I have been a media professional for over 13 years, starting my career with NDTV. I have worked extensively in documentary films and advertising films along with pursuing photography.
My travel and wildlife stories have been published Nationally and Internationally and I was the lead photographer for the coffee table book on the band Indian Ocean, published by Parragon India. I am currently working as a freelancer, focusing my time on long term personal projects. I also write for Tattoo Cultr, India’s only online tattoo magazine. Documenting wildlife and ethnographic practices are the my main genre interests.
Vanishing Art - the ancient practice of tattooing in India Traditions on skin is an ongoing project to document the tattooed tribes and this ancient culture of India. The tribes that have been featured in this collection are the Baigas from Madhya Pradesh, Ramnamis from Chattisgarh and the Mers from Gujarat.
Tattooing is one of the most ancient practices found all over the globe. In India, tattooed tribes can be found across the length and breadth of the country, where tribes and communities have used tattoos not only as jewellery, but also for magical, religious and socio-cultural aspects. Over generations,these traditions have formed a strong bond for the members of the communities. Starting from a sense of belonging and identity, to initiation rights to social standing and recognition, tattoos have played vital role in the cultural and traditional aspects of these tribes and communities. India is known to have the largest number of tattooed tribes, but this permanent art form is disappearing here. Looked upon as an uncivilized and pagan culture, these practices in the tribal spaces have steadily declined with the advent of missionaries and conversion to Christianity. In recent years, Saffronisation has also played a similar role. These indigenous people all across the country have been suppressed, forgotten or been discriminated against for their refusal to discard this so called “primitive” practice which has been termed uncivilised and uncultured when compared to the modern and sophisticated lifestyles in the cities. Along with all these factors, modernization has also played its part in the decline and disappearance of the traditional tattoos in India. This once important and integral tradition of the country and its people is now a dying art form. And very soon, as the last of these tattooed bodies succumb to mortality, this ancient practice and its bearers will also disappear.