This is an exhibition of photos and videos I prepared for the Centralis Galeria of OSA archivum in Budapest . Dec 2008

Etikoppaka

Etikoppaka is a village of ca. 12,000 inhabitants in Andhra Pradesh, South-East India, between the cities of Visakhapatnam and Rajamundhry. It is situated in a predominantly rural area, where people are breeding beeves, water buffalos, goats and dwarf pigs. Etikoppaka has a long tradition of local craftsmanship producing turn-wood objects, painted by mineral dyes.

Mahatma Gandhi visited this village in May 1929 on the invitation of his friend, the freedom fighter C.V. Narasimha Raju, who belonged to a family of Etikoppaka’s feudal landlords. C.V.N. Raju understood and accepted Gandhi’s ideal of trusteeship, which the Mahatma proposed to the rich; so he founded India’s first sugar cane cooperative, initiating an India-wide movement which has made India the largest producer of sugar in the world. The village is home to several self-organising movements. It also harbours a milk cooperative and a craftsmen’s cooperative producing turned-wood lacquer-ware.

These cooperatives provide a living for the village's population and, up to the present day, have proved a powerful means to keep the population settled and prevent its drifting to the megalopolises. The village's people live in simple but beautiful houses in a closed community.

Apparently the village was several times affected by polio. However, the paralysed are living in the folds of their families and seem to be happy in their own conditions.
The majority of the inhabitants are Hindu - particularly venerating Hanuman, the monkey-God - while their minority is Christian. The temple musicians include a Muslim veena guru, Sheikh Chennamastan.
In this village one may observe a struggle for right livelihood rooted in the ideas of India's freedom movement and also in the concomitant - although less known – cooperative movement and linguistic state movement, which have created the face of present-day India.

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