"Exhibiting You" - Story

Western Gajarat

By: Ariko
Submitted: 04/09/2010

This collection of photos I submit herein are from the region of Kutch in Western Gujarat. There are several tribes living in this harsh desert area. The women wear traditional handcrafted cloth and their colorful finery, elaborate tattoos and silver jewelry are unique to individual tribal traditions. They weave, sew and accouter their beautiful fabric, passing down their knowledge of the craft to the next generation of women. Like many small economy crafts, this tradition is being usurped by technology and the demands of the global economy. Their dress is remarkably beautiful, so you would never guess they hail from India's lowest caste. The men work as shepherds tending their flocks, while the women remain in the village determined to realize a small income from their hard work.

The life of working women in India’s lower castes is notoriously brutal. More than ninety percent are self-employed with few labor laws to protect them from exploitation. Since the early 1970s, however, the state of Gujarat has set up the Self-Employed Womens Association (SEWA) to protect women from usurious lenders, corrupt police, and an indifferent justice system.

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