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22nd-Mar-2006 02:50 pm - Toda threatened as women break out
The Toda tribe in India - one of the country's smallest communities - is gradually breaking up as its women marry men from outside. Is this the end for the Toda?

The Toda are based in the Nilgiri Hills in southern India, and number around 1,700. While the tribe's men own property and work in agriculture, the women are renowned for their skills and embroidery. They are not allowed near the tribe's tall temples.

But growing numbers are rejecting their tribal traditions and its highly patriarchal society.

"When a girl is very young, they decide who she is to marry," Jaikumari Piljane, a Toda woman who got married outside the tribe - to a Tamil film star - told BBC World Service's Everywoman programme.

"They exchange buffalos - that is the tradition. So when she comes of age, she is sent off to the boy's house. They then have babies at a very early age.

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