On the road less travelled

An Apa Tani woman from Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh. (Photographs by Anu Mahotra)

An Apa Tani woman from Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh. Photos: Anu Mahotra

By Vandana Kalra

A four-hour road journey from Itanagar leads you to the Ziro valley, which is home to the Apa Tani tribe. They claim common ancestry with Abo Tani, who, they say, was the first human being on earth. It is with them that filmmaker and photographer Anu Malhotra began her quest to document tribal culture. Her 2000 film The Apa Tani of Arunachal Pradesh recorded the life and customs of the tribe. “I realised how strong community bonds are important to keep us rooted and secure, and how a sense of belonging can enhance our well-being,” she says, recalling the experience.

She shares the memories of that journey in her new book Soul Survivors, which also has photographs of the Konyaks of Nagaland and the nomads of Tibet. “We were blindly aping the West and a lot of our living heritage and culture was vanishing. We were losing our traditional wisdom, wise ways of life; I wanted to document and encapsulate these,” she adds.


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Credit: indianexpress.com