Photoscans of Poachers’ hands- Moghiya Tribe, Ranthambore

Throughout his oeuvre, Samar Jodha has had a consistent preoccupation with conflict issues and marginalized populations. In his contribution to the tiger project, he takes the fiberglass beast and thinks about the danger of its extinction in the context of structurally produced poverty, asymmetrical responsibilities and uneven rewards. These are largely overlooked, yet essential facets of the tiger crisis. Samar marks his tiger with the bare hands of human need. These are photographic scans of the naked hands of men, women and children who, for want of better opportunities, choose to live off tiger poaching in various parts of India. Some of the hands featured here belong to those have undergone jail sentences or face charges of killing tigers.

For this project Jodha traveled to homes and villages located at the lowest end of the tiger poacher-smuggler value chain to photograph and understand what drives a people to bring down this most magnificent of creatures. In the process he discovered that while the tiger needs to be saved, some of us would benefit more than others from this. On the other hand, the human price extracted for this conservation would be the most from those who can pay the least.

After all, how many of us need worry about sleeping hungry as no fuel could be found to cook our next meal? How many of us know what it means to have one’s sole capital asset snatched away, as happens when livestock is killed or carried away by a tiger? How many of us have a family member wounded, killed or even eaten by a tiger?

These are difficult questions but if they are left unanswered and the concerns of marginalized, forest-dependent communities are left unmet, India’s remaining tigers will continue to be pulled down, suppressed and disseminated by human hands as seen in Jodha’s work.

"One of the most hard hitting version is by Jodha who has marked his tiger with photographic hand scans of poachers"
Times of India

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