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    Phool Waalon ki Sair: The Flower Seller's Festival

    Phool Walon Ki Sair meaning "procession of the florists" is an annual celebration by the flowers sellers of Delhi. It is a three-day festival, generally held just after the rainy season in the region of Mehrauli. The grand procession that followed Mirza Jahangir’s return in 1812 witnessed the flower sellers of the city bringing floral chadar (sheets) and pankha (fan) as offerings. This became an annual event, with a large fair and a series of cultural performances held near Shamsi Talab.

    Women's Mobilities in Naga Hills

     In the remote Naga hills , beyond the capital city of Kohima, stands the beautiful and historic village of Khonoma. Traditionally a site of resistance, having pushed back British rule in the region from the 1830s to 1880, Khonoma continues to be a space striving towards safeguarding the rights of women while strengthening Naga unity through organisations like the Khonoma Women Union, in whose honour this obelisk stands marking its 25 years in 2013.

    Threshing through Bullock Treading-Agricultural Practices

    A farmer threshes his harvested crop in the village of Paliya Pipariya, Madhya Pradesh. In the age of combine harvesters, small scale farmers still rely on traditional methods such as bullock treading (seen in the picture) for threshing of crops, followed by winnowing. A common practice in many parts of the world, this particular method involves a herd of cattle tied to a wooden pole, made to tread in circles on the threshing floor where the dried crop is spread out.

    Ayaakho Ojala

    Every mother tongue has sounds and sighs that utter laments and express hope. The word Ayaakho Ojala is derived from the Ao Indigenous tribal language and is the ultimate angst that is often invoked by women. It signifies a mother’s strength and comfort.  As a woman utters it, she finds relief and rest from the pain of patriarchy that seeks to crush her down.

    The Naga Day

    When the day came to be, Kohima was resplendent in sunshine. It was January 10, 2018, the first Naga Day. At the Kohima Local Ground, Khuochiezie, music played from the early morning hours.In the surrounding market area, people hummed the tunes as they set up shop. Some planned to go to the ground, some planned to watch from their terraces—everyone had heard this one thing, Nagas from everywhere were coming together.

    Libraries of a Town

    Bhagat Singh Library and Cultural Centre (1983-1990) was an initiative of a grassroot organisation called Kishore Bharti in Pipariya, Madhya Pradesh. The Library/Centre focused on creating social awareness through reading, writing and community based activities. While the library started as a space for all the sections, a need was soon felt to add a separate slot to encourage women readers. In the following excerpt, Rekha Vyohaar, a resident of Pipariya, shed light on how the setup was significant to the women at the local level:

    ‘Hliang-Phi Jaothi’

    Each time when Hin Lad Nai villagers work on their farmland – either alone or with their friends and families, they usually practice the ceremony called ‘Hliang-Phi Jaothi’. In Hliang-Phi Jaothi they offer some of their food to the guardian spirit or ‘Phi Jaothi’ before having lunch.  In practicing the ceremony, they first prepare some food on banana leaves, they pray and call on Phi Jaothi to eat the food. The eldest man from each household does this this process. He holds the rice pack (made from banana leaves), and lays it on stump before squatting down and praying.

    Forest Hero

    Pati Preecha Siri is regarded as a very respectful elder among the villagers of Hin Lad Nai community. He was honoured by the United Nations, on April 10th 2012, at Istanbul, Turkey, with the “Forest Hero Award” for the the whole community's work in protecting and preserving the forest. There were only five people selected to receive the award from 47 people and 30 countries around the world, and Pati Preecha was the one selected from Asia.

    Moving Roundabouts

    “The tea and snack joints at Mangalwara Chowk have always been very integral to the town of Pipariya. During the 1950’s and 60’s, there were two very popular joints here. One of them was called ‘Bharat Hotel’ and belonged to a Sindhi fellow. Sindhis came to this town after partition and set up small scale confectionary shops. The other one was run by Mr. Shyam Jaiswal. These joints were the hubs of all the political and social gossip in the town.

