Peripatetic communities of India commonly known as nomadic tribes of India consists of more than 60 million people though true figures are not available. Originally, they travelled from place to place for their livelihood. Some are salt traders, fortune-tellers, story-tellers, performers, snake charmers, conjurers, jugglers, acrobats, tattooists, grindstone makers, or basket makers, comb makers etc. May tribes were criminalised by the colonial rulers because they echoed European notions of Gypsies.
“Nomad (Gypsies) of India” is the culmination of several years’ work recording the passing of a traditional way of life that has served generations. The pace of change has left behind many things once regarded as permanent; the lives of numerous nomadic communities in India are no exception. The relevance and value they brought to the practical and cultural lives of thousands is diminishing; the modern world is creeping in to replace a way of life that has played an important role in society for hundreds of years. Tragically these tribes now find themselves amongst the most marginalised people of India. Their inherent lifestyle that is now inconsistent with the requirements for addresses and birth certificates and all the other paperwork and procedures stipulated by the ‘Authorities’. The communities become invisible and their ‘outside’ existence now fosters feelings of suspicion and prejudice amongst the mainstream populace.