Metroplus

A day in the life of a woman farmer

A photograph displayed as part of the exhibition ‘Matti manushulu’  

The frames tell the stories of women farmers toiling in the field. The rural setting of villages Chinna Nandigama and Pedda Nandigama in Mahbubnagar district of Telangana and its women farmers in the fields are captured by a group of photographers. Ace photographer Saurabh Chatterjee, an ‘investor’ in NGO Rang De organised a workshop to the village where 13 amateur photographers also participated. Though the trip was in June this year, the Rang De team required a month of planning and preparation for the selection of photos. The exhibition with its 50 frames was titled ‘Matti Manushulu’ and was simultaneously organised in Lamakaan in the city and also Bengaluru.

Saurabh points out the main aim of the workshop was to create awareness. “I wanted to contribute and this inspired me to do the project. The purpose of the workshop was to throw light on the hardships faced by farmers. Every time I saw the sad state of farmers, I always wished that I could do something for them. Two years back, I became a social investor at Rang De, an organization which provides micro-finance to the farmers. I wanted to raise awareness as to how it is transforming the farmers’ lives. So, the participants were instructed to not simply take beautiful pictures but take ones that tell stories of their hardships and their resilience,” he explains and adds, “We all eat the produce of the farmers but unfortunately we are not aware of the hardships they face in getting it to the market. This was to raise awareness among urban dwellers, especially the younger generation.”

Interestingly the exhibition showcases only women farmers. “Our focus was only on women farmers as we wanted to showcase their quest for financial freedom,” he states. Saurabh recalls the experience of capturing women farmers. “Initially the women were not very comfortable. It was tough. Though many of the shots taken were candid as they were working in the fields; we also asked for their permission to take a few portraits. Since it was the first time that they were being photographed, they were a bit shy initially but as we interacted with them and listened to their inspirational stories, they got more comfortable.”

Saurabh also speaks of the challenges the team faced while shooting the pictures. “The first challenge was the weather. We used to leave early morning and it would rain heavily. Despite the rains, fortunately, everybody turned up. Miraculously, by the time we reached the villages, the sky would clear up,” he says and adds, “We also had to make them comfortable before we took their shots. We spent time talking to them and hearing their stories, and that really helped.” He is also planning a similar workshop for children so that they also appreciate the process of how the food we consume reaches the supermarket.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 10:36:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/A-day-in-the-life-of-a-woman-farmer/article14583646.ece

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