1984 – 1986 : The Beginning

Stan & Mari come to Gudalur

Stan & Mari arrived at Gudalur in 1984 to work on the Paniya farm at Kayunni and were exposed to the various ways in which the tribals of Gudalur were cheated of their rights and subject to daily humiliation.  An incident that struck a chord in them was the subtle ostracisation one young Paniya women faced as she sat down on a seat in a public bus.

Their experiences convinced them to start ACCORD in November, 1985 along with K T Subramaniam, a Mullakurumba youngster from the nearby village of Kappala. It was officially launched on March 1st 1986 from Thorapally, Gudalur. They were joined by Chathi, KG Bharathan and Vijayan.

The team were frequently approached for help with ration cards, land disputes and individual problems. Soon, however, word spread, and groups of Adivasis began landing up at Thorapally asking for help and advice.  The common thread among all the issues was the loss of their land, which had unmoored them financially as well as socio – culturally.  Stan & Mari recognised that for any marked change to occur in their plight, they needed to given back their rights over their land.

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