Kudumbi is a farming community that has its roots in Goa. 

They share a common history with the other Konkani speaking communities in Kochi that they fled from Goa when the Portuguese tired to forcefully convert their religion. However, they are different from the other communities that they are the only non-vegetarian Konkani community in Kochi. 

Upon reaching Kochi, the Konkani communities implanted their hierarchical caste structure wherein the Kudumbis belonged to the lower strata.

They began eking out a living for them through farming and other manual labours. Their successful farming practices in marshy land earned them the admiration of Kochi royalty.

It could be possibly be this community that introduced Pokkali cultivation, a unique saline tolerant rice that it cultivated widely now in the water logged coastal areas of Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts.

It is also believed that they also introduced fish farming, which later on went on to become a thriving industry that generates export revenue.

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION BY BIJU IBRAHIM: COMMUNITIES OF KOCHI

Places have souls and Mattancherry in the city of Kochi has a mystic one. Biju Ibrahim discovered this while documenting the lives of Kochi’s 38 communities through black and white pictures. Distinct in layers of identities – caste, faith, language, ethnicity and region – these communities have been welcomed over centuries and have, in turn, infused Mattancherry and Kochi with a rare and rich heritage. Historically, it has been home to Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus. The sea and port attracted sailors, traders from Arabia and Gujarat, preachers of Semitic faiths, colonisers such as the Dutch and Portuguese, political refugees and migrant labourers. A cross-section of India lives here in a radius of 5 kilometers. 

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AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHER

BIJU IBRAHIM

He captures the essence of rustic geographies, the people who are now becoming archive of the earth, the mythic & mystery of spaces & places, alleys of now filled with the density of then or before.

ART ORGANISATION

URU ART HARBOUR

URU art harbour is a cultural hub situated at Kochi. URU seeks to be a space for collaboration and a continual hub for artistic, cultural, and intellectual exploration. Founded by Riyas Komu and Zoya Riyas.

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