In this firfy-sixth archive story by Kristian Bertel, we meet an Indian woman in a village in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Women have always been an integral part of human civilisation and also on the Indian village society since time immortal. In Uttar Pradesh the photographer portrayed this Indian woman taking care of the household in her village home. Today's women in Indian villages not only take care of their household works, but also do a lot of things to contribute to the family's total income.
Women have always been an integral part of human civilisation and also on the Indian village society since time immortal. In Uttar Pradesh the photographer portrayed this Indian woman taking care of the household in her village home. Today's women in Indian villages not only take care of their household works, but also do a lot of things to contribute to the family's total income.

A village portrait in Uttar Pradesh

It is said that over 60 percent of the Indian population lives in villages. Actually, they live in 640,000 communities. Of these, fifty percent have less than 500 inhabitants. For comparison there are only 1600 cities with more than 20,000 people. The Indian woman in the photo is taking care of her household in a village in Uttar Pradesh.

Portrait photography from a village in India
The position of women in Indian villages has seen many significant changes from the ancient period to the contemporary period. Women have always been an integral part of human civilisation and also of the Indian village society since time immortal. The women enjoyed respect and were equal to men in the ancient Indian society. They also had the chance of getting proper education and they used to take active participation in the decision making process of their family. However, though the position deteriorated during the medieval period, it has been improved a lot in the contemporary period. The women in Indian villages as portrayed here by Kristian Bertel | Photography enjoyed a high status in the ancient period. The works by great Indian grammarians like Patanjali and Katyayana suggest that the women were properly educated during the early Vedic period. The Rig-Vedic verses also suggest that the women used to marry at a mature age and were also independent to choose their husband. The mention of women sages like Gargi and Maitreyi in Rig Veda and Upanishads proves the high educational status of women in Indian villages. The women also had the chance of getting lessons in archery, sword fighting, gymnastics and so on. The women in Indian villages were active in doing their household works and sometimes contributed to the overall income of the family as well. However, the status of women in Indian villages changed significantly during the medieval period. Many evil practices like Sati, child marriage, ban on widow marriages and so on. were practised during this period and the Muslim conquest in India also brought the Purdah system in the Indian villages. The women were forcefully burnt with their dead husbands and made Sati, they were given in marriage at an early age of only four to five years and the young widows were also not allowed to remarry.

However, in spite of all these obstacles, many women in the Indian villages became successful to administer villages, towns, divisions and also heralded social and religious institutions during that period. Doing household works was always the duty of women in Indian villages and they sometimes went to the fields to help their husbands in agricultural works as well. During the British rule, the status of women in Indian villages improved a lot. Various social movements were made by the great social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Jyotirao Phule and so on to improve the status of women in Indian villages. The British governmental authorities also helped them a lot in uplifting the position of women. The Sati practice was abolished mainly due to the efforts made by Raja Ram Mohan Roy. The continuous efforts of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar improved the condition of the young widows in the villages and the Widow Marriage Act was implemented in 1856. The overall educational condition of the women in Indian villages was also improved a lot during the British period. Another significant improvement in the status of women in Indian villages was that they got their political rights and later played an important role in India's independence movement.

Women in Indian villages
In the contemporary period, the status of women in Indian villages is quite impressive. The women can now participate in all types of activities like education, politics, media, art and culture, service sectors, science and technology and so on. The women are also taking part in many social movements like anti-liquor movement or anti-molestation movement. The women in Indian villages have many chances of getting education and they go to the government primary schools in numbers. As a result, the women literacy rate in the villages of India has increased significantly in the recent years. Apart from education, the women in Indian villages are getting involved in different types of occupations as well. Today's women in Indian villages not only take care of their household works, but also do a lot of things to contribute to the family's total income. They are engaged in the occupations like arts and crafts or handicrafts, making potteries and doing paintings and so on. and they are actively involved in animal husbandry as well. In this way, they are contributing a lot to the overall income of the family and ensuring further well being of the family. As a whole, it can be said that though there have been significant changes in the status of women in Indian villages since the ancient period, they are in a good state at the moment. Many women coming from the villages are establishing themselves in various fields and this is undoubtedly a bright sign for the future of India.

An average village has 1025 inhabitants including women, which belong to between fifteen and twenty different castes. The structure of the village is a strong influence on the village structure. Most cousins live in their own neighborhood. Higher castors have their farms and fields in good locations such as fertile soil, easy access to water, for example, wells. People from lower castes often have to be content with poorer living conditions. Villages can also be divided into professional groups, but this almost always coincides with caste affiliation. But this is only a very crude model for an Indian village. They are as different as the villages of Europe. Depending on the landscape, tribal or religious affiliation and agricultural type, their appearance is different.
In Uttar Pradesh individual farms and hamlets are to be found. Large communities, which consist of many individual village parts, exist mainly in South India. A village is not an isolated entity the photographer learned. A visit to the village is often necessary because there is only one craftsman or the next school there. Many villages are connected by kinship, since seldom is married within a village. Even in the next city most of the villagers have to travel again and again. On market days, they sell their agricultural or handicraft products. Meanwhile fifty percent of the villages are connected to the electricity network. In agriculture with wheat and rice farming and in crafts, there is no longer enough work due to the large population growth. The large-scale farmers and re-millers need fewer and fewer day laborers through the use of machines. Because of the great poverty many people, especially men, go to the cities and hope to find work there. Since most are illiterate and have no vocational training, they are often very difficult and have to live in the urban slums.

Health care in the countryside of India
In most villages in India there is no doctor and the nearest hospital is often far away. Before patients are brought to a medical treatment, they are often very bad. Therefore hospitals in the country are also considered as dying-houses. The fear of them is correspondingly great. In order to improve the health care of the rural population and to recognize contagious diseases more quickly, the Indian government has developed various funding programs. People who are already healed are still being cared for by them, as they often suffer from disabilities. In addition, the elderly are examined for signs of leprosy and tuberculosis. Agriculture and the environment. India is an agricultural country. India is the world's largest producer of tea, jute, legume, millet and sesame. Important products are also sugar, rice, rapeseed, silk and onions. Food production is subject to strong fluctuations. "- The monsoon rain has a great influence on the harvest. If it is too late, many plants are already dried up if he comes too soon, they are not yet mature. Two-thirds of the arable land is constantly at risk of drought. Agriculture in India will face great problems in the future. The cultivation area has been and is constantly being expanded due to population growth, which I have seen many places in India. For this, forests must be cleared ant Today only ten percent of India's total area is wooded. The cleared areas are subjected to a severe soil erosion, that is, the fertile soil is swept away or swept away by wind and rain. Cultivation is no longer possible on these surfaces and a further problem has arisen through the installation of the deep-water wells", the photographer says.

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of an Indian woman in Uttar Pradesh. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.