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Ethnographic reach on the women vegetable vendors od Gujarat

Transcript of Ethnography - sounds



    Women fruit and vegetable vendors

    Sector 7 Market, Gandhinagar, Gujarat

    Submitted by

    Tanu Malhotra NMD 11



    Name: Saakar Ben

    Gender: Female

    Age: 35 years

    Education: Studied till 7 standard

    Languages known: Gujarati read, write and speak

    Hindi speak

    Employment: Hired to sell vegetables

    Income: earns Rs 100 per day

    Husband: Arvind, died in 2006

    Children: Sanjay, Married wife and 2 year old daughter

    Sandeep, Unmarried, Works as a clerk

    Sunil, Unmarried, Studying

    Current home: Sector 7, Gandhinagar

    Origin: Village in Ahmadabad

    Family: Stays with two of her sons Sandeep and Sunil.

    Eldest son, Sanjay stays away (with his wife and daughter)


    Name: Urmila Ben

    Gender: Female

    Age: 26 years

    Education: Studied till 7 standard

    Languages known: Gujarati read, write and speak

    Hindi speak

    Employment: Stands on one of the three fruit carts belonging to the family

    Income: around 1000 per day from all three carts

    Husband: works in IDBI bank in Infocity, Gandhinagar

    Children: Nidhi, 2 years

    Current home: Sector 4,Gandhinagar

    Origin: Village in Ahmedabad

    Family: Stays with her husband and daughter alongwith her brother-in-laws



    Name: Kamala Ben

    Gender: Female

    Age: approximately 55 years

    Education: Studied till 5 standard

    Languages known: Gujarati read, write and speak

    Hindi read, write and speak

    Employment: Stands on one of the three fruit carts belonging to the family

    Income: around 1000 per day from all the three carts

    Husband: sells fruits

    Children: Two sons

    Elder son, Jayesh autorickshaw driver,Married,has two kids

    Younger son works in IDBI bank,Married ,has one daughter

    Current home: Sector 7,Gandhinagar ; stays with her husband

    Origin: Village in Ahmedabad



  • In my life I have been always inspired by women like my mother and mother like figures

    my maternal grandmother and maternal aunts.The word mother is a construct of

    sacrifice, warmth, one who sweats and toils for her family.Hence I might tend to find

    mother like figures in the field.

    I do not feel comfortable with the male gaze and try to either get rid of it by leaving the

    place or ignore it, the thought of which remains there in my mind at that very moment

    but I carry on with my tasks. Hence I do try to keep myself on a safer side instead of

    taking risks.

    Considering my frame, I planned to take an all women social group. This would

    eventually make me comfortable in the field without any insecurities of the male gaze

    and would let me focus more on my research.Initially I thought the women of my

    selected social group,the women fruit and vegetable vendors to be introvert and less

    participating for them being weaker than me in status.

    I was also ready to hear the comparisons between me and them which they might do to

    gain my sympathy. My idea was to accept whatever they offered me to eat and to do in

    order to make them feel that I was one of them.

    I was bit skeptical about them giving me their time in answering my queries as they had

    their work to do. Also had this assumption that majority of the lower middle class

    Gujaratis were more comfortable in speaking in Gujarati language instead of Hindi.

    Hence I had to be prepared to pay full attention to whatever they spoke.

    I planned to play the role of a learner. By doing so I would make them understand my

    unfamiliarity with the language. Additionally I could participate rather than being a mere


    Also I had few worries regarding the hygiene: they way they ate food, washing hands

    and sanitation habits.

    I am most comfortable in quieter places with less people around me.Hence silence is

    really significant to me.



  • Date : 17 June, Sunday ,2012

    Time : 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

    Place: Nid Post-graduate Campus, Gandhinagar ; Sargasan

    Research Method : Participant Observation,Two to many

    Actors : Me, Abi,The cleaning woman, Village women, the shady villager.

