Scholar from Cholanaikan tribe sets history, heads to Norway 

Vinod Chellan, who is pursuing PhD in Cusat, is the first from his tribe to fly to Europe to take part in an international seminar. He will be speaking about the socio-economic challenges being faced by the hunting tribes in India, with particular reference to Cholanaikan life.

March 27, 2023 12:10 am | Updated 12:10 am IST - MALAPPURAM

Vinod Chellan

Vinod Chellan | Photo Credit: SAKEER HUSSAIN

Three dozen-odd Cholanaikan families living at Mancheeri tribal hamlet deep inside the Nilambur forest were ecstatic on Sunday. Vinod Chellan, a member of the primitive Cholanaikan tribespeople, set out on a historic journey to Norway to take part in an international seminar.

His transcontinental journey became historic because he was the first Cholanaikan to fly to Europe to attend an international academic meet. The excitement was palpable as the tribespeople bid him farewell.

They were excited about flying. Many of them are still living in caves and makeshift tents they call houses deep inside the forest. Mr. Vinod has been the first person to get a postgraduate degree and to do doctoral research from among the Cholanaikan tribe.

Currently doing PhD in economics at Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), Mr. Vinod has been invited by the University of Tromso – the Arctic University of Norway to present a paper at an international seminar being held there from March 27. He will be speaking about the socio-economic challenges being faced by the hunting tribes in India, with particular reference to Cholanaikan life.

He is accompanying anthropology researcher from Kannur University Seetha Kakkoth. Mr. Vinod said that Norway’s university considered him at the request of Dr. Kakkoth.

A hero’s farewell

Mr. Vinod was given a hero’s farewell on Saturday by different organisations outside the jungle. Leading among them were Nilambur Municipality, the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad, and the People’s Library at Pookkottumpadam.

Nilambur Municipal Chairman Mattummal Saleem handed over the Municipality’s memento to Mr. Vinod. The Chairman said that Mr. Vinod should be a model for all the marginalised tribesmen living in the forest. Municipal standing committee chairman P.M. Basheer presided over the function.

Councillors Kakkadan Raheem, Scheduled Tribes advisory council member M.R. Subramanian, Fire and Rescue Officer of Manjeri Pradeep Pambalath, and Tribal Extension Officer of Aluva Anoop spoke.

Amarambalam Grama Panchayat president Illikkal Husain inaugurated the meeting organised by the KSSP at Pookkottumpadam. KSSP officials K. Rajendran welcomed the gathering. Among those who felicitated Mr. Vinod were Sajin P., K.K. Radhakrishnan, K.V. Divakaran, P.K. Sreekumar, Surendran N.N., V.K. Ananthakrishnan, C.P. Subramanian, M.P. Sukumaran, P.B. Joshi, P.S. Raghuram, Lineesh K., and Vanaja K.

The Tribal Department sanctioned Rs. 1 lakh for Mr. Vinod’s historic journey following the intervention of Nilambur’s MLA P.V. Anvar.

The KSSP took care of the journey from Mancheeri tribal colony to Calicut International Airport.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.