“Zhoka” by Photographer Disha Patil

A selection of images from an ongoing series by Photographer Disha Patil. “Zhoka” documents an all women housing society in Solapur, India where Patil spent summers visiting her grandparents. The pictures were captured on a recent trip and are an attempt to better understand the foundations of this unique community. Named after the country’s only female prime minister Indira Gandhi, Indira Mahila Jeevan Vikas (Indira Women Life Empowerment) housing society was developed in 1968 as a residential colony of nearly 180 independent houses owned and run by women. In contrast to patriarchal models of ownership, the homes could only be passed down through the female members of the family. This was a monumental move at a time when women in India did not have an equal right to inherit property as their male siblings (a discriminatory clause that was only modified in 2005). The housing society has been catering to the needs of families from different income groups, religions, caste and linguistic backgrounds for more than five decades, and continues to do so under its all women managing committee.

“For me as a young impressionable child, my now late grandmother’s household was a microcosm of the values of the housing society at large. She lived her life on her own terms — fiercely independent and a revered matriarch. In many ways these principles seep into the way I navigate my life as a woman now. Indira Nagar not only felt like a refuge, a relief but also a hopeful proposition for vibrant community building. Documenting the society, so deeply personal to me, was an exercise in familiarity and discovery. A homecoming that laid bare all the beautiful ways we can walk through this world.”

See more images from “Zhoka” below.

















Disha Patil’s Website

Disha Patil on Instagram

Related Articles

Secret Email Club

If you’re not a member of our Secret Email Club you’ve been missing out on a whole lot of stuff that we don’t post on Booooooom!