Earlier this year I embarked on a voyage around Rajasthan by car on my own. It was a journey to understand a unique part of my ancestry of which I previously had no record of – this mystifying part of the world which is known for its colours and diversity; I wanted to see more than that.
The range of characters that I met seemed to almost seem surreal reminding me of all the films and books I had seen and read of India: the mix of masala, culture and the desperate inherent nature to sell.
I understood as I saw these faces appear before me, behind that portrayal of dynamic colour of this state lies the highest level of extremism; ranging from the glorious historical reign of the kings, palaces, polo, courtyards and princesses – to a rural, dusty, folk of people who are still caught in the history of time, who are not glorified and need help to retain the natural instinct that is in the souls and hearts of the Rajasthani people.
I was surprised to see the level of awareness on AIDS, and learnt what a significant problem it is in the desert regions – The village Sam that I photographed is just one example that is trying to promote such awareness. Queen Harish is also using the beauty of his performance to pave the path of music and dance for those willing to learn but have no access to – they still need musical instruments and a place to practice.
I am sharing these photographs with the hope that something can be done to assist in aiding these villages and culture so that these beautiful stories can be continuously told through generations and that the commercial influence of tourism does not hinder it’s growth.
Rajasthan will always hold a deep-shared place in my memories: the chanting, it’s beautiful yet violent history, which is in and part of an India we will soon not be able to recognise.