The End of the Gadba

The Gadba tribe live in the highlands of the Indian state of Orissa.  Isolated until recent decades, the Gadbas' culture evolved separately from the rest of India -- with distinct religion, language and dress.Today traditional Gadba culture is rapidly disappearing as the old generation dies off and young Gadbas become increasingly Hinduized.  The change in fashion is just the most visible sign of this transformation.   Sonai Sissa is among the youngest Gadba women still to wear traditional dress.  Her daughter Boti prefers a sari.Sumbari Sissa does not wear the brass hoop earrings and heavy neck rings that have distinguished Gadba women for generations.Sisters Sumbari and Sukri Sissa with Sukri's grandson -- probably the last generation to know traditional Gadba culture firsthand.Sumbari at homeBhasiMagnadokriSukraRadasambariSumbariWhile younger adults head to work in the fields, elder Gadba women spend the cool highland mornings huddling wrapped in blankets.Mid-day the ladies warm themselves in the sun.Girsa Sissa and her daughter threshing millet.Magnadokri in front of her home.The future.The past.