There are many tribes in India which is about to become extinct in the very near future and people from those tribes will be merged with other civilized societies. Those tribal culture, lifestyle and their unique social customs will be disappeared from the 21st century. Toto tribe is one of those tribes which is going to be extinct in upcoming years. There is a locality named as “TOTOPARA” where the majority of tribe people live who belong to the Toto community. The total area of Totopara is nearly 8 square kilometres, in northern fringe of Jaldapara National Park (formerly Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary), one of the famous wildlife in Dooars and Southern area of the indo-Bhutan border line for the largest population of the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros in West Bengal. Toto community people belong in the Indo-Bhutanese tribal community. It is a very primitive inheritance, considered as Mongoloid people. They have a flat nose, small eyes, broad and square cheeks, thick lips and black iris. According to 2013 census, the total numbers of people from Toto community is 1,346 who live in nearly 200 houses in Totopara.
Toto tribe believes in joint family system as other Indian communities. In spite of being a tribe community, Toto community people have love marriage system. They don't accept divorse system. Toto people are very much conscious and conservative about their tribal identity, and marriage with other community people is not acceptable. In general four types of marriage are available in Toto community - marriage by negotiation (Thulbehoea), marriage by escape (Chor-behoea), marriage by capture (Sambehoea) and love marriage (Lamalami). In toto community, one can remarry after his or her spouse’s death. A man can marry his deceased wife's sister but a woman must not marry her deceased husband’s brother.
Toto tribes define themselves as Hindus. Apart from the Vedic Gods the Totos have two main gods Ishpa and Cheima. Toto tribes believe that the god Ishpa live in the Bhutan hills and if he unhappy then they faces sickness. Totos offer him animals and drink Eu to pleased him. Other hand the Goddess Cheima protects Toto tribes from all kinds of trouble and sickness. Totos offer rice, fowls and Eu to please her.
Out of all the tribal communities, ‘TOTO’ tribe is gradually decreasing because of some points which are explained as follows.
The ‘Totos’ are very conservative and marry within the tribe to preserve their ethnicity. This means marriages take place between cousins too. As a result, many children born with genetic diseases like thalassemia. Research has revealed that the Totos have a high thalassemia carrier rate of 45 per cent. This has put the tribe in danger of losing their members to the disease.
The only other option to keep this tribe alive is to marry outside the tribe. But the members are opposed to the idea since their ethnicity would be at stake if they marry people from other communities. The Totos are caught between customs and ethnicity on one hand and science on the other.
In addition to this, recent finding by the Indian Anthropological Survey says that the average lifespan of the Toto tribal people is 35 years. They are departed from proper advanced medication & hospitalisation system. Their main source of earning is also depended on farming and woods. The nearest hospital and health center is far from the village which is in Madarihat. People have to cross eight rivers and cross the wild terrien to reach that place. They can only go by daytime as there is a high chance of getting attacked by wild animals in that road.
Apart from tribe, the local ‘toto’ language (Toto is a Sino-Tibetan language spoken on the border of India and Bhutan, by the tribal Toto people in Totopara, West Bengal along the border with Bhutan) is going to extinct as most of the tribe people started using bengali in place of their own local language.