In and around Bhamlada

The people of sub-mountainous
region Dhar Block and I

The hilly area in Dhar block in an around Bhamlada, some aspects of the present and the future

Some interesting points of social
Anthropology and our work

Features Page

Dunera Page

The people of sub-mountainous region
Dhar Block and I

I had arrived here from Calcutta at a crucial point of time, and have stayed here for twenty five years. So I was able to witness two phases of social life in this region.
For the first few years, I was able to watch the old form of society with its traditional values closely. The old form of society not only had a different set of values but a different type of lifestyle too.
Many of the traditional ways of that lifestyle are centuries old and had been followed by hill people here as those ways had been accepted in this area from generations in "Pahari" tradition.
When I first came here, people born and brought up in the old system of lifestyle were in the dominant positions in the society. Gradually time and old age took its toll on the older generation and steadily increasing pressure created by exposure to the outer world, especially through televisions and magazines, changed the social system with increasing rapidity.
The society here was transforming fast in recent years due to the influences of information technology. The easy availability of satelite channels, news paper and magazines have brought the outer world much nearer to the village people. Nearly all the school going children nowadays go to school and education, at least upto the primary level has become a must. Connectivity through moblies has spread the mixed benifits of "the communication" revolution even in this remote area. For first ten years of my stay here I did not have electricity and it took more than twelve years to have a water tap connection. For each and every small or big work concerning development one has to push on.
Changes came with mixed blessings of positive and negative factors both. Many of the positive and healthy human values gave way to unscrupulous money minded opportunist attitudes while several harmful social blockages were removed.
Many more people are concerned about the outer world here today. The world outside is being brought nearer day by day by the advent of modern information technology.
The most remarkable positive change is the spread of education. This has been brought about by the development of the feeling that education for boys and girls, is necessary in life. The barrier between boys and girls in social acceptance has been eroded to a great extant. This has led to an influx of private schools which definitely impart much better quality education than governments educational institutions here.
Economic expectations and income has increased amongst the common people, while "needs" have increased greatly. Shops selling stationary and cosmetics have been set up at many places of the main road and on by lanes too.
This proves that the buying capacity of the common people has increased significantly. Moreover, the growth of small scale industries such as sheet metal works, baking units, quality furniture making workshops and welding workshops have also contributed to the development of this area.
The new generation is much more development oriented in the remote villages here and are quite conscious about the country and the outer world.
There are still many setbacks and difficulties to overcome, but the general trend of the economy shows an upward rising graph.
Prabal Pramanik's Academy of Arts is doing its best to increase the cultural consciousness of the common people as we believe that the spread of healthy culture is one of the best ways to develop a society from grassroots level, so the Academy takes on interactive projects with the people from all walks of society here at Dhar block. I find that, information technology is accepted with a positive and hopeful attitude, here and the Academy projects to involve local village people in the programmes that take the help of modern information technology are very successful.
From the Anthropological view point, most of the people living in the sub-mountainous area of Dhar Block are from different groups of hill people who are much more akin to Himachali and Dogri people than to lowland Punjabis.
Their nature, food habits and ways of life are basically similar to hill people, as them are from the hill tribes and hill communities. "Gaddis" not only come here seasonally, but many of them also stay here throughout the year. Many of the local people have relatives living in Chamba, Bharmour, Nurpur, Basoli and Jammu.
Most of the "Gujjar" tribes passing through this area are also seasonal migrants from rural area of Chamba and Bathri, yet a sizable population of Muslims live here throughout the year. The human migration of the hills of this part of the Himalayas have influenced the history of this region much. Though modern values are introducing contemporary life styles, the traditional tastes run deep in the way of life.
Still, the rapid modernization in this era of assimilation makes it a great necessity to record old customs and pahari culture of this sub-mountainous area between Ravi and Chakki rivers. This particular place in the Kandi region has its own character, and cultural trends.
"Prabal Pramanik's Academy of Arts" has published a widely acclaimed book on this area and has prepared two movies on the land and people of this area.
History records the influence of many diverse anthropological groups in this north western part of India. Greeks, Bactrians, Sythians, several central Asian tribes as well as the older Aryan and non Aryan communities have used this area on their migration routes, influencing the genetics of this area.
Ever since 1984, I had been recording the Anthropological data on transparencies and recording folk songs. I understood the need of such work with great urgency. I made detailed sketches of the life style of local people and all this material is of great value in my research today.
My intention is not only to preserve on records the fleeting way of life but also to develop this area in the real sense.
The question comes, how can I develop this area with my slender resources? The answer is that the people of this area will develop this area themselves but I have to make them conscious about it and to show them the way to do this work.
Just by pumping in money in any area developments do not occur. A lot of money had been distributed to local people when Thien Dam (Ranjit Sagar Dam) project was launched by the government but that did not initiate the construction of a single educational institution, hospital or industry here. Only several "thekas" or liquor shops were build where people wasted a large amount of their money.
Practical training without facilities for the application of that training is poor planning indeed, as the people receiving that training would not be able to apply their acquired knowledge.
Just to get some funds from public money in the name of any project does not work either, as if offers dishonest people excuses to misappropriate those funds.
People, I have found can work miracles if made conscious about their rights, duties and opportunities. When I think that I am living for the nation and the world in general, my life has a special meaning for myself.
With this aspect in my mind, and with faith in Almighty, I push on against many odds towards my goal.

by Prabal Pramanik

 

Dhar_people-3.jpg (23239 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

 

Dhar_people-6.jpg (30123 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

 

Dhar_people-12.jpg (26046 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

 

Dhar_people-7.jpg (27069 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

 

 

 

These pictures were made with pencil, crayons
and pastels on paper.
The sketches were made directly on the spot.

 

These pictures were made with pencil, crayons and pastels on paper.
The sketches were made
directly on the spot.

Dhar_people-1.jpg (21493 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

Dhar_people-4.jpg (25332 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

Dhar_people-9.jpg (33814 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

Dhar_people-11.jpg (27055 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

Dhar_people-15.jpg (27964 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

Dhar_people-2.jpg (19904 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

Dhar_people-5.jpg (22908 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

Dhar_people-8.jpg (35748 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

Dhar_people-14.jpg (31865 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

Dhar_people-13.jpg (25066 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

Dhar_people-10.jpg (52461 bytes)
Art work by Prabal Pramanik

 



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