Rebaris – Pastoral nomads on the brink

Gurgaon: A boy interacts with his family’s herd of cows at a ‘dera’ or camp on an unused patch of land in Gurgaon, in 2002. (Photo by Gurinder Osan)

Shot over a period of two decades, the cow herding Rebari nomads from the Indian state of Rajasthan’s Jalore district ‘try’ to camp on the outskirts of the national capital and its suburb’s. Increasing pressure on land has encroached on the traditional pasture areas found on unused land, both rural and urban, leading them into completely marginalized oblivion.

Gurgaon: A harbinger of change, from rural to urban, electricity poles stand in the background of cows grazing on an unused patch of land in Gurgaon, in 2002. The lay of the land gets re-mapped as the suburb of New Delhi heads towards it becoming a ‘Millennium’ city. (Photo by Gurinder Osan)

The nomadic tribe moves in search of pastures for their cattle along with the entire family, including women and children, and livestock. With the fast changing landscape, from rural farmlands to the urban ‘Millennium’ city of Gurgaon and housing some of the biggest names in the corporate world, the Rebari nomads find themselves as the odd ones out in a world changing too fast. Their tough but simple and happy lifestyle stands threatened amidst ‘development’ pressure that is increasingly skewed away from the traditional ways of life that had worked harmoniously for India’s centuries old civilization.

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