The World as My Home

Nomadism was a way of life for most people in South and Central Asia in the middle ages. The nomadic trails have moved from the Indian subcontinent to lands as distant as Europe. With practically the whole world as their home, the nomads, whatever name they may be known by in different regions, have been a people on the move.

Connecting disparate communities, diverse faiths, multiple languages and distanced lands through their uncommon ways of life and livelihoods, the nomadic communities, have always shared a symbiotic relationship with the more sedentary societies they have survived with for centuries. Particularly in pre colonial and the middle ages this relationship was nurtured through trade and the exchange of goods and services including scintillating entertainment and performances.

Their creative wanderlust was an essential part of the economic and cultural landscape they traveled through.

The processes of colonisation and industrialisation gradually, but indelibly altered this fluid landscape.

The world then ceased to be a hospitable space for those who defied the increasing rigors of its borders and boundaries. Nomadic behaviour began to be seen as uncivilised at best or barbaric, deviant and criminal at worst. The genocide of the European Roma by Nazi Germany on racial grounds is a well known fact of history. Closer home, the colonial British state threatened by their fierce and free ways tried to control them through criminalising their ways of life. Post independence, “development” and the accompanying twin processes of homogenisation and marginalisation have rendered these inherently autonomous communities more vulnerable and fragile.

Inspired by a three day camera conversation with the illustrious writer and activist, Mahasweta Devi in December 2003, and then subsequently with renowned literary critic and activist Dr. GN Devy and Sri Balkrishna Renake, who headed the National Commission for Denotified Nomadic and Semi Nomadic tribes, Grassroots Media began a collaborative filming with diverse nomadic communities in 2004-05, with help from many activists. Since then it has remained a work in progress.

Through this blog we seek to document some of these conversations.

Recounting, gathering and documenting these conversations we hope will initiate ways of reconnecting ourselves with our collective if diverse pasts even while reinforcing the power of marginalised communities to re-imagine their own futures.

And hopefully recast the ways in which we all listen to stories from the margins.

We start this initiative with the Hakki Pikki’s from Karnataka who are part of the larger Vaghri community that has traveled from Gujarat to all over the Indian subcontinent including Pakistan and adapted itself to the specific regions they have “settled” in.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diether Gruenenfelder
    Aug 16, 2015 @ 19:35:59

    Dear Madhu.

    Thanks for the hint to read the homepage “the Alemaari Trails”.

    I think that this is just a very good example of how to tell a complex history of human relations in a political context. The texts are not too long to read them and they bring the necessary information. And for the more interested, they find lots of more to get in deeper. And the pages of the website are in an adequate nice design. Congratulations.

    And then I read: “give me your project so that we can make our own film on ourselves… don’t need to go around on our behalf.”
    The old discussion. Did you give him a camera? It would be interesting to see what he concerns as important.

    The video on the homepage is very interesting too. It has just a good and short time to explain the main issues and the normal time that viewers may watch for the first time. I guess you will give a continuation?

    I put the page to my favorites and will follow your work.

    Warmest greetings



    Nov 29, 2015 @ 00:46:13

    Hi Mam, I’m RAGHURAM from bhadrapura. I need your help in some things so kindly reply me . To my E-mail



    Nov 29, 2015 @ 00:48:04

    Hi Mam, I’m RAGHURAM from bhadrapura. I need your help in some things so kindly reply me . To my E-mail

    have a Good day Mam



  4. anjsuresh
    Jan 22, 2016 @ 21:29:18

    very informative and valuable. Thank You for the talk @JyotiNivas.



  5. kumudasushilappa
    Mar 30, 2016 @ 16:02:44

    hai mem namaste, & i am very happy to share with u doing work for hakkipikki documentry or film.thank u.

    Liked by 1 person


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