Photographer's Note

Malukwan village: interior of a house.

The dresses of Koli women are a storm of colours.
The Koli tribes are located in southeastern Pakistan. They are primarily concentrated in the fertile flood plain of Sindh State and in the lower Thar Desert, just east of the Indus River. There are several major subdivisions of Koli in that area, including the Parkari Koachchhi, the Wadiyara Koli, the Kutchi Kohli (or Lohar), and the Tharadari Koli.

As Hindus, the Koli of Pakistan are a minority. Most of the other Hindus fled to India in 1947 at the partition of India and Pakistan. The Koli tribes all speak their own Indo-Aryan languages. Only the Kutchi Koli, who speak Kachi Koli, are considered a subgroup of the Gujarati.

Agriculture is the basis of the Koli economy. As sharecroppers, they raise cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, corn, and oil seeds. The biggest problem for the farmers is the control of the water supply. Some of the tribes live near the eastern tributaries of the Indus River, which serve as an irrigation system for their crops. However, most of the farmers are dependent on canal irrigation from the Indus.

The Koli tribes living in the eastern portion of the Thar Desert (also known as the Great Indian Desert) raise livestock in the steppe areas. This region consists mainly of sand dunes with patches of clay. Camels are their main mode of transportation. Because these tribes live in drab surroundings, they often exhibit a vivid array of colors in their paintings and other artistic designs.

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Additional Photos by Luca Belis (Mistral) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 527 W: 74 N: 2119] (15402)
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