Last week, we organised Matti Manushulu, a photo exhibition on the farmers of Telangana which started in Bangalore on the eve of Independence Day.
Most people who visited the gallery on the day of inauguration spoke about how compelling the photos were and how important it is to raise awareness in urban areas about where our food comes from — not just from the supermarket but from our farmers who endure rough conditions with remarkable grace.
“In a world fuelled by consumerism, the youth have forgotten from where the bread comes. If they come and see this exhibition, they will come to know what the importance of agriculture is and how agriculture is in India. 80% of the working force in agriculture are women but they are not given the due importance they deserve,” said Mrinal Roy, a man who visited from Lucknow.
There are people who visited the gallery multiple times in the last few days. An old tatha who does not speak any language that we know walks in every evening, signs his name in the visitors book and slowly walks around in the same pattern every day.
Balaji, an artist who works at Rangoli, also comes in multiple times. I asked him what appeals to him in these photos. He said it reminds him of his village which is near the Telangana — Karnataka border.
And this is true for many of us. This exhibition throws us back to where we come from.
“This is the closest I could get to their lives, through someone else’s experiences,” says Satender Sharma, a Rang De Social Investor and a Bangalore Chapter Member.
A lieutenant in the Indian army, who is home on a three day vacation, regarded each photo for several seconds with an unreadable expression. He marched out of the gallery, only to return a few seconds later, soften his stiff stance and say, “Good work. Keep it up”.
A few people would walk up to us, curious to know more about the people in the photographs and about Rang De. They would have generous feedback for the photographers as well as Rang De.
Some would see the photos beyond our interpretations.
Franziska, a traveller from Germany, remarked how some of the photos are a strong representation of hope.
And that is exactly what this project was all about.
In fact, that is what Rang De is all about. Capturing hope and trying to make it live on.
Thank you to all those who attended our exhibition in Bangalore and Hyderabad.