1. Deep in the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa, the Dongria Kondh tribe have been fighting a decade-long battle against London-based mining company Vedanta, who have turned these jungles into a battleground. The Dongria Kondh worship the Niyam Dongar hill under which lies two billion dollars worth of bauxite and a fat share that will be pocketed by the Indian government. Over the next few weeks, Vedanta’s fate will be decided by the Dongria Kondh at gram sabhas held at 12 out of over 130 villages that will be affected if the mining goes ahead. “The government has never given us medicines, schools or roads and now Vedanta will do that for us? They can go back to London and mine there. We will not give up Niyamgiri”, said Gajendra Gaud at the Tadijhula village gram sabha held two days ago.©Karen Dias

    Deep in the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa, the Dongria Kondh tribe have been fighting a decade-long battle against London-based mining company Vedanta, who have turned these jungles into a battleground. The Dongria Kondh worship the Niyam Dongar hill under which lies two billion dollars worth of bauxite and a fat share that will be pocketed by the Indian government. 

    Over the next few weeks, Vedanta’s fate will be decided by the Dongria Kondh at gram sabhas held at 12 out of over 130 villages that will be affected if the mining goes ahead. “The government has never given us medicines, schools or roads and now Vedanta will do that for us? They can go back to London and mine there. We will not give up Niyamgiri”, said Gajendra Gaud at the Tadijhula village gram sabha held two days ago.

    ©Karen Dias

    11 months ago  /  11 notes

  2. Putang Village, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.
The Pnong tribe have tamed wild elephants to use for hunting and logging for thousands of years. Many years ago, entire families began to die mysteriously in the village and nobody could figure out the cause. Animal sacrifices were made to appease the spirits but the deaths continued. The villagers finally learnt that an elephant in their community was pregnant and noone had known about it.
The deaths in Putang village were blamed on the pregnant elephant and a meeting with the village elders came to the conclusion that the owner of the elephant is to be held responsible for all the deaths. The man was made to compensate the families of the deceased by offering them farm animals and cash. Till today, no pregnant elephant is allowed into the village and most villagers own male elephants. Buying an elephant illegally from across the border in Vietnam can cost anything between US$5000-10000.
If two village members want to have their elephants mated, they must spend the entire gestation period which can last anywhere between 20-22 months in the forest with their animals. The men and the elephants are forbidden from entering or coming anywhere near the village during this period. Only immediate family members are allowed to deliver food to the men in the jungle without touching them. Failure to follow these rules may cause the men to be outcast from the village or a recurrence of those mysterious deaths. The men and the elephants can only re-enter the village with their newborn.
Today, female elephants are not used in the village and no one has yet undergone this tedious process to own a baby elephant. The Pnong can no longer afford to buy new elephants and illegal logging in their forests is forcing them to give up their ancient ways.

    Putang Village, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.

    The Pnong tribe have tamed wild elephants to use for hunting and logging for thousands of years. Many years ago, entire families began to die mysteriously in the village and nobody could figure out the cause. Animal sacrifices were made to appease the spirits but the deaths continued. The villagers finally learnt that an elephant in their community was pregnant and noone had known about it.

    The deaths in Putang village were blamed on the pregnant elephant and a meeting with the village elders came to the conclusion that the owner of the elephant is to be held responsible for all the deaths. The man was made to compensate the families of the deceased by offering them farm animals and cash. Till today, no pregnant elephant is allowed into the village and most villagers own male elephants. Buying an elephant illegally from across the border in Vietnam can cost anything between US$5000-10000.

    If two village members want to have their elephants mated, they must spend the entire gestation period which can last anywhere between 20-22 months in the forest with their animals. The men and the elephants are forbidden from entering or coming anywhere near the village during this period. Only immediate family members are allowed to deliver food to the men in the jungle without touching them. Failure to follow these rules may cause the men to be outcast from the village or a recurrence of those mysterious deaths. The men and the elephants can only re-enter the village with their newborn.

    Today, female elephants are not used in the village and no one has yet undergone this tedious process to own a baby elephant. The Pnong can no longer afford to buy new elephants and illegal logging in their forests is forcing them to give up their ancient ways.

    1 year ago  /  0 notes

  3. Putang Village, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.
Being one of the most sparsely populated regions of Cambodia, the Mondulkiri province is home to a majority of the Pnong tribe living in the country. The Pnong are an animist tribe and continue to live the way they did 2000 years ago, collecting food from the forests and hunting. It is said that crimes like murders, rapes and robberies are unheard of in Pnong society. The Pnong have suffered greatly at the hands of the Pol Pot regime when their villages were burnt down and entire families were taken away to work in the rice fields.

    Putang Village, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.

    Being one of the most sparsely populated regions of Cambodia, the Mondulkiri province is home to a majority of the Pnong tribe living in the country. The Pnong are an animist tribe and continue to live the way they did 2000 years ago, collecting food from the forests and hunting. It is said that crimes like murders, rapes and robberies are unheard of in Pnong society. The Pnong have suffered greatly at the hands of the Pol Pot regime when their villages were burnt down and entire families were taken away to work in the rice fields.

