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indigenous food Kongu region


(Paper accepted for oral presentation at the International Conference on Society, Technology & Sustainable Development ICSTSD June 2011 Kochi)

Over the millennia, indigenous people have developed and sustained extremely practical systems of knowledge and behaviour. The cultural practices, food habits and lifestyles kept the people intact with the nature and gave them sustainable healthy lifestyles for better living. The influences of modern education and the mass media together with the urban migration have influenced the contemporary generation to abandon the remnants of indigenous lifestyles and food habits. Further, driven by the global marketing trend, the food industry has influenced the overall eating and cooking styles of people, pampering with instant food packets, bottled soft drinks, cheap and artificial food products.

As awareness over traditional knowledge is gaining momentum all over the world today, many schools of inquiry strive to return back to indigenous wisdom, realizing the value of it especially in the areas of herbal use and medicine, and sustainable nutrient food habits. This study is focused on re-examining the indigenous food habits of the Kongu People and the modern day nutritional hazards for a sustainable healthy living.

The study is conducted in the geographical Kongu region that dates back to 8th century as established agricultural settlements under Chola Kings, currently comprises Coimbatore, Periyar, Dharmapuri, Namakkal, Karur, Salem and Palani taluk of Dindigul of Tamil Nadu and eastern taluks of Palakkad district in Kerala.

This exploratory study uses qualitative techniques to gather data. A mixture of ethnography and phenomenology methods, specifically, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were used to collect data. The data was analysed as per the terms and conditions of qualitative research methodology.

March, 2011