Nilgiri Hills (Tamil Nadu), Feb 3 (ANI): Five generations of a family recently came together to celebrate the 110th birthday of Rujam, believed to be the oldest woman in the Toda tribal community of Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu.
With a few of her surviving children and a large crop of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, she celebrated the event by cutting a cake in their presence.
"Our grandmother is 110 years old, and we celebrated her birthday in a grand manner. The main reason for her healthy living even today is her diet. She has only yoghurt and buttermilk every day. We do not eat any non vegetarian food, and her healthy diet and our clean surroundings we live in have given her this longevity," said Rajadevi, her granddaughter.
After the cutting of the cake, the family members took turns dancing around a seated Rujam, to celebrate their joy and pride in her long life.
"She is my grandmother's mother and I belong to the fifth generation of this family. My son is the fifth generation of this family, today all 199 members of our family have gathered here to celebrate this birthday. This is an unforgettable day for all of us. Our grandmother is the oldest member of the Toda community. We believe this is a record and are very proud of it," said Rujam's great-grandson, Nasamudi Kuttan.
An indigenous community native to the Nilgiri hills, the Toda tribals number around 1,500. A community of nature-worshippers, they continue to live lives steeped in tradition, with their own language and customs.
India's tribal communities form over 8 percent of the country's 1.2 billion population - with over 80 million tribals and non-tribal people dependent on the country's resource-rich forests, which make up 65 million hectares, or just over 20 percent of India's land. (ANI)