Actually, this project was something that was quite spontaneous because I’d been working on some projects for my MA while I was in India. I began a new project with elderly people after my friend Siddhartha Krishna, a teacher of yoga philosophy in Rishikesh, made me aware of this serious issue after he’d seen children playing around elders who had died in the river. I wanted to investigate the way that these elders had been abused and abandoned by their younger generations and why this was occurring there. During my research, I heard about Malana and its story sounded very fascinating because these tribes are one of the oldest democracies in India and didn’t like outsiders to touch them or the temple walls.
One of the people working with me on my project knew one of the Malanese people, so we were able to go there safely and explore the village. Historically, even Michael Palin was denied access when he tried to film there decades ago. Some things are definitely changing and they did allow visitors when I came to visit them. Although since then, they have declared that the Jamadagni (the god living in the temple) will no longer allow visitors to stay overnight. There were little preparation and research findable beforehand, and I heard differing facts about this village. Therefore, I wanted to find out myself about this festival by talking to people face to face.