Official Life - Jyoti & Nashi THE KEY TO INDIA
       Jyoti & Nashi - TheKey to India     


Official life

     Jaisalmer 1996-1998

In 1996, while Nashi wanders around the town, Jyoti ends up at a camel fair which was to begin...

Jaisalmer, 30 November 1996
In the plain of Dedansar the 'Jaisalmer Camel fair 96' has begun and on the day of inauguration, all the people who gathered for the occasion were surprised when a foreigner dressed like a Rabari arrived. The Italian citizen Jyoti from Italy, in Rabari attire with a red turban...
  Wanting to know more about him, the TV reporters and photographers addressed him in English, but he replied in Hindi and made them all the more surprised. The Italian Jyoti said that being very captured by the Indian culture and Rabari life, he visits India regularly since seventeen years.

  Third in the turban tying competition, Jyoti beats the Indians (transl.: TISRA PRAHAR)

  When he was asked why, being a drawing artist from a developed country he came to chose a life so hard, he replied "Yha dil ki bat he dimag ki nahi" (It is a question of heart, not of mind) and left all speechless. At this point the Italian Jyoti is invited to participate in the competition of tying the turban in the most beautiful way, and getting at the third place [among the Indians] he has widely shown how truly he has adopted the rabari costume..."
(free translation from newspapaer MARU MAHIMA)

Nashi at the women conference  

In 1997 Jyoti and Nashi, back in Jaisalmer, were invited to a conference for women arranged by the Municipality, to encourage women to participate more in society and make them more aware of health and education and report violence.
  Nashi, addressing the audience of women, underlines the importance of education in respect of own culture and tradition, a fundamental aspect not to lose ones roots.

The media highlighted this speech and the couple was invited to the next ‘Desert Festival’...

Jyoti and Nashi were leading the opening parade of the ‘Jaisalmer Desert Festival’ 1998 with the ‘Border Security Force’ contingent.

On the occasion of the festival they were given a prize by the Governor of Rajasthan Rajyapal Baliram Bhagat. Jyoti and Nashi were also interviewed by

  Jyoti and Nashi in the opening parade

Shripal Shaktawat for the Indian cultural-political magazine ‘Maya’ and later invited to the ‘Bikaner Camel Festival –99’ by the Assistant Director, Tourism Department of Rajasthan, Rajendra Singh Shekhawat.

See: Jyoti and Nashi by photographers  

Jyoti photographed by Chris Beall   Nashi photographed by Liaqat A. Bhatti
Jyoti photographed by Chris Beall (U.K.)   Nashi photographed by Liaqat A. Bhatti (India)

     Bikaner 1999-2000

On the eve of the 'Camel Festival' 1999, Jyoti and Nashi inaugurated the exhibition about the life and work of the Italian indologist Dr. L.P. Tessitori (Udine 1887 - Bikaner 1919), at the State Archives, Bikaner.

  Jyoti and Nashi inaugurate the Tessitori exhibition

Recieving prize from the hands of the Super Intendent of Police  

At the occasion of 'Camel Festival' 2000, Jyoti and Nashi received a prize for their work on behalf of Bikaner towards a declaration soon to be made of a twin-city relationship with Udine in Italy.

The prize was also given for their collaboration in the organisation of the Festival and for their love for the country and the culture of the Indian desert.

Jyoti with Mr. Shekhawat (2nd from left) at Katariasar village, Bikaner  

Jyoti and Rajendra Singh Shekhawat, the distinguished Asst Director Dep. of Tourism, Art & Culture - Rajasthan, founded together the Twin City Committee Bikaner.

Obtained the approval from the Government of Rajasthan in June 2000 to proceed with the twin-city project, the Municipality of Bikaner took the matter in its own hands.

        NEW DELHI                                      6-12-2000

Dear Mr. Di Martino,
I wish to express to you and Mrs. Elin Bolmgren my deepest thanks for the assistance winch you gave for the success of the friendship project between the cities of Udine and Bikaner.

Your work, tanks also to your direct knowledge of people and situations, has turned out to be essential to overcome the remaining obstacle to the agreement between the two cities.


