A small tribe’s struggle to balance development and cultural identity

Totopara in North Bengal, is home to the sub-Himalayan Indian Tribe called Toto, one of the smallest primitive ethnic groups of the country. Photo: Samir K Purkayastha

At the northern edge of the dense jungles of Jaldapara National Park in West Bengal, nestles a tiny village that attracts anthropologists from across the globe.

The village, called Totopara, is home to the sub-Himalayan Indian Tribe called Toto, one of the smallest primitive ethnic groups of the country, considered endangered. That explains its global significance.

The 2011 Census counted 1,389 Totos existed on earth -- all huddled together in the 8 square kilometre frontier village in Alipurduar district near India-Bhutan border.

For context, the tiger population in India is 2,967.

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