The People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI) is an excellent resource not only for researchers and practitioners of development policy but also for anyone interested in learning more about rural India. PARI is “a living journal, a breathing archive” that documents the “everyday lives of everyday people” through video, still photo, audio, and text archives.
The breathtaking variety of rural India is often lost in stereotypical portrayals of the poor. It “is in many ways the most diverse part of the planet. Its 833 million people include distinct societies speaking well over 700 languages, some of them thousands of years old. The People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) tells us the country as a whole speaks some 780 languages and uses 86 different scripts…The eastern state of Odisha alone is home to some 44 tribal languages. The PLSI also reckons close to 220 languages have died in the past 50 years.”
In addition to this linguistic diversity, there is plenty more that needs to be recorded and that’s what PARI’s mission is. For instance, they cover artisans and handicrafts, migrant workers, farmers, tribals, Dalits, the resource conflicts in India, travelers, children, modes of transportation, sports, clothing…the list goes on. It is a crazy, awesome journalistic endeavor that is recording the good, the bad, and the ugly in rural India.
Anyone can contribute. Their stories are also “gradually turning multi-lingual, with…” volunteers translating articles in “Malayalam, Urdu, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Bengali, Hindi, Assamese, and Marathi.” Check out their collection on rural Indian women here.
Photo credits: PARI