The Koli’s entire position in society, her freedom of speech and action it a result of her economic power and independence arising from her kurga (her daily earnings).
What makes these women different from others?
- The most important are the community ties. Kolis is a close knit community. All of them share the same profession and the women work for both sides of the family after marriage.
- They are tied to their land which is real estate property worth millions of dollars in Mumbai. They know the value and still don't want to encash on it as it would uproot them all at once.
- They all know just one thing - selling fish and all of them do it to the best of their abilities. They work together, enjoy together, live together and are on each others side always.
- They have the economic control of their homes. All the women handle transactions themselves while their men are at sea catching the fish. They are well adept at calculations, art of barganing and have great prsence of mind.
- There is tacit collective knowledge which seems to be at work everytime you talk to them. The ways of the market, the chaos, the double burden of home and trade all seems to be reflected in her choice of words and body language.
I'll keep updating as I think of more points.
The questions that are raised for me are - what can we learn from them and try to replicate somewhere else?