Kachchh – Walking with Maldharis – ongoing project

 

 



Madharis are the pastoralists of Kachchh, historically one of the richest places in India. 



Till the nineteenth century, Lakhpath was the most important port on the Indus, or Sindhu river. It was estimated that one lakh rupees was earned as export tax each day. A major earthquake in (1819) changed forever the prosperous face of Kutch..



The earthquake resulted in a displacement of earth so vast, termed the Allah band, that it changed the course of the Indus. Blocked by the Allah band, the river cease to flow past the port in Lakhpath, turning back to flow through what is now Pakistan.



The earthquake resulted in a displacement of earth so vast, termed the Allah band, that it changed the course of the Indus. Blocked by the Allah band, the river cease to flow past the port in Lakhpath, turning back to flow through what is now Pakistan.



This ended up leaving Kutch with no major source of irrigation. Lakhpath port was abandoned overnight and today, it is no more than a sleepy village.




As I work in Kachchh and spend more time as guests of the students there I end up spending much of time experiencing the way that they live. Unlike one would imagine, they do not have all the time in the world for photography. Especially as youths, they are given a large part of the physically strenuous responsibility

 



Preparing fodder for the animals during the lean months of the year



Milking



Managing the herds



Even as night comes work does not end for a Maldhari youth.

 


Phakira the camel was just 16 days old here. Abandoned a few days after she was born, she faces a blazing Kachchhi summer. This was the longest day in terms of distance. Covering about 20 km, the entire herd moved from a nearby village way out into the mangroves and mud flats for the night. Preferring to hang out with us humans, she accepted Hameer bhai as her caretaker.

 

 
Covering about 20 km, the entire herd moved from a nearby village way out into the mangroves and mud flats for the night.

 

 

 

As the sun sets the weather cools down. Rotlas and fresh milk appears, and the mood lifts. It is time for relaxation and contemplation. The earth is cooling down.

 

Villages form pockets of light that one can see in the distance

 

It is time for relaxation and contemplation. The earth is cooling down.

Early morning you find that Phakira has decided to sleep next to you

 

Kachchh has a variety of different terrain. And Maldharis are truly a product of the land.

This is a set of images taken while Walking with Maldharis(link to Instagram feed of the same)