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Photographer's Note

Bhagtu is a Gaddi and lives in the village of Meloh about 10km north of Chamba town. Like many of the Gaddi people he used to work as a shepherd but these days he has settled down to concentrate on farming. On their terraced fields Bhagtu and his family grown makki (corn), gav (wheat) and rajma (kidney beans). He has retained a few sheep and goats from his shepherding days and these provide wool for clothing and meat for feasting. The nomadic shepherding practiced by the Gaddis is not an easy life: “everyone wants to take your flock: leopards, bears and thieves from the towns. When it rains and snows you have to stay on the mountains with your animals”. Bhagtu’s advice for the young generation is to get a good education and go for some nice government job.

This photo was taken in Bhagtu's house. As is customary he offered me some guranji (country wine); it was still early in the day but I felt it would have been rude not to accept!

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