Hira is an independent photographer and visual storyteller from Karachi, Pakistan. A fellow of the Program for Narrative and Documentary Practice by VII Academy. She was awarded the Pakistan Photo Festival fellowship in 2021 to pursue her...
In the Brahui community, it is widely known that women are the faithful guardian of ancient customs and traditions. They participate equally in social endeavors while maintaining and keeping the customs and traditions alive. And unlike many other Brahui communities living in cities, these tribal Brahuis still have Women at the heart of their customs and traditions.
Although my visit was very brief- I managed to find traces of their customs remarkably warm and beautiful. From the way they greet to the way they decorate their rooms; the traces of their traditions here are like folk songs, and poetry is woven into their day-to-day life. Though we couldn't understand a single word of each other's language, we still managed to exchange names with the help of gestures and some bits of conversation with a help of a young boy who knew a little bit of Urdu.
Note: Although in their culture it is forbidden for women to show their faces to the outside world, particularly to sit for photographs. Their portraits are all taken with proper consent, keeping their values in sight.
Fatima- a grandmother Her face has a glow that can fill the room. Her gaze was so gentle yet wise, and a warm smile could make you sit in silence without any words spoken. I lowered my head and greeted her. she took my hand and kissed the back of the palm as she greeted me. She gestured for me to sit and have tea with her. Though we couldn't understand a single word of each other's language, still we managed to exchange names with the help of gestures and some bits of conversation. [Village of Moola Shutorki- Moola district]
The room of her daughter Fatima (named after her mother) is decorated with bright red glittery cushions and pillows, with bright color beddings neatly stacked on a corner wall. [Village of Moola Shutorki- Moola district]
Bibi Raeem showed me her room in the village of Moola Naarien. As we sat for nearly half an hour trying to understand each other's language, her teenage son who knows few Urdu words came into the room and helped me with exchanging names. It was a delight and we both were so happy to know each other's names. As I was making mental notes of the fine details of decor in her room, I asked her if this is a custom or if women are usually shy from being photographed. Her son translated this question to her and there was laughter in the room. She explained that it is considered to be sin among us for women to be photographed.
In their kitchen, they used Bukhari (ancient stove) to cook and during winters, to keep the kitchen warm. Just like in the old homes in the North, a room having a Bukhari, becomes a gathering place during long winter nights. [village of Moola Naarien- Moola district]