Photos | Totos of Totopara: Glimpses of an endangered tribe | Hindustan Times
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Photos | Totos of Totopara: Glimpses of an endangered tribe

Updated On Jul 08, 2022 04:20 PM IST
  • The Toto tribe of West Bengal lives in a remote village near the border with Bhutan. They are one of the most endangered tribes in the world, with just over 1,600 members surviving. Younger generations strive to maintain a balance between the world of their elders and the world of today. Some use their Facebook, Instagram and YouTube accounts to talk about their unique culture. Abhijit AA, a photojournalist and former communications executive, spent five years documenting the Toto tribe’s way of life. In April 2022, he published his work as a photobook called Totos of Totopara: An Indigenous Tribe in a Globalised World. here are a few glimpses from the book.
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A jeep ferries traders to the village of Totopara, home to the Toto tribe of West Bengal. The village is in a remote area near the border with Bhutan. These jeeps transport the traders from the nearest town, Madarihat, 24 km away, along a route that winds across six river beds. In the monsoons, Totopara becomes inaccessible.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara) expand-icon View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jul 08, 2022 04:20 PM IST

A jeep ferries traders to the village of Totopara, home to the Toto tribe of West Bengal. The village is in a remote area near the border with Bhutan. These jeeps transport the traders from the nearest town, Madarihat, 24 km away, along a route that winds across six river beds. In the monsoons, Totopara becomes inaccessible.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara)

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A woman harvests marua, a type of millet used to brew Eu, the local liquor. Her shakha-pola (white and red bangles typically worn by Bengali women) indicate the infusion of Bengali culture in the Toto way of life.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara) expand-icon View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jul 08, 2022 04:20 PM IST

A woman harvests marua, a type of millet used to brew Eu, the local liquor. Her shakha-pola (white and red bangles typically worn by Bengali women) indicate the infusion of Bengali culture in the Toto way of life.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara)

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Marua is planted, harvested, winnowed and threshed before it is brewed into Eu. It used to be stored in earthen pots, and is now stored in large aluminium ones. The Totos drink Eu on all important occasions, from birthing ceremonies to funerals. When a marital match is fixed, the two families also exchange large pots filled with freshly soaked marua seeds. No Toto wedding is complete without the exchange and consumption of Eu.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara) expand-icon View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jul 08, 2022 04:20 PM IST

Marua is planted, harvested, winnowed and threshed before it is brewed into Eu. It used to be stored in earthen pots, and is now stored in large aluminium ones. The Totos drink Eu on all important occasions, from birthing ceremonies to funerals. When a marital match is fixed, the two families also exchange large pots filled with freshly soaked marua seeds. No Toto wedding is complete without the exchange and consumption of Eu.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara)

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Totopara’s weekly market is held on Tuesdays. Vendors sell everything from clothes and bags to groceries and snacks. The Doya, people from Bhutan, cross the border to buy and trade at Totopara’s weekly market. (Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara) expand-icon View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jul 08, 2022 04:20 PM IST

Totopara’s weekly market is held on Tuesdays. Vendors sell everything from clothes and bags to groceries and snacks. The Doya, people from Bhutan, cross the border to buy and trade at Totopara’s weekly market. (Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara)

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A general view of Totapara's weekly market.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara) expand-icon View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jul 08, 2022 04:20 PM IST

A general view of Totapara's weekly market.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara)

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A doctor draws blood from a Toto tribal to test for malaria. Totopara has only one Primary Health Centre. In cases of emergency or serious illness, patients are generally sent to the general government hospital in Birpara, about 35 km away.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara) expand-icon View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jul 08, 2022 04:20 PM IST

A doctor draws blood from a Toto tribal to test for malaria. Totopara has only one Primary Health Centre. In cases of emergency or serious illness, patients are generally sent to the general government hospital in Birpara, about 35 km away.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara)

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A Toto man climbs an electric pole to fix a broken wire. Given their remote and mountainous location, power outages caused by storms and bad weather are a common occurrence, so the Totos have learned to do fix some glitches themselves.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara) expand-icon View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jul 08, 2022 04:20 PM IST

A Toto man climbs an electric pole to fix a broken wire. Given their remote and mountainous location, power outages caused by storms and bad weather are a common occurrence, so the Totos have learned to do fix some glitches themselves.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara)

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Men representing the 13 clans of the Toto tribe, photographed after an important meeting about an upcoming festival. A few of the clans are more endangered than others, with some consisting of only one family each, and a few down to two or three members.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara) expand-icon View Photos in a new improved layout
Updated on Jul 08, 2022 04:20 PM IST

Men representing the 13 clans of the Toto tribe, photographed after an important meeting about an upcoming festival. A few of the clans are more endangered than others, with some consisting of only one family each, and a few down to two or three members.(Abhijit AA / Totos of Totopara)

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