Living Lightly (www.livinglightly.in) is a travelling exhibition that captures the lives of Indian pastoralists – their remarkable history of mobility, the eco-systems that nurture their life-world, their culture, science, art, spiritual moorings and the economics of herding. Even as the globe warms up and we all search for earnest shifts in lifestyles, and try to locate sustainable spaces within our own lives, it is perhaps time to educate ourselves on how pastoralists live lightly on this land, and their many contributions to our culture and economy.
Living Lightly has been been curated by Sushma Iyengar. It premiered in Delhi in December 2016 to wide acclaim. This first exhibition was used to shine a spotlight on the pastoralists of Kutch, Gujarat where livestock outnumber humans and 20% of the population still survive on pastoralism. A smaller version of the same was set up in Ahmedabad, in October 2017. Living Lightly will now move to the south, incorporating elements of the pastoralism practiced on the Deccan Plateau, and is slated for a Bangalore showing at the end of 2018 and a Hyderabad showing towards the middle of 2019. By the end of 2019, we hope to move the exhibition to the Himalayas, to showcase the remarkable diversity and vitality inherent in Himalayan pastoralism.
Living Lightly has served to get wide swathes of Indian society interested in the land, lives and livelihoods of pastoralism. Visitors have ranged from politicians and bureaucrats to academics, activists, media and students from schools and colleges. Living Lightly has also served as a platform for conversations, consultations and policy dialogues, and each edition of Living Lightly has been accompanied by a range of consultations, including an international conference on pastoralism in 2016 ; a national workshop on breed recognition, registration and conservation in pastoral ecosystems ; workshops on the production of cheese from buffalo, goat and camel milk; and two sets of consultations on how pastoralist communities might use the Forest Rights Act to improve their tenurial security over scarce grazing resources. You can preview the reports of these events on our Resources page.