    1 year ago  /  0 notes

  4. Krong Te Village, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.
With the sun setting unimaginably faster, stranded in a Pnong tribe village with few options of leaving due to the bad roads and lack of electricity; an old man generously offered to host us for the night. Everything he owned shows itself in this photograph. 
He cooked himself a pot of plain rice and retreated to a balcony from where only his loneliness, a full moon and a village engulfed in darkness were visible. With a common language missing, we watched the moon silently for hours while he incessantly drank tea and blew smoke rings. 

    Krong Te Village, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.

    With the sun setting unimaginably faster, stranded in a Pnong tribe village with few options of leaving due to the bad roads and lack of electricity; an old man generously offered to host us for the night. Everything he owned shows itself in this photograph. 

    He cooked himself a pot of plain rice and retreated to a balcony from where only his loneliness, a full moon and a village engulfed in darkness were visible. With a common language missing, we watched the moon silently for hours while he incessantly drank tea and blew smoke rings. 

    1 year ago  /  0 notes

  5. Bou Sra Waterfall, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.

    Bou Sra Waterfall, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.

    1 year ago  /  2 notes

  6. Krong Te Village, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.
Getting to some of the wilder Pnong tribal villages by motorbike requires skills that can only be acquired by the determination to explore the unknown. Muddy paths are suddenly transmogrified into bottomless pits of soft earth that stretch endlessly through the forests where electricity, running water and shops are alien things. During the monsoons, the paths leading to these villages will invite no visitors.

    Krong Te Village, Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.

    Getting to some of the wilder Pnong tribal villages by motorbike requires skills that can only be acquired by the determination to explore the unknown. Muddy paths are suddenly transmogrified into bottomless pits of soft earth that stretch endlessly through the forests where electricity, running water and shops are alien things. During the monsoons, the paths leading to these villages will invite no visitors.

    1 year ago  /  0 notes

  7. Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.

    Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.

    1 year ago  /  5 notes

  8. Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.
The Pnong tribe are the largest tribe in Mondulkiri and sustain themselves by cultivating, rice, taro, yams, pumpkins and beans, some of which is sold at markets to earn a little spending money. The 2000 year old Pnong have been nomadic for centuries but have begun living a sedentary life as the forest area where they forage for food is depleting and road development has threatened their nomadic lifestyle. Living deep in the jungle, the animistic Pnong believe everything, animate and inanimate possesses a spirit and animal sacrifices are still carried out to appease upset spirits.

    Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.

    The Pnong tribe are the largest tribe in Mondulkiri and sustain themselves by cultivating, rice, taro, yams, pumpkins and beans, some of which is sold at markets to earn a little spending money. The 2000 year old Pnong have been nomadic for centuries but have begun living a sedentary life as the forest area where they forage for food is depleting and road development has threatened their nomadic lifestyle. Living deep in the jungle, the animistic Pnong believe everything, animate and inanimate possesses a spirit and animal sacrifices are still carried out to appease upset spirits.

    1 year ago  /  4 notes

  9. Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.
In the largest and most sparsely populated region of Cambodia, the gold rush still lives on, where the roads turn to red dust as soon as you leave the two-street main town and a feeling of lawlessness and unknown clogs the green air. The province is carpeted with endless, deep, dense forests where a few lucky tigers and elephants may still survive alongside communes of tribal minorities. The jungles which the tribes call home are the same jungles where millions of dollars worth of wood and gold hide. 

    Mondulkiri Province, Cambodia.

    In the largest and most sparsely populated region of Cambodia, the gold rush still lives on, where the roads turn to red dust as soon as you leave the two-street main town and a feeling of lawlessness and unknown clogs the green air. The province is carpeted with endless, deep, dense forests where a few lucky tigers and elephants may still survive alongside communes of tribal minorities. The jungles which the tribes call home are the same jungles where millions of dollars worth of wood and gold hide. 

    1 year ago  /  2 notes

  10. Tuol Sleng Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Between 1975 and 1979, an estimated twenty thousand Cambodians were tortured and executed at S-21, most of whom were government officials, engineers, teachers, soldiers and anybody considered a ‘thinking person’ by the Pol Pot regime. Renamed by the Khmer Rouge as ‘Security Prison 21’, the former school was one of the biggest prisons of the Khmer Rouge regime and which was transformed and rebuilt to accomodate torture chambers and prison cells. Today, the haunting building is a gory reminder of one of the worst genocides in human history that many often forget. 

    Tuol Sleng Museum, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

    Between 1975 and 1979, an estimated twenty thousand Cambodians were tortured and executed at S-21, most of whom were government officials, engineers, teachers, soldiers and anybody considered a ‘thinking person’ by the Pol Pot regime. Renamed by the Khmer Rouge as ‘Security Prison 21’, the former school was one of the biggest prisons of the Khmer Rouge regime and which was transformed and rebuilt to accomodate torture chambers and prison cells. Today, the haunting building is a gory reminder of one of the worst genocides in human history that many often forget. 

    1 year ago  /  0 notes