people of kutch: in a village of the rabari

the district kutch in gujarat of india is famous for the diversity and quality of textiles and handycrafts. in kutch live a lot of different communities which are nomadic or semi-nomadic and artisan. they live together with and from their animals and also make wood work, rogan art, embroidery, blockprinting, copper bells, pottery, metal works, tie-dye (bandhani). most of the communities have their own styles and you can recognize from the design to which community they belong to, specially in the embroidery, the clothes, the jewelery. the communities are muslim and hindu, from different jatis (castes), some came as refugees from pakistan after the seperation or while the wars between the two countries. some of the groups have subgroups. their names are: jats, meghval, sameja, rabari, mutava, machhoya, ahir, kumbhar…

on the way to the great rann natascha and her companion took rest in a village of a group of the rabari not far from the white, salty area of the desert. the women where sitting in the quiet streets of the village, making embroidery surrounded by children. it was evening time and the men were coming back with their cattles, bringing them home for the night. they invited the girl and the old man into their homes, invited them to drink chai with them.

even previously this group was catching her attention. she wasn´t sure why. maybe just because of the black dress of the older women or their heavy jewelery, or the white cloth of the men. she was wondering why this group is wearing black, what is very untypical for the indian dress. the people told her that they wear it as a sign for their sadness that they had had to leave their home in pakistan. while the meeting she noticed one more interesting point which make a big difference to other indian communities: the rabari is a matriarchal one.

if there is any communtity which people can call matriarchal.



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