In Safri's Home: Professor Gerald Berreman's Photo-Diary from India (1957-1972)
For some 40 years Professor Gerald (Gerry) Berreman of UC Berkeley pursued a longitudinal study of social inequality (caste, gender, class) and environment in their historical context in a Garhwal village (Sirkanda) and its region. By way of comparison in both culture and scale, he also studied ethnic diversity and inequality in the central bazaar of a city of the adjacent plains (Dehra Dun) and its surroundings.

This narrative is a first-hand account of Gerry Berreman's fieldwork in the village of Sarona, Chhattisgarh, India, between 1957 and 1972. Prof. Berreman participated in the Magnes Memory Lab project by bringing his own photographs taken in India, and providing commentaries to each of them, outlining the characters portrayed and their stories.

The images focus on a man's family. Safri, a blacksmith, marries his daughter off to Ram Lal. His son, Kirdu Lal Mahar, refuses to become a blacksmith, and instead achieves the role of spiritual guide at the village, but is later disgraced by an illicit relationship with a servant.

Image: Widowed and childless Rajput Woman (1972). The woman was virtually a servant for an un-related Rajput family, as well as Devta's suspected paramour.


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This online presentation was created by Gerald Berreman with the assistance of Ryan LeBlanc in the "Memory Lab" of the Magnes in Berkeley, California. For more information go to www.magnes.org/memorylab
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