Updated: Feb 8
On the Map is a new initiative by Indigo Shade Map in 2021 that aims to introduce stories about indigo through three categories: Location, Indigo plants & Practices, and Language and Cultures. The first story of On the Map is from Kinny Sandhu at Sandhu Farm in India.
Please follow @kinnysandhu on Instagram to be connected with Kinny!
All photos from Kiran (Kinny) Sandhu
1. Address / Location
My Farm is set in the Foot Hills of the lower Himalayas. We are in a very fertile area that has rich soil and plenty of water. The Monsoons are gifts from God to India and the Gangetic plain is where we can farm 4 crops a year. This is where I grow my indigo. The area is called, Tarai, meaning the WET. Therefore I call my crop Taraiblue.
2. About your indigo
I grew up on sugar plantations; my family owned sugar factories and distilleries. These sugar plantations were at one time indigo plantations. Near where I lived was where Gandhi Ji started his civil disobedience movement against the British. Local farmers were starving as famines were caused by farmers not being allowed to grow their own crop but only Indigo for the British to send to Europe. This area was in Bihar and East United Province where I lived. I now live with my husband on his farm in the Tarai region in the Northern State of Uttrakand. This is a newly formed farming area that was developed from felling forest land into housing settlements for the refugees who were displaced after the Partition in 1947, from Western Punjab and now Pakistan. The farmers here in Tarai grow wheat, rice, sugar cane, the usual farming crops, and now Indigofera tinctoria, which is a new crop here! With wonderful results, my crop was standing 7 to 8 feet tall last season. I had a wonderful harvest. Now we are getting ready for the new sewing and a lot of Indigo cakes to sell to dyers all over the world.
3. About Local Languages & Cultures
Where I live is a very diverse area. We have the Punhabj settlers who came here as refugees in 1947, so we speak Punjabi, Hindi, and the local hill dialects. When Bangladesh 🇧🇩 was formed in 1971 we had another set of refugees settle here so we also speak Bengali, but English is used a lot. I thought it would be interesting for you to have this background about where I live.