The Young Ones
India as a whole has a special unity, which children are reminded of daily for example by singing the national anthem in school. But this huge country is hosting lots of different traditions, cultures, tribes etc., too. So all of these have to master a balance between their own unique heritage and the change into a globalised modern world. For taking responsible decisions of how one wants to continue in society, it is important to know about the cultural roots, its uniqueness and the values in it. Taking photos is a good way to document and think about the lifestyle.
Especially the children and youth are challenged by the temptations of modernisation and the security of the traditional lifestyle.
Taken by Dechan Angmo, 13 years, Gyapak/Zanskar
Since some years red, purple, violet and pink are the favourite colours of the dresses of girls. They like to be dressed in more modern fashion style, only for special occasions they wear proudly their traditional goncha.
Taken by Lila Sirohi, 13 years, Chandelao/Rajasthan
Chandelao is a village in Rajasthan having some very traditional aspects like cast-seperation for water-sources, but is being quite influenced on the path to a more modern lifestyle by being close to Jodhpur and having a very modern Thakur, who tries to influence the villagers a little. Boys are still much more valued than girls, but one can observe that this is changing slowly.
Taken by Pema Tendup Lepcha, 12 years, Dubdi/Sikkim
This is Passang Wongyal, 12 years. He is from a hindu-family and was named earlier Bhim Subba. When he joined 5 years ago the monastic school, he got the new name – Passang means Friday and Wongyal „blessed power“. His father died 7-8 years ago and his mother is quite struggeling with him and his elder sister, working under the NAREGA scheme. The headmaster calls him little naughty as his mind is more occupied with playing then learning.
Taken by Stanzin Angbo, 17 years, Rejing/Zanskar
Zanskar is a high altitude desert with a little more rain than the more northern region of Ladakh. They have to grow a lot of barley, green peas and fodder for the long winters, when the whole area is not accessible due to too much snow on the passes. The summers are quite short, but not only busy, but also full of fun for the children having a good time outside. As there is a constant wind after 11 am, they like to wear wollen caps.
Taken by Jassaram Oud, 13 years, Chandelao/Rajasthan
The wintertime in Rajasthan from December to February is quite cold especially after sunset. As they don’t have heatings, people are wrapping themselves into warm shawls or blankets.
Taken by Stanzin Dolma, 14 years, Langmi/Zanskar
Girls are getting big jewellery only at their marriage. But they like to try and test how they look like with their mothers jewellery.
Taken by Stanzin Kunsal, 14 Jahre, Techa/Zanskar
In the summertime children have to work quite late every day after school caring for the animals, collecting cow dung and other duties. For them it is hard to find the time for schoolwork.
Taken by Surender Parihar, 13 years, Chandelao/Rajasthan
The children in Chandelao are raised quite different. The boys are allowed to roam around a lot as they like, the girls have to work like getting water or stay close to their house. But it is very rarely that you see them alone, usually they are together with others. In this society there is not much chance of doing something which is not observed by someone.
Taken by Tsering Punchok, 14 years, Langmi/Zanskar
In the summer, the children have lots of duties. But usually they find some time to play together. Boys and girls have some different duties, but mostly they do the same things. Playing is similar – some games are played together, some separate.
Taken by Spalzes Angmo, 14 years, Nyerma/Ladakh
In the nunnery in Nyerma/Ladakh there are five young nuns from Zanskar. They visit an ordinary private school, have to do homework afterwards, study buddhism and help with the work in the kitchen and the garden. There is just very short time to play and joke around.
Taken by Stanzin Rikchok, 13 years, Karsha/Zanskar
Many children, especially boys, are send to the monastery to become monk and follow the traditional ways. Usually the boys are little torn between the security and steadyness of the tradition and the temptations of a modern lifestyle. When they become older they don’t have to stay being a monk, they can take off the robe and don’t get any negative feedback from society.
Taken by Tsering Punchok, 14 years, Langmi/Zanskar
The traditional zanskari dress, the goncha, keeps very warm in the wintertime. But usually the children just waer it for festival-times like Losar (New Year). The woollen cap is called Garam Topi (garam = hot, topi = cap). It snows a lot in the wintertime and sometimes people do leave their house only for urgent reasons.
Taken by Devaram Prihar, 15 years, Chandelao/Zanskar
People in whole India are very clean in their own houses, but don’t care about cleanliness in common ground. Modernisation brought lots of plastic and other material, which takes very long to rot, which can be found everywhere. Parts of the material is recycled and therefore collected by the very poor people, who can earn small money by that. Toys are not yet so common in rural areas and the children use anything to play with.
Taken by Laxman Jat, 12 years, Chandelao/Rajasthan
All children like to move around a lot and are not happy to sit for long hours. One can see them often playing especially in the colder months of the year.
Taken by Tundup Dolkar, 13 years, Hongshed/Zanskar
The children of Zanskar have seen photos (and maybe movies, too) of western ballroom-dancing and now rey to imitate this. In their own traditional dancing there are no couple dances, only group dances.
Taken by Stanzin Skalzang, 14 years, Khasar/Zanskar
Zanskar has a power supply (it should work every evening after 7 pm, but there are many problems resulting in long power shortcuts) and many families own a TV. That is one source where they get ideas about fashion, lifestyles etc. from other parts in India and the rest of the world. Internet works only very limited in the capital of Padum.
Taken by Pista Sirohi, 13 years, Chandelao/Rajasthan
It is quite new for Chandelao that parents are investing into education of their daughters. Their marriages are arranged and the parents have to pay dowry. The husband should have a better education than the wife. So educated girls have the chance of getting a good marriage – or the bad luck to not finding a propper match. For higher education (after class 10) they had to visit a school outside the village – no problem for the boys with bicycles, for girls it was not allowed. The Thakur sponsored a car for them.
Taken by Tundup Dolkar, 14 year, Hongshed/Zanskar
The girls of the hostel of the Secpad-School tried to take a photo with as many girls as possible alltogether in the air. Coordinator was Stanzin Chemath, the girl on the left, who wants to join the police after school. Mostly children want to become doctor, engineer or teacher. For further education (college and university) they have to go outside to bigger Indian cities like Jammu, Delhi and Chandigarh. There they build communities between themselves.
Taken by Nowraj Gurung, 13 years, Dubdi/Sikkim
The young monks in Sikkim have to waer the robe only for school and special occasions. Rest of the time they dress in ordinary clothes, being something like a „part-time monk“. They decide only after age 18 wether they want to become a monk. Then they have to join the Sheda-college and pass special exams.
Taken by Pemba Tendup Lepcha, 12 years, Dubdi/Sikkim
Dawa Tashi, aged 12, is from a poor family from Ribdi, a remote village close to the nepali border with meager agriculture. With another 4 boys he is joining the Dubdi monastic school, only going home the 5 hrs. drive 3 times a year for the holidays. The monastic school with hostel is free of costs and therefore a good option for the very poor people. He likes the close community of the boys.
Taken by Devaram Prihar, 15 year, Chandelao/Rajasthan
In the rural areas of India we find the children being very close with nature. They have a natural connection with most animals and are enthusiastic taking photos of and with them. For sure technical things like TV, mobiles, cameras etc. are very attractive for them, but in the first place they grow up in the circle of life dominated by the circle of nature.