Snippets from the Toto Tribe Project (2014- )
Toto Tribe Project
Totos; a tribe that resides only in a tiny hamlet called Totopara at the foothills of Himalayas bordering West Bengal State in India and Bhutan. Totos; today are estimated to be only 1,608. Totos; whose language is Toto; is one of the endangered languages in the world. Totos; although a tribe; are evidently stretched in between the push and pull factors of globalisation and are embracing it; some gracefully and some out of force of the inevitable. Totos; struggling hard to balance their culture and traditions against the force of modernisation to be at par with their counterparts in different cities of Indian subcontinent. Totos, the very less known tribe; needs attention who are at the brink of a take-over by globalisation and modernisation.
This is the reason why I chose the project in 2014 and started photo documenting the tribe’s life cycle in every way possible to save it through the powerful medium of photographs. Many senior and young Totos have gone on record to say that Totos as a tribe aren’t even known to many in their own state of West Bengal; forget the country India. This prompted me harder to photo document them; their culture and traditions; lest it is buried under globalisation and modernisation. Evident forces as they are; visible to the keen eye once anyone reaches Totopara. Every time that I visited Totopara, I not only saw subtle but also direct changes, thanks to modernisation. Reasons like these made me photo document the tribe and present my work in front of the larger community so that not only Indians but also the world takes note of the tribe.
To this effect, I have already solo exhibited this project twice in Mumbai city and have done 6 artist photo talks, one of which was at ‘Litteraturhuset’ in Oslo.
The photo book and further exhibitions across the globe will ensure light on Toto tribe. I hope through these extended visual communication methods; the tribe gets help in some of the most basic needs that they are struggling to get like bridges to reach the village, a fully functional and equipped health centre that can cater to serious and advance cases; a fully equipped ambulance; an official recognition to the Toto script that the Totos are developing with Toby Anderson, the linguist; good internal roads for daily commute; better teaching facilities in the only two government schools and electricity in all households.
The irony is; they and their younger generations have smartphones, they are active on social media giants like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube sans these basic facilities. The work is to bridge this very irony. I am doing my bit to bridge this irony by trying to self-publish this work in the form of a photo book on the Toto tribe. This, as per my knowledge will be the first photo book to be published on the tribe.
This project has primarily been self-funded. Some have chipped in to sponsor my visits to the tribal land. I have worked on this project from 2014. Currently, I am working on the first draft of the book; at the same time seeking sponsors, funders and publishers so that I can publish the only photo book on the Toto tribe.
Feel free to share this project with like-minded people who can help me publish this book in any way possible.
Exhibitions & Photo Talks
As mentioned, I have already done 2 solo exhibitions & 6 photo talks; one of which was at ‘Litteraturhuset’ in Oslo. You can call me to keep exhibits and photo talks at your galleries, in colleges and universities, in photographic and art societies and within a group of like-minded people.
For more details, please contact via this and I shall be happy to respond.