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(INDIA 16)








Nigulsari village, Nichar, Sutlej valley, Kinnaur


December 1996


A short interview with mainly brief answers, giving some information on the activities and livelihood of her community and the work carried out by women. Khrishna explains that “women mainly milk the cows, take the manure [to the fields], carry loads, turn the soil in the fields, sow vegetables, cook, wash clothes, etc. Whereas the man tills the soil, ploughs the fields, rears sheep and goats, builds houses and collects wood and stones, etc.” She also discusses transport, the importance of religion, the new fertilisers - which she says make the soil hard - her favourite foods and her apple orchard.

She concludes the testimony by listing the main activities carried out during the year: “For six months we are busy doing farming and we spend the remaining six months in doing some sort of labour, going from one place to another, from one region to another area, learning about how other people live, about their customs and traditions and the new techniques to improve farm methods.” She also emphasises the need for better roads: “There is only one state highway in the entire region, for vehicles to use…People carry heavy loads on their back. Roads are badly needed.”

detailed breakdown

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Section 1  Mentions major activities, beliefs and customs of the community: “agriculture, animal rearing, belief in gods and goddesses…educating boys and girls and marrying them off, and celebrating Fulyanch, Dakhlening, Diwali and Veeshu Faguli every year.” Lists the castes and occupations/professions in the community. Travel: “If there are trains or buses we use them. If there are no roads, we walk. At times we have to ride a horse to travel long distances.” The jobs done by men and women. She makes ends meet by “farming, cattle rearing and selling apples.” Education in Nichar: “it is the best”
Section 2  Talks of the importance of education, but says “people in the olden days were honest and truthful. But today they are clever, cunning, and they tell lies.” Life is better since independence, but health has deteriorated. It used to be cured by prayer or herbal treatment, both of which are in decline now. Marriage: polyandry used to be common; dowry rare; some girls were forced into marriage.
Section 3-4  They visit temples morning and evening, the area is known as the land of the gods. Disputes solved by the by the numberdar. The government’s electrification program: “this program has reached almost all the parts of our region. I think it is very useful.” Sings two songs. Superiority of cow dung over chemical fertilizer. Her orchard: “We have to spend a lot for spraying insecticides whereas the income is comparatively lower
Section 4  Her favourite foods Her honey bees Now says some diseases have reduced: “Earlier I used to see people with goitre or polio or deaf people. But with the increase of education, they keep consulting experts to check all these problems.” There is no irrigation: “We depend on rains as we did earlier. These days the government is paying special attention to providing drinking water and water for irrigation purposes” Her year’s activities: six months farming, six months travelling from place to place doing waged work. This helps them learn from others. The need for better roads.