  • On one of the hot and humid summer mornings of Gandhinagar,I decided to explore 1

    Sargasan, a village barely 2 kms away,for my research on the social group. I decided to 2

    wear salwar kameez in order to cover my body fully and paired it up with the shoes 3

    which covered the feet. I was always told by my mother to dress up soberly while going 4

    to the remote areas to avoid unnecessary attraction. Every time I heard the word 5

    Sargasan a picture of two women wearing saris with their heads covered, engaged in 6

    rearing the cattle, emerged in front of my eyes.I could sketch this picture because of 7

    Pos instantaneous remark, Sargasan when I covered my face and head with a scarf 8

    in the auto on our way to Ahmadabad,long time back. 9

    On my way towards the campus gate I was stopped by Abi who wanted to know where I 10

    was heading. On knowing my plan he insisted upon joining in as he had been making 11

    several trips to the place for his projects .On reaching the main gate, I spotted one of 12

    the cleaning staff ladies, who was being checked by the security guard. 13

    ( I appreciate the way the sweepers and the other cleaning staff are checked before 14

    their entry and exit from the campus). 15

    The lady wore a floral pink sari and had a beautiful face further prettified by the set of 16

    hazel brown eyes. Thinking her to be a part of my potential research group, I went to 17

    her and enquired where she lived. The selection criterion for my social group was firstly 18

    women and closer proximity. Ankita, who was standing besides the lady prompted in 19

    and told me that she stayed at a place quite distant from the campus.On questioning 20

    Ankita as to how she knew about her residence, I was told that she was working on her 21

    project which involved her. 22

    We started searching for the auto rickshaw and none was seen in the vicinity. Five 23

    minutes later, we saw an auto rickshaw approaching us. Even after signaling, the 24

    rickshaw did not stop. On turning back I saw the same auto stopping for a guard who 25

    was with two other people.I felt a bit offended as the auto did not stop for us even 26

    though we called it first.I thought the auto guy either did not see our signal or he had 27

    already been called by the guard, I turned around and started waiting for the other one. 28

    The auto was finally found. After fixing the fare we jumped in the rick and started 29

    heading for the remote settlement .The cool breeze provided an immensely soothing 30

    experience. After ten minutes of chitchatting, we found ourselves near a vibrantly 31

    colored temple besides a mud road.My eyes searched the katchcha houses made of 32

    bricks and mud, with thatched roof and buffaloes around it.I thought the people here 33

    lived in katchcha houses. 34

    Dehydrated by the scorching heat, I started looking for grocery store to buy a bottle of 35

    water. Thankfully I could spot a grocery store with doctors clinics on its either sides . 36

    After passing by one of the clinics, I wondered why the other clinic, apparently a stones 37

  • throw away, existed. The boards on both the clinics were in Gujarati. All I could decipher 38

    was the abbreviation of the word doctor as it somewhat resembled to that written in 39

    Hindi .Sadly I couldnt find packaged drinking water.It seemed quite surprising that the 40

    place having the Doctors clinics lined up did not have something as basic as packaged 41

    water.After my trip to the Himalayas I realized the easy availability of packaged drinking 42

    water as I was able to buy water bottles from the most secluded shops in the hills. 43

    Walking down further, I glanced onto the pukka houses with motorcycles parked in the 44

    front.It was here where I could see my notions about the place going wrong.The world 45

    seemed industrialized for a couple of seconds.This was a model of an advanced village. 46

    Kutchcha houses were replaced by pukka and the buffaloes with bikes.On peeping 47

    inside one of the houses, I saw a girl sleeping peacefully on the cot. The floor of the 48

    house was cemented. This helped in shattering my pre-conceived notions further. 49

    Towards my left I saw a group of women sitting in relaxed manner, chattering. 50

    Their inquisitive looks made me feel as if we were aliens in their world. 51

    I smiled at them and politely asked yahan koi auratein hain jo embroidery ka kaam 52

    karti hain? Nahin, replied a few un