Saturday, February 12, 2011

the jalari.

okay. so the entire purpose of my time in india is to conduct research for a personal project. i am studying the gram panchayat, or local government, of a local fishing village named peda jalaripeta.

the village has around 10,000 members, living in a mix of huts & cement structures. the majority of the jalari caste are fishermen. the men go to sea for a few days at a time. the women bid for the fish at the beach, & then sell them at the market in town.

on most days i go to the jalari & interview members of the panchayat or persons on the village's financial committee. the panchayat is a sort of village court; whenever a wife & husband quarrel, family disputes arise, or a land or property issue comes up, the panchayat members meet with the opposing parties & try to resolve the conflict.
i hear a lot of gnarly stories.
women getting slapped in the face. 30 year-old men abandoning their wives to elope with 16 year-old girls. adopted children being ostracized from their families. alcoholics beating their wives. the other day i heard a case about a murder in the village. the guilty party was sentenced to a year & a half in jail, but the entire case was dropped after some money changed hands.
my research is basically indian jerry springer.
the jalaris are an incredibly humble & genuine people. when i enter a home, no questions asked-- they pull out a lawn chair, order me to sit, yell at one of their kids to grab their guest a soda, & start putting every family photo they own into my lap. the children are always grabbing my hands, fingering through my hair, & beaming.
they are beautiful.
some days i feel far from home. & other days i feel so close.


Kylie said...

these pictures are fantastic. and that lady smoking is my hero.
i think you need to make sure you back these up on a harddrive - ya never know when computers will crash - mine did it right when i got back from asia...

don't do what i did & forget to save -BACKUP!

Amy Hanson said...

thanks kylie!
the smoker is a babe, yeah? the raddest part is, the women in the jalari smoke cigars with the burning tip inside their mouth. and no man knows the secret of how they do it, haha

& you're right, i have been thinking i should back my photos up!!