Young Maldhari

The Young Maldharis essay, on the other hand, founds a league of its own. Shiny, bright youngsters were trained to photograph and then armed with a camera to shoot their surroundings.
Kutch is a major tourist destination. The Internet is abuzz with photographs from Kutch. The locals often find their culture, ways, landscape presented to through sets of impersonal, perhaps even alien lenses.
The young maldharis were engaged in this initiative to facilitate and encourage communication between the young herders spread across Kutch. These photo essays also serve to establish a balance, a balance between Kutch being looked at with an external eye of the tourist or the photographer; and Kutch presented through native lenses. These photo-essays are a manifestation of the delightful paths they have tread, cameras in their hands!
Twenty Maldhari youngsters between the ages of 14 to 26, all living in this diverse land of many micro habitats, varied in culture, history, herding, breeding practices and in their connections with other communities in the area, were trained by Ishaan Raghunandan, a young photographer himself at that point in time.
Ishaan writes:
“Many Maldhari children are exposed to the outside world while working at factories or the Rann Mela and other tourist hotspots. Milk dairies have sprung up even in remote Maldhari villages. Maldharis desire smartphones as much as anyone else and through them, a vista to the outer world is opened. Why shouldn’t young Maldharis aspire to a steady and risk free income, which requires much less effort than herding cattle?

On the one hand, there is the irresistible attraction of a secure job and regular income and on the other, the hard, but happy lives of their parents and ancestors. Will the intertwining of the Maldhari and her livestock that has endured for many generations, steadily unravel? My students offer a reassuring answer to that question. Most of them are driven by their love for their livestock. Even with all the hardships involved with wandering, they simply cannot imagine any other type of life. For now, it seems to me that the economic security offered by the factories and tourist resorts is not strong enough to snap the bond between man and animal.“

Pastoral life, through the lens of young maldharis