While in Kachchh, Gujarat I was based in Bhuj (urban area), while my field area known as "Banni Grasslands" is about 50 km away.
My host organization in Kachchh gave me a long term assignment:
- Understanding women’s role in animal husbandry at Banni grasslands.
While my short term assignment was:
- Designing promotional collateral for dairy products made by Maldharis or livestock keepers of Banni.
I had incorporated graphic forms of a cow and buffalo in the label design for a Penda (sweet made by saturating milk and sugar) box. I showed my initial designs to Maldharis as I was eager to know what they thought. Instead of a discussion on the design; they, the Maldharis were furious that I had chosen a ‘halki’ (cheap as in a not-so healthy and an unattractive looking) buffalo and not a ‘khaasi’ (good) one to be the face of their product. What’s a good quality buffalo anyway?
One of the senior Maldharis said, “to design for Banni I must understand Banni, and that can’t happen in front of a computer, in a city office and I must live in Banni for that.”
With that; I shifted from Bhuj (urban area) to Banni Grasslands (rural area), in search of women pastoralists and the perfect Banni buffalo.