Learning codes of communication in Banni as a tool to understand and function in the context:
My long term research assignment was identifying women’s role in the animal husbandry of Banni. But this assignment required access to women from various clans, which in turn required Kachchhi-Sindhi speaking skills as well as permission from the senior male members of the community. So I decided to focus on my short term goal first which required an understanding of animal husbandry practices in Kachchh, the markers of a good buffalo and building a rapport with Maldharis (most spoke Hindi).
Every hamlet has an Agevaan meaning leader who is loved and respected by the entire hamlet and whose word is taken as final. With help of my host organization I got a list of cell phone numbers for Agevans in Banni, and began to call them up to set up 24 hour home-stays with them; keeping in mind Banni’s rhythm discussed earlier (in the section From classroom theory to real world improvisation). Most of them obliged. It is through conversations with Maldharis that I was able to ‘decode Banni’. From whatever I found, I am going to classify the codes of Banni into two broad categories: natural (exist in nature on their own) and man-made.