Documentary

The Green Belter of Puducherry

© Abhirup Dasgupta
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The Green Belter of Puducherry
India

Puducherry, India – January 2015. Two swans quacking on the entry pathway.

Green, rustic, peaceful and lonesome. This is what initiated my journey into the lives of the Green Belters in Auroville, Puducherry and made me realize that I am also one of them at some level. Documenting the Green Belters was like looking at myself in a futuristic mirror.

Puducherry, India – January 2015. Achilles at his ranch.

I met Achilles, a Green Belter, and was immediately attracted to the carefree lifestyle that he led in the wilderness. He came from Europe years back and settled in India looking for inner peace and a good life. His farm has less humans and more animals. I was welcomed by the barking of dogs, led to his house by a flock of ducks, hens and turkeys and finally introduced to him by a ranch of horses.

Puducherry, India – January 2015. Achilles on his tractor inspecting his land.

The Green Belters were the first few members of Auroville who took the responsibility of afforestation on their shoulders and now they spend quiet lives in their self- grown habitat. He runs a horse riding school for children and adults who don’t just ride them but also clean and feed them everyday. They are trained to not only ride the horses but also take care of them like a member of their family thus inculcating a feeling of love towards animals and nature.
On first meeting him he seemed to be rather diabolic but after many interactions with his four huge dogs and his huge bearded self he became an open book the pages of which seemed quite similar to my own.

 

Puducherry, India – January 2015. Shooing stray cows away from the plantations.

Puducherry, India – January 2015. Achilles with two of his horses.

Puducherry, India – January 2015. A young girl cleans a horse with a brush and gets it ready before the evening training session.

Puducherry, India – January 2015. Cleaning the mud from the hooves of the horses.

Puducherry, India – January 2015. Children learn to ride horses accompanied by the instructor and their parents.

Puducherry, India – January 2015. A young learner prepares food for the horses after the training session.

Puducherry, India – January 2015. Achilles keeps himself busy throughout the day working in his ranch. Here he leaves a half eaten breakfast to cater to a horse.

Puducherry, India – January 2015. Resting on a hammock at the end of the day.

Puducherry, India – January 2015. Achilles during one of his lonely moments during the day.

Abhirup Dasgupta
My name is Abhirup Dasgupta. I am a documentary photographer based out of Jamshedpur, India. I work in the development sector with NGOs in various parts of India dealing with Tribal Issues and culture, Health and Livelihood. I Graduated in Sociology from the University of Delhi and then went on to pursue a diploma in Photography from Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication in Delhi.

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