As I write this, a month or two after my visit to this village market in Orissa, there has been a flood that has claimed 39 lives leaving more than 3.3 million of the population marooned in knee-deep water in their houses and outside. I can only imagine this. As per news articles: Across the state, more than 5,300 villages have been affected with 460 of them stranded by heavy flood waters. The downpour has affected agricultural land as well. Though the floods tend to hit the coastal areas, pretty far from where I shot these simple folk, I hope they’re ok. This was in the weekly market deeper down the hinterland.
It was the prime of summer, in pelting heat, under makeshift tarpaulin (mostly large sheaths of plastic) in saturated, primary colours: yellow, blue and orange, in an area known for its tribal culture.
Tribals with children stand a chance of receiving aid from Government. Most are torn between living in isolation in the forests or being a part of the new economy they’re ill prepared for.
Nose rings are a symbol of financial well-being in this region. The more prosperous a family, the bigger or more the nose rings.
Lots and lots of baigans (Aubergines) and karelas (Bitter squash or is it bitter gourd in English?). The green leaves were like arugula, very soft and tasty raw. I got 3 large bunches for just Rs.5!
Cheap product in even cheaper plastic seems to have an attraction in our village markets. No one cares nor bothers with the toxic effects of such packaging. It’s a sign of progress and connects the masses to the classes.
The bindi on her forehead is a permanent tattoo, a symbol that helps identify her tribe.
I knew he was fascinated by my camera more than anything else. As for me, I was taken up by his rock style hair do.
Faux silver jewellery and printed polyester sarees from Gujarat have found their way into this region. They’re cheaper to buy than weave at home, the old-fashioned way.
Orissa may top India’s poverty list though for all the right reasons. The percentage of abjectly poor people in this state has declined faster than in any other. Despite this, in a measure of how poorly off they were earlier, the proportion of the poor in this state remains well above the national average.
In Orissa, the proportion of people below the poverty line has fallen by half according to a survey done by one world international, which possibly explains why this woman wanted the camera pointed at her. She seemed better off than most with an imposing personality and an assistant to carry her shopping bags.
Tribals freely practice shifting cultivation in their respective habitats assuming that land, forest, water and other natural resources belong to them, though recently the mining industry has wooed some of them to into the new economy promising them inclusion and a better life.
Dissent is what I saw in this man’s face. Activists engage with the people to put up a fight against mining companies in this region. Despite increasing levels of income from India’s abundant mineral reserves, there has been little in the way of improved human rights protection and social development for its communities.
It’s the chilly that lends all the color to the culture of a place anywhere in India. In Odisha its no different. I love this photo dearly. Nothing comes close to the redness of the Indian chilly you will agree.
Thanks for taking a look, do rate, comment or like in that order! For those interested, these were shot mostly on the Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC or Nikon 50mm f/1.4 AF-S. Though in my estimation classic street photography is at its impactful best black and white, shot a bit wider, the colours in this market and its equally colourful people is what attracted me.