy-work. They practise polyandry, a woman marrying all the brothers of a family. 'I he proportion of females to males is about three to five. Their language is a mixture of Tamil and Kanarese, and is classified by Bishop Caldwell as a separate language of the Dravidian family. The Todas worship their dairy-buffaloes, but they have a whole pantheon of other gods. The only purely religious ceremony they have is Kona Shastra, the annual sacrifice of a male buffalo calf. Toda villages, called minds, usually consist of five buildings or huts, three of which are used as dwellings, one as a dairy and the other for sheltering the calves at night. These huts are of an oval, pent-shaped construction usually Io ft. high, 18 ft. long and 9 ft. broad. They are built of bamboo fastened with rattan and thatched. Each hut is enclosed within a wall of loose stones. The inhabitants of a mand are generally related and consider themselves one family. The Todas numbered 807 in 1901. See W. H. R. Rivers, The Todas (1906).
End of Article: TODAS
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