The Worn Hands of an Apatani Woman: Hard Work and Resilience in Northeast India's Traditional Agriculture

The Apatani women of the Ziro valley in Northeast India are known for their integral role in traditional wet rice cultivation. They work tirelessly in the fields, often balancing agricultural duties with domestic responsibilities, and their hard work is reflected in their worn hands.

Despite facing modernization and changing cultural values, these women continue to preserve the centuries-old tradition of their tribe's agriculture. The Apatani women have a deep connection to their land, and their hard work and resilience ensure food security for their community.

Their worn hands tell a story of dedication and perseverance, as they continue to maintain sustainable agriculture practices in the face of adversity. Their work is essential in preserving the unique cultural heritage of the Apatani tribe and provides a glimpse into the strength and resilience of indigenous communities in Northeast India.

Through their labor, the Apatani women showcase the importance of traditional knowledge and practices in sustainable agriculture, and their contributions to their community and the larger world are immeasurable.


Leslie A Spurlock


Leslie Spurlock is a photojournalist, storm chaser, and creative portrait artist. She lived with the rebels in Haiti for 3 weeks when they ousted President Aristide, photographed Tropical Storm Jeanne that killed 3000 people in Haiti, covered many hurricanes and natural disasters, and 17 protests across the US during 2020. Her work has been published in many publications including Time, Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, NY Post, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Miami Herald, Austin American Statesman, Daily Mail, ABC, CNN, and Yahoo.



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Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh, India


Apatani woman’s hands




Leslie A Spurlock








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