The sun shines brightly on God’s own land-TOTOPARA. It is a small village in the district of Jalpaiguri in the state of West Bengal. It covers an area of 1,996 acres which is divided into 6 grams. Totopara is situated around the scerene landscape it is a primitive Indo- Bhutanese tribe which is quite famous for its ethnicity, culture and language. This village is 22 kilometers away from Madarihat.
Through the journey worthwhile taken people came across stone built roads, huts made on machos and straw thatches and the influence of nature on their daily lives. The inhabitant resembles flat nose, small eyes and broad cheeks. The inhabitant collect maize and preserve them beneath their houses to grind them later on in order to make corn rice which is a major source of food in Totopara. They even consume rice, milk, chura, curd and flesh of animals.
During recent times few cement houses are constructed by the municipality to accommodate the locals. Life in Totopara has developed and the leap of transformation has placed. From primitives to modern tribesmen provided with banks, small market, three government build schools and a health care service. But in the 21st century where there is a rapid expansion in the world of technology yet it is discerning to see that still some villages exists, where radio is the prime medium. Women spent their whole day harvesting and winnowing crops in the month of October and November. They prepare fragmented liquor made from mahua and rice powder for local consumption and served warm in a wooden glass known as ‘Eu’. Children are even bound to join their parents in cultivation due to financial stringency.
Despite this it is really noteworthy that the students continue their education and came out with the outstanding results in the board examinations. They even persue higher education which proves that this tribal community is trying hard to come to forefront. A primary school established in 1990 and a high school in 1995 runs in the village. To mention a name or we can say a girl who created the history is Reeta Toto who was awarded by the Chief Minister of West Bengal, for her struggle and effort to accomplish her goal. She is an inspiration for the upcoming generation and the inhabitants of Totopra are really proud of her.
Yes, we all definitely agree that their struggle for existence is remarkable. Yet it is a sorry state of affair that the people of this community is Thalassaemia affected for which the mortality rate is really very less. Inspite of this the Toto’s are good at heart and enjoys life to its utmost blink as long as their life of circle moves on. Their lifestyle, food habits and education is really impressing. Despite of hardship which is a part and parcel of their daily lives yet they have the zeal to fight all odds.
While departing every person came across a term used by the Toto’s- “YUNTEKO KABRO” which means Goodbye We Will See You Again.