A Photography Workshop With A Cause In Rural Telangana

June 28, 2016
By Rang De Team

13 photographers will have their work exhibited in Bangalore and Hyderabad in August in a bid to help the farmers of Hasnabad in rural Telangana

Find the event invite for Hyderabad here and the one at Bangalore at the following link.

In June, we partnered with Saurabh Chatterjee, an experienced photographer based in Hyderabad and took 13 photographers to rural Telangana.

Starting out early in the morning at 5am, the group comprised a diverse bunch. A German senior engineering professional, a 2nd year B Com student and a former high court judge were just some of the attendees!

After a nice breakfast in Kodangal, we headed over to Hasnabad to meet the farmers for whom we are looking to raise nearly 10 lakhs. The photographers took photos interacting with the farmers and Saurabh will feature the best ones in an exhibition in Rangoli in Bangalore.

As we traversed the bumpy roads, Impact team member Rachana remarked how it was all dry soil that could be seen over the course of the journey.

If one was to dig a few feet here or there, you would be bound to hit rock and red, fertile soil rarely showed up along the side of the road.

What heartened us was a little anecdote that one of the members shared about how she signed up to Saurbh’s photography group.

© Gayathri A

Mrs Bhanu, a 58-year-old and a former Hindi teacher, had to quit her job because of ill health but she felt uneasy at home. Her son knew she liked taking photos so he put up an ad on the noticeboard at his Infosys office asking for a photography teacher and Saurabh promptly got in touch.

Aspiring to help every camera owner become a great photographer, Saurabh tutored his students as they took snaps of the countryside and told them to pay attention to moments relevant to countryside life.

We saw women farmers de-weed, plant seeds and sow using bullock carts. The crops that were grown in the area were red gram, maize and cotton.

The villagers also told us that their bore wells have dried up fast in recent years.

Hasnabad has been in a drought-like state for the past three years and they have really struggled to grow enough in recent times.

We also met Venkatamma, the director of the Hasnabad Farmers’ Producer Company, and showed her the video that we made in April where she eloquently outlined her community’s problems.

She was pleased with the video although she did enquire if they could get their funds soon as the rains have arrived and the farmers need to begin work.

The little children were fascinated by the presence of so many photographers and followed us everywhere. We even allowed them to become photographers for the day with each child volunteering to take a photo of the group one by one.

As it is dry land, the farmers cannot grow as much as on wet land even if they have five acres or more. On the other hand, farmers in the area still stick to traditional methods and require 2–3 inch of water at all times to grow paddy.

A tree was being felled nearby, unfortunately, and one of the photographers remarked that villagers do not see trees as useful members of the ecosystem when they have an important role to play.

In a similar manner, the former high court judge recalled that he couldn’t answer his grandson living in the United States how rice is grown so he had to bring paddy and had to show him the various steps.

There is a lack of awareness in both rural and urban areas that needs to be bridged if we are to succeed in our quest for development for the country.

© Gayathri A

After a wonderful lunch on the field, we moved to another village where we were invited into a farmer’s home for tea.

The last time Rachana had met this farmer, she had been informed that electricity was not a problem but now it only comes for three hours in a day making bore well maintenance a difficult endeavour.

Many of the photographers have now joined us as social investors.

After a tiring day that involved a lot of walking, we returned to Hyderabad with happy hearts and hundreds of snaps that we earnestly hope will help farmers like Venkatamma.

Please find the details below for the exhibitions that will showcase this community of farmers in Bangalore and Hyderabad on Independence Day Week.

Hyderabad

Lamakaan, Off Road No. 1, Banjara Hills, Opposite GVK One, Hyderabad from Aug 13–21, 10am-7pm (goo.gl/maps/YUE194Lg6DQ2)

Bangalore

Belaku — Rangoli Metro Art Gallery, MG Road, Bangalore from Aug 14–21, 10am-7pm (goo.gl/maps/LwH5mgY84FB2)

For any further queries, please write to rachana@rangde.org