Tribal villages of Kutch in Gujarat, minorities at risk

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Every year, on the borders of the great White Desert in the northern Khutch, in Gujarat, a gigantic ethnic festival is organized. It attracts hundreds of thousands of Indian tourists. The large region of Kutch is the home for several ethnic minorities and its tribal villages are renowned for the handicrafts made of the most beautiful and varied metals, jewellery, textiles and pottery. However, the situation in which people live in many villages is of extreme poverty.

The tradition is exploited to motivate tourism which actually does not bring any benefit to the local population if not through intermediaries. In some villages, such as Khavda, the producers are able to export their wares all over India at a fair price, but the situation is very different in others.  A significant example is one village that is very close to the most visited hot-spot, a lookout over the white desert where groups of Indian tourists and school classes arrive by bus and never stop in the villages below. Here, however, is where low-cost goods are manufactured, then sold in tourist areas up to five times the cost.

It is clear however what is the current aim for development: tourism. Numbers are exponentially growing, hand by hand with the growth of well-being, and statistics aside the amount of tourists not only at the sites of the desert, even for recreational activities that are organized on the reservoirs, is visible.


It is a domestic tourism, but coming from the rest of India.  All the benefits declared by the central government remain to be seen, what you see are conditions of a widespread poverty. Despite the industrial wealth of the State, the living standards of the poor are very low.

These villages can be considered relatively lucky, although there are important mineral resources (excluding gas reserves, in the salt desert there are lignite, bauxite and gypsum, in particular) the government has not subcontracted land use to any multinational companies nor started any campaign of displacement. Not likely for the time being, as in other parts of India, where people are removed or harshly repressed. Many statements about development projects are done in Gujarat, in line with the model of the large dams. There are ninety-seven small rivers in the district of Kutch. Twenty large dams and several smaller dams retain water in the rainy season runoff. While most of these dams do not affect, since being on rivers that flow directly into the Arabian Sea, in others the storage of water during the rainy season, and its use for irrigation, has significantly reduced the flow of available fresh water. A mainly pastoral society does not receive great benefits from projects designed for the agriculture and the tourism, even more so if we consider the enormous costs. And the needed resources are huge.





© 2013 Marco Palladino – all rights reserved




adult, africa, asia, asian, beautiful, bindi, black, bride, calm, closeup, clothing, color, cultural, culture, ethnic, ethnicity, face, farmer, farming, fashion, female, girl, grass, green, gypsy, happy, head, headshot, hindu, human, india, indian, jewelry, jewels, landscape, national, nomadic, one, park, pastoralists, people, person, poor, portrait, poverty, rajasthan, reserve, road, rural, saree, smiling, tradition, traditional, travel, tree, tribal, tribe, tribes, village, villager, walking, wildlife, woman, work, worker

Contact Form


Email *

Message *