for susheela and her husband this makeshift structure is their everyday workspace. belonging to the nomadic gadulia lohar tribe of the mewar region of rajasthan, they are traditionally blacksmiths. legend has it that this group originally belonged to chittorgarh and made tools for the mewar army during maharana pratap’s reign. however sometime in 1500 AD, it is believed that when the mughals took over mewar, they fled vowing to live a simple (I want to say a nomadic one) life till chittor was liberated. that was when i guess their lives ‘being on the road’ began.
today, susheela and her family seem to have settled, albeit temporarily, closer to where their ancestors lived- in a village not far from chittorgarh. the couples spend most part of their everyday on this piece of land, rented out at rs. 200 per month, making farm tools. their oldest daughter, who has discontinued school after having completed 8th grade, sometimes joins them- they needed more hands at work to put food on the table. when we met them, they were working on an axe, which would take about 2 days to complete from scratch, and usually sold for around rs. 300. we didn’t quite go into very many details because both them and us had lives to catch up on and things to do. but clearly theirs was not an easy life.
they live on the village periphery with limited immediate access to resources. being the only family from their tribe in that village- their sense of belonging…i want to say is close to none maybe- especially in a place that continues to be mired in caste based distinctions. the meagre opportunities and choices they have access to today are the result of the socio-economic standing the society has given them.
with ‘identity’ continuing to define social power in the current so called progressive times- we as a society aren’t doing much to shift their existing narrative. our speechlessness and inaction ensures that a life of dignity escapes individuals like susheela. our collective failure continues to push them to the very edges of the society- remain 'the invisibles'. #liveslived #rurallife #ruralexposures #ruralliving
#storiesofindia #storiesuntold #indiatravel #indiadiaries