Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Manjampatti Valley - Thalinji Village

Thalinji village at 533 metres (1,749 ft.), near the bottom of the valley above the banks of the Ten Ar River, has about 150 houses (pop: m-168, f-155). Most of the people are Pulaiyar caste, early cultivators, but there are some Malaimarasar tribal people, who do agriculture and coolie work.
This place had some importance in medieval times, as there are mounds with 15th century ruins of a Vijayanagar Dynasty Kondaiaman temple with a substantial temple tank, and numerous scattered stone carvings and broken statues of goddesses such as Kondaiamman and Mariamman and gods Ganesha, and Krishna, with some text inscriptions. The villagers say they know no history of the temple.
The village is a ward under the Manupatti Panchayat near the Amaravathi dam, but the people have decided to not elect a representative. They do rely on the Forest Department for many kinds of assistance and advice. When the British created the Amaravathi Reserved Forest they allocated 200 acres (81 ha) to the village for cultivation. This was divided up among families by stone boundary markers, which still exist, but land titles were not given.
Thalinji people cultivate rice (monsoon crop) and butter beans and no other vegetables or crops. They keep a few cows, buffaloes, goats, and chickens. They are allowed to collect minor forest products for their own use, but not to sell. There is a one-room Anti-Poaching Camp used intermittently by forestry staff on their rounds. There is a school with a teacher posted, and a doctor is supposed to come every week but actually comes less than once a month.
Men sometimes go out to work in sugarcane fields on the plains, and women go to work in the Manjampatti fields. Thalinji has no store or tea shop. The people do not integrate well in the modern society and economy, though they have accepted Photovoltaic powered home lighting devices from the District collector.