Nazdeek launches online exhibition highlighting struggles faced by Adivasi women tea plantation workers

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Nazdeek, an ESCR-Net Member, recently launched an online interactive visual installation entitled “Colonials to Corporates, An Adivasi Mother's Journey through the Assam Tea Fields of Yesterday and Today.” The exhibition brings to light the enduring struggle of tea plantation workers forcibly brought by the British to work in Assam’s tea fields from the tribal tracts. Tea labourers began a journey marked bylow wages and high maternal mortality. Adivasi women have been at the core of this generational cycle, a system engineered to breed profit on the backs of workers. Through the use of photography, video and interactive technology, including 360 virtual tours, the installation is an accumulation of yesterday and today. It endeavors to create space for understanding, reflection and action in the need for dignified conditions for workers.

Nazdeek works with grassroots partners and communities to build legal agency and capacity to use existing remedies to expand access to essential services such as health, food, housing and labor rights. Nazdeek’s current programs include projects in Assam and Delhi focusing on ending maternal mortality, supporting organizations demanding higher wages for tea garden workers by providing strategic legal and advocacy support, and legal advocacy to ensure adequate housing in Delhi. Some of the target groups with whom Nazdeek works include women, children, indigenous communities and Dalit communities.

The current online exhibition includes infographics, photographs, videos, and a virtual tea garden depicting the conditions under which tea plantation workers labor, including the extremely high rate of preventable maternal deaths in India in general and specifically in Assam, which has the highest maternal mortality ratio in India and where 77% of maternal deaths are in the tea gardens. An explanation accompanying one of the videos explains that as a result of social and physical isolation in the tea gardens, women are not able to access maternal health and nutrition resources, contributing to these very high rates of maternal death. 

Photo credit: Rajan Zaveri