    Chedema Baptist Choir

    This is a choir from the Chedema Baptist Church singing on the occassion of the 69th Naga Plebiscite Day.

    It talks of a creator, Christ in heaven, who be praised and  who blesses the congregation to stay together as one.

    The Naga nation is that one holy congregation which seeks to remain as one, together in its mission to spread the word of God.

    Mapping the Neighbourhoods

    A Google map representation of the town of Pipariya situated in Madhya Pradesh, India. The map is marked with 25 local neighbourhoods (names in Hindi script Devnagri) that were an often-recurring reference point in the oral narratives recorded with the residents of the town. Highlighting the politics of everyday spaces, the map can be considered a visual marker of a settlement where some places are more or less relevant than others.       

    Grazing the Grounds

    Suman Bai Goojar is a resident of Puraani Basti, one of the oldest settlements in the town of Pipariya, Madhya Pradesh. Hailing from the semi-nomadic pastoral Goojar community, hers is a narrative where fields are connected to pastures and communities to spaces. A snippet from our recorded conversation:

    Streets of Leiden

    The 1890 photograph of ‘laundry day’ shows people washing, bleaching and drying their clothes on the side of the canals of Leiden. According to our sources, the people in Leiden used the water that was centrally heated by the factories, once a week, to wash their clothes once a week. They needed the entire streets for the laundry process and used it as a community.

    Saturday Market

    The setting of the Saturday Market is a completely different image from the other local shops during the weekdays. It opens twice a week - a small one on Wednesdays, and the main one on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. It is full of products from local and as well as non-Ducth origin (e.g Mabroek). The uniqueness of the market makes people visit it and makes the experience worthwhile. People come not only to shop but also to relax, to enjoy their Saturdays with family and friends.

    The Keys of Heaven

    The keys are a symbol of Leiden and are found everywhere. As a first time visitor I found them odd. As we talked to different people we were told that these are the keys of Saint Peter. Like the coats of arms in Ghana that talks about the belief of the people and acts as a cultural symbol, the keys of Saint Peter have become a symbol that people identify themselves with.

    Sub-Theme Discussion in the Course 'Blue Across Borders'

    As for the semester of Spring 2019, some changes were made such as the adoption of theme-based group discussion. The students were divided into four discussion groups on (1) language and memory, (2) landscape and place, (3) gender and labour, and (4) market and aesthetics. These four sub-themes were adopted in the HaB methodologies workshop in in October 2018. This new trial helped to open up viewpoints based on cultural and historical understandings acquired in the previous stage.

    Indigo as Pedagogy

    Starting 2012, the TNUA Centre for Traditional Arts (CTA) initiated a series of field courses, including indigenous boat making, bark cloth making, banana fiber crafts, ritual parades etc.; the course of ‘Natural Dyeing’ was one of them. These courses aimed to bring students out of the classroom to learn from the soil and different people who give life to traditional arts, and to learn how traditional arts are related to the society and their generation. The 2013 course of ‘Natural Dyeing’, conducted with many partners, was divided into three main stages.

    Walking the Naga Day

    Walking the Naga Day on 10 January is where memory and meaning meet for the contemporary Naga . It is also the first time that conscientious Nagas decided to create this event in a public forum to awaken every Naga's idea of home and the community. 

     

    It brings together  the voices, visions and many aspirations of the community as they straddle the borders of peace and conflict , of work and ethics, of construction and destruction, of harmony and violence as they go forth with the promise of a new year into a more stable future  .

     

    Rice Varieties

    One of the items on display at most of the local Autonomous Council sponsored/organized exhibitions at BTC areas of Assam is different varieties of rice seeds, including indigous and hybrid ones. The main target is to create awareness of hybrid varieties of rice but what it does is also make aundience realize the invisibility of indigenous varieties.

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