Fabrizio Nava
First secretary


In spite the visit of a delegation from Bikaner to Udine in November 2000, the final agreement is still far to be reached.
[The Twin City Committee being dismissed, Jyoti and Nashi decline any responsibility on the further dealing in this matter.]

     Pushkar Fair 1996-2011

Jyoti meeting his Raika/Rabari friends at the Camel Fair


Every year Jyoti and Nashi come to the valley of Pushkar to the Camel Fair to meet old friends, the camel shepherds Raika/Rabari, gathered for the occasion.

Here they find also people from all over the world curious to have a look, and Jyoti and Nashi offer through their guiding the possibility of a close contact with the shy soul of the fair, being themselves part of it.

For those who are interested in a deeper guidance, the 'Govt Tourist Office' in Pushkar unfailingly recommends to contact Jyoti and Nashi.

It was thanks to this that, among others, Sandrine Prevot from France came to know about this opportunity. She was engaged in an anthropological study and needed information, contacts with the Raika/Rabari, an interpreter and other help for her research.

  Sandrine, student at Sorbonne – Paris

Sara on her journey into new experiences


The journalist Sara Hansson who wrote an article about Jyoti and Nashi in the Swedish on-line magazine KVINNOR.NET, got too inspired to let be a visit. To see with her own eyes she came to meet them where they belong, in the deserts and villages of Rajasthan.

"It has been more than whatever I can say,  an experience that changes life ... "
Sara Hansson

Read: From Sara Hansson  

It has been more than whatever I can say, an experience that changes life

... it was like a door opening, leading me to another kind of world, or rather, another dimension of the world. This dimension was mostly characterized by a kind of spirituality and peace and, as the biggest difference, a stillness of time ...
   A kind of stillness of time I had never experienced in the west, a feeling that one can be in stillness and therefore grow. ... Time was still, immovable, though everything else was moving very fast ... impressions and sensations! ... enormous chance for change and development.
   In the west instead, I have often experienced the exact opposite feeling, that the time is rushing away, you have never enough of time... while the world around us seems to be so inexplicably immovable, and yes, even stagnated and sterile. One goes on and on (or rather runs!) but never reaches anywhere anyway. ...

   I have no words to express how much I am grateful to have experienced all this ... hadn't I had Jyoti and Nashi to unveil India to me, I would still have gone around and around wondering what it was that was missing ...
   ... I thought it was difficult to understand the choice of life of Jyoti and Nashi, but now I can understand ... To me they appear as ... following the voice of their hearts, have piece by piece deconstructed in themselves the philosophy of western life, and during several years of hardship, built up a new way, more true. ...
   I have never heard about any others who have done this journey so thoroughly as them. ... As I could see it, they have also worked to become a bridge of understanding between the west and India ...
   ... get the chance to make use of this bridge, to follow them to India ... They both are really a unique link between the west and the east, and have a rare knowledge and experience. To say it in a few words: they are wise people, so listen to them.
   Go to Rajasthan, see this India of Jyoti and Nashi ... admire the beautiful attires ... enjoy the bright colours ... speak with Jyoti and Nashi while you drink a warm chai [spicy Indian tea] and see the sun, set over the steppe... and grow, grow anew. You will not regret it, I promise.

Sara Hansson [journalist from Sweden] Nov 2001

(free translation)

TV intewiew for ETV   PUSHKAR MELA SMARIKA: cover photo with Nashi   With the head of the district: Collector N. Arya

It is mostly in the occasions of Pushkar Camel Fair that both local and foreign TV-teams and journalists take the chance to make interviews and photos of Jyoti and Nashi.

To express their appreciation, one of such photos was used by the organiser of the Camel Fair for the cover of SMARIKA 2002 (the Fair 'almanac'). Suresh Sindhi, the Thasildar (administrative division head) of Ajmer, was glad have them invited to the 2002 edition of the Fair.

Mr Niranjan Arya, Collector of Ajmer (photo on the right) enjoy meeting Jyoti and Nashi in his field visits to the Camel Fair.

Nashi and Lok Jumbish

Nashi gives a speech at a Lok J. meeting - 2002  

Because of her deep involvement with the village women, her learning of traditional village art craft and tradition, as well as her effort to implement Project Marustali, Nashi has become a well-known partner and appreciated guest at many women meetings and gatherings in Rajasthan - from the districts of Bikaner and Pali, to that of Ajmer. Most of the meetings are organized by Lok Jumbish.

Lok Jumbish was between 1992 and 2004 the government organization endeavouring to increase school attendance and literacy in the rural areas of Rajasthan, with special attention on women. Now the organization has been integrated in the national project Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, which will proceed with the same intentions.

As an Indian village woman, but in the same time with the awareness of an educated woman like the Lok Jumbish employees, Nashi is appreciated for being a medium between the two worlds. She is giving the rural women a trust for the institution and to the Lok Jumbish employees advices about how to reach the heart of the village women and understand their feelings and attitudes.

Nashi gives a speech at a Lok J. meeting - 2001   Village women at a Lok J. meeting - 2002   With Mrs. Sangita Saraswat from Kishangarh Lok J. office - 2003

Organized by Lok Jumbish on initiative of Project Marustali, drawing and essay competitions for primary school children was held in the Kishanghar area in 2003, with themes to describe the traditional village life, encouraging the possibility to let culture and development grow side by side instead of apart.

In 2003, thanks to Nashi as an inestimable contact with the female world of India, Mrs. Lotta Borgiel, at the Swedish tour operator Äventyrsresor (Scandinavian Adventure Agency), came up with the idea of the 'Women Tour'. It was planned and organized by Jyoti and Nashi in the sphere of their Project Marustali purpose and realized in collaboration with DN (Swedish daily newspaper). This initiative got so appreciated that Mrs. Lotta Borgiel came to found her own tour operating enterprise Gränslösa Resor mainly to offer Woman Tours, not only to Rajasthan with Nashi, but to other part of the world too.
   Nashi has during the last years taken the Women-tour participants from Sweden to encounter the work of Lok Jumbish. The Swedish women had the possibility to experience the reality of a day in a countryside girl-school, to be present at an education-information meeting for rural women and thus to meet the points of view of local girls and women about school and literacy, as well as sharig their own thoughts and experiences.


     Pushkar 2004

At the Royal Desert Camp
Discussing topic issues
With HH Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar–Jodhpur
Music Entertainment

Royal Desert Camp - Pushkar
Royal Desert Camp

Welcome Heritage Group of Hotels
Group of Hotels

Heritage Hotels Association of India

Meeting March 2004

In March 2004, Jyoti and Nashi were invited to a meeting of 'Heritage Hotels Association of India' and 'Welcome Heritage Group of Hotels', held at the Royal Desert Camp and the Jagat-Palace Hotel, in Pushkar.
  The meeting, hosted by Kr. Jagat Singh Rathore, was attended by HH Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur, founder and president of H.H.A.I., Rakesh Mathur - president of W.H., Maharaj Narendra Singh of Jaipur Royal Family and other distinguished association members.

     Ajmer-Merwar 1996-2011

The region of Ajmer (Merwar) is the main area of the Gurjar villages frequented by Jyoti and Nashi, and in this area Pushkar is the main religious centre..

Sawai Bhoj Temple - Pushkar   Inside Sawai Bhoj Temple - Pushkar   Shiva Lingam in Sawai Bhoj Temple - Pushkar

One of the temples in Pushkar belonging to the Gurjar community, the Sawai Bhoj Temple, is thanks to Shri Balakdasji Maharaj, head of the temple, the main place of official contact between the Gurjar and Jyoti and Nashi. Shri Balakdasji Maharaj appreciate Jyoti and Nashi very much and always praises them for their commitment with the culture and people of Rajasthan.

Shri Balakdasji Maharaj, head of the Sawai Bhoj Temple - Pushkar
Nashi recieves blessings by Shri Balakdasji Maharaj at the Sawai Bhoj Temple - Pushkar

SHRI BALAKDASJI MAHARAJ Head of the Sawai Bhoj Temple - Pushkar, of the Gurjar community of the south Rajasthan Parganas.


Shri Balakdasji Maharaj has great affection for Nashi, who he considers as a daughter, as well as for Jyoti who is much appreciated for his deepness of thought and integrity.


     Delhi 2004

Jyoti gives a speach at a college in Delhi  

At the occasion of the 'World Tourism Day' - 27 Sept 2004, Jyoti and Nashi were invited to give a speech at Swami Sharddhanand College - Alipur (University of Delhi) which held the theme "The living forces of Mutual Understanding and Culture".
  Jyoti underlines, before the hundreds of students, the very importance of increasing responsible tourism, respecting and protecting local culture and environment.

     Godwar 1996-2009

Jyoti with Vana Ram Raika taking 
out the herd of camels - 1996-2009

From 1996 Jyoti and Nashi use to spend part of every winter with the Raika/Rabari in the Godwar region, out in the villages and wilderness as one of them in their simple rural (pastoral) life, deeply experiencing every side and part of their traditional lifestyle.

The name Raika/Rabari itself makes think about old lifestyle and herds in the desert, but they are active in the changing life too, part of the development, urbanization and modern world. Many have reached high education and jobs in towns and some have made a brilliant career in the political life.

During the span of years, Jyoti and Nashi have often met Bhopa Shri Ota Ram Raika, Dharam Guru (spiritual leader) of the Raika/Rabari Community, former chairman of 'State Farms Corporation of India - Department of Agriculture, Central Govt. of India', and Chairman of 'State Livestock Development Board - Govt. of Rajasthan'.

In one occasion (2005) they were discussing topics like the need of the government to take action against the threat to the ecosystem of Rajasthan which is endangered because of massive deforestation and un-cautious use of ground water as well as other resources. They dwelled especially on the very lack of grassland faced by the pastoral communities.

Jyoti was also underlining the essential need to preserve a millenarian culture and ancient knowhow as the basic richness of a nation.

  Jyoti with 'SLDB' Chairman Bhopa Shri Ota Ram Raika - 2005

Shri Jagmal Raika is a local politicial leader (Godwar) and Senior Member of 'Department of Animal-Husbandry – Govt. of Rajasthan', and newly elected (2008) Chairman of the 'Raika/Rabari Community' of (11 pargana) south Pali region (Godwar).

Jyoti with 'RC' Chairman Shri Jagmal Raika - 2008


He appreciate very much Jyoti and Nashi and their effort to learn, document and divulge the tradition and culture of the pastoral communities of Rajasthan. In many occasions speaking about them he use to underline how their acquired knowledge about the life and traditions of the shepherds has come from direct contact and lived experience and hence it is incomparable with any academic study.

"Jyoti and Nashi are particular for what they are, having become one with us, and a link between us and the outside world".

Even if Jyoti and Nashi are not unknown in meetings with the Raika/Rabari it was only in Jaunary 2009 that they attended one with the top Raika/Rabari political leader Shri Sagar Raika, chairman of the 'Wool Development Board - Central Govt. of India' and the first and the only Raika/Rabari Member of Parliament. At this meeting in Godwar held by the 'Wool Development Board - Central Govt. of India' in collaboration with the local 'Shrimati Shakuntla Hastimal Karsiya Charitable Trust' and the 'Shrimati Hanja Bai Goshala Kendra (Beda)', many Raika/Rabari were gathered to receive compensation for loss of animals by the 'SSHK Charitable Trust' and they were also eager to receive assurance about the wool price which reaching rock-bottom levels has created much distress.

In his introductive speech at the meeting, Shri Satpal Raika, former 'WDB' member, currently 'DAH' Coordinator, greeted Jyoti and Nashi and said that he had heard much about them and was well impressed about their commitment with the shepherd communities in Rajasthan, and thankful for their understanding and dedicated research about the culture.

Waiting for the arrival of Shri Sagar Raika, Jyoti had the chance to rejoice with his many friends.

  'DAH' Coordinator Shri Satpal Raika addressing the gathering

Jyoti with the Raika/Rabari at the meeting MP, 'WDB' Chairman Shri Sagar Raika

Late arrived, 'WDB' Chairman Shri Sagar Raika expressed his solidarity with the Raika/Rabari community of which himself is a son, and assured the audience about the soon recovering of wool price.



© 2001 - 11 JYOTI & NASHI