As the world is getting more and more globalized, it’s also becoming more homogenized, and it’s believed that many indigenous languages and cultures are disappearing at an alarmingly rapid rate. The Earth’s population of seven billion people speaks roughly 7,000 languages (source: National Geographic), but roughly one language is dying every 14 days!! Along with the language an entire culture will also disappear 🙁 🙁
This is because urbanization and modernization are destroying traditional habitat, and ways of living. A clear example in India are the “Lambadis” – a well-known tribe of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. They originated from Rajasthan, are nomads and can be found in the outskirts of cities, selling fruits and handicrafts. They have strikingly colorful, unique and bright attire (with intricate embroidery and attached silver coins) and jewelry made of silver and ivory. Like most other tribes, they don’t have a written script, and only have a spoken dialect.
The Lambadis managed to preserve their own language, cultural identity and social structure for many centuries by staying in close knit groups, and not mingling much with outsiders. However, rampant urbanization appears to have had a significant impact on the community. In Hyderabad, the upscale Banjara Hills locality was once rich with forests, and home to this nomadic tribe. With this habitat now occupied by settlers, they have moved to smaller slums.
They’re also slowly giving up their old traditions, costumes and language and being forced to merge into the mainstream. This is happening to many tribes all over India and it’s a common phenomena all over the world. The loss associated with these dying cultures is immeasurable. Alongwith the culture, their handicrafts, beliefs, stories and unique heritage is also disappearing.
A few NGO’s are trying to help these tribes and preserve their unique skills like embroidery and jewelry making, by helping them market the items. Purchased this colorful embroidered top from an NGO helping Lambadis in Hyderabad. It was 3-4 years ago – so don’t remember the name of the organization.
Paired it with silver filigree earrings purchased in Odisha (very famous and commonly found there), and a traditional silver bracelet from Himachal Pradesh. Hope you “like” it 🙂