Telling stories of farmers’ toil

Documenting how the ‘silent majority’ lives

By Author  |  Saurabh Chatterjee  |  Published: 28th May 2017  12:01 amUpdated: 27th May 2017  11:34 pm
Hard Life: A farmers and his family in a pensive mood at their home. Photo: Saurabh Chatterjee

During my travels through the State, the idea to collaborate with a local NGO working in rural areas and make a positive impact through my travels had been at the back of my mind for quite some time. So when the opportunity arose, I decided to team up with the microfinance organisation Rangde.

Together with some like-minded photographers, we decided to go on a day trip to two villages — Chinna Nandigama and Pedda Nandigama — in Mahabubnagar district. Rangde had been working with the farmers there and had improved their quality of life considerably.  

The purpose of the trip was not just to capture beautiful images, but to tell stories of the farmers through photographs.

However, the night before the trip, it rained heavily and I was left wondering whether the other participants would turn up. But surprisingly, all of them did turn up the next morning and we set out to explore the villages.

Women returning home after the day’s work. Photo: Saurabh Chatterjee

Inquisitive lot

After breakfast in Kodangal, we headed to Hasnabad to meet the farmers. It was great interacting with them and we took plenty of pictures of the farmers working in the fields. Most were women who narrated their experiences working with Rangde which provided them with small loans to make them independent. While we were there, some of the village children riding half-pedal bicycles saw our group and came to see what we were doing there. Many of them had never seen photographers outside of a special occasion. They were an

inquisitive lot; I gave them my camera and allowed them to take some pictures. It was nice to see their excitement exploring parts of the camera and their delight in seeing the pictures they took.

Insight into another life

For the young photographers who came with me, the trip was an enlightening experience as many were visiting a village after decades; two youngsters confessed that they had never been to a village before. It’s so unfortunate that a majority of the younger generation thinks that the food we eat comes from the local supermarket. They don’t seem to be aware how it reaches the market and how hard the farmers work to get a decent yield.

After meeting the farmers, we sat down to a simple but delicious lunch arranged by them under the shade of a tree. Later we returned to the field again. While we were returning, we saw a few village girls sitting on a swing made from a tyre, which brought back memories of my childhood spent in my village. 

Some more photographs later, one of the farmers insisted that we have tea in his house. Not wanting to say no, we agreed and had a nice time sitting in the lovely courtyard sipping the hot sweet tea and talking to his family members. Soon, it was time for us to leave and return to the urban jungle we had come from.

A farmer talks animatedly with his helpers. Photo: Saurabh Chatterjee

How to reach the place: The best way is to drive to the two villages. They are also accessible by train as Mahabubnagar is linked by rail.

Nearby places: Pillalamarri

Start early since it can get hot later. Wear comfortable cottons and sports shoes as there is a lot of walking to do in the fields. Treat the farmers with respect, they deserve it.