Living Lightly ~ Journeys with Pastoralists is the first curated exhibition on pastoralism in India, covering the land, lives and livelihoods of Indian pastoralists. It captures their remarkable history of mobility, the ecosystems that nurture their life-worlds, their culture, science, art, politics, spiritual moorings, the economics and challenges of herding.
The exhibitions hold space for conversations amongst pastoral communities across geographies, conversations between pastoralists and citizens at large, and engaged dialogues about pastoralism in India.
The curated exhibits are accompanied by a range of events, including public talks, a festival, film screenings on Pastoralism, round tables with universities and students, consultations amongst pastoralists and an academic conference.
Living Lightly is a story teller and has been envisaged to continue as a travelling exhibition. As it travels to other pastoral regions, it gathers new narratives, sheds some old ones, and regenerates the ‘commons’ in our lives. Through the exhibits, performances and dialogues we learn, in different ways, what ‘home’ means to pastoralists whose notions of movement and mobility defy our own attachments to a static place, to an address; and how pastoralists adapt to changing moisture regimes. We discover multiple ways in which pastoral systems touch our lives; or ways in which they cope with a state and society that is so dismissive of the lifestyle choices they make. It is designed to make us reflect on our own futures and why it is so closely linked with the fate of India’s shrinking grasslands, pastoralists’ struggles to remain mobile, and the growing loss of the native animals they breed.
Many many pastoralists from different parts of India are gradually shaping Living Lightly to become a pasture for discourse, engagement, and celebration. As the exhibition shifts the spotlight to different pastoral regions, it will gather new narratives, shed some old ones, but continue to regenerate the ‘commons’ in our lives.
So who are these pastoralists? The Maldharis? Living Lightly attempts to answer this question from multiple perspectives- through their stories of movement, resilience, relationships, cuisines, rituals, poetry, institutions and a lot more.
In the words of a pastoralist:
चलते गिरना, गिर के उठना
मालधारियों की फ़ितरत है
नवसर्जन की शक्ति जो रखती
हमको पालती वो कुदरत है
प्रक्रति, पशु, परिंदे और प्रेम
इन सब में हम सहमत हैं
मालधारी रहेंगे तब तक
जब तक कुदरत की रहमत है