“We are here because we can earn up to three times as much as we do back at home, that too in a fixed monthly salary structure unlike anywhere else” said Vasanth Kumar, a fisherman from Srikakulam (Andhra Pradesh) sitting in the cabin of his old Boat, staring at his wife’s photo in the wallet and thinking about the last 10 years he had spent in Veraval, a port city in Gujarat.
Every year since late 1980’s, 20,000-25,000 fishermen like him migrate from the eastern coast of the country to the west coast so that they can earn more through the fishing skills they are known for. They also specialize in long fishing trips of 20-25 days during which they spent all their time on Boat and come back to land for just a day where they unload the catch and replenish their supplies and depart for another trip the very next day.
Their memories of home and their belongings are what they have that keeps them connected to the land.These men are barely on land as they are at sea, sailing in the ocean, fishing to make a living. Thus the boat remains their home and the crew their family for most of the year.
So what intrigues me is the question, “What is their Sense of Home?”Through this visual narrative, I am trying to highlight this Invisible Workforce which is the foundation of the Fishing Industry. Their livelihood keeps them away from their family and the village.My intent here is to create a certain sense of familiarity with the community less known to the people outside the Fishing Industry.
Project Developed by students of Photography Design, National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar.