The Kumaon region of Uttarakhand borders Nepal and is in India’s central Himalayas. On October 29th 2018, Radhika Govindrajan read excerpts from her book Animal Intimacies, which lays out the ethnographic work she conducted in the area’s mountain villages and explores the nuances of animal-human relationships in the region.
Govindrajan gripped the audience from the beginning by reading excerpts which detailed experiences that ranged from listening to women talk about stories of kidnappings and sexual encounters with bears, to ones which portrayed differences in relationships men and women of the region have with animals. Govindrajan excellently offered insight on how animal husbandry is feminized and the ways in which these relationships are intimate.
Audience members were compelled to ask questions about gender, caste, translation, and methodology after hearing Govindrajan read from her book. One got a sense from being in the room, that readers and listeners were compelled to look inwards and try and better understand the relationships between humans and animals in their